The Aspern Papers
One afternoon, as I came down from my quarters to go out, I found Miss Tita in
the sala: it was our first encounter on that ground since I had come to the house.
She put on no air of being there by accident; there was an ignorance of such arts
in her angular, diffident directness. That I might be quite sure she was waiting for
me she informed me of the fact and told me that Miss Bordereau wished to see
me: she would take me into the room at that moment if I had time. If I had been
late for a love tryst I would have stayed for this, and I quickly signified that I
should be delighted to wait upon the old lady. "She wants to talk with you--to
know you," Miss Tita said, smiling as if she herself appreciated that idea; and she
led me to the door of her aunt's apartment. I stopped her a moment before she
had opened it, looking at her with some curiosity. I told her that this was a great
satisfaction to me and a great honor; but all the same I should like to ask what
had made Miss Bordereau change so suddenly. It was only the other day that
she wouldn't suffer me near her. Miss Tita was not embarrassed by my question;
she had as many little unexpected serenities as if she told fibs, but the odd part
of them was that they had on the contrary their source in her truthfulness. "Oh,
my aunt changes," she answered; "it's so terribly dull--I suppose she's tired."
"But you told me that she wanted more and more to be alone."
Poor Miss Tita colored, as if she found me over-insistent. "Well, if you don't
believe she wants to see you--I haven't invented it! I think people often are
capricious when they are very old."
"That's perfectly true. I only wanted to be clear as to whether you have repeated
to her what I told you the other night."
"What you told me?"
"About Jeffrey Aspern--that I am looking for materials."
"If I had told her do you think she would have sent for you?"
"That's exactly what I want to know. If she wants to keep him to herself she might
have sent for me to tell me so."
"She won't speak of him," said Miss Tita. Then as she opened the door she
added in a lower tone, "I have told her nothing."
The old woman was sitting in the same place in which I had seen her last, in the
same position, with the same mystifying bandage over her eyes. her welcome
was to turn her almost invisible face to me and show me that while she sat silent