Miss Miller could not speak at first
She had been the greatest help to him in his career
He murmured. Of course he understood. It was only natural. He could guess what his wife had meant to her.
“I’ve been so happy here,” she said, looking round. Her eyes rested on the writing table behind him. It was here they had worked-she and Angela. For Angela had her share of the duties that fall to the lot of a prominent politician’s wife. He had often seen her and Sissy sitting at that table-Sissy at the typewriter, taking down letters from her dictation. No doubt Miss Miller was thinking of that, too. Now all he had to do was to give her the brooch his wife had left her. A rather incongruous gift it seemed. It might have been better to have left her a sum of money, or even the typewriter. But there it was-“For Sissy Miller, with my love.” And, taking the brooch, he gave it her with the little speech that he had prepared. He knew, he said, that she would value it. His wife had often worn it. And installment loans IA she replied, as she took it almost as if she too had prepared a speech, that it would always be a treasured possession. She had, he supposed, other clothes upon which a pearl brooch would not look quite so incongruous. She was wearing the little black coat and skirt that seemed the uniform of her profession. Then he remembered-she was in mourning, of course. She, too, had had her tragedy-a brother, to who m she was devoted, had died only a week or two before Angela. In some accident was it? He could not remember-only Angela telling him. Angela, with her genius for sympathy, had been terribly upset. Meanwhile Sissy Miller had risen. Evidently she felt that she ought not to intrude. But he could not let her go without saying something about her future. What were her plans? Was there any way in which he could help her?
She was gazing at the table, where she had sat at her typewriter, where the diary lay. And, lost in her memories of Angela, she did not at once answer his sug gestion that he should help her. She seemed for a moment not to understand. So he repeated:
He took her to mean that she was in no need of financial assistance. It would be better, he realized, to make any suggestion of that kind in a letter. All he could do now was to say as he pressed her hand, “Remember, Miss Miller, if there’s any way in which I can help you, it will be a pleasure. ” Then he opened the door. For a moment, on the threshold, as if a sudden thought had struck her, she stopped.
“Mr. Clandon,” she said, looking straight at him for the first time, and for the first time he was struck by the expression, sympathetic yet searching, in her eyes. “If at any time,” she continued, “there’s anything I can do to help you, remember, I shall feel it, for your wife’s sake, a pleasure. “
She was putting on her gloves
With that she was gone. Her words and the look that went with them were unexpected. It was almost as if she believed, or hoped, that he would need her. A curious, perhaps a fantastic idea occurred to him as he returned to his chair. Could it be, that during all those years when he had scarcely noticed her, she, as the novelists say, had entertained a passion for him? He caught his own reflection in the glass as he passed. He was over fifty; but he could not help admitting that he was still, as the looking-glass showed him, a very distinguished-looking man.