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many of the principal nobility that our metropolis had produced. When I mention, among the company to tea, her Grace the Duchess of Zero, her son the Marquis of Fitzurse, and the Ladies North Pole her daughters; when I say that there were yet others, whose names may be found in the Blue Book, but sh’n't, out of modesty, be mentioned here, I think I've said enough to show that, in our time, No. 96 Portland Place was the resort of the best of company.
It was our first dinner, and dressed by our new cook, Munseer Cordongblew. I bore it very well; eating, for my share, a filly dysol allameter dotell, a cutlet soubeast, a pully bashymall, and other French dishes; and, for the frisky sweet wine, with tin tops to the bottles, called Champagne, I must say that me and Mrs. Coxe-Tuggeridge Coxe drank a very good share of it (but the Claret and Jonnysberger, being sour, we did not much relish). However, the feed, as I say, went off very well ; Lady Blanche Bluenose sitting next to me, and being so good as to put me down for six copies of all her poems; the Count and Baron von Punter engaging Jemimarann for several waltzes, and the Field-Marshal plying my dear Jemmy with Champang, until, bless her ! her dear nose became as red as her new crimson satin gown, which, with a blue turban and bird-of-paradise feathers, made her look like an empress, I warrant.
Well, dinner past, Mrs. C. and the ladies went off :-thunder-under-under came the knocks at the door ; squeedle-eedleeedle, Mr. Wippert's fiddlers began to strike up, and, about half-past. eleven, me and the gents thought it high time to make our appearance.
I felt a little squeamish at the thought of meeting a couple of hundred great people ; but Count Mace and Sir Gorman O’Gallagher taking each an arm, we reached, at last, the drawing-room,
The young ones in company were dancing, and the Duchess and the great ladies were all seated, talking to themselves very stately, and working away at the ices and macaroons. I looked out for my pretty Jemimarann amongst the dancers, and saw her tearing round the room along with Baron Punter, in what they call a gallypard ; then I peeped into the circle of the Duchesses, where, in course, I expected to find Mrs. C. ; but she wasn't there ! She was seated at the further end of says I,
the room, looking very sulky; and I went up and took her arm, and brought her down to the place where the Duchesses were. "Oh, not there !” said Jemmy, trying to break away. “Nonsense, my dear,” says I, “you are missis, and this is your place.” Then going up to her ladyship the Duchess,
“Me and my missis are most proud of the honour of seeing you."
The Duchess (a tall red-haired grenadier of a woman) did not speak.
I went on : "The young ones are all at it, ma'am, you see ; and we thought we would come and sit down among the old ones. You and I, ma'am, I think, are too stiti to dance." “ Sir!” says
her Grace. “Ma'am,” says I, “ don't you know me ? My name's Cox. Nobody's introduced me; but, it's my own house, and I may present myself—so give us your hand, ma'am.”
And I took her's in the kindest way in the world ; but, would
you believe it ?—the old cat screamed as if my hand had been a hot'tater. “ Fitzurse! Fitzurse !” shouted she, “help! help!” Up scuffled all the other dowagers—in rushed the dancers. “ Mamma! mamma !” squeaked Lady Julia North Pole. “ Lead me to my mother,” howled Lady Aurorer; and both came and flung themselves into her arms. " Wawt's the raw ?” said Lord Fitzurse, sauntering up quite stately.
“Protect me from the insults of this man,” says her Grace. “Where's Tufthunt? he promised that not a soal in this house should speak to me."
“My dear Duchess," said Tufthunt, very meek. “ Don't Duchess me, sir. Did
you not promise they should not speak, and hasn't that horrid tipsy wretch offered to embrace me? Didn't his monstrous wife sicken me with her odious familiarities? Call my people, Tufthunt. Follow me, my children.”
“And my carriage," "And mine," " And mine!” shouted twenty more voices. And down they all trooped to the hall, Lady Blanche Bluenose and Lady Max among the very first; leaving only the Field-Marshal and one or two men, who roared with laughter ready to split.
“Oh, Sam,” said my wife, sobbing, “why would you take me back to them ? they had sent me away before ? I only asked the Duchess whether she didn't like rum-shrub better than all your Maxarinos and Curasosos : and—would you believe it? --all the company burst out laughing; and the Duchess told me just to keep off, and not to speak till I was spoken to. Imperence! I'd like to tear her eyes out.”
And so I do believe my dearest Jemmy would.
Mr. Flutter goes to a Tea-party. I have been, am now, and shall always be, a bashful man. I have been told that I am the only bashful man in the world. How that is I cannot say, but should not be sorry to believe that it is so, for I am of too generous a nature to desire any other mortal to suffer the mishaps which have come to me from this distressing complaint. A person can have small-pox, scarlet fever, and measles but once each. But for bashfulness—like mine—there is no first and only attack.
I am a quiet, nice-enough, inoffensive young gentleman, now rapidly approaching my twenty-sixth year. It is unnecessary to state that I am unmarried. I should have been wedded a great many times had not some fresh attack of my malady invariably, and in some new shape, attacked me.
On one memorable day I had, in a weak moment, consented to go to a tea-party. The eventful evening arrived all too quickly.
The thermometer stood at eighty degrees in the shade when I left the store at five o'clock to go to that awful gathering. I was glad the day was warm, for I wanted to wear my white linen suit, with a blue cravat and Panama hat. I felt independent eren of Fred Hencoop, as I walked along the street under the shade of the elms; but, the minute I was inside Widow Jones' gate, and walking up to the door, the thermometer went up to somewhere near 200 degrees. There were something like a dozen heads at each of the parlour windows, and all women's heads at that. Six or eight more were peeping out of the sitting-room, where they were laying the table for tea. Babbletown always did seem to me to have more than its fair share of female population. I think I would like to live in one of those mining towns out in Colorado, where women are as scarce as hairs on the inside of a man's hand. Somebody coughed as I was going up the walk. Did you ever have a girl cough at you ?—one of those mean, teasing, expressive little coughs ?
I had practised-at home in my own room-taking off my Panama with a graceful, sweeping bow, and saying in calm, well-bred tones : “Good evening, Mrs. Jones. Good evening, ladies. I trust you have had a pleasant as well as a profitable afternoon."
I had practised that in the privacy of my chamber. What I really did get off was something like this :
“Good Jones, Mrs. Evening. I should say, good evening, widows-ladies, I beg your pardon," by which time I was mopping my forehead with my handkerchief, and could just ask, as I sank into the first chair I saw—“Is your mother well, Mrs. Jones?” which was highly opportune, since said mother had been years dead before I was born. As I sat down, a pang sharper than some of those endured by the Spartans ran through my right leg. I was instantly aware that I had plumped down on a needle, as well as a piece of fancy-work, but I had not the courage to rise and extract the excruciating thing.
I turned pale with pain, but by keeping absolutely still I found that I could endure it, and so I sat motionless, like a wooden man, with a frozen smile on my features.
Belle was out in the other room helping to set the table, for which mitigating circumstance I was sufficiently thankful.
Fred Hencoop was on the other side of the room holding a skein of silk for Sallie Brown. He looked across at me, smiling with a malice which made me hate him.
Out of that hate was born a stern resolve-I would conquer my diffidence; I would prove to Fred Hencoop, and any other fellow like him, that I was as good as he was, and could at least equal him in the attractions of my sex.
There was a pretty girl sitting quite near me. I had been introduced to her at the picnic. It seemed to me that she was eyeing me curiously, but I was mad enough at Fred to show him that I could be as cool as anybody, after I got used to it. I hemmed, wiped the perspiration from my facecaused now more by the needle than by the heat—and remarked, sitting stiff as a ramrod, and smiling like an angel :
“ June is my favourite month, Miss Sinith—is it yours ! When I think of June I always think of strawberries and cream and ro-oh-oh-ses ! " It was the needle.
I had forgotten it in the excitement of the subject, and had moved.
“Is anything the matter?” Miss Smith tenderly enquired.
“Nothing in the world, Miss Smith. I had a stitch in my side, but it is over now."
“Stitches are very painful,” she observed, sympathizingly. "I don't like to trouble you, Mr. Flutter, but I think, I believe, I
guess you are sitting on my work. If you will rise, I will try and finish it before tea.
No help for it, and I arose, at the same moment dexterously slipping my hand behind me and withdrawing the thorn in the flesh.
Oh, dear, where is my needle ?” said the young lady, anxiously scrutinising the crushed worsted-work.
I gave it to her with a blush. She burst out laughing.
“I don't wonder you had a stitch in your side,” she remarked shyly.
“Hem !” observed Fred very loud, “ do you feel sew-sew, John ?”
Just then Belle entered the parlour, looking as sweet as a pink, and wearing a sash I had given her. She bowed to me very coquettishly, and announced tea.
"Too bad ! " continued Fred;" you have broken the thread of Mr. Flutter's discourse with Miss Smith. But I do not wish to inflict needle-less pain, so I will not betray him.”
“I hope Mr. Flutter is not in trouble again,” said Belle quickly.
“Oh no. Fred is only trying to say something sharp," said I.
“ Come with me; I will take care of you, Mr. Flutter,” said Belle, taking my arm and marching me out into the sitting-room where a long table was heaped full of inviting eatables. She sat me down by her side, and I felt comparatively safe. But Fred and Miss Smith were just opposite, and they disconcerted ine.
6 Mr. Flutter,” said the hostess, when it came to iny turn, “will you have tea or coffee ?”
“ Yes'ın," said I.