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useful himself, so it was the only one he esteemed in others. He loved--himself alone; and he wished well to his family, as belonging to himself, not for their own individual merits.

The Countess was a very different person; the rock on which she split was pride---pride of blood, pride of situation. The world with her was divided into two classes-patricians and plebeians; she knew of no shades, no go-betweens-people whom every body knows, or people whom nobody knows; and to belong to the latter class was certainly, in her opinion, one of the severest visitations of Heaven: it seemed to her as if it was hors de noblesse point de salut. Lady Norbury's good qualities were all clouded by these violent, ultra aristocratic notions; for she was in reality a kindhearted woman, with a well-cultivated mind; and, when she chose to unbend, she could be very agreeable; but this was rarely the case, for she was fastidious in no common degree, and it was difficult to meet with any person less generally liked than the haughty Countess of Norbury.

Lady Anne, her daughter, was extremely beautiful, fascinating, and accomplished, but her character had been ruined by excessive flattery. She was haughty, selfish, and unfeeling, with a power of concealing these defects from a common observer, by her wit and vivacity. The power of pleasing she considered as an art reducible to rules, of which she had made herself mistress; her pride was not, like her mother's, pride of rank, but pride of talent. She loved flattery, though she despised the flatterers. She laughed at every body, and every thing, for frolic was her passion; fools of all kinds she thought fair game; indeed no foibles could escape her; her father's manoeuvres, her mother's hauteur, were equally amusing to her. All religious principle had been forgotten in her education; she had never in her life paused for a moment to reflect, and it was her favourite maxim, that

"Le Monde est plein de foux,

Et qui n'en veut pas voir,

Doit se nicher dans un trou,

Et casser son miroir."-vol. i., pp. 144–146. During the recess of the season, Lord Norbury entertains a succession of visiters at his splendid seat; and to these and their occupations for killing time, the author has devoted a considerable portion of her work. Indeed, she does not transfer her dramatis persona to town until she reaches near the conclusion of her second volume a delay in accomplishing her professed object, with which, however, the intelligent reader, will find no fault. The exhibition which it allows him the opportunity to witness, of the mode in which "fashionable life" sustains itself in the country, is piquante in the extreme.

We suppose that the system upon which Almack's has been hitherto conducted, will fall to pieces after the exposure which is here given of it. Some of our readers may remember, that for the last few years, rumours have been in circulation of the civil war which has been raging in high life, amongst the lady patronesses, and their different followers. No ancient or modern republic has been the theatre of so many, and such dire convulsions, as those which have agitated the sphere of Almack's, and which, we believe,

have not yet wholly subsided. The most ambitious personage of this female directory, is characterized by our author, under the name of Lady Hauton. The portrait is a bold one.

'To describe this lady so as to do her justice, will not be easy, but I must endeavour. Lady Hauton, for indeed it was no other than Lady Hauton herself, was neither young nor handsome, nor lively nor amusing; but she rouged well, and dressed better than most people. She talked a great deal, she knew more than any person I ever met with, and both every thing and every body; she could quiz and she could flatter; and she understood how to manage all sorts of tempers and dispositions, as well as how to make use of all her acquaintances in some way or other. If she could not persuade, she could bully, which was often the easiest of the two. In short, Lady Hauton was the fashion, and, moreover, the leader of the ladies patronesses, the bold spirit who was foremost both in council and in action. She had eloquence at will to defend herself when attacked, and she had spirit enough to carry all her projects by a coup de main. Such a person might, of course, do anything; and as she laughed at all the world, so she was sure to have all the world at her feet. "Treat people like fools," she would often say, "and they will worship you :--stop to make up to them, and they will directly tread you under foot." A well-bred, no! I should say a high-bred lady of the nineteenth century in London, is certainly a sort of nondescript; a contradiction to all rules and rights. Lady Hauton made a point to set all ceremonials at defiance, though she could be the very slave of étiquette whenever it suited her convenience. She never did the honours of her house to any body: she was often decidedly rude. She would take a person up and let them down, without any sort of reason; it was her whim and pleasure. She was unpunctual to the greatest degree, always kept every one waiting, and never arrived at a dinner till the fish and soup were sent away. If other people were smart, she would be a figure; and then she would appear a blaze of diamonds where she thought it might astonish or annoy. She would talk the greatest nonsense to make people stare; and then ridicule her own absurdities to put them still more out of countenance; yet every body said Lady Hauton was charming, so full of wit and talent,-perhaps rather original, but then she was the queen of fashion, and certainly might do any thing.

Lady Hauton was quite a privileged person. She could flirt farther than any body, and yet keep her character; she could say and do the most ridiculous things imaginable, and yet be considered sensible. Then in what did her power lay? Was it talent? Was it wit?

'No! it might be all comprised in one little, simple word-" Impudence," which was what her ladyship termed, the power which strong minds have over weak onees.'-vol. ii., pp. 307–310.

As the public have rarely been admitted to the secrets of her ladyship's conclave, we shall give the rules by which its patronage is guided, and then one of its conferences.

""No lady patroness can give a subscription, or a ticket, to a lady she does not visit, or to a gentleman who is not introduced to her by a lady who is on her visiting list.

"No more than three ladies of a family are to be upon the ladies' lists.

"No lady's or gentleman's name can continue on the list of the same lady patroness for more than two sets of balls; but ladies are not to consider themselves entitled to the second set of balls, unless it is stipulated on their subscribing to the first; and no lady or gentleman can have more than six tickets from the same lady, during the season.

"No application from ladies to procure tickets for other ladies, or from gentlemen, for ladies' or gentlemen's tickets, can be attended to. "No gentleman's tickets can be transferred. Ladies' tickets are only to be transferred from mother to daughter, or between unmarried sisters. "Subscribers who are prevented from coming, are requested to give notice to the ladies patronesses, the day of the ball, by two o'clock, directed to Willis's rooms, that the ladies may fill up the vacancies.

"The ladies patronesses request that applications for subscriptions and tickets may be sent to Willis's Rooms, and not to their houses, in consequence of the confusion that arises from notes being lost and mislaid. "In consequence of the numerous applications from families whom the ladies patronesses cannot accommodate with tickets, they are obliged to make a positive rule, that not more than three ladies in a family can be admitted to any ball.

"The subscribers are most respectfully informed, that the rooms will be lighted up by ten o'clock, and, by orders from the ladies patronesses, no person can possibly be admitted after half-past-eleven o'clock; except Members of both houses of Parliament, who may be detained at the House on business.

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Applications for new subscribers must be submitted for the concurrence of all the ladies patronesses.

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King Street, April 6, 182-.

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Signed.-Marcia Stavordale,
Emily Plinlimmon,
Charlotte Bellamont,
Georgiana Hauton,
Arabella Rochefort,
Caroline de Wallestein."
Vol. iii., pp. 103, 104.

We must now suppose the committee en seance, at Willis's rooms, and a number of fair petitioners for subscriptions awaiting their


"Well, then, to the point at once," said Lady Hauton. "Are the accomplished Miss Ramsays to be invited? Madame de Wallestein, you must give your opinion."

"Oh! then, pray let us have these musical Misses."

"Miss Geraldine de Montmorenci comes next. What a sweet pretty novelist name! who is she?"

"A beautiful Irish girl, who was often with me at Paris," said the Baroness.

"Oh dear!" said Lady Hauton, "what a falling off. I hoped she had been of the family du premier baron Chrétien; what Madame de Staël calls une des grandes familles historiques de l' Europe.""

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"Elle est bien belle," said Madame de Wallestein; "quite a wild Irish girl."

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"Oh, how delightful! the very thing to take. Pray set her name down," said Lady Hauton. "Then we have next the Lady Margaret Carlton, and the two Misses Carltons."

"So they have left off applying to me," said Lady Plinlimmon, "which I am rather glad of, for I do not admire any of the race.

Such proud, stiff, disagreeable people! Lady Margaret has all the Clanalpin pride about her. Shall we have them?"

"What say you, Lady Bellamont?" said the Duchess of Stavordale. "Oh! for one subscription, I think we may admit them."

"Mr. Adolphus Frederick Carlton is on my list," said Lady Rochefort; "he is a tall spindle-shanks of a youth, but he is a protégé of one of the royal dukes, and an inimitable waltzer."

"Then he will do," said the Duchess; "for good dancers, I am sure are always acceptable."

"Colonel, Mrs., and Miss Smythe," said Lady Hauton.

earth can they be, I wonder?"

"Who on

"That broad name of Smith covers such a multitude of sins," said the still broader Duchess of Stavordale.

"Oh! but these people are distinguished by a y, and a final e to their name. They are Lincolnshire people, and applied to me last year, but they were too late," said Lady Rochefort.

"There is no need to have Colonel Smythe, at least," said Lady Hauton, "even if we agree to the wife and daughter, for papas are of no use. What is the girl like?"

"Well-looking and well-dressed," said Lady Rochefort.

"About what age?"

"Oh! under twenty, certainly; has been brought up abroad."

"Has she much tournure?"

"Quite Parisian."

"Dances well?"

"In perfection: I can assure your ladyship she is a distinguée." "And nothing disgraceful-looking about the mother?"

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Quite the contrary; a very fashionable looking chaperon d'un certain age, with a Frenchified cap, and a large Indian shawl."

"Oh! very well! then we will have them."---vol. iii., pp. 114---117.

The next important discussion is upon the admission of the Birminghams to Almack's. Their names, together with those of the Mildmay's, are proposed by the Baroness de Wallestein.

"The Miss Mildmays I know nothing about," said the Duchess; "but I am sure the Birminghams are not desirable. My friend Lady Norbury was hoping only yesterday that they might be excluded; because if money was once to get people into Almack's, there would be an end directly to all hope of its continuing good company."

"Lady Birmingham is very vulgar, assurement," said the Baroness: "but her daughter is a charming person, and du meilleur ton.”

"Her pedigree must, however, be always a great objection," said Lady Rochefort; "and to you, Madame de Wallestein, who have always frequented the best society on the Continent---"

"Are any of the Birminghams city people?" inquired Lady Bellamont.

The Viscountess coloured, and looked very angry.

"This is too absurd, really!" said Lady Hauton, with her usual air of superiority. "What useless nicety! with the fortune Miss Birmingham will inherit, there is no rank in the peerage to which she may not aspire: methinks it would be wiser to make up to her."

"Make up to a Birmingham! good Heavens! what degradation!" exclaimed the incensed matrons, in chorus.

"Je suis fachée, on ne peut plus, d'être la cause de cette petite discussion, mais j'ai promise à mes amies, et il faut, ou que j'acquitte ma parole, ou que je cède ma place."


Impossible, my dear Madame de Wallestein; such a thing must not even be thought of. Lady and Miss Birmingham shall be admitted," said Lady Hauton.

"Then, if they are to have vouchers, I must insist on my friends the Tooleys being accepted also," said Lady Bellamont.

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Oh, keep them for the next subscription; don't let us monopolize all the lions for the same set. And really the Tooleys ought not to be named with the Birminghams; they are very common-place humdrums, while the others are certainly, though secondary stars, yet of great brilliancy. Rich gilding will always attract. We shall all live to see Lady Birmingham, and her house, and her parties, decided ton; for what will not gold buy in these days?-rank, power, fashion, nay, even consideration. In this mercantile age, Birmingham is likely to become the emporium of trade.

Money gives influence, and wins the prize

Of taste and wit, while all contend

To win her smiles whom all commend.

I shall prove a true prophetess, you will see; qu'en dites-vous, ma chère amie?" turning to the Baroness.

"Indeed, I think Miss Birmingham will be admired for herself alone. She hardly wants the gilding you talk of."

"If we are to yield," said Lady Plinlimmon, " perhaps the less we say the better."

"Mercantile influence then, it seems, is to carry all before it," said the Duchess," in fashion as well as in politics, and under aristocratic patro

nage too!"

"C'est la marche du siècle," said Lady Hauton. "So then it is decided, Madame de Wallestein: the Birminghams are to have vouchers." "I will not give up," said Lady Bellamont, angrily, "I beg to observe, that I do not agree to their admission."


Unluckily, your ladyship's single vote against five will not do much; I fear the ayes have it," said Lady Hauton, with a smile. "Suppose you enter a dissentient protest in the journal of our proceedings; it would prove to after-ages the incorruptibility of the house of Hare-proof against gold in any shape;-though a little, it is well known, might be very acceptable," whispered her ladyship to her friend Lady Rochefort." "---vol. iii., pp. 121-125.

This is all the language of life. We hear the parties actually discussing the momentous questions submitted to their adjudication. There are many other scenes equally striking-many views of fash

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