She was alone, or so I thought, when I made my first bow to her stern but not unpleasing presence. Seated in a great chair, with a silver tray before her containing such little matters as she stood in hourly need of, she confronted me with a piercing gaze startling to behold in eyes so colourless. Then she smiled, and in obedience to that smile I seated myself in a chair placed very near her own. Was she too paralysed to express herself clearly? I waited in some anxiety till she spoke, when this fear vanished. Her voice betrayed the character her features failed to express. It was firm, resonant, and instinct with command. Not loud, but penetrating, and of a quality which made one listen with his heart as well as with his ears. What she said is immaterial. I was there for a certain purpose and we entered immediately upon the business of that purpose. She talked and I listened, mostly without comment. Only once did I interrupt her with a suggestion; and as this led to definite results, I will proceed to relate the occurrence in full.