answered, "Most willingly, Mrs. Michelson." "We all have our crosses to bear, my lady," I said, seeing her silent and thoughtful, after she had promised to write. She made no reply: she seemed to be too much wrapped up in her own thoughts to attend to me. "I fear your ladyship rested badly last night," I remarked after waiting a little. "Yes," she said; "I was terribly disturbed by dreams." "Indeed, my lady?" I thought she was going to tell me her dreams; but no, when she spoke next it was only to ask a question. "You posted the letter to Mrs. Vesey with your own hands?" "Yes, my lady."
"Did Sir Percival say, yesterday, that Count Fosco was to meet me at the terminus in London?" "He did, my lady."
She sighed heavily when I answered that last question, and said no more.
We arrived at the station, with hardly two minutes to spare. The gardener (who had driven us) managed about the luggage, while I took the ticket. The whistle of the train was sounding when I joined her ladyship on the platform. She looked very strangely, and pressed her hand over her heart, as if some sudden pain or fright had overcome her at that moment.
"I wish you were going with me!" she said, catching eagerly at my arm, when I gave her the ticket.
If there had been time; if I had felt the day before, as I felt then, I would have made my arrangements to accompany her—even though the doing so had obliged me to give Sir Percival warning on the spot. As it was, her wishes expressed at the last moment only, were expressed too late for me to comply with them. She seemed to understand this herself before I could explain it, and did not repeat her desire to have me for a travelling companion. The train drew up at the platform. She gave the gardener a present for his children, and took my hand in her simple, hearty manner, before she got into the carriage.
"You have been very kind to me and to my sister," she said—"kind when we were both friendless. I shall remember you gratefully, as long as I live to remember any one. Good-bye—and God bless you!"
She spoke those words with a tone and a look which brought the tears into my eyes—she spoke them as if she was bidding me farewell for ever.
"Good-by, my lady," I said, putting her into the carriage, and trying to cheer her; "good-by, for the present only;