Miss Dartle glanced at me, as though she would inquire if there were anything that I desired to ask. As there was something which had occurred to my mind, I said in reply:
'I could wish to know from this - creature,' I could not bring myself to utter any more conciliatory word, 'whether they intercepted a letter that was written to her from home, or whether he supposes that she received it.'
He remained calm and silent, with his eyes fixed on the ground, and the tip of every finger of his right hand delicately poised against the tip of every finger of his left.
Miss Dartle turned her head disdainfully towards him.
'I beg your pardon, miss,' he said, awakening from his abstraction, 'but, however submissive to you, I have my position, though a servant. Mr. Copperfield and you, miss, are different people. If Mr. Copperfield wishes to know anything from me, I take the liberty of reminding Mr. Copperfield that he can put a question to me. I have a character to maintain.'
After a momentary struggle with myself, I turned my eyes upon him, and said, 'You have heard my question. Consider it addressed to yourself, if you choose. What answer do you make?'
'Sir,' he rejoined, with an occasional separation and reunion of those delicate tips, 'my answer must be qualified; because, to betray Mr. james's confidence to his mother, and to betray it to you, are two different actions. It is not probable, I consider, that Mr. James would encourage the receipt of letters likely to increase low spirits and unpleasantness; but further than that, sir, I should wish to avoid going.'
'Is that all?' inquired Miss Dartle of me.