“My boy’s waiting round the corner!” she said, viciously.

"It would be but kind," said Mrs. Dodd. "Though really why my child should always be sacrificed to other people's children----"

“My boy’s waiting round the corner!” she said, viciously.

"Oh, a mighty sacrifice!" said Julia. She sat down and enclosed the tickets to Rose Darton, with a little sugared note. Sarah, being out, Elizabeth took it. Sarah met her at the gate, but did not announce her return: she lurked in ambush till Julia happened to go to her own room, then followed her, and handed Alfred's missive, and watched her slily, and being herself expeditious as the wind in matters of the heart, took it for granted the enclosure was something very warm indeed; so she said with feigned simplicity, "I suppose it is all right now, miss?" and retreated swelling with a secret, and tormented her fellow-servants all day with innuendoes dark as Erebus.

“My boy’s waiting round the corner!” she said, viciously.

Julia read the note again and again: her heart beat at those few ceremonious lines. "He does not like me to be talked of," she said to herself. "How good he is! What trouble he takes about me! Ah! _he will be there!_"

“My boy’s waiting round the corner!” she said, viciously.

She divined rightly; on Wednesday, at ten, Alfred Hardie was in the ball-room. It was a magnificent room, well lighted, and at present not half filled, though dancing had commenced. The figure Alfred sought was not there; and he wondered he had been so childish as to hope she would come to a city ball. He played the fine gentleman; would not dance. He got near the door with another Oxonian, and tried to avenge himself for her absence on the townspeople who were there by quizzing them.

But in the middle of this amiable occupation, and indeed in the middle of a sentence, he stopped short, and his heart throbbed, and he thrilled from head to foot; for two ladies glided in at the door, and passed up the room with the unpretending composure of well-bred people. They were equally remarkable; but Alfred saw only the radiant young creature in flowing muslin, with the narrowest sash in the room, and no ornament but a necklace of large pearls and her own vivid beauty. She had altered her mind about coming, with apologies for her vacillating disposition so penitent and disproportionate that her indulgent and unsuspecting mother was really quite amused. Alfred was not so happy as to know that she had changed her mind with his note. Perhaps even this knowledge could have added little to that exquisite moment, when, unhoped for, she passed close to him, and the fragrant air from her brushed his cheek, and seemed to whisper, "Follow me and be my slave."

HE did follow her, and, convinced that she would be engaged ten deep in five minutes, hustled up to the master of the ceremonies and begged an introduction. The great banker's son was attended to at once. Julia saw them coming, as her sex can see, without looking. Her eyes were on fire, and a delicious blush on her cheeks, when the M. C. introduced Mr. Alfred Hardie with due pomp. He asked her to dance.

"I am engaged for this dance, sir," said she softly.

"The next?" asked Hardie timidly.

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