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III The Heart Of Man Anna Katharine Green

XXXIV The Hut Changes Its Name

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"No, and he must not,- not for weeks. He has borne all that he can."

"His confidence in his older brother is sublime. I do not share it; but I cannot help but respect him for it."

It was warmly said, and Mr. Challoner could not forbear casting an anxious look at her upturned face. What he saw there made him turn away with a sigh.

"This confidence has for me a very unhappy side," he remarked. "It shows me Oswald's thought. He who loved her best, accepts the cruel verdict of an unreasoning public."

Doris' large eyes burned with a weird light upon his face.

"He has not had my dream," she murmured, with all the quiet of an unmoved conviction.

Yet as the days went by, even her manner changed towards the busy inventor. It was hardly possible for it not to. The high stand he took; the regard accorded him on every side; his talent; his conversation, which was an education in itself, and, above all, his absorption in a work daily advancing towards completion, removed him so insensibly and yet so decidedly, from the hideous past of tragedy with which his name, if not his honour, was associated, that, unconsciously to herself, she gradually lost her icy air of repulsion and lent him a more or less attentive ear, when he chose to join their small company of an evening. The result was that he turned so bright a side upon her that toleration merged from day to day into admiration and memory lost itself in anticipation of the event which was to prove him a man of men, if not one of the world's greatest mechanical geniuses.

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Meantime, Oswald was steadily improving in health, if not in spirits. He had taken his first walk without any unfavourable results, and Orlando decided from this that the time had come for an explanation of his device and his requirements in regard to it. Seated together in Oswald's room, he broached the subject thus:

"Oswald, what is your idea about what I'm making up there?"

"That it will be a success."

"I know; but its character, its use? What do you think it is?"

"I've an idea; but my idea don't fit the conditions."

"How's that?"

"The shed is too closely hemmed in. You haven't room -"

"For what?"

"To start an aeroplane."

"Yet it is certainly a device for flying."

"I supposed so; but -"

"It is an air-car with a new and valuable idea - the idea for which the whole world has been seeking ever since the first aeroplane found its way up from the earth. My car needs no room to start in save that which it occupies. If it did, it would be but the modification of a hundred others."


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