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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax.
His clever conversation was a compliment to which, as a bright girl, she was not insensible.  His sister had detailed to him her behavior on her introduction to Lady Angleby, and had deplored her lively sense of the ridiculous.  Miss Burleigh had the art of taming that her brother credited her with, and Elizabeth was already at ease and happy with her—­free to be herself, as she felt, and not always on guard and measuring her words; and the more of her character that she revealed, the better Miss Burleigh liked her.  Her gayety of temper was very attractive when it was kept within due bounds, and she had a most sweet docility of tractableness when approached with caution.  At the close of the evening she retired to her white parlor with a rather exalted feeling of responsibility, having promised, at Mr. Cecil Burleigh’s instigation, to study certain essays of Lord Bacon on government and seditions in states for the informing of her mind.  She took the volume down from Dorothy Fairfax’s bookshelf, and laid it on her table for a reminder.  Miss Burleigh saw it there in the morning.

“Ah, dear Cecil!  He will try to make you very wise and learned,” said she, nodding her head and smiling significantly.  “But never mind:  he waltzes to perfection, and delights in a ball, no man more.”

“Does he?” cried Bessie, amused and laughing.  “That potent, grave, and reverend signor can condescend, then, to frivolities!  Oh, when shall we have a ball that I may waltz with him?”

“Soon, if all go successfully at the election.  Lady Angleby will give a ball if Cecil win and you ask her.”

I ask her!  But I should never dare.”

“She will be only too glad of the opportunity, and you may dare anything with her when she is pleased.  She has always been dear Cecil’s fast friend, and his triumph will be hers.  She will want to celebrate it joyously, and nothing is really so joyous as a good dance.  We will have a good dance.”

CHAPTER XXIII.

BESSIE SHOWS CHARACTER.

At breakfast, Mr. Fairfax handed a letter to Bessie.  “From home, from my mother,” said she in a glad undertone, and instantly, without apology, opened and read it.  Mr. Cecil Burleigh took a furtive observation of her while she was thus occupied.  What a good countenance she had! how the slight emotion of her lips and the lustrous shining under her dark eyelashes enhanced her beauty!  It was a letter to make her happy, to give her a light heart to go to Brentwood with.  Mrs. Carnegie was always sympathetic, cheerful, and loving in her letters.  She encouraged her dear Bessie to reconcile herself to absence, and attach herself to her new home by cultivating all its sources of interest, and especially the affection of her grandfather.  She gave her much tender, reasonable advice for her guidance, and she gave her good news:  they were all well at home and at Brook, and Harry Musgrave had come out in honors at Oxford.  The sunshine of pure content irradiated Bessie’s face.  She looked up; she wanted to communicate her joy.  Her grandfather looked up at the same moment, and their eyes met.

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