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but Walter, who on the whole considered them? They have asked me up for the her something of an authority on art, and fag-end of the season. I always told you was not unwilling to accept her guidance my season was the very end; and the reto some extent, was here a very agreeable sult is, I am quite fresh when you jaded companion. She had just intimated to revellers have had too much of it, and him her desire to look at something of are eager to hurry away." which the artist had been speaking to her for Katie considered it her duty even in presence of society to show a certain regard for the pictures, as the supposed object of the meeting and taking his arm was going on to the corner indicated, when somebody all at once made a little movement towards them with a quick exclamation of pleasure, and saying, "Walter!" suddenly laid a finger upon Lord Erradeen's unoccupied arm.
This sudden incident produced a curious dramatic effect amid the many groups of this elegant company. Some of the bystanders even were attracted, and one enterprising young painter took in his mind's eye an instantaneous sketch of the three figures enacting a scene in the genteel comedy of life. Walter in the midst, startled, looking a little guilty, yet not losing his composure, replied readily enough, "Julia!" holding out his hand to the somewhat eager stranger, who leaned forward towards him with sparkling eyes, and the most arch and smiling expression of pleasure and interest. Katie, on the other hand, held back a little, and looked very gravely at the meeting, with a manifest absence in her countenance of that pleasure which the others expressed, whether they felt it or not. She did not withdraw from Walter's arm, or separate herself in any way, but gazed at the newcomer who addressed him so familiarly with a look of grave inspection. Katie meant to look dignified, and as a girl should look who was the lawful possessor of the attention to which an illegitimate claimant had thus appeared; but her fig. ure was not adapted for expressing dig. nity. She was shorter than Julia, and less imposing, and her beauté du diable could not bear comparison with Miss Herbert's really fine features and charming figure. Julia was as much, or indeed more, a country girl than the other; but she was much handsomer, and had all the instincts of society. Her face was radiant with smiles as she gave her hand to Walter, and half permitted, half compelled him to hold it a moment longer than was necessary in his.
"I thought we could not be long of meeting," she said, "and that you were sure to be here. I am with my cousins the Tom Herberts. I suppose you know
And indeed she looked fresh, glowing, and eager, and full of life and pleasure; her vivid looks seemed to take the color out of Katie, who still stood with her hand upon Walter's arm. For his part he did not know what to do. "You would not think, to look round these rooms, that it was the fag-end of the season," he said.
"Ah! that's your usual benevolence to make me think less of my disadvantages," said Julia. "You know I don't encourage illusions on that subject. You must come and see me. You must be made acquainted with my cousins, if you don't know them."
"In the mean time, Lord Erradeen, will you take me to my father, please," said Katie, on his arm.
"Oh," cried Julia, “don't let me detain you now. We have just come. You'll find me presently, Walter, when you are at liberty. No, go, go, we shall have plenty of time afterwards for our talks. I insist upon your going now."
And she dismissed him with a beaming smile, with a little pat on his arm as if it had been she who was his lawful proprietor, not Katie. Miss Williamson said nothing for the moment, but she resisted Walter's attempt to direct her towards the picture she had meant to visit. think I will go to papa," she said. "I must not detain you, Lord Erradeen, from your friend."
"That doesn't matter," said Walter; "I shall see her again. Let us do what we intended to do. What is the etiquette on such an occasion, Miss Williamson? Would it be correct for me, a mere man, to introduce two ladies to each other? You know I am a novice in society. I look for instruction to you."
"I can't tell, I am sure," said Katie. "I don't think the case has occurred to me before. You seem to know the lady very well, Lord Erradeen?"
"I have known her almost all my life," Walter replied, not quite at his ease. "We have played together, I suppose. She comes from Sloebury where my mother is living. They have all sorts of fine connections, but they are poor, as you would divine from what she said."
"I did not listen to what she said. Conversation not addressed to one's self,"
said Katie, with some severity, one has nothing to do with. I could see of course that you were on the most friendly terms." "Oh, on quite friendly terms!" said Walter; he could not for his life have prevented a little laugh from escaping him, a laugh of consciousness and amusement and embarrassment. And Katie, who was full of suspicion, pricked up her little ears.
"I should have said on terms that were more than friendly," she said in a voice that was not without a certain sharp tone. Walter laughed again with that imbecility to which all men are subject when pressed upon such a question.
"Can anything be better than friendly?" he said. "Poor Julia! she has a very kind heart. Was not this the picture you wanted to see?"
Óh," cried Katie, "I have forgotten all about the picture! This little incident has put it out of my head. Human interest is superior to art. Perhaps if you had not left Sloebury, if your circumstances had not changed, your friendship might have changed into-something warmer, as people say."
according to all the rules, Katie. I'm astonished you have not had one before." Walter heard this speech as well as Katie, and it threw the last gleam of reality on the position in which he stood. That he was looked upon by her father as her lover, and no doubt by herself_too, or what would the encounter with Julia have mattered to her, was plain enough. He had known it vaguely before, but only from his own side of the question, and had debated it as a matter of expediency to himself. But when he saw it from the other side, recognizing with a shock that they too had something to say in the matter, and coming right up against that barrier of a must, which was so obnoxious to his character, everything took a very different aspect. And Julia, too, had assumed an air of property - had made a certain claim of right in respect to him. What! was he to be made a slave, and deprived of free action in respect to the most important act of his life, because he had freely accepted invitations that were pressed upon him? The thing was ridic ulous, he said to himself, with some heat. It might be well for him to offer himself to Katie, but to have a virtual demand made upon him, and acknowledge a necessity, that was not to be borne. Still less. was he likely to acknowledge any right on the part of Julia Herbert. In her case he was altogether without responsibility, he said to himself; and even in the other, was it a natural consequence of Mr. Williamson's perpetual invitations and hospitality that he should put himself at the disposal of Mr. Williamson's daughter? "But I don't want to go," Walter said. He seemed to hear that worthy's laugh "Oh, that is impossible; when Miss pealing after him as he took his way has Julia I am sure I beg your pardon, tily in the opposite direction to that in for I don't know her other name was which he had met Julia, with a determinaso kind as to tell you where to find her. tion to yield to neither. "A tiff!" and, You must want to get rid of me. Papa, "according to all the rules! A lovers' give me your arm; I want to show you quarrel, that was what the man meant; something." and who was he that he should venture to assume that Lord Erradeen was his daughter's lover?
"Who can tell?" cried Walter in his vanity; "but in that case we should have been two poverties together, and that you know would never do."
"I am no judge,” cried Katie; "but at all events you are not a poverty now, and there is no reason-oh, there is papa; he is talking to that ambassador-but never mind. Patience for another min ute, Lord Erradeen, till we can make our way to him, and then you shall go."
"Eh! what do you want to show me, Katie? I'm no judge, you know. You will find it very much better, I'm confi dent, to show it to young Erradeen."
"Thank you, Lord Erradeen," said Katie, making him a curtsey. She took her father's almost reluctant arm, and turned him suddenly away at once from his ambassador, and from Walter, who stood astonished to find himself thus thrown off. "Look here, papa, it is in this direction," the young lady said.
Mr. Williamson's voice was rather louder than good manners allowed. "What! is it a tiff?" he said, with a laugh. "That's
Walter hurried through the rooms in the opposite direction, till he got near the great staircase, with its carpeted avenue, between the hedges of flowers, and the group of smiling, bowing, picturesque Academicians in every variety of beard, still receiving the late, and speeding the parting guests. But fate was too much here for the angry young man. Before he had reached the point of exit, he felt once more that tap on his arm. "Walter! I believe he is running away," said a voice close to him; and there was Julia,
"Ah! so are we country neighbors, amis d'enfance: but I don't go everywhere, Lord Erradeen. Yes, I called you Walter; that was for a purpose, to pique her curiosity, to make her ask who was that forward, horrid girl. Did she? I hope she was piqued."
"I heard nothing about any forward, horrid girl. She is not that sort of person. But I prefer to hear about yourself rather than to discuss Miss Williamson. When did you come? and where are you? What a pity," Walter said hypocritically, that you come so late."
Sir Thomas, who was tired, protested audibly against being detained; but his wife, more wise, caught him by the arm," and imposed patience.
"Can't you see!" she cried in his ear, "what a chance it is for Julia: Lord Er radeen, a most eligible young man. And think the anxiety she is, and that one never can be sure what she may do." "She is a horrid little coquette; and you may be sure the man means nothing serious, unless he is a fool!" growled Sir Thomas. But his wife replied calmly, "Most men are fools; and she is not a bad-hearted creature, though she must have some one dangling after her. Don't let us interfere with her chance, poor thing. I shall ask him to dinner," Lady Herbert said. And Sir Thomas, though he was rather a tyrant at home, and hated late hours, was kept kicking his heels in the vestibule, snarling at everybody who attempted to approach for nearly an hour by the clock. So far, even in the most worldly bosoms, do conscientious benevolence and family affection go.
Come, quick!" said Julia, "out of hearing of Maria. She wants to hear everything; and I have so many things to ask you. Is it all settled? That was Her, of course. How we used to laugh about Miss Williamson! But I knew all the time it would come true. Of course that was her," Julia said, leaning closely upon his arm and looking up into his face. "I don't know what you mean by her. It is Miss Williamson certainly," he said. "I was sure of it! She is not so pretty as I should have expected from your good taste. But why should she be pretty? She has so many other charms. Indeed, now that I think of it, it would have been mean of her to be pretty. And is it all settled?" Julia said.
She looked at him with eyes half laughing, half reproachful, full of provocation. She was as a matter of fact slightly alarmed, but not half so much as she said. "I am not aware what there is to settle. We are country neighbors, and I meet them frequently: they go everywhere." VOL. XLIII, 2187
Ah, isn't it? but what then? We are too poor to think of the season. This is what one's fine friends always do. They ask us for the last week, when everything is stifled in dust when all you revellers are dead tired and want nothing so much as to go away-then is the moment for poor relations. But mind that you come to Bruton Street," Julia said. "It gives me consequence. They are not very much in society, and a title always tells.'
"You do not leave any ground for my vanity. I am not to suppose that I am asked for any other reason.'
Julia pressed his arm a little with her fingers. She sighed and gave him a look full of meaning.
"The Tom Herberts will think a great deal of you," she said; "they will instantly ask you to dinner. As for me what am I that I should express any feeling? We are country neighbors, as you were say ing. But enough of me. Let us return to our lamb," cried Julia. "Tell me, have you seen a great deal of her? How little I thought when we used to laugh about Miss Williamson that it would come true."
"It has come true as it began, in your imagination," said Walter, provoked, and thinking the reiteration vulgar. He was aware that a great many people who knew him were remarking the air with which this new young lady hung upon his arm. They were not equal in this respect. She had few acquaintances, and did not care, nay, would have been pleased that she should be remarked; whereas he began to throb with impatience and eager desire to get away from the comment he foresaw, and from the situation altogether. Julia was very pretty, more pretty and sparkling in the pleasure of having met and secured him thus at the very outset of her tooshort and too-late campaign in town, than he had ever known her, and there was nothing that was objectionable in her dress. The Tom Herberts were people
against whom nothing could be said. And put Julia in her cousin's carriage, and
steps of Burlington House amid all the shouts of the servants and clang of the hoofs and carriages, himself too much bewildered to know what he was doing. After a while he returned to get his coat, and walked home with the sense of hav ing woke out of a most unpleasant dream, which somehow was true.
yet Lord Erradeen, himself not much responded as best he could to the "Now, more than a novice, felt that to everybody remember to-morrow!" which she called whom they met, Julia would be truly a to him from the window, he was just in country neighbor, a girl whom no one time to see Mr. Williamson's honest knew, and whose object, to secure a recre- countenance with a most puzzled aspect ant lover, would be jumped at by many directed to him from the window of the fine observant eyes. There was no return next as the footman closed the door. The of tenderness in his sentiments towards good man waved his hand by way of goodher. Indeed there had been no tender-night, but his look was perplexed and unness in his sentiments at any time he said comfortable. Waiter stood behind on the to himself with some indignation, which made it all the more hard that he should thus be exhibited as her captive before the eyes of assembled London now. But notwithstanding his impatience he could not extricate himself from Julia's toils. When, after various little pretences of going to see certain pictures, which she never looked at, she suffered him to take her back to her friends, Lady Herbert showed herself most gracious to the young man. She begged that as Julia and he were, as she heard, very old friends, he would come to Bruton Street whenever it suited him. Would he dine there to-morrow, next day? It would give Sir Thomas and herself the greatest pleasure. Dear Julia, unfortunately, had come to town so late: there was scarcely anything going on to make it worth her while; and it would be so great a pleasure to her to see something of her old friend. Julia gave him little looks of satirical comment aside while her cousin made these little speeches, and whispers still more emphatic as he accompanied her down stairs in the train of the Herberts, who were too happy to get away after waiting an hour for the young lady. "Don't you think it is beautiful to see how concerned she is for my pleasure and so sorry that I have come so late! The truth is that she is delighted to make your acquaintance. But come, do come, all the same," she said, her cheek almost touching Walter's shoulder as she looked up to him.
Need it be doubted that with the usual malign disposition of affairs at such a crisis, the Williamsons' carriage drew up behind that of the Herberts, and that Walter had to encounter the astonished gaze of good Mr. Williamson, and the amused but not very friendly look of Katie as he appeared in this very intimate conjunction? Julia's face so full of delighted and affectionate dependence raised towards him, and his own head stooped towards her to hear what she was saying. He scarcely could turn aside now to give them one deprecating glance, praying for a suspension of judgment. When he had
As for Katie she drove home without a remark, while her father talked and wondered, and feared lest they had been "ill bred" to Lord Erradeen. "He came with us, and he would naturally calculate on coming home with us," the good man said. But Katie took no notice. She was "a wilful monkey" as he had often said, and sometimes it would happen to her like this, to take her own way. When they reached the hotel, Captain Underwood, of all people in the world, was standing in the hall with the sleepy waiter who had waited up for them. "I thought perhaps Erradeen might be with you," the captain. said apologetically. Katie, who on ordinary occasions could not endure him, made some gracious reply, and asked him to come in with the most unusual condescension though it was so late. "Lord Erradeen is not with us," she said. found some friends, people just newly come to town, so far as I could judge, a Miss Julia - I did not catch her name somebody from Sloebury."
"Oh!" said Underwood, excited by his good fortune, "Julia Herbert. Poor Erradeen! just when he wanted to be with you! Well, that's hard; but perhaps he deserved it."
"What did he deserve? I supposed," said Katie, "from the way they talked, that they were old friends.'
Underwood did not in his heart wish to injure Walter, rather the other way; he wanted him to marry Katie, whose wealth was dazzling even to think of. But Walter had not behaved well to him, and he could not resist the temptation of reven ging himself, especially as he was aware like all the rest, that a lovers' quarrel is a necessary incident in a courtship. He smiled accordingly and said, "I know:
they are such old friends that the lady perhaps has some reason to think that Erradeen has used her rather badly. He is that kind of a fellow, you know: he must always have some one to amuse himself with. He used to be dangling after her to no end, singing duets, and that sort of thing. Sloebury is the dullest | place in creation: there was nothing else to do."
such competition? But he was made up of contradictions, and this was how it befell. The streets were still hot and breathless after the beating of the sun all day upon the unshaded pavements and close lines of houses. It was sweet to feel in imagi. nation the ripple of the mountain air, the coolness of the woods and water. But it was only in imagination. Oona with her wistful sweet eyes was as far from him, as far off as heaven itself. And in the mean time he had a sufficiently difficult imbroglio of affairs on hand.
Katie made very little demonstration. She pressed her lips tightly together for a moment and then she said, "You see, papa, it was not ill-bred, but the most po- Next morning Lord Erradeen had made lite thing you could have done to leave up his mind. He had passed a disturbed Lord Erradeen. Good-night, Captain Un- and uneasy night. There was no longer derwood." And she swept out of the any possibility of delay. Oona, after all, room with her candle, her silken train was but a vision. Two or three days rustling after her, as though it was too full what was that to fix the color of a life? of indignation with the world. Her fa- He would always remember, always be ther stood somewhat blankly gazing after grateful to her. She had come to his her. He turned to the other with a plain-succor in the most terrible moment. tive look when she was gone.
"Man," said Mr. Williamson, "I would not have said that. Don't you see there is a tiff, a kind of a coolness, and it is just making matters worse? Will you take anything? No? Well it is late, as you say, and I will bid you good-night."
when he rose from his uneasy sleep, there was in him a hurrying impulsion which he seemed unable to resist. Something that was not his own will urged and hastened him. Since he had known Katie all had gone well. He would put it, he thought, beyond his own power to change, he It was thus that the effect produced by would go to her that very morning and Julia's appearance was made decisive. make his peace and decide his life. That Walter for his part, walking slowly along she might refuse him did not occur to in the depth of the night towards his Walter. He had a kind of desire to hurry rooms, was in the most curiously compli- to the hotel before breakfast, which would cated state of feeling. He was angry and have been indecorous and ridiculous, to indignant both at Miss Herbert's encoun- get it over. Indeed, so strong was the ter, and the assumption on the part of the impulse in him to do this, that he had Williamsons that it was to them that his actually got his hat and found himself in attention belonged; and he was disturbed the street, breakfastless, before it occurred and uneasy at the interruption of that to him how absurd it was. He returned very smooth stream which was not indeed after this and went through the usual true love, but yet was gliding on to a sim- morning routine, though always with a ilar consummation. These were his sen- certain breathless sense of something that timents on the surface; but underneath hurried him on. As soon as he thought other feelings found play. The sense that it becoming, he set out with a half-solemn one neutralized the other, and that he was feeling of self-renunciation, almost of in the position of having suddenly re- sacrifice. If 'twere done when 'tis done, covered his freedom, filled his mind with then 'twere well it were done quickly. secret elation. After he had expended a This was not a very lover-like frame of good deal of irritated feeling upon the girl mind. He felt that he was giving up whom he felt to be pursuing him, and her everything that was visionary, the poetry whom he pursued, there suddenly came of vague ideals, and even more, the inbefore his eyes a vision, soft, and fresh, spiration of that face, the touch of that and cool, which came like the sweet High-hand which had been as soft as snow. land air in his face, as he went along the Katie's hand was a very firm and true hot London street Oona standing on one. It would give him an honest help the beach, looking out from her isle, upon in the world; and with her by his side the departing guest. What right had he the other kind of aid, he said to himself, to think of Oona? What was there in would be unnecessary. No conflict with that dilemma to suggest to him a being the powers of darkness would be forced so much above it, a creature so frank yet upon him. His heated imagination adoptproud, who never could have entered any ed these words in haste, and did not