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II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

X A Difference Of Opinion

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"Pardon me, Dr. Heath; I cannot flatter myself so far. You overrate my influence with the lady you name."

"You believe, then, that she was sincere in her rejection of your addresses?

A start, too slight to be noted by any one but the watchful Sweetwater, showed that this question had gone home. But the self-poise and mental control of this man were perfect, and in an instant he was facing the coroner again, with a dignity. which gave no clew to the disturbance into which his thoughts had just been thrown. Nor was this disturbance apparent in his tones when he made his reply:

"I have never allowed myself to think otherwise. I have seen no reason why I should. The suggestion you would convey by such a question is hardly welcome, now. I pray you to be careful in your judgment of such a woman's impulses. They often spring from sources not to be sounded even by her dearest friends."

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Just; but how cold! Dr. Heath, eyeing him with admiration rather than sympathy, hesitated how to proceed; while Sweetwater, peering up from his papers, sought in vain for some evidence of the bereaved lover in the impressive but wholly dispassionate figure of him who had just spoken. Had pride got the better of his heart? or had that organ always been subordinate to the will in this man of instincts so varying, that at one time he impressed you simply as a typical gentleman of leisure; at another, as no more than a fiery agitator with powers absorbed by, if not limited to the one cause he advocated; and again - and this seemed the most contradictory of all - just the ardent inventor, living in a tenement, with Science for his goddess and work always under his hand? As the young detective weighed these possibilities and marvelled over the contradictions they offered, he forgot the papers now lying quiet under his hand. He was too interested to remember his own part - something which could not often be said of Sweetwater.

Meantime, the coroner had collected his thoughts. With an apology for the extremely personal nature of his inquiry, he asked Mr. Brotherson if he would object to giving him some further details of his acquaintanceship with Miss Challoner; where he first met her and under what circumstances their friendship had developed.

"Not at all," was the ready reply. "I have nothing to conceal in the matter. I only wish that her father were present that he might listen to the recital of my acquaintanceship with his daughter. He might possibly understand her better and regard with more leniency the presumption into which I was led by my ignorance of the pride inherent in great families."

"Your wish can very easily be gratified," returned the official, pressing an electric button on his desk;

"Mr. Challoner is in the adjoining room." Then, as the door communicating with the room he had mentioned swung ajar and stood so, Dr. Heath added, without apparent consciousness of the dramatic character of this episode, "You will not need to raise your voice beyond its natural pitch. He can hear perfectly from where he sits."

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