‘If I know myself, you may trust me, my lord,’ said Dorothy, to which he replied with a smile of confidence.
There was much about the castle itself to interest Dorothy. She had already begun the attempt to gather a clear notion of its many parts and their relations, but the knowledge of the building could not well advance more rapidly than her acquaintance with its inmates, for little was to be done from the outside alone, and she could not bear to be met in strange places by strange people. So that part of her education-I use the word advisedly, for to know all about the parts of an old building may do more for the education of minds of a certain stamp than the severest course of logic-must wait upon time and opportunity.
Every day, often twice, sometimes thrice, she would visit the stable-yard, and have an interview first with the chained Marquis, and then with her little horse. After that she would seldom miss looking in at the armourer’s shop, and spending a few minutes in watching him at his work, so that she was soon familiar with all sorts of armour favoured in the castle. The blacksmiths’ and the carpenters’ shops were also an attraction to her, and it was not long before she knew all the artisans about the place. There were the farm and poultry yards too, with which kinds of place she was familiar—especially with their animals and all their ways. The very wild beasts in their dens in the solid basement of the kitchen tower—a panther, two leopards, an ounce, and a toothless old lion had already begun to know her a little, for she never went near their cages without carrying them something to eat. For all these visits there was plenty of room, lady Margaret never requiring much of her time in the early part of the day, and finding the reports she brought of what was going on always amusing. And now the orchards and gardens would soon be inviting, for the heart of the world was already sending up its blood to dye the apple blossoms.
But all the opportunities she yet had were less than was needful for the development of such a mind as Dorothy’s, which, powerful in itself, needed to be roused, and was slow in its movements except when excited by a quick succession of objects, or the contact of a kindred but busier nature. It was lacking not only in generative, but in self-moving energy. Of self-sustaining force she had abundance.
There was a really fine library in the castle, to which she had free access, and whence, now and then, lady Margaret would make her bring a book from which to read aloud, while she and her other ladies were at work; but books were not enough to rouse Dorothy, and when inclined to read she would return too exclusively to what she already knew, making little effort to extend her gleaning-ground.
From this fragment of analysis it will be seen that the new resource thus opened to her might prove of more consequence than, great as were her expectations from it, she was yet able to anticipate. But infinitely greater good than any knowledge of his mechanical triumphs could bring her, was on its way to Dorothy along the path of growing acquaintance with the noble-minded inventor himself.