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daughter of the sun.” I was enchanted, and immediately kissed the Princess's hand. Soon after dinner they came to make my toilette, which was done very differently from usual; no powder, no panier. The Princess said to me very solemnly, “ Although this costume is not at all correct, and any woman wearing it under any other circumstances would be completely compromised, yet I hope you will not commit the smallest indiscretion, and that you will redeem by the severity of your deportment and the propriety of your manner what there may be lacking of dignity in your dress.” I faithfully obeyed her, for though I am naturally so lively and merry I know how to assume a majestic air, and I must have done it well at the ball. “Who is that tragedy queen ?” I heard some one ask. The possibility of assuming that appearance never entered my head before, and has since made me feel uncomfortable. It was impossible to walk in my usual manner. Perhaps the costume enhanced my beauty, that may or may not have been the case, but I certainly looked quite different from usual. My hair without powder and as black as ebony fell in curls on my forehead, neck, and shoulders. My white gauze dress had no train, and was confined round the waist by a rich band. On my breast I wore a sun of gold, and from my head descended a large white transparent veil which completely enveloped me like a statue. I did not recognize myself when, after the completion of my toilette, they let me look at myself in the glass. Perhaps the people who saw me last night would not recognise me to-day. When we entered the drawing-room it was nearly full, and I was so dazzled by the sight of so many people in such beautiful and varied dresses that I did not know where to turn my eyes nor what to look at first. Then a murmur went round the assembly, and the Duke of Courland's name was repeated by several voices, directly after which I saw him enter surrounded by handsome, richly dressed gentlemen. His costume did not differ much from that of any of the lords belonging to the Court, yet I could at once distinguish him from amongst all the others. He was conspicuous by his tall noble-looking figure, his affable courteous manner, the gentleness of his great blue eyes, the sweetness of his smile. I gazed at him until the moment when his eyes
met mine, then I avoided looking, yet over and over again I caught his glance, and I saw that he inquired who I was; addressing his question to the Prince Palatin I noticed the pleasure depicted on his face when he had satisfied his curiosity, and he had not lost the
expression when he afterwards approached my aunt and greeted her with a grace that is peculiarly his own. After an interchange of the usual compliments my aunt taking my hand presented me to him as her niece. I do not know how I made my bow, probably not as my dancing-master had taught me, for I was too agitated, nor do I remember what the Duke said to me, but only that he opened the ball with the Princess, and that he danced the second polonaise with me, andwhat I certainly never expected,—he talked to me and I answered him without being dreadfully shy; indeed I was surprised to find how easy
He asked me news of my parents, of Madame la Starostine, and of her marriage. It surprised me at first to find how much he knew about my family and the late events in it, but then I recollected that Kochanowski was a favourite of his. What a good fellow that Kochanowski must be; he has not only “ digested” the goose in its dark sauce, but he has even said a thousand amiabilities of us all. It seems that he has praised me much, “but,” added the Duke in relating it, “not half as much as I deserve.” Oh, how many such speeches he made to me, not only then, but during other dances, for he scarcely danced minuets and country dances with any one but me, and he talked all the time. When at the stroke of midnight the firing of guns announced to us that the New Year had put an end to the old one, he said to me, “I shall always remember this night, for not only a new year but a new life has begun for me.” Then about my dress he made so many subtle allusions which it is impossible to write in Polish, for he expressed them in French. “ It was not the gold on my breast but that which shone in my eyes which kindled an everlasting flame in the hearts of those who looked into them.” This and a thousand similar though prettier compliments than any of those I have read in the novels of Mesdames Scudéry and Lafayette I received from his lips. And could all this be mere courtesy, nothing but some of the amiable falseness practised in the world, and a compliment rather to my dress than to me? It is very trying to have no one to whom one can unbosom oneself without any reserve. Their Excellencies are at Maleszów, the Princess awes me too much, and as the Prince Palatin is a man, I should not dare to speak to him upon such subjects. I feel that I am abandoned to my own resources. Scarcely a week ago I was at school, in the midst of studies and teachers, and now I am thrown into a new world, and playing a certain part in it which dazzles me not a little, . . In ten days Barbe is to arrive here, she will be my guardian angel : how thankfully I shall lay bare my heart to her, and she is so sensible and clear-sighted that she will make it all plain to me. I cannot be grateful enough that she is coming. It is nine months since I saw my sister, but I can perceive from her letters that she continues to win more than ever the affection of her husband, and that she is contented with her lot. Yes, I can unfold my heart to her, for I am not afraid of her ; she is compassionate, beautiful, and happy, and I have often noticed that women who are happy themselves are always the readiest to show kindness to others. Shall I see the Prince Royal again, and will he know me in my usual dress ?
PRO UNITATE ECCLESIÆ.
FROM out a deep unfathomable well
O come the time when they shall find a spot
THE USE OF A LETTER.
“Far away in the gleaming city
Amid perfume and song and light,
A. A. PROCTER.
I was sitting by the fire with a favourite old volume in my hand, Adelaide Procter's “Legends and Lyrics." It was hardly so much reading, for I knew them nearly by heart, as recalling old associations ; and when I came to the verse just quoted, the book closed softly, and I leant back in my arm-chair. A letter fell out of it as I did so, the last received from an old friend whose death I heard of a year ago. I was glad to think then our correspondence had never ceased during a long separation, I am not less glad now. I take up the envelope, unfold and open the paper, my eyes fall on the words “ 'your letters are such a comfort, dear, you will never know how I have valued them.” I sigh, half in thankfulness, half in pain, and replacing the volume look round at my niece, Eleanor, bending over her work with quiet capable industry; just as our eyes meet the door opens, and enter Archibald, and my godchild Rosie, who says in a piteous tone,
“ Rain again, auntie, such a pity, mother won't hear of my going out, and I am so tired of being indoors.”
“What do you think of it ?” asks Eleanor, holding up for her brother's inspection an antimacassar she had nearly completed, which is made, after the strange fashion of the time, out of a piece of crumbcloth, embroidered in many coloured wools.
Everything surely is turning upside down in these days, our children in the National Schools learn French and fractions, while my niece, Eleanor, after a certain course of instruction is qualified, I believe, to give lectures on cookery; and our last reports of Baynham, at the Agricultural College, informed us he has acquired the art of shoeing a horse, and was learning to dig up turnips. It follows naturally that rough towels should adorn the drawing-room as antimacassars, and doubtless in the march of events our piano will happily descend to the kitchen. “ There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and magnify the evils, of the
present times.”! So my nephew Archie tells me - Archie, to whom, though I do grumble a little, I look up, and we all look up, as a sort of oracle. He is a fine massive creature, six feet high and broad in proportion, with a large amount of brain power hidden away behind that wide forehead of his, and no end of goodness and cleverness in those half-shut brown eyes, plenty of fun too, as he says in slow astonishment, “Oh, Eleanor, Eleanor, what would Ruskin think of such colours ?”
“Ruskin! why, Archie, what is the matter, how are they wrong?”
The work is laid on the table, and Archie expounds, "Red and green are right enough, but why haven't you got some blue ?”
“ Blue with green, Archie !" “Yes, what can be lovelier than green leaves against a blue sky?"
“No,” says Eleanor, with a doubtfulness that robs the word of all meaning.
Blue,” pursues the critic, " instead of purple, I can't understand what you have all that purple for."
“Never mind," rejoins Eleanor submissively, “this must be finished as it is, but you shall help me to choose wools for the next; now I must write to Lizzie Mills.”
“And I ought to write to Phæbe Dawson," says Rose, not quite, I am sorry to observe, in a tone as if “ought” meant “shall."
“That reminds me,” says Archie, “ I'm in my normal state of owing a letter to Charlie Jackson.”
Ah, I wanted to ask you, Archie, how is he getting on ?” “Rather too fast, I'm afraid, auntie, here is his last epistle, if you can make it out, he writes a very good hand indeed for keeping secrets.”
What is it makes that verse of Adelaide Procter's ring in my ears as I read the lad's letter? Charlie Jackson won my heart in his early days by a fervid admiration of Archie, who was his sheet-anchor at school, and his mainstay at college. It was from him I learnt what our boy's life was away from us; Archie, what shall I do without you ?” were the last words I heard him say, before he went off to that work in London, for which we thought him so little suited. stable as water,” I cannot help murmuring, as after making out as much as I can of the letter, I refold and give it to Archie who stands by me holding out his hand.