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[51]

Calling her brothers in council, she told them that she was going to give a party; that she desired their help in making out lists, etc., but that the occasion and the responsibility were to be all her own. The brothers demurred, even Sam being somewhat appalled by the prospect; but finding her firm, they made out a list of desirable guests, of all ages. It was characteristic of her that the plan once made, the resolve taken, it became an obsession, a thing that must be done at whatever cost.

She asked her father if she might invite a few friends for a certain evening: he assented. She engaged the best caterer in New York; the most fashionable musicians; she even hired a splendid cut-glass chandelier to supplement the sober lighting of the yellow drawing-room.

The evening came: Mr. Ward, coming downstairs, found assembled as brilliant a gathering as could have been found in any other of the great houses of New York. He betrayed no surprise, but welcomed his guests with charming courtesy, as if they had come at his special desire; the music sounded, the young people danced, the evening passed off delightfully, to all save the young hostess. She, from the moment when the thing was inevitable, became as possessed with terror as she had been with desire. She could think of nothing but her father's displeasure, of the words he might speak, the glances he might cast upon her. During the whole evening, the cup of trembling was at her lips.

The moment the last guest had departed, the three

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