Page:Out of due time, Ward, 1906.djvu/17

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II.

Still, if that day I had passed through something of a spiritual crisis, if I had got a new treasure, I had also defined a temptation, and thus made it more living. I fancy that my mother saw a good deal more than I thought she did, and I think she was decidedly worried about me three years afterwards, when another spring had brought new blossoms, new birds, and old temptations. The result of her trouble amazed me beyond measure. She told me a little solemnly one morning, after breakfast, that she wanted to speak to me in the drawing-room in an hour's time. Good Heavens! how shy I felt, how intensely embarrassed, as I walked down the length of the narrow sunny drawing-room to her arm-chair where she sat sewing something large and plain. Well, she told me in a voice of mingled severity and kindness—I think she was very shy too—that she had had an invitation for me to stay at Thornly, and that, as I was now nearly nineteen, she thought it would be right for me to go. It seemed that my brother's wife was giving a ball, and it would be a good opportunity for me to begin to go out as a grown-up young lady. I felt frightened, and I longed to ask my mother if she would not take me herself; but I dared not do it, I felt it would be sacrilegious.

I was to go to Thornly in three weeks from then. Those three weeks were spent in constant preparation. My mother, it seemed, had been putting away very small sums of money for several years against the time when I should come out.