“Marry! how you talk! A girl of your age presuming to say that you will marry such and such a one,” said Lizzie, laughing.
“Indeed! I consider myself woman enough to decide whom I like, better than any one else, whether you call that old enough to marry, or not. But let me tell you what mamma said to-day, when she caught me kissing the album. ’Bertha Levy’—and oh! she looked so straight and solemn at me that I almost trembled—’Bertha Levy, are you going to make yourself ridiculous about that strolling player, Asher Bernhardt? Tell me.’ ’You know he plays the flute superbly, and that’s what I like.’ Then I said meekly:
“‘I know that he loves me.’
“’You know nothing of that sort, and you are a very silly girl. This is the way you regard my teachings, is it, fancying strolling players at private theatricals? What! could you promise yourself to marry such a man—a man whose chief recomendation is, that he can play the flute?’
“‘Happiness,’ I whispered.
“’Wretchedness, you mean! Well, I forbid you ever thinking of him again. I shall never, never, consent to such a thing, never while I am your mother. Remember my words now!’
“Oh! Lizzie, wasn’t that awful, mamma is so hard on him! I—”
“Bertha, Bertha!” called a voice from the opposite side of the room, which Bertha at once recognized as her mother’s and immediately turned toward Mrs. Levy, leaving Lizzie standing alone.
“For shame, my daughter!” said Mrs. Levy, in a low tone to Bertha, “to keep Miss Heartwell standing talking all the evening about your supposed present from Asher Bernhardt! I shall not allow you company again until you improve in politeness, and I will destroy that cherished book. Do you hear me? Go at once and see that Miss Heartwell is seated.”
Bertha bowed her head, in token of obedience, and as she turned back to join Lizzie, Leah Mordecai was approaching the piano, accompanied by Emile Le Grande.
Leah Mordecai was a superb singer, yet it was only at the request of friends that her soul flowed forth in song. On this evening her music was delicious, and Emile Le Grande, always fond of the divine art, was bewitched with the beauty of her voice. When her singing ceased, the sadness still rested upon her face, and in Emile’s heart there was a new-born sensation—that of pleasure mingled with fear.
The evening hours wore on. The hours that bore away the Jewish Sabbath were rolling in the Christian day of rest, and Lizzie Heartwell, in obedience to her uncle’s request not to “tarry at her pleasure too late,” was the first to separate from the happy band.
An hour later, as the Citadel clock sounded the hour of midnight, Judge Le Grande’s carriage rolled rapidly toward the mansion of Benjamin Mordecai, bearing home his beautiful daughter, escorted by Emile Le Grande.