That was just the way it began.
At the sight of that letter in Mrs. Conway's hands, a storm of emotion swept over Pearl, even before she remembered just what she had said.
But as phrase after phrase flashed before her eyes and seemed actually to tingle down to the tips of her fingers, she sprang like an animal at its prey, and would have had it, too, if it had not been for Mr. Albertson, who catching her elbow as she went by, not only stopped her, but spun her completely round--so vigorous had been her motion.
Frustrated in action, Pearl burst into speech. She said that she must and would have that letter back; she said that opening other people's letters was a state's prison offense; she went on like a maniac, and every word she uttered made Mr. Albertson feel more and more convinced that the letter must be read. Still, he was a chivalrous man; he believed in chivalry as some people believe in Christianity--as the important highway in their lives, from which at moments they are obliged to stray.
"Now look, girlie," he said again, in accents even more honeyed, "don't excite yourself. Why would you mind me reading your letter, which I see is to another lady?"
"It's none of your business why I mind," said Pearl. "I just do. Oh, Mr. Wood," she said, turning to Anthony, "don't let them read my letter!"