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First row," "second row.” “Honi- rather contemptuous reply. “But meton,” “ Maltese," " Maltese," sang the lange is the idea of the season, and fair choristers.
Jane's effort was perfect!" * You might as well say at once that "I wish, though, we could settle it was guipure !" exclaimed Laura, con- about the different rows-it would be temptuously.
such a satisfaction !" repeated Olivia. "O guipure !” “first row," " second “My dear Olivia! Do you not see
Honiton,' • Maltese,' Honi- that the second row must necessarily ton," "guipure, 0!" repeated the sis- have been Honiton? The first, you will terhood.
admit, was Valenciennes." Like Greek tragedy, the conversa- "O yes,” “Valenciennes,” “certions in the boudoir were often kept up tainly,' Valenciennes,” Valencienchiefly between two interlocutors, gener- nes!” exclaimed the chorus. ally Laura and Olivia, the attendant Very well! Once admit that, and sisters forming the necessary chorus. the whole matter is settled. The first
"Please bear in mind that I danced being Valenciennes, the second was in the same quadrille with Jane, and I Honiton, the third Maltese, in the could not keep my eyes off her berthe. natural order of things. The lightest It was the loveliest thing in the room !" above, the heaviest below. It is clear
" More lovely than the fair wearer ?" as day.” I ventured to inquire.
“But," " observed Olivia, who, sweet Laura opened her beautiful eyes in creature, had a blue vein of obstinacy unfeigned astonishment.
in her disposition. "you know, Laura, “Jane Stevenson is not in the least that irregularity in trimming is allowapretty-in fact, very plain,” she replied. ble !"
I have not the honor of her ac- " Allowable, of course—the effect is quaintance.”
often very good-irregularity is some“She is Henry Stevenson's sister- times a proof of very high fashion. cousin of John Stevenson.”
Lawson is often irregular.” Henry Stevenson was an excessively • Very well—perhaps it was so in stupid and hideously ugly fellow, but a
this case.' favorite partner of Carrie Frippery's. • If I had never seen this berthed He was worth a million or two. John façon, I might, perhaps, suppose so, Stevenson, a clever young lawyer, was But you forget that I stood full a hopeless admirer of Emma's. He five minutes near Jane ; and five minwas so poor he could scarcely pay bis utes are sufficient, I should hope, for a office-rent.
woman of sense to know something of " Jane is, perhaps, the plainest girl a berthe immediately under her eye. in town. But such taste!
Why, in fact, I have many a time read exquisite dresser !"
the whole dress of a lady near me, in ** Exquisite,"
," "delicious," "dresser," half that time, from her braid to her dresses," • dressing," " admirable,” shoe-strings." "perfect," " faultless," “dresser," “You are certainly very quick in “dresses," • dressing," “dress," reading a dress, Laura; I admit the “dress," dress," exclaimed the cho- fact,” was Olivia's cordial confession. rus, with a full burst of generous enthu- “Nothing is more easy, I am sure, siasm.
if a woman is blessed with eyes and And she never wore anything more some sense,” was Laura's modest reperfect in its way than that berthe à joinder. façon. So delicate, so fanciful, so dis- " But it is not every one that has tinguished. I have sometimes thought your great facility in that way—" a few other girls dress as well as Jane “Well, I do hope Jane will wear the Stevenson; but that berthe à façon has berthe to-night, and then we can settle changed my opinion—so fresh, such an the question,” said Carrie. exquisite mélange!"
“ No probability of that. The berthe Such a mélange, however, would will never be seen again. Jane never not have been thought in good taste wears a ball-dress more than twice." last year," observed the languid Julia, " That is true,” sighed Olivia, “ with with an air of deep reflection on her her allowance she can afford variety. Grecian brow.
She has five thousand a year for her “Of course not !" was Miss Laura's dress, you know"
“With five thousand,” remarked pains and trouble !” exclaimed Laure the thoughtful Julia, “ one can indulge again. one's taste a little. Two thousand, “Of course not, I am sure I am often
we know, are barely enough to tired to death just choosing, and plandress respectably—the mere necessary ning, and giving directions. But the changes—"
Snippery girls do all the fitting and “ And they do say that Jane runs in sewing besides-only think of it!" debt, too."
“They have too much spirit to be unfashionable, that is all. If I were poor, I should do as they do. Kate Snippery says she had rather die' at once than drop into a dowdy!"
Ob, a dowdy !-who would be a dowdy!” exclaimed the chorus.
"Not Kate Snippery, that is oortain; nor I either. I should feel miserable in a dress that was not perfectly in fashion."
“Kate has often made herself ill by working over party-dresses," continued Olivia.
“They make beautiful things!" observed Emma. “ Kate's last hat might have passed for a Lawson.”
“A Lawson! My dear Emma--that is saying rather too much, even for Kate. She never could deceive me in that way. I can tell a Lawson, just as far as I can see one of its bows. The Snipperys make very respectable things; but they cannot give thom the real air,
after all. I can read .bome-made' in The wristotec
them in every fold of their best dress* Very. probable. Laces shawls, buttons, and such things are so expensive now. It is impossible to keep always out of debt," replied Laura, with a slight flush on her beautiful cheek, which led me to suppose that the fair creature bad, herself, some unpleasant experiences of that sort.
i. It is wonderful how some girls contrive to dress as they do, when everybody knows their families are poor. Just look at the Snipperys, for instance," observed Olivia.
“They deserve great credit, I am sure, for trying to make & respectable appearance,"
Rechures replied Laura, in a tone of high com- "So can I-and I—and I—" echoed mendation.
several of the pretty group. “ To be sure they do. Why they “Their dresses always have a copied give up their whole time to their dress! look,” continued Laura. They work really hard,” continued “You like first impressions, I see, Olivia.
Miss Laura—as we lovers of engravings “As if any one could dress really say. The worn-out plate does not suit well without a very great deal of
you," I observed.
“First impressions ? The fashion- mantilla; and the latter, tenderly return. plates, you mean ?"
ing her friend's salute, fixed her hazel " You are
no plagiarist-you like orbs on the trimming of the morning. originality. I admire your sentiments." dress before her. Emma was gazing inLaura smiled rather vaguely.
tently in the direction of Helen SnipThe door opened at this moment: pory's face; but it was evidently not bor • The Miss Snipperys" were announced friend's countenance, but the bat-border by Enrique.
which was so attractive to the affectionate creature. Had we all been in the palace of truth that morning, the meeting of the lovely friends might probably have been recorded much as follows :
“Good morning, dear”—Hat strings too short. “ Cold day-Yes !"—Nose
“Throat sore! very sorry!" Collar too pointed “Poor Mr. Jones is dead !"- Prettyish buttons, those. “Children with scarlet fever, too!"Abominate green flowers. “Read Hiawatha ?”– How can Kate afford such lace! “ Ball to-morrow" - Awkward gathers those.
“ Mamma pretty well, SNIPPERY
thank you”—Mean little bows !
Of course the fancy-ball and its contumes were discussed, with a dozen other
parties, and their appropriate dresses. Three pretty, gaily-dressed, highly- But I cannot attempt to follow the young flounced young ladies came gliding in, ladies, as they even surpassed themand were affectionately received by the selves, on that particular morning, in double triplet of sisters. The honor of eloquence and vivacity, while discussing an introduction was accorded to me. the usual subjects. To speak frankly, After the conversation just recorded, I as day after day passed away, it began looked with some curiosity at these pov- to strike me that we did not often diserty-stricken devotees at the shrine of cuss any other subjects with the same fashion. They certainly were not clad fullness of interest. Of course we inin sack-cloth. It is mortifying to con- dulged largely in gossip; but it was fess such dullness; but, really, to my generally well sprinkled with millinery. inexperienced eye, they were just as ele- With reading we did not meddle much ; gantly attired as the Misses Frippery. Instead of reading home-made in every fold, it struck me there was nothing in the least home-like about them. They looked as if got up expressly for public exhibition. And it was well, perhaps, that such was the case ; for these visitors-like all others of the gentler sex admitted to the boudoir-were immediately subjected to a very close, though silent scrutiny, by their fair hostess
I had frequently noticed the same proceeding before. Amid the easy chitchat of feminine greeting going on, there was an undercurrent of close observation flowing ceaselessly over each other's silks, and ribbons; " reading a dress," they called it, I think. Laura's beautiful dark eyes, as she affectionately embraced Kate Snippery, were already wandering over collar and
our devotion to literature showing itself and furniture were considered more chiefly in attending fashionable lectures; than the happiness of the lovers. If a where, of course, the dressing was not baby was born, its caps and cloaks were thrown away upon us. We were a well more affectionately handled than the conducted household, we went to church infant itself. If a wedding took place, regularly every Sunday morning, and the lacos, cachemires, or diamonds were, sometimes in the afternoon too, when of course, the chief items of interest. there was no company ; but, true to our And more than once, after a funeral, vocation, the bats, and collars, and the style of the shroud and coffin ornasleeves, in the main aisle, were always ments afforded us ample material for carefully reviewed. I acquired a great boudoir talk. deal of valuable information about loves The physicians had enjoined a course of mantillas, or frights of hats, on Sun- of relaxation and amusement: At first
days. If an en- these came very readily. To have all gagement was an- these girls talking nonsense about me nounced, antici- from morning to night, was delightful : pations regarding they diverted me extremely. It was the style of dress all so new, so strange, so different from
my previous bachelor habits. After a while, when the novelty had somewhat passed off, a feeling of wonder and admiration arose--the unflagging devotion
of these fair creatures to the great ob- debility, but I confess that, at times, I ject, their unwearied perseverance in now found it difficult to keep up with this the good cause, were astonishing. Their extrema devotion to one subject. The zeal literally rose superior to all
fatigue ; powers of concentration seemed relaxed no desire for change of object was ever -or, in other words, I was guilty of an expressed ; not the least symptom of occasional yawn. I should, at this period, exhaustion could be discovered where have made my visits to the boudoir less the toilet was in question. Nay, even frequent; but, to take you into my conin the midst of the arduous duties of a fidence, good reader, I had now an winter campaign, the sweet creatures especial motive for being there as often were already anticipating the seasons- as possible. One morning, when too longing for « spring openings ;" looking unwell to leave my room, as I sat laneagerly forward to new summer ward-guidly looking through the open door, robes, to be displayed at New York or I saw an object which immediately quickSaratoga.
oned my pulse, and aroused all my It may have been a consequence of attention. "The door of the boudoir opened, and a lady came out. I iv. against me. My uncle, the physician, stantly knew her to be the same who the ladies—all agreed that now, more had already appeared to me in the car, than ever, cheerful society was absoand in the railroad cabin.
lutely necessary-quiet and seclusion viction of her identity flushed upon me were strictly forbidden. Some days I at onca; but, to make the matter more was dragged back to the boudoir; at sure, she wore the same gray dress, and other times, the doors of my own apartover her arin were thrown the same ment were thrown open, and Mrs. Glit. simple shawl and hat I had once so tery, with the young ladies, kindly came closely studied. She was alone ; and, to entertain me with their chit-chatwalking the entire length of the passage talk over the last ball, display a new without observing me, went quietly down cachemire, or show the last trinket from stairs. I was breathless with surprise Tiffany's. Little did I gain in this way; and pleasure. Hobbling to the bell, I on the contrary, every day strength rang it instantly ; but judge of my vexa- and spirit seemed to be wasting more tion when it proved impossible for me
and more. to discover who this visitor was. The At length, the very night of the great servants had not seen her-the ladies fancy ball
, I was seized with an attack themselves were out-no card had been so violent, and so extraordinary in its loft! One declared it must have been character, as very seriously to alarm a milliner's messenger, another a female my friends. I had thrown myself es. burglar! My indignation at the last hausted on my bed, just as the ladies accusation excited so much merriment, left the room, after kindly devoting balf that my lips were henceforth closed ; an hour to showing me their beautiful but, resolved to watch all visitors to the costumes, in full completeness. As the boudoir very closely, I continued even brilliant array swept through the door, more regular in paying my court to the on their way to the saloons, I fell on ladies than heretofore. Alas! the con- the bed, and, closing my eyes in utter sequences were not what I had hoped. weariness, endeavored to shut out the The gray dress and the gentle face did noise of wheels, and clamor of coaches, not return, while I myself began to suf- already commencing, beneath my win. fer severely in health and spirits. dows. How long I lay in this state, I
I became, indeed, very strangely af- cannot say; but I was suddenly and fected. Singular symptoms, wholly most effectually aroused. The door of different from what I had hitherto felt, my room opened again, and, to my surbegan to appear. I lost all appetite. prise, I beheld the same gay troop reMy spirits, generally so good, were very turning to honor me with a second visit. low. Languor and listlessness crept Led by Laura, superb as a night of the over me. I became frightfully nervous. tropics, they tripped in, forming a sort The rustling of a silk dress made me of basket-dance as they entered-their turn pale. The futtering of feathers beautiful faces and figures, and charmthrew me into agitation. An intricate ing drapery of laces and flowers, making pattern of embroidery produced giddi- a picture to delight the eye of one in a ness. Bugles made me sen double sounder condition than I then was. As Furs caused a feeling of intolerable they whirled lightly but rapidly about suffocation. Jewelry brought on great me, my head began to turn, and the oppression on the chest. The play compliments I was about to utter died of a spray of artificial flowers had an on my lips. I fell back on the pillows extremely unpleasant effect. Nay, even in a half fainting condition. Faster and the most beautiful natural flowers, if faster flew the feet of the fair dancers ; placed in a jeweled bouquet-holder, pro- nearer and nearer the circle narrowed duced very serious discomposure. about me. Not a word was spokeu, nut In vain I struggled against the at- a sound was beard-all was pantomime :
the evil went on rapidly increas- graceful. but rapid, bewildering pantoing: Feeling, in this condition, wholly mime. Not the faintest murmur of music unfit for society, especially that of the reached me. The fair creatures seemed boudoir and its lovely inmates, I with moving like the nymphs on the Grecian drew to the seclusion of my own room, vase, to unheard melodies. In the midst and should, perhaps, have gradually of these whirling evolutions, marked and regained calmness there; but, alas! & wild in their movement, the fluttering genpral conspiracy seemed forming gauzes and laces appeared to pass