"There is no person living who has better reason than you have to say that."
Emily looked round with a start. Alban was out of hearing. It was Francine who had answered her.
Francine hesitated. A ghastly paleness overspread her face.
After waiting for a moment in silence, Emily moved away toward the door of the drawing-room. Francine suddenly held up her hand.
"My mind is made up," Francine said.
"You asked what I meant, just now."
"Well, my mind is made up to answer you. Miss Emily Brown, you are leading a sadly frivolous life in this house. I am going to give you something more serious to think about than your flirtation with Mr. Mirabel. Oh, don't be impatient! I am coming to the point. Without knowing it yourself, you have been the victim of deception for years past--cruel deception--wicked deception that puts on the mask of mercy."
"Are you alluding to Miss Jethro?" Emily asked, in astonishment. "I thought you were strangers to each other. Just now, you wanted to know who she was."