I stood and warmed my numbed fingers over the blaze, then I looked round;
there was no candle, but the uncertain light from the hearth showed, by
intervals, papered walls, carpet, curtains, shining mahogany furniture:
it was a parlour, not so spacious or splendid as the drawing-room at
Gateshead, but comfortable enough. I was puzzling to make out the
subject of a picture on the wall, when the door opened, and an individual
carrying a light entered; another followed close behind.
The first was a tall lady with dark hair, dark eyes, and a pale and large
forehead; her figure was partly enveloped in a shawl, her countenance was
grave, her bearing erect.
"The child is very young to be sent alone," said she, putting her candle
down on the table. She considered me attentively for a minute or two,
then further added--
"She had better be put to bed soon; she looks tired: are you tired?" she
asked, placing her hand on my shoulder.
"A little, ma'am."
"And hungry too, no doubt: let her have some supper before she goes to
bed, Miss Miller. Is this the first time you have left your parents to
come to school, my little girl?"