The Pagan Madonna (Chapter 8, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 8

Cleigh sat before a card table; he was playing Chinese Canfield. He looked
up, but he neither rose nor dropped the half-spent deck of cards he held
in his hand. The bronzed face, the hard agate blue of the eyes that met
his own, the utter absence of visible agitation, took the wind out of
Dennison's sails and left him all a-shiver, like a sloop coming about on a
fresh tack. He had made his entrance stormily enough, but now the hot
words stuffed his throat to choking.

Cleigh was thirty years older than his son; he was a finished master of
sentimental emotions; he could keep all his thoughts out of his
countenance when he so willed. But powerful as his will was, in this
instance it failed to reach down into his heart; and that thumped against
his ribs rather painfully. The boy!

Dennison, aware that he stood close to the ridiculous, broke the spell and
advanced.

"I have come for Miss Norman," he said.

Cleigh scrutinized the cards and shifted one.

"I found your note to her. I've a launch. I don't know what the game is,
but I'm going to take Miss Norman back with me if I have to break in every
door on board!"

Cleigh stood up. As he did so Dodge, the Texan appeared in the doorway to
the dining salon. Dennison saw the blue barrel of a revolver.

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