Miss Jillgall appears again, after an interval, on the field of my extracts. My pleasant friend deserves this time a serious reception. She informs me that Mrs. Tenbruggen has begun the inquiries which I have the best reason to dread--for I alone know the end which they are designed to reach.
The arrival of this news affected me in two different ways.
It was discouraging to find that circumstances had not justified my reliance on Helena's enmity as a counter- influence to Mrs. Tenbruggen. On the other hand, it was a relief to be assured that my return to London would serve, rather than compromise, the interests which it was my chief anxiety to defend. I had foreseen that Mrs. Tenbruggen would wait to set her enterprise on foot, until I was out of her way; and I had calculated on my absence as an event which would at least put an end to suspense by encouraging her to begin.
The first sentences in Miss Jillgall's letter explain the nature of her interest in the proceedings of her friend, and are, on that account, worth reading.
"Things are sadly changed for the worse" ( Selina writes); "but I don't forget that Philip was once engaged to Euneece, and that Mr. Gracedieu's extraordinary conduct towards him puzzled us all. The mode of discovery which dear Elizabeth suggested by letter at that time, appears to be the mode which she is following now. When I asked why, she said: 'Philip may return to Euneece; the Minister may recover--and will be all the more likely to do so if he tries Massage. In that case, he will probably repeat the conduct which surprised you; and your natural curiosity will ask me again to find out what it means. Am I your friend, Selina, or am I not?' This was so delightfully kind, and so irresistibly conclusive, that I kissed her in a transport of gratitude. With what breathless interest I have watched her progress towards penetrating the mystery of the girls' ages, it is quite needless to tell you."
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Mrs. Tenbruggen's method of keeping Miss Jillgall in ignorance of what she was really about, and Miss Jillgall's