before I could utter a word on my side. "Be so good as to mention what you have to say."
The tone of her voice was as hard, as defiant, as implacable as the expression of her eyes. She pointed to a chair, and looked me all over attentively, from head to foot, as I sat down in it. I saw that my only chance with this woman was to speak to her in her own tone, and to meet her, at the outset of our interview, on her own ground.
"You are aware," I said, "that your daughter has been lost?"
"I am perfectly aware of it."
"Have you felt any apprehension that the misfortune of her loss might be followed by the misfortune of her death?"
"Yes. Have you come here to tell me she is dead?"
She put that extraordinary question without the slightest change in her voice, her face, or her manner. She could not have appeared more perfectly unconcerned if I had told her of the death of the goat in the enclosure outside.
"Why?" I repeated. "Do you ask why I come here to tell you of your daughter's death?"
"Yes. What interest have you in me, or in her? How do you come to know anything about my daughter?"
"In this way. I met her on the night when she escaped from the Asylum, and I assisted her in reaching a place of safety."
"You did very wrong."
"I am sorry to hear her mother say so."
"Her mother does say so. How do you know she is dead?"
"I am not at liberty to say how I know it—but I DO know it."
"Are you at liberty to say how you found out my address?"
"Certainly. I got your address from Mrs. Clements."
"Mrs. Clements is a foolish woman. Did she tell you to come here?"
"She did not."
"Then, I ask you again, why did you come?"
As she was determined to have her answer, I gave it to her in the plainest possible form.
"I came," I said, "because I thought Anne Catherick's mother might have some natural interest in knowing whether she was alive or dead."
"Just so," said Mrs. Catherick, with additional self-possession. "Had you no other motive?"