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But the memory of all annoyances was lost in the feeling of triumphant pride with which she surveyed the magnificent suite of apartments on the night of the ball. Her taste was good; color, light, and perfume, were skilfully employed, competition distanced by the perfect result.
The rooms filled rapidly, and the company were seated in front of the stage erected for the tableaux. The performers were assembled in another room, and at the close of each
representation they came round and found places quietly among the spectators, no one appearing twice.
As Oscar entered the room, he could not at first find a seat, and stood for some minutes leaning against the door. Behind it two persons were conversing.
“Five hundred thousand at least, and there are but two daughters."
6. Dat is more than two million francs. Ah!" he exclaimed, rapturously, as the curtain rose on a beautiful group from Schiller's Marie Stuart, “les beaux yeux de Mlle. Mathilde !"
“ Les beaux yeux de sa casette,” muttered Oscar, contemptuously, as he found his way into the room; yet the next moment ready to laugh at his own extreme vexation.
He could not be certain from absolute testimony that this man was a mere fortune-hunter; but his conviction was firm and unalterable. Perhaps his own attachment quickened his perception.
Marion and Cornelia sat together near the fire. The tableaux ended, and as the music began the darkened rooms were relighted. Cornelia raised her eyes to take a survey of the room, and met those of Captain Vernon fixed full on hers. He was leaning against the mantel, listening to some story a brother officer was relating, but there was a light in his eyes that seemed to send a flash to her inmost heart. She was glad that a question from Marion made her turn.
What is that strange instinct that tells us so surely that we are in the presence of one who an influence our fate for good or ill? Who has
not felt the sudden dread, and shrunk from eyes never seen before, yet felt to be evil; or the quick sympathy, the ineffable gladness, that as surely indicates the meeting of congenial spirits ?
Circumstances may prevent any tangible result—may separate for ever such instinctive friends or foes, but the power
is there. When these two conversed together during the evening, they talked of passing topics as casual acquaintance. Did either feel that they were strangers ?
So the “ball kept rolling;" and as waves of light and music flowed over the sands of time, if worthless stones glistened and shone in borrowed lustre, there were some pearls of happiness beneath the waters. Oscar found one, when “the beautiful eyes” filled with tears, as Matilda bade him good-bye; and the bright rose from her hair was treasured next his heart long after its hue of hope had faded.
“My bark is out upon the sea,
The moon's above;
Like woman's love,
Afar I roam;-
Like those at home.”—MORRIS.
It was a severe trial to Dr. and Mrs. Sumner to part with their son. He had graduated high at college, and had nearly completed his studies preparatory to his admission to the bar, when he was threatened with that scourge of our northern climate, consumption.
Change of air and scene might avert the danger, if resorted to in season, and a voyage to Europe was decided on. Oscar's plan was to travel in France and Italy for a few months, or to remain in Italy until his health was restored, before visiting the more northern countries. He was possessed of excellent abilities, temper, and principles; and while his good qualities lessened his parents' apprehensions, they caused his absence to be more deeply regretted.
When the family assembled to tea, the night before his departure, it was with a determination on the part of the younger members to make the evening pass cheerfully, if possible. The trunks were packed, and there was nothing more to be done. There was leisure to think of parting. In vain they tried to talk of other things; the effort was too evident, and after a forced question or two, they would become silent again. Mrs. Sumner looked sad and anxious, and scarcely seemed to hear anything that was said.
“This will never do,” whispered one to the other; “if we cannot make mother laugh, we shall all get crying together.” At last finding it impossible to avoid the