Helen nodded assent, while in her heart was a wild tumult of feelings—flattered pride, disappointment, indignation and mortification all struggling for the mastery—–mortification to feel that she who had quietly ignored such a passion as love when connected with herself, had, nevertheless, been pleased with the attentions of one who was only amusing himself with her, as a child amuses itself with some new toy soon to be thrown aside—indignation at him for vexing Juno at her expense—disappointment that he should care for such as Juno, and flattered pride that Mrs. Cameron should include her in “our family.” Helen had as few weak points as most young ladies, but she was not free from them all, and the fact that Mrs. Cameron had taken her into a confidence which even Katy did not share, was soothing to her ruffled spirits, particularly as after that confidence Mrs. Cameron was excessively gracious to her, introducing her to many whom she did not know before, and paying her numberless little attentions, which made Juno stare, while the clearer-seeing Bell arched her eyebrows, and wondered for what Helen was to be made a catspaw by her clever mother. Whatever it was, it did not appear, save as it showed itself in Helen’s slightly changed demeanor when Mark again sought her society, and tried to bring back to her face the look he had left there. But something evidently had come between them, and the young man racked his brain to find the cause of this sudden indifference in one who had been pleased with him only a short half hour before.
“It’s that confounded waltzing which disgusted her,” he said, “and no wonder, for if ever a man looks like an idiot, it is when he is kicking up his heels to the sound of a viol, and wheeling around some woman whose skirts sweep everything within the circle of a rod, and whose face wears that die-away expression I have so often noticed. I’ve half a mind to swear I’ll never dance again.”
But Mark was too fond of dancing to quit it at once, and finding Helen still indifferent, he yielded to circumstances, and the last she saw of him, as at a comparatively early hour she left the gay scene, he was dancing again with Juno, whose face beamed with a triumphant look, as if she in some way guessed the aching heart her rival carried home. It was a heavy blow to Helen, for she had become greatly interested in Mark Ray, whose attentions had made her stay in New York so pleasant. But these were over now—at least the excitement they brought was over, and Helen, as she sat in her dressing-room at home, and thought of the future as well as the past, felt stealing over her a sense of desolation and loneliness such as she had experienced but once before, and that on the night when leaning from her window at the farmhouse where Mark Ray was stopping she had shuddered and shrank from living all her days among the rugged hills of Silverton. New York had opened an entirely new world to her, showing her much that was vain and frivolous,