deduced from this scrutiny? Were they favourable or otherwise? Vain question. Madame’s face of stone (for of stone in its present night-aspect it looked: it had been human and, as I said before, motherly in the salon) betrayed no response.

Her duty done—I felt that in her eyes this business was a duty—she rose, noiseless as a shadow. She moved towards her own chamber. At the door she turned, fixing her eye on the heroine of the bottle, who still slept and loudly snored. Mrs. Svini (I presume this was Mrs. Svini, Anglicé or Hibernice, Sweeny)—Mrs. Sweeny’s doom was in Madame Beck’s eye; an immutable purpose that eye spoke. Madame’s visitations for shortcomings might be slow, but they were sure. All this was very un-English; truly I was in a foreign land.

The morrow made me further acquainted with Mrs. Sweeny. It seems she had introduced herself to her present employer as an English lady in reduced circumstances—a native, indeed, of Middlesex, professing to speak the English tongue with the purest metropolitan accent. Madame—reliant on her own infallible expedients for finding out the truth in time—had a singular intrepidity in hiring service off- hand (as, indeed, seemed abundantly proved in my own case). She received Mrs. Sweeny as nursery- governess to her three children. I need hardly explain to the reader that this lady was in effect a native of Ireland; her station I do not pretend to fix. She boldly declared that she had “had the bringing-up of the son and daughter of a marquis.” I think myself she might possibly have been a hangeron, nurse, fosterer, or washerwoman, in some Irish family. She spoke a smothered tongue, curiously overlaid with mincing cockney inflections. By some means or other she had acquired, and now held in possession, a wardrobe of rather suspicious splendour—gowns of stiff and costly silk, fitting her indifferently, and apparently made for other proportions than those they now adorned; caps with real lace borders, and—the chief item in the inventory, the spell by which she struck a certain awe through the household, quelling the otherwise scornfully disposed teachers and servants, and, so long as her broad shoulders wore the folds of that majestic drapery, even influencing madame herself—a real Indian shawl, “un véritable Cachmire,” as Madame Beck said, with unmixed reverence and amaze. I feel quite sure that without this “Cachmire” she would not have kept her footing in the pensionnat for two days; by virtue of it, and it only, she maintained the same a month.

But when Mrs. Sweeny knew that I was come to fill her shoes, then it was that she declared herself, then did she rise on Madame Beck in her full power, then come down on me with her concentrated weight. Madame bore this revelation and visitation so well, so stoically, that I for very shame could not support it otherwise than with composure. For one little moment Madame Beck absented herself from the room; ten minutes after, an agent of the police stood in the midst of us. Mrs. Sweeny and her effects were removed. Madame’s brow had not been ruffled during the scene, her lips had not dropped one sharply-accented word.

This brisk little affair of the dismissal was all settled before breakfast—order to march given, policeman called, mutineer expelled, chambre d’enfants fumigated and cleansed, windows thrown open, and every trace of the accomplished Mrs. Sweeny, even to the fine essence and spiritual fragrance which gave token so subtle and so fatal of the head and front of her offending, was annihilated from the Rue Fossette. All this, I say, was done between the moment of Madame Beck’s issuing like Aurora from her chamber, and that in which she coolly sat down to pour out her first cup of coffee.

About noon I was summoned to dress madame. (It appeared my place was to be a hybrid between gouvernante and lady’s-maid.) Till noon she haunted the house in her wrapping-gown, shawl, and soundless slippers. How would the lady-chief of an English school approve this custom?

The dressing of her hair puzzled me. She had plenty of it—auburn, unmixed with gray, though she was forty years old. Seeing my embarrassment, she said, “You have not been a femme de chambre in your own country?” And taking the brush from my hand, and setting me aside, not ungently or disrespectfully, she arranged it herself. In performing other offices of the toilet, she half directed, half aided me, without

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