“I will take it,” thought she. “I need not bring it out; most likely there will be no need for it, after what I shall have to say. All is so altered, so changed between us, as utterly as if it never had been, that I think I shall have no shame in showing it him, for my own part of it. While, if he sees poor papa’s, dear, dear papa’s suffering humility, it may make him think more gently of one who loved him once though they parted in wrath with each other, I’m afraid.”
So she took the letter with her when she drove to Hyde Park Gardens.
Every nerve in her body was in such a high state of tension that she could have screamed out at the cabman’s boisterous knock at the door. She got out hastily, before any one was ready or willing to answer such an untimely summons; paid the man double what he ought to have had; and stood there, sick, trembling, and humble.
“Is Judge Corbet at home? Can I see him?” she asked of the footman, who at length answered the door.
He looked at her curiously, and a little familiarly, before he replied,
“Why, yes! He’s pretty sure to be at home at this time of day; but whether he’ll see you is quite another thing.”
“Would you be so good as to ask him? It is on very particular business.”
“Can you give me a card? your name, perhaps, will do, if you have not a card. I say, Simmons” (to a lady’s-maid crossing the hall), “is the judge up yet?”
“Oh, yes! he’s in his dressing-room this half-hour. My lady is coming down directly. It is just breakfast-time.”
“Can’t you put it off and come again, a little later?” said he, turning once more to Ellinor—white Ellinor! trembling Ellinor!
“No! please let me come in. I will wait. I am sure Judge Corbet will see me, if you will tell him I am here. Miss Wilkins. He will know the name.”
“Well, then; will you wait here till I have got breakfast in?” said the man, letting her into the hall, and pointing to the bench there, he took her, from her dress, to be a lady’s-maid or governess, or at most a tradesman’s daughter; and, besides, he was behindhand with all his preparations. She came in and sat down.
“You will tell him I am here,” she said faintly.
“Oh, yes, never fear: I’ll send up word, though I don’t believe he’ll come to you before breakfast.”
He told a page, who ran upstairs, and, knocking at the judge’s door, said that a Miss Jenkins wanted to speak to him.
“Who?” asked the judge from the inside.
“Miss Jenkins. She said you would know the name, sir.”
“Not I. Tell her to wait.”