“It even crossed his mind, as he stood idly waiting, his hand resting on the wallpaper books, that maybe he ought to get a rifle. Why not? His father had taken him hunting as a boy; the memory rose in his mind with wonderful vividness— creeks, trees, sunlight, squirrels scampering along high, leafy branches, the sky bright blue, like the ceiling at his parents' church. He'd never been hunting since. Ellen had hated guns. Her irrational fear of them had gotten under his skin, her weird conviction— only now did he fully realize how weird it was— that Mickelsson was a man too dark-spirited and moody to be safe with a rifle in the house. He shook his head. Odd what a man could take for reasonable and natural, if the poison was slipped in subtly enough, over a long enough period of time.”

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