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"Who wrote those cheques?" The flush deepened, Gabriel could hardly control his voice.

"I wrote them and Mrs. Capel signed them. She was absolutely bowled over, it was as much as she could do to sign her name."

Gabriel was beside himself or he would not have spoken as he did.

"You did an infamous thing, sir, an infamous thing. You should have guarded this lady, since I was not here, sheltered her innocence. To allow oneself to be blackmailed is an admission of guilt. The way you sheltered her innocence was to advise her practically to admit guilt." He was choked with anger.

"Gabriel," she pleaded.

"My dear," never had he spoken to her in such a way, he seemed hardly to remember she was there, "I acquit you entirely. You did not know what you were doing, could not be expected to know. But this fellow, this blackguard …" He actually advanced a step or two toward him, threateningly. "Her good name was at stake, mine as well as hers, was and is at stake."

"And I saved it for you, for both of you. I've shut Mrs. Roope's mouth. You'll never hear a word more …"

"Not hear more?" Gabriel was deeply contemptuous. "Did you ever know a blackmailer