January 10.—The last time I wrote in my journal was just before the party, which is over now, the long-talked-of affair at which Katy was the reigning belle. I don’t know how it happened, but happen it did, and Juno’s glory faded before that of her rival, whose merry, ringing laugh frequently penetrated to every room, and made more than one look up in some surprise. But when Mrs. Humphreys said: “It’s that charming little Mrs. Cameron, the prettiest creature I ever saw, her laugh is so refreshing and genuine,” the point was settled, and Katy was free to laugh as loudly as she pleased.
She did look beautiful, in lace and pearls, with her short hair curling on her neck. She would not allow us to put so much as a bud in her hair, showing in this respect a willfulness we never expected; but as she was perfectly irresistible, we suffered her to have her way, and when she was dressed, sent her in to father, who had asked to see her. And now comes the strangest thing in the world.
“You are very beautiful, little daughter,” father said. “I almost wish I was going with you to see the sensation you are sure to create.”
Then straight into his lap climbed Katy—father’s lap—where none of us ever sat, I am sure, and began to coax him to go, telling him she should appear better if he were there, and that she should need him when Wilford left her, as of course he must a part of the time. And father actually dressed himself and went. But Katy did not need him after the people began to understand that Mrs. Wilford Cameron was the rage. Even Sybil Grey, in her palmiest days, never received such homage as was paid to the little Silverton girl, whose great charm was her perfect enjoyment of everything, and her perfect faith in what people said to her. Juno was nothing, and I worse than nothing, for I did go, wearing a plain black silk, with high neck and long sleeves, looking, as Juno said, like a Sister of Charity. But Bell Cameron can afford to dress plainly if she chooses, and I am glad, as it saves a deal of trouble, and somehow people seem to like me quite as well in my Quakerish dress as they do the fashionable Juno in diamonds and flowers, with uncovered neck and shoulders.
Lieutenant Bob was there; his light hair lighter than ever, and his chin as smooth as my hand. He likes to dance, and I do not, but somehow he persisted in staying where I was, notwithstanding that I said my sharpest things in hopes to get rid of him. He left me at last to dance with Katy, who makes up in grace and airiness what she lacks in knowledge. Once upon the floor, she did not lack for partners, but, I verily believe, danced every set, growing prettier and fairer as she danced, for hers is a complexion which does not get red and blowsy with exercise.