The envelope (already open) was addressed to "James Brown, Esq., Post Office, Zeeland. "Would it be inconsistent with her respect for her father's memory to examine the letter? No; a glance would decide whether she ought to read it or not.
It was without date or address; a startling letter to look at--for it only contained three words:
The words were signed in initials:
In the instant when she read the initials, the name occurred to her.
The discovery of the letter gave a new direction to Emily's thoughts--and so, for the time at least, relieved her mind from the burden that weighed on it. To what question, on her father's part, had "I say No" been Miss Jethro's brief and stern reply? Neither letter nor envelope offered the slightest hint that might assist inquiry; even the postmark had been so carelessly impressed that it was illegible.
Emily was still pondering over the three mysterious words, when she was interrupted by Mrs. Ellmother's voice at the door.
"I must ask you to let me come in, miss; though I know you wished to be left by yourself till to-morrow. Mrs. Delvin says she must positively see you to-night. It's my belief that she will send for the servants, and have herself carried in here, if you refuse to do what she asks. You needn't be afraid of seeing Mr. Mirabel."
"His sister has given up her bedroom to him," Mrs. Ellmother answered. "She thought of your feelings before she sent me here--and had the curtains closed between the sitting-room and the bedroom. I suspect my nasty temper misled me, when I took a dislike to Mrs. Delvin. She's a good creature; I'm sorry you didn't go to her as soon as we got back."