A snug small room; a round table by a cheerful fire; an arm-chair high-backed and old-fashioned, wherein sat the neatest imaginable little
elderly lady, in widow's cap, black silk gown, and snowy muslin apron;
exactly like what I had fancied Mrs. Fairfax, only less stately and
milder looking. She was occupied in knitting; a large cat sat demurely
at her feet; nothing in short was wanting to complete the beau-ideal of
domestic comfort. A more reassuring introduction for a new governess
could scarcely be conceived; there was no grandeur to overwhelm, no
stateliness to embarrass; and then, as I entered, the old lady got up and
promptly and kindly came forward to meet me.
"How do you do, my dear? I am afraid you have had a tedious ride; John
drives so slowly; you must be cold, come to the fire."
"Mrs. Fairfax, I suppose?" said I.
"Yes, you are right: do sit down."
She conducted me to her own chair, and then began to remove my shawl and
untie my bonnet-strings; I begged she would not give herself so much
"Oh, it is no trouble; I dare say your own hands are almost numbed with
cold. Leah, make a little hot negus and cut a sandwich or two: here are
the keys of the storeroom."