"You are no grown-up girl, Camilla," cried her mother; "if you were, you would not dare to speak to your mother as you have done: you would know that it was unseemly, and that, above all other things, you should show reverence and obedience to your mother. No, Camilla, God be thanked! you are but a foolish child, and therefore I forgive you."
Louise drew near her daughter and tried to clasp her tenderly in her arms, but Camilla struggled roughly against it.
"You shall not call me a child," said she, rudely. "I will no longer bear it! it angers me! and if you repeat it, mamma, I will declare to every one that I am sixteen years old!"
"And why will you say that, Camilla?"
Camilla looked up with a cunning smile.
"Why?" she repeated, "ah! you think I do not know why I must always remain a child? It is because you wish to remain a young woman-- therefore you declare to all the world that I am but twelve years old! But no one believes you, mamma, not one believes you. The world laughs at you, but you do not see it--you think you are younger when you call me a child. I say to you I will not endure it! I will be a lady--I will adorn myself and go into society. I will not remain in the school-room with a governess while you are sparkling in the saloon and enchanting your followers by your beauty. I will also have my worshippers, who pay court to me; I will write and receive love-letters as other maidens do; I will carry on my own little love-affairs as all other girls do; as you did, from the time you were twelve years old, and still do!"
"Silence, Camilla! or I will make you feel that you are still a child!" cried Louise, raising her arm threateningly and approaching the divan.
"Would you strike me, mother?" said she, with trembling lips. "I counsel you not to do it. Raise your hand once more against me, but think of the consequences. I will run away! I will fly to my poor, dear father, whom you, unhappy one, have made a drunkard! I will remain with him--he loves me tenderly. If I were with him, he would no longer drink."