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for out of the fiacre there suddenly sprang said a soft voice near me.
two French policemen, together with an I started, for 1 had most unconsciously English Bow Street officer, followed by been uttering my thoughts aloud, while an enormous virago of an Irishwoman—a leaning on the back of my cousin Agatha’s perfect grenadier in petticoats—and with couch, with my eyes resting on the sheet a face like that of the ogress in some fairy of music paper which lay before her. I tale. coloured as |. glance met mine. “Nay
“And have I caught ye at last, ye snak
ing dirty rascal ?” cried she, clutching her fangs into his collar like a harpy : “is
it thinking that you could blisthur and bleed me too, that ye wor, you villian?— but it's mysels that has been too deep for you asther all. Not content with boulting
off wid ye, afther giving me lines of pro-tha smiling, “what has my beadly to do mise of marriage, let alone the marriage with either my womanhood, or my judg
day and all being fixed, and I sellin' my
nate convaynient chandler's shop, stock in “There you may answer it yourself—
trade, tallow, and all that the good defunct
ed Mister Laurence O'Dogherty, my dear
departed husband that was, left me all aHone a disconsolate widdy "wid, and all that yereself moight take me over to Par. is widye, but ye must go for to be Asher stalin' me very bills and drafts, and run away widthim, along wid mo, barrin' that you left me behind. But its my own self that has been too cute for ye, mavourneen and sure the bills are all stopped, and it's the sorra a farden you'll get them | But what use to stand argifyin' here at all, at all. Take him officers, and away wid him; for sure it's not dacent to be making all them people sinsible of my family saicrets. So come along widye, ye prince of chates, and gay decaivers! and we'll soon see whether it's marryin' or hangin' that you'll be afther choosin'!”
Gasping for breath, the poor, little, half
what woman can judge of her sex's failings —what beautiful woman can deal fairly by a sister beauty".' ' “ is this all?” replied she, “Then you have learned to libel us merely from the cant of the day !” “It is the cant of ages,” said I. “Surely not!—the cant of the careless and the unmeaning—but not where there is a heart and head to think, and to feel— no, my dear cousin, do not repeat it. There is both trust and truth in woman.” “Agatha,” said I, “why have you never married ?” ‘. Harry,” returned she, “why have you this ill opinion of our sex 7” . “Pshaw but with your beauty, and your wit, and your fortune and conse
“Tell me—why do you quarrel with
throttled apothecary was dragged towards terrupting me with more earnestness, “we
the fiacre, bundled into it, and carried off in triumph by the lady and her hired myrmidons, amidst the shouts of the bystan.ders.
must not let our own individual disappointments disgust us with the world at large —search well, and we shall discover our injustice—besides, let us be content though we meet but one faithful heart amidst a
in the expression of her bland and beauti ful countenance seemed almost as if it grew into sadness. She looked at me with a smile. “Cousin, " said she, “tell me your history ! you have been unfortunate;” and she pointed with her small and -snow white hand to the vacant seat beside her on the sofa. There was a gentleness, a delicacy, and a tenderness in my consin Agatha's disposition which gave a charm to her slightest action. It was a gracefulness of char. acter which seemed to have inspircd the gracefulness of her person and every motion, though it was a something beyond grace which made her tone of feeling, both in gaiety and sorrow, irresistible. I seat. ed myself beside her on the sofa, and did as she bid me. “I have been in love,” said I, “it is my whole history.” “And what then?” she inquired, “ was your mistress unfaithful ?” “I have told you all in one word— woman and infidelity go together!” I pauscd for some minutes, and when I spoke again I had obtained more self. possession. “When I first went abroad,” said I, “I spent, some time at Florence. The fashionable lounge was the picture-gallery and there was I a daily visitor; but I went thither really to gratify my passion for paintings, and not to gaze, and be gazed at by the company. One morning while I was standing as usual before my favourite study, I was startled by some one tapping me lightly on the shoulder, I suddenly turned round—it was a lady, and one of the most beautiful of earth's creatures; but her look and attitude were even more striking than her countenance and figure. She was, in a manner, stealing a glance into my face, with such a curiosity, and interest, and earnestness, blended with such a fanciful coquetry and intelligence in her expression as amazed me. She enjoyed my surprise and admiration for about half a second, and then
with the most natural negligence in the world, pointed gracefully with the hand which still rested on my arm, to the ground It was her handkerchief that had fallen at my feet, and I instantly stooped, and raised it. She stretched ont her hand to receive it, before I had even time to pre
sent it to her, nodded her head half with
the air of a pleased child, half with the air
tones of exaggerated feeling either of hor- “She could not be fifty, though she had ror or of ectasy--now partaking with faint certainly worn better than any person I effort in the casual vivacity of her attend-know ; even when near I could not have ing bevy, or leading with startling violence'supposed her past thirty. a sudden laugh. I believe I had just then “I can scarcely say how much I dis. a rage for simplicity, for even her charms like this description of character. It re. disgusted me. She was an Englishwoman volted against all my notions of feminine too, and I had just been commenting, per-propriety; that sensitive dignity of wo. baps, with ungrateful sarcasm, on the free-man's peculiar nature It offended all dom of Florentine manners. At the upper my most respectable feelings towards the end of the gallery I lost sight of her, and sex, and I remember I stood aloof during when I looked around me I found that the the evening from Mrs. Beauvilliers, boy. crowd had followed her—there was not aishly abashed at her frivolous familiarily Creature near me. of manners. I left Florence soon after, “Do you not know her " said some but carried some of her impressions alone one whom I had approached on purpose with me. She spoiled me for the next to question. “It is the honourable Mrs. twelvemonth. I had never before been Beauvilliers, the celebrated Mrs. Beauvil-lvain of my personal qualifications, but it liers, she was the greatest beauty of the was not easy to forget that they had not day or of any day, and she never comes been absolutely unattractive. This was here without making a sensation; by the all that dwelt with me, and some years of way, she means to have you in her train after life passed on the continent, though I fancy, for I saw her cast her eyes on you they may have habituated me to the loosthe moment she entered the room.” |ness of its decorum, have never destroyed “It is incredible how even the turn of a my esteem for all that is beautiful in puphrase can affect us. These few last words rity" had realized all my own thoughts with re- I stopped for I felt that I was consid.
gard to Mrs. Beauvilliers. erably, agitated and my silence was of “What then,” said I, “ she's a co- some duration. quette '" “You will proceed Harry!" said my
“By no means,” cried the other, “only cousin gently, “for your story is both ina little addicted to Platonic love and fash-teresting and instructeve.” ionable admirers. She has us all fast here, “Yes,” answered I, “but it is somewhat we all wear her colours. Though, par difficult" and I still hesitated. “You parenthese, I thought her a little gone by should have seen her,” I exclaimed at this morning, these beauties never know length, abruptly. “You should have when to give up, unless we give them up.”known her, though she was scarcely hand“Come,” said he, “I’ll introduce you.”, some--I will only half name her to you, “Pardon me,” answered I, “I know her Agatha, as I have named her to her selfin perfectly already.” - the last days of our acquaintance—Ga“I saw Mrs. Beauvilliers again, it was brilla.” * at a ball that very evening. She had just “It is just about three years since we withdrawn a little out of the circle of waltz: first met; I remember it well, for even ers, and was leaning against a pillar then it was to me a circumstance of imchanging her white satin slippers. One portance. I was introduced to her in a gentleman stood beside her busied in re-private concert room just as her carriage ceiving the discarded pair; another pros- was annonced—she had been standing fered the fresh ones; and the the third, her near the door-way, and I was the last pertortunate partner, with one knee on the son she bowed to as she left the room. I ground, supported her delicate feet by remember it was near the end of the sea turns on the other and fastened the sandels.'son. She was the fashion in London, but “How old is she ''' asked I, for I felt I had never admired her. I had heard her quite a curiosity to discove: '**'':ed of as beautiful, but I had never “Lord,” answered the no. thought her so. She was striking, but it “I have known her culling liga ... e iis- was an air of, fashion more than either ty years!" |beauty or grace in her appearance. I
Hiked her reception of me; I had always allowed her to be a fine woman, and I found something extremely agreeable in her countenance when she spoke, and extreme good nature in her general manner. She rather interested me than otherwise, though she had only just stayed to receive my bow, and observe to me, “that she was going,” as she went out. “She had quitted town for the country before l could see her again, and not long after I followed her thither. who it was that invited me: I think it was some connexion of the family, whose employment was to furnish the table with guests, and the guests with society. Gabriella's husband was of a rude descrip. tion of men; he was seldom to be seen in the house but at dinner, and at dinner he liked to have plenty of people to talk to, and to listen to him. If his could be called society, at table they had his society, but otherwise these general chance kind of guests were but little attended to. 1 should scarcely have availed myself, however, of this manner of admittance to hospitality, had I not been rather forced into calling on them on my accidental meeting some of the party in the neighbourhood. “Agalha,” cried I, “... I scarcely know why I repeat these details, for it is uneasy sor me to recall the memory of our first acquaintance 1 * If you had known her you would have pardoned the madness of my love—had you known Gabriella you would have wcpt for the cruelty of her caprice Her spirit of coquetry was indeed untamed, untameable. She pursued her victim with unwearied skill; slung with captivating ingenuity, her whole heart into his service; wound her grateful toils around his existence, and urged on with irresistable persuasion the tortures of that grief which she contemplated with remorseless and insatiable ambition. How I tried to leave her—how I tried to escape the influence of her fascinations, it seems of little purpose to tell. I did not leave her, and Gabriella's smiles returned. She could weep too; at times I have seen a sartling tear bedev her cheek. But why should I instruct you in all the arts and all the expedients of her most reprehensible coquetery; it was as restless as extravagant. She had probably never loved her Thus: VOL. III–23–3
I forgot now
band, and esteem was what she could bestow on none. She was incapable of friendship; her heart had been framed to a sentiment she had no steadiness in her nature to persevere in her affections. Her husband was little calculated to excite either, and to Gabriella he was entirely unsuited. They seldom met, but no appearence of unharmony subsisted between them. I have known her consult him on a matter of duty, and him leave to her the choice of inscriptions on his dog-collars. He never interfered with her, but he was sometimes glad to have her look well when she sat at the head of his table. “Her appearance had never been the lure which attracted me; and her appearence was then, in my opinion, by much, her least qualification. Yet she possessed a large share of the essentials which constitute beauty: her outline of feature was good, and her complexion must once have heen brilliant: at times it was still beautiful, for Gabriella was no longer quite what is called a very young woman when I knew her. “She had the address to turn this want of admiration to her persen on my part, into her most absolute attraction. Her charms consisted in her undeviating amiability of manner; in her apparent forbearance of disposition, in her constant propriety of temper, in her implicit obedience to the caprice of her admirer, and her seeming readiness of obedience to any exertion of authority, from the man whom she had received as her husband. I love to dwell on this part of her character; I could cling to the thought that she might once have deserved better; that she was not all that she appeared to me when we last met and parted; a heartless, practiced, unblushing, and unprincipled coquette “We have periods of feeling when it requires but little to open our eyes to the real disposition of matters carried on around us; and once awakened, it is astonishing how quick we grow into wisdom. It must be always impossible in these after moments to trace the many, various, almost imperceptible accidents that may have occurred to bring us acquainted with the delusions practiced on us—perhaps wo we have ourselves too readily indulged. To you it may be dificult to comprehend from how slight a independence, their perfect want of control, all form—odious form ' and she threw her eyes up to heaven as she spoke.
circumstance my impression of Gabriell's tercourse to prevail between a man and character were first settled into the more his wife. Even in the highest walks of sober reflections on her behavior. life, there is visible such an exquisite and “I had been staggered by sentiment, charming familiarity. To take a fanciand it seemed to me a profligate sentiment ful view of the subject, for instance, that We were talking on the freedom of Italian one little circumstance of calling each manners, more especially that of the wo- other by the Christian name, abbreviated men, and she was expatiating on them as we hear it too, in every possible way, with considerable eagerness. I remember by people of the first fashion, speaks volshe used the words ‘the luxury of their umes.”
She had beautiful eyes, but this time
their appeal seemed to me out of place.—
“Poor Mama!” exclaimed Gabriella, “I remember mama, always called poor papa, Beau!”
“Who was your mother ?” said I.
She thiew them on me, but they did not know !—the beautiful Beauvilliers— La move me, and she yielded her opinions as bella Belissima,’ as she was called in Italy! she always did, only with less hesitation I was in mourning for her when I first
than was usual with her, for me to be as
usual satisfied with her victory. I was peculiarly sensitive on this one point—the delicacy of a woman's deportment; and Gabriella's manner had sometimes disturbed me. I had sometimes wondered at her self-possessien, too, only that to me she never was self-possessed. She had often turned off an uncomfortable sentence with a gay laugh, which has covered me with confusion and offence, and I have felt that I should yet been more at ease had she been less so. “I was silent for some time aster, and thoughtful, and Gabriella tried to woo me into better company. She was seldom unsuccessful, and insensibly we grew into conversation again. One or two of the rest of the company joined us, ahd we gathered into a little circle round her sofa. “The discourse turned on manners, but this time it was on English manners. A gentleman present, and who, by the way, was rather a celebrated traveller, just risen, or rising into fame and fashion, observed that in no country in the world did there exist such perfect domestic and conjugal happiness as in England—such an entire confidence between husband and wife—such a perfect union both of heart and of mind. “Gabriella assented cordially, and applauded the feeling with warmth. I had turned away, and when I looked again I found her eyes were bent Pon the travellor. “Where, in what country,” pursued he “do we find such an agreeable social in
saw you. Have you never seen the beautiful miniature of mama in my room 7” “I have seen the original,” answered I, “in the picture gallery at Florence.” “Whether it was the tone of my voice, for I felt that it was altered, or the expression of my conntenance, for it was crimsoned to the temples, that struck Gabriella, I know not, but she changed the conversation. For my part I had relapsed into my silence, and Islunk away. Gabriella the daughter of Mrs. Beauvilliers “Why have you never told me that you had been to Florence?” said she next morning when we were alone. “How odd we must have been there together, and we were strangers s” “I knew your mother,” said I. “Poor mama heavens ! how beautiful she must have been. But did you absolutely know her. I thought I had known the whole circle of mama's admirers.” But why need I go on. It was, perhaps, fortunate for me that I could never separate the connection between Mrs. Beauvilliers and Gabriella. The early impression of her mother which had been left so strongly on my mind, could not be effaced by any recurrence to the daughter. I could never think of Gabriella without recalling to my recollection Mrs. Beauvillers in the picture gallery, or in the ball-room at Florence. However disguised might be their manner, their conduct was too similar to bear comparison. From the suddenness with which the veil of my illusions fell from my eyes almost from that very hour, it would seem now as if