Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

CECIL.

CHAPTER I.

For Hope grew round me like the living vine,
And fruits and foliage not my own seemed mine.

COLERIDGE.

Sans besoin et sans abondance,

J'oserais dire sans désirs,
Je vis ici dans l'innocence
Et d'un sage repos fais tous mes plaisirs.

ST. EVREMONT.

THERE are various kinds of solitude in this world.-Childe Harold indited two immortal

stanzas, which may save one the trouble of being prosy on the subject :—and Cecil Danby accordingly says ditto to Lord Byron. It

may not be amiss, however, to add, for the benefit of those who delight in circumstantiality, that “ amid the hum, the buz, the

[blocks in formation]

shock” of the Reform Bill, Lady Mereworth and I were as completely alone in our Cyclades in Grosvenor Square, as Juan and Haidee.Mereworth was a close prisoner in that lordly King's Bench which has no rules to lighten the bondage of its captives; and by virtue of a plea as valid in love as law, “ de non apparentibus et non existentibus eadem est ratio.”

I sincerely trust my conscientious Public is as much startled by the word love let slip by my pen, as I was myself when it was first suggested to my imagination by the intermeddling of my friends.

People who attain untimely maturity are, I am convinced, subjected to those caprices of nature which every now and then cause an apple tree to re-blossom in the month of September, or a venerable gentleman of eightyfour, to cut a second set of teeth.—1, who had been so parlous a villain at twenty, so corrupt, so heartless, was budding forth into childlike simplicity in my middle age.-I could

almost fancy single-mindedness an infectious disorder, and that I had caught it of the Mereworths.

For I vow to Madame la Comtesse de St. Gratien, or any other of the immaculates, that I had been paying daily visits in Grosvenor Square for three months or more, without one evil thought or project ;--perfectly sincere in assuring myself, every night when I wound up my watch, that I had spent a very pleasant day, and entertained “a sincere regard for Mereworth and his wife.”

Every body must remember the tedious length of that Reform Bill Session ; and the sojourn in town necessitated by the Coronation that was to follow.-Ex-politicians had a hard matter to dispose of themselves; and among other extreme resources for one's ennui, it was the fashion to go to the Haymarket and cry over a Comédie larmoyante,- I suppose by way of laying all the dust kicked up by schedules A and B.-One evening, as I was lounging there

with Frank Walsingham, Lady Brettingham beckoned us into her box; and began to talk, as every lady was then talking, about crowns and sceptres, stars and garters, and the peeresses likely to shed lustre on the coronation.—Who was to be fairest among the fair ?

Frank was eager in partizanship of the young Duchess of R-, whose beauty the exquisite portrait of Lawrence had recently popularized ;-Lady Brettingham, equally vehement in favour of a certain Lady Mitchelston, a young Irish beauty, as yet but little known in London.

“ You will see," said I, “that the knowing ones will be taken in.-On such occasions, women who usually produce little effect, make the greatest sensation. -A person of dazzling complexion often tells more by daylight, especially when enhanced by gaudy attire, than one of finer features. Lady A—, for instance, or Lady Mereworth.”—

Lady Mereworth !" interrupted Mariana,

« ForrigeFortsett »