Finally, at the very bottom of the trunk was a little parcel which she refrained from opening while Mrs. Tennant was present. It contained the badges of the new society. Kathleen had decided that they were to call themselves “The Wild Irish Girls,” and this title was neatly engraved on the little badges, which were of the shape of hearts. Below the name was the device—a harp with a bit of shamrock trailing round it. The badges were small and exceedingly neat, and there were about sixty of them in all.
“Now then, I can go ahead,” thought Kathleen. “What with the finery for my dear, darling chosen ones, and the badges for all the members, I shall do.”
She was utterly reckless with regard to expense. Her father was rich, and he did not mind what he spent on his only child. The box seemed to fill up every crevice of her heart, as she expressed it, and it was a very happy girl who dressed to go to the Weldons’ that evening. Kathleen was intensely affectionate, and would have done anything in the world to please Mrs. Tennant; but when it came to wearing a very quiet gray dress with a little lace round the collar and cuffs, she begun to demur.
“It can’t be done,” she thought. “Half of them will be in gray and half of them in brown, and a few old dowdies will perhaps be in black. But I must be gay; it isn’t fair to Aunt Katie to be anything else.”
She made a wild and scarcely judicious selection. She put on crimson silk stockings, and tucked into her bag a pair of crimson satin shoes. Her dress consisted of a black velvet skirt over a crimson petticoat, and her bodice was of crimson silk very much embroidered and with elbow-sleeves. Round her neck she wore innumerable beads of every possible color, and twisted through her lovely hair were some more beads, which shone as the light fell on them. Altogether it was a very bizarre and fascinating little figure that appeared that evening at the Weldons’ hall door. Over her showy dress she wore a long opera-cloak, so that at first her splendors were not fully visible. This gaily dressed little person entered a room full of sober people. The effect was somewhat the same as though a gorgeous butterfly had flown into the room. She lit up the dullness and made a centre of attraction—all eyes were fastened upon her; for Kathleen in her well-made dress, notwithstanding the gayety of its color, looked simply radiant. The mischief in her dark eyes, too, but added to her charm. She glanced with almost maliciousness at Alice, who, in the dowdiest of pale-gray dresses, with her hair rather untidy and her face destitute of color, was standing near one of the windows. And as Alice glanced at Kathleen she felt that she almost hated the Irish girl.
CONSCIENCE AND DIFFICULTIES.