Imágenes de páginas

time to accumulate questions of all sorts.”

Lord Burton was about to answer, when dinner was announced, and politeness called on him to hand lady Delmont down stairs.

At dinner lady Delmont took care that the elegant and rich lord Burton should be placed next to her eldest daughter, and Miss Delmont did not fail to exert all her powers of captivation. She was a fine shewy girl of about eighteen; but her manner there was a sort of bold flippancy, blended with hauteur, very revolting to his feelings; and during the time he was forced to sit beside her, he found himself often insensibly drawing comparisons between the insolent young woman of ton, and his unassuming travelling companion, not at all to the advantage of Miss Delmont.

The Almanach des Gourmands observes, that there is nothing more essential to making a dinner agreeable, than to arrange your company properly, placing


those people together who may display each other to advantage. No two persons on earth could have been more dissimilar than lord Burton and Miss Delmont, and very often he felt himself inclined to fall into one of those reveries, in which he too often indulged; but exerting himself to throw off the depression that hung upon him, when he found his spirits begin to fail, he would engage himself in conversation with his cousins, lady Jane and Cecilia Evelyn, who having many topics in common with himself, supplied him with new trains of ideas, less painful than those on which his mind generally rested. In the gay,

unaffected conversation of lady Jane, he took the greatest pleasure; she was nature itself, and nature to him was always beautiful; and though the stiff propriety of her sister, lady Cecilia, threw a ehill upon all around her, yet he found speaking to her a much more agreeable occupation than listening to the pert observations of Miss Delmont.

The evening passed away without any thing particularly worthy of notice, and lord Burton pleaded fatigue as an excuse for retiring as early as possible to the quiet of his own chamber. When he was gone, there were of course a thousand observations made upon him by all present, for every man in society, like sir Peter Teazle, leaves his character behind him. One said that a few years had made a great alteration in him; another, that he was sadly altered; one old gentleman remembered him a gay, high-spirited boy ; lady Delmont said, that the dignity of his carriage was precisely what it ought to be, considering his rank and station in society; and lady Jane Evelyn shook her head with a sigh, observing, that the unfortunate duel in which he had been engaged, had cast a gloom over Frederic's mind, and made him the less happy, though not the less amiable.

At ten the next morning, the principal part of those who had dined together the VOL. I.



evening before assembled to breakfast. Lady Delmont was particular in her inquiries how lord Burton had passed the night, and seemed rather to gener his lordship with her exclusive politeness to himself. Lord Burton was every thing that was elegant, and accustomed as he had been to mix greatly with society, there was no situation in which he felt himself incompetent to behave with grace and propriety; but still he did not like to be made the object of particular attention without necessity; he felt it a selfishness to allow a large portion of civility to be lavished on himself, which ought to be universally and equally diffused to all: but in vain he attempted to escape from lady Delmont's kindness. That lady had calculated on him as an excellent match for her eldest daughter, and resolved that it should not be for want of graciousness and condescension on her part if it did not take place. Miss Delmont was not at all averse to her mother's views; Nature had

given her very little feeling of any kind, except vanity, and that could not fail of gratification, as the wife of the rich, the elegant, and the admired lord Burton. :: Lady Delmont had fallen for a moment into thought, (an unusual occurrence with her ladyship). Perhaps she was calculating in her own mind her daughter's settlement-perhaps arranging her wedding dress; but so it was, she had fallen into thought, when she was interrupted in her meditations by Mr. Ross the butler, who announced, with a face of great importance, that a young lady desired to speak with her ladyship.

“ Who is she, Ross?” asked lady Delmont.

“ She says she has a letter from lady M-, my lady,” replied the butler.

“ Do look at Ross's face,” whispered lady Jane Evelyn to lord Burton; "did you ever see such a look of mystery as the man bears, Frederic? looks as if he was going to communicate


He always

E 2

« AnteriorContinuar »