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SKETCHES OF SOCIETY.
JUST COME TO TOWN.
66 A LACK a-day,” exclaimed aunt courages an old maid with spare
a Deborah, on throwing down the locks, greasy and straight as a pound newspaper, which she had been read- of candles, to try Mr. Superexcellent's ing, “ what will folks come to at last ? curling fluid, which will bestow on I declare, my poor brain is all in a her nut-brown curls as thick and well whirly-gig at the number of advertise- formed as those of her poodle dog ; ments that are here before me; self-adjusting corsets invite on one why there's not such a thing as an old hand ; a more improved model of woman to be met with in London. stays invite on the other; the one is I've made a pretty kettle of fish of my to combine ease and proportion ; and
two or three years ago, are antiquat- deformity; the other is to supply the ed. I am told that I must not wear deficiences of nature, and to convert an article of my wardrobe; my jew the straits of Toolong* into the harels must be reset, my hair must be bour of breast, changing a thin neck bidden, my eye-brows must be co- of mutton to the plump bosom of a loured, and I must be wholly trans- pigeon; then again, Circassian dews, mogrified, and all this to please my and Bayadere tooth powders, vegetatwo giddy nieces, who look to inher- ble teeth, and ivory imperceptibles, iting my fortune, and who say that induce those whom age, accident. or they would be ashamed of me if I decrepitude, has deprived of their went out as discreetly and respecta- grinders, or whose breath is not that bly dressed as I used to do when I of the violet, to empty their purses in visited our neighbour the rich squire, order to be able to smile in spite of or the mayor of our county town. their teeth, and to sigh out spicy gales Then again, how to choose amongst under the noses of admiring benut. all these ornaments for the person, Every grandam expects now to be a and these infallible cures for old age? Minor de L'Enclos, as the respectable Here (putting on her spectacles and powdered gentlemen of old times now taking up the paper here we have a vapour about in auburn peruques, cosKalydor, the meaning of which I sacks, and whale-boned body clothes. don't understand, which is to beautify Alas! alas ! our youth is now too exthe plainest face, there a bloom to re- perienced, and old age is no longer store the spring tint to features, of reverend and honourable.” Thus which autumn had long ago taken spoke aunt Deborah, when the French leave. In another long advertisement dress-maker appeared with a variety
grow upon a sterile forehead, and cried the old lady, “ I should be bear's grease to produce hair where starved with cold in that spider-web gone ever grew before. One puff as- concern, with a taffetas slip under it, sures us that a single dose of some re why it is only fit for a girl of thirteen; vivifying cordial will impart the spark frocks and slips indeed for the wrong of youth to old age ; another challen- side of sixty!” “Oh! milady, dat's ges all the world to make a wig like nutting,” replied Mademoiselle. “Nuta what the advertiser recommends to ting indeed; why this is a mere net the public; here a whole column ex. to catch butterflies in.” “ Very well, plains the nature of a dye, which will catch what you like."* “ Yes, catch impart the fine jet hue of the raven and catch can,” said aunty; " but to an iron-gray grandmother; there surely my madcap neices must have something brief, but impressive, en- sent me this in order to laugh at me,
* Touton, perhaps the old lady meant..
by making me ridiculous : how differ- days; then we must make a magnifient from my silk or satin modest cent return.” “I wish it was a regown, with a turban for my hair, and turn to the country sadly," said the a dust of powder to give a grave re- aunt; “ but all this work must be got spectable air.” Ha, ha, ha! ha, ha, through, since you have dragged me ha! (the door opens, and Isabella from the country, because it is necesand Grace come in). “ Mademoj- sary that you should enter into life selle, ban jaur, (in indifferent French) just as I am thinking of leaving it." don't listen to my aunt-aunty, you “Vans plaisantez matante," answered must be dressed like a Christian.” Grace; “ you are only just seeing the Aunty. “Well I think this masquerade world; who knows but you may get a affair (holding up the dress) is a great sweetheart yet, ha, ha, ha.” Aunt deal more like the dress of a Pagan.” Deborah siniled at the word sweet(Dress Maker) “ Well, ma'am, dat it heart, but it was followed by a deep is, from a fine Grecian model.” groan at the expence, just as the dis(Aunt) “ Well, but then what is all tant thunder murmurs as the sudden this in front ?” “ c'est bien garni;” refulgence flashes through a cloud well garnished. “Yes, but I cannot Now aunty was persuaded to take a expose my chest thus." " Chist, oh! lesson of decarte, and to play guinea never mind; you open your chist for points at whist, and was drawn upon me, and me open your chist for you; for a ballet master to perfect the Misses (loud applause at this stale joke) but in quadrilles and waltzes,' and to pay here come some French gloves and for chalking the floor for a magnifia silk shoes.” Here poor aunt Debo- cent return; she was also not likerah murmured out ; 6 the gloves are wise) prevailed upon to invite a huncheap and soft, but I have already gry Lancer to dine daily en famille, burst three pair; and as for the shoes, and to tolerate a half-pay captain of they pinch me to death for five mi- infantry to attend her every where, nutes, and wear out at the sides in an and to laugh at her over his left shoulhour; they will only serve for a der. Pride occasionally triumphed in night." (Niece Grace.) “ Law, aun- her entré amongst high titles and ty, a night! to be sure, all people of splendid circles, and partial affection fashion wear out three hundred and at times repaid her for her vigils, and sixty-five pair of shoes, and as many losses at play, from witnessing the adpair of gloves in a year : silk stockings miration bestowed on her nieces, and should never be washed but once, what she deemed their growing celeand a light gossamor net dress, with a brity ; but moments of cool reflection silk slip, is abominable after two would as often engross her mind, and balls.” “Mercy !" ejaculated my destroy all her brief enjoyment. Lanaupt, “pray what is to become of my guid and fatigued with what the giddy silks and satins ? My damasks you call pleasure, and fevered after a have long since disposed of for chair morning sleep, she would not unfreseats.” (Both nieces together.) “Why quently unload her trunks, her boxes, the rose-colour will cut up for shoes, and her carriage seats, to sigh over a the black will serve for a work-bag, huge mountain of articles of wearing the green will make shades for the apparel, presenting an account of molamp, and all the others will do for a ney unprofitably sunk, and of articles bed for Napoleon, the poodle; but now prohibited, as it were, by the pray look to your engagements : a veto of fashion ; here was a rich silk fancy ball at a Lady's, whose name robe, the form of which was quite suwe never knew until yesterday,–Mrs. perannuated : there a black satin Sydenham's 6 at home," our county dress, trimmed with bugles, which had member's dinner party, the Countess figured at an election ball, but which
Fleury's opening of her house, a stu- was now too short in the waist, and Ĩ opera, play, Vauxhall, and private another dress had faded ; a third (a theatricals to attend, all that in six white one) had acquired a cream ,
coloured hue from lying by ; a fourth laughed at in town, and pitied in the was too tight and too short, in conse- country. On her return she brought quence of aunty's having grown a lit- down with her a variety of fashions, tle larger than when it was first made which induced her female neighbours tight enough to sew her up in it; a to borrow them of her ; but instead
attacked by moths; a sixth was spoil- she anticipated, her charitable aced by Grace's throwing eau de Co- quaintances and her faithful waiting logne over it, one was country made; woman brought her back all the kind and another was promised by my expressions of the ladies of the neighpiece to her lady's maid ; laces had bourhood, such as a beautiful gros lost their colour, patterns were not of de Naples indeed, and exquisitely vogue; thus was all her former orna- made, but what a caricature must ments come to nothing ; thus, in a few aunt Deborah be in such a juvenile weeks, was all the matron-like respec- habit! This frock and slip are adtability of a worthy country gentle- mirable, but what an old fool must woman brought down to the standard our neighbour be to venture on wear. of drawing-room lumber, and con- ing such a dress! Poor thing, her founded with a legion of old fan- old noddle must be turned ere she twinkling faded coquettes, who out- could have been persuaded to make live admiration, pass by consideration herself thus ridiculous.” So much and esteem, and infest the theatres for the tittle-tattle behind her back, and gaudy apartments of the fashiona- the conversation in her presence was ble world. Nor was this the worst; little less annoying ; “ Poor Grace!" if her coming to town was so fraught was an object of insulting commiserwith trouble and vexation, her quitting ation to half her acquaintance; whilst it was still more serious and perplex- her other niece was the theme of viling. Her coffers were drained from lage scandal. One niece accompanithe ruinous expense of six weeks in ed her husband to the rules of the town; her niece Grace had run away King's Bench, the other run away with the Lancer, whose fortune had with a recruiting officer, aunt Deborah
had lost her character by flirting it ed Methodist, and thus ended “ lhe away with a married man. Aunt Journey to London." Deborah was blamed for all this,
THE BELATED TRAVELLERS.
BY GEOFFREY CRAYOX.
(Not yet published in the American edition of “The Tales of a Traveller.") TT was late one evening that a car- man, in a kind of military travelling • riage, drawn by mules, slowly dress, and a foraging cap trimmed toiled its way up one of the passes with fur, though the gray locks which of the Appenines. It was through stole from under it hinted that his one of the wildest defiles, where a fighting days were over. Beside him hamlet occurred only at distant inter- was a pale, beautiful girl of eighteen, vals, perched on the summit of some dressed in something of a northern or rocky height, or the white towers of a Polish costume. One servant was convent peeped out from among the seated in front, a rusty, crusty-looking thick mountain foliage. The carriage fellow, with a scar across his face ; an, was of ancient and ponderous con- orange-tawney schnur-bart, or pair o struction. Its faded embellishments mustachios, bristling from under nos spoke of former splendour, but its nose, and altogether the air of an old crazy springs and axletrees creaked soldier. out the tale of present decline. With It was, in fact, the equipage of a in was seated a tall, thin old gentle- Polish nobleman ; a wreck of el
those princely families which had over the road, with flocks of white lived with almost oriental magnifi- goats browsing on their brinks, and cence, but had been broken down gazing down upon the travellers. and impoverished by the disasters of They had between two and three Poland. The Count, like many oth- leagues yet to go before they could er generous spirits, had been found reach any village; yet the muleteer, guilty of the crime of patriotism, and Pietro, a tippling old fellow, who had was, in a manner, an exile from his refreshed himself at the last halting. country. He had resided for some place with a more than ordinary time in the first cities of Italy, for the quantity of wine, sat singing and talkeducation of his daughter, in whom all ing alternately to his mules, and sufhis cares and pleasures were now cen- fering them to lag on at a snail's pace, tred. He had taken her into so- in spite of the frequent entreaties of ciety, where her beauty and her ac- the Count and maledictions of Caspar. complishments had gained her many T he clouds began to roll in heavy admirers; and had she not been the masses among the mountains, shrouddaughter of a poor broken-down Pol- ing their summits from the view. The ish nobleman, it is more than proba- air of these heights, too, was damp ble that many would have contended and chilly. The Count's solicitude for her hand. Suddenly, however, on his daughter's account overcame her health had become delicate and his usual patience. He leaned from drooping; her gaiety fled with the the carriage, and called to old Pietro roses of her cheek, and she sunk into in an angry tone. silence and debility. The old Count “ Forward !" said he. «It will be saw the change with the solicitude of midnight before we arrive at our inn." a parent. “We must try a change of Yonder it is, Signior," said the air and scene,” said he ; and in a few muleteer. days the old family carriage was rum 6 Where p" demanded the Count. bling among the Appenines.
“ Yonder,” said Pietro, pointing to Their only attendant was the vete- a desolate pile of buildings about a ran Caspar, who had been born in quarter of a league distant. the family, and grown rusty in its ser- “ That the place why, it looks vice. He had followed his master in more like a ruin than an inn. I all his fortunes;. had fought by his thought we were to put up for the side ; had stood over him when fallen night at a comfortable village.” in battle ; and had received, in his Here Pietro uttered a string of pitedefence, the sabre-cut which added ous exclamations and ejaculations, such grimness to his countenance. He such as are ever at the tip of the was now his valet, his steward, his tongue of a delinquent muleteer. butler, his factotum. The only being 66 Such roads! and such mountains ! that rivalled his master in his affec- and then his poor animals were waytions was his youthful mistress ; she worn, and leg-weary ; they would had grown up under his eye. He had fall lame; they would never be able led her by the hand when she was a to reach the village. And then what child, and he now looked upon her could his Excellenza wish for better with the fondness of a parent ; nay, than the inn; a perfect castelloma he even took the freedom of a parent piazza--and such people !-and such in giving his blunt opinion on all mat. a larder !--and such beds !--His ters which he thought were for her Excellenza might fare as sumptugood; and felt a parent's vanity in ously and sleep as soundly there as a seeing her gazed at and admired. prince !"
The evening was thickening: they The Count was easily persuaded, had been for some time passing for he was anxious to get his daughter through narrow gorges of the moun- out of the night air; so in a little tains, along the edge of a tumbling while the old carriage rattled and stream. The scenery was lonely and jingled into the great gateway of the savage. The rocks often beetled inn.
The building did certainly in some The only thing that contradicted measure answer to the muleteer's de. this prevalent air of indigence was the scription. It was large enough for dress of the hostess. She was a slateither castle or palazza ; built in a tern of course ; yet her garments, strong, but simple and almost rude though dirty and negligent, were of style; with a great quantity of waste costly materials. She wore several room. It had, in fact, been, in for- rings of great value on her fingers, mer times, a hunting-seat for one of and jewels in her ears, and round her the Italian princes. There was space neck was a string of large pearls, to enough within its walls and in its out- which was attached a sparkling crubuildings to have accommodated a cifix. She had the remains of beaulittle army.
ty; yet there was something in the A scanty household seemed now to expression of her countenance that people this dreary mansion. The inspired the young lady with singular faces that presented themselves on the aversion. She was officious and obarrival of the travellers were begrimed sequious in her attentions, and both with dirt, and scowling in their ex- the Count and his daughter were re. pression. They all knew old Pietro, lieved when she consigned them to however, and gave him a welcome as the care of a dark, sullen-looking serhe entered, singing and talking, and vant-maid, and went off to superialmost whooping, into the gateway. tend the supper.
The hostess of the inn waited her- Caspar was indignant at the muleself on the Count and his daughter, to teer for having, either through neg. show them the apartments. They ligence or design, subjected his maswere conducted through a long gloo- ter and mistress to such quarters ; and my corridor, and then through a suite vowed by his mustachios to have reof chambers opening into each other, venge on the old varlet the moment with lofty ceilings, and great beams they were safe out from among the extending across them. Every thing, mountains. He kept up a continual however, had a wretched, squalid quarrel with the sulky servant-maid, look. The walls were damp and which only served to increase the sinbare, excepting that here and there ister expression with which she rehung some great painting, large garded the travellers, from under her enough for a chapel, and blackened strong dark eye-brows. . out of all distinctness.
As to the Count, he was a goodThey chose two bed-rooms, one humoured, passive traveller Perwithin another; the inner one for haps real misfortunes had subdued his the daughter. The bedsteads were spirit, and rendered him tolerant massive and mishapen ; but on exam- many of those petty evils which ining the beds, so vaunted by old make prosperous men miserable. ne Pietro, they found them stuffed with drew a large, broken arm-chair to the fibres of hemp, knotted in great fire-side for his daughter, and another lumps. The Count shrugged his to himself, and seizing an enormous shoulders,but there was no choice left. pair of tongs, endeavoured to re· The chilliness of the apartments range the wood so as to produce a crept to their bones; and they were blaze. His efforts, however, were glad to return to a common chamber, only repaid by thicker putisol or kind of hall, where there was a fire smoke, which almost overcame the burning in a huge cavern, miscalled a good gentleman's patience. He would chimney. A quantity of green wood draw back, cast a look upon his de had just been thrown on, which puff- licate daughter, then upon the cheered out volumes of smoke. The room less, squalid apartment, and shrugging corresponded to the rest of the man- his shoulders, would give a fresh str sion. The floor was paved and dirty. to the fire. A great oaken table stood in the Of all the miseries of a comforlless centre, immoveable from its size and inn, however, there is none greates weight.
than sulky attendance: the good