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doubted, remembering some vague words of the young man, which made her blush and smile; and she saw again the look on his face as he said “Good-bye.”
“ Well, well, dear, you need not be in a hurry," said Mrs Adare; “you have plenty of time before you.” Then she added, in an absent manner, "She can take her choice;” and smoothing her gown with an air of satisfaction, she picked up her novel once more.
Her daughter looked at her with a comical air. As she thought of her new power, of which she had been so lately unconscious, her lips parted until her feeling found expression in a little laugh. Having glanced at her mother, she went noiselessly to the looking-glass, and looked critically at herself. “I wonder if Irvie would see such a wonderful change in me,” she murmured, as she rooved lightly across to the window. It was an exquisite day of broken sunshine and flying shadows. She wondered why none of the party who were staying at Islay Place had come to see them. She caught herself thinking that she was now too important a person to be neglected for a whole day, and she laughed at herself for the thought. As she was idly tapping the glass with her finger-tips, she saw
Ned Harefel striding along the path which leads from Islay through the fields. She watched him with that pleasant feeling of superiority which we enjoy in the free observation of a friend who cannot be assuining anything for our benefit. Presently he caught sight of her. She saw him start, and his whole bearing change. She flushed suddenly, and half drew back, as a new idea struck her. She gave a little petulant shake of her head. Ned and she had always been close friends. Was she going to think that the whole world were in love with her? She was a goose, and her head was turned by flattery. So she gave a low laugh, declared to herself that she would put away all silly notions for ever, and began to whistle that same gay air of Italy which had been interrupted some time before.
“Katharine !” said Mrs Adare, looking up with dreamy eyes from her book, “Katharine !"
A YOUNG AMBASSADOR.
MR EDWARD HAREFEL, stepping quickly along the little path, by the shy stream which runs into the bushes and is betrayed by laughter, through the meadows awaking to the spring and glad with the short-lived beauty of daffodils, a young man with poetry made visible around him and breathing in the air, was yet not making sonnets. Corydon was guiltless of verses, and was going to Amaryllis for advice. Very early in life he had acquired the notion that it was the joint duty of Miss Katharine and himself to keep Irvine Dale out of mischief. Though Irvine was older and cleverer than his guardians, he still needed looking after, as so many dangerously clever young persons do. So Mr Edward was on his way to Miss Katharine with two portentous letters, which he had received from Italy
that morning. He and she had often consulted about their eccentric friend; and though this matter looked terribly grave, there was for him much sweetness in the thought of being once more associated with her. She was a young lady now, and exquisitely fair.
The letters which Harefel had received that morning had been written, the one at Amalfi, the other at Rome. He opened his cousin's first :
“DEAR NED,—Why ask about my plans? I won't make any. I won't go back to Oxford at present. Why should I? If the College object, they may send me down. To have to think of the place is bad enough. It is like a tomb of cold grey stone, a tomb where young men bury their hope and faith. As to charity, if tolerance be charity, let us rub out the old passage about charity suffering much, and put in Charity cares for none of these things. The glorious crown of the highest education of the country is a fine indifference as to what becomes of your neighbour. Let him go to the devil in his own way. We will not interfere, and we pride ourselves on our toleration. Let us alone. Don't ask us to do anything. So much may be said for doing the opposite. Some are active enough, of course, picking up scraps of knowledge, which will gain marks, which will bring money. Good, sensible souls! Why am I not of them? For me our great, world-renowned, historic, bloated University is but a cumbrous machine for producing bags of wind, a Juggernaut, a school of paralysis. Dear old boy, you will shake your head over my nonsense. Of course I know, Oxonian as I am, that so much is to be said on the other side. The truth is, that I am sick to death of my little list of rules for purifying religion, elevating humanity, reforming the universe. When I went up to Oxford, I had an awful appetite for these things. It seemed so easy to do almost everything, when one once understood it all. Here were people all about ready to make us understand. It was intoxicating to acquire so much knowledge. On Monday, I chanced. on a law which explained all the processes of the universe. On Tuesday, I came across a system to which all people might so easily conform, and become on a sudden wise and good. On Wednesday, I found that my law was attacked and my system demolished. On Thursday, I saw the great beauty of toleration; there was some truth on every view of a subject. 'O liberty !' I cried on Friday, and glowed with a generous enthusiasm for