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The Evil Shepherd

Chapter 24
Francis, in that pleasant half-hour before dinner which he spent in Margaret's sitting-
room, told her of the dogs' home near Wardour Street. She listened sympathetically to his
description of the place.
"I had never heard of it," she acknowledged, "but I am not in anyway surprised. My
father spends at least an hour of every day, when he is down at Hatch End, amongst the
horses, and every time a fresh crock is brought down, he is as interested as though it were
a new toy."
"It is a remarkable. trait in a very remarkable character," Francis commented.
I could tell you many things that would surprise you," Margaret continued. "One night,
for instance, when we were staying at The Sanctuary, he and I were going out to dine
with some neighbours and he heard a cat mewing in the hedge somewhere. He stopped
the car, got out himself, found that the cat had been caught in a trap, released it, and sent
me on to the dinner alone whilst he took the animal back to the veterinary surgeon at The
Walled House. He was simply white with fury whilst he was tying up the poor thing's leg.
I couldn't help asking him what he would have done if he could have found the farmer
who set the trap. He looked up at me and I was almost frightened. 'I should have killed
him,' be said,--and I believe he meant it. And, Francis, the very next day we were
motoring to London and saw a terrible accident. A motor bicyclist came down a side road
at full speed and ran into a motor-lorry. My father got out of the car, helped them lift the
body from under the wheels of the lorry, and came back absolutely unmoved. 'Serve the
silly young fool right!' was his only remark. He was so horribly callous that I could
scarcely bear to sit by his side. Do you understand that?"
"It isn't easy," he admitted.
There was a knock at the door. Margaret glanced at the clock.
"Surely dinner can't be served already!" she exclaimed. "Come in."
Very much to their surprise, it was Sir Timothy himself who entered. He was in evening
dress and wearing several orders, one of which Francis noted with surprise.
"My apologies," he said. "Hedges told me that there were cocktails here, and as I am on
my way to a rather weary dinner, I thought I might inflict myself upon you for a
moment."
Margaret rose at once to her feet.
"I am a shocking hostess," she declared. "Hedges brought the things in twenty minutes
ago."
 
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