It must not be supposed that Herbert was left in ignorance of the vicinity of the only relations he had in the city.
“There’s Tom Stanton, just behind you, with his father and mother and sister,” whispered Julia.
Herbert turned his head slightly. He was desirous of seeing what his uncle and aunt were like. His uncle met his gaze, and turned uncomfortably away, appearing not to know him, yet conscious that in his affected ignorance he was acting shabbily. Mrs. Stanton did not flinch, but bent a cold gaze of scrutiny upon the unwelcome nephew. Tom looked supercilious, and elevated his pug nose a trifle. Maria, only, looked as if she would like to know her cousin.
It was only a hasty glance on Herbert’s part, but it brought him to a rapid conclusion that he would not claim relationship. If any advances were made, they must come from the other side.
Tom fidgeted in his seat, watching with ill-concealed vexation the confidential conversation which appeared to be going on between Julia and his cousin.
“What she can see in that boor, I can’t imagine,” he said to himself.
Moreover, though Julia had looked around, she had not deigned any recognition of himself, and this hurt his pride. He finally determined to overlook the neglect, and address her, which he could readily do, as he sat almost directly behind her.
“Good-evening, Miss Julia,” he said, familiarly, bending forward.
“Oh, good-evening, Mr. Stanton,” said Julia, coldly, just turning slightly. “Herbert, isn’t that a beautiful song?”
“She calls him Herbert,” said Tom, in scornful disgust. “I wonder if she knows he is nothing but a beggar?”
“How are you enjoying the concert, Miss Julia?” he continued, resolved not to take the rebuff.
“Very well,” said Julia. “By the way,” she continued, with a sudden thought, “I believe you are acquainted with Mr. Mason.”
Herbert, upon this, bowed pleasantly, but Tom said, in rather a disagreeable tone, “I know Mr. Mason slightly.”
“Oh,” said Julia, arching her eyebrows, “I thought you were both in papa’s counting-room.”
“We shall know each other better by and by,” said Herbert, smiling.
Tom did not appear to hear this, but tried to keep up the conversation with Julia, desiring to have it appear that they were intimate friends; but the young lady gave brief replies, and finally, turning away, devoted herself once more to Herbert, much to Tom’s disgust. In fact, what he saw made Tom pass a very unpleasant evening, and when, on their return home, Maria suggested that Julia had taken a fancy to Herbert, he told her to mind her own business, which Maria justly considered a piece of rudeness wholly uncalled for.
PETER GREENLEAF AGAIN