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II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

XIX The Danger Moment

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"I believe you to have taken every advantage posible to spy upon your mistress. I believe that, yes."

"From interest, monsieur, from great interest."


"As monsieur pleases. But it was strange, ver strange for a grande dame like that to write letters - sheets on sheets - and then not send them, nevaire. I dreamed of those letters - I could not help it, no; and when she died so quick - with no word for any one, no word at all, I thought of those writings so secret, so of the heart, and when no one noticed - or thought about this box, or - or the key she kept shut tight, oh, always tight in her leetle gold purse, I - Monsieur, do you want to see those letters?" asked the girl, with a gulp. Evidently his appearance frightened her - or had her acting reached this point of extreme finish? "I had nevaire the chance to put them back. And - and they belong to monsieur. They are his - all his - and so beautiful! Ah, just like poetry."

"I don't consider them mine. I haven't a particle of confidence in you or in your story. You are a thief - self-convicted; or you're an agent of the police whose motives I neither understand nor care to investigate. Take up your bag and go. I haven't a cent's worth of interest in its contents."

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She started to her feet. Sweetwater heard her chair grate on the painted floor, as she pushed it back in rising. The brother rose too, but more calmly. Brotherson did not stir. Sweetwater felt his hopes rapidly dying down - down into ashes, when suddenly her voice broke forth in pants:

"And Marie said - everybody said - that you loved our great lady; that you, of the people, common, common, working with the hands, living with men and women working with the hands, that you had soul, sentiment - what you will of the good and the great, and that you would give your eyes for her words, si fines, si spirituelles, so like des vers de poete. False! false! all false! She was an angel. You are - read that! " she vehemently broke in, opening her bag and whisking a paper down before him. "Read and understand my proud and lovely lady. She did right to die. You are hard - hard. You would have killed her if she had not -"

"Silence, woman! I will read nothing!" came hissing from the strong man's teeth, set in almost ungovernable anger. "Take back this letter, as you call it, and leave my room."

"Nevaire! You will not read? But you shall, you shall. Behold another! One, two, three, four!" Madly they flew from her hand. Madly she continued her vituperative attack. "Beast! beast! That she should pour out her innocent heart to you, you! I do not want your money, Monsieur of the common street, of the common house. It would be dirt. Pierre, it would be dirt. Ah, bah! je m'oublie tout a fait. Pierre, il est bete. Il refuse de les toucher. Mais il faut qu'il les touche, si je les laisse sur le plancher. Va-t'en! Je me moque de lui. Canaille! L'homme du peuple, tout a fait du peuple!"

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