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LESSONS AND TRIALS OF LIFE.
What is Glory but the blaze of Fame ?–MILTON.
“ May I ask who that young person is whom your ladyship presented to me last night ?—her name is uncommon," said Mrs Bustard to Lady Dulwich, as they stood near each other at a soirée dansante.
“ It is a very respectable one, however,” replied Lady Dulwich. “ The name has descended through a long line of ancestors, sans tache et sans reproche,' and its lustre will, I think, be rendered more bright by the merits of this young
« I make no doubt of it, as she is under your ladyship’s protection !”
“I must not allow you to consider Miss de Romelie as under my protection, except upon those occasions when I am permitted to be her chaperon, which I feel a favour to myself,” said Lady Dulwich.
“ De Romelie-Romelie-I think I have heard of that ancient family. This young person is to be a heroine, of course, and give distinction to her name by romantic adventures ?”
“I am convinced,” replied Lady Dulwich, “ that she has no ambition to become a heroine of romance." “ Do tell me, where did your ladyship pick her up
?-I suppose in Cumberland ? I think all those ancient families, whom nobody knows till they suddenly appear in London,
come from the North of England, that receptacle of old gentry of the Ancient Faith.”
“ I have not had the honour of bringing my young friend Miss de Romelie to town; her father and mother have lately corae to London, and, when they can be induced to relinquish home enjoyments for the world, will be an acquisition to society."
Saying these words, Lady Dulwich turned away, evidently not well pleased at the contemptuous style of Mrs Bustard's inquiries. She was soon accosted by Lord Birmanton.
“ I am so much charmed with that engaging young lady with whom you have made me acquainted, my dear Lady Dulwich! Do tell me something more of her—is she here to-night?”
No, my lord ; Miss de Romelie is one of those moderate beings who are contented to partake of the gaiety of the world at intervals, and to enjoy a large portion of her life at home—really at home---with her own happy parents.”
“ However,” said Lord Birmanton, “she seemed to enjoy amusement extremely last evening. She joined in the dance with all the soul of youth-her eyes sparkled—and her young and unsophisticated heart appeared engrossed by it; yet I saw, in her projecting brow and expressive eyes, so much appearance of good sense, that I was convinced she must be something more than a mere dancer."
“ Were your lordship acquainted with her, you would be pleased with the freshness of her mind-her vivid sensibility.”
“ Then surely," returned Lord Birmanton, your young friend is ill suited to fashionable life, which deadens the feelings, and obscures the natural disposition, and gives the same smooth, insipid manner to all— like that foreign varnish which conceals the scratches on your pretty workbox, but, with the defects, conceals also the character.'
“ You are severe to-night, my lord—unjust, perhaps, with regard to the polish of the world, the only means by which our rugged natures can mix without jostling. Human nature is so unequal—so like that curious turtle exhibited a few years ago, the shell of which consists of rows of angular points, alternated with intervals of the smoothest surface.”
“ That idea is vastly more severe than anything I ventured to hint touching the varnish of the world.”
“ Perhaps it may,” replied Lady Dulwich ; " but would not those angular parts of our nature cause continual interference and mutual irritation, were it not that what your lordship calls the varnish of society obliges us to restrain the feelings which, if honestly expressed, would annoy all around
us ? "
. But, my dear madam, though poor human nature may resemble, in some degree, the turtle you allude to, it has not its flat and brainless head. Good sense is, I think, a better preservative of temper than artificial manner, which so represses the feelings, that most young ladies I meet in the world remind me of the wife sculptured in snow, which some good old hermit of the olden time is said to have made for himself.”
“ Good sense, I grant you, my lord, is in all cases essential, and is, I fear, but too rare."
“ After all, I pray your ladyship not to mistake me. I really am a warm advocate for that true politeness which springs from benevolence, and which is, in fact, consideration for others, and therefore prevents us from hurting their feelings or selfishly obtruding our own on their notice, yet, at the same time, does not wholly repress them. In short, I am pleased with the truth of expression which seems to distinguish the countenance of your
protége." “ Yes, I think that is the secret of her beauty, and I am gratified that your lordship has discovered it. She is not yet much known—but I hope"
“ Do give me some idea of her family! Long as I have been in the world, I have never met them.”
“ That is the very reason- -you live in the world, my lord, but they have lived in the country, in all the happiness of retirement and independence. They are literary and accomplished ; have educated their daughter in the best manner, and are now desirous, not so much to make her known, as to make the world, in some degree, known to her.”
“ I wish you would make me acquainted with this singular family.”
“ I will endeavour to do so, my lord, for I am convinced it would be a mutual pleasure to you and to them ; but they possess—must I say it ?-much of that pride which belongs to Norman descent. Yet, though the pride of the De Romelies might render them insensible to the honour of an introduc
tion to your lordship simply as a nobleman, they would highly prize an acquaintance with one whose private character and well-known love of science and les beaux arts would be so congenial to them.”
“ Well, I am contented, if character, not rank, be my title to the friendship of the good and the wise. Now tell me where you met the De Romelies.”
Travelling last summer in South Wales,” replied Lady Dulwich, “I had an overturn—a fortunate one, I think—on a bad road leading to the lovely Vale of Usk ; Mr de Roinelie, happening to pass at the time of the accident, came to my aid, and kindly insisted on my going to his house, which was near the scene of my disaster. I had received some bruises, was easily persuaded that it might be hazardous to proceed on my journey immediately, and gladly accepted the hospitality of a stranger. In fact, I like seeing new people and places.” "A very
uncertain amusement,” said Lord Birmanton. “ True. However I had no reason to regret it on this occasion. Their style of living shewed gentlemanlike independence, but not wealth ; their manners and conversation proved the cultivation of their minds; and the music and paintings of Miss de Romelie, along with a thousand little charms I observed in her manner, shewed how elegantly, as well as usefully, she had been brought up. But I forget myself when speaking of her. Pray, as the old poet says
Do not smile at me that I boast her off,
And make it halt behind her!'"
There was something so singular in the idea of polished manners in a secluded life, that Lord Birmanton resolved to learn more concerning the De Romelies, when opportunity should permit. In the meantime we give the following sketch for our readers :
Of an ancient Norman family, Sir Clarence de Romelie, high in estimation for deeds of arms, had accompanied William, Duke of Normandy, in his invasion of England, and the bravery and military skill which distinguished his conduct in the battle of Hastings were proved by his wounds, and by the favours that William bestowed on him.
Among his descendants were many warriors “ who knighthood loved and deeds of chivalry,” but Sir Alured de Romelie