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as large as himself under his arm,-plans and projections for the Caoutchouc drainage which, in pursuance of his botheration of the day before, he was eager to lay before his brother of the Peers,
Lady Mereworth took the opportunity to inquire of the servants who ushered him in, whether her carriage were in waiting ?-and, on pretence of an engagement, hurried away, leaving me in the hands of the Philistines.But, to my utter surprise, on taking with a lover's peevish tenderness the place she had just vacated on the sofa, I found legibly written in pencil on the back of the book of the Coronation Service she had been rolling in her hand during the conversation, the single word “ Refuse!” —Could I doubt that it was inscribed by the hand of Theresa, and addressed to myself?—The pencil which had traced the letters lay within the pages, and I could even fancy it still warm from her touch!
I do not see what right any two Peers of the realm could have to suppose that a younger brother like myself, without an acre of land he could call his own, would give his attention to a patent plan for bog reclaiming.
Yet though it had been nothing to me to see the whole Bog of Allen so substantialized as to admit of removing the Curragh to its surface, I own I ought to have made a more decent show of attention to my noble cousin's moonraking projects.
But though the House of Lords was compelled to listen to his nonsense, I was not;and in the midst of a demonstration calculated to drive even Babbage to his wits' end,-1 vanished, -almost as clumsily as Hamlet Senior through the creaking trap-door of some provincial theatre.
Mereworth merely looked up from the papers in his hands, as I left the room, to say—“ You'll let me know, Cecil, how you make up your mind,-for we shall be off before Sunday.”
Now there are two causes, my very dear Public,--take it from me who have penetrated to the heart's core of the matter,--there
are two, equally cogent causes, for the severity of a
towards the admirer she thinks proper to snub.
to snub. You may be loved too much, -or too little.-How was I to decide between these alternatives, as regarded Lady Mereworth ?
I went straight from Grosvenor Square to White's ;-and never was more conscious of the power of a Club to dispel the irritations of egotism.-Every body was in spirits. Every body was talking about the Coronation. Every body was talking about their pleasure-plans for the winter.-It would have been impertinent at such a moment to touch upon my personal discontents.-If I had come in on crutches, or with my arm in a sling, they would not have noticed it;-how much less the pensive expression of a countenance
Sicklied o'er by the pale cast of thought !-All true philosophers would have done as I
did ; viz. joined the house dinner that day with half a dozen of the pleasantest fellows about town; and, with the aid of an extra bottle of claret, forget there was such a thing in the world as that softer sex which deals so hardly with us when it finds us growing soft in our turn.
Narratur et prisci Catonis
and I own I have always found my strength of mind and body renovated by a glass of Château Margoux.—The magic bath of Medea, which converted elderly gentlemen into young ones, was doubtless neither more nor less than a pipe of Cyprus wine.
“Mereworth tells me he has been trying to persuade you to go abroad with him ?” observed Danby, as I was dining tête-à-tête with him in Connaught Place the following day.
“Yes,-he wished it, but I liave declined !” was my careless reply.
“I should have thought it might have suited you, as you will not consent to accompany us this year to Ormington ?” said my brother."The Mereworths are such excellent people!"
“ Excellent people are seldom very amusing ones," said I, taking occasion to be very curious in salting my filberts.
“ Excellent people are excellent companions when able to amuse oneself in their company, with a succession of interests and excitements, as in foreign travel,” said Danby.--" I scarcely know two persons for whom I have a higher regard than Mereworth and his wife.”_
I muttered something about the mediocrity of the Earl's abilities, which certainly came ill from my lips, so long as Danby chose to be indulgent. “ I do not agree with
brother. “ Mereworth has precisely the order of abilities most available to his position in life. I see no great occasion for an Earl with forty thousand a year to be a man of genius; while good plain sense and stedfast uprightness are invaluable