Poor Miss Finch
Twilight View of the Man
OUR nice dinner had long since come to an end. We had chattered, chattered, chattered--
as usual with women--all about ourselves. The day had declined; the setting sun was
pouring its last red luster into our pretty sitting-room--when Lucilla started as if she had
suddenly remembered something, and rang the bell.
Zillah came in. "The bottle from the chemist's," said Lucilla. "I ought to have
remembered it hours ago."
"Are you going to take it to Susan yourself, my dear?"
I was glad to hear the old nurse address her young lady in that familiar way. It was so
thoroughly un-English. Down with the devilish system of separation between the classes
in this country--that is what I say!
"Yes; I am going to take it to Susan myself."
"Shall I go with you?"
"No, no. Not the least occasion." She turned to me. "I suppose you are too tired to go out
again, after your walk on the hills?" she said.
I had dined; I had rested; I was quite ready to go out again, and I said so.
Lucilla's face brightened. For some reason of her own, she had apparently attached a
certain importance to persuading me to go out with her.
"It's only a visit to a poor rheumatic woman in the village," she said. "I have got an
embrocation for her; and I can't very well send it. She is old and obstinate. If I take it to
her, she will believe in the remedy. If anybody else takes it, she will throw it away. I had
utterly forgotten her, in the interest of our nice long talk. Shall we get ready?"
I had hardly closed the door of my bedroom when there was a knock at it. Lucilla? No;
the old nurse entering on tiptoe, with a face of mystery, and a finger confidentially placed
on her lips.
"I beg your pardon, ma'am," she began in a whisper. "I think you ought to know that my
young lady has a purpose in taking you out with her this evening. She is burning with
curiosity--like all the rest of us for that matter. She took me out, and used my eyes to see
with, yesterday evening; and they have not satisfied her. She is going to try your eyes,
"What is Miss Lucilla so curious about?" I inquired.
"It's natural enough, poor dear," pursued the old woman, following her own train of
thought, without the slightest reference to my question. "We none of us can find out
anything about him. He usually takes his walk at twilight. You are pretty sure to meet
him to-night; and you will judge for yourself, ma'am--with an innocent young creature
like Miss Lucilla--what it may be best to do?"