e town, and I don't wish to assail it even if I could. I came here because Sir Percival Glyde is, to my certain knowledge, your enemy, as well as mine. If I have a grudge against him, you have a grudge against him too. You may deny it if you like, you may distrust me as much as you please, you may be as angry as you will—but, of all the women in England, you, if you have any sense of injury, are the woman who ought to help me to crush that man."
"Crush him for yourself," she said; "then come back here, and see what I say to you."
She spoke those words as she had not spoken yet, quickly, fiercely, vindictively. I had stirred in its lair the serpent- hatred of years, but only for a moment. Like a lurking reptile it leaped up at me as she eagerly bent forward towards the place in which I was sitting. Like a lurking reptile it dropped out of sight again as she instantly resumed her former position in the chair.
"You won't trust me?" I said.
"You are afraid?"
"Do I look as if I was?"
"You are afraid of Sir Percival Glyde?"
Her colour was rising, and her hands were at work again smoothing her gown. I pressed the point farther and farther home, I went on without allowing her a moment of delay.
"Sir Percival has a high position in the world," I said; "it would be no wonder if you were afraid of him. Sir Percival is a powerful man, a baronet, the possessor of a fine estate, the descendant of a great family——"
She amazed me beyond expression by suddenly bursting out laughing.
"Yes," she repeated, in tones of the bitterest, steadiest contempt. "A baronet, the possessor of a fine estate, the descendant of a great family. Yes, indeed! A great family— especially by the mother's side."
There was no time to reflect on the words that had just escaped her, there was only time to feel that they were well worth thinking over the moment I left the house.
"I am not here to dispute with you about family questions," I said. "I know nothing of Sir Percival's mother——"
"And you know as little of Sir Percival himself," she interposed sharply.