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II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

XIII Time, Circumstance, And A Villain's Heart

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"And what - what did you - say?" asked Sweetwater, with a halting utterance and his face full of thought.

"I simply quoted the latest authority on hypnotism that no person even in hypnotic sleep could be influenced by another to do what was antagonistic to his natural instincts."

"Latest authority. That doesn't mean a final one. Supposing that it was hypnotism! But that wouldn't account for Mrs. Spotts' death. Her wound certainly was not a self-inflicted one."

"How can you be sure?"

"There was no weapon found in the room, or in the court. The snow was searched and the children too. No weapon, Mr. Gryce, not even a paper-cutter. Besides - but how did Mr. Challoner take what you said? Was he satisfied with this assurance?"

"He had to be. I didn't dare to hold out any hope based on so unsubstantial a theory. But the interview had this effect upon me. If the possibility remains of fixing guilt elsewhere than on Miss Challoner's inconsiderate impulse, I am ready to devote any amount of time and strength to the work. To see this grieving father relieved from the worst part of his burden is worth some effort and now you know why I have listened so eagerly to you. Sweetwater, I will go with you to the Superintendent. We may not gain his attention and again we may. If we don t - but we won't cross that bridge prematurely. When will you be ready for this business?"

"I must be at Headquarters to-morrow."

"Good, then let it be to-morrow. A taxicab, Sweetwater. The subway for the young. I can no longer manage the stairs."

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