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The Malefactor

I.6. Hast Thou Found Me, O Mine Enemy?
Aynesworth was waiting in the hall on the following afternoon when Lady Ruth arrived.
He had half expected that she would drive up to the side door in a hansom, would wear a
thick veil, and adopt the other appurtenances of a clandestine meeting. But Lady Ruth
was much too clever a woman for anything of the sort. She descended at the great front
entrance from her own electric coupe, and swept into the hotel followed by her maid. She
stopped to speak to the manager of the hotel, who knew her from her visits to the world-
famous restaurant, and she asked at once for Sir Wingrave Seton. Then she saw
Aynesworth, and crossed the hall with outstretched hand.
"How nice of you to be here," she murmured. "Can you take me to Sir Wingrave at once?
I have such a busy afternoon that I was afraid at the last moment that I should be unable
to come!"
Aynesworth led her towards the lift.
"Sir Wingrave is in his sitting room," he remarked. "It is only on the first floor."
She directed her maid where to wait, and followed him. On the way down the corridor, he
stole a glance at her. She was a little pale, and he could see that she had nerved herself to
this interview with a great effort. As he knocked at the door, her great eyes were raised
for a moment to his, and they were like the eyes of a frightened child.
"I am afraid!" she murmured.
There was no time for more. They were in the room, and Wingrave had risen to meet
them. Lady Ruth did not hesitate for a moment. She crossed the room towards him with
outstretched hands. Aynesworth, who was standing a little on one side, watched their
meeting with intense, though covert interest. She had pushed back her veil, her head was
a little upraised in a mute gesture of appeal.
She was pale to the lips, but her eyes were soft with hidden tears. Wingrave stood stonily
silent, like a figure of fate. His hands remained by his sides. Her welcome found no
response from him. She came to a standstill, and, swaying a little, stretched out her hand
and steadied herself by grasping the back of a chair.
"Wingrave," she murmured, and her voice was full of musical reproach.
Aynesworth turned to leave the room, but Wingrave, looking over her head, addressed
him.
 
 
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