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PALLISER, Charles

The Quincunx

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Her countenance - all the paler for the contrast with her black hair - had grown longer and thinner, though it still wore the same melancholy expression, and was a little too pinched to be called conventionally beautiful. She appeared to have looked at me with no more than idle curiosity and I felt a sharp sense of disappointment, but as she seated herself she put her left hand on the table and then looked directly at me and then down at her hand. To my amazement I saw that she had slightly raised one finger and was drawing to my attention the ring I had given her in the park at Hougham all those years ago. I glanced at her, keeping my face as impassive as I could and the look I received in return impressed itself deeply upon me. It was curious and speculative as I offered some possibility of something. I wished I could acknowledge it but with the governess’s sharp eyes upon me, I dared not. I glanced at Miss Fillery now and even though Henrietta had her back to her, she seemed to have noticed that her charge and I had exchanged looks.

“Miss Henrietta,” she said, “leave the servant to do his work.”

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