I noticed these objects cursorily only -- in them there was nothing extraordinary.
A group of more interest appeared near the hearth, sitting still amidst the rosy peace and warmth suffusing it.
Two young, graceful women -- ladies in every point -- sat, one in a low rocking-chair, the other on a lower stool;
both wore deep mourning of crape and bombazeen, which sombre garb singularly set off very fair necks and faces:
a large old pointer dog rested its massive head on the knee of one girl
in the lap of the other was cushioned a black cat.
A strange place was this humble kitchen for such occupants! Who were they?
They could not be the daughters of the elderly person at the table;
for she looked like a rustic, and they were all delicacy and cultivation.
I had nowhere seen such faces as theirs: and yet, as I gazed on them, I seemed intimate with every lineament.
I cannot call them handsome -- they were too pale and grave for the word:
as they each bent over a book, they looked thoughtful almost to severity.
A stand between them supported a second candle and two great volumes, to which they frequently referred,
comparing them, seemingly, with the smaller books they held in their hands,
like people consulting a dictionary to aid them in the task of translation.
This scene was as silent as if all the figures had been shadows and the firelit apartment a picture:
so hushed was it, I could hear the cinders fall from the grate, the clock tick in its obscure corner;
and I even fancied I could distinguish the click-click of the woman's knitting-needles.
When, therefore, a voice broke the strange stillness at last, it was audible enough to me.