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THE day of the grand ball at Leadersfort
had come round, and it was known that
the house was literally "bursting with
company," to use the animated figure of
the Findlater family, and that the most
stupendous preparations had been made.
No personal trouble had been taken, but
Mrs. Leader had simply written to Junter,
the eminent pastrycook, begging him
sweetly to manage everything for her.
That firm had acted in a manner which
excited her deepest gratitude, and, indeed, it
will be often remarked that these new rich
people are often thus affected to
tradespeople who for large payment make extra
exertion. Mr. Freeman, Junter's head person,
had entreated her to give herself no
anxiety; he would come down in person
with his people, they would put up and
arrange everything, and would engage to
have everything in order by breakfast-time
the morning after. Let her only leave it
to him; had she ever found them wanting
before? She was quite affected by this
chivalry, and showed the letter to many,
saying, in a plaintive voice, they were
"such nice people to deal with." The
deputy arrived in due course with his waiters
and assistants, and a regular fourgon of
apparatus, &c., a most gentlemanly man,
whom you would take for an under secretary
of state, and very soon they had
performed prodigies.

But what a flutter there was on that day
at Peter Findlater's. The great card of
invitation had arrived only the night before.
But something else had also arriveda
large black box, a present for Katey.

Captain Montague, chivalrous always,
had seriously spoken to Cecil, and told him
that this was a suitable opportunity; he
was bound, indeed, to take it, to make a
suitable offering of, say, a handsome dress
to Katey. He would set his sister to choose
it, if Cecil wished.

"Do as you like," he said; "but this is
what I would do myself were I in your

Cecil was delighted with the dramatic
character of this proposal, and in due
course the great black chest arrived. What
joy, what delight and wonder as it was
opened, coram populo, and the great billows
of tulle and silk, the puffings, ruches,
furbelows, what not, the fancies of some
leading Mantalini of the day, overflowed the
edges of the case. It was lovely, divine.
The Doctor looked on with pridePolly
alone with a certain ruefulness. She had
never felt the cold bitterness of the
disappointment until now. She might have had
that dress. Katey had some of what a
philosopher would have called feminine
dross in her. She was happily woman still,
the most ascetic of whom have that tender
fondness for dress, that little pardonable
pride in decking themselves in robes of the
first class. She was forthwith invested in
them, to be admired by the whole family.
The shutters were closed, candles lit, and
a wreath, found at the bottom of the box,
placed on her head. A cry of admiration
burst from them all, even from Polly.

"'Pon my honour," said Peter, in a
maudlin tone, "it's very nice of him
handsome a thing as ever I sawdone so
delicately too! What I always like."

Whatever the merits of the present, there
was neither delicacy nor indelicacy in the
way it was offered. It was simply ordered
and sent.