There is one mysterious passage, for instance, occurring right in the middle of the letter, beginning, To turn the heel, knit to three beyond the seam-stitch, knit two together, purl one, turn: then knit ten, knit two together, knit one, purl one ... introduced by an airy, "By the way, dear, before I forget" which appears to have no bearing on the context whatever.
"Yes, only thirty-five heads," repeated Madame Simon, shaking her head; "I have just been counting on my stocking, and I find only thirty-five seam-stitches, for every seam-stitch means a head. For such a little affair we have had to sit six hours in the wet and cold on the platform. The machine works too slowly, I say altogether too slowly.
Her knitting-work lay upon the stand beside her; three of the needles formed a triangle, and the fourth was thrust through the stocking, in a way that betokened a strange tumult in the owner, for never, save when it was the sign of some great calamity, had aunt Hannah been known to lay down her knitting except at the seam-stitch.