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* It’s all humbug !’ ‘ What is all humbug ?’ ‘To talk about being resigned to one’s lot in life. lam not resigned. I hate being fpbbr, and I hate—oh, I do hate wearing that shabby old thing.’ Georgie Casterton marched up and down her meanly furnished little bedroom, flourishing her hair-brush vehemently in indignant protest against her special lot in life. She was dressing for an evening-party, and a curly mass of tangled brown hair streamed over her scarlet dressing-gown far below her waist. ‘That shabby old thing* lay spread out on the bed. It was a dress of black alpaca—not a bad dress of ill • kind, and nicely made. White tullee ruffles lay beside it. ! ‘ Horrid old thing,’ said Georgie, coming to a standstill in front of it, and, giving it a contemptuous twitch, * I do. hate you !’ ‘ Oh, Georgie 1 * ‘Yes, I da; rnd you need not sit perched up on the bed, Esther, saying, “ Oh, Georgie ! ” in such a horrid tone. I do hate it, and it is horrid and povertystricken. Just think of going to a party in it ! I would rather by far go in sackcloth and ashes.’

* How lovely you would look in a sackcloth garment with a rope round: your waist! said Esther, dryly, from her perch on the bed. Georgie gave an unmerciful pull at the curly brown head. * I wish you would be sensible, Esther—you are so dreadfully literal At any rate, if I might dress like a sister of charity, it would be a merit to look shabby and woe-begone.’ ‘Sisters of charity don’t look woebegone. At St. Mary’s Horae they are quite merry, and not at all miserable. But you would look a fright in a great black bonnet.’

‘I don’t suppose I should, and at least it would be no pretence, of ’ dressing as, well as other peQple.k. * There is no pretence, Georgie. The a good one, and' it does hot pretend to be a silk,’ remarked Esther, sagely. - ' ■ ‘You are always ( go wise, Esther; but just look at that ' dress, and remember that there is a party at Starr Hills, and that everybody will be there— s i: . ‘ Well, you can sit in a corner and no one will notice you,' was the comforting reply. _ Georgie gave another spiteful tug at- 1 the tangled" hair, ms if the anticipation r. of spending an / evening alone in, a, corner was not very charming. , *Oh dear,’ she sighed, thtowing herself into a chair', ‘just think of Lillie Ball*in her silks and velvets,- as gorgeous. ; as a fashion-plate, and then look at that wretched frock 'l' But the vision of Miss- Bell arrayed «' 4 la fashion-plate was too much for poor Georgie’s philosophy.;!. ShqlJiifejfy down the hair brush,^.butSt’into" tears, and sobbed away as if her heart woijfld 1 - break. Poor child,f. she''’'’was'"’only seventeen,; and to go in the poot ■< alpaca—which was the -best dress the Vicar of Staveleigh’s daughter : rduld afford, Staveleigh being a very poor living far away in the hills of .Cumber- f land—amqbg ' well-dressed-' '.people Twas;.’' a trouble and a trial topper. ! Vj .- /,-?«■ ‘ Gh, Georgie, don’t cry 4. It is not such a bad dress, really,” s|id Esther leaving her perch on the..tied. Vi and coming to the rescue. * ‘ Besides, you have, something that Lillie would give a.. great many of her silks: :and. satins have.’ ‘ What ?’ sobbed} Georgie, discon/1 solately. * I have only the string of pearls >&at belonged to grimdmafertfa/ 1 ‘ This,’ said Esther; and; takihg her sister’s face in her two hands, she J turned it round tb the looking-glass. ’ •* •*; : Georgie involuntarily, stoppedbing.puihed the tangled hair aside; and ' looked at herself. Through the midst of tears she saw a fair girlish facepv beautiful with the round soft outlines and fresh purity of early youth, • of large wistful eyes, gleaming larger through the tears that glistened on the fringe of curling black straight little nose, and' a delicate creamy complexion, with no spot of color save in the rich scarlet lips—all framed in wonderful masses of bright nut-brown hair.

Georgia gazed at herself intently for a minute or two, and then smiled , through her tears. It was very pleasant, to know she was so fair that even the alpaca dress could not hide her beauty. ‘ There, Georgie, you need nbt be SO 1 disconsolate,’ said Esther, seeing the , tears had,nearly vanished. ‘When you, ; have finished admiring yourself I will. do your hair for you.’ ,' f Georgie resigned the brush,and her sister, taking the wavy curly masses, brushed and twisted them deftly into a loose coronet all round the graceful • little head. Then Georgie donned the despised black dress—somehow it looked well on the rounded lithe figure —fastened the fuffles oh; just permitting a glimpse of fair white throat, encircled by the prized string of pearls, to be seed, and stood forth at last a very dainty lady indeed. . < ‘lf it had Only beenwhite muslin i’l

sighed she, giving one more look in the glass, and feeling considerably comforted by her appearance, therein. : ‘ Perhaps I may not have to sit'in a corner all night; Esther,’ said she hope- . fully. ‘I am sure not—that was only my, nonsense. Here are your gloves and handkerchief. Be quick! I heard the pater go down five minutes since.’ Georgie took them, wrapped a - large shawl sound her, tied a little scaflet J . hood over her bright hair, and walked down-stairs very soberly, pondering = , many things. Starr Hills was the great house o( Staveleigh-le-dale. On this evening 1 the large drawing-room, with its handsome massive furniture and rich, sober coloring, was filled with almost a.crbwd 1 of people, for Mfs Ball’?evening-parties were an institution veiy popular in the neighborhood. When hsr and Georgie entered the room, she came forward with a cordial gretSlifig, **' and, after introducing Georgie tet rode < or two strangers present, consigned her to the care of her daughter Lillie,- who, to Georgie’s.relief, was almost plainly , ? atiired as hferself. ’ ~ Still feeling very' conscious of. her alpaca dress, -Geprgie shyly buried,, self-in ; a, portfolio of Italian - photo- ~-t graphs ,on a stand near her. i Presently i » she heard, hec-i naam^sof^-ircpeated* ,53 ’ behind: her, and, glancing up, *

nised Captain Day, one of .h; ; egers who been presented to he, n.ij Airs Ball’s nephew. ‘May I get you some coffee ?' asked he, smiling down at her. ‘Yes, please,’ said Georgie, diffidently, her mind instantly reverting to what he must think of her shabby dress.

He made a sign to a servant, who came up with a tray. I lelping Georgie to her coffee, he took another cup himself, and then, drawing a chair beside her, began to talk in a light, careless manner that speedily set her at her ease. Even the troublesome dress was at length forgotten, and Georgie bore her fair share in the half-laughing, half-serious conversation that ensued. AAer a while he drew the stand of photographs forward, and turned them Oyer for her to look at, telling her about Italy in a soft low voice that seemed meant for her alone. He was a tall, handsome man, rather fair, with bright* blue eyes, and a moustache and whiskers that seemed to require an immense amount of attention to keep them in order. He possessed in perfection the art of being all things to all women. His indolent, graceful air of deference and intense devotion, his low caressing voice, were irresistibly flattering. His words were simple enough, neither very wise or very witty; but they might have been very pearls and diamonds of wisdom from the veneration with which Georgie listened to them. He stayed by her side for a long time, turning over and discussing folios and albums. At length Mrs Ball captured them for a round game at cards, much to Captain Day’s disgust. However, he managed to obtain Georgie for a partner, took care of her counters,, and contrived to throw an immense amount of earnestness into the question of slaking two cr two dozen. He conducted her into supper, and took care to have a snug corner all to themselves; and then he bestowed on her all those petits soins and delicate attentions which are the right of, • some; favored mortals, but which were something very new and very charming to his' unsophisticated companion. ’ Geoigie was completely fascinated. Site :was very young, very simple, and very: romantic, beautiful, impulsive, child, with all sorts of wbndefful ideas floating about in her graceful little; head; and Captain Arthur Day was the handsomest man in his regiment, and one of the most consummate flirts in existence;

Had Georgia's eyes and ears not been too entirely engaged, she might have discovered that one, person at least ■ showed considerable disapproba-. tiottleither of her or of her cavalier’s proceedings,' Mote than once a tall gentlemanly man , had tried to gain Mijss Castertpn’s ear, and ai grave face with dark, suspicious eyes had watched themmore or less all the evening. A good many angry glances had been wasted bn ,Captaiti Day’s imperturable face—rwasted, because, though he had seen the glances , plainly enough, he hacj. taken no notice of them. When the time for departure came, Captain Day slipped Into- the hall, and was*feady with u Georgie’s shawl and lildef 4 'scarlet hood, , After one long prefetimS. Of. -her. .hand, one lingering imd her dark lovely eyes, one soft low ‘Good night,’ she out into the. dun- night with a swift subtle delight in every-nerve, a feeling of sweet shy joy stealing into her heart, which, alas,'would never be the simple childhefat :j again.l Day turned to re-enter the . encountered his brother, tho gentlcHian whose wrathful eyes had so fsuspiciously watched him all the evening. Anything the matter, Frank?’ asked he, lightly. ‘ You : look 'particularly 'the. gravc face'grew a shade graver as Re turned to his brother and said, emphatically and. suddenly—‘i¥ou right Arthur, to pay such devoted attention to any lady, muchless iMiss, Castcrlon.* * What do you mean ?’ ‘jWhat I. say. You have no right to sacrifice, that trusting sweet little thing for your amusement* ‘:HoW excessively ridiculous, Frank 1 I aybnrijg lady for the first time in my life, try to amuse her for an hour or two, and you. get up a tragic air and-talk of a sweet little thing being sacrificed for my amusement 1 It is too absurd.’

*1 have seen too many of your 1 flirtations not to know the signs of a new one. I know what your hour or arauseroent means, and 1 say you have hb“right to raise hopes and wishes youJuve not the slightest intention of fulfilling.’. . ‘ Looks like a case of righteous ind{gha|fi6n,’. said the Captain, coolly, smoking' his. moustache. * Thanks, youjyecfure might be more effectual interested party.’ ‘ "dpp’li understand : you,’ said Mr Day, haughtily. .r - - t ‘ Mit,that talks about f tin such sentimental I have never seen you two glances on any young lady JJ, '^efo^- r hut'to-night* ydn 'have!' honored with vouiumdst distinguished is tum thQ CpM shooldeg on . thecelderisa much than-the scapegrace cpnteinptjA:, rival - in, si ; r - i,] v T-. lOrny . v *." *

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Bibliographic details

GEOROTE’S LOVERS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 362, 4 June 1881

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GEOROTE’S LOVERS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 362, 4 June 1881

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