Chapter Four's illustration can be found here, and I thank Julia very much for having inspired the statue-like pause experienced by my protagonist.
The emotions contained in that one lovely lady as she stood before her mirror were so powerful and so chilling that they literally froze her into a statue of herself. The lovely lady remained a statue for a very, very long time. You will possibly not believe me when I tell you this, dear reader, but that is of no consequence, for the truth is always stranger than fiction. You see, the lady remained a statue for many, many months. In fact, for almost a year. Or thereabouts. Until, one bright morning, without the slightest warning, the statue liberated itself into the image of the lovely lady reflected in the mirror, and this lovely lady could hear, crystal clear, the sound of a horse-drawn carriage making its way down the pebbled driveway. She heard the carriage stop in front of her house. She heard the faint social mutterings of a visitor. She heard the brisk footsteps of her maid, a knocking outside her bedroom, and the lovely lady could now see her maid’s bright, pink-cheeked face peeking in through a crack in the door. Apparently, a visitor had arrived, insisting that she was expected. “A proper lady, ma’am, terribly tall with a long black dress and quite the strangest hat I have ever seen.” She had asked her to sit in the drawing room. To wait.
The lovely lady stood and thought, and thought some more, and then she remembered something, and forgot something, and she touched the ring. The ring was firmly lodged on her slim and elegant finger, and as she pulled and twisted it the ring simply became tighter and tighter, until the skin around it was red and swollen and chafed. Tears sprang to her eyes as she confronted her dilemma of the jewel thief, the precious ring, and the strange visiting woman waiting for her in the drawing room. As if in a trance, the lovely lady slowly walked towards her wardrobe and carefully dressed herself in the sprigged muslin dress with the pearl buttons, the lace collar and the deep pockets. Tucking her left hand into a pocket, she walked resolutely out of the bedroom, down the staircase and along the corridor. She paused for a moment, gave her hair a little pat, secured a loose pin, smoothed a rebellious curl, breathed in, and out, and turned the doorknob.