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II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

XIX The Danger Moment

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Impossible to tell. The balance of probability hung even. Sweetwater recognised this, and clung, breathless, to his loop-hole. Fain would he have seen, as well as heard.

Mr. Brotherson read the first letter, standing. As it soon became public property, I will give it here, just as it afterwards appeared in the columns of the greedy journals:


    "When I sit, as I often do, in perfect quiet under the stars,
    and dream that you are looking at them too, not for hours as I
    do, but for one full moment in which your thoughts are with me as
    wholly as mine are with you, I feel that the bond between us,
    unseen by the world, and possibly not wholly recognised by
    ourselves, is instinct with the same power which links together
    the eternities.

    "It seems to have always been; to have known no beginning, only a
    budding, an efflorescence, the visible product of a hidden but
    always present reality. A month ago and I was ignorant, even, of
    your name. Now, you seem the best known to me, the best understood,
    of God's creatures. One afternoon of perfect companionship - one
    flash of strong emotion, with its deep, true insight into each
    other's soul, and the miracle was wrought. We had met, and
    henceforth, parting would mean separation only, and not the
    severing of a mutual bond. One hand, and one only, could do that
    now. I will not name that hand. For us there is nought ahead but

    "Thus do I ease my heart in the silence which conditions impose
    upon us. Some day I shall hear your voice again, and then-"

The paper dropped from the reader's hand. It was several minutes before he took up another.

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This one, as it happened, antedated the other, as will appear on reading it:

"My friend:

    "I said that I could not write to you - that we must wait. You
    were willing; but there is much to be accomplished, and the
    silence may be long. My father is not an easy man to please, but
    he desires my happiness and will listen to my plea when the right
    hour comes. When you have won your place - when you have shown
    yourself to be the man I feel you to be, then my father will
    recognise your worth, and the way will be cleared, despite the
    obstacles which now intervene.

    "But meantime! Ah, you will not know it, but words will rise
    - the heart must find utterance. What the lip cannot utter, nor
    the looks reveal, these pages shall hold in sacred trust for you
    till the day when my father will place my hand in yours, with
    heart-felt approval.

    "Is it a folly? A woman's weak evasion of the strong silence of
    man? You may say so some day; but somehow, I doubt it - I doubt

The creaking of a chair; - the man within had seated himself. There was no other sound; a soul in turmoil wakens no echoes. Sweetwater envied the walls surrounding the unsympathetic reader. They could see. He could only listen.

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