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Up to the time when our story opens—that is, nearly four years after Pierce O'Neile had become estranged from his house,-only one-third of the sum had been paid. Catherine looked forward to the day when she would be of age, to give up most of the little fortune, left to her by her mother, in liquidation of the debt.
All that night and the next day, Catherine puzzled her brain to devise some stratagem to hide Pierce, for she felt that could she succeed in doing so, it would have a great influence in deciding him to follow the course she had pointed out to him. At one time she thought of secreting him under the sofa, or behind the heavy window-curtains, where he might see and hear all that was going on; yet, on second thoughts, it might be running too great a risk, for the dog would be sure to scent him out. Then, again, she thought of his standing outside one of the windows; yet the chances were, he might be seen and recognised by the police, who were now on the look-out for Captain Sweeny. The day had nearly passed, and still Catherine had fixed upon no plan of concealment. However, as they were all at dinner that day, an idea presented itself to her, suggested, no doubt, by something upon which her eye glanced, when looking around the apartment, It was a daring, almost unprecedented plan, that she in a moment conceived, if it were only possible to carry it but, with Catherine, to will was to perform. As she sat there, apparently listening to and answering the various remarks that were being made, no one, to have looked at her calm face, would have imagined what agitated thoughts were passing through her brain. An hour later she left the room, saying, “as the night was so fine and bright, she would take a stroll up and down before the house.' She had scarcely reached the lawn, when, to her dismay, she perceived that she was followed by Geraldine and Lionel, who graciously proposed to accompany her,-rather an unusual thing for the first-mentioned, who seldom or ever offered to join Catherine in her rambles; and she felt assured that, in this instance, the idea was Lionel's, not her cousin's. There was nothing left for her but to acquiesce, which she did with a very bad grace, for Catherine was no dissembler. Geraldine soon complained of the freshness of the night air, which Lionel no sooner heard, than he insisted upon returning to get her an additional shawl. During his absence, Catherine thought it a good opportunity for giving Geraldine a few hints, as she could no longer conceal from herself the impression she had made upon Lionel Herbert; and, he being one of the nation to which she bore a deadly hatred, she would not have smiled upon him, nor have reciprocated his sentiments, if he could have offered her a diadem. She now believed him as false to himself as to others, for, while he flattered and pretended to love Geraldine, she, in return, believed him to be perfection, and had but too easily and foolishly placed her happiness in his keeping. Indeed, Geraldine, with the vanity of a woman who knows that she is beautiful, deceived herself into thinking that she alone was the one who had first made any sacrifice of heart, by returning an affection that she firmly and flatteringly imagined she was the first to inspire. Had not her vanity blinded her, she would have surely noticed the frequent fits of abstraction and rev erie into which her supposed captured lover had
fallen of late. But, in Catherine's presence, this peculiarity was not observable, for she had only to appear or to converse, to rivet all his attention, although he seemed apparently to be either listening to, or waiting upon Geraldine. Lionel's eyes would follow Catherine's slightest action with a language in them that there was no misunderstanding; and Catherine, with a woman's quick instinct, and despite of her disinclination to do so, soon read the truth.
At times, she pitied her cousin for allowing herself to be deluded by the man, who was deceiving both her and himself. To speak truly, Lionel imagined he loved Geraldine only, but it was when Catherine was not there. Often when looking around, she would meet his glance fixed upon her; then she would turn away her head with a haughty movement, or with an inquiring, steadfast, defiant look, meet his eyes, as if to challenge and forbid the false glance, that expressed but too well the feelings which he had not strength of mind to conceal. Catherine, vexed at their now forcing their society upon her, said what in calmer moments she would not have done
“I often think, Geraldine, what a splendid actor Mr. Herbert would make! Has it never struck you in the same way ?”
“ How so?" Geraldine replied, somewhat astonished at this unlooked-for remark.
Why, any one can see that he is an adept in the art he professes."
“ The art he professes ! What do you mean, Catherine ?"
“I mean that of the ardent young lover, who feigns a passion he does not feel, but which his profession exacts that he should get creditably through with, that is to say, with polished ease and simulation of genuineness; and a clever one he appears, for each occasion he varies his tactics. We all know that actors, while performing their part, often love the one who cannot,
or will not, respond to their addresses; and when they assume the mask at night, they fancy for the time that in reality they feel that which circumstances compel them to pretend. I trust I shall never be so short-sighted as to take the shadow for the substance."
Although Catherine had expressed herself so plainly, Geraldine did not, or would not, understand the undercurrent of her thoughts. To be jealous of the unpretending, strange Catherine, as she in her own conceit believed her to be, never once entered the mind of Geraldine; besides, she had been told that men in general were afraid of clever women, and her cousin Catherine she had flatteringly classed amongst the latter. It is quite possible that she was not very
in the belief that clever women do not inspire affection, for although it may amuse men to talk with them, and sometimes listen to them, yet they seldom, when talented themselves, think of marrying a woman of “blue-stocking” reputation. A man has his own brain ; what he looks for in a wife, are sympathy and companionship, and she can afford him these without being a walking cyclopædia. А woman should always be able to look up to her husband; and were it possible for their intellects to be equal, she should endeavour not to surpass his. Let her possess just sufficient knowledge to understand him, help his views when necessary, and encourage his aspirations, but let her not strive after that which does not belong to her own sphere—which should be love, endurance, and trust, three of the strongest and noblest of all household virtues, for without them a home would be desolate.
Lionel's return put an end to the conversation between the two cousins. Geraldine had penetration enough to remark that their society was disagreeable to Catherine ; yet, with the waywardness that can sometimes be carried to excess, and not unfrequently against the inclination of the persons who indulge in it, but who endeavour to console themselves for the sacrifice by inflicting it upon another, whom it gratifies them to see put out by their caprice, Geraldine, in her soft and rather affected voice, which at that moment had a slight touch of reproach in it, that she no doubt found suitable to the occasion, as it gave her the opportunity of placing herself in a favour. able light before Lionel, said
“Why, my dear Catherine, you are becoming quite a misanthrope. We have seen so little of you of late.”
“You seemingly forget, Geraldine, that there are duties to perform that cannot be neglected, which, by often claiming a great deal of my attention, may make me appear what you, with your usual discrimination, observe—'misanthropical.'
The last sentence Catherine pronounced very slowly and pointedly.
“ Yes, dear, but allowing that, still one should not neglect one's own family, nor the social ties that form part of it.”
“Why, Geraldine, you speak like a book, but without the moral, which I have generally understood to be the essential quality in didactic narrative. Now, supposing that you, who have so much time at your disposal, would sometimes have the goodness to double the tie which you seem so fully to comprehend and appreciate, and take my duty in my absence, you would therefore be better able to expatiate upon the subject.”
“Really, Catherine, I don't understand you when you express yourself in that enigmatical way. I ask you simply, why it is that you spend so much time away from home, when you know it would be so agreeable to papa were you to sit and talk with him? You know he depends so much upon you, and you are aware that I cannot replace you—my ways and pursuits are so different from yours; beside, you are more accustomed to him, and invariably find subjects to interest him, whilst I