I don’t know what to make of Margaret, and I wish you would come down and see her. The good-humour which I have noticed in her of late has given way to a curious irritability. She is so restless that she cannot keep still for a moment. Even when she is sitting down her body moves in a manner that is almost convulsive. I am beginning to think that the strain from which she suffered is bringing on some nervous disease, and I am really alarmed. She walks about the house in a peculiarly aimless manner, up and down the stairs, in and out of the garden. She has grown suddenly much more silent, and the look has come back to her eyes which they had when first we brought her down here. When I beg her to tell me what is troubling her, she says: ‘I’m afraid that something is going to happen.’ She will not or cannot explain what she means. The last few weeks have set my own nerves on edge, so that I do not know how much of what I observe is real, and how much is due to my fancy; but I wish you would come and put a little courage into me. The oddness of it all is making me uneasy, and I am seized with preposterous terrors. I don’t know what there is in Haddo that inspires me with this unaccountable dread. He is always present to my thoughts. I seem to see his dreadful eyes and his cold, sensual smile. I wake up at night, my heart beating furiously, with the consciousness that something quite awful has happened.
Oh, I wish the trial were over, and that we were happy in Germany.
Susie took a certain pride in her common sense, and it was humiliating to find that her nerves could be so distraught. She was worried and unhappy. It had not been easy to take Margaret back to her bosom as if nothing had happened. Susie was human; and, though she did ten times more than could be expected of her, she could not resist a feeling of irritation that Arthur sacrificed her so calmly. He had no room for other thoughts, and it seemed quite natural to him that she should devote herself entirely to Margaret’s welfare.
Susie walked some way along the road to post this letter and then went to her room. It was a wonderful night, starry and calm, and the silence was like balm to her troubles. She sat at the window for a long time, and at last, feeling more tranquil, went to bed. She slept more soundly than she had done for many days. When she awoke the sun was streaming into her room, and she gave a deep sigh of delight. She could see trees from her bed, and blue sky. All her troubles seemed easy to bear when the world was so beautiful, and she was ready to laugh at the fears that had so affected her.
She got up, put on a dressing-gown, and went to Margaret’s room. It was empty. The bed had not been slept in. On the pillow was a note.
It’s no good; I can’t help myself. I’ve gone back to him. Don’t trouble about me any more. It’s quite hopeless and useless.