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THERE was murder in my heart when I opened the door of his study. I hated this man and wished that he were dead. His death would free my mother and me from a thraldom which touched us heavily, and from which there was no escape while he lived. He was going to tell me exactly what I must do, how I must order my life, and although I had made up my mind to argue, and to defy him, I feared that when the interview was over, he would have won. I saw him lying on the floor. He wasn't dead. He tried to get up as I entered, and I could hear his harsh, laboured breathing. He drew up one knee, for he was face downwards, and groped for the corner of the desk, but his knee collapsed under him, and his white fingers with their flat, soft tips slithered down the polished walnut and thumped on to the carpet. I could just see the side of his face, which was grey-blue ; his mouth was wide open as he fought for breath. All I had to do was to go out of the room, close the door softly, and make off. And he would die. No one else was in the house on that January afternoon, no one else could go to his rescue. I shouldn't even have to raise a hand, no one would know that I had seen him. He tried to get up again, and this time crawled a little, like a great fat crab—a crab which had been crushed under a merciless heel or a heedless child's spade.
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