In Mr Tulkinghorn's Room
Mr Tulkinghorn arrives in his turret-room, a little breathed by the journey up, though leisurely performed. There is an expression on his face as if he had discharged his mind of some grave matter, and were, in his close way, satisfied. To say of a man so severely and strictly self-repressed that he is triumphant, would be to do him as great an injustice as to suppose him troubled with love or sentiment, or any romantic weakness. He is sedately satisfied. Perhaps there is a rather increased sense of power upon him, as he loosely grasps one of his veinous wrists with his other hand, and holding it behind his back walks noiselessly up and down.
There is a capacious writing-table in the room, on which is a pretty large accumulation of papers. The green lamp is lighted, his reading-glasses lie upon the desk, the easy chair is wheeled up to it, and it would seem as though he had intended to bestow an hour or so upon these claims on his attention before going to bed. But he happens not to be in a business mind. After a glance at the documents awaiting his notice with his head bent low over the table, the old mans sight for print or writing being defective at night he opens the French window and steps out upon the leads. There he again walks slowly up and down, in the same attitude; subsiding, if a man so cool may have any need to subside, from the story he has related down-stairs.
The time was once, when men as knowing as Mr Tulkinghorn would walk on turret-tops in the star-light, and look up into the sky to read their fortunes there. Hosts of stars are visible to-night, though their brilliancy is eclipsed by the splendour of the moon. If he be seeking his own star, as he methodically turns and turns upon the leads, it should be but a pale one to be so rustily represented below. If he be tracing out his destiny, that may be written in other characters nearer to his hand.
As he paces the leads, with his eyes most probably as high above his thoughts as they are high above the earth, he is suddenly stopped in passing the window by two eyes that meet his own. The ceiling of his room is rather low; and the upper part of the door, which is opposite the window, is of glass. There is an inner baize door too, but the night being warm he did not close it when he came up-stairs. These eyes that meet his own, are looking in through the glass from the corridor outside. He knows them well. The blood has not flushed into his face so suddenly and redly for many a long year, as when he recognizes Lady Dedlock.
He steps into the room, and she comes in too, closing both the doors behind her. There is a wild disturbance is it fear or anger? in her eyes. In her carriage and all else, she looks as she looked down-stairs two hours ago.
Is it fear, or is it anger, now? He cannot be sure. Both might be as pale, both as intent.
She does not speak at first, nor even when she has slowly dropped into the easy chair by the table. They look at each other, like two pictures.
Why have you told my story to so many persons?
Lady Dedlock, it was necessary for me to inform you that I knew it.
How long have you known it?
I have suspected it a long while fully known it, a little while.
He stands before her, with one hand on a chair-back and the other in his old-fashioned waistcoat and shirt-frill, exactly as he has stood before her at any time since her marriage. The same formal politeness,
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