creatures. Looking impartially at the little, sunken eyes which rested on me with a comical expression of embarrassment, I saw signs that said: There is some good here, under it disagreeable surface, if you can only find it.
She saluted me with a carefully performed courtesy, and threw open the door of a room on the ground floor.
"Pray, walk in, sir, and permit me to introduce myself. I am Mr. Gracedieu's cousin--Miss Jillgall. Proud indeed to make the acquaintance of a gentleman distinguished in the service of his country--or perhaps I ought to say, in the service of the law. The Governor offers hospitality to prisoners. And who introduces prisoners to board and lodging with the Governor?--the law. That, at least, is how I understand it. Beautiful weather for the time of year, is it not? May I ask--have you seen your room?"
The embarrassment which I had already noticed had extended by this time to her voice and her manner. She was evidently trying to talk herself into a state of confidence. It seemed but too probable that I was indeed the person mentioned by her prudent friend at the door.
Having acknowledged that I had not seen my room yet, my politeness attempted to add that there was no hurry. The wiry little lady was of the contrary opinion; she jumped out of her chair as if she had been shot out of it. "Pray let me make myself useful. The dream of my life is to make myself useful to others; and to such a man as you--I consider myself honored. Besides, I do enjoy running up and down stairs. This way, dear sir; this way to your room."
She skipped up the stairs, and stopped on the first landing. "Do you know, I am a timid person, though I may not look like it. When I am afraid my hands turn cold. They are cold now; my curiosity gets the better of me, and I am going to be inquisitive. Did you notice a lady who was taking leave of me just now at the house door?"
I replied that I had seen the lady for a moment, but not for the first time. "Just as I arrived here from the station," I said, "I found her paying a visit when you were not at home."
"Yes--and do tell me one thing more." My readiness in answering seemed to have inspired Miss Jillgall with confidence. I heard no further allusion to cold hands, no more confessions of overpowering curiosity. "Am I right," she proceeded, "in supposing that Miss Helena accompanied you on your way here from the station?"