The day after her visit to Lockleigh she received a note from her friend Miss Stackpolea note of which the envelope, exhibiting in conjunction the postmark of Liverpool and the neat calligraphy of the quick- fingered Henrietta, caused her some liveliness of emotion. Here I am, my lovely friend, Miss Stackpole wrote; I managed to get off at last. I decided only the night before I left New Yorkthe Interviewer having come round to my figure. I put a few things into a bag, like a veteran journalist, and came down to the steamer in a street-car. Where are you and where can we meet? I suppose youre visiting at some castle or other and have already acquired the correct accent. Perhaps even you have married a lord; I almost hope you have, for I want some introductions to the first people and shall count on you for a few. The Interviewer wants some light on the nobility. My first impressions (of the people at large) are not rose-coloured; but I wish to talk them over with you, and you know that, whatever I am, at least Im not superficial. Ive also something very particular to tell you. Do appoint a meeting as quickly as you can; come to London (I should like so much to visit the sights with you) or else let me come to you, wherever you are. I will do so with pleasure; for you know everything interests me and I wish to see as much as possible of the inner life.
Isabel judged best not to show this letter to her uncle; but she acquainted him with its purport, and, as she expected, he begged her instantly to assure Miss Stackpole, in his name, that he should be delighted to receive her at Gardencourt. Though shes a literary lady, he said, I suppose that, being an American, she wont show me up, as that other one did. She has seen others like me.
She has seen no other so delightful! Isabel answered; but she was not altogether at ease about Henriettas reproductive instincts, which belonged to that side of her friends character which she regarded with least complacency. She wrote to Miss Stackpole, however, that she would be very welcome under Mr Touchetts roof; and this alert young woman lost no time in announcing her prompt approach. She had gone up to London, and it was from that centre that she took the train for the station nearest to Gardencourt, where Isabel and Ralph were in waiting to receive her.
Shall I love her or shall I hate her? Ralph asked while they moved along the platform.
Whichever, you do will matter very little to her, said Isabel. She doesnt care a straw what men think of her.
As a man Im bound to dislike her then. She must be a kind of monster. Is she very ugly?
No, shes decidedly pretty.
A female interviewera reporter in petticoats? Im very curious to see her, Ralph conceded.
Its very easy to laugh at her but it is not easy to be as brave as she.
I should think not; crimes of violence and attacks on the person require more or less pluck. Do you suppose shell interview me?
Never in the world. Shell not think you of enough importance.
Youll see, said Ralph. Shell send a description of us all, including Bunchie, to her newspaper.
I shall ask her not to, Isabel answered.
You think shes capable of it then?
And yet youve made her your bosom-friend?
Ive not made her my bosom-friend; but I like her in spite of her faults.
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