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Chapter XXXVIII - I Accept a Mission

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Author Topic: Chapter XXXVIII - I Accept a Mission  (Read 24 times)
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« on: December 07, 2022, 04:45:18 am »

There was a silence which threatened to last for ever.

At length Mr. Ravenor turned his head slightly and looked towards me. The eagerness which he saw in my face seemed to strike some grim vein of humour in him, for his lips parted in a dreary, fleeting smile. “Are you expecting to hear a confession?” he asked, as it passed away.

A confession from him! God forbid! From him who had ever seemed to me so far above other men, that none other were worthy to be classed with him! All the old fire of my boyish hero-worship blazed up at the very thought. A confession from him! The bare idea was sacrilegious.

He read his answer in the mute, amazed protest of my looks, and did not wait for the words which were trembling upon my lips. “It would do you little good to tell you all that your story has suggested to me,” he said quietly. “Some day you will know everything; but not yet—not yet.”

He paused and walked slowly up and down the room, with his hands behind him and his eyes fixed upon the floor. Suddenly he stopped and looked up. “Marx must come back at once,” he said, with something of his old firmness. “I shall send him a telegram to-morrow to return immediately.”

“And if he doesn’t come?”

“I must go to him. This matter must be cleared up as far as it can be and at once.”

“Your guests,” I reminded him. “How can you leave them?”

“I forgot them,” he exclaimed impatiently. “Philip, will you go?” he asked suddenly.

“Yes,” I answered quietly, although my heart was beating fast. “Yes, I will go. Perhaps it would be best.”

He let his hand rest for a moment upon my shoulder, and, though he did not say so, I knew that he was pleased. Then he glanced at the clock. “Two o’clock!” he exclaimed. “Philip, you must leave me now.”

I looked towards his writing-table, at which he was already seating himself, and hesitated. “You are not going to write now?” I ventured to protest.

“Why not?”

I pointed to the clock; but he only smiled.

“I am no slave to regular hours,” he said quietly. “An hour or two’s sleep is enough for me at a time.”

So I left him.

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