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sweetness and intelligence of countenance I have seldom seen. Who can tell me her name?”
That, madam,” said Julia,“ is, to Mrs. Hargrave, sister.”
“A mechanic's wife so elegant !astonishing!" exclaimed her ladyship; and she now yawned in lord Francis's face, leaned back on the sofa with eyes half closed, and looking so drowsy, it was with the utmost difficulty his lordship and our heroine could repress the sympathy she ex .
Lord Francis contrived, however, to change his involuntary convulsion into a smile.-" Do, Miss De Clifford,” said he, “ look at your friend Miss Hargrave.”
Julia looked, and beheld a most extraordinary countenanced man, with grotesque gesticulation, holding forth to an odd group of over-dressed country gentlewomen, and Celestina Hargrave, standing close behind him, caricaturing every action, with all the strongly-marked force of comic mimicry. Julia did now what she had not done for nearly, two years—she laughed outright. Lord Francis, infected by the natural innocence of her laugh, laughed too. Lady Gaythorn, roused by their risibility, looked up, saw Celestina, and laughed until the tears ran down her cheeks.
And now the drawing-room door burst open, and an uncommonly dashing, fine little man, with an enormous opera hat, rushed in, and flying up to lady Gaythorn, made her several profound bows. Instantly her ladyship's countenance changed, from plebeian mirth.to a fixed stare, combining surprise and apathy mingled in its expression.
“ Your ladyship did not expect me today, I believe,” said the fine little man, heșitatingly.
“ No," replied lady Gaythorn, "nor any day that I recollect.”
My lord,” said this spruce beau, a little nettled, “invited me himself upon the hustings."
Very likely,” replied her ladyship. "My lord, I do suppose, invited all the people present:"-and now she took up her book, and began earnestly to read.
The little man seemed greatly disconcerted, but yet resolved not to be so pusillanimously discomfited." This has been a very charming day, lady Gaythorn,” said he, perseveringly.
“ Thank you,” she replied ; " but I have been out, and observed the weather."
The little man now seemed at his wits' ends; but after a pause, he spoke again.“I am vastly happy to find Mr. Fitzroy goes on so swimmingly: his voters were enormous to-day,"
You, then, did not vote for him ?” said her ladyship.
I have no vote in this county,” replied the little beau, now completely mortified.
Then what could possibly have induced my lord to invite him here?” said her ladyship, in an audible whisper to lord Francis; while the little consequential, finding he was not likely to make his way in the favour of lady Gaythorn, slunk away: but ere he had walked a dozen paces, his self-importance was restored-he erected his crest, replumed, and addressed every party he came near with some commonplace observation, or piece of universally-known news, until he met with some one to listen complacently to him. At length lord Gaythorn rerentered, when the little man seized his lordship (who was all condescension to every guest in his house) by the arm, and walked up the room with an air of triumph, to con
vince lady Gaythorn how vastly intimate he was with her lord.
“ Heavens !” exclaimed her ladyship, “ what is to become of me! I shall be absolutely annihilated by that little man's looks of resentment, and my lord's angry glances, which I perfectly understand. By my monopolizing Miss De Clifford, I demolish some of his honourable projects. He certainly has had some plot in his head against you, my dear; and being with me is your place of safety, as he never approaches the air which I contaminate.”
Julia was shocked at the careless manner in which lady Gaythorn talked of her husband's depravity, but resolved, if being near her ladyship was to secure her from the fulsome adulation and distressing gaze of lord Gaythorn, to remain with her as long as her ladyship’s caprice would permit her.
“ As to that atom," continued her ladyship, “I suppose he thinks I sit here to be civil to all the people my lord invites to his table!”
“ The little gentleman may be something unreasonable,” replied lord Francis smiling; " but was I lord Gaythorn, I own I should
: expect a little of such condescension from
“ Were you lord Gaythorn, perhaps you might; but my lord has no such expectation, for it would be absolute slavery.-Consider the motley throng.”
“ But do you consider the occasion--an election ?
“ It is always like an election in my house. I never know if I am to have the happiness of dining tête-à-tête with my lord, or to be fatigued with a party of twenty as equally-odious creatures. My lord is afflicted with such a phrensied hospitality, that he has lost all power of discrimination. If a woman has a pretty face, or a man says a clever or a civil thing to him, he instantly invites their whole tribe to dinner. This little undaunted was overturned, with five sisters, in a hackney-coach, at my door, in the winter, in town; my lord, who saw the accident, hauled them all out of the coach, with the straw about their heels, into my drawing-room; and because some of the girls were good-looking, he was so unreasonable as to insist upon my carriage taking them home (to Wapping, I believe, on my life, it really was!) It cost me a fortune in laven