And, like a fool as I was, I threw myself on my face on the bed and wept, partly in anger, partly in dismay.
After a time, however, this blew over. I had a hope of recovering it. If Madame had stolen it, it would turn up yet. But in the meantime its disappearance troubled me like an omen.
’I am afraid, my dear cheaile, you are not very well. It is really very odd you should make such fuss about a pin! Nobody would believe! Do you not theenk it would be a good plan to take a your breakfast in your bed?
She continued to urge this point for some time. At last, however, having by this time quite recovered my self-command, and resolved to preserve ostensibly fair terms with Madame, who could contribute so essentially to make me wretched during the rest of my journey, and possibly to prejudice me very seriously on my arrival, I said quietly—
’Well, Madame, I know it is very silly; but I had kept that foolish little pin so long and so carefully, that I had grown quite fond of it; but I suppose it is lost, and I must content myself, though I cannot laugh as you do. So I will get up now, and dress.’
‘I think you will do well to get all the repose you can,’ answered Madame; ‘but as you please,’ she added, observing that I was getting up.
So soon as I had got some of my things on, I said—
‘Is there a pretty view from the window?’
‘No,’ said Madame.
I looked out and saw a dreary quadrangle of cut stone, in one side of which my window was placed. As I looked a dream rose up before me.
‘This hotel,’ I said, in a puzzled way. ’Is it a hotel? Why this is just like—it is the inner court of Bartram-Haugh!’
Madame clapped her large hands together, made a fantastic chasse on the floor, burst into a great nasal laugh like the scream of a parrot, and then said—
‘Well, dearest Maud, is not clever trick?’
I was so utterly confounded that I could only stare about me in stupid silence, a spectacle which renewed Madame’s peals of laughter.
‘We are at Bartram-Haugh!’ I repeated, in utter consternation. ’How was this done?’
I had no reply but shrieks of laughter, and one of those Walpurgis dances in which she excelled.
‘It is a mistake—is it? What is it?’
’All a mistake, of course. Bartram-Haugh, it is so like Dover, as all philosophers know.’
I sat down in total silence, looking out into the deep and dark enclosure, and trying to comprehend the reality and the meaning of all this.
’Well, Madame, I suppose you will be able to satisfy my uncle of your fidelity and intelligence. But to me it seems that his money has been ill-spent, and his directions anything but well observed.’
‘Ah, ha! Never mind; I think he will forgive me,’ laughed Madame.
Her tone frightened me. I began to think, with a vague but overpowering sense of danger, that she had acted under the Machiavellian directions of her superior.