To-day I went as usual to the Scripture class for girls. It was harder work than ever, teaching without Eunice to help me. Indeed, I felt lonely all day without my sister. When I got home, I rather hoped that some friend might have come to see us, and have been asked to stay to tea. The housemaid opened the door to me. I asked Maria if anybody had called.
"Yes, miss; a lady to see the master."
"Never saw her before, miss, in all my life."
I put no more questions. Many ladies visit my father. They call it consulting the Minister. He advises them in their troubles and guides them in their religious difficulties, and so on. They come and go in a sort of secrecy. So far as I know they are mostly old maids, and they waste the Minister's time.
When my father came into tea, I began to feel some curiosity about the lady who had called on him. Visitors of that sort, in general, never appear to dwell on his mind after they have gone away; he sees too many of them, and is too well accustomed to what they have to say. On this particular evening, however, I perceived appearances that set me thinking; he looked worried and anxious.
"Has anything happened, father, to vex you?" I said.
"Is the lady concerned in it?"
"What lady, my dear?"
"The lady who called on you while I was out."
"Who told you she had called on me?"
"I asked Martha-----"
"That will do, Helena, for the present."
He drank his tea and went back to his study, instead of staying awhile and talking pleasantly as usual. My respect submitted to his want of confidence in me; but my curiosity was in a state of revolt. I sent for Maria, and proceeded to make my own discoveries, with this result:
No other person had called at the house. Nothing had happened, except the visit of the mysterious lady. "She looked between young and old. And, oh, dear me, she