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perfectly in fashion. The admiration in || aunt, "leaders of fashion and first-rate characters. Colonel Bijoux is a man who has given up his whole life to one pursuit, that of being a kind of purveyor, or voluntary chamberlain, to the fashionable world; he has formed innumerable societies and institutions for the exclusive admission and entertainment of persons of rank, and is daily employed in endless efforts to meet their caprices and their pride by new inventions; one day he circulates subscriptions for a new chapel, estimates the expences of the parson aud of the organ, and importunes the Bishop of London to grant a licence for a fashionable auditory; at another time he is full of a new tavern, which shall be conducted on the principles of a private house, where there shall be other essentials, money; where no one shall be admitted unless upon the most respectable introduction, and where every inmate therefore may depend upon each other. You may readily believe that his plans are generally approved; in the first place, because they appeal to the vanity of the persons for whom they are intended; in the second place, because their novelty always meets the caprice of the day, and the Colonel no sooner sees his friends wearied with one folly than he has another at hand.”
which he is holden by the ladies has, moreover, rendered him the model of many gentlemen; you will scarcely go into any fashionable party but you will see one or more of his shadows. What appears to you rudeness and bluster, and coarse manners, are considered by certain belles of fashion as the very perfection of politeness. It is not long since that the Colonel fell into some distressed circumstances, which put his friends to the proof, and the result was very honourable to him; a certain number of ladies set on foot a general subscription, and the amount, as I have heard, was sufficient to establish the Colonel's finances."
"There are many of this kind of fashionable pensioners," replied my aunt. "The fashionable world would soon lose many of its most brilliant stars if every one were put to a proof of their independent means; it is in the fashionable world as in the courts of Germany, a certain rank and a certain appearance, but nothing of a certain fortune is necessary to admission. Whoever can maintain the necessary appearance, be his means of maintaining what they may, no inquiry is made; he is admitted into the fraternity, and takes his place according to what he enabled to maintain; there is a general policy amongst us not to put up too much store, not to estimate too highly what so many of us
"Is it possible," said I, "that there can be any one so mean as to remain in fashionable society upon a subscription fund?"
"Is it possible," said I," that any man of common sense, and common manliness, can occupy his time in such frivolities."
This conversation was here interrupted by two cards, with compliments, to inquire the health of my aunt and myself, My aunt, taking the cards and smiling:-"I' thought it would be so," said she; here you have two suitors already, for such is the purpose of these incipient approaches. Colonel Bijoux and Lord Sam Foreclose do themselves the honour to inquire the health of Lady Lovelace and Miss Hy. menæa.'-What do you say to them Hymenæa?" continued my aunt smiling.
"I say," replied I, "they are as indifferent to me as I imagine my health to be to them; I know neither of them."
"They are both of them," resumed my
"I will not answer either for his sense or for his manliness," replied my aunt with a smile; "all that I am now saying respects his peculiar pursuits. I have reason to believe that Colonel Bijoux originally adopted this course of life from choice, but that habit and experience have subsequently rendered it both a necessary and a lucrative pursuit to him. It is impossible, you know, to refuse a liberal subscription to a man of a certain acknowledged rank and quality, who entirely lays himself out and expends the whole of his fortune in the contrivance of new pleasures. The Colonel, moreover, with a very happy dexterity, contrives to make us all partners in his institutions, and it would not be very decorous, and certainly not very ge nerous, to put him upon his books; it is, moreover, the fashion to be liberal in our pleasures, and whatever is connected with
them, however niggardly we may be in the discharge of our debts of justice; the Colonel, therefore, is well paid, though our tradesmen may dun in vain.”
"I think very little of him," resumed my aunt; "I should indeed pity him if I thought him formed for any thing higher or better; but nature seems to have tended him for a butterfly, and with that purpose to have turned him loose into a garden. I have nothing therefore to object to him as he follows his nature, and apparently acts up to the end of his creation. There are many such triflers, and he is certainly at the head of them; he has another recommendation, he is perfectly harmless, his folly is the worst part about him."
"The Colonel seems no favourite of him to have certain expectations yet in yours," replied I. store, and till he has pledged them to their full value they will allow him to remain out of prison. In the mean time his title, and the appearance which he is still enin-abled to maintain, have preserved him his place in the fashionable world. His equipage is indeed gone, but he still drives that of a friend, and sometimes mounts the mail coach. I am afraid he will rapidly become another pensioner on the fund for broken down men of fashion, but I doubt that even there be will not have the same success with Colonel Clubstick, because he is by no means in the same general favour. Lord Sam has now another plan, but I begin to doubt its success."
"Now then," resumed I, " for the picture of another of your friends, Lord Sam Foreclose; what have you to say of him,
"That be likewise is a character," continued my aunt,“ and, as being at the head of a species, merits a detailed description. Lord Sam, as his name imports, is the younger son of a nobleman; his father died whilst he was at Westminster, and left Lord Sam an estate and money to the amount of seven thousand pounds per annum. Lord Sam, a minor at the time, immediately wrote to his guardians, that as his father had left him such a noble fortune, he flattered himself that they would exhibit an equal liberality in his annual allowance. His guardians, being men of fashion and of immense fortune, were very indifferent as to the disposal of the fortune left in trust to them; they conceived, in fact, that they had but one point of duty, and that this consisted in giving in due accounts; they did not hesitate, therefore, to comply most fully with the demand of Lord Sam, and in answer to his letter immediately settled his school allowance at three hundred pounds per annum. Lord Sam now gave free reins to all his caprices; be kept his horses openly and his women secretly; he became the best driver and the worst scholar in the school; he contrived to spend treble his allowance, and raised the difference from the moneylenders. In this manner he attained his
majority and his ruin at the same point of time. He now supports himself only by the sufferance of his creditors; they will not ruin him entirely because they know
"And has he the vanity," said I, “to select me as a suitable object for such a speculation, for such an exchange?"
"And why not?" said my aunt laughing. "Look at his person, and confess at least that he is of a manly stature; in this quality, indeed, he might suit an Exhibition; if his face be not handsome, if it be coarse and almost vulgar, its character is boldness even to insolence, and the characteristic shillalah would be as appropriate to him as to Colonel Clubstick himself. Add to this, that he speaks loudly, and evidently sets a proper value upon himself; and I really do not know what else you can reasonably require in a man of fashion."
"If such be your men of fashion,” replied I, "I believe that I shall return to the country as I left it. These characters, dear aunt, will not suit Hymenæa; even our country breed is preferable to these mongrels."
"Have patience," my dear," resumed my aunt; "time and patience may produce wonders. The beau monde is a garden of great extent, there are flowers of all
qualities, you will be peculiarly unlucky if you can find none to your taste."
"I am not difficult to please," said I, "only let me have a selection amongst reasonable creatures. I do not want the discipline of a came, and therefore will have nothing to say to Colonel Clubstick; I do not want to become the manageress of a company of private players, and therefore will have nothing to say to Colonel Bijoux; and as to Lord Sam, I have no inclination to release him from his debts by the gift of my fortune, so that there are none of these whom I should deem worthy of even a thought."
In my future letters I shall continue my narrative. I have been able to do little in the present but exhibit some of the
characters with whom I was daily pestered;
ISLE OF SKY, NORTH BRITAIN.
ing to the new plan recommended to me,
TO THE LADY SYBILLA MACKEN.
"MADAM,-I resume my narrative from the point at which I interrupted it in my last. I have mentioned that in answer to my communication to my mother that the Count de la Plaisance was trespas-the sing upon the rights of Constant; that he seized every opportunity to address himself to me, and at the same time so shaped his approaches as to elude giving me the opportunity to express my indignation; I have related, I say, that in answer to this communication my mother rallied my apprehensions, considered the addresses of the Count as a matter of course homage to a handsome woman, and advised my receiving them as such, and to content myself with retorting in raillery and indifference. This advice she daily repeated, and I believe it was a remark of a man very well skilled in human nature, that there are few persons who are proof against the combined assaults of bad counsel, and particu-deed, there was enough already passing in
larly when it appeals to their vanity, and
it to alarm me; I certainly still loved Con
"In pursuance of this advice I dismissed entirely all my former reserve, and accord
same time, from some intelligent looks which I perceived my mother and the Count to interchange, a suspicion would sometimes arise that there was something of concert between them, and that they were both acting in a plot of which I was the object, and my fate and fortune the intended catastrophe. These suspicions, however, not being of a very pleasing nature, I anxiously dismissed as soon as they arose, and as nothing is so easy as to deceive one's self on the pleasing side, I soon succeeded in tranquillizing my own mind, and in persuading myself that the Count and my mother had as little of design as myself.
"If I had understood my own mind, in
ing that the gh I still loved Constant, I did not love him so much as formerly; before the Count's arrival, I was unhappy and impatient in the absence of Constant; time passed unperceived in his presence, and halted miserably when he was away. My father was in the habit of rallying me for being so incessantly at my window, anxiously looking for the return of Constant and himself, when they were out riding together. I had even some difficulty to conceal my vexation when my father would call Constant to attend him in a ride or a walk in which I could not accompany them. In a word, I had formerly loved Constant as fondly and ardently as was consistent with an innocent affection.
and contrived, without the appearance of
"On what do you form your opinions," added I.
"On the different success of the Frencia and English in love as in war; I mean as far as respects England only. Whence is it, madam, that a Frenchman has no chance either with a lady, or in a naval engagement, where an Englishman is present ?'
"I now found that I still indeed loved him, but certainly not to the same degree; he was no longer necessary to me, he no longer was the sole object of my thoughts and of my fancy. I began to find that the company of the Count was an agreeable substitute; though I would still make no hesitation to leave the company of the Count for that of Constant; yet if the Count was with me, I sometimes forgot that Constant was absent. As the day of the union of Constant and myself approached, the Count became evidently melancholy, and, to confess the truth, I did not see the approach of this day with all the satisfaction which became my situation. I know not whether the seeds of coquetry are necessarily implanted in all women by their very nature, and that amongst the number I had my share, or whether the caprice of which I am speaking originated in the peculiar perversion of my own mind; but this I must confess, that considering that my marriage with Constant must necessarily put a period to the addresses of the Count, to his attentions, to his flatteries, I looked with some discontent to this approaching event. I was too much of a woman not to comprehend very well the cause of the visible melancholy of the Count, and I had too much of my sex not to give him an opportunity to explain himself. I one day saw from my window that the Count was walking on the further extremity of the lawn which immediately fronted the chamber; under the pure impression of feminile vanity I left my room,
Perhaps they fight under a disadvantage, Sir, which may destroy their natural equality."
In love, in addresses to ladies, they are indeed under a disadvantage,' said the Count. You have all a prejudice against us, which would render all our hopes the utmost extremity of folly."
"Do you speak from experience, Count said I with a smile.
"Yes, madam,' continued he, taking my hand, and assuming a look of the most profound feeling and melancholy; I am very unhappy, very ill at ease, and I am sure you have too much goodness not to feel some sympathy. Will you pardon me if I submit to an invincible necessity, to feelings which I cannot overcome, and ex. plain myself fully.'
"I will pardon you nothing,' said I, endeavouring to assume a tone of pleasantry, if you address me with this inflexible gravity.
"Alas! madam,' replied the Count, 'whatever I am, I am no hypocrite, nor can I be a hypocrite, it is beyond my power to assume features of pleasantry whilst my heart is sinking under a weight
of sorrow. I am truly miserable, and I am sure you are too candid and honourable to affect to misunderstand me.'
"I do not misunderstand you, Count,' replied I, and it is now my turn to be serious; you know my engagements.'
“I do know them,' exclaimed he; but do not, do not needlessly and so abruptly mention them. Madam, the extreme of sorrow acknowledges no law.'
"If you are so sensible of my engagements, replied I, why should you complain that I am about to observe them ?'
"I may be allowed to complain of misfortune,' said the Count. 'You must not refuse me the privilege of complaint. Dearest Alicia, pardon a miserable man, that he ventures to address you so familiarly; I cannot but think, that had a more favourable fortune brought us together in the commencement, Constant would not have been so certain of your favour. What has he which I do not possess, and which you can reasonably require?'
"Honour and honesty,' replied I, to trespass on the rights of another.'
"You assume that he is such a stoic,' continued the Count, because you have never seen him in circumstances in whichment in life.' be has any temptation to be otherwise. Constant, in a similar situation, might have acted as I have done. There are passions which are too extreme for the cold laws of morality; and yet, to confess the truth, I do believe that Constant would have acted differently. Constant is a man of a very happy temperament; he has no violent passions; he is not troubled with that sensibility which hurries a man out of himself. Constant, I should imagine, would be as cold as a rival as he appears to me to be moderate as a lover.'
"Is it generous of you,' said I, to speak thus of the absent?'
"This may be good as a sentiment in a comedy,' said I, but will it correspond with truth and nature as a rule of morals.' "Indeed, I know not,' said the Count; all I know is, that here comes the Admiral, and by his apparent deportment, be seems full of something important; I must take my leave, madam, and I do it with a most heavy heart. If any one at this moment be so extremely miserable as to be totally without hope, and therefore without any relish or value in life, it is myself. I will not complain of you; I will not complain of Constant; but you must not deny me the privilege of complaining against my own unhappy destiny, which has thrown me into this state of misery and desolation.'
"In the ordinary transactions of the world, madam, I should be as much above backbiting as any man in the world; but there is a very fine comedy in your language, in which the writer has said, with as much justice as brilliancy, that there is no faith in love; that love, like necessity, acknowledges no laws but his own; that his invincible power is an excuse for every thing, and a natural discharge from all the obligations of ordinary morality."
"The Admiral now came up, and taking me by the hand, addressed me:- My dear Alicia, a most important event has occurred; your union with Constant was fixed for this day fortnight, something has occurred which, according to the opinion of my wife, must necessarily delay it; but do not suffer this incident to alarm you, as the interruption will be but temporary, and it is for Constant's good and advance
"You think me very easily alarmed,' said I, smiling: "Have you persuaded yourself, my dear father, that a husband is so necessary to me that I ought to consider the interruption you speak of as an afflict ing event?'
"I am happy to see that you do not take it so much to heart as I had anticipated,' replied my father; though, on the other hand, I should be equally grieved, if I thought you wanted that proper regard for Constant, and that proper sensibility, not to feel his disappointment as your own. Next to yourself, Alicia, Constant stands nearest to my heart; it would truly grieve me to discover that he did not possess a similar place in yours.'
"My dearest father,' replied I, you entirely mistake the matter; your kindness, your paternal tenderness, makes me so happy, and so contented, that I find that I have nothing to wish. The company of Constant is likewise dear to me, and however I may appear to you, I should very sensibly feel the loss of it. These are my actual sentiments.'