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Norah follows; a tall girl with long lean arms and inquisitive grey eyes, that now prying into every one's business, will by-andby soften and gleam dangerously under the long black lashes. Norah stands out distinct from all her sisters; her hair was dark and straight, her complexion pale, her. manner assured and, amongst her contemporaries, rather dictatorial.
“ Norah really must be sent to school,” Mrs. Shrugg was continually saying.
"O, mamma, she's such fun,” Margaret would plead.
“Let her alone,” was her father's decision, “she's the cleverest girl of the lot.”
There is only little Nelly, now—a second Susy, and her mother's pet, and the introductions are over.
· RUINOUS INTEREST. “WELL!” Mr. Shrugg exclaimed, looking at the twins, “so you came out’ last night; did you enjoy your party ?” As he spoke, he, as if unconsciously, put his unopened letters into his pocket.
“Very much,” said Bell; "we danced a great deal ; it was delightful.”
“The supper, I suppose you mean !” said he slyly. “That's the only part I should care for ; and so you got some one to dance with you, did you ?”
The twins laughed and blushed. “O, papa, I wish you'd go with us just once,” Linda said, “ there were older gentlemen than you dancing, too; Bell danced with one.”
“Yes,” said Margaret, “ that ridiculous Mr. Seton, Mamma.”
“Mr. Polkely Seton, Margaret,” Bell interrupted.
“He corrected Mrs. Sims for introducing him as only ‘Mr. Seton ;' I was terrified of him, he was so stiff and grand. And he's ever so old," added Linda.
“How much is ever so old'?” cried Norah. “ I wouldn't have danced with him.”
“ You ought to feel flattered,” Mamma said, laughingly, “at being noticed by such a man. Why, Mrs. Sims was quite proud of him as her guest. She told me he is worth untold gold.”
"A city man, I suppose ?” asked Mr. Shrugg
“Yes, I believe so.” Both husband and wife had equally vague notions of city men. “But don't notice these silly girls, Francis; he's really a very gentlemanly person, and he's coming to call here.”
“ Yes, it seems he knew some of your people somewhere, so, of course, when he said he
should like to make your acquaintance, I was obliged to say we should be happy to see him here.”
There was a chorus of “Oh, mamma’s ” from the young ladies, and then Norah abruptly asked—“Is he married ? for if not,” added she, “ he'll just do for Margaret!”
Mr. Shrugg laughed outright, as Margaret flushed up angrily. Margaret only enjoyed these remarks when they were aimed at others.
“You ridiculous child! ” she began, when her mother interrupted her with, “ Norah, your thoughts are always running on absurdities; I won't have you read any more novels. Francis, I am sorry to say she sits up at night reading novels. We really must send her to school.”
Mr. Shrugg rose. “Come with me, Norah,” he said; “I want some pills made; Nelly shall have a few for her dinner!” and he patted his little girl's head, and drew Norah out of the room with him. “Now run away to your lesson,” he said, as soon as the door was shut behind them, “and don't let me hear any more complaints."
Norah threw her arms round his neck and kissed him, while tears in her eyes, and a strong determination in her heart to correct her faults for his sake, proved how a word from him had power over her. All that morning she was wonderfully docile, but alas! her docile moods were very few and short.
Meantime, her father, alone in his study, read the letters supposed to be circulars, with a face that lengthened as he read. Twice, three times, he read and weighed every word, and then he sat meditating till his wife came briskly into the room full of domestic business.
“We must have the Welsh mutton cooked to-day,” she began; but struck by her husband's face, she broke off suddenly.
“Well!” he exclaimed, sitting up as if quite alert.
"You don't look well!” she added; "what
is it ?”