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early from active service. Potentates who abdicate prematurely, are apt to yearn in their retreat after the sceptre they have renounced. - It was too soon for egotism; “ Jouir, c'est la sagesse, faire jouir, c'est la vertu ;" and let the Instruction Publique say what it might to the contrary, I was always virtuously inclined.
In consideration, therefore, of my duty towards the public, - the fairer moiety of course, the other half can take care of itself, - I resolved, if no longer worthy to frisk as a subaltern in Cupid's corps of light infantry, at teas, to figure as a field officer. - Says I to myself - (as Cardinal Richelieu did when he gave away a place) I will make a thousand discontented and one ungrateful. — “Connubio jungam stabili.” It is high time we should marry. - Let us look out for an heiress.
It is a singular circumstance, that, though the modest virtues have neither a place in the Court Guide, nor any other list of the notabilities of fashion, everybody keeps a catalogue of heiresses. — A sort of club census determines the existence and whereabout of this valuable portion of the female population; and it needed only to hint the question in St. James's Street, to be furnished with a list like a house agent's memorandum of HOUSES TO BE LET FURNISHED.
I swore, of course, as people used aforetime when on the look out to purchase a seat in Parliament, that I was commissioned by a friend; and was instantly assured that my friend would find the very thing to suit him in the only daughter of a Lady Crutchley, — the widow of an East Indian K.C.B., — whose vast personality and noble mansions in Bruton Street and Tchindagore Park were waiting to make some unlucky dog the happiest of men, - i.e., a man of ten thousand a year.
I promised to mention her to my friend ; and Cecil Danby accordingly thanked me that night as he was winding up his watch, in no measured terms, for my prompt attention to his interests.
There was no great difficulty in getting presented; and already I had determined to afford the heiress of Tchindagore an opportunity of disposing of herself to the best advantage. Miss Crutchley was no longer in her première jeunesse, (as one says when one wants to be civis about a dowager miss, who, like Flora Gray, has almost survived
her second) and was what is called an amazingly fine woman; a phrase usually intending to designate a woman whom it is amazing any one should call fine, inasmuch as she is singularly course. Her name was Marcia; and like ner namesake she “towered above her sex;" but though the premises were alarming, the giantess subsided into a pocket Venus the moment I betook myself to arithmetic and un-common sense for admeasurement of her charins.
The virtuous Marcia was not a person to be had for asking for. She had been asked for too often not to suspect that, in this unproposing age, the adoration to which she was perpetually subjected was that of the Molten Calf. - Suspicion, however, (and "suspicion's at the best a coward's viriue,”') did not tend to improve either her temper or complexion. Even her bloom was redolent of Lombard Street; and though
Lurida præteræa fiunt quæcunque tuentur
it is not pleasant to see one's rose blush like a primrose, or the chick of one's heart look like a guinea chick; though by the way, Messrs. Delcroix and Atkinson might perhaps inform one the variety of shades of complexion compassable by the pin-money appropriate to ten thousand a-year.
It was not, however, the complexion of the heiress that put me so much to the blush. Though her manners were free from vulgar assumption, there was a frigid calculating self-estimation about her, — a sort of if- from ten - thousand-a-year-you - take - ten thousand-a-year kind of process perpetually going on in her mind, that deadened its better faculties. But for the ten thousand. a-year, I suppose one should have troubled oneself little about her faculties, dead or alive; but
Inde faces ardent, veniunt a dote Sagittæ.
She reminded me of the rock called the Ara Bacchi, in the bed of the Rhine, which one salutes with respect because visible only when the river is low, the season dry, and the vintage promising. — People were glad to see her, because corn, wine, and oil were in her train.
In more respects than one, however, did she resemble the said altar of Bacharach; he was as hard as a rock ! There was a poor relation living in the house, a little girl of sixteen, called Mary-(Thompson - Johnson-Brown - Smith — I know not — she was only called Mary,) whose business it was to pick up Lady Crutchley's pocket handkerchief, open the door for the Dutch pug, read the newspaper to the old lady, and write notes for the daughter, - whom the virtuous Marcia invariably addressed in a spirit of nigger-driverishness worthy of Richard Greysdale. The poor child did not seem to mind it; a proof only that she was used to nothing else. - It was no business of mine ; - my business was with the banker's book of the heiress.
I had fully expected, in derogating to the society of an East Indian widow, to find myself thoroughly desorienté.– But to my great amazement, I discovered, on occasion of their first grand dinner party, that half the fine gentlemen of White's were beforehand with me! and half the fine ladies, their mothers or sisters, enlisted in the same shabby cause. — I met at Lady Crutchley's the best company in town. Like Lovegold, in our English version of L'Avare, they agreed with me in exclaiming, “ In short, Lappet, I must touch, touch, touch, something real!" other Golden Image whose worship is attended by the sound of sackbut, harp, lute, psaltery, and all kinds of music, multitudes were bowed down around the heiress !
Meanwhile, I had put my intentions into effect of removing from Connaught Place, on pretence that the distance from St. James's Street was inconvenient; and was now proprietor of a snuggery on the wrong side of St. James's Place; where I could hear the sparrows of the Green Park twitter so distinctly, that, prospered in the exercise of my imagination by living opposite to Rogers, I managed to fancy myself overlooking Constitution Hill.
The only method by which I could reconcile Danby to my change of domicile, was to dine with him whenever I was free from other engagements; which, sooth to say, was seldom the case. But when I was able to join the family party, it grieved me to perceive that paternal anxieties were making more havoc in my brother's constitution, than all the labours of his public career or cares
of his private. - It was passing strange ; but Danby, who had taken such pleasure in his daughter's education as a preliminary to the part she was now playing in the world, seemed to find nothing but thorns in the garden of roses he had been cultivating.
Whoever approached his lovely daughter, became a source of trouble to him. — He knew the peculiar delicacies of her nature, the refined elegance of her mind; and trembled every moment lest by those assiduities so fascinating to a very young girl, her affections should become entangled by some person not every way worthy to become her companion for life. — Readily perceiving that Chippenham was little favoured, he resigned with a sigh the hope of a nearer alliance with the Mereworths ;-but who was to be the man ?
Herries was the very fellow to stimulate these paternal susceptibilities. Issued of an official family which, from geperation to generation, had risen from doorkeeper to clerk, from clerk to secretary, from secretary to commissioner, from commissioner to M.P. and Privy Councillor, the character in which my brother-in-law now figured in the Treasury Annals, Herries was troubled with a sort of hereditary legislative fever, inspiring him with the notion that the affairs of individuals, as well as of the nation, could not be too closely tied up with red tape, and deposited in tin boxes. His idea of human life was a series of documents; and he seemed to fancy that if Danby desired his daughter to marry either Chippenham or Rotherhithe, he had only to give notice of a motion to that effect. With sufficient whipping-in, a division would decide the question.
Whenever they met, therefore, which was oftener than ever in consequence of the maternal care bestowed by my sister Julia upon her niece, Herries kept harassing his brother-in-law with hints about Sir John This, or Captain That, and begging him to keep an eye upon the attentions of a detrimental like Frank Walsingham. On any other subject upon earth, Danby would have been urged to all eternity without degenerating into the meanness of mistrust. — But on this, his heart and soul were “tremblingly alive all o'er" to the perils and dangers encompassing the
transition from maidenly to matronly estate, in the being most dear to him in the world.
Who would love her as he had loved her ? - Who would watch for her, — pray for her,
as he had watched and prayed? — Who encompass her path with guardianship, lest at any time she should dash her foot against a stone ? — From her very childhood his eye had been suffused with tears whenever her own were moistened ; trembling when she approached the verge of danger, and rejoicing with exceeding great joy whenever a remote prospect of good brightened for her in the distance.
What husband would do all this? - What man deserved to be her husband, among the frivolous sensualists or interested egotists of the day ? — poor feeble beings, defective in head and heart, —- and deriving their charm from some accidental grace of manner, or a judicious selection of tailors and perfumers !
" If you do not wani to see your daughter throw herself away on some empty dandy, who will give her an opera dancer for rival, or waste her fortune at the hazardtable, beware the wild companions of your brother Cecil!" - had been the warning of Lord Ormington.
If you do not wish to see your poor Jane devote her affections to the vizard found by sop's fox, a goodlooking face without a particle of brains, beware of Frank Walsingham !" was now the more explicit admonition of the officious Herries.
And Danby thus appalled, not only refrained from inviting poor Frank into his house, but was perpetually bringing home Rotherhithe to dinner, upon the suggestion of Julia and her husband that, the two brothers never frequenting the same society, to establish the Viscount by his fireside was certain banishment to Frank.
The banishment, in the present instance, was copartite: for Cecil made his bow as well as Walsingham. - The arrival of the elder brother was just as great an annoy: ance to me, as the departure of the younger. – I admitted that Danby had a right to exercise his judgment in the selection of his guests, but wished he would exercise his own judgment instead of that of Herries.
Repelled from Connaught Place by the presence of Lord Rotherhithe, and attracted to Bruton Street by the weighty