sending the anonymous letter, and I instantly determined so to frame my answer as to surprise her into owning it.
"Miss Fairlie was not very well or very happy this morning," I said.
She murmured a few words, but they were spoken so confusedly, and in such a low tone, that I could not even guess at what they meant.
"Did you ask me why Miss Fairlie was neither well nor happy this morning?" I continued.
"No," she said quickly and eagerly—"oh no, I never asked that."
"I will tell you without your asking," I went on. "Miss Fairlie has received your letter."
She had been down on her knees for some little time past, carefully removing the last weather-stains left about the inscription while we were speaking together. The first sentence of the words I had just addressed to her made her pause in her occupation, and turn slowly without rising from her knees, so as to face me. The second sentence literally petrified her. The cloth she had been holding dropped from her hands; her lips fell apart; all the little colour that there was naturally in her face left it in an instant.
"How do you know?" she said faintly. "Who showed it to you?" The blood rushed back into her face—rushed overwhelmingly, as the sense rushed upon her mind that her own words had betrayed her. She struck her hands together in despair. "I never wrote it," she gasped affrightedly; "I know nothing about it!"
"Yes," I said, "you wrote it, and you know about it. It was wrong to send such a letter, it was wrong to frighten Miss Fairlie. If you had anything to say that it was right and necessary for her to hear, you should have gone yourself to Limmeridge House; you should have spoken to the young lady with your own lips."
She crouched down over the flat stone of the grave, till her face was hidden on it, and made no reply.
"Miss Fairlie will be as good and kind to you as her mother was, if you mean well," I went on. "Miss Fairlie will keep your secret, and not let you come to any harm. Will you see her to-morrow at the farm? Will you meet her in the garden at Limmeridge House?"
"Oh, if I could die, and be hidden and at rest with you!" Her lips murmured the words close on the grave-stone, murmured them in tones of passionate endearment, to the dead remains beneath. "You know how I love your child,