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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about The Case and the Girl.
held and treated as an interloper, a stranger employed for a purpose.  She had deliberately cast aside the conventional, and become natural in his presence—­free to speak and act as the spirit moved.  This was a victory, and he chose to interpret it as proof that she already really liked and trusted him.  Actuated by this feeling, she no longer deemed it necessary to dissemble in his presence.  It was a long step in advance.

He had arrived at this very pleasant conclusion, when Sexton appeared in the door, evidently looking for some one.  The man espied him there in the shadow of the vines, and came forward.

“Miss Coolidge requests your presence, sir, for a few moments,” he said gravely.

“Why, certainly; did she say where, Sexton?”

“In the library, sir; she is waiting there now.”

West hesitated an instant.  There was a question he was eager to ask, but immediately thought better of it.  Interviewing servants was not in his line, and there were other ways of learning the truth.

“Very well,” he said quietly.  “I will join her at once.  Thank you, Sexton,” and disappeared into the cool, darkened hall.

CHAPTER IX

AN UNEXPECTED DISMISSAL

The shades had been drawn closely to exclude the sun, and, for a moment after he first crossed the threshold of the library, West was unable to distinguish any occupant.  He heard Sexton silently close the door behind him, but it was not until she moved slightly that he was able to perceive her presence directly across from where he stood.  Her voice broke the silence.

“You will find a seat next to the window, Captain,” she said quietly.  “It was very good of you to come.”

“The pleasure was mine,” he replied.  “Only I am blinded coming in here from the bright sunshine without.”

“I have had a touch of headache—­nervous, no doubt, from the visit this morning—­and so ordered Sexton to draw the shades.  Your eyes will soon accustom themselves to the lack of light.  I see you quite well.”

“Oh, I am all right now,” and he sank into the vacant chair, facing her, expectantly.  “You wished to speak with me, the servant said.”

“Yes,” she leaned back against the couch on which she rested, with face now clearly revealed, one hand nervously twirling a fan.  “Although it is not easy for me to transform into words exactly what I mean.  This is a very strange situation in which we find ourselves, Captain West.”

“I have felt so,” he admitted, surprised at this beginning.  “Yet I must confess, I am now becoming quite reconciled.”

She sat up suddenly, with eyes searching his face.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Perhaps I ought not to say,” he answered boldly.  “Yet circumstances seemingly justify frankness between us.  I mean that I feel far more deeply interested in the final outcome of this affair today than I did yesterday—­it means more to me.”

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