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not have stooped; but she neither knew how to act, nor of whom to ask counsel and assistance. By her ridiculous affectation of moving in a higher sphere, she had alienated her old friends, without conciliating new ones: she had estranged herself from her sister; and she could think of no one, on whose judgment she could rely in this emergency, except Lady Barbara Rusport, who, having been the first negotiator of the party, seemed to be the most fitting mediatrix for effecting a reconciliation with the Duchess. Besides, she had imposed pecuniary obligations on her ladyship, which, at least, entitled her to her good offices.

While thus deliberating with her own sad thoughts, she was joined by her daughter, whose looks betrayed that she had passed an unquiet night. Cecilia had nothing to sug gest, nothing to approve, nothing to condemn, nothing in fact to say, except to attempt a defence of her father, by pleading that he was unconscious of his actions at the time of his irruption into the supper-room, and that he always got tipsy when he dined with the "Boys of Bacchus," as he termed the choice spirits and stanch topers of his wardmote. This vindication appeared but little satisfactory to her mother, who, having penned a hasty note to Lady Barbara, inquiring at what hour she might have permission to wait upon her, rang for Dupin, to whom alone she would intrust the billet, intending that he should wait at her ladyship's house, and bring back an answer. No notice being taken of her first summons, the bell was rung a second and third time with increased violence, when one of the underservants at length appeared, and, in answer to the inquiries of his mistress, declared that Dupin was not to be found.

"Not yet up," she exclaimed, "go to his bed-room, apprize him of the hour, and tell him I want him immediately." The man left the room, and her ladyship continued to Cecilia, "Poor Dupin! I cannot wonder at his oversleeping himself; I dare say he did not go to bed till sunrise, for, in the midst of all the vexation of last night's occurrence, I had sufficient presence of mind to desire that he would not retire to rest till he had counted over all the plate and deposited it in his own room. Never did I more strongly feel the comfort of having such a confidential person about Heaven knows! I had need of some comfort under such distressing circumstances."


Cecilia, who had never troubled her head about Dupin's fidelity, observed that his superior cleverness was his great recommendation, and that no genteel family could do with

out a French servant of some sort, expressing a hope that they might soon have a Parisian maid. While they were thus chatting, the man who had been despatched to Dupin's room returned with the startling intelligence that the object of his search was nowhere to be found, and that his bed had evidently not been slept in.

"And the plate-chests?" eagerly demanded Lady Middleton, as a vague suspicion flashed across her mind. "There are none in his bed-room, my lady."

"And the loose plate that was hired?"

"There is none in his bed-room, my lady." "Nor in his pantry below?"

"No, my lady, there's not a scrap no where ; not so much as a flat candlestick."

"Good Heavens!" ejaculated Lady Middleton, "can Dupin have proved a traitor ?-can he have robbed us and decamped?"

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Oh, no; utterly impossible!" cried Cecilia; "those Frenchmen are always honest."

"Where is Sir Matthew?" resumed her ladyship, "I must see him instantly."

"As she was about to hurry up stairs for this purpose, another servant encountered her with information that one of the tradespeople, who was then in the hall, had seen a hackney-coach at the door as he was returning home in the middle of the night; and that, on recognising Dupin, who was assisting to load it, he had declared he was carrying away some of the hired things to a place of security, by order of Sir Matthew.

"Then the villain has indisputably robbed us!" cried Lady Middleton, who knew that her husband had issued no such orders. "He cannot have had many hours' start, and I trust we may yet apprehend and have him hung."

This hope rendering her in some degree insensible to the mortification she might otherwise have experienced in communicating to Sir Matthew the treachery of her favourite Frenchman, she hastened to his room and blurted it out at once; conjuring him to pursue the offender without a moment's delay, in order that he might be punished with all the severity of the law.

"Hey! how! what?" cried the baronet, reddening with wrath, "all the plate gone, and all that was hired too? A pretty job! serve 'ee right, Meg!-Told 'ee how it would be!-Glad on't with all my heart and soul, 'cause I hope it will be the hanging of that damned French rascal. This

is honest Dupin !-faithful Dupin-trust-worthy Dupin! Ar'n't 'ee ashamed of yourself, Meg?"

"I have more reason to be ashamed of you, Sir Matthew Had you been sober last night, the party would not have been so riotously broken up, and you might have looked after the plate yourself."

"Had you been sober, Meg, the party would never have been given. Had 'ee there-hey-hick-what!-Well, well, too late to shut stable when door's stolen; enough to lose plate, needn't lose temper:-o use to wrangle and jangle."

"I never do either, Sir Matthew," said his spouse, with a smile of provoking calmness.


No, no, quiet enough; always smiling, but none the better pleased for that only the more ill-humour at your heart; still sow sucks up all the draff-had'ee there!-hey! -what-hick!"

"This is not the way, nevertheless, to have Dupin."

"Gadso! very true. Where's my hat-off directlyshan't mind losing the plate if I can only see the French rascal hung. Throw myself into a hackney-coach, and go to Bow-street. Bad job, bad job! The devil take the Duchess and all her fashionable harridans! Needn't say same for all French butlers; go to old Nick fast enough without my sending 'em :-had 'em there:-hey!-what— hick!"

Scarcely had the baronet turned his back when the busy Mrs. Burroughs, who by some secret and inscrutable agency contrived to know the occurrences in every house almost as soon as the inmates, intruded upon Lady Middleton, notwithstanding the earliness of the hour, exclaiming, "Oh, my dear friend, I am so grieved, so shocked, so surprised!I don't mean at the unfortunate breaking-up of your party last night, though that was bad enough;-was ever such an unlucky contretemps as Sir Matthew's appearance in such a tipsy state-but I am utterly astounded at Dupin's ingratitude and roguery. I do believe I shall never get over it:-such a character too as I had with him!"

"Yours was indeed a most unfortunate recommendation," said Lady Middleton, coldly.

"But I have done my best to repair the loss I have so unwillingly occasioned you. Dominick-ah! my dear friend, you may think yourself lucky, indeed, to have fallen into such good and active hands-Dominick is already out in

pursuit of the delinquent, and vows that he will never rest until he has obtained some traces of him. As he considers himself now to be your regular homme d'affaires, he did not wait for orders."

At another time Lady Middleton, who, from a conviction of her own superior good management, was jealous of all unsolicited interference in her affairs, would have been offended at this officiousness; but her spirit was now so much depressed by the annoyances assailing her in such rapid succession, that she had no heart to make objections; and, notwithstanding her dislike of her present visitant, she sought her advice as to the best means of propitiating the Duchess, apprizing her that she had already written a note to Lady Berbara Rusport. This measure being pronounced the most judicious that could be adopted, the letter was despatched, and Mrs. Burroughs, declaring she would wait till an answer was returned, began to discourse with her usual volubility, "of every thing and other matters," though she made no allusion to her unsuccessful attempt at obtaining admission to the party.

While she was thus benevolently keeping up her friend's spirits, or rather giving vent to her own, the servant returned with a freezing note from Lady Barbara Rusport, regretting her inability to name a day for receiving Lady Middleton, since she was in hourly expectation of being summoned to the country. As this was ominous of the course likely to be adopted by the Duchess and her coterie, the heart of Lady Middleton sank within her, in spite of her companion's assurances that cards would infallibly be sent in the course of the morning by the Duchess, and the major part of the exclusives who had honoured her with their presence.

"Talking of last night," exclaimed Mrs. Borroughs, “I am told the supper-tables were beautiful-unique, and I must positively have a peep at them as I go out. Au revoir, my dear Lady Middleton, make your mind easy about the little disaster occasioned by Sir Matthew's étourderie, and be assured that Dominick will give a good account of the fugitive Dupin and his stolen goods." With these words she took her leave, but, on reaching the bottom of the stairs, turned into the rooms where the supper had been set out, exclaiming to the servant who followed her, "Dear me, James! it's very handsome, isn't it? Not half the nice things are eaten, I do declare; and your mistress might well desire me to take home some of them for my little

darlings, since they will only get spoilt if they are left here." So saying, she loaded the deep double hold of her ridicule with bonbons and sweetmeats, stuffed both her pockets with cakes, and left the house, whispering to herself, as she passed along Portland Place, "Poor dear Lady Middleton! it's really a vexatious, a humiliating affair for her; and I don't know when I had felt so keenly the misfortune of a friend. But it is an ill wind that blows nobody good:the pursuit and prosecution of Dupin will be a good job for Dominick; and I have supplied myself with confectionary enough for my little rout next Tuesday."

Indescribable was the anxiety with which Lady Middleton and Cecilia sat at the drawing-room window, watching the arrival of any messenger who might bring tidings of Dupin, but still more desirous to see the livery-servants who might have been ordered to leave cards by some of their fashionable visitants of the last night. None such made their appearance during the whole morning; never had their knocker preserved such a sinister and unwelcome silence; the bell seemed to be a dumb one; even Sir Matthew, who had promised to return, had forgotten to do so. At about five o'clock, however, Mrs. Burroughs once more hurried into the room, with a smiling and significant face, exclaiming, "Was there ever such a man as my Dominiek! Nothing escapes him. I told you he would never rest until he had obtained traces of Dupin, and I am happy to inform you he has done so he has found him out."

"Thank Heaven?" ejaculated Lady Middleton, "then he will be punished as he deserves, and we shall recover the plate. Where is the nefarious fellow?"


Why, Dominick, who, as I told you, ferrets out every thing, discovered the hackney-coachman, from whom he learnt that he had been ordered to drive to the river-side at Wapping, where Dupin, with all his chests and boxes, went on board a steam-boat bound for France."

"And the steam-boat?" inquired Lady Middleton, half breathless with impatience


Sailed, unfortunately, at an early hour this morning, so that I fear it must by this time have nearly reached its destination."

"What, then, is the plate irrecoverably lost, and has Dupin made his escape?"

"I apprehend, there can be little doubt of either fact." "This is provoking, indeed! From your looks, as well as words, I anticipated more satisfactory tidings."

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