"You look serious. It is a very simple thing. Mr. Mirabel is afraid that Miss Jethro may have said something disagreeable about him, which you might hesitate to repeat. Is he making himself uneasy without any reason?"
"Without the slightest reason. I have concealed nothing from Mr. Mirabel."
"Thank you for the explanation." She turned to Cecilia. "May I send one of the servants with a message? I may as well put an end to Mr. Mirabel's suspense."
The man was summoned, and was dispatched with the message. Emily would have done well, after this, if she had abstained from speaking further of Miss Jethro. But Mirabel's doubts had, unhappily, inspired a similar feeling of uncertainty in her own mind. She was now disposed to attribute the tone of mystery in Alban's unlucky letter to some possible concealment suggested by regard for herself. "I wonder whether _I_ have any reason to feel uneasy?" she said--half in jest, half in earnest.
"Uneasy about what?" Alban inquired.
"About Miss Jethro, of course! Has she said anything of me which your kindness has concealed?"
Alban seemed to be a little hurt by the doubt which her question implied. "Was that your motive," he asked, "for answering my letter as cautiously as if you had been writing to a stranger?"
"Indeed you are quite wrong!" Emily earnestly assured him. "I was perplexed and startled--and I took Mr. Wyvil's advice, before I wrote to you. Shall we drop the subject?"