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school-friend, and she at last was completely wearied into the pouts by it; when, upon Miss Penrose wondering “ if there would be any one amongst the company in the evening, who could sing a duet with her?" Miss Hargrave replied, “ there would certainly be a foreigner of the party, who was celebrated for his voice, and would be ad. mirable in a second.” Miss Penrose, quite delighted at this intelligence, set about practising some of her very best Italian duets.
It was so very late before any one arrived from the Priory, that poor Miss Penrose began to be quite alarmed; at length her fears were terminated by the arrival of lords Gaythorn and Francis Loraine, the Messrs. Strictlands, and Fitzroy. No answer had been sent from lady Gaythorn, but his lordship supposed, as she did not appear at dinner, she was too unwell to wait upon Mrs. Hargrave.
So much agitation had Fitzroy's morning declaration awakened in the guileless bosom of Julia, that she could not see him approach without a timid blush of consciousness heightening the roses of her cheeks, and evincing a degree of trepidation that Fitzroy hailed with rapture, as auspicious
to his fondest hopes : and, whilst lord Gay-; thorn was necessarily engaged answering the questions of Mrs. Hargrave, he secured the only seat by our blushing heroine, and seemed, by every look and word, as if he but existed in the fascinating expectation of one day calling her his own.
At length the moment arrived for Miss Penrose to commence her performance. She was handed by doctor Hargrave to a very fine-toned grand piano-forte, in excellent tune. She had taken even more than usual pains in the adornment of her person, and looked extremely pretty. Lord Gaythorn was quite a musical amateur, and stood by her chair in readiness to be fascinated, to applaud, and turn over the leaves of the music-books.
Miss Penrose first ran over some of the most difficult compositions for the pianoforte, with rapid and almost-surprising ex. ecution. She next (as it was Sunday, thinking it decorous to intersperse some sa-, cred music through her performance) sung “ Angels, ever bright and fair:" then a most difficult Italian bravura. Miss Penrose was, undoubtedly, what is, in general, termed a. capital singer. Her voice was powerful to
a great degree; its compass almost appeared unbounded; and her shake was exquisitely fine: but she astonished more than she pleased, for every note she sung was taught her. No taste or feeling was hers, and all of the former her performance evinced, she acquired, mechanically, from instruction; even the pretty show-off movements of her form as she played, and the becoming smile her fixed countenance displayed, all sprung from tuition: and every hearer, while listening to her song, thought only of the great abilities of her master. She touched no chord of the heart while she exercised her voice; and when she ceased, no sound still vibrated on the fascinated eager ear.
She was very obliging, and bountiful, to a degree, of her musical talents; no one even hinted at any song which pleased them, but instantly she sungit-if she had been taught it: and she made no attempt to quit the piano, as there was no one confessedly to perform but herself.
Julia had given her reasons to doctor Sy. denham and Mrs. Goodwin for not choosing to aid Miss Penrose in entertaining Mrs. Hargrave's party: the former applauded them; the latter, not very willingly, acquiesced; and Fitzroy, venerating that purity which actuated our heroine's wishes, requested lord Francis (who had been as much fascinated with the soft touching strain of melody, which had in the morning faintly broke upon their enraptured ears, as he himself had been) not to make any request hostile to her determination.
Miss Penrose sung on most indefatigably, making every one wonder how her voice could hold out so long; and she herself wondering when this foreigner of astonishing musical abilities would arrive, to sing second to her in a duet she was very anxious to delight her auditors with. The evening was very sultry, and Julia was seated close to an open window that looked upon the lawn; she heard the sound of approaching footsteps on the gravel walk which run just by her, and concluding it to be some of the domestics come to listen to Miss Penrose, forbore to look towards them, lest she should disconcert them: but how was she dismayed and surprised, when, in the middle of one of Miss Penrose's most celebrated songs, her appalled ears were suddenly assailed (absolutely bellowing into the ear next the window, with deafening din)
by the loud braying of a donkey; and as she, in the moment of horrid amazement, starting round to see what was thundering menaces of destruction to her sense of hearing, beheld the distended jaws of the animal almost touching her shoulder, and in the shade where he stood, appearing in such a strange and formidable form, she sprung from her seat, and Fitzroy, in trembling anxiety, caught her in his arms to protect her from-he scarcely knew what; and all was now, for a moment, consternation,
“ Heavens and earth!" exclaimed Mrs. Hargrave, at length coming to her recollection, " why was that odious animal let into the grounds ?”
To oblige Miss Penrose, ma,” replied the undaunted Celestina, now, entering from the lawn, who expressed so much fear this morning that none of the company would have voice enough to join with her, that I invited Mr. Zebra, that foreigner of wonderful vocal powers, to come and sing second to her.”
This animal, a present to Miss Hargrave, was one of her principal favourites; but he was obliged to be kept at pasture far from the house, from a strange and unaccountable