Alfred coloured. "I don't know where to find him just now."
"Oh, indeed," said Mrs. Dodd quietly: and this excited her suspicion; and from that moment the cunning creature lay in wait for Master Alfred. She plied him with questions, and he got more and more puzzled how to sustain his story. At last, by way of bursting out of his own net, he said, "But I am sorry to say his hair has turned white. But perhaps you won't mind that."
"It is not grey, like the doctor's: it is as white as the driven snow."
Mrs. Dodd sighed; then suddenly turning on Alfred, asked him, "Did the sailor tell you that?"
He hesitated a moment and was lost.
"You have seen him," she screamed; "he is in London: he is in the house. I feel him near me:" and she went into something very like hysterics. Alfred was alarmed, and whispered the truth. The doctor sent him off to meet them, and recommended caution; her nerves were in such a state a violent shock, even of happiness, might kill her.
Thus warned, Julia came into the room alone, and while Dr. Sampson was inculcating self-restraint for her own sake, she listened with a superior smile, and took quite a different line. "Mamma," said she, "he is in the town; but I dare not bring him here till you are composed: his reason is restored; but his nerves are not so strong as they were. Now, if you agitate yourself, you will agitate him, and will do him a serious mischief."
This crafty speech produced an incredible effect on Mrs. Dodd. It calmed her directly: or rather her great love gave her strength to be calm. "I will not be such a wretch," she said. "See: I am composed, quite composed. Bring me my darling, and you shall see how good I will be: there now, Julia, see how calm I am, quite calm. What, have I borne so much misery, with Heaven's help, and do you think I cannot bear this great happiness for my dear darling's sake?"