"Better not try to brew beer there now, or it would turn out sour,
boy; don't you think so?"
"It looks like it, miss."
"Not that anybody means to try," she added, "for that's all done
with, and the place will stand as idle as it is, till it falls. As
to strong beer, there's enough of it in the cellars already, to
drown the Manor House."
"Is that the name of this house, miss?"
"One of its names, boy."
"It has more than one, then, miss?"
"One more. Its other name was Satis; which is Greek, or Latin, or
Hebrew, or all three - or all one to me - for enough."
"Enough House," said I; "that's a curious name, miss."
"Yes," she replied; "but it meant more than it said. It meant, when
it was given, that whoever had this house, could want nothing else.
They must have been easily satisfied in those days, I should think.
But don't loiter, boy."
Though she called me "boy" so often, and with a carelessness that
was far from complimentary, she was of about my own age. She seemed
much older than I, of course, being a girl, and beautiful and
self-possessed; and she was as scornful of me as if she had been
one-and-twenty, and a queen.
We went into the house by a side door - the great front entrance
had two chains across it outside - and the first thing I noticed
was, that the passages were all dark, and that she had left a
candle burning there. She took it up, and we went through more
passages and up a staircase, and still it was all dark, and only
the candle lighted us.
At last we came to the door of a room, and she said, "Go in."
I answered, more in shyness than politeness, "After you, miss."
To this, she returned: "Don't be ridiculous, boy; I am not going
in." And scornfully walked away, and - what was worse - took the
candle with her.
This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid. However, the
only thing to be done being to knock at the door, I knocked, and
was told from within to enter. I entered, therefore, and found
myself in a pretty large room, well lighted with wax candles. No
glimpse of daylight was to be seen in it. It was a dressing-room,
as I supposed from the furniture, though much of it was of forms
and uses then quite unknown to me. But prominent in it was a draped
table with a gilded looking-glass, and that I made out at first
sight to be a fine lady's dressing-table.
Whether I should have made out this object so soon, if there had
been no fine lady sitting at it, I cannot say. In an arm-chair,
with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that
hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see.
She was dressed in rich materials - satins, and lace, and silks -
all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil
dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair,
but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and
on her hands, and some other jewels lay sparkling on the table.
Dresses, less splendid than the dress she wore, and half-packed
trunks, were scattered about. She had not quite finished dressing,
for she had but one shoe on - the other was on the table near her
hand - her veil was but half arranged, her watch and chain were not
put on, and some lace for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and
with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers, and a
prayer-book, all confusedly heaped about the looking-glass.
It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things,
though I saw more of them in the first moments than might be
supposed. But, I saw that everything within my view which ought to
be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was
faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had
withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no
brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that
the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman,
and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to
skin and bone.