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“Ah, well, in that case," said Mr. Townsend, “we will sit still and talk. I will find a good place to sit."
He found a good place -- a charming place; a little sofa that seemed meant only for two persons. The rooms by this time were very full; the dancers increased in number, and people stood close in front of them, turning their backs, so that Catherine and her companion seemed secluded and unobserved. “We will talk,” the young man had said ; but he still did all the talking. Catherine leaned back in her place, with her eyes fixed upon him, smiling, and thinking him very clever. He had features like young men in pictures ; Catherine had never seen such features – so delicate, so chiselled and finished --- among the young New Yorkers whom she passed in the streets and met at dancing-parties. He was tall and slim, but he looked extremely strong. Catherine thought he looked like a statue. But a statue would not talk like that, and, above all, would not have eyes of so rere a color. He had never been at Mrs. Almond's before; he felt very much like a stranger; and it was very kind of Catherine to take pity on him. He was Arthur Townsend's cousin - not very near; several times removed — and Arthur had brought him to present him to the family. In fact, he was a great stranger in New York. It was his native place; but he had not been there for many years. He had been knocking about the world, and living in queer corners; he had only come back a month or two before. New York was very pleasant, only he felt lonely.
“You see, people forget you," he said, smiling at Catherine with his delightful gaze, while he leaned forward obliquely, turning toward her, with his elbows on his knees.
It seemed to Catherine that no one who had once seen him would ever forget him ; but though she made this reflection she kept it to herself, almost as you would keep something precious
They sat there for some time. He was very amusing. He asked her about the people that were near them; he tried to guess who some of them were, and he made the most laughable mistakes. He criticised thein very freely, in a positive, off-hand way. Catherine had never heard any one - especially any young man talk just like that. It was the way a young man might talk in a novel; or, better still, in a play, on the stage, close before the foot-lights, looking at the audience, and with every one looking at him, so that you wondered at his presence of mind. And yet Mr. Townsend was not like an actor; he seemed so sincere, so natural. This was very interesting; but in the midst of it Marian Almond came pushing through the crowd, with a little ironical cry, when she found these young people still together, which made every one turn round, and cost Catherine a conscious blush. Marian broke up their talk, and told Mr. Townsend whom she treated as if she were already married, and he had become her cousin -- to run away to her mother, who had been wishing for the last half hour to introduce him to Mr. Almond.
“We shall meet again,” he said to Catherine as he left her, and Catherine thought it a very original speech.
Her cousin took her by the arm, and made her walk about. “I needn't ask you what you think of Morris,” the young girl exclaimed.
“ Is that his name?”
“I don't ask you what you think of his name, but what you think of himself,” said Marian.
“Oh, nothing particular,” Catherine answered, dissembling for the first time in her life.
“I have half a mind to tell him that!” cried Marian. “It will do him good ; he's so terribly conceited.”
“ Conceited ?” said Catherine, staring.
“Don't tell him he's conceited! I have told him so a dozen times."
At this profession of audacity Catherine looked down at her little companion in amazement. She supposed it was because Marian was going to be married that she took so much on herself; but she wondered too, whether, when she herself should become engaged, such exploits would be expected of her.
Half an hour later she saw her aunt Penniman sitting in the embrasure of a window, with her head a little on one side, and her gold eye-glass raised to her eyes, which were wandering about the
In front of her was a gentleman, bending forward a little, with his back turned to Catherine. She knew his back immediately, though she had never seen it; for when he left her, at Marian’s instigation, he had retreated in the best order, without turning round. Morris Townsend — the name had already become very familiar to her, as if some one had been repeating it in her ear for the last half hour — Morris Townsend was giving his impressions of the company to her aunt, as he had done to herself; he was saying clever things, and Mrs. Penniman was smiling, as if she approved of them. As soon as Catherine had perceived this she moved away; she would not have liked him to turn round and see her. But it
But it gave her pleasure – the whole thing. That
he should talk with Mrs. Penniman, with whom she lived and whom she saw and talked with every day - that seemed to keep him near her, and to make him even easier to contemplate than if she herself had been the object of his civilities; and that Aunt Lavinia should like him, should not be shocked or startled by what he said, this also appeared to the girl a personal gain ; for Aunt Lavinia’s standard was extremely high, planted as it was over the grave of her late husband, in which, as she had convinced every one, the very genius of conversation was buried. One of the Almond boys, as Catherine called them, invited our heroine to dance a quadrille, and for a quarter of an hour her feet at least were occupied. This time she was not dizzy ; her head we very clear. Just when the dance was over, she found herself in the crowd face to face with her father. Doctor Sloper had usually a little smile, never a very big one, and with this little smile playing in his clear eyes and on his neatly-shaved lips, he looked at his daughter's crimson gown.
“Is it possible that this magnificent person is my child ?” he said.
You would have surprised him if you had told him so; but it is a literal fact that he almost never addressed his daughter save in the ironical forin. Whenever he addressed her he gave her pleasure ; but she had to cut her pleasure out of the piece, as it were. There were portions left over, light remnants and snippets of irony, which she never knew what to do with, which seemed too delicate for her own use; and yet Catherine, lamenting the limitations of her understanding, felt that they were too valuable to waste, and had a belief that if they passed over her head they yet contributed to the general sum of human wisdom.
“I am not magnificent,” she said, mildly, wishing that she had put on another dress.
“You are sumptuous, opulent, expensive,” her father rejoined. “You look as if you had eighty thousand a year.”
“Well, so long as I haven't — ” said Catherine, illogically. Her conception of her prospective wealth was as yet very indefinite.
“So long as you haven't you shouldn't look as if you had. Have you enjoyed your party ?”
Catherine hesitated a moment; and then, looking away, “I am rather tired," she murmured. I have said that this entertainment was the beginning of something important for Catherine. For the second time in her life she made an indirect answer; and the beginning of a period of dissimulation is certainly a significant date. Catherine was not so easily tired as that.
Nevertheless, in the carriage, as they drove home, she was as quiet as if fatigue had been her portion. Doctor Sloper's manner of addressing his sister Lavinia had a good deal of resemblance to the tone he had adopted toward Catherine.
“Who was the young man that was making love to you ?” he presently asked.
"Oh, my good brother!” murmured Mrs. Penniman, in deprecation. “He seemed uncommonly tender. Whenever I looked at
you for half an hour, he had the most devoted air."
“ The devotion was not to me," said Mrs. Penniman. “It was to Catherine; he talked to me of her."
Catherine had been listening with all her ears. “Oh, Aunt Penniman!” she exclaimed, faintly.
“He is very handsome; he is very clever; he expressed himself with a great deal — a great deal of felicity,” her aunt went on.
“He is in love with this regal creature, then?” the Doctor inquired, humorously.
“Oh, father!” cried the girl, still more faintly, devoutly thankful the carriage was dark.
“I don't know that; but he admired her dress."
Catherine did not say to herself in the dark, "My dress only ?” Mrs. Penniman's announcement struck her by its richness, not by its meagreness.
“You see,” said her father," he thinks you have eighty thousand a vear.”
“I don't believe he thinks of that,” said Mrs. Penniman; "he is too refined."
“He must be tremendously refined not to think of that!" “Well, he is !” Catherine exclaimed, before she knew it.
“I thought you had gone to sleep,” her father answered. “The hour has come!” he added to himself. “ Lavinia is going to get up a romance for Catherine. It's a shame to play such tricks on the girl. What is the gentleman's naine?” he went on aloud.
“I didn't catch it, and I didn't like to ask him. He asked to be introduced to me,” said Mrs. Penniman, with a certain grandeur; “but you know how indistinctly Jefferson speaks. ” Jefferson was Mr. Almond. “Catherine, dear, what was the gentleman's name ?"
For a minute, if it had not been for the rumbling of the carriage, you might have heard a pin drop.
“I don't know, Aunt Lavinia,” said Catherine, very softly. And, with all his irony, her father believed her.
IVAN TURGENEFF. THERE is perhaps no novelist of alien race who more naturally than Ivan Turgeneff inherits a niche in a Library for English readers; and this not because of any advance or concession that in his peculiar artistic independence he ever made, or could dream of making, such readers, but because it was one of the effects of his peculiar genius to give him, even in his lifetime, a special place in the regard of foreign publics. His position is in this respect singular; for it is his Russian savor that as much as anything has helped generally to domesticate him.
Born in 1818, at Orel in the heart of Russia, and dying in 1883, at Bougival near Paris, he had spent in Germany and France the latter half of his life ; and had incurred in his own country in some degree the reprobation that is apt to attach to the absent, — the penalty they pay for such extension or such beguilement as they may have happened to find over the border. He belonged to the class of large rural proprietors of land and of serfs; and with his ample patrimony, offered one of the few examples of literary labor achieved in high independence of the question of gain, - a character that he shares with his illustrious contemporary Tolstoy, who is of a type in other respects so different. It may give us an idea of his primary situation to imagine some large Virginian or Carolinian slaveholder, during the first half of the century, inclining to “Northern " views; and becoming (though not predominantly under pressure of these, but rather by the operation of an exquisite genius) the great American novelist — one of the great novelists of the world. Born under a social and political order sternly repressive, all Turgeneff's deep instincts, all his moral passion, placed him on the liberal side; with the consequence that early in life, after a period spent at a German university, he found himself, through the accident of a trifling public utterance, under such suspicion in high places as to be sentenced to a term of tempered exile, — confinement to his own estate. It was partly under these circumstances perhaps that he gathered material for the work from the appearance