my relatives, are as innocent of any participation in or
Oswald had heard nothing, seen nothing. But he took note of Doris' silence, and turning towards her in frenzy saw what had happened, and so was in a measure prepared for the stern, short sentence which now rang through the room:
"Wait, Miss Scott! you tell the story badly. Let him listen to me. >From my mouth only shall he hear the stern and seemingly unnatural part I played in this family tragedy."
The face of Oswald hardened. Those pliant features - beloved for their gracious kindliness - set themselves in lines which altered them almost beyond recognition; but his voice was not without some of its natural sweetness, as, after a long and hollow look at the other's composed countenance, he abruptly exclaimed:
"Speak! I am bound to listen; you are my brother."
Orlando turned towards Doris. She was slipping away.
Oswald raised his hand and checked the words with which he would have begun his story.
"Never mind the beginnings," said he. "Doris has told all that. You saw Miss Challoner in Lenox - admired her - offered yourself to her and afterwards wrote her a threatening letter because she rejected you."
"It is true. Other men have followed just such unworthy impulses - and been ashamed and sorry afterwards. I was sorry and I was ashamed, and as soon as my first anger was over went to tell her so. But she mistook my purpose and -"
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