4. The Events Of One Day
1. AUGUST THE FOURTH. TILL FOUR O'CLOCK
The early part of the next week brought an answer to Cytherea's last note of
hope in the way of advertisement--not from a distance of hundreds of miles,
London, Scotland, Ireland, the Continent--as Cytherea seemed to think it must, to
be in keeping with the means adopted for obtaining it, but from a place in the
neighbourhood of that in which she was living--a country mansion not twenty
miles off. The reply ran thus:--
August 3, 1864.
'Miss Aldclyffe is in want of a young person as lady's-maid. The duties of the
place are light. Miss Aldclyffe will be in Budmouth on Thursday, when (should G.
still not have heard of a place) she would like to see her at the Belvedere Hotel,
Esplanade, at four o'clock. No answer need be returned to this note.'
A little earlier than the time named, Cytherea, clothed in a modest bonnet, and a
black silk jacket, turned down to the hotel. Expectation, the fresh air from the
water, the bright, far-extending outlook, raised the most delicate of pink colours
to her cheeks, and restored to her tread a portion of that elasticity which her past
troubles, and thoughts of Edward, had well-nigh taken away.
She entered the vestibule, and went to the window of the bar.
'Is Miss Aldclyffe here?' she said to a nicely-dressed barmaid in the foreground,
who was talking to a landlady covered with chains, knobs, and clamps of gold, in
'No, she isn't,' said the barmaid, not very civilly. Cytherea looked a shade too
pretty for a plain dresser.
'Miss Aldclyffe is expected here,' the landlady said to a third person, out of sight,
in the tone of one who had known for several days the fact newly discovered
from Cytherea. 'Get ready her room-- be quick.' From the alacrity with which the
order was given and taken, it seemed to Cytherea that Miss Aldclyffe must be a
woman of considerable importance.
'You are to have an interview with Miss Aldclyffe here?' the landlady inquired.
'The young person had better wait,' continued the landlady. With a money-taker's
intuition she had rightly divined that Cytherea would bring no profit to the house.
Cytherea was shown into a nondescript chamber, on the shady side of the
building, which appeared to be either bedroom or dayroom, as occasion
necessitated, and was one of a suite at the end of the first-floor corridor. The
prevailing colour of the walls, curtains, carpet, and coverings of furniture, was
more or less blue, to which the cold light coming from the north easterly sky, and
falling on a wide roof of new slates--the only object the small window
commanded- -imparted a more striking paleness. But underneath the door,
communicating with the next room of the suite, gleamed an infinitesimally small,
yet very powerful, fraction of contrast--a very thin line of ruddy light, showing that