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THE NEW YORK'
PUBLIC LIBRARY
262964

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.
1901

GRIGGS & CO., PRINTERS.

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GALE MIDDLETON.

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GALE MIDDLETON.

CHAPTER I.

M. Jacques-Monsieur, si vous voulez que je vous dise les choses, je crois que c'est Monsieur votre cher intendant qui a fait le coup.

Harpagon.-Lui, qui me paraît si fidèle ?

M. Jacques.-Lui-même, je crois que c'est lui qui vous a derobé.
MOLIERE.

On the morning after the grand party in Portland Place, which had been broken up and dispersed amid so much confusion and dismay, Lady Middleton, utterly unable to find repose, quitted her bed early, while Sir Matthew remained plunged in the heavy sleep that usually succeeds to intoxication. On awaking at a later hour than usual, and learning from the calm and polite but not the less sarcastic reproaches of Lady Middleton the disreputable uproar and outrage of which he had been the occasion, and the irrecoverable ruin he had entailed upon all her lofty hopes, he burst into a horse-laugh, exclaiming "So much the better! Glad on't with all my heart-every cobbler stick to his last. What 'ee want to become a woman of fashion for?-can't make a sow's purse of a silken ear. All stuff and flummery, all vanity and vexation; let birds of a feather flock together, and every goose stick to her own common:-had "ee there, Meg."

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I could have borne every thing but your most offensive and unpardonable behaviour to the Duchess," said Lady MidVOL. II.

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dleton, biting her lips, to prevent the tears starting from her eyes.

"Hey! what! hick! did I really offer to kiss the flabbyfaced flounder? Gadso! must have been drunk indeed: rather kiss a new Bath cheese-faugh!"

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I shall never be able to show my face again," said the lady, as she walked up and down the room in inconsolable perturbation of mind.

“Don't want 'ee, Meg:—rather you'd show your back to these half-starved harridans, and jail-bird dandies:-had 'em there, hey, hick!"

"After all the pains I have taken, and the expense I have incurred, I am confident the Duchess will cut me,” said her ladyship, talking rather to herself than her husband.

"Hope it won't be cut and come again, though; good riddance bad rubbush. Got to pay the piper, that's the worst on't."

"The whole affair will be unmercifully lampooned by that hateful Tom Rashleigh; the scandalous journals will ridicule us for a month to come; I shall never hear the end of it; if I only knew what to do under this intolerable disgrace—"

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Why, do what the Duchess can't-put a good face upon the matter: had her there, hey, hick! Ridicule ! let them laugh that win: if the moon-faced Duchess cuts 'ee, as I hope she will, we shall save all she would have cost us. Zooks, Meg, how can 'ee take on so about such nonsense? Your fine friends must have seen a drunken man afore now; if not, time they should begin-better late than never.What makes eyes so red? Haven't been such a simpleton as to cry about it, have 'ee Meg?"

"By your continuing to use that offensive contraction, I presume that you wish me to leave you," said Lady Middleton, with which words she forced herself into a smile, bowed courteously, proceeded to another apartment, and had no sooner closed the door, than she gave free vent to the tears which she had for some time found the greatest difficulty in restraining. Bitterly did she now regret that she had ever been tempted to give this unlucky party; and still more deeply did she lament that she knew not how to escape the disgrace of its failure. What apology should she make to the Duchess-how avoid the ignominy of being struck off from her visiting list, after having made such sacrifices to be enrolled upon it? To avert this calamity, there was no humiliation to which her mean ambition would

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