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The Evil Genius

41. Make the Best of It
For a moment the two men looked at each other without speaking. Herbert's wondering
eyes accurately reflected his brother's astonishment.
"What are you doing here?" he asked. Suspicion overclouded his face as he put the
question. "You have been to the hotel?" he burst out; "you have seen Catherine?"
Randal could deny that he had seen Catherine, with perfect truth--and did deny it in the
plainest terms. Herbert was satisfied. "In all my remembrance of you," he said, you have
never told me a lie. We have both seen the same newspaper, of course--and you have
been the first to clear the thing up. That's it, isn't it?"
"I wonder who this other Mrs. Norman is; did you find out?"
"She's not Catherine, at any rate; I, for one, shall go home with a lighter heart." He took
his brother's arm, to return to the other platform. "Do you know, Randal, I was almost
afraid that Catherine was the woman. The devil take the thing, and the people who write
in it!"
He snatched a newspaper out of his pocket as he spoke--tore it in half--and threw it away.
"Malcolm meant well, poor fellow," he said, referring to the old servant, "but he made a
miserable man of me for all that."
Not satisfied with gossip in private, the greedy public appetite devours gossip in print,
and wants more of it than any one editor can supply. Randal picked up the torn
newspaper. It was not the newspaper which he had bought at the station. Herbert had
been reading a rival journal, devoted to the interests of Society--in which the report of
Mrs. Norman's marriage was repeated, with this difference, that it boldly alluded to
Captain Bennydeck by name. "Did Malcolm give you this?" Randal asked.
"Yes; he and the servant next door subscribe to take it in; and Malcolm thought it might
amuse me. It drove me out of the house and into the railway. If it had driven me out of
mind, I shouldn't have been surprised."
"Gently, Herbert! Supposing the report had been true--?"
"After what you have told me, wh y should I suppose anything of the sort?"
"Don't be angry; and do pray remember that the Divorce allows you and Catherine to
marry again, if you like."