to hold on to their prey. Troubled consciences can be easily
Above, the moon rode, flecking the deepest shadows with the silver from her half-turned urn, but none of the soft and healing drops fell upon him. Nature was no longer a goddess, but an avenger; light a revealer, not a solace. Darkness the only boon.
Nor had time a meaning. From early eve to early morn he sat there and knew not if it were one hour or twelve. Earth was his no longer. He roused, when the sun made everything light about him, but he did not think about it. He rose, but was not conscious that he rose. He unlocked the door and stepped out into the forest; but he could never remember doing this. He only knew later that he had been in the woods and now was in his room at the hotel; all the rest was phantasmagoria, agony and defeat.
He had crossed the Rubicon of this world's hopes and fears, but he had been unconscious of the passage.
"With every apology for the intrusion, may I request a few minutes of private conversation with you this evening at seven o'clock? Let it be in your own room.
"Yours truly, "ORLANDO BROTHERSON."
Mr. Challoner had been called upon to face many difficult and heartrending duties since the blow which had desolated his home fell upon him.
But from none of them had he shrunk as he did from the interview thus demanded. He had supposed himself rid of this man. He had dismissed him from his life when he had dismissed Sweetwater. His face, accordingly, wore anything but a propitiatory look, when promptly at the hour of seven, Orlando Brotherson entered his apartments.
His pleasure or his displeasure was, however, a matter of small consequence to his self-invited visitor. He had come there with a set purpose, and nothing in heaven or earth could deter him from it now. Declining the offer of a seat, with the slightest of acknowledgments in the way of a bow, he took a careful survey of the room before saying:
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