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changing, but always the same you are beyond comparison, for being composed of every thing, you are not like any thing, and above praise, for you are generous without feeling, at the same time that you are harsh without cruelty. Every congregation of men take to themselves your name, and attempt to usurp your power, and every individual being pretends to despise you, while he pays you the most devoted homage. You alike being incapable of gratitude for affection, and irritation from neglect, I see no reason why I should attempt to propitiate you, by formally dedicating what must always be virtually dedicated to you; but such being the custom of your court, I have done so, and am very unwillingly obliged to subscribe myself Your obedient humble servant,
&c. Such would have been my ucaltativ.., had that sort of thing been still in vogue, or had my work been worthy of a dedication
to any one; but as it is not, I hope this chapter may serve for an introduction, like that which we receive from the master of the ceremonies at a watering-place, which in fact is none at all, but is only just sufficient to carry two people complacently through a quadrille together, who the next day will pass each other in the street, as much strangers as if they had never met.
Should any gentle reader, or ungentle reader (for I am not particular so they are readers at all) wish to know from whence this work sprung, or to ascertain its origin or veracity, let me assure them that it is perfectly genuine, for I had it direct from the manufactory; its birth they will find in the next chapter--its parentage I have to answer for its education will be under them-its last dying speech at the end of the third volume, and its execution will depend upon the verdict of that jury to, which I leave its fate for ever.
Why let the stricken deer go weep,
The bart ungalled, play,
It was one of those November mornings, when the landscape, all smeared in mist and fine drizzly rain, presents nothing distinctly to the eye, when all the little slopes of the ground are filled up with haze, the river scarce to be traced in the valley through which it wanders, and the largest trees are swathed half way up their trunks in the fog, that totally obscures the smaller ones. The room was a small, elegant breakfast-room, which in summer commanded a prospect of great beauty and luxuriance, but which at present afforded
no other view than a thick, dreary atmosphere, a long, dewy park, and a sober, grey line, that indicated that there was some distant object which terminated the scene; but whether it was a chain of hills, or a high brick wall, might have been a question to those that did not know the windows of Broomhill looked upon the counties of South Wales.
The interior of the apartment presented however objects much more pleasing; and in the first place (to begin at the lesser particulars, in order that my climax may be perfect) there was in the centre a table spread with all the implements for that sweetest meal, by which the necessities of humanity are supplied, breakfast, laid out in the plain but elegant style of the house of a country gentleman, distinguished at once by wealth and simplicity. A blazing coal fire occupied the grate, and bade defiance to the chilling scene without; while on one side of it stood Caroline Melville, the daughter of the mansion's owner, and,
smiling in the plenitude of good nature, fixed her large blue eyes, with a look of affectionate regard, on the more thoughtful countenance of her cousin, lady Mary Burton, who, leaning her arm on the mantlepiece, seemed a model of pensive beauty. To describe either of them would perhaps be doing them injustice. Caroline was one of those Hebe-looking creatures, to whom high health and bright expression lends a variety of charms, with which form or feature have very little to do. Her cousin was paler, but the colour that came and went in her cheek, was like the first dawn of morning breaking upon the early sky. Caroline's eyes were large and blue, while Mary's were soft and hazel, fringed with those long dark lashes which lord Byron gives to his maid of Athens, while her hair was of a deep nut colour, a sort of sunny brown, and clustered round her face in a profusion of wild ringlets that would not brook restraint. The breakfast-hour was past, and in a miB 5