Beulah (Chapter 10, page 1 of 15)


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Chapter 10

"Cornelia Graham, I want to know why you did not come to my party.
You might at least have honored me with an excuse." Such was
Pauline's salutation, the following day, when the girls gathered in
groups about the schoolroom.

"Why, Pauline, I did send an excuse; but it was addressed to your
mother, and probably she forgot to mention it. You must acquit me of
any such rudeness."

"Well, but why didn't you come? We had a glorious time. I have half
a mind not to tell you what I heard said of you, but I believe you
may have it second-hand. Fred Vincent was as grum as a preacher all
the evening, and when I asked him what on earth made him so surly
and owlish, he said, 'It was too provoking you would not come, for
no one else could dance the schottisch to his liking.' Now there was
a sweet specimen of manners for you! You had better teach your beau
politeness."

Cornelia was leaning listlessly against Clara's desk, and Beulah
fancied she looked very sad and abstracted. She colored at the jest,
and answered contemptuously: "He is no beau of mine, let me tell you; and as for manners, I
commend him to your merciful tuition."

"But what was your excuse?" persisted Pauline.

"I should think you might conjecture that I felt no inclination to
go to parties and dance when you know that we are all so anxious
about my brother."

"Oh, I did not think of that!" cried the heedless girl, and quite as
heedlessly she continued: "I want to see that brother of yours. Uncle Guy says he is the
handsomest boy in the city, and promises to make something
extraordinary. Is he so very handsome?"

"Yes." The proud lip trembled.

"I heard Anne Vernon say she liked him better than all her other
beaux, and that is great praise, coming from her queenship," said
Emily Wood, who stood near.

Cornelia's eyes dilated angrily, as she answered with curling lips: "Eugene one of her beaux! It is no such thing."

"You need not look so insulted. I suppose if the matter is such a
delicate one with you, Anne will withdraw her claim," sneered Emily,
happy in the opportunity afforded of wounding the haughty spirit
whom all feared and few sympathized with.

Cornelia was about to retort, but madam's voice prevented, as,
leaning from the platform opposite, she held out a note, and said: "Miss Graham, a servant has just brought this for you."

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