Eve Fisher

I was out riding with my dear sister, Selina Suckling of Maple Grove, in her barouche-landau just the other day, and she suggested that I write a narrative of my involvement in the events of last July. That was when Robert Martin was murdered, shot to death while standing in the north paddock of Abbey-Mill Farm. A very vulgar crime, to be sure, and nothing for a lady to write of. But, the more I thought of it, the more I thought that dear Selina was right. After all, it was I who solved the mystery, practically single-handedly.
It all began that fatal Thursday. I heard the dreadful news that evening. A murder in Highbury! I was completely overset. I shrieked, I positively shrieked! And then I fell fainting on the chaise-lounge and my husband (Mr. Elton, Vicar of Highbury) had to run for the doctor while my stupid maid nearly set the curtains on fire, burning feathers to bring me around. My sensibility has always been acute.
Mrs. Knightley did not shriek or faint when she heard the news. (My housekeeper and hers are second cousins.) Instead, she put on her shawl and went for a walk, which argued to me a strange indifference. Yet there had been a time when Harriet Smith was her boon companion, and Mrs. K practically shoved her protégée down everyone’s throats. Of course, that was back when Mrs. K was Miss Emma Woodhouse and queened it over Highbury as if she were of the blood royal, before she entrapped Knightley into making her an offer. I happen to know that Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith fell out over a most unsuitable attachment for either of them: Frank Churchill! Who married that lovely, sweet, pitiable Jane Fairfax. (“Not a connexion to gratify,” said her mother-in-law, Mrs. Weston – quondam governess to Miss Woodhouse - as if she had been such an unexceptionable match herself!) I have always felt that Miss Woodhouse married Knightley in a fit of wounded vanity.
Nor did Mrs. K show any better behavior the next night at the Coles’ dinner party. The Knightleys were practically the guests of honor, which was disgusting, considering how very recently Mrs. K had put off her black gloves – I cannot tell you how sincerely I mourned her father, such a gentleman – and how very obvious it was that she would soon have to return to seclusion. (I refuse to use the old, vulgar term “great-bellied,” no matter how apt.) I was civil to her, of course, which was more than she was with me. She positively ran – such a mistake, in her condition – to her former governess, Mrs. Weston, and clung to her like a limpet, as if they did not see each other almost daily. I really have no patience with such behavior.
But poor Knightley. He looked like a ghost. I asked Mr. E, “Why, pray tell, does Knightley look so worn?” For he did look worn, white and drawn and thin. I am sure she does not feed him as she ought. Mr. E was singularly obtuse, saying that Knightley seemed just as usual, but then men never do notice those small, important details of life. He added that Knightley was very much upset by the murder.
“Pshaw,” I said. “Robert Martin was a very good sort of tenant, I have no doubt, but there are in Surry ‘many better than he.’ No, depend upon it, it is something else.”
But Mr. E absolutely contradicted me. “No, Augusta, I think not. I believe him to be genuinely distressed. He had to attend the inquest, and then there must be an investigation.”
There are times when it does take a man to set things right. In a trice I saw what my caro sposo was saying: A murder had been committed; the murderer had not been found; the murderer was still on the loose. It quite took my breath away, and if I had not been in such a public place, forced to self-command, I believe I should have fainted again. I looked around the Coles’ drawing room. Where was the man capable of the delicacy, the discrimination, the instinct necessary to discover the felon? Knightley was absolutely shattered; my husband was entirely devoted to his duties as Vicar; Weston has always been in my mind a nonentity (after all, he married a governess). No, none of them were suitable, and as for the women! It was obvious that only I could discover the secret of Robert Martin’s murder.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that no one has a better entrée into all levels of society than a clergyman’s wife. For example, even though ranked among the highest both by marriage and (I must confess it) birth, I have always found it easy to converse with the lower classes. A compliment upon the shining brasses, an inquiry into their parents’ well-being, and their heart is yours. My servants all know that I am ready to hear their little trials and troubles, although of course they know their place and do not presume. And for a matter such as this, the servants were of utmost importance. Naturally the movements of such a person as Harriet Martin would be beneath the notice of the elite of Highbury, but servants are another matter. Always idling, always curious, always on the look-out for scandal among their betters, the servants would know everything.
The next morning, therefore, while I was closeted with my housekeeper, I spoke to some purpose.
“Wright, we must have something extremely tempting for Mr. Elton’s dinner today. His appetite has been sorely disturbed by all this unpleasantness with the Martins.”
“Indeed, ma’am, but I hadn’t noticed,” the obtuse creature replied. “He took second helpings of ham this morning.”
“Because I told him he must keep up his strength,” I said sternly. “He is greatly upset.”
“Well, ma’am, I dare say that’s natural. Him being a clergyman and all.”
“I am sure everyone in Highbury is upset by it.” Wright sniffed. “By the bye, Wright, isn’t the upper-maid at the Martins a cousin of yours?”
“Betty? A third cousin, ma’am.”
“A third cousin is a blood relation, Wright.”
“I dare say.” Wright sniffed again. A very irritating habit, and sufficient to explain why I spend as little time with her as I can. “To say truth, ma’am, my family and hers have had little to do with each other. Betty’s father came from Loamshire.”
“Yes, ma’am. What would you think of shepherd’s pie, ma’am?”
“I should think we might as well be in Loamshire ourselves. Shepherd’s pie? On choir night?”
“No, ma’am.”
“I should think not. A turkey poult, perhaps.”
“I dare say, ma’am. But the weather being so hot and all –”
The wrangling that went on before we had decided on a turkey poult, nicely dressed, with devilled bones to start and apple tart to finish, completely exhausted me. And I never did get a word out of her about the Martins. But then, as Wright said, they were only third cousins. I’m sure Wright knew nothing of the matter at all.

But servants never know anything. Luckily, there are many ladies in our friendly little community who are always willing to share their keen observations of daily life. I am sure that I can say in all honesty that no one despises gossip more than I. But after all, I must stay au courant with the events of our little village. How else could Mr. Elton, with his heavy responsibilities, be kept properly informed? Especially on such a subject as Harriet Martin. You may not believe it, but in her single days she set her designing eyes on my caro sposo himself! A woman of such breathtaking ambition could hardly be expected to keep herself happy on a mere farm. One hardly knows what such a woman would be about. It has obviously been my duty to keep an eye on her, while at the same time carefully shielding Mr. Elton from her unwelcome company. That is why I am so thankful for my many friends in Highbury.
Thus, from Mrs. Coles I had learned that Harriet “often yearned, poor girl, for the delights of Hartfield. Such society, such gentility, such cultivation, and what had come of it? Mr. Martin and Abbey-Mill Farm. True, it was a better marriage than one of her birth and breeding could ever have hoped for, but still… I dare say Miss Woodhouse, I mean, Mrs. Knightley, meant well, but it spoilt her, I fear, for a quiet home.”
Mrs. Ford thought that things had been going hard for the Martins of late: “I know he had some plan for breeding horses, ma’am, but then something happened with the stud horse, and they never did get the piano, which she’d had her heart set on, poor girl.”
Miss Bates – whose garrulity must be heard to be believed – had been “pleased to give Miss Smith, I mean, Mrs. Martin, details about turning and buttering the cheeses – something that should never be left to servants – my mother always insisted on my doing it – would not even trust Patty – and then of course the hams must be wiped daily – and the cheeses – and I warned Mrs. Martin to always make sure her feet were well wrapped and dry when she went into the dairy – I would not have her catch cold for the world – colds always come when the feet are damp – thankfully, I have never been troubled much by colds, but poor Jane – dear Jane, she wrote me the prettiest letter, just the other day…”
And then there was Anne Cox, spinster. (I fear her only hope of marriage now is a better dowry than her father has provided her.) She had once had hopes of the bachelor Robert Martin and there is nothing like an old love for clear-eyed observation.
“What strikes me as most curious is Mrs. Martin’s walks,” Anne told me. “Every Thursday, rain or shine, wet or dry, out she must go, leaving the baby to be looked after by a ten-year old brat from Oakham.”
“No!” I said, suitably shocked. “Do you think it was for her health?”
“She is strong as a horse,” Anne said. “And if it was for her health, why not every day? No, Mrs. Elton, although it pains me to say it, I fear there must be another reason for Mrs. Martin’s constitutionals.” We looked at each other across the teacups. “She must have been meeting someone.” My eyes widened. “Considering the tastes she learned at Hartfield, it must have been a gentleman.” I gasped. “And we must not forget that it was on a Thursday that Robert Martin was murdered.”
I set down my tea cup with my hand positively shaking. “I hope, my dear Anne, that you have shared this information with the suitable authorities?”
Anne gave me a wintry smile. “Alas, Mrs. Elton, who would listen to someone of my humble position? Now if you were to mention the idea, or perhaps the Vicar…”
“My dear, I understand perfectly. It would come much more properly from the Vicarage than from you. Well, I shall do what is necessary. It is all most painful and distressing, but I have never shirked my duty.”
“I knew that you would do all that is right,” Anne said, and I passed her the seedcake.

If a young married woman – I cannot believe that I am even contemplating such immorality – meets a gentleman secretly, it can only be for one thing. The identity of such a monstrous commandment-breaker must be known, for the good of the community. But how to find it out? It is not a thing that any man, no matter how shameless, would boast of over the port, lest he be publicly hissed. And I felt certain that this man (for I really could not call him a gentleman any longer, knowing what I did), was both shameless and shameful. Skulking around the woods with Harriet Martin! What a come down! And then, of course, the confrontation with Robert Martin, with its hideous conclusion…
“What do most of the gentlemen in Highbury do with their afternoons?” I asked Mr. E.
“Stay indoors out of the heat, if they have any sense,” he positively snapped at me.
I pointed out to him that I was not accustomed to that tone of voice, and he apologized, as well he ought. I have always made it plain to Mr. E that one must maintain a standard, even in the privacy of one’s own home. Dignity, decorum, duty, courtesy are never relinquishable, no matter what the situation, or the weather, or –
“But my dear!” my husband cried, “I don’t believe I told you what happened at the Crown today.”
“Something further about Robert Martin?”
“No. Nobody seems to know anything about that at all. No, I happened by and saw Weston’s carriage there, so I stopped to speak to him, simply out of courtesy. Anyway, he was outside, having a word with Abdy ostler. You know, young Abdy, whose father we put on parish relief?”
“I am certainly aware of Abdy ostler,” I said, “considering that we have had to hire the Crown chaise three times in the last month because our carriage horse continues lame. We have had some talk, as you may remember, about the expense of feeding such a wretched screw instead of replacing him, and I foresee that we may soon have to have another.”
“My dear,” Mr. E hastened to say, “I have thought more carefully of the matter, and I have decided that you are absolutely right.”
“I am gratified that you have at last come to your senses, Mr. E.”
“Yes, well… Anyway, Weston was out in the yard arguing with young Abdy.”
“What on earth could a gentleman like Weston have to argue about with an ostler?”
“I do not know.”
“Could you not hear?”
“No,” he said. Just like a man. “The only thing I heard was, as Weston was coming back towards the inn, Abdy called after him, ‘Oh, aye, I’ll send the bill, you may be sure of that!’ The bill!” Mr. E cried. “As if Weston needed to hire a horse!”
“How curious. Did you ask him about it?”
“No, I had not the chance. Instead of coming inside, he met Knightley, and the two walked off together.”
“Hmm,” I murmured, my mind racing. I certainly could see that hiring a horse might be the ideal thing to do if one were a well-known local gentleman and yet wished to go somewhere incognito. And I have never trusted Mr. Weston.
I might not have mentioned it before, but Mrs. Weston was Emma Woodhouse’s governess. I have been told that Mrs. Weston, when they first married, looked very well for her age, but that has changed. Since her hymeneals were celebrated, she has gained two daughters and three stone, as well as losing some of her teeth and all of her looks. Weston himself is still a fine figure of a man, still youthful, indeed, somewhat boyish for his years in both personality and behavior. To look upon Weston, buoyant and hearty, and his wife, aged and gray, is to see living proof that a man should never marry a woman near to or greater than his own age, unless considerable wealth favors the match.
I think anyone can see where my thoughts were tending. But I needed more information. It was then that I remembered that Wright’s niece was in service with the Westons, and it seemed as good a time as any to see if she were being well-treated. Randalls is a considerable distance from the Vicarage, and, with our carriage horse lame, I would have to hire the Crown chaise again. (I deplore wasteful spending, but sometimes one must make sacrifices in the line of duty.) And of course I would insist on young Abdy driving me, for one cannot trust the young men at the Crown. As the proverb says, I could kill two birds with one stone.
But Mr. E was yawning. “Well, Augusta, I believe I shall go begin work on my sermon.”
“Certainly, my dear.”
I watched him go, knowing that his handkerchief would be over his face in no time, and loud, rhythmic breathing would fill the house. Some trials of marriage no one ever prepares one for.

As soon as Mr. Elton was properly settled, I sent young Thomas down to the Crown, and told Wright that I was going to visit the Westons.
“So, if there is anything you would like to send to Sarah…”
“Well, ma’am, there is that scorched tablecloth you said was only fit for the scrap-pile. I thought she might could make some pillowcases from it for her hope chest, if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Not at all!” I cried. “Bundle it up, and I will take it over with me.”
Wright brought me the bundle, carefully done up, which bundle I naturally undid once she had left the room. One must always keep an eye on servants, or they presume. But it was only the tablecloth, which was not nearly as scorched as I had thought it, but it would make Sarah happy. I had just finished retying it when the carriage came up to the door.
“And where is Abdy?” I asked, looking at the young puppy twirling his whip.
“He’s mortal busy, ma’am,” said he, “and said as I should be driving, seeing as it’s only a short distance.” I believe the insolent creature muttered ‘and small pay’ under his breath.
I set my jaw and my skirts, and said, “To the Crown.”
“I thought as you wanted to go to Randall’s,” the creature said.”
“To the Crown!” I snapped. “I wish to speak with your superior.”
I fumed all the way there, and surged out of the chaise, seething with righteous indignation at being fobbed off with a mere hobbledehoy. By the time I had done, young Abdy was in his coat and hat and, as we drove away, I saw the young puppy back at his proper job of grooming horses.
A couple of miles down the road, I said, “What is this I hear about Mr. Weston renting horses from you?”
“Mr. Weston, ma’am?”
“Yes,” I said. “I understand that there has been a problem about a bill.”
“I don’t know how you come to hear of that, ma’am,” Abdy said, glancing over his shoulder.
“Eyes on the road, if you please,” I said. “As the Vicar’s wife, I hear a great deal of what goes on in Highbury.”
“Well, ma’am, I may have obliged him once or twice.”
“Really? I heard it was far more often than that.” True, it was conjecture, but with that class, it is always best to operate from a position of certainty.
“I don’t talk about other people’s business, ma’am. It’s not my place to.”
“Certainly in the normal course of events that is perfectly true. But considering the terrible tragedy that has lately happened among us, such… behavior raises questions.”
“Questions, ma’am?”
“Questions. Such as, why a gentleman, who certainly has a carriage and horses of his own, would need to hire horses to ride to an unknown destination. Where was he going? Who might he be meeting? Is there any correspondence between a gentleman on a hired horse and a – well, I will not say a lady, but a woman, a married woman, taking long walks every Thursday afternoon. What do you think, Abdy?”
“I think nought about any of it. I hire out horses, that is all.”
The set of his back seemed determinedly stubborn. “And what about Robert Martin?” I asked.
Once again, he looked over his shoulder, and his face was certainly apprehensive this time. “What would you be wanting to know about him, ma’am?”
“I heard that Robert Martin was thinking of setting up for horse breeding.”
Young Abdy made the most peculiar noise. There are none of that class that can keep their nasal passages both clear and silent. “Aye, he was. But his stud horse failed him, strange to say. No business of a lady like yourself, ma’am. But here we are, at Randalls, ma’am.”
Neither of the Westons were at home. Mrs. Weston had gone to visit Mrs. Knightley: really, their attachment is positively unhealthy. Weston himself was off. Gadding about, I presumed, but did not mention it. Instead, I asked after Sarah, and gave her the bundle.
“Oh, ma’am,” she said. “Thank you ever so much.”
“It is my pleasure, Sarah,” I replied. “Mine and your aunt’s. So, how is your situation suiting you?”
“Oh, ever so well, ma’am. Mrs. Weston is a kind mistress, and the little ones are ever so sweet.”
“I am glad to hear it. And all is going well?”
“Oh, yes, ma’am.”
“Excellent. I had heard that there has been some trouble with your master’s stables lately.”
“Trouble, ma’am?”
“Well, I have been told that he has had to hire horses from the Crown.”
Sarah looked at me, then across the courtyard to the Crown chaise. “I wouldn’t know about that, ma’am. But I do know that the master has said that John Abdy was never to set foot on this place any more. Of course, he was never referring to a lady like yourself, needing a carriage ride.”
“Of course not,” I said, smiling to myself. Obviously Abdy knew about more than just horses. “Well, my dear, I will tell Wright that you are doing quite well. Please tell your master and mistress that I called, and I will try to come back another time when at least one of them is at home.”
“Yes, ma’am. And thank you again, ma’am.”
I believe that I forgot to mention that this was a Thursday. I had already decided that, if Harriet Martin had been lost to depravity before her husband’s death, it was unlikely that she would regain her morals after it. Weston’s absence added weight to my conjecture. So, as we left the Westons, I told John Abdy that I felt in the need of some air, and to take me home the long way, through Donbury Wood, which lies, bye-the-bye, at the north end of Abbey-Mill Farm. I happen to know that there is a walking path from the Farm through the Wood, and out to the Turnpike Road.
My eyes were keen to catch the view that day, I can assure you. And industry and virtue were rewarded for, as we neared the Wood, I could see two figures standing in amongst the trees, one, a woman in black, the other a man in riding boots.
“Stop a moment, Abdy!” I said, in a voice that I hoped would not carry too far. “I see some fine flowers by the roadside that I simply must pick.” I leapt out of the carriage at once, and went scrambling up the bank. So intent were they on their criminal conversation that they never noticed me. I picked flowers at random, as slowly as I dared, waiting for the man’s face to become visible. All things come to he who waits, and at last, the man turned just enough for me to see who it was. I nearly fainted from the surprise, for there, before my eyes, drawn, thin, ashen white, was Knightley.
I was, of course, deeply shocked. I had always believed Knightley to be the soul of honor. But of course, there are circumstances that can drive a man to the utter depths. I cast my mind back and remembered how, when he first wed, he had moved into Hartfield! I had proclaimed it a shocking plan then, and knew it would never do. Mr. Woodhouse, with his extreme sensibility, would try the patience of a saint and that was the one virtue, obviously, that Knightley lacked. The last two years of Mr. Woodhouse’s life saw a great deal of absence on the part of Knightley. He went to London, he went to Kingston, in fact, he was always gone on business. Emma Woodhouse saw more of Knightley than did Emma Knightley. Granted, that seemed to have changed after Mr. Woodhouse’s death (such a gentleman, I miss him so), but I had the proof before my eyes that habits – and vices – once undertaken are hard to break.
These thoughts and many more raced through my mind. Weston had horses, but Knightley did not, except for those his wife had brought him. Who else but Knightley would be the one hiring from Abdy? Sending Weston for the bill was simply to throw sand in the eyes of anyone seeking to trace his steps. The guilt must be overwhelming, I thought, as Knightley looked out across the fields. I stirred not a hair, and he turned back to Harriet. They walked away. I scrambled back to my feet – grass stains everywhere, I noticed with dismay, on my delicate lawn – and ran back to the carriage.
“To Abbey-Mill Farm!” I cried.
“To where, ma’am?” Young Abdy turned and looked back at me, a picture of dismay.
“Abbey-Mill Farm,” I repeated. “I wish to take these beautiful flowers as a comfort to Mrs. Martin.”
“I don’t think that’s wise, ma’am,” Abdy said. Indeed, he looked very peculiar. And then it dawned upon me: Abdy was afraid! He knew that the man who was visiting Harriet Martin was the man who murdered Robert Martin, and that man was at the farm right at this moment. He had no intention of putting himself at risk by meeting up with the felon. A coward, that was what he was.
“Nonsense!” I said, with a surge of righteous triumph. “Pull yourself together, Abdy. Knightley is there, at this moment. We have the perfect opportunity to wield ‘the strong lance of justice’!”
To my dismay, my shock, my horror, Abdy jumped down from the carriage and said, “No, ma’am. I’m not going over to that farm, no, not for no amount of money. It’s all been a trick, it has. I don’t know how you found out, but I’m not going near there, and neither are you!” And he actually had me by the arm; he was dragging me out of the carriage!
“Help!” I cried. “Help! What are you doing? Help! He’s gone mad! Help!”
“Shut up!” Abdy hissed, and placed a coarse hand across my mouth. He was dragging me across the road, muttering into my ear, “I don’t know how you find out, you old besom, but by God, you’ll not tell anyone else. First to Westons, then out here. All those questions. You think I didn’t see Knightley over there in the trees? I know what you’re up to, sure enough. You think you’ll be having Mr. Knightley arrest me, but I’m not going to be hanged. But how did you find out? I swear I didn’t go there to kill him. It was all just a stupid quarrel over a harlot, and now I’ve got to do something about you…”
I was struggling furiously – obviously the man was completely mad – and I managed to tear my mouth free for one moment. “Help!” I screamed. “Help!”
The brute actually struck me, tumbling me to the ground. I looked up, to see his hand raised again. I shrank back, and another man grabbed Abdy from behind, spinning him around. It was Knightley. I saw him strike Abdy, and then I fainted.

I came to my senses in the parlor of Abbey-Mill Farm. Harriet Martin, blowsy as a dairy maid, with grass and mud all over the hem of her black skirts, was sitting beside me while her maid waved a vial of hartshorn under my nose. I coughed.
“Water,” I begged. I could still feel the ruffian’s hand across my face.
“Here you are, ma’am,” said the maid.
“How are you feeling?” Mrs. Martin asked.
“Shattered. Absolutely shattered.”
“Mr. Elton has been sent for, ma’am,” Betty said. “As has Mr. Perry. And that murdering ostler has been taken down to the jail and may they throw away the key! Whoever heard of the like?”
“And Mr. Knightley?” I asked, one eye upon Harriet Martin.
She did not even blush as she said, “He accompanied Harry, William and John into town, so that he could give evidence. He said to tell you that he hoped that you would forgive his attendance upon you, but he needed to ensure that Abdy would be in no position to threaten anyone again.”
“I should hope not!” I exclaimed. “Might I beg for some tea?”
“Of course,” Harriet said. “Betty, would you?”
“I’ll run and put the kettle on this minute, ma’am,” Betty said.
I lay there, after Betty had gone, trying to put all the pieces together. John Abdy, then, had killed Robert Martin. But then, what was Knightley doing out walking the woods with Harriet? And where did Weston fit into all of this? And how was I going to find out?
A carriage came clattering up the drive – undoubtedly Perry and Mr. E – and all was chaos. Harriet ran for the door, her handkerchief, scarf, gloves, and something white fluttering to the floor behind her. I managed to struggle to my feet and gather her belongings for her. The note I put into my pocket for safe-keeping, and sank back onto the sofa as everyone surged into the room.
My dear caro sposo, how shocked he was, how concerned, how devoted! He was all for Abdy being hanged that day, and everyone agreed. A little tea, and Mr. Perry decreed that I was quite fit to return home, so long as Mr. E drove carefully. I thanked Harriet and her Betty with a pretty little speech, and was helped into Perry’s carriage. We all waved goodbye, and I wondered how long it would be before Harriet would miss her note.

Of course, all anyone talked about in Highbury for weeks was John Abdy. How John Abdy sold a stud horse to Robert Martin, but somehow the horse was not… well, I need not go into that. There was a quarrel. Robert Martin made threats. John Abdy came out to see Robert Martin, and made certain… accusations. Robert Martin became violently angry. And Abdy, having a gun with him, shot Robert Martin in the north paddock. It was all irredeemably vulgar, and the conviction and hanging of John Abdy took no time at all.
Of course, the whole truth of it never did come out. I knew, but only because I read the note.
“My dearest,” it read, “It pains me to the utmost to say farewell to you, sweetest of all creatures, but K has made me see that this has been a madness. Such a sweet madness! But all must be over, forever. Some day you will find someone worthier than I to whom you can give your heart…” And much more arrant nonsense, but at the end, the signature: “W.”
So it had been Weston, after all, meeting Harriet in the woods every Thursday afternoon. Knightley must have gone to tell her that all was over. How like Weston, to palm off a reprehensible task on a man of such integrity. I have often wondered if Abdy had been blackmailing Weston. He certainly seems more cheerful these days, as does Knightley. It might also help that Harriet Martin has removed to Yarmouth, where her sister-in-law lives. I am sure she has made herself an adornment to that sea-side resort.
The only vexation has been that I cannot see any utility to our knowledge, other than my own private amusement. However, I have heard that Emma Knightley has hired a nursery-maid who is far too young and pretty for her station. Considering that “W” has entangled himself with Emma’s governess and Emma’s friend, I feel certain of the sequel. It may become my duty to warn someone. And, despite my acute sensibilities, I have never shirked my duty.