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II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

X A Difference Of Opinion

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"That is not like my daughter. What was the sentence you allude to? Let me hear the very words." Mr. Challoner had come forward and now stood awaiting his reply, a dignified but pathetic figure, which all must view with respect.

"I hate the memory of them, but since you demand it, I will repeat them just as they fell from her lips," was Mr. Brotherson's bitter retort. " She said, 'You of all men should recognise the unseemliness of these proposals. Had your letters given me any hint of the feelings you have just expressed, you would never have had this opportunity of approaching me.' That was all; but her indignation was scathing. Ladies who have supped exclusively off silver, show a fine scorn for the common ware of the cottager."

Mr. Challoner bowed. "There is some mistake," said he. "My daughter might be averse to your addresses, but she would never show indignation to any aspirant for her hand, simply on account of extraneous conditions. She had wide sympathies - wider than I often approved. Something in your conduct or the confidence you showed shocked her nicer sense; not your lack of the luxuries she often misprised. This much I feel obliged to say, out of justice to her character, which was uniformly considerate."

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"You have seen her with men of her own world and yours," was the harsh response. "She had another side to her nature for the man of a different sphere. And it killed my love - that you can see - and led to my sending her the injudicious letter with which you have confronted me. The hurt bull utters one bellow before he dies. I bellowed, and bellowed loudly, but I did not die. I'm my own man still and mean to remain so."

The assertive boldness - some would call it bravado - with which he thus finished the story of his relations with the dead heiress, seemed to be more than Mr. Challoner could stand. With a look of extreme pain and perplexity he vanished from the doorway, and it fell to Dr. Heath to inquire:

"Is this letter - a letter of threat you will remember - the only communication which passed between you and Miss Challoner after this unfortunate passage of arms at the Clermont?"

"Yes. I had no wish to address her again. I had exhausted in this one outburst whatever humiliation I felt."

"And she? Did she give no sign, make you no answer?"

"None whatever." Then, as if he found it impossible to hide this hurt to his pride, "She did not even seem to consider me worthy the honour of an added rebuke. Such arrogance is, no doubt, commendable in a Challoner."

This time his bitterness did not pass unrebuked by the coroner:

"Remember the grey hairs of the only Challoner who can hear you, and respect his grief."

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