Upon this the visitor had to confess herself nonplussed; for, though capable of growing hysterical, she was incapable of propounding any rational theory. Consequently she felt the more that she needed tender comfort and advice.
"Then THIS is what I think about the dead souls," said the hostess. Instantly the guest pricked up her ears (or, rather, they pricked themselves up) and straightened herself and became, somehow, more modish, and, despite her not inconsiderable weight, posed herself to look like a piece of thistledown floating on the breeze.
"The dead souls," began the hostess.
"Are what, are what?" inquired the guest in great excitement.
"Tell me, tell me, for heaven's sake!"
"They are an invention to conceal something else. The man's real object is, is--TO ABDUCT THE GOVERNOR'S DAUGHTER."
So startling and unexpected was this conclusion that the guest sat reduced to a state of pale, petrified, genuine amazement.
"My God!" she cried, clapping her hands, "I should NEVER have guessed it!"