Emily's mind was far away from Mrs. Ellmother. She rose from the sofa, with her hands held fast over her aching heart.
"The one duty of my life," she said--"I am thinking of the one duty of my life. Look! I am calm now; I am resigned to my hard lot. Never, never again, can the dear memory of my father be what it was! From this time, it is the horrid memory of a crime. The crime has gone unpunished; the man has escaped others. He shall not escape Me." She paused, and looked at Mrs. Ellmother absently. "What did you say just now? You want to hear how I know what I know? Naturally! naturally! Sit down here--sit down, my old friend, on the sofa with me--and take your mind back to Netherwoods. Alban Morris--"
Mrs. Ellmother recoiled from Emily in dismay. "Don't tell me _he_ had anything to do with it! The kindest of men; the best of men!"
"The man of all men living who least deserves your good opinion or mine," Emily answered sternly.
"You!" Mrs. Ellmother exclaimed, "_you_ say that!"
"I say it. He--who won on me to like him--he was in the conspiracy to deceive me; and you know it! He heard me talk of the newspaper story of the murder of my father--I say, he heard me talk of it composedly, talk of it carelessly, in the innocent belief that it was the murder of a stranger--and he never opened his lips to prevent that horrid profanation! He never even said, speak of something else; I won't hear you! No more of him! God forbid I should ever see him again. No! Do what I told you. Carry your mind back to Netherwoods. One night you let Francine de Sor frighten you. You ran away from her into the garden. Keep quiet! At your age, must I set you an example of self-control?
"I want to know, Miss Emily, where Francine de Sor is now?"
"She is at the house in the country, which I have left."