It was a Sunday evening in October, and in common with many other young ladies of her class, Katharine Hilbery was pouring out tea.
It suddenly came into Katharine's mind that if some one opened the door at this moment he would think that they were enjoying themselves; he would think, "What an extremely nice house to come into!" and instinctively she laughed, and said something to increase the noise, for the credit of the house presumably, since she herself had not been feeling exhilarated.
"A cousin of ours has married and gone to live in Manchester," Katharine explained.
"Have you ever been to Manchester?" he asked Katharine.
Katharine stirred her tea, and seemed to speculate, so Denham thought, upon the duty of filling somebody else's cup, but she was really wondering how she was going to keep this strange young man in harmony with the rest.
"In spite of a slight tendency to exaggeration, Katharine decidedly hits the mark," he said, and lying back in his chair, with his opaque contemplative eyes fixed on the ceiling, and the tips of his fingers pressed together, he depicted, first the horrors of the streets of Manchester, and then the bare, immense moors on the outskirts of the town, and then the scrubby little house in which the girl would live, and then the professors and the miserable young students devoted to the more strenuous works of our younger dramatists, who would visit her, and how her appearance would change by degrees, and how she would fly to London, and how Katharine would have to lead her about, as one leads an eager dog on a chain, past rows of clamorous butchers' shops, poor dear creature.
"I know there are moors there, because I read about them in a book the other day," said Katharine.
"Would it be the Battle of Trafalgar or the Spanish Armada, Katharine?" her mother demanded.
Denham found himself sitting silent, rejecting possible things to say, beside Katharine, who was silent too.
She looked benevolently at Denham, who said nothing articulate, and then at Katharine, who smiled but said nothing either, upon which Mrs.
Denham would like to see our things, Katharine. I'm sure he's not like that dreadful young man, Mr.
Denham rose, half meaning to go, and thinking that he had seen all that there was to see, but Katharine rose at the same moment, and saying, "Perhaps you would like to see the pictures," led the way across the drawing-room to a smaller room opening out of it.