The Evil Genius eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 424 pages of information about The Evil Genius.

CATHERINE LINLEY.”

Mr. Sarrazin put this letter into a private drawer and smiled as he turned the key.  “Has she made up her mind at last?” he asked himself.  “But for the courier, I shouldn’t feel sure of her even now.”

The second letter agreeably surprised him.  It was announced that the writer had just returned from the United States; it invited him to dinner that evening; and it was signed “Randal Linley.”  In Mr. Sarrazin’s estimation, Randal had always occupied a higher place than his brother.  The lawyer had known Mrs. Linley before her marriage, and had been inclined to think that she would have done wisely if she had given her hand to the younger brother instead of the elder.  His acquaintance with Randal ripened rapidly into friendship.  But his relations with Herbert made no advance toward intimacy:  there was a gentlemanlike cordiality between them, and nothing more.

At seven o’clock the two friends sat at a snug little table, in the private room of a hotel, with an infinite number of questions to ask of each other, and with nothing to interrupt them but a dinner of such extraordinary merit that it insisted on being noticed, from the first course to the last.

Randal began.  “Before we talk of anything else,” he said, “tell me about Catherine and the child.  Where are they?”

“On their way to England, after a residence in Germany.”

“And the old lady?”

“Mrs. Presty has been staying with friends in London.”

“What! have they parted company?  Has there been a quarrel?”

“Nothing of the sort; a friendly separation, in the strictest sense of the word.  Oh, Randal, what are you about?  Don’t put pepper into this perfect soup.  It’s as good as the gras double at the Cafe Anglais in Paris.”

“So it is; I wasn’t paying proper attention to it.  But I am anxious about Catherine.  Why did she go abroad?”

“Haven’t you heard from her?”

“Not for six months or more.  I innocently vexed her by writing a little too hopefully about Herbert.  Mrs. Presty answered my letter, and recommended me not to write again.  It isn’t like Catherine to bear malice.”

“Don’t even think such a thing possible!” the lawyer answered, earnestly.  “Attribute her silence to the right cause.  Terrible anxieties have been weighing on her mind since you went to America.”

“Anxieties caused by my brother?  Oh, I hope not!”

“Caused entirely by your brother—­if I must tell the truth.  Can’t you guess how?”

“Is it the child?  You don’t mean to tell me that Herbert has taken Kitty away from her mother!”

“While I am her mother’s lawyer, my friend, your brother won’t do that.  Welcome back to England in the first glass of sherry; good wine, but a little too dry for my taste.  No, we won’t talk of domestic troubles just yet.  You shall hear all about it after dinner.  What made you go to America?  You haven’t been delivering lectures, have you?”

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The Evil Genius from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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