Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ere

ferent branches of her family; after which, and a few other common-place topics with which lady Delmont contrived to mingle a great many flattering civilities, lord Burton was conducted to his apartment, in order that he might dress for dinner.

His toilet did not cost him much time, and on descending to the drawing-room, he found a large party, principally composed of ladies, who had been kept in suspense as to the name of the visitor, by lady Delmont, and were in consequence all anxious for his appearance. , " Frederic !” exclaimed lady Jane Evelyn, as soon as she saw him, " is it possible? I did not expect to meet my absentee cousin here, of all persons in the world. But how long have you been in England ?—Where do you come from?— Where are you going ?-And lastly, how do you do? and now answer all my questions in a breath, or I shall ask you as many more, for since you have seen me, or written to me, I have had plenty of 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 in 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 bis 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

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 chill 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

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

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

« AnteriorContinuar »