The old lady was in black, and was dusting. That was her daily occupation. She travelled about the house with a duster in her pocket, and when the duster became dirty she took her pocket-handkerchief and dusted with that; and it was also black. She had been an energetic woman in her youth, and now that she suffered from her heart, was impatient at not being allowed to do as much as she had been wont. She had made an excellent housekeeper to Mr. Pennycomequick. When he was short of domestics she turned her hand to anythingcooked, did housework, needleworkwould have cleaned the knives and boots if the boy had failed. The deficiency in servants was not an extraordinary event. In a manufacturing district few girls care to enter domestic service and submit to its restraints, when they can earn their livelihood at the mills, and have the evenings to themselves in which to meet their friends. When Mr. Pennycomequick's establishment was complete, she spent her day in making up for the deficiencies of the domesticsputting straight what they had crooked, cleaning out corners they had neglected, brushing down cobwebs they had overlooked, detecting breakages they had made, and repairing rents they had effected in household linen. She was not a good-looking woman, but the likeness of the two girls to her was traceable; moreover, she must have had at one time auburn hair, for though her hair was much darker now, it had in it glints of red copper. Her heart-complaint had given to her face a waxy, even greenish tint, and her lips were leaden. On being introduced to her, Philip felt somewhat ashamed of not having made her acquaintance before, because he had allowed himself to be influenced by Mrs. Sidebottom's prejudice. His aunt had treated the widow with studied indifference, and when noticing her, behaved towards her with superciliousness. Mrs. Cusworth had accordingly kept very much to herself in the rooms allotted to her use. Janet was fired with indignation at the discourtesy shown to her mother; she wished to defy Mrs. Sidebottom, but her mother bade her remember that now this lady was in authority, and that she and her daughters remained in the house upon sufferance only. Philip bowed on entering, and apologized somewhat lamely for not having made the lady's acquaintance earlier, and then, turning, saw Salome glide out of the room with her arm in that of her sister. The girl rightly understood that Philip desired to speak with Mrs. Cusworth alone. He proceeded at once to cross-question her on the subject of the will.
Editore Library Of Alexandria
Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM
EAN-13 9781465608550 9781465608550