After leaving Eunice my one desire was to be alone. I had much to think of, and I wanted an opportunity of recovering myself. On my way out of the house, in search of the first solitary place that I could discover, I passed the room in which we had dined. The door was ajar. Before I could get by it Mrs. Tenbruggen stepped out and stopped me.
"Will you come in here for a moment," she said. "The farmer has been called away, and I want to speak to you."
Very unwillingly--but how could I have refused without giving offence?--I entered the room.
"When you asked for that explanation," Mrs. Tenbruggen began, "while Selina was in the carriage with us, you placed me in an awkward position. Our little friend is an excellent creature, but her tongue runs away with her sometimes; I am obliged to be careful of taking her too readily into my confidence. For instance, I have never told her what my name was before I married. Won't you sit down?"
I had purposely remained stationary as a hint to her not to prolong the interview. The hint was thrown away; I took a chair.
" Selina's letters had informed me," she resumed, "that Mr. Gracedieu was a nervous invalid. When I came to England I had hoped to try what massage might do to relieve him. The cure of their popular preacher might have advertised me through the whole Wesleyan sect. It was essential to my success that I should present myself as a stranger. I could trust time and change, and my married name (certainly not known to Mr. Gracedieu) to keep up my incognito. He would have refused to see me if he had known that I was once Miss Chance."
I began to be interested.
Here was an opportunity, perhaps, of discovering what the Minister had failed to remember when he had been speaking of this woman, and when I had asked if he had ever offended her. I was especially careful in making my inquiries.
"I remember how you spoke to Mr. Gracedieu," I said, "when you and he met, long ago, in my rooms. But surely you don't think him capable of vindictively remembering