The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
no sin in the simple act of dancing, but it is an amusement which certainly has a tendency to evil.  I know that you very much enjoy it, but you are now capable of serious reflection, and allow me to ask you if you feel in a suitable frame of mind for prayer and meditation when you retire to your room after having spent the evening in the frivolous amusement of dancing?’ This was an argument which I could neither gainsay nor resist, and coming as it did from the lips of my dying mother, I was much affected by it.  Before leaving my mother’s room, I solemnly promised her that I would never again participate in the amusement of dancing, and that promise I have most sacredly kept.  I now often wonder that I could ever have been so fond of an amusement which at the best affords so little real enjoyment to its votaries.  I trust you will pardon the liberty which I have taken in talking so long of myself to you, an entire stranger; but when you enquired my reason for not joining in the dance, something in your countenance impelled me to be thus candid in my answer.”

We remained for some time longer in conversation, and I really began to enjoy the party.  There were several ladies and gentlemen seated near us, engaged also in conversation, and I could not avoid hearing much that passed among them.  Presently I heard a lady enquire of a Mrs. Kingsley, a lady to whom I had been introduced in the early part of the evening,—­

“Who is that young lady with whom Mr. Shirley has been so long conversing?”

“Oh!” she replied, “she is only the governess in Mrs. Leighton’s family.  A person, as I am informed, of good education, but very poor, and obliged to teach as a means of support for herself and mother, who is a widow.”

Why should I have felt so indignant at those words, which, if maliciously intended, were certainly true?  I suppose the attentions I was receiving at this my first party were causing me to forget my true position.  The lady who had first spoken remarked further to Mrs. Kingsley,—­

“Don’t you think her very pretty—­almost beautiful?  I think I never before saw so intelligent a countenance.”

Mrs. Kingsley replied,—­

“I see nothing so very intelligent in her countenance, and if you consider her pretty, I must say that I am astonished at your taste; indeed I think her quite common-looking.  I almost wonder that the Leightons should have made her a guest at a party with their friends; but then Miss Laura is kind-hearted, and I presume invited her out of pity—­those poor people have so few pleasures.”

“Hush!  She may hear you.”

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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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