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again to lure him into an unconscious confession
of the pleasure which he felt already in the
society of the beautiful Miss Bygrave; she twined
herself in and out of every weakness in his
character, as the frogs and efts twined themselves
in and out of the rock-work of her Aquarium. But
she made one serious mistake which very clever
people in their intercourse with their intellectual
inferiors are almost universally apt to commit
she trusted implicitly to the folly of a fool. She
forgot that one of the lowest of human qualities
cunningis exactly the capacity which is often
most largely developed in the lowest of intellectual
natures. If she had been honestly angry
with her master she would probably have
frightened him. If she had opened her mind plainly
to his view, she would have astonished him by
presenting a chain of ideas to his limited
perceptions, which they were not strong enough to
grasp; his curiosity would have led him to ask
for an explanation; and by practising on that
curiosity, she might have had him at her mercy.
As it was, she set her cunning against hisand
the fool proved a match for her. Mr. Noel
Vanstone, to whom all large-minded motives under
heaven were inscrutable mysteries, saw the small-
minded motive at the bottom of his housekeeper's
conduct, with as instantaneous a penetration as
if he had been a man of the highest ability. Mrs.
Lecount left him for the night, foiled, and knowing
she was foiledleft him, with the tigerish
side of her uppermost, and a low-lived longing
in her elegant finger-nails to set them in her
master's face.

She was not a woman to be beaten by one
defeat, or by a hundred. She was positively
determined to think, and think again, until she had
found a means of checking the growing intimacy
with the Bygraves at once and for ever. In the
solitude of her own room, she recovered her
composure, and set herself, for the first time, to
review the conclusions which she had gathered
from the events of the day.

There was something vaguely familiar to her
in the voice of this Miss Bygrave; and, at the
same time, in unaccountable contradiction,
something strange to her as well. The face and figure
of the young lady were entirely new to her. It
was a striking face, and a striking figure; and if
she had seen either, at any former period, she
would certainly have remembered it. Miss
Bygrave was unquestionably a stranger; and

She had got no farther than this during the
day; she could get no farther now: the chain of
thought broke. Her mind took up the fragments,
and formed another chain which attached
itself to the lady who was kept in seclusion
to the aunt, who looked well, and yet was
nervous; who was nervous, and yet able to
ply her needle and thread. An incomprehensible
resemblance to some unremembered
voice, in the niece; an unintelligible malady
which kept the aunt secluded from public view;
an extraordinary range of scientific cultivation in
the uncle, associated with a coarseness and
audacity of manner which by no means suggested
the idea of a man engaged in studious pursuits
were the members of this small family of three,
what they seemed on the surface of them?

With that question on her mind, she went to

As soon as the candle was out, the darkness
seemed to communicate some inexplicable
perversity to her thoughts. They wandered back
from present things to past, in spite of her.
They brought her old master back to life again;
they revived forgotten sayings and doings in the
English circle at Zurich; they veered away to the
old man's death-bed at Brighton; they moved
from Brighton to London; they entered the bare,
comfortless room at Vauxhall Walk; they set the
Aquarium back in its place on the kitchen table,
and put the false Miss Garth in the chair by the
side of it, shading her inflamed eyes from the
light; they placed the anonymous letter, the
letter which glanced darkly at a conspiracy, in her
hand again, and brought her with it into her
master's presence; they recalled the discussion
about filling in the blank space in the advertisement,
and the quarrel that followed, when she
told Mr. Noel Vanstone that the sum he had
offered was preposterously small; they revived
an old doubt which had not troubled her for weeks
pasta doubt whether the threatened conspiracy
had evaporated in mere words, or whether she
and her master were likely to hear of it again. At
this point her thoughts broke off once more,
and there was a momentary blank. The next
instant she started up in bed; her heart beating
violently, her head whirling as if she had lost her
senses. With electric suddenness, her mind pieced
together its scattered multitude of thoughts, and
put them before her plainly under one intelligible
form. In the all-mastering agitation of the
moment, she clapped her hands together, and cried
out suddenly in the darkness:

"Miss Vanstone again!!!"

She got out of bed and kindled the light once
more. Steady as her nerves were, the shock of
her own suspicion had shaken them. Her firm
hand trembled as she opened her dressing-case,
and took from it a little bottle of sal-volatile. In
spite of her smooth cheeks and her well-preserved
hair, she looked every year of her age, as she
mixed the spirit with water, greedily drank it,
and, wrapping her dressing-gown round her, sat
down on the bedside to get possession again of
her calmer self.

She was quite incapable of tracing the mental
process which had led her to discovery. She
could not get sufficiently far from herself to see
that her half-formed conclusions on the subject
of the Bygraves had ended in making that family
objects of suspicion to her; that the association
of ideas had thereupon carried her mind back to
that other object of suspicion which was
represented by the conspiracy against her master; and
that the two ideas of those two separate subjects
of distrust, coming suddenly in contact, had