There was something reassuring in his voice, and turning toward him for the first time, ’Lina caught the gleam of the golden glasses, and knew that her vis-a-vis upstairs was also her right-hand neighbor. Who was he, and whom did he so strikingly resemble? Suddenly it came to her. Saving the glasses, he was very much like Hugh. No handsomer, not a whit, but more accustomed to society, easier in his manners and more gallant to ladies. Could it be Irving Stanley? she asked herself, remembering now to have heard that he did resemble Hugh, and also that he wore glasses. Yes, she was sure, and the red which the doctor had pronounced “well put on,” deepened on her cheeks, until her whole face was crimson with mortification, that such should have been her first introduction to the aristocratic Irving.
Kind and gentle as a woman, Irving Stanley was sometimes laughed at by his own sex, as too gentle, too feminine in disposition; but those who knew him best loved him most, and loved him, too, just because he was not so stern, so harsh, so overbearing as lords of creation are wont to be.
Such was Irving Stanley, and ’Lina might well be thankful that her lot was cast so near him. He did not talk to her at the table further than a few commonplace remarks, but when, after dinner was over, and his Havana smoked, he found her sitting with her mother out in the grove, apart from everybody, and knew instantly that they were there alone, he went to them at once, and ere many minutes had elapsed discovered to his surprise that they were his so-called cousins from Kentucky. Nothing could exceed ’Lina’s delight. He was there unfettered by mother or sister or sweetheart, and of course would attach himself exclusively to her. ’Lina was very happy, and more than once her loud laugh rang out so loud that Irving, with all his charity, had a faint suspicion that around his Kentucky cousin, brilliant though she was, there might linger a species of coarseness, not altogether agreeable to one of his refinement. Still he sat chatting with her until the knowing dowagers, who year after year watch such things at Saratoga, whispered behind their fans of a flirtation between the elegant Mr. Stanley and that dark, haughty-looking girl from Kentucky.
“I never saw him so familiar with a stranger upon so short an acquaintance,” said fat Mrs. Buford.
“Is that Irving Stanley, whom Lottie Gardner talks so much about?” And Mrs. Richards leveled her glass again, for Irving Stanley was not unknown to her by reputation. “She must be somebody, John, or he would not notice her,” and she spoke in an aside, adding in a louder tone: “I wonder who she is? There’s their servant. I mean to question her,” and as Lulu came near, she said: “Girl, who do you belong to?”
“’Longs to them,” answered Lulu, jerking her head toward ’Lina and Mrs. Worthington.
“Where do you live?” was the next query, and Lulu replied: