WHO IS SHE?
"Tom, who was that girl you were so taken with last night?"
"Wasn't particularly taken last night with anybody."
Which practical falsehood the gentleman escaped from by a mental reservation, saying to himself that it was not last night that he was "taken."
"I mean the girl you had so much to do with. Come, Tom!"
"I hadn't much to do with her. I had to be civil to somebody. She was the easiest."
"Who is she, Tom?"
"Her name is Lothrop."
"O you tedious boy! I know what her name is, for I was introduced to her, and Mrs. Wishart spoke so I could not help but understand her; but I mean something else, and you know I do. Who is she? And where does she come from?"
"She is a cousin of Mrs. Wishart; and she comes from the country somewhere."
"One can see that."
"How can you?" the brother asked rather fiercely.
"You see it as well as I do," the sister returned coolly. "Her dress shows it."
"I didn't notice anything about her dress."
"You are a man."
"Well, you women dress for the men. If you only knew a thing or two, you would dress differently."
"That will do! You would not take me anywhere, if I dressed like MissLothrop."
"I'll tell you what," said the young man, stopping short in his walk up and down the floor;—"she can afford to do without your advantages!"
"Mamma!" appealed the sister now to a third member of the party,—"do you hear? Tom has lost his head."
The lady addressed sat busy with newspapers, at a table a little withdrawn from the fire; a lady in fresh middle age, and comely to look at. The daughter, not comely, but sensible-looking, sat in the glow of the fireshine, doing nothing. Both were extremely well dressed, if "well" means in the fashion and in rich stuffs, and with no sparing of money or care. The elder woman looked up from her studies now for a moment, with the remark, that she did not care about Tom's head, if he would keep his heart.
"But that is just precisely what he will not do, mamma. Tom can't keep anything, his heart least of all. And this girl mamma, I tell you he is in danger. Tom, how many times have you been to see her?"
"I don't go to see her; I go to see Mrs. Wishart."
"Oh!—and you see Miss Lothrop by accident! Well, how many times, Tom?Three—four—five."
"Don't be ridiculous!" the brother struck in. "Of course a fellow goes where he can amuse himself and have the best time; and Mrs. Wishart keeps a pleasant house."
"Especially lately. Well, Tom, take care! it won't do. I warn you."
"What won't do?"—angrily.
"This girl; not for our family. Not for you, Tom. She hasn't anything,—and she isn't anybody; and it will not do for you to marry in that way. If your fortune was ready made to your hand, or if you were established in your profession and at the top of it,—why, perhaps you might be justified in pleasing yourself; but as it is, don't, Tom! Be a good boy, and don't!"
"My dear, he will not," said the elder lady here. "Tom is wiser than you give him credit for."
"I don't give any man credit for being wise, mamma, when a pretty face is in question....