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Circled by beaux behold her sit, i
Such is her life-a life of waste, si
Not these the thoughts that could perplex
Then Valour won the wavering field,
Girls loy'd the needle-boys the lance ;
And Cupid took his constant post
I'd rather see that magic face,
If these, and such pursuits are thine,
A PEEP INTO RAWSDON COURT.
· DEAR COURTENAY,--You cannot think what a treat you missed by refusing a week's leave to Mr. Seymour's, with Burton, Rowley, and me, and that too merely on the pretence of being employed in bringing out the Second Number of your “ Etonian." A poor excuse indeed! and I fancy I can see you already tortured with a grievous repentance. However, to make amends for your disappointment, I have just escaped from the company to give you a slight sketch of a grand annual dinner party at the house of a neighbouring Squire, to which our host and we, of course by courtesy, shared the luck of being invited with more than half of the county. We set off in tip-top spirits. Rowley was all alive with the expectation of good fare and plenty of it; indeed I observed, as a very rare occurrence, that he had eaten scarcely any luncheon. Bunton was quite in bis element, calculating how much it must cost to entertain so many people handsomely- and I myself was perhaps the happiest, from the hopes of meeting a rare medley of characters. The immediate approach to the house lay through a straight avenue, and the sound of our carriage every now and then startled some straggling deer. This circumstance was not lost upon Rowley, for he immediately asked if the venison from the Park was reckoned good or not. The trees I thought were fine and handsome enough, but I saw nothing particular in them. However, Rowley remarked that they were walnuts of uncommon size, and Burton wondered much that the proprietor had not cut some of them down in the war time, when they would have fetched any price he wished. I was inwardly pondering with myself how it was that my cockney friend knew the difference between a walnut and an oak, when a sudden turn brought us up to the door of the house. You must not expect me to be able to describe its external beauties, for I hardly bad time to see that it was built of brick, or that there were two great stone lions on either side of the steps which led us into the ball, which was, as far as I observed, like all others of the same standing. There was an old oak table, which Burton said looked as if it was made for a counting-house. Rowley began to sniff a most savoury smell, which entered as one of the side doors was opened. I was rather .glad that they were both of them interrupted by our being marshalled, by about a dozen clumsy-looking fellows in gaudy liveries, into the drawing-room.
Here we had the pleasure to find that we were the first of the company. The important state apartment was empty; and if one might judge by its fusty smell and general appearance, had been empty for more than a year. The wainscot was oaken;
“What can be better?” you will say. Well, but the effect of it was most ingeniously spoilt by the good taste of some country upholsterer, who had chosen the gayest colours he could find for the curtains, stuck up miserable thin cornices, and fitted out the chairs, sofas, &c. in similar taste. Some good portraits were sacrilegiously contaminated by the intrusion of a vast allegorical daub which hung over the chimney-piece, representing all the members of the family, as Gods and Goddesses. The father, as Jupiter Tonans, stood in a cloud with a thunderbolt in his hand, but with a countenance any thing but majestic. The mother stood by his side, as fat and ruddy an old Juno as you can imagine ; and the younger branches of the family, in appropriate costumes, represented Apollos, Dianas, Venuses, and Mercuries, besides abundance of little Cupids and Psyches hovering about in the air, or perching on the shoulders of the greater Deities. None of us at first dared to disturb the formidable circle of chairs which were ranged in order round a miserable fire; which, by the brightness of the grate, had evidently been lighted but an hour before. Now you know, as well as all the members of the Club, that in these cold Autumn evenings no excuse is necessary for approaching the chimney corner, so we even drew our chairs a little nearer than the ceremonious formality of the house allowed. Burton began to argue that he was sure there was very good management there, when in walked, courtesying, blushing, and simpering, our lady hostess. I thought she would have overwhelmed us with excuses and pardons, difference of clocks, unexpected occurrences, sorrow for such an incivility,—all poured out together in a stream which nothing could stop. I inwardly pitied her husband. Her conversation was directed to Mr. Seymour, and appeared to be, from the parts that I heard of it, neither very polite nor very temperate. We had full time to admire her face, rather hollow, and cheeks fallen in, while her whole colour seemed to be concentrated in a nose rather exceeding the proportions of feminine beauty, and her abundant clusters of false hair, tastefully surmounted with a lofty turban. I am sure I cannot be wrong in saying that she wears the breeches. You can't think how earnestly I was listening for the sound of carriage wheels, when a respectable-looking gentleman entered, with powdered hair, and dressed in black, whom the lady, hardly rising, introduced to us as Mr. Ormsby. The unassuming and silent way of his approach, his dress, his tout ensemble, made me conceive at once that he must be the clergyman of the place. You know I am a bit of a physiognomist. This man I fancied at first sight, and was extremely glad that he took a chair close to me. After a very few words, with my natural effrontery, I asked him to take pity on a stranger, and become my nomenclator. To this request he good-naturedly acceded, and I resolved within myself that he should not have a sinecure office.
Presently we heard a tremendous rattling, and the door of the room flew open, admitting a current of air, which (excuse my pedantry, entre nous, it would have required more than one of Æolus's bags to supply. We were subjected to this ventilation for two or three minutes, when an old man hobbled in, holding a stick in one hand, and with the other supporting himself by the arm of a lady not young, but still. much younger than himself. Every thing about him savoured of the old school: his antiquated pigtail, a doublebreasted white waistcoat, and gold-headed cane. I can't however refer to the same origin a set of sharp weather-beaten features, the corner of the mouth disagreeably drawn in, and the forehead contracted with a sort of habitual wrinkle. “ That,” said my friend, as the important person slowly proceeded, darting about his piercing gray eye, and answering in rather a peevish way to the inquiries and salutations of the company, “ That is Mr. Thompson; he is a man of large fortune, and I believe good natural abilities, though he never has had occasion to use them. He has some interest here, and once stood a contested election. I believe his failure was owing to the inconsistency of his political character, and to his professing to hate every party' at different times, so that he got credit for no principles at all. He still keeps a pack of hounds, though he is a martyr to the gout; which, as you see, totally incapacitates him from hunting ;—it has however one good effect, that whereas formerly he used to vent his spleen on every body, he now finds employment enough in cursing at his pain and complaining of his malady. People that know him put up with his oddities for the sake of many good qualities, which it is not worth your while to hear. The Lady is his second wife, who takes all the care in the world of him, and has succeeded in getting his untractable temper entirely under her command. Common report says that she is secretly aiming to seduce him to disinherit his son by a former wife, with whom he has for some time quarrelled, in favour of a little brat of her own, hardly out of petticoats. For my own part I think he will see through it.”-I was so well pleased with his description, that I persuaded him to leave the grand circle, and sit down in one of the farthest window seats, to avoid observation, under the impression that my curiosity would effectually keep out the cold, and that I might enjoy that greatest of all pleasures, the power of seeing without being seen. My clergyman, however, very prudently restricted my inquiries to proper objects. Just at this time the company began to flock in. Many, as their names were announced, escaped with a cursory notice ; such as—" that redheaded man came into Parliament the last election for m en