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"It's rather dark; won't you take my arm?" he said. "What nonsense! Why, I could see to read!" "But I'm sure you're tired." "How absurd you are! Was it a great bore?" "What?" "Why, coming." "No," said Harry. In such affairs monosyllables are danger signals. A long protestation might have meant nothing: in this short, sufficient negative Mrs. Mortimer recognized the boy's sincerity. A little thrill of pride and shame, and perhaps something else, ran through her. The night was hot and she unfastened the clasp of her cloak, breathing a trifle quickly. To relieve the silence, she said, with a laugh: "You see we poor married women have to depend on charity. Our husbands don't care to walk home with us. Your father was bent on your coming." Harry laughed a short laugh; the utter darkness of Mr. Sterling's condition struck through his agitation down to his sense of humor. Mrs. Mortimer smiled at him; she could not help it: the secret between them was so pleasant to her, even while she hated herself for its existence.
Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, better known as Anthony Hope (1863 - 1933), was an English novelist and playwright. He was a prolific writer, especially of adventure novels but he is remembered predominantly for only two books: The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau (1898). These works, "minor classics" of English literature, are set in the contemporaneous fictional country of Ruritania and spawned the genre known as Ruritanian romance, works set in fictional European locales similar to the novels. Zenda has inspired many adaptations, most notably the 1937 Hollywood movie of the same name.