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"Gad, I was quite wight," said the Baronet. "He has cwied, and he has got it, you see. Go it, Fwank, old boy."
"Sir Francis is a very judicious parent," Miss Amory whispered. "Don't you think so, Miss Bell? I sha'n't call you Miss Bell—I shall call you Laura. I admired you so at church. Your robe was not well made, nor your bonnet very fresh. But you have such beautiful grey eyes, and such a lovely tint."
"Thank you," said Miss Bell, laughing."Your cousin is handsome, and thinks so. He is uneasy de sa personne. He has not seen the world yet. Has he genius? Has he suffered? A lady, a little woman in a rumpled satin and velvet shoes—a Miss Pybus—came here, and said he has suffered. I, too, have suffered,—and you, Laura, has your heart ever been touched?"
Laura said "No !" but perhaps blushed a little at the idea or the question, so that the other said,—
"Ah, Laura! I see it all. It is the beau cousin. Tell me everything. I already love you as a sister."
"You are very kind," said Miss Bell, smiling, "and—and it must be owned that it is a very sudden attachment."
"All attachments are so. It is electricity—spontaneity. It is instantaneous. I knew I should love you from the moment I saw you. Do you not feel it yourself?"
"Not yet," said Laura; "but I dare say I shall if I try."
"Call me by my name, then."
"But I don't know it," Laura cried out."My name is Blanche—isn't it a pretty name? Call me by it.""Blanche—it is very pretty indeed."
"And while mamma talks with that kind-looking lady—what relation is she to you? She must have been pretty once, but is rather passi'c; she is not well gantee, but she has a pretty hand—and while mamma talks to her, come with me to my own room,—my own, own room. It's a darling room, though that horrid creature, Captain Strong, did arrange it. Are you epris of him? He says you are, but I know better; it is the beau cousin. Yes—il a de beaux ycux. Jc n'aimc pas les blonds, ordinairement. Car jc suis blonde, moi—jc suis Blanche et blonde,"—and she looked at her face and made a moue in the glass; and never stopped for Laura's answer to the questions which she had put.
Blanche was fair and like a sylph. She had fair hair with green reflections in it. But she had dark eyebrows. She had long black eyelashes, which veiled beautiful brown eyes. She had such a slim waist, that it was a wonder to behold; and such slim little feet, that you would have thought the grass would hardly bend under them. Her lips were of the colour of faint rosebuds, and her voice warbled limpidly over a set of the sweetest little pearly teeth ever seen. She showed them very often, for they were very pretty. She was always smiling, and a smile not only showed her teeth wonderfully, but likewise exhibited two lovely little pink dimples, that nestled in either cheek.
She showed Laura her drawings, which the other thought charming. She played her some of her waltzes, with a rapid and brilliant finger, and Laura was still more charmed. And she then read her some poems, in French and English, likewise of her own composition, and which she kept locked in her own book—her own dear little book; it was bound in blue velvet, with a gilt lock, and on it was printed in gold the title of "Mes Larmes."
"Mes Larmes !—isn't it a pretty name?" the young lady continued, who was pleased with everything that she did, and did everything very well. Laura owned that it was. She had never seen anything like it before; anything so lovely, so accomplished, so fragile and pretty; warbling so prettily, and tripping about such a pretty room, with such a number of pretty books, pictures, flowers, round about her. The honest and generous country girl forgot even jealousy in her admiration. "Indeed, Blanche," she said, "everything in the room is pretty; and you are the prettiest of all." The other smiled, looked in the glass, went up and took both of Laura's hands, and kissed them, and sat down to the piano, and shook out a little song.
The intimacy between the young ladies sprang up like Jack's Bean-stalk to the skies in a single night. The large footmen were perpetually walking with little pink notes to