'Nothing whatever.'

'Are you very sure, dear?'

'Perfectly sure.'

'And can I really do nothing for you?'

'Nothing, aunt, but kindly leave me alone,' said Catherine. Mrs Penniman, though she had been afraid of too warm a welcome before, was now disappointed at so cold a one; and in relating afterward, as she did to many persons, and with consider - able variations of detail, the history of the termination of her niece's engagement, she was usually careful to mention that the young lady on a certain occasion, had' hustled' her out of the room. It was characteristic of Mrs Penniman that she related this fact, not in the least out of malignity to Catherine, whom she very sufficiently pitied, but simply from a natural disposition to embellish any subject that she touched.

Catherine, as I have said, sat up half the night, as if she still expected to hear Morris Townsend ring at the door. On the morrow this expectation was less unreasonable; but it was not gratified by the reappearance of the young man. Neither had he written; there was not a word of explanation or reassurance. Fortunately for Catherine, she could take refuge from her excitement, which had now become intense, in her determination that her father should see nothing of it. How well she deceived her father we shall have occasion to learn; but her innocent arts were of little avail before a person of the rare perspicacity of Mrs Penniman. This lady easily saw that she was agitated, and if there was any agitation going forward, Mrs Penniman was not a person to forfeit her natural share in it. She returned to the charge the next evening, and requested her niece to confide in her - to unburden her heart. Perhaps she should be able to explain certain things that now seemed dark, and that she knew more about than Catherine supposed. If Catherine had been frigid the night before, to-day she was haughty.

'You are completely mistaken, and I have not the least idea what you mean. I don't know what you are trying to fasten on me, and I have never had less need of anyone's explanations in my life.'

In this way the girl delivered herself and from hour to hour kept her aunt at bay. From hour to hour Mrs Penniman's curiosity grew. She would have given her little finger to know what Morris had said and done, what tone he had taken, what pretext he found. She wrote to him, naturally, to request an interview; but she received, as naturally, no answer to her petition. Morris was not in a writing mood; for Catherine had addressed him two short notes which met with no acknowledgment. These notes were so brief that I may give them entire. 'Won't you give me some sign that you didn't mean to be so cruel as you seemed on Tuesday?' - that was the first; the other was a little longer.' If I was unreason - able or suspicious on Tuesday - if I annoyed you or troubled you in any way - I beg your forgiveness, and I promise never again to be so foolish. I am punished enough, and I don't understand. Dear Morris, you are killing me!' These notes were despatched on the Friday and Saturday; but Saturday and Sunday passed without bringing the poor girl the satisfaction she desired. Her punishment accumulated; she continued to bear it, however, with a good deal of superficial fortitude. On Saturday morning, the Doctor, who had been watching in silence, spoke to his sister Lavinia.

'The thing has happened - the scoundrel has backed out!'

'Never!' cried Mrs Penniman, who had bethought herself what she should say to Catherine, but was not provided with a line of defence against her brother, so that indignant negation was the only weapon in her hands.

'He has begged for a reprieve, then, if you like that better!'

'It seems to make you very happy that your daughter's affections have been trifled with.'

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