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'Very ill.'

'You have seen him?'

'I have.'

'Are you reconciled?'

I could not say Yes, I could not say No. She slightly turned her
head towards the spot where Rosa Dartle had been standing at her
elbow, and in that moment I said, by the motion of my lips, to
Rosa, 'Dead!'

That Mrs. Steerforth might not be induced to look behind her, and
read, plainly written, what she was not yet prepared to know, I met
her look quickly; but I had seen Rosa Dartle throw her hands up in
the air with vehemence of despair and horror, and then clasp them
on her face.

The handsome lady - so like, oh so like! - regarded me with a fixed
look, and put her hand to her forehead. I besought her to be calm,
and prepare herself to bear what I had to tell; but I should rather
have entreated her to weep, for she sat like a stone figure.

'When I was last here,' I faltered, 'Miss Dartle told me he was
sailing here and there. The night before last was a dreadful one
at sea. If he were at sea that night, and near a dangerous coast,
as it is said he was; and if the vessel that was seen should really
be the ship which -'

'Rosa!' said Mrs. Steerforth, 'come to me!'

She came, but with no sympathy or gentleness. Her eyes gleamed
like fire as she confronted his mother, and broke into a frightful

'Now,' she said, 'is your pride appeased, you madwoman? Now has he
made atonement to you - with his life! Do you hear? - His life!'

Mrs. Steerforth, fallen back stiffly in her chair, and making no
sound but a moan, cast her eyes upon her with a wide stare.

'Aye!' cried Rosa, smiting herself passionately on the breast,
'look at me! Moan, and groan, and look at me! Look here!' striking
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