Hearts and Masks (Chapter 9, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 9

For suddenly I saw his eyes widen and flash with anger and
apprehension. Quick as a passing sunshadow, his hand swept the
candelabrum from the table. He made a swift backward spring toward the
door, but he was a little too late. The darkness he had created was
not intense enough, for there was still the ruddy glow from the logs;
and the bosom of his dress-shirt made a fine target. Besides, the eyes
that had peered into the window were accustomed to the night.

Blang! The glass of the window shivered and jingled to the floor, and
a sharp report followed. The rogue cried out in fierce anguish, and
reeled against the wall. William whipped out his revolver, but, even
from his favorable angle, he was not quick enough. The hand that had
directed the first bullet was ready to direct the second.

All this took place within the count of ten. The girl and I sat
stiffly in our chairs, as if petrified, it was all so swiftly
accomplished.

"Drop it!" said a cold, authoritative voice, and I saw the vague
outlines of Haggerty's face beyond the broken window-pane.

William knew better than to hesitate. His revolver struck the floor
dully, and a curse rolled from his lips. Immediately a heavy body
precipitated itself against the door, which crashed inward, and an
officer fearlessly entered, a revolver in each hand. This tableau,
which lasted fully a minute, was finally disturbed by the entrance of
Haggerty himself.

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