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mysteries of metaphysics fully revealed. In a word, to the attractions of the “ toilette,” Mrs. Prim-Prosody joins the attractions of the mind, and is justly celebrated for her success in both. But who comes next - confusion light on short-sightedness !--the dust, too, from the car. riage-wheels has got into my eye-give me a basin and towel --quick!where, where are my glasses ?--Good Heavens! if I had them, I would ride after the carriage and take one peep, even with the bleary eye. Hollo, friend! whose carriage is that which has passed? Mrs. ChitChatterly's, do you say? Ay, so it is. Did you ever hear of Mrs. Chit-Chatterly? Certainly you must, if ever people could talk themselves into notoriety! Ye Gods, what an ever-springing fountain of articulation !
“Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis, at ille
Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.” Which may be thus freely translated—“The simpleton stands by, in hopes to edge in a word, but Mrs. Chit-Chatterly runs on, and will run on, voluble throughout the entire season.” If it be some indication of ability to expatiate on a given subject, how much more ingenious to talk incessantly about nothing, and thence to pile up a mountain of verbiage. This is absolutely tantamount to possessing the gift of creation, and overturns at once the “ ex nihilo nibil ” of the schools. Would you not be amazed to see a water-mill whirling away, and not as much water as would drown a midge? and yet has not Mrs. ChitChatterly been heard to talk, and talk, and talk, though the stream of mind which should have put the mechanism of language in motion, is not copious enough to float the lightest craft that glides on the current of thought ? Mrs.Chit-Chatterly bas decidedly held the reins of fashion through the last season. Ministers have before this talked themselves into the Premiership, and Mrs. Chit-Chatterly has brought herself into the above-mentioned eminent situation by her pulmonary accomplishments. It is true, Lady Fineclod ventured into the field against this formidable diplomatist, and endeavoured to form a ministry independent of the Chatterly party ; but that lady was soon obliged to give in, and absolutely to hold office under her more powerful rival, having been, in the end of the season, put off with the “ woods and forests" instead of the “foreign department.” It was Mrs. Chatterly, then, who guided the helm ; and, truth to say, managed in the most stateswomanlike manner the vessel of "haut ton," all obsequious personages being justly elevated to the higher posts of fashion, whilst ihose who were uncivil were very appropriately struck off the “civil list.”
But time and the editor will not allow me to proceed any farther with my portraits ; were I unrestricted, I might fill whole pages with descriptions of the other personages who formed the Cabinet: such as the Countess of Tiptop, in whose discriminating eyes a coronet was one of the cardinal virtues; Mrs. Authorwould, who loves darkness better than light, not because her deeds are evil, but because her wax is scarce; and a thousand others, who fill the minor offices of fashion, such as the Fogartys, of Castle Fogarty; the O'Shaughnessys, of St. Pat's; the Ranters, of Screech Town, &c. We hasten, therefore, to a consideration of the acts of the administration, and, as is the language of the journals, we congratulate the Hon. Premier on the able and skilful, and stateswomanlike and constitutional manner in which she managed affairs dur
ing last session; the energy, the promptitude she displayed throughout, the firmness and intrepidity with which she met the clamour of those out of doors, and her final triumph over all the machinations of faction: and intrigue. As a proof of the Premier's ability and diligence, and her constant solicitude for the best interests of the fashionable world, we point to the several acts of her administration; the numerous levees and levies which she held, in the latter of which as fine a body of hobble-de-hoys as ever was seen were constantly selected for the quadrille service, and in the former of which its exercises and discipline were vigorously kept up. We point also specifically to the “ Quadrille of Beauty,” a measure solely attributable to the ingenuity of the fair Premier herself, and the various balls, morning concerts, and bazaars which she patronized and set on foot, and which so powerfully augmented the commercial prosperity of the country. In a word, nothing could surpass the able conduct of the minister; her regulations of the military, her management of our extensive foreign relations, her whole administration in the home department, are above all praise. But we shall select that measure which was introduced into the House as a “ Bill for the formation of a Quadrille of Beauty,” and which passed with acclamation, as one of the happiest hits of the Premier ; and shall endeayour to give some faint sketch, at least, of its merits. It is necessary here to make a few prefatory remarks. A hint had been given by an illustrious pair of individuals for the formation of a “ Costume Quadrille,” to be a candidate for which no one was entitled but those who were possessed of a title and a pedigree. But alas! that Fortune should be so churlish, and should dole out her gifts with such scrupulous parsimony! The Lady Janes, and the Lady Sophias, and the Lady Amelias, were all ladies, no doubt; but then there was one qualification which they all wanted, and one which would naturally enough be thought quite as indispensable as rank in a Costume Quadrille,-and that one was beauty. If it was not that we are aware that her Grace is wholly free from a plebeian propensity to any thing like a joke, we should say that the “ Costume Quadrille” was a piece of English drollery practised on Irish simplicity, and that the remarkable insignia was only given to render titled deficiencies more conspicuous. However, whether it was a joke or not, was of no consequence, for it was taken in very good part by the dramatis personce themselves. The pattern-doll was sent about to each, in the order of precedence as regulated by the “ Red Book ;" one or two blunders only being made, such as the daughter of a Noble Earl getting it before the fair scion of another Noble Earl, whose title bore date two whole hours sooner by the town-clock than the noble sire of the noble lady above-mentioned. This, of course, caused a temporary convulsion; but the labours of the toilette did not allow time for the discussion of the question, and the organ of gaiety prevailed over the organ of order. The doll performed its orbit, and the noble spinsters their quadrille, and a very stately, honourable, and right honourable performance it was. Her Grace presided with that solemn dignity which befitted such a solemn occasion, and all the Castle people and bystanders were penetrated with those feelings of awe, respect, and admiration which such an exhibition was calculated to produce. Only imagine eight representatives of coronets dancing together, dressed in feathers and pink gowns, treading, as the newspapers have it, "on the light fantastic toe!” Only imagine one of the nobility having a toe at all just like ourselves, and then imagine we of the mob having the honour to look on at the performance of these sacred mysteries of fashion !
This certainly cannot be felt too intensely, or celebrated too highly. To be sure, some of the younger aid-de-camps and guardsmen, whose volatile temperament was not in accordance with the grandeur and solemnity of the scene, ventured to criticise the personal accomplishments of the fair priestesses of the riies, and to throw out some profane jests on that subject; but it is disloyal on our parts to the cause of aristocracy, to even allude to such exhibitions of Radicalism and Pope. ry-“ odi profanos ;" far be it from us to hold these levelling doctrines, or to in any wise connive at this second breaking in on the Constitution. At the same time, we cannot withhold our due meed of applause from the Hon. Premier, who introduced, as an amendment to the “ Quadrille of Rank,” the “ Quadrille of Beauty.” The amendment, to be sure, as is the case of all amendments, quashed the original bill; but then-but then, it was Mrs. Chit-Chatterly who made the amendment, and who will find fault with Mrs. Chit-Chatterly? Well, if ever there was an exhibition of diplomatic skill, it was in the invention of the Quadrille of Beauty. Pitt's Sinking Fund was nothing to it. Its ingenuity is only to be equalled by that of Mr. Goulburn's budget; and any apparent failure that might have seemed to accompany it, by reason of the fair performers running restive on the subject of pink ribbons, may be well represented by that new and appropriate, and financial figure of speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made use of when speaking of the fluctuations of British prosperity, which he likens to “dark clouds on our horizon, which shall soon pass away." What imagination in conceiving such an idea! What taste in applying it to the sublime and poetical subject of pounds, sbillings, and pence! But our enthusiastic admiration for Mr. Goulburn is leading us from our subject. To return. The Quadrille of Beauty was a beautiful quadrille. Four matrons supported the character of the four Seasons-Mrs. Chatterly taking on herself the part of Winter. The unmarried beauties personated the months, and oh! what a calendar they made! Were November like its representative, John Bull would never cut his throat through hypochondriacism in that fatal period.
But every thing in this life is transient and liable to the malevolence of fortune, and the Quadrille of Beauty was, we regret to say, not exempt from the common lot of sublunary things. The quadrille was perfect in every respect except in this, that, owing to one thing or other, it was never danced. In the first place, the young beauties ran restive, as before-mentioned, on the subject of the “ pink ribbons.” Lady Fineclod disputed with the Premier the management of the toilette ; Mrs. ChitChatterly was peremptory; Miss Fineclod was pert, and various other of the Months lifted up their voices against the inclemency of the Winter season. Winter, however, remained as cold as ice to all tbeir entreaties, and the minor departments of the year were obliged to give in on the subject of the “ pink ribbons," not, however, without a manifestation of feeling wholly out of character. August, for instance, was seen crying her eyes out in the teeth of injunctions, which prescribed that her face should be constantly dressed in its most sunny smiles in order to typify the characteristics of that serene period. December, on the contrary,
was to be seen smirking, and giggling, and laughing loud, and turning all into ridicule, although she had been strictly enjoined to wear a solemn and a grave demeanour. May looked quite frumpy; and June puc on such a freezing air as to leave it doubtful whether the biggest boy in the Guards could have turned the “ winter of her discontent into glorious summer.” But the severest cut of all was, that several of the seasons and months totally absconded and did not make their appearance, and that, of those who did, not one went into her proper place. It would have puzzled an Almanack-maker in earnest to have made anything out of the medley. Here was August, next was December, next Summer, then Spring, then Winter. In fact time was wholly lost and confounded in this Quadrille of Beauty, and it would have required a second Julius Cæsar to have set the calendar to rights. The consequence was, the quadrille could not be danced, and nothing was to be seen but a number of whimsically dressed beauties scattered through the rooms. But, as we have said before, this failure is not to be attributed to the Premier, but to the fights of fortune over which we have no control. The whole design evinced much skilful invention on the part of Mrs. Chit-Chatterly, and who would doubt for a moment the philosophical supremacy of theory over practice? But the Quadrille of Rank, and the Quadrille of Beauty, received their final death-blow at the Fancy-ball which was announced under the auspices of the “ Vice-regality and the whole cabinet of fashion. Paddy's notion of a fancy-ball did not at all harmonize with that of Lady Patronesses, and hence a convulsion ensued. An Irish fancy-ball is a thing“ sui generis,' and is as different from an English one as fun from dullness, or animated nature from still life; the excesses of the one, as in the present instance, frequently leading to its final termination, as the insipidity and tameness of the other are equally causes of its premature dissolution. An Irishman, when in society, never forgets that he possesses five senses and a tongue; we, of merry England, seem as if all the senses were absorbed in sight, and the power of articulation also. An Englishman walks about as if he were one huge eye, all the faculties, both bodily and mental, being concentred therein, the lid expanded, the pupil protruded, and greedily gloating over the whole field of vision. His more mercurial brother has less optical curiosity and a strong propensity to use the organ of hearing whenever he can conquer an almost uncontrollable propensity to lifting up his voice. An excessive devotion to spectacle and sight-seeing characterizes the one, an overweening fondness for drolling and burlesquing peculiarizes the other. The former will tell you, with a precision that would shame “ Joe Hume’s” statements, all the “ locale” of the scene, the appearance of the rooms, the number of the lamps, the dresses of the company, from the “ mightinesses” of the toque down to the tributary ribbons of the sandal, through all the involutions of ear-rings, bracelets, hoops, and necklaces, the uniform of the military, the stars, orders, garters, &c. The latter is in laudable ignorance of all this, but he will tell you what Mr. Such-a-one or Mrs, Such-a-one said, and what be said himself, and, how they laughed and joked, and joked and laughed the whole night long. An Irish fancy-ball is a collision of the wits and of the wags, and we confess, sometimes a collision which is not altogether distinguished by mental contact : on the other hand, an English fancy-ball is an assem: blage of well-dressed people, whose only principle of cohesion is the rattlesnake attraction of the eye, and whose humour, if there be any, evaporates in a practical joke. Now these contradistinctions between. the two nations are also observable between the higher and middle classes in Irish society. Hence, then, arises the mixed fame of their fancy-balls, one party pronouncing them a blessing, the other a bore, though, indeed, we believe, that owing to some infelicitous circumstance, the latter epithet is the more appropriate of the two when applied to the ball in question. Be that as it may, let us of the people think as we will, her Grace, Mrs. Chit-Chatterly, the cabinet of fashion, the “ Quadrille of Rank," the “ Quadrille of Beauty,” Seasons, Months, and all, voted it a bore, and of course it was so. To think that eight noble ladies and sixteen beautiful ladies dressed themselves, the former in pink and feathers, the latter in all the colours of the rainbow,--that they took the trouble of going to the “ Rotunda,” (the Irish Assembly room,) and that they intended doing the citizens of Dublin the honour of dancing-yea, dancing their very best steps and figures, their “ dosà-dos's,” their “ poussettes,” before them, and that the said citizens of Dublin were so tasteless, Gothic, and savage, as to be wholly insensible of that honour, and, instead of putting on three pair of spectacles upon. the occasion, and elevating opera glasses, the size of telescopes, to catch a glimpse of the noble and lovely groups, were so utterly depraved as to follow their own vagaries! To be sure, one or two figures of the quadrille were danced, and Paddy had the manners to look on for a while; but. then Paddy does not rejoice in either spectacles or telescope, but in two, unsophisticated-big eyes, which he wishes to use to the best advantage by coming close to the theatre of action, so that his manners, equally as his want of them, spoiled the quadrille, for he did not allow the performers a clear stage, favour them as he might. The consequence was, that the whole business resembled a pugilistic encounter, or a cockfight, a small space of about ten feet square only being left by the crowd for the Honourable and Right Honourable and beautiful and very beautiful to exhibit their locomotive powers. As for the quality behind, they could see nothing except the white feathers bobbing up and down like a carpenter's hand in a saw-pit. At last the quadrilles were obliged to strike, it being found out that in the confusion Lady Amelia was balancē-ing to a great big black sweep instead of her part-ner, and that the beautiful Miss Broadback had come slap up dos-à-dos with a Dutch merchant. Here, you know, was an end of every thing decent and genteel, and such a violation of aristocratic dignity, and such a display of perverted taste, that flesh and blood-I beg the nobility's pardon, that coronets and rent rolls could not stand it. The crowd pleaded the crowd as their excuse, and the impossibility of an-. nibilating matter ; on the other side, the existence of a plenum was asserted; but what does Philosophy avail at a fancy-ball ? The Duchess fled in dismay, supposing, no doubt that it was a general rising, and that O'Connell was at the bottom of all, perhaps the very big black sweep himself. The Quadrille of Rank retreated, leaving in their confusion half their costume behind them. The Sea., sons and Months rolled on in quick succession, not on the wings of time, but through the mud of Sackville-street, quite unseasonably; no coaches could be got at, all was confusion : May, instead of treading,