"Ah, Anna, come in. There's something I wish to discuss with you."

"What is it, Mrs Hughes?"

"Have a seat."

She did.

"It's come to my attention that you and Mr Bates have become good friends?"

"I'd say that's true of all of us."

"I think you know what I mean."

"I'm afraid I don't." She blinked.

The Housekeeper frowned.

"Mrs Hughes, Mr Bates is a decent man of good character. Or wouldn't you agree?"

"I would."

"Then why shouldn't I be friends with him?"

Mrs Hughes sighed. "You're right, Anna. I apologize if I judged your friendship wrongly."

Anna stood to leave.

"Just . . . be careful, girl."