CAPTAIN WRAGGE stopped nearly midway in the one little row of houses
composing Rosemary Lane, and let himself and his guest in at the door of his
lodgings with his own key. As they entered the passage, a care-worn woman in a
widow's cap made her appearance with a candle. "My niece," said the captain,
presenting Magdalen; "my niece on a visit to York. She has kindly consented to
occupy your empty bedroom. Consider it let, if you please, to my niece -- and be
very particular in airing the sheets? Is Mrs. Wragge upstairs? Very good. You
may lend me your candle. My dear girl, Mrs. Wragge's boudoir is on the first floor;
Mrs. Wragge is visible. Allow me to show you the way up."
As he ascended the stairs first, the care-worn widow whispered, piteously, to
Magdalen, "I hope you'll pay me, miss. Your uncle doesn't."
The captain threw open the door of the front room on the first floor, and disclosed
a female figure, arrayed in a gown of tarnished amber-colored satin, seated
solitary on a small chair, with dingy old gloves on its hands, with a tattered old
book on its knees, and with one little bedroom candle by its side. The figure
terminated at its upper extremity in a large, smooth, white round face -- like a
moon -- encircled by a cap and green ribbons, and dimly irradiated by eyes of
mild and faded blue, which looked straightforward into vacancy, and took not the
smallest notice of Magdalen's appearance, on the opening of the door.
"Mrs. Wragge!" cried the captain, shouting at her as if she was fast asleep. "Mrs.
The lady of the faded blue eyes slowly rose to an apparently interminable height.
When she had at last attained an upright position, she towered to a stature of two
or three inches over six feet. Giants of both sexes are, by a wise dispensation of
Providence, created, for the most part, gentle. If Mrs. Wragge and a lamb had
been placed side by side, comparison, under those circumstances, would have
exposed the lamb as a rank impostor.