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have been satisfied with receiving for answer:
She is Mrs. Treverton's maid; few would
have refrained from the attempt to extract
some secret information for themselves from
her face and manner: and none, not even
the most patient and practised of observers,
could have succeeded in discovering more
than that she must have passed through the
ordeal of some great suffering, at some
former period of her life. Much in her
manner, and more in her face, said plainly
and sadly: I am the wreck of something
that you might once have liked to see; a
wreck that can never be repairedthat must
drift on through life unnoticed, unguided,
unpitieddrift till the fatal shore is touched,
and the waves of Time have swallowed up
these broken relics of me for ever. This
was the story that was told in Sarah Leeson's
facethis, and no more.

No two men interpreting that story for
themselves, would probably have agreed on
the nature of the suffering which this woman
had undergone. It was hard to say, at the
outset, whether the past pain that had set
its ineffaceable mark on her, had been pain
of the body or pain of the mind. But
whatever the nature of the affliction she had
undergone, the traces it had left were deeply
and strikingly visible in every part of her
face. Her cheeks had lost their roundness
and their natural colour; her lips, singularly
flexible in movement and delicate in form,
had faded to an unhealthy paleness; her
eyes, large and black and overshadowed by
unusually thick lashes, had contracted a
strangely anxious startled look, which never
left them, and which piteously expressed the
painful acuteness of her sensibility, the
inherent timidity of her disposition. So
far, the marks which sorrow or sickness
had set on her, were the marks common to
most victims of mental or physical suffering.
The one extraordinary personal deterioration
which she had undergone, consisted in the
colour of her hair. It was as thick and
soft, it grew as gracefully, as the hair of a
young girl; but it was as grey as the hair of
an old woman. It seemed to contradict, in
the most startling manner, every personal
assertion of youth that still existed in her face.
With all its haggardness and paleness, no
one could have looked at it and supposed for
a moment that it was the face of an elderly
woman. Wan as they might be, there was
not a wrinkle in her cheeks. Her eyes, viewed
apart from their sad prevailing expression
of uneasiness and timidity, still preserved
that bright, clear moisture which is never
seen in the eyes of the old. The skin about
her temples was as delicately smooth as the
skin of a child. These and other physical
signs which never mislead, showed that she
was still, as to years, in the very prime of
her life. Sickly and sorrow-stricken as she
was, she looked, from the eyes downwards,
a woman who had barely reached thirty
years of age. From the eyes upwards, the
effect of her abundant grey hair, seen in
connection with her face, was not simply
incongruousit was absolutely startling; so
startling as to make it no paradox to say
that she would have looked most natural,
most like herself, if her hair had been dyed.
In her case, Art would have seemed to be the
truth, because Nature looked like falsehood.
What shock had stricken her hair, in the
very maturity of its luxuriance, with the hue
of an unnatural old age? Was it a serious
illness, or a dreadful grief, that had turned
her grey in the prime of her womanhood?
That question had often been agitated among
her fellow-servants, who were all struck by
the peculiarities of her personal appearance,
and rendered a little suspicious of her, as well,
by an inveterate habit that she had of talking
to herself. Enquire as they might, however,
their curiosity was always baffled. Nothing
more could be discovered than that Sarah
Leeson was, in the common phrase, touchy
on the subject of her grey hair and her habit
of talking to herself, and that Sarah Leeson's
mistress had long since forbidden every one,
from her husband downwards, to ruffle her
maid's tranquillity by inquisitive questions.

She stood for an instant speechless, on that
momentous morning of the twenty-third of
August, before the servant who summoned
her to her mistress's death-bed; the light of
the candle flaring brightly over her large,
startled, black eyes, and the luxuriant,
unnatural, grey hair above them. She stood a
moment  silenther hand trembling while
she held the candlestick, so that the
extinguisher lying loose in it rattled incessantly
then thanked the servant for calling her.
The trouble and fear in her voice, as she
spoke, seemed to add to its accustomed
sweetness; the agitation of her manner took
nothing away from its habitual gentleness,
its delicate, winning, feminine restraint.
Joseph, who like the other servants, secretly
distrusted and disliked her for differing from
the ordinary pattern (within his experience)
of professed ladies' maids, was, on this
particular occasion, so subdued by her manner and
her tone as she thanked him, that he offered
to carry her candle for her to the door of her
mistress's bed-chamber. She shook her head
and thanked him again, then passed before
him quickly on her way out of the gallery.

The room in which Mrs. Treverton lay
dying, was on the floor beneath. Sarah
hesitated twice, before she knocked at the door.
It was opened by Captain Treverton.

The instant she saw her master, she started
back from him. If she had dreaded a blow,
she could hardly have drawn away more
suddenly, or with an expression of greater alarm.
There was nothing in Captain Treverton's
face to warrant the suspicion of ill-treatment,
or even of harsh words. His countenance
was kind, hearty, and open; and the tears