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subject that filled their minds, they began to talk about it; to mention the various places Oscar was to visit, and decide what was best worth his seeing. He professed to be able to bring home to each what they most desired, and asked his mother if he should bring her a part of the golden fleece, a branch of the apples of the Hesperides, or a stone from the ruins of Troy.
“Ah!" exclaimed Milly, springing into the centre of the room, and assuming a tragic attitude, “ more cruel than Æneas. He left only Dido, but you leave no less than five inconsolable damsels." She then began to recite with exaggerated emphasis, and, Oscar following her lead, a spirited comedy was acted on the basis of profound tragedy; while Helen, taking her pencils, sketched a picture, representing Oscar standing with folded arms, on the stern of a vessel under full sail, and looking disdainfully at five female figures that stood, with dishevelled hair and outstretched arms, on the battlements of Castle Garden.
Their efforts were rewarded by a laugh from the mother, and this point once gained, they did not give her time to become depressed again.• They were ably seconded by the doctor, who came home in the midst of the declamation; and all felt relieved when the hour for separating found them still in a state of cheerful excitement.
Oscar Sumner sailed next day, on that search wherein so many are disappointed—the search of health; and loving thoughts and prayers followed him across the wide ocean, and throughout his long pilgrimage.
Julia Lyndsay found all her anticipations fully realized at first. She was nearly as beautiful as Matilda, but so very different in every respect, that those who admired one could scarcely concede beauty to the other. Thus there was no rivalry between the sisters, and the elder felt no jealousy at the attentions lavished on the new débutante. Matilda Lyndsay possessed great tact, and considerable perception of character. She had no striking
talent except for music, in which she excelled; but she was ready in conversation, peculiarly graceful and dignified in manner, and, beneath a vast amount of natural indolence and fashionable indifference, concealed, almost from herself, powers of strong resolution and endurance. She liked the show and pleasure of the world, and her mother's advice and example fostered a spirit of worldly ambition that was gradually gaining ascendancy over her nobler, but undeveloped endowments.
Julia was energetic, mercurial, and warmhearted; the latter quality being deemed rather inconvenient by Mrs. Lyndsay, who feared that it might interfere with her daughter's “settlement."
Under better training that daughter would have made a most valuable member of society, happy herself, and making others so. Under her mother's lessons she had every prospect of becoming a thorough flirt, from mere gayety of spirit, wasting in a round of dissipation qualities that would have made sunshine in her home.
Their cousins, “the Sumners,” as they were generally called (though two only had any right to the name), cared less for general society; and though mixing somewhat in the Lyndsays’ more dashing set, found greater pleasure in home, and their own circle of tried and valued friends.
Cornelia met Captain Vernon frequently, hut always in mixed society, so that he had little opportunity of paying her special attention, though his interest in her evidently increased. There seemed a spell in his eyes that could always attract hers; a charm in her voice that drew him to her side. He was a man of extensive information, his taste was cultivated and naturally refined; while his rather retiring disposition prevented him from being considered brilliant in company, he was valued and appreciated by all who could look below the surface. To Cornelia, his conversation revealed a new world. While their tastes were remarkably similar, he had advantages which she could not as yet have attained, and he opened vistas before her eyes that gleamed with radiance from realms of light and beauty of which she had scarcely dreamed.
Early acquired habits of self-control, acquired during grief and anxiety in her childhood, had subdued her manner, and concealed from per. sons the most marked characteristics of her mind. This quiet-looking girl, considered even commonplace by many, was an ardent enthusiast, passionately loving all things beautiful, quick, sensitive, sympathetic, and capable of the loftiest heroism, the most intense devotion.
Towards the close of the winter, Cornelia received a letter from an old school friend who had returned home to Virginia, and now wrote to demand the fulfilment of a promise, to be her bridesmaid. This was an imperative call; and Cornelia, having accepted it, had been gone about ten days when Captain Vernon received orders to start for the far West.
The summons to leave the city, and the deep regret he experienced, enlightened him as to the nature of his feelings towards Miss Boyls