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The Magician 'You perspicacity amazes me. I surmise that it is to you I owe this amusing citation which was served on me yesterday.' 'I allowed you to come in so that I might tell you I will have no communication with you except through my solicitors.' 'My dear fellow, why do you treat me with such discourtesy? It is true that you have deprived me of the wife of my bosom, but you might at least so far respect my marital rights as to use me civilly.' 'My patience is not as good as it was,' answered Arthur, 'I venture to remind you that once before I lost my temper with you, and the result you must have found unpleasant.' 'I should have thought you regretted that incident by now, O Burdon,' answered Haddo, entirely unabashed. 'My time is very short,' said Arthur. 'Then I will get to my business without delay. I thought it might interest you to know that I propose to bring a counter−petition against my wife, and I shall make you co−respondent.' 'You infamous blackguard!' cried Arthur furiously. 'You know as well as I do that your wife is above suspicion.' 'I know that she left my hotel in your company, and has been living since under your protection.' Arthur grew livid with rage. He could hardly restrain himself from knocking the man down. He gave a short laugh. 'You can do what you like. I'm really not frightened.' 'The innocent are so very incautious. I assure you that I can make a good enough story to ruin your career and force you to resign your appointments at the various hospitals you honour with your attention.' 'You forget that the case will not be tried in open court,' said Arthur. Haddo looked at him steadily. He did not answer for a moment. 'You're quite right,' he said at last, with a little smile. 'I had forgotten that.' 'Then I need not detain you longer.' Oliver Haddo got up. He passed his hand reflectively over his huge face. Arthur watched him with scornful eyes. He touched a bell, and the servant at once appeared. 'Show this gentleman out.' Not in the least disconcerted, Haddo strolled calmly to the door. Arthur gave a sigh of relief, for he concluded that Haddo would not show fight. His solicitor indeed had already assured him that Oliver would not venture to defend the case.



The Magician  
The Magician  

W. Somerset Maugham