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hold of one to whom something dear and rare has been restored. “Was this a part of the original plan of your journeyings?"
“No; but my business led me within sight of Old Windbeam--("a frosty pow’his is, just now!)—and it acted upon me as did the Iron Mountain of the Arabian Nights upon the hapless ships that approached it. It drew out the nails of doubt as to the best course for me to pursue ;
the screws of resolution not to be turned aside by memories of the past and the allurements of the present. To be brief, I collapsed utterly ! took the afternoon train to Dundee, and passed, in that retreat from briefs and busybodies, the happiest Sabbath I have known since last August."
“Euna wrote to me about it; the lovely, precise old darling! She never indulges in extravagances upon any subject, but her concise sentences mean much, and these said how she enjoyed the day, and your music. I was envious of her, when I read of it; just for a moment, of course. I have seen so much of you this winter it seemed mean and selfish in me to grudge her one day of like pleasure.”
“Envy so groundless could not but be evanescent,” said Orrin, with admirable gravity. “ But tell me about yourself. What have you been doing while I was
“Cultivating envy, as I said; and, I am not positive, but wrath and all uncharitableness as well. Who is it that confesses to an instant uprising of all that is wicked in his nature at the approach of trouble, while visible blessing always moves him to thankful piety? I am afraid I am similarly constituted. I have been dull and dumpish' for a week and more; choosing to quarrel with the three peas under the fourteen feather-beds, rather than enjoy the good that is certainly mine. You see I also am versed in fairy-lore.”
“I remember that the disguised princess, at being asked why she was haggard in the morning after the night spent in the forester's cabin, betrayed her gentle breeding by complaining of the lumps in her mountainous couch. Fourteen feather-beds! Think of it! To sleep amid the waves of one of the Dutch abominations is enough to engender dyspepsia, apoplexy, and spleen. But what were the three peas in your bed of roses ?”
“ It has rained four days out of eight, my Germany letter was behind time, and I missed my brother-cousin at every turn,” responded Jessie bravely, vexed that anything in the enumeration should make her cheek put on the sudden flame of poppies.
“ Two valid and sufficient reasons for ennui ! As for the third, and notably the least of all, I thank you for the welcome implied by it. I have missed you,
and,"-faltering a little-"in better spirits than when you left us."
"Mr. Wyllys !” interrupted a consequential personage--a young-old bachelor. “ Excuse me, Miss Kirke, but this is business of importance !"
He spoke a sentence aside to Orrin, who replied briefly in the same tone.
“Mr. Hurst is acting as master of ceremonies tonight, comme à l'ordinaire,” observed Wyllys, moving on with his companion. “How will Hamilton parties get on after he dies, or marries, I wonder? There has been an addition to the ranks of fashion during my absence, I find. I had hardly finished my bow to Mrs. and Miss Provost, when Warren Provost presented me forcibly to Miss Sanford. I learned, before I went three steps farther, that this party is given to Miss Sanford, and now Mr. Hurst tells me that I am expected, presently, to dance with Miss Sanford. Who is Miss Sanford ?”
Jessie comprehending, at once, that he shunned further reference to the state of his spirits at their parting, followed his lead away from the subject with alacrity.
“Miss Sanford is the daughter of Judge Provost's sister, and such an heiress! An American Miss Burdett Coutts, if half the stories in circulation about her be true. She is the only child of a five-millionaire, and has, besides, a million in her own right, inherited from her mother. Poor thing! what a nuisance it must be to be so horribly rich!” commented the country girl who thought herself wealthy with her mother's wedding portion of ten thousand dollars, carefully husbanded by her father against her majority or marriage.
“ If another woman than Jessie Kirke had said that, I should have supposed she was in jest,” said Orrin. “I believe you mean what you say. But why? Many and sweet are the uses of money.”
“Why do I regard it as a misfortune for a woman to be immensely rich? Because she can never be sure of true friend or lover. Because she seldom escapes one of two evils, dupedom or misanthropy. It must be almost an impracticable task for a great heiress to satisfy herself that she is not wooed pour les beaux yeux de ses écus."
“But if there are no other beaux yeux in the case-her own being, we will say, leaden-should she not congratulate herself that she has one talisman that will win attention and regard ?”
“Regard !” echoed Jessie, incredulously.
"And why not? She typifies bank stock, real estate, ready money, to the adorer of these. He worships them, it is true, but through her, as discriminating Romanists try to make us believe that they adore the Virgin Mary by the help of her images."
“And as Dr. Baxter told me the other day, Aaron and his crew of apostate ingrates bowed down to the molten calf as the representative of the Egyptian Apis," put in Jessie, sarcastically. “If a woman can content herself with that sort of worship, put herself on a par with the
“But not as I have you!” was the ingenuous response. "I have been homesick, dismal, disagreeable ; horrid generally. But I spare you the recapitulation. I am very, very happy that you are back again in health,
goose that laid the golden egg, she wants neither affection nor pity."
“ Yet I'll warrant that the famous goose preened herself alongside of the most gorgeous peacock in the barnyard-accounted herself the equal of the stateliest swans. There are as many purse-proud women as men. Millionaires of both sexes do not scorn the court paid to their money through themselves. On the contrary, they would be piqued and offended if their dollars were not duly appreciated. Novels and sentimentalists tell us that the unhappy possessors of princely fortunes desire to be loved and sought for their intrinsic virtues, whereas the great mass-especially of women—who are wedded for their riches, are quite alive to the truth that this is so, and are far from being wounded thereby. They are neither dupes nor misanthropes, but sensible practical bodies who regard their property as a part of themselves, soul of their soul, and unhesitatingly appropriate all the advantages it buys, pluming themselves, as a rule, upon their ability to command service and fidelity. You shake your head? Let me illustrate from real life. I was talking, some time ago, with a married lady whom nobody had ever, in my hearing, called weak-minded, even behind her back. I had known her for many years, and she had opened up ber mind to me freely, with regard to her courtship by, and marriage to, the man of her choice. 'I feared, at one time, that I had lost him for ever,' she said. "He was quite assiduous in his attention to another young lady who was pretty, elegant, and accomplished. I was very unhappy, for he had never declared his intentions to me. But she had not money enough to suit his notions of the fitness of things,'-I quote literally. “So he came back to me. Wasn't I thankful then that my dear father had provided for me handsomely, and thus secured my happiness for life!'”
“A clever anecdote, considering it is impromptu !" said wilful Jessie, with an air of superb disbelief. “If I could credit it, and you"
“ You would cease to commiserate heiresses !” finished Wyllys. “For myself, I have an antipathy to the whole class. All whom I have had the misery of knowing were sordid, self-conceited, and rapacious of admiration to a degree that passed understanding and disgust."
He dropped his voice, for the crowd immediately about them had grown still and attentive.
Miss Sanford was going to sing. Jessie and her escort chanced to be near the piano, and had a fine view of her as she was led to the instrument by an ambitious senior, whom she loaded down with her bouquet, gloves, fan, handkerchief, and gold vinaigrette. She was probably about 'twenty-five years of age, but this was a difficult point to determine from her appearance, her hair, eyebrows, and complexion being so light, that, as Jessie afterwards said to Mrs. Baxter, she looked as if she might have lain for forty-eight hours in a bath of caustic soda and water—the preliminary process in the preparation of the phantom bouquets the President's lady was skilled in
arranging. Miss Sanford was thin and bony. "Scraggy,” one would have termed her, had she belonged to the socalled inferior animals. Her eyes were a pale, fixed blue, like those of a china doll; her lips met scantily over teeth that were unpleasantly prominent; she had a receding chin, a sharp nose, and a low forehead. A homely, shrewish-looking girl to the uninstructed eye. Yet her air showed that she was accustomed to receive court from the sophisticated multitude, the many who were awake to the fact that she was the undoubted mistress of charms not to be adequately expressed by less than seven figures. Her dress was a walking advertisement of her pretensions to this intelligent homage, being mauve satin, flounced with point lace. It was cut too low upon the flat chest and prominent shoulder-blades, but the region thus left bare was made interesting to feminine eyes by a magnificent diamond necklace. Bracelets to match loaded her meagre wrists, and were pushed up ostentatiously before she put her fingers on the key-board, with a coquettish grimace at her cavalier.
“I don't sing ballads," Jessie and Orrin heard her say, tossing her head one-sidedly—a frequent trick with her, since it set her earrings to dancing until the precious stones seemed to emit sparks of real fire. “Ballad music is considered so low in refined circles. I have never cul. tivated any but the classical style-operas, you know, bravuras and arias, and all that, you know. Let me treat you to my favourite, just the sweetest thing you ever heard, from ‘La Traviata.' I perfectly dote upon it."
She played a thumping prelude and accompaniment in villanous time; her voice was shallow and shrill ; she made audacious dashes at trills and cadenzas, her feeble pipe breaking down upon the ascending, and breaking up upon the descending scale. A more lamentable and witless travestie of operatic execution could hardly have been conceived of. The Italian words were made a thing of no account whatever.
“Her resources are wonderful,” said Orrin, under cover of the buzz of compliments and thanks that succeeded the song.
“When she forgot what came next, she substituted something of her own composition-in the Kaffir dialect, I think—with a readiness and coolness truly astounding. Honour bright now," laughing down mischievously into his companion's eyes, " what has this little scene reminded you of-something you have hitherto viewed as a caricature ?”.
“I won't tell you 1!"
But Jessie's face was alive with fun. It might not be -it certainly was not--altogether kind or well-bred in her to join in ridiculing the host's niece, but it was "only Orrin," and so long as his comments were for her ear alone, no harm was done.
“ You need not! Miss Swartz has arisen above such low style'as 'Blue-eyed Mary' and 'That Air from the Cabinet,' but she can still ‘sing Fluvy du Tajy if she had the words.' Indeed, being bent upon fascination, she sings it, words or no."
gence like that of a midsummer moon streamed down upon the falling water; the trailing grasses and clinging mosses upon the stones were threaded with tiny brilliants; the broad wet leaves of the aquatic plants overhanging and growing within the marble reservoir were washed with silver. A single lily arose, pure and proud, from a clump of luxuriant flags. Tall ferns standing motionless on the thither margin, made a miniature brake of an alley that stretched away into cool green dimness. A bed of musk-plant yielded up languorous sighs to the warmed air. All that was sensuous in temperament and artistic in taste made response to the influence of the place and hour. Jessie gave herself up to it without resistance, laid her head against the tortuous scroll.work of the high back of the settee, and dreamed.
The even ing had been triumphant, intoxicating to her. The evening she would have preferred to spend with dolorous Mariana!
She whispered the familiar lines to herself:
"All day, within the dreamy house,
The doors upon their hinges creaked ;
Behind the mouldering wainscot shrieked,
He had found Jessie and Mrs. Baxter deep in" Vanity Fair” one evening, had taken the book and read aloud several chapters, including “The quarrel about an heiress."
“Yet you will not let me say, 'Poor Miss Swartz!'” said Jessie.
“Certainly not; she is in Paradise. Reserve your pity for me, who am doomed to ask her to waltz soon as this part of the exhibition is over. Hark! another sweet selection! This time from “ Der Freischutz'— Agatha's prayer, done into boarding-school German patois, varied by the amazing improvisations aforesaid. For Heaven's sake! come away into the conservatory. Even 'when music, heavenly maid, was very young,' a baby in the cradle, she never squalled like that !”
Jessie could not help laughing at his whimsical impatience. Mirth came easily to-night. The surprise and joy of her friend's return had exhilarated her. The very freedom of his comments upon others made her feel the entireness of their mutual confidence. His talking to her in this strain was a direct compliment to her discretion. It was delightful to see him gay once more—to believe that his light rattle was the overflow of a heart as full and happy as her own.
He lingered with her in the conservatory until the indefatigable Mr. Hurst came to hunt him up.
“ You will let me take you in to supper?” said Wyllys, pulling himself up with graceful unwillingness from the fantastic root seat beside the fountain. "Where shall I find you, if I survive the next half hour?”
“Here!” glancing up brightly. “It is cool and quiet, and my feet ache with standing. Don't send anybody to me, please! I shall sit here, and rest and think -ponder seriously upon the miseries of the rich, the compensations of the poor."
Orrin had chosen their resting-place in the leafy boudoir with his habitual sagacity, having an eye both to ease and the semi-privacy which confidential friends find so enjoyable in the neighbourhood of a crowd. An osier frame overrun with ivy, screened Jessie on the left from any save very prying eyes; a barricade of lemon and orange trees towered at the back; in front, the fountain, showering from peak and sides of a rock-work pyramid, cast a shimmering veil between her and the archway, closing up a vista of vines and shrubs, through which issued music and the hum of many voices with the rhythmical beat of feet. Jessie listened to the merry din, the nearer dash of the glittering drops into the basin at her feet; and inhaling the perfume of the exotics behind her, smiled a happy little smile in remembrance of her scornful weariness in predicting the flirtations among the oleanders and lemon trees. She had no prevision then that she should sit here with one chosen companion, talking freely and gladly of all that was in her heart; none of the gentle and lovely reverie to which he had left her.
From a great globe of ground glass overhead, efful
But that was nothing! I dare say the Grange was a commodious, respectable family mansion; that it would have been as beautiful as the Alhambra to the poor girl, had the faithless lover kept his tryst.
6- He cometh not,” she said!' That was the key to the desolation without and within. I had not believed that I could be so glad to see any one except Roy, as I am to meet'Orrin again. He has a look like his cousin sometimes. I never noticed it before as I have to-night ;-a look that gives me a sense of safety and companionship when with him, which makes sadness and homesickness impossibilities. It is good to have a friend upon whom I can lean my whole weight without fear of causing weariness -in whose society I can be frankly, fearlessly, joyously, myself!"
There were but two or three couples in the conservatory beside herself, and they, too, seemed to be lulled into silent musing by the subdued lights and odorous airs of the fairy-like haunt. Perhaps some of the dancers found fault with the draught from the archway, for Jessie saw Warren Provost and Mr. Hurst let down the damask curtains which had been looped back from it. She drew a deeper breath of content in the feeling of increased seclusion. Now that the music, the babble of human tongues, and the tramp of a hundred waltzers were muffled, a mocking-bird from his concealed cage in an acacia tree began to sing. First came a chirp of alarm as if he had just awakened from dreams of tropical skies and magnolia groves—then a trial trill, a gush of liquid melody, clear and soft as the ripple of a mountain rivulet. Next, he whistled, still softly, but with marvellous correctness and sweetness, a fute waltz Jessie had heard Orrin Wyllys play last summer. She smiled and murmured in her trance, —
“Everything associated with him is pure pleasure !"
Nobody could be moody or dull when he chose to please and interest. To her, his coming was like the spreading of the sun rays down the mountain sides and through the valley on summer mornings, steeping the commonplace in beauty; making of native loveliness a witching miracle. Dear, dear Roy! She owed this great happiness also to him. He had reckoned wisely and lovingly in committing her to the care of this guardian.
The band struck up a march. The blare of the instruments burst unwelcomely upon her rosy dreams. She aroused herself with a start to see the curtains pulled back. The mocking-bird ceased his song abruptly. The waltzers, panting and flushed, thronged the narrow aisles of the conservatory; chattered and fitted among the foliage like bright-plumaged, loud-voiced parrots. Miss Sanford was conspicuous among them, leaning palpably upon her escort's arm. Her affected laugh grated unpleasantly upon Jessie's ears, every few seconds. She was in exuberant spirits ; in high good-humour with herself, and, presumably, with her partner.
“Oh! that darling beauty of a lily!" she cried, pushing roughly past the ivied screen, to get a closer view of the proud, pale princess of the fountain. “I wanted you should see it! Fanny Provost, my cousin, goes just crazy over it. It was brought to her all the way from the Nile, or the Ganges, or the Amazon, or some other of those stupid rivers in Europe, whose names I always forget-by her beau.
You know she is engaged to Lieutenant Averill of the Navy? Everybody who is anybody announces engagements nowadays, as soon as the matter is settled by what my uncle, Judge Provost, calls the high contracting parties. It is a nice fashion. Don't you think so? I do think an engagement must be just the cunningest, sweetest thing in the world !"
“ That depends, in a great measure, upon who the high contracting parties are, I suppose," replied Orrin, with the slightest imaginable glance in the direction of the concealed spectator, but one in which she read a drollery of appeal that wrought irresistibly upon her risibles.
Miss Sanford tittered. “I declare I am afraid of you, Mr. Wyllys! You are so sarcastic! Of course, that was what I meant. One takes that for granted always. But it must be just too swect for two people who are devoted to one another, and who are of suitable ages and prospects, and all that, you know, to promise that they will just perfectly adore one another, till death, you know. At least, that is the way I look at it. I am so womanly, Mr. Wyllys! I often tremble at the thought of buffeting the world. Everybody is so absorbed in their own selfish interests. My cousin, Mrs. Morristhe ex-chancellor's lady, you know-says I am a sensitive plant, not fit to meet the rough winds of life.”
With the ventriloquial knack that belongs to the
genuine slayer of hearts, Orrin made his reply inaudible to any one but the woman at his side, who flushed up eagerly, and fanned herself in naïve agitation.
I wish I could think so, Mr. Wyllys! It is ever so kind in you to wish it, I am sure. But men—and I am ashamed to say it-women, too, are such awful flatterers ! And appearances are so deceitful! Nobody would believe, for instance, that I, with everything--comparatively speaking you know-to make me happy, should pine for a kindred heart-one that would beat responsive to mine. True, one person cannot have everything, you know. There! I've tore my lace flounce upon that ugly cactus! Just see, Mrs. Saville !” to a lady who was passing, revealing the extent of the rent. “The first time I have ever worn it, too! I don't know what my careful papa will say. It was a present from him. But, la! who cares? If he scolds, I'll punish him by paying for it myself. That will just break his heart. Nothing puts him out so much as for me to remind him that I can be independent of him if I choose. That is the way with all you gentlemen-isn't it, Mr. Wyllys?” staring boldly-she fancied engagingly-up at him. “You would have us owe everything to you. Bless me! can that be supper? And just as we are having such a sweet, roniantic time! Isn't this the most delicious bower in Christendom? I tease my cousin Fanny by insisting that Lieutenant Averill couldn't help proposing when once she had got him in here. Not that it can compare in size with our conservatory. Ours is connected, too, with the graperies, which makes it perfectly immense. Where can Mr. Romondt be?
He saw me come in here, I am certain, for we passed him in the door. He was to take me in to supper, but I am not in the habit of waiting for my escorts. It would be just too funny if (of all the women here-should be thrown upon your protection in the character of the deserted maiden-wouldn't it? ”
“The bliss of succouring you is not to be mine, at present, it seems,” said Orrin, with an adroit, backward bow, as Mr. Romondt hurried upon the scene, full of apologies, to claim his convoy.
A new caprice seized the belle.
"I protest he ought to be the deserted one, in punishment for his tardiness !” regaining her hold of Mr. Wyllys' elbow, and making a resentful moue at the derelict gallant. “I have half a mind to go off with you and leave him to solitary regrets. Suppose, if I trust myself to him, my barque should be shipwrecked on the journey?”
It was an awkward moment. The heiress' look and action plainly testified that hers was no “half mind to commit herself to the pilotage of the man who had not invited such a display of confidence. Wyllys extricated himself promptly and creditably, and as if her proposal were entirely decorous and ladylike. He had too much sense and tact ever to patronize one of his own sex, and owed much of his popularity to the air of respectful bonhomie with which he now turned to the perspiring and rebuked Romondt.
"Do not try fallible humanity beyond endurance, Miss Sanford! It is hard to be just and magnanimous in the face of such a temptation, but right is right. Mr. Romondt! grant me the honour of becoming your security for the safe and pleasant transfer of la reine du bal to the supper-room."
Jessie was quivering with merriment in her sheltered nook.
“I have been in mortal terror lest I should not be
launched at all, but be left high and hungry upon the stocks!" she cried gayly, at her attendant's approach. “And supper is one of the substantial blessings of life, when one has a good appetite."
Orrin feigned to wipe the dews of exhaustion from his brow with a despairing fiourish of his handkerchief.
" At last 1 am at your service. You must stay me with flagons (of champagne), and comfort me with (pine) apples ;” he said, profanely enough, “for I am sick of heiresses!”
LETTERS ON POLITENESS AND ETIQUETTE.-IV.
NOTWITHSTANDING the ridicule that has always
been poured upon the habit of paying calls and receiving callers, it is a necessary custom in existing society, and its rules must be known to any woman who means to frequent society.
There are many occasions on which calls should be paid. They may be ranged under three heads : gratulatory calls, condolence calls, and calls of courtesy. At the head of the congratulatory calls are those paid to a bride as soon as she is settled in her new home. Her parents receive callers immediately after the engagement is announced, and after the marriage has taken place. When
friends have a child born to them, it is your duty to call with your congratulations, as soon as the mother is well enough to receive you. These calls are not made quite so soon as they were in the Middle Ages, when the lady received her visitors while she was still in bed. In these reunions, without the constraint of the opposite sex, the lady visitors seemed to have let their tongues run at their ease, for all scandalous gossip used to be called “ lying-in tales.”
Besides the two grand occasions of marriages and births, it is usual when any other cause for congratulation arises, for friends to offer their good wishes in person.
The condolence calls are paid when any sorrow or domestic calamity befalls friends or acquaintances, and one of the most difficult tasks of life accomplished--condolence and sympathy offered. I say difficult, for most people, because only a very few know how to offer sympathy, and bring balm to a wound instead of irritation. There are people who possess this marvellous gift, whose very presence in a house of mourning brings a kind of respite from pain, but they are few. It requires the greatest tact and the most sincere feeling to bring consolation where it is needed, especially in England, where people are generally shy about their sentiments, and rarely wear their hearts on their sleeves.
It is hardly necessary to say that in this sort of visit there should be no hasty intrusion upon the trouble and grief of acquaintances. Of course, if you are friends in the deep true sense of the word, you cannot too quickly show that there is love and sympathy still left, no matter what is gone. To insure oneself against indiscretion with acquaintances it is best to send inquiries, and it has become the custom to "return thanks for kind inquiries,” and after these have been received, the call may be paid.
Calls of courtesy are made in the country upon people when they first come into the neighbourhood, and in a town after an introduction has been made through some mutual friend. These formal visits should always be returned within three or four days. What are called in France “ Digestion calls," that is, after you have been out to a dinner, etc., are paid in a few days after the event. If you cannot go, you must leave cards at the door or send them.
The hours for calling are from two to six p.m. You must be very intimate to call before two or after six. On any occasions of a formal character, cards must be left. A lady leaves her own and two of her husband's-one for the gentleman of the house, and the other for the lady. When a lady leaves her husband's cards she must place them on the hall table, and not leave them in the drawing-room on her departure, as the custom used to be. If the persons upon whom you call are not at home, you turn down one corner of your card, which means that you have called in person. When you send cards with inquiries, a servant must take them.
For first visits in town, exactly the opposite rule must be observed to those in the country. When you arrive in town, you call and leave your card to inform your acquaintances of your arrival. Whilst in the country, you wait till you have been called upon. Of course this custom has its raison ďtre. Your friends cannot be expected to know of your presence in a large