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THE governess stood alone at the study
window. The morning was oppressively hot,
and she threw up the lower sash to admit more
air into the room, as Mr. Pendril came in.

They bowed to each other with a formal politeness,
which betrayed on either side an uneasy
sense of restraint. Mr. Pendril was one of the
many men who appear superficially to the worst
advantage, under the influence of strong mental
agitation which it is necessary for them to
control. Miss Garth, on her side, had not forgotten
the ungraciously guarded terms in which the
lawyer had replied to her letter; and the natural
anxiety which she felt on the subject of the
interview, was not relieved by any favourable
opinion of the man who sought it. As they
confronted each other in the silence of the
summer's morningboth dressed in black; Miss
Garth's hard features, gaunt and haggard with
grief; the lawyer's cold, colourless face, void of
all marked expression, suggestive of a business
embarrassment and of nothing moreit would
have been hard to find two persons less attractive
externally to any ordinary sympathies than the
two who had now met together, the one to tell,
the other to hear, the secrets of the dead.

"I am sincerely sorry, Miss Garth, to intrude
on you at such a time as this. But
circumstances, as I have already explained, leave me no
other choice."

"Will you take a seat, Mr. Pendril? You
wished to see me in this room, I believe?"

"Only in this room, because Mr. Vanstone's
papers are kept here, and I may find it necessary
to refer to some of them."

After that formal interchange of question and
answer, they sat down on either side of a table
placed close under the window. One waited to
speak, the other waited to hear. There was a
momentary silence. Mr. Pendril broke it by
referring to the young ladies, with the customary
inquiries, and the customary expressions of
sympathy. Miss Garth answered him with the same
ceremony, in the same conventional tone. There
was a second pause of silence. The humming of
flies among the evergreen shrubs under the
window, penetrated drowsily into the room; and
the tramp of a heavy-footed cart-horse, plodding
along the high-road beyond the garden, was as
plainly audible in the stillness as if it had been

The lawyer roused his flagging resolution, and
spoke to the purpose when he spoke next.

"You have some reason, Miss Garth," he
began, "to feel not quite satisfied with my past
conduct towards you, in one particular. During
Mrs. Vanstone's fatal illness, you addressed a
letter to me, making certain inquiries; which,
while she lived, it was impossible for me to
answer. Her deplorable death releases me from
the restraint which I had imposed on myself, and
permitsor, more properly, obliges me to speak.
You shall know what serious reasons I had for
waiting day and night, in the hope of obtaining
that interview which unhappily never took place;
and in justice to Mr. Vanstone's memory, your
own eyes shall inform you that he made his

He rose; unlocked a little iron safe in the
corner of the room; and returned to the table
with some folded sheets of paper, which he
spread open under Miss Garth's eyes. When
she had read the first words, "In the name of
God, Amen," he turned the sheet, and pointed
to the end of the next page. She saw the
well-known signature: "Andrew Vanstone."
She saw the customary attestations of the
two witnesses; and the date of the document,
reverting to a period of more than five years
since. Having thus convinced her of the formality
of the will, the lawyer interposed before she could
question him, and addressed her in these words:

"I must not deceive you," he said. "I have
my own reasons for producing this document."

"What reasons, sir?"

"You shall hear them. When you are in
possession of the truth, these pages may help to
preserve your respect for Mr. Vanstone's
memory—— "

Miss Garth started back in her chair.

"What do you mean?" she asked, with a stern

He took no heed of the question; he went on,
as if she had not interrupted him.

"I have a second reason," he continued, "for
showing you the will. If I can prevail on you to
read certain clauses in it, under my superintendence,
you will make your own discovery of the