It was not easy to get near her; for the mad gentlemen were fawning on her all round; like Queen Elizabeth's courtiers.
However, Dr. Wolf, seeing Alfred standing alone, said, "Let me introduce you," and took him round to her. The courtiers fell back a little. The lady turned her stately head, and her dark eyes ran lightly all over Alfred in a moment.
He bowed, and blushed like a girl. She curtseyed composedly and without a symptom of recognition--deep water runs still--and Dr. Wolf introduced them ceremoniously.
ON Alfred's leaving Silverton, Mrs. Archbold was prostrated. It was a stunning blow to her young passion, and left her weary, desolate.
But she was too strong to lie helpless under disappointed longings. Two days she sat stupefied with the heartache; after that she bustled about her work in a fervour of half-crazy restlessness, and ungovernable irritability, quenched at times by fits of weeping. As she wept apart, but raged and tyrannised in public, she soon made Silverton House Silverton Oven, especially to those who had the luck to be of her sex. Then Baker timidly remonstrated; at the first word she snapped him up and said a change would be good for both of them. He apologised; in vain: that very day she closed by letter with Dr. Wolf, who had often invited her to be his "Matron." Her motive, half hidden from herself, was to be anywhere near her favourite.
Installed at Drayton House, she waited some days, and coquetted woman-like with her own desires, then dressed neatly but soberly, and called at Dr. Wycherley's; sent in a note explaining who she was with a bit of soft sawder, and asked to see Alfred.
She was politely but peremptorily refused. She felt this rebuff bitterly. She went home stung and tingling to the core. But Bitters wholesome be: offended pride now allied with strong good sense to wither a wild affection; and, as it was no longer fed by the presence of its object, her wound healed, all but the occasional dull throbbing that precedes a perfect cure.
At this stage of her convalescence Dr. Wolf told her in an off-hand way that Mr. Hardie, a patient of doubtful insanity, was coming to his asylum, to be kept there by hook or by crook. (She was entirely in Wolf's confidence, and he talked of these things to her in English.) The impenetrable creature assented outwardly, with no sign of emotion whatever, but one flash of the eye, and one heave of the bosom swiftly suppressed. She waited calmly and patiently till she was alone; then yielded to joy and triumph; they seemed to leap inside her. But this very thing alarmed her. "Better for me never to see him again," she thought. "His power over me is too terrible. Ah, good-bye to the peace and comfort I have been building up! He will scatter them to the winds. He has."