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The Evil Genius

14. Kitty Feels the Heartache
Linley advanced a few steps--and stopped.
His wife, hurrying eagerly to meet him, checked herself. It might have been distrust, or it
might have been unreasoning fear--she hesitated on the point of approaching him.
"I have something to say, Catherine, which I'm afraid will distress you."
His voice faltered, his eyes rested on her--then looked away again. He said no more.
He had spoken a few commonplace words--and yet he had said enough. She saw the truth
in his eyes, heard the truth in his voice. A fit of trembling seized her. Linley stepped
forward, in the fear that she might fall. She instantly controlled herself, and signed to him
to keep back. "Don't touch me!" she said. "You come from Miss Westerfield!"
That reproach roused him.
"I own that I come from Miss Westerfield," he answered. "She addresses a request to you
through me."
"I refuse to grant it."
"Hear it first."
"No!"
"Hear it--in your own interest. She asks permission to leave the house, never to return
again. While she is still innocent--"
His wife eyed him with a look of unutterable contempt. He submitted to it, but not in
silence.
"A man doesn't lie, Catherine, who makes such a confession as I am making now. Miss
Westerfield offers the one atonement in her power, while she is still innocent of having
wronged you--except in thought."
"Is that all?" Mrs. Linley asked.
"It rests with you," he replied, "to say if there is any other sacrifice of herself which will
be more acceptable to you."
"Let me understand first what the sacrifice means. Does Miss Westerfield make any
conditions?"
 
 
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