“Clementina,” he said, gently, “I don’t see everything; but isn’t there some trouble between you and Mrs. Milray?”
“Why, I don’t know what it can be,” answered the girl, with trembling lips. “I’ve been trying to find out, and I can’t undastand it.”
“Ah, those things are often very obscure,” said Milray, with a patient smile.
Clementina wanted to ask him if Mrs. Milray had said anything to him about her, but she could not, and he did not speak again till he heard her stir in rising from her chair. Then he said, “I haven’t forgotten that letter to my sister, Clementina. I will give it to you before we leave the steamer. Are you going to stay in Liverpool, over night, or shall you go up to London at once?”
“I don’t know. It will depend upon how Mrs. Landa feels.”
“Well, we shall see each other again. Don’t be worried.” He looked up at her with a smile, and he could not see how forlornly she returned it.
As the day passed, Mrs. Milray’s angry eyes seemed to search her out for scorn whenever Clementina found herself the centre of her last night’s celebrity. Many people came up and spoke to her, at first with a certain expectation of knowingness in her, which her simplicity baffled. Then they either dropped her, and went away, or stayed and tried to make friends with her because of this; an elderly English clergyman and his wife were at first compassionately anxious about her, and then affectionately attentive to her in her obvious isolation. Clementina’s simple-hearted response to their advances appeared to win while it puzzled them; and they seemed trying to divine her in the strange double character she wore to their more single civilization. The theatrical people thought none the worse of her for her simple-hearted ness, apparently; they were both very sweet to her, and wanted her to promise to come and see them in their little box in St. John’s Wood. Once, indeed, Clementina thought she saw relenting in Mrs. Milray’s glance, but it hardened again as Lord Lioncourt and Mr. Ewins came up to her, and began to talk with her. She could not go to her chair beside Milray, for his wife was now keeping guard of him on the other side with unexampled devotion. Lord Lioncourt asked her to walk with him and she consented. She thought that Mr. Ewins would go and sit by Mrs. Milray, of course, but when she came round in her tour of the ship, Mrs. Milray was sitting alone beside her husband.
After dinner she went to the library and got a book, but she could not read there; every chair was taken by people writing letters to send back from Queenstown in the morning; and she strayed into the ladies’ sitting room, where no ladies seemed ever to sit, and lost herself in a miserable muse over her open page.
Some one looked in at the door, and then advanced within and came straight to Clementina; she knew without looking up that it was Mrs. Milray. “I have been hunting for you, Miss Claxon,” she said, in a voice frostily fierce, and with a bearing furiously formal. “I have a letter to Miss Milray that my busband wished me to write for you, and give you with his compliments.”