Mrs. Conly colored and looked annoyed.
“There is no use in being too particular, Isadore,” she said, “one can’t expect perfection; young men are very apt to be a little wild, and they often settle down afterward into very good husbands.”
“Really, I don’t think any the worse of a young fellow for sowing a few wild oats,” remarked Virginia, with a toss of her head: “they’re a great deal more interesting than your good young men.”
“Such as Cal and Art,” suggested Isa, smiling slightly. “Mamma, don’t you wish they’d be a little wild?”
“Nonsense, Isadore! your brothers are just what I would have them! I don’t prefer wild young men, but I hope I have sense enough not to expect everybody’s sons to be as good as mine, and charity enough to overlook the imperfections of those who are not.”
“Well, mamma,” said Isadore with great seriousness, “I have talked this matter over with Cousin Elsie, and I think she takes the right view of it; that the rule should be as strict for men as for women; that the sin which makes a woman an outcast from decent society, should receive the same condemnation when committed by a man; that a woman should require as absolute moral purity in the man she marries, as men do in the women they choose for wives; and so long as we are content with anything less, so long as we smile on men whom we know to be immoral, we are in a measure responsible for their vices.”
“I endorse that sentiment,” said Arthur, coming in from an adjoining room; “it would be a great restraint upon men’s vicious inclinations, if they knew that indulgence in vice would shut them out of ladies’ society.”
“A truce to the subject. I’m tired of it,” said Virginia. “Is it decided, mamma, that we take passage in the steamer with the Travillas?”
“Yes; and now let us turn our attention to the much more agreeable topic of dress; there are a good many questions to settle in regard to it;—what we must have, what can be got here, and what after we reach Philadelphia.”
“And how one dollar can be made to do the work of two,” added Virginia; “for there are loads and loads of things I must have in order to make a respectable appearance at the watering-places.”
“And we have just two weeks in which to make our arrangements,” added her mother.
“Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard.”
Early in the morning of a perfect June day, our numerous party arrived at the wharf where lay the steamer that was to carry them to Philadelphia.
The embarkation was made without accident. Molly had had a nervous dread of her share in it, but under her uncle’s careful supervision, was conveyed safely on board.