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Fontenelle used to say that to be bappy in this world a man should content himself with being the centre of a circle two feet in diameter. The circle of which Danby felt himself to be the centre, was not much more than two dozen feet across.
But though this limitation of feeling is far more distinct from egotism than the expansiveness which includes five hundred friends in the circle, it exposes the centre of such a system to greater peril of isolation.—Danby was any thing but a worldly man.-His sympathies were with the universe; -with the Gentoo in bis cany shed as much as with the Parisian in his tribune at the Institute;—nay,
He was not of an age but for all time,
and Plato or Pliny were of as much account in his soul, as Robert Boyle or Sir Humphrey Davy.—But in his heart of hearts, there was no place for a human being out of his own family.
“ I scarcely envy you, Ju!” said I, when, on reaching London with the father and daughter, I discussed the matter with Mrs. Herries. “ You will have an anxious task of chaperonship.—Jane is handsome, rich, gentle, in
every way attractive.
You will have a swarm of wasps settling on the forbidden fruit.”
Why forbidden ?" demanded my matter-offact sister. “My father assures me it is Danby's wish that his daughter should marry early.”
“That is, Lord Ormington is bimself anxious that Danby's daughter should marry early, in hopes that Danby, left alone, may be induced to find a wife in his turn. But trust me, both father and daughter will be difficult in their
They have a right to be so," replied Mrs. Herries, proudly." She is to inherit a noble fortune, and with her many charms and qualifications, ought to command one of the best matches in England."
May it fall to her lot!"-said I, sincerely. “ Jane Danby is one of the sweetest creatures in the world. Still, she always brings to mind Sir Brooke Boothby's pathetic epitaph on his only daughter-“ the unfortunate parents ventured their whole stock of happiness in this frail bark, and—”
“ Not a word more!"-cried Julia, starting up, and flinging down her work. “I defy auguries !—I have the utmost faith in the auspiciousness of Jane Danby's star.-By the way, I thought her rather pleased last night with Lord Rotherhithe, who took her out at the opera.”—
“ Not a word more,” cried I, in iny turn, “ if you wish me to have any faith in your auguries or the understanding of my niece ! Rotherhithe ?—That stupid, ungraceful, ungracious piece of mechanism, from which one is half an hour in extracting a word, and another half hour in trying to understand it !"
“I daresay I am wrong,” replied my sister, “ but they certainly seemed to find no lack of topics of conversation. At all events, do put her out of conceit with Lord Rotherhithe, for whom Herries has the highest esteem. His manners may not be so polished as those of his brother Frank, who, by living among actors and actresses, roués and femmes légères, has rubbed off the mauvaise honte which obscures the good qualities of Rotherhithe; but he is fifty times more to be relied on.”
“ More to be relied on by Herries, perhaps," muttered I, as I left the room : perfectly aware that my pompous brother-in-law was a creature regarded by Walsingham only as a good subject for his quizzeries.--But I own I was surprised at Jane's bad taste,-for my sister was an observer whose accuracy might be strictly relied on.
Meanwhile, I was not a little amused by a change of men and measures in Connaught Place, almost equalling the displacements occasioned in Paris by the glorious three days.
-All the family connections of the late Lady Susan, all the personal friends of my brother, became assiduous in their attentions, now she
was “out,” to a girl of whose existence they had heretofore seemed ignorant; and it was curious enough to see Danby, the philosophical Danby, gravely examining invitation cards, and enquiring into the merits of Almacks, very much as he would have spelt over De Lolme on the British. Constitution, or studied a protocol. Nothing was beneath his notice that regarded the interests of Jane. He gave her Lady Susan's diamonds ;-he intended to give her Lady Susan's fortune ;—which mattered the less, since Nature had already endowed her with Lady Susan's sweetness and truth.
Among those by whom the débutante was beset with civilities was Lady Grindlesham ; and I noticed that Danby carefully abstained from uttering a sentence of condemnation in his daughter's presence, upon any of her new acquaintance not morally objectionable; allowing her to exercise a taste and judgment of her own.—I fear I was not equally forbearing. I could not always help exclaiming,–