Then Kate turned to him: “You won’t go away again, I hope. We are going to have a little party before long, and you must come, and I want to see you waltz with my cousin. She waltzes beautifully, and I want to see her with a good partner. Will you come?”
“Indeed I would be most happy; but your compliment is ironical. You know we don’t waltz, and none of us can, if we try.”
“Is that the awful dance where the gentleman takes the lady around the waist, and she leans on him, and they go swinging around? Oh, I think that is awful!”
“The Germans, and many of our best ladies, and gentlemen, waltz,” replied Miss Walters, “as they do in Baltimore and New York, and I suppose my cousin thought no harm could be said of it at her little party.”
“Oh, I am sure I did not mean that it was wrong, and I would like to see the dance!” was the eager disclaimer.
Barton had drawn away from this discussion, and lingered a moment near Julia, to ask after her mother. She replied that Mrs. Markham was very well, but did not ask him to call and see for himself, nor did she in any way encourage him to prolong the conversation. So, with a little badinage and persiflage, he took his leave.
I shall not attempt to set down what was said of him after he left, nor will I affirm that anything was said. Young ladies, for aught I know, occasionally talk up young men among themselves, and if they do it is nobody’s business.
Mrs. Markham’s views.
In the gathering twilight, in a parlor at the Markham mansion, sat Julia by the piano, resting her head on one hand, while with the other she brought little ripples of music from the keys; sometimes a medley, then single and prolonged notes, like heavy drops of water into a deep pool, and then a twinkling shower of melody. She was not sad, or pensive, or thoughtful; but in one of these quiet, sweet, and grave moods that come to deep natures—as a cloud passing over deep, still water enables one under its shadow to see into its depths. Her mother stood at an open window, inhaling the evening fragrance of flowers, and occasionally listening to the wild note of the mysterious whippoorwill, that came from a thicket of forest-trees in the distance.
The step of her father caught the ear of the young girl, who sprang up and ran towards him with eager face and sparkle of eye and voice.
“Oh, papa, the trunks came this afternoon, with the fashion-plates, and patterns, and everything, and all we girls—Nell, Kate Fisher, Miss Flora Walter, Pearlie, Ann, and all hands of us—have had a regular ‘opening.’ We went through with them all. The cottage bonnet is a love of a thing, and I am going to have it trimmed for myself. Sleeves are bigger than ever, and there were lots of splendid things!”
“And so Roberts has suited you all, for once, has he?” said the Judge, passing an arm around her small waist.