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says, " Non vien di che non venga sera ;” and at length seven o'clock came.
I flattered myself, although no beauty, I had made the best of myself. My neckcloth was a pattern; my hair assiduously curled; my coat, of Stultz's best, displayed, with an under-waistcoat of cerulean blue,I speak of years in which the more recent splendour of the outer waistcoat was unknown ;-and thus elated, I proceeded to the scene of my past triumph and my future glory. The very servants in the hall seemed to have obtained information of the result of my assault of the forenoon. I was received with marked attention, deference, and civility; ushered into the drawing-room, where I found Lark, the Count, and Lord Somebody, whose name I could not make out, and a learned philosopher, who had been invited, not more for his own merits than because it was pleasant to a very agreeable lady, who was also present, to meet him; a young, awkward cousin of my Amelia’s, just from Eton, was the sixth of the party, besides myself, neither our fair hostess nor her sister having yet made their appearance.
We stood about the room looking at each other as if we could gladly have cut each other's throats, Lark and the Count remaining aloof and talking apart, the philosopher Airting with the blue lady, and the lord and the lout appearing not to be conscious that I was made of the same materials as themselves. It was a painful quarter of an hour, broken only by the arrival of a Mr. Flanneky, a red-faced gentleman from the Sister Ísland, with powder and brass buttons, looking very much like a second or third-rate butler-what part of the play he was to act I did not exactly know, but I very soon determined, let his province be what it might, that he should have his congé within ten days of my accession to the throne of that establishment.
At length my darling woman appeared, and with her, Catherine. Her presence, like that of the sun, diffused a genial warmth around-everybody seemed animated at her approach, and I said to myself, “ How delightful it will be, when I call this creature my own, to see her adorning and delighting every circle of which she will be the centre ! ”
“Well, Mr. Gurney,” said the fascinating woman,“ how is your head ?"
“ Oh,” said Miss Carter, “ upon my word it is not fair to worry him with questions after that long tête-à-tête. What do you think, Lord Melancourt? My sister and Mr. Gurney were actually closeted three quarters of an hour to-day; and do what I will, I cannot get her to tell me what the subject of their conversation was, and in general she is the most candid creature alive."
His Lordship made a sort of unintelligible roise, without moving a muscle of his face, and looked at me as if I had been a pickpocket. I felt annoyed and gratified-gratified that Amelia had not confided our conversation to her sister, and annoyed at the playfulness of manner in which she inquired after my head.
Dinner was announced. Of course Lord Melancourt took Mrs. Green -I wished him anywhere but where he was; the Sko Sky count took the blue lady who had rank; the philosopher took Catherine ; and Lark, the lout, and I, brought up the rear-Mr. Flanneky bowing to me as I motioned him to go forward, with a whispered " Oh no, I am at home.” Are you? thought I ; then make the most of it, for if you make this your
home this day three months, I'll eat you. I never saw such an odious mulberry-faced animal in my life; he seemed to me as ugly as Lucifer, and as old as Methuselah–I believe, from what I have since heard, he was then about five-and-forty, and I was five-and-twenty-voilà la difference.
Mr. Flanneky took the bottom of the table; Lord Melancourt the top, having my Amelia on one side of him, and the blue on the other; Kate was separated from me by Lark, so that between him and my aversion, the croupier, was I posted—seeing Paradise, and feeling something quite the contrary. I never passed a more unpleasant two hours in my life. I kept my eye fixed on my beloved widow, and once or twice I caught a responsive glance, but I did not half like her manner to the viscount -it was clear they were old acquaintances; they used conventional jokes, and made references to other days, and to events of which I was ignorant. The blue lady began to lecture on geology, and the learned professor descanted much upon certain affinities and combinations, which, with a head full of affinities and combinations of a very different nature, did not in the slightest degree interest me. Indeed I was so tormented by what appeared to me Amelia's inconsiderate conduct, that I rejoiced rather than regretted when the ladies retired.
The after-dinner conversation was flat; the Count entertained us with a history of his various houses in different parts of Europe-the professor drew his chair near Mr. Flanneky's, and conversed with him in an under tone of voice—the lout went away, and the lord went to sleep; and much after this fashion did we dissipate another hour, when we repaired to the drawing-room. Here we found several “refreshers," and the party began to assume a liveliness which it did not possess before; but to me its increase was of no avail, for Mrs. Fletcher Green was so occupied with her different female visiters that I could not get an opportunity of saying a word to her confidentially ; she however rallied my spirits, by coming up to me and bidding me stay, for there would be a Thé and some music, late. This was balm to my wounds, and I fell into conversation with Captain Lark, who was really an agreeable person, and who appeared more amiable to me from not having apparently any design either upon Amelia or Catherine.
Things went on in this way till about eleven o'clock, when a gentleman past the middle age made his appearance in the drawing-room, whom I had never seen before : he seemed to know everybody, and everybody seemed to know him-he was in a morning dress, and had evidently just arrived from a journey. I did not half like his manner, either to Amelia or Catherine; he had a free and easy way of speaking, which sounded extremely unpleasant to my ears, and the sort of swaggering command he appeared to assume perfectly disgusted me. He made no apology for appearing in boots; and called Miss Carter, Kitty, as if he were upon the best terms not only with himself, but her.
I availed myself of the earliest opportunity of making inquiries as to this self-important gentleman, at the fountain-head; and indeed I intended to let Amelia see, without displaying any symptoms either of jealousy or bad temper, that I did not quite like this coarse man's familiarity,
“ Pray,” said I, stopping her, as she was passing into the other room, “ who is your friend in the boots ?”
“ Mercy on me!” said Amelia, “ that's just it,"—this was a favourite phrase of hers,—"now I can account for it all--don't you know?"
“Not I, upon my word,” said I.
“I have been very remiss, then,” replied she; " come, let me introduce you to him—he is an excellent creature-a little tired now, and perhaps not in the best humour; however, he will, I am sure, be delighted to make your acquaintance.”
“Yes,” said I,“ but I am not so sure that I am so anxious to make his."
“Oh fie, Mr. Gurney,” said Catherine, who was standing close by; “why Amelia will murder you!
We had sidled forwards to the chair in which the respectable gentleman had ensconced himself, and stood before him.
“Fletcher, dear," said my Amelia, “ this is Mr. Gurney, an acquaintance we have made since you left town. Mr. Gurney–my husband.”
Now I only put it to any human being just to imagine what my feelings were at this moment. It would have been mercy in anybody to have killed me instantly. In the morning I had opened my heart to the beautiful widow-had, as I fancied, been accepted; and here, in the evening, was presented to her great fat living husband. The folly, the stupidity of which I had been guilty—I had never seen the man- I had never heard his name mentioned. I concluded there was no Fletcher Green. Daly never told me there was a husband—not a soul ever referred to him. Mrs. Fletcher always talked of her house, and her horses, and will ye come to see me? It seemed he was ill matched-lived much in the country--his pursuits were diametrically opposite to hers--they never interfered, and very seldom met, although on the best possible terms—but how should I know that? and how singularly applicable were her conversations about widows and faint hearts! I bowed, and stammered out something—the coup de grace was only wanting. Mrs. Fletcher Green gave it with one of her sweetest smiles
"Perhaps you will come here to luncheon to-morrow, Mr. Gurney, and improve your acquaintance with Fletcher ?”
She saw the shot had told—the kindness of her heart had overcome her love of mischief—and withdrawing me for a moment, she said,
Forgive me for not having explained all this before. It is somewhat a severe reflection upon me that you should have heard so little of my husband as to have fallen into the mistake of this morning-forget it altogether—assure yourself I appreciate your good opinion. I have not breathed a syllable to Catherine, for both our sakes. It is useless talking of what might be, but which cannot be. Do, in kindness and sincerity, be what you may, and what I am sure you will be, my friend. Now let us see if the Thé is ready; and mind you are in good spirits-else I shall think you are offended with me, and, what would be still more painful, that you
think ill of me.” I could make no answer to this soothing speech, and suffered her to lead me like a child to the table, where some of the laughing guests were already seated. All the rest of the affair was chaos. I heard sounds, but understood nothing; and, despite of my kind hostess's encouraging speeches, got away as soon as I possibly could. Of Mr. Fletcher Green I saw no more that night; and of Mrs. Fletcher Green, agreeable and delightful as she was, I never had courage or spirits to see more, after the next morning.
AGAIN we meet, where often we have met,
Dear Rother! native Don !
The past and gone!
Oh! rivers of the heart !
And cries, “Depart!"
Where virtues are veil'd crimes ?
Thy honest rhymes ?
Hast thou rear'd on the plain ?
What tyrant slain ?"
Yes, rivers of the heart !
I will depart.
My soul shall talk with you;
When life was new.
My feet through flowers to stray ;
And air, and day;
Along your windings borne,
On wings like morn;
Like green leaves round the root.
Deeds are the fruit,
What doth the man but what the child hath done?
We live, we speak, we move!
But live and love.
That shines in idle state,
Who live and hate!
Who know nor ruth, nor shame,-
In God's great name!
Teach me to welcome thee.
choice, Bound, and yet free. Is it not love to loathe the loveless? Yea,
'Tis love, like God's for man!
No other can.
With hatred-not like mine,
Is love divine ! :
I trod thy margin, Don ?
Fall, one by one.
Hark! France and Belgium say
To slumber on her breast;
For rest, for rest.