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She, like the hazel twig,
“KATHARINE, Katharine-where is Katharine Ogilvie ?"
This call resounded from the entrance-hall of an old family mansion, in which, between the twilight and moonlight of a December evening, a group of young people were assembled.
Where is she s-why, staying to adorn herself, of course,” said a "young lady," the type par excellence of that numerous class; being pretty-faced, pretty-spoken, and pretty-mannered. "Was there ever a girl of sixteen who did not spend two hours at the least in dressing for her first evening party? I know I did.”
" Very likely,” muttered a rather fine-looking young man who stood at the door. “You do the same now, Bella. But Katharine is not one of your sort.” The first speaker tossed her head.
- That is a doubtful compliment. Pray, Mr. Hugh Ogilvie, is it meant for your cousin Katharine, or your cousin Bella ?" And Miss Isabella Worsley, shaking her multitudinous ringlets, looked up in his face with what she doubtless thought a most bewitching air of espièglerie.
But the young man was quite unmoved. He was apparently a simple soul-Mr. Hugh Ogilvie--too simple for such fascinations. "I wish some of you children would go and fetch your cousin. Uncle and aunt are quite ready; and Katharine knows her father will not endure to be kept waiting, even by herself.”
" It is all your fault, cousin Hugh,” interposed one of the smaller fry which composed the Christmas family-party assembled at Summerwood Park. “I saw Katharine staying to tie
up flowers you sent her. I told her how scarce they were, and how vou rode over the country all this morning in search of them, continued the wicked, long-tongued little imp of a boy, causing Hugh to turn very red and walk angrily away,
winning an approving glance from the elder sister of all the juvenile brood, Isabella Worsley.
Really, Hugh, what a blessing of a cousin you must be!" observed the latter, following him to the foot of the staircase, where he stood restlessly beating his heel upon the stone steps. quite envies Katharine in having you so constantly at Summerwood. Why, it is better for her than possessing half a dozen brothers, isn't it, now? And I dare say you find her worth a dozen of your sister Eleanor.”
Hugh made no audible answer, except beginning a long low whistle-sportsman-fashion.
I declare, he is calling for Katharine as he does for Junonow very flattering !" cried Isabella, laughing.“ Really, Hugh, this sort of behaviour does not at all match with that elegant evening costume, which, by-the-by, I have not yet sufficiently admired.”
“I wish heartily I were out of it,” muttered Hugh. “I had rather a great deal put on my shooting-jacket and go after wild ducks than start for this dull party at Mrs. Lancaster's. Nothing should have persuaded me to it except
Except Katharine. But here she comes !" At this moment, a young girl descended the stairs. Now, whatever the poets may say, there is not a more uncomfortable and unprepossessing age than “sweet sixteen.". The character and manners are then usually alike unformed—the graceful frankness of childhood is lost, and the calm dignity of womanhood has not yet been gained. Katharine Ogilvie was exactly in this transition state, in both mind and person. She had outgrown the roundness of early youth; and her tall thin figure, without being positively awkward, bore a ludicrous resemblance
-as the short, plump Miss Worsley often remarked—to a lettuce run to seed, or a hyacinth that will stretch out its long lanky leaves with an obstinate determination not to flower. This attenuated appearance was increased by the airy evening dress she wore:--a half-mourning frock, exhibiting her thin neck and long arms, the slenderness of which caused her otherwise well-formed hands to seem somewhat disproportioned. Her features were regular and pleasing; but her dark-almost sallow-complexion prevented their attracting the notice which their classical form deserved. The girl had, however, one beauty, which, when she did chance to lift her long lashes—a circumstance by no means frequent was almost startling in its effect. Katharine's eyes were magnificent; of the darkest yet most limpid haze. Therein lay the chief expression of her face; and often when the rest of the features were in apparent repose, these strange eyes were suddenly listed up, revealing such a world of enthusiasm, passion,
and tenderness, that her whole form seemed lighted up into beauty.
“Come here, Katharine, and let us all have a look at you ! said Isabeila, drawing her shrinking cousin under the light of the hall lamp. “Well
, you are dressed tolerably to-night; your hair is neat and pretty enough.”—It was, indeed, very lovely, of a rich purple-black hue, its silken masses being most gracefully folded round her small head. But, Katharine, child, what makes you so pale ? You ought to be delighted at going to this grand soirée; I only wish I had been invited in your stead."
"So do I, too. Indeed, Bella, it would have been much pleasanter for me to stay at home," said Katharine, in a low, timid voice, whose music was at least equal to the beauty of her eyes.
"You little simpleton to say so ! But I don't believe a word.” “You may
believe her or not, just as you like, Miss Bella, nobody minds,” answered Hugh, rather angrily, as he drew his young cousin's arm through his own. Come, Katharine, don't be frightened, I'll take care of you; and we will manage to get through this formidable literary soirée together."
She clung to him with a grateful and affectionate look; which would certainly once more have roused Isabella's acrid tongue had not Mr. and Mrs. Ogilvie appeared. After them followed a light-footed graceful girl in deep mourning. She carried a warm shawl, which she wrapped closely round Katharine.
"There's a good, thoughtful little Nelly,” said Hugh; while Katharine turned round with a quick_impulse and kissed her. But she only said “Good night, dear Eleanor,”—for her young heart had fluttered strangely throughout all this evening: However, there was no time to pause over doubts and trepidations, since her father and mother were already in the carriage; and thither she was herself hurried by Hugh, with an anxious care and tenderness that still further excited Isabella's envious indignation.
"It is a fine thing to be an only daughter and an heiress, thought she. “But one can easily see how the case will end. Hugh thinks, of course, that he may as well get the estate with the title; and uncle Ogilvie will be glad enough to keep both in the family, even if Hugh is not quite so rich as Crosus. I wonder how much money old Sir James will leave him, though. Anyhow, it is a good match for a little ugly thing like Katharine. But the husband she gets will make matters even, --for Hugh Ogilvie is a common-place, stupid boor. Iwould not have married him for the world.”
Miss Worsley's anger had probably affected ner memory; sinco she came to pay this visit to her maternal grandfather with the