The Evil Genius HTML version

2. The Governess Enters
Mr. Herbert Linley arrived at his own house in the forenoon of the next day. Mrs. Linley,
running out to the head of the stairs to meet her husband, saw him approaching her
without a traveling companion. "Where is the governess?" she asked--when the first
salutes allowed her the opportunity of speaking.
"On her way to bed, poor soul, under the care of the housekeeper," Linley answered.
"Anything infectious, my dear Herbert?" Mrs. Presty inquired appearing at the breakfast-
room door.
Linley addressed his reply to his wife:
"Nothing more serious, Catherine, than want of strength. She was in such a state of
fatigue, after our long night journey, that I had to lift her out of the carriage."
Mrs. Presty listened with an appearance of the deepest interest. "Quite a novelty in the
way of a governess," she said. "May I ask what her name is?"
"Sydney Westerfield."
Mrs. Presty looked at her daughter and smiled satirically.
Mrs. Linley remonstrated.
"Surely," she said, "you don't object to the young lady's name!"
"I have no opinion to offer, Catherine. I don't believe in the name."
"Oh, mamma, do you suspect that it's an assumed name?"
"My dear, I haven't a doubt that it is. May I ask another question?" the old lady
continued, turning to Linley. "What references did Miss Westerfield give you?"
"No references at all."
Mrs. Presty rose with the alacrity of a young woman, and hurried to the door. "Follow my
example," she said to her daughter, on her way out. "Lock up your jewel-box."
Linley drew a deep breath of relief when he was left alone with his wife. "What makes
your mother so particularly disagreeable this morning?" he inquired.
"She doesn't approve, dear, of my leaving it to you to choose a governess for Kitty."