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shawls that would have half-smothered
Edith. Margaret stood right under the
chandelier, quite silent and passive, while her
aunt adjusted the draperies. Occasionally,
as she was turned round, she caught a
glimpse of herself in the mirror over
the chimney-piece, and smiled at her own
appearance therethe familiar features
in the unusual garb of a princess. She
touched the shawls gently as they hung
around her, and took a pleasure in their soft
feel and their brilliant colours, and rather
liked to be dressed in such splendour
enjoying it much as a child would do, with a
quiet pleased smile on her lips. Just then
the door opened, and Mr. Henry Lennox was
suddenly announced. Some of the ladies
started back, as if half-ashamed of their
feminine interest in dress. Mrs. Shaw held
out her hand to the new-comer; Margaret
stood perfectly still, thinking she might be yet
wanted as a sort of block for the shawls; but
looking at Mr. Lennox with a bright, amused
face, as if sure of his sympathy in her sense
of the ludicrousness at being thus surprised.

Her aunt was so much absorbed in asking
Mr. Henry Lennoxwho had not been able to
come to dinnerall sorts of questions about his
brother the bridegroom, his sister the bridesmaid
(coming with the Captain from Scotland
for the occasion), and various other
members of the Lennox family, that
Margaret saw that she was no more wanted as
shawl-bearer, and devoted herself to the
amusement of the other visitors, whom
her aunt had for the moment forgotten.
Almost immediately, Edith came in from
the back drawing-room, winking and
blinking her eyes at the stronger light,
shaking back her slightly-ruffled curls,
and altogether looking like the Sleeping
Beauty just startled from her dreams. Even
in her slumber she had instinctively felt that
a Lennox was worth rousing herself for; and
she had a multitude of questions to ask about
dear Janet, the future, unseen sister-in-law,
for whom she professed so much affection, that
if Margaret had not been very proud
she might have almost felt jealous of
the mushroom rival. As Margaret sank
rather more into the background on her
aunt's joining the conversation, she saw
Henry Lennox directing his looks towards a
vacant seat near her; and she knew perfectly
well that as soon as Edith released him
from her questioning) he would take possession
of that chair. She had not been quite
sure, from her aunt's rather confused account
of his engagements, whether he would come
that night; it was almost a surprise to see
him; and now she was sure of a pleasant
evening. He liked and disliked pretty nearly
the same things that she did. Margaret's
face was lightened up into an honest, open
brightness. By-and-by he came. She
received him with a smile which had not a
tinge of shyness or self-consciousness in it.

"Well, I suppose you are all in the depths
of businessladies' business, I mean. Very
different to my business, which is real true
law business. Playing with shawls is very
different work to drawing up settlements."

"Ah, I knew how you would be amused to
find us all so occupied in admiring finery. But
really Indian shawls are very perfect things
of their kind."

"I have no doubt they are. Their prices
are very perfect, too. Nothing wanting."

The gentlemen came dropping in one by
one, and the buzz and noise deepened in tone.

"This is your last dinner-party, is it not?
There are no more before Thursday?"

"No. I think after this evening we shall
feel at rest, which I am sure I have not done
for many weeks; at least, that kind of rest
when the hands have nothing more to do, and
all the arrangements are complete for an
event which must occupy one's head and
heart. I shall be glad to have time to think,
and I am sure Edith will."

"I am not so sure about her; but I can
fancy that you will. Whenever I have seen
you lately, you have been carried away by a
whirlwind of some other person's making."

"Yes," said Margaret, rather sadly,
remembering the never-ending commotion about
trifles that had been going on for more than
a month past: "I wonder if a marriage must
always be preceded by what you call a whirlwind,
or whether in some cases there might
not rather be a calm and peaceful time just
before it."

"Cinderella's godmother ordering the
trousseau, the wedding-breakfast, writing
the notes of invitation, for instance," said
Mr. Lennox, laughing.

"But are all these quite necessary
troubles?" asked Margaret, looking up straight
at him for an answer. A sense of indescribable
weariness of all the arrangements for a
pretty effect, in which Edith had been busied
as supreme authority for the last six weeks,
oppressed her just now; and she really
wanted some one to help her to a few
pleasant, quiet ideas connected with a marriage.

"Oh, of course," he replied, with a change
to gravity in his tone. "There are forms
and ceremonies to be gone through, not so
much to satisfy oneself, as to stop the world's
mouth, without which stoppage there would
be very little satisfaction in life. But how
would you have a wedding arranged?"

"Oh, I have never thought much about it;
only I should like it to be a very fine
summer morning; and I should like to walk to
church through the shade of trees; and not to
have so many bridesmaids, and no wedding-
breakfast. I dare say I am resolving against
the very things that have given me the most
trouble just now."

"No, I don't think you are. The idea of
stately simplicity accords well with your
character."

Margaret did not quite like this speech;

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