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Mr Ahmed

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Submitted By africano
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May I beg that you will write at once to the mother of this unfortunate woman--to Mrs. Catherick--to ask for her testimony in support of the explanation which I have just offered to you?"
I saw Miss Halcombe change colour, and look a little uneasy. Sir Percival's suggestion, politely as it was expressed, appeared to her, as it appeared to me, to point very delicately at the hesitation which her manner had betrayed a moment or two since.
I hope, Sir Percival, you don't do me the injustice to suppose that I distrust you," she said quickly.
"Certainly not, Miss Halcombe. I make my proposal purely as an act of attention to YOU. Will you excuse my obstinacy if I still venture to press it?"
He walked to the writing-table as he spoke, drew a chair to it, and opened the paper case.
"Let me beg you to write the note," he said, "as a favour to ME. It need not occupy you more than a few minutes. You have only to ask Mrs. Catherick two questions. First, if her daughter was placed in the Asylum with her knowledge and approval. Secondly, if the share I took in the matter was such as to merit the expression of her gratitude towards myself? Mr. Gilmore's mind is at ease on this unpleasant subject, and your mind is at ease—pray set my mind at ease also by writing the note."
"You oblige me to grant your request, Sir Percival, when I would much rather refuse it."
With those words Miss Halcombe rose from her place and went to the writing-table. Sir Percival thanked her, handed her a pen, and then walked away towards the fireplace. Miss Fairlie's little Italian greyhound was lying on the rug. He held out his hand, and called to the dog good-humouredly.
"Come, Nina," he said, "we remember each other, don't we?"
The little beast, cowardly and cross-grained, as pet-dogs usually are, looked up at him sharply, shrank away from his outstretched hand, whined, shivered, and hid itself under a sofa. It was scarcely possible that he could have been put out by such a trifle as a dog's reception of him, but I observed, nevertheless, that he walked away towards the window very suddenly. Perhaps his temper is irritable at times. If so, I can sympathise with him. My temper is irritable at times too.
Miss Halcombe was not long in writing the note. When it was done she rose from the writing-table, and handed the open sheet of paper to Sir Percival. He bowed, took it from her, folded it up immediately without looking at the contents, sealed it, wrote the address, and handed it back to her in silence. I never saw anything more gracefully and more becomingly done in my life.
"You insist on my posting this letter, Sir Percival?" said Miss Halcombe.
"I beg you will post it," he answered. "And now that it is written and sealed up, allow me to ask one or two last questions about the unhappy woman to whom it refers. I have read the communication which Mr Gilmore kindly addressed to my solicitor, describing the circumstances under which the writer of the anonymous letter was identified. But there are certain points to which that statement does not refer. Did Anne Catherick see Miss Fairlie?"
"Certainly not," replied Miss Halcombe.

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