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The Malefactor

II.8. In The Toils
Wingrave did not speak for several moments after Aynesworth had entered the room. He
had an engagement book before him and seemed to be deep in its contents. When at last
he looked up, his forehead was furrowed with thought, and he had the weary air of a man
who has been indulging in unprofitable memories.
"Aynesworth," he said, "be so good as to ring up Walters and excuse me from dining with
him tonight."
Aynesworth nodded.
"Any particular form of excuse?" he asked.
"No!" Say that I have an unavoidable engagement. I will see him tomorrow morning."
"Anything else?" Aynesworth asked, preparing to leave the room.
"No! You might see that I have no visitors this evening. Lady Ruth is coming here at nine
o'clock."
"Lady Ruth is coming here," Aynesworth repeated in a colorless tone. "Alone?"
"Yes."
Aynesworth shrugged his shoulders, but made no remark. He turned towards the door,
but Wingrave called him back.
"Your expression, Aynesworth," he said, "interests me. Am I or the lady in question
responsible for it?"
"I am sorry for Lady Ruth," Aynesworth said. "I think that I am sorry, too, for her
husband."
"Why? She is coming of her own free will."
"There are different methods of compulsion," Aynesworth answered.
Wingrave regarded him thoughtfully.
"That," he said, "is true. But I still do not understand why you are sorry for her."
 
 
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