“Harm enough!” said Harley, grimly. “And now—what

Mrs. Dodd, not to throw cold water on what seemed to gratify her children, accepted Miss Hardie's invitation; but she never intended to go, and at the last moment wrote to say she was slightly indisposed. The nature of her _indisposition_ she revealed to Julia alone. "That young lady keeps me on thorns. I never feel secure she will not say or do something extravagant or unusual: she seems to suspect sobriety and good taste of being in league with impiety. Here I succeed in bridling her a little; but encounter a female enthusiast in her own house? _merci!_ After all, there must be something good in her, since she is your friend, and you are hers. But I have something more serious to say before you go there: it is about her brother. He is a flirt: in fact, a notorious one, more than one lady tells me."

“Harm enough!” said Harley, grimly. “And now—what

Julia was silent, but began to be very uneasy; they were sitting and talking after sunset, yet without candles. She profited for once by that prodigious gap in the intelligence of "the sex."

“Harm enough!” said Harley, grimly. “And now—what

"I hear he pays you compliments, and I have seen a disposition to single you out. Now, my love, you have the good sense to know that, whatever a young gentleman of that age says to you, he says to many other ladies; but your experience is not equal to your sense; so profit by mine. A girl of your age must never be talked of with a person of the other sex: it is fatal; fatal! but if you permit yourself to be singled out, you will be talked of, and distress those who love you. It is easy to avoid injudicious duets in society; oblige me by doing so to-night." To show how much she was in earnest, Mrs. Dodd hinted that, were her admonition neglected, she should regret for once having kept clear of an enthusiast.

“Harm enough!” said Harley, grimly. “And now—what

Julia had no alternative; she assented in a faint voice. After a pause she faltered out, "And suppose he should esteem me seriously?"

Mrs. Dodd replied quickly, "Then that would be much worse. But," said she, "I have no apprehensions on that score; you are a child, and he is a precocious boy, and rather a flirt. But forewarned is forearmed. So now run away and dress, sweet one: my lecture is quite ended."

The sensitive girl went up to her room with a heavy heart. All the fears she had lulled of late revived. She saw plainly now that Mrs. Dodd only accepted Alfred as a pleasant acquaintance: as a son-in-law he was out of the question. "Oh, what will she say when she knows all?" thought Julia.

Next day, sitting near the window, she saw him coming up the road. After the first movement of pleasure at the bare sight of him, she was sorry he had come. Mamma's suspicions awake at last, and here he was again; the third call in one fortnight! She dared not risk an interview with him, ardent and unguarded, under that penetrating eye, which she felt would now be on the watch. She rose hurriedly, said as carelessly as she could, "I am going to the school," and tying her bonnet on all in a flurry, whipped out at the back-door with her shawl in her hand just as Sarah opened the front door to Alfred. She then shuffled on her shawl, and whisked through the little shrubbery into the open field, and reached a path that led to the school, and so gratified was she at her dexterity in evading her favourite, that she hung her head, and went murmuring, "Cruel, cruel, cruel!"

Alfred entered the drawing-room gaily, with a good-sized card and a prepared speech. His was not the visit of a friend, but a functionary; the treasurer of the cricket-ground come to book two of his eighteen to play against the All-England Eleven next month. "As for you, my worthy sir (turning to Edward), I shall just put you down without ceremony. But I must ask leave to book Captain Dodd. Mrs. Dodd, I come at the universal desire of the club; they say it is sure to be a dull match without Captain Dodd. Besides, he is a capital player."

Original article by {website name}. If reprinted, please indicate the source: http://bseyt.7299299.com/html/950c698711.html

zan ( 481)
next 2023-12-03