Nanny appeared impossibly old. She belonged to the house, and drifted from corridor to corridor, room to room, as if she were part of its very life blood. She was a small woman, no taller than 5 foot, and she seemed to thin more and more with each passing year, as if one day she might simply vanish unnoticed into the wallpaper. Her features were sharp, accentuated in old age by wafer-thin skin which hung from high cheekbones, giving her a gaunt, almost emaciated appearance. In her youth she had possessed an astonishing and intimidating beauty, but the years had not been kind, and those cheekbones, coupled with a razor-sharp jaw line and narrow, puckered lips, created a look reminiscent of a desperate crow. She would have been terrifying, Ada often thought, were it not for a softness that had found home in those ancient green eyes. Even when her tone held nothing but reproach, as was often the case, those eyes radiated nothing but an honest, and unwavering love. If Ada had known more of life, of its potency and pain, she might have read that softness as sadness. There was a slowness and whispery flow to her movements that so often suggested she was somewhere else entirely, reliving a past moment in a past life. Ada’s voice would draw her back to the present, and she’d smile and stroke her hair, and look at the young girl as if seeing her for the first time. How wonderful, the old woman thought, to know so little of life, that she could not perceive the scars, etched, unhealed, on the windows of the soul.