'He has found some employment. It's beautiful news, and he told me to tell you as soon as you arrived. He has gone into partnership with a commission merchant. It was all settled, quite suddenly, a week ago.'
This seemed to Catherine indeed beautiful news; it had a fine prosperous air.' Oh, I'm so glad!' she said; and now, for a moment, she was disposed to throw herself on Aunt Lavinia's neck.
'It's much better than being under some one; and he has never been used to that,' Mrs Penniman went on.' He is just as good as his partner - they are perfectly equal. You see how right he was to wait. I should like to know what your father can say now! They have got an office in Duane Street, and little printed cards; he brought me one to show me. I have got it in my room, and you shall see it to-morrow. That's what he said to me the last time he was here -' You see how right I was to wait.' He has got other people under him instead of being a subordinate. He could never be a subordinate; I have often told him I could never think of him in that way.'
Catherine assented to this proposition, and was very happy to know that Morris was his own master; but she was deprived of the satisfaction of thinking that she might communicate this news in triumph to her father. Her father would care equally little whether Morris were established in business or transported for life. Her trunks had been brought into her room, and further reference to her lover was for a short time suspended, while she opened them and displayed to her aunt some of the spoils of foreign travel. These were rich and abundant; and Catherine had brought home a present to everyone - to everyone save Morris, to whom she had brought simply her undiverted heart. To Mrs Penniman she had been lavishly generous, and Aunt Lavinia spent half an hour in unfolding and folding again, with little ejaculations of gratitude and taste. She marched about for some time in a splendid cashmere shawl, which Catherine had begged her to accept, settling it on her shoulders, and twisting down her head to see how low the point descended behind.
'I shall regard it only as a loan,' she said.' I will leave it to you again when I die; or, rather,' she added, kissing her niece again,' I will leave it to your first-born little girl.' And draped in her shawl, she stood there smiling.
'YOU had better wait till she comes,' said Catherine.
'I don't like the way you say that,' Mrs Penniman rejoined, in a moment.' Catherine, are you changed?'
'No; I am the same.'
'You have not swerved a line?'
'I am exactly the same,' Catherine repeated, wishing her aunt were a little less sympathetic.
'Well, I am glad'; and Mrs Penniman surveyed her cashmere in the glass. Then,' How is your father?' she asked, in a moment, with her eyes on her niece.' Your letters were so meagre - I could never tell. ,
'Father is very well.'
'Ah, you know what I mean,' said Mrs Penniman, with a dignity to which the cashmere gave a richer effect.' Is he still implacable?'
'He is, if possible, more firm.'
Mrs Penniman took off her great shawl, and slowly folded it up.' That is very bad. You had no success with your little project.'
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