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THE MAN OF HONOUR.
"To-night in Venice we have placed our scene.”
. GEORGE COLMAN's Epilogue to Clementina.
“There is a gloom in deep love as in deep water : there is a silence in it which suspends the foot; and the folded arms and the dejected head are the images it reflects. No voice shakes its surface.”-WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
“Now since we are alone, let us examine
. It is a hidden secret
"In many ways does the full heart reveal
The day at length dawned, upon the evening of which Madame d'A.'s long-talked-of and, by some, longwished-for masquerade was to take place. Fanny and Saville, as every one knew, (at least every one of their own party,) were to figure as the knave and queen of hearts, in the pack of living cards. The Dowager Lady de Clifford had announced it as her intention to go as Queen Elizabeth; consequently her eldest son immediately fixed upon Lord Leicester, while the amiable Herbert resolved upon personating the less-favoured but more intellectual Sir Walter Raleigh, especially as he knew his exemplary parent required a cloak upon all occasions, he determined to have one ready. Major Nonplus meant to aston
ish the natives by appearing in all the blue cloth and gold lace dignity of an English parish beadle. Mrs. Seymour had resolved upon going as Dominechino's Sibyl; for, to say nothing of a very beautiful face much resembling it, she had a very beautiful scarlet Delhi scarf, which was the very thing for the turban. Her sposó had not yet returned from Padua, so no one knew what he intended to go as. Poor Monsieur Barbouiller, much against his will, had been teazed into going ; so, after some trouble, a little glue, a quantity of quills, and a large skin of black kid, he turned into a very respectable, but somewhat overgrown, porcupine. Mowbray had tried by every possible means to find out what Lady de Clifford intended going as; for he knew that ever since his unlucky speech that day at dinner in Milan, she had relinquished her original design of going as Johanna Queen of Naples. Even to the servants had he applied in vain-servants who, in general, act by their employers' secrets as the reeds did when Midas's barber whispered the mystery of his asses' ears to the earth-tell them to the whole world. The fact was, that Julia shrunk from assuming any character, lest it might give him an opportunity of adopting a pendant to it, and so facilitate an eclaircissement, which, of all things on earth, she most dreaded; for she felt that it would bring about that crisis which must separate them for ever. That time, she felt, would come but too soon, and she might ward it off by keeping things as they were. Vain delusion! who ever yet succeeded, by shutting the eyes of their heart, in lulling it to sleep ? She resolved, therefore, to wear a plain blue domino, and told Berryl to put very thick lace to the curtain of her mask, and not to let even her sister know what she intended to go in.
Mowbray, thus foiled at every point, determined to assume the dignity of mystery on his own account, and having secured the dress of a Carthusian friar, told his servant he should not want him at dressingtime, much to the disappointment of Mr. Sanford, who felt greatly hurt at this unpardonable want of confidence on the part of his master, and could only console himself by telling all the couriers, ladies'maids, and valets at dinner, that his gentleman's dress would be the most splendid and handsomest at the ball that night; but though he had had a great deal
of trouble in arranging it, no earthly power should get him to tell what it was, as Mr. Mowbray wished it kept a profound secret, and let other people do what they would, he never told anything his master did not wish to have known-when he did not know it himself.
The morning was sultry in the extreme, and every one seemed unable to move off the sofa except Major Nonplus, who was rehearsing his role for the evening in his beadle's dress, running about like an armadillo, fussing and fidgeting every one.
Herbert Grimstone had left the room in disgust, for he had given Monsieur Barbouiller his pamphlet “On the Present Administration” to read, begging that he would make any marginal remarks that struck him. Now, all that did strike him was the extreme arrogance and egotism of the whole affair; consequently, the only remarks he had made were, whereever such sentences occurred as “This, in my opinion, was the only measure to save the country, and this the ministers carried,” or “ My opinion of the Irish appropriation clause was expressed under another administration, and that opinion is now borne out by the conduct of the present ministry, though their opinions were decidedly adverse to it when out of office, which proves what I have ever asserted that is, that the Whigs are the only sound, true, liberal, and enlightened legislators, for they know that change is the quintessence of all reform; and as far as measures (not men) go, they are continually acting upon that knowledge-all the remarks, then, that Monsieur Barbouiller made were to irradiate the personal pronoun in every such sentence with a glory round it, to the no small amusement of Fanny and Saville, who declared he would get up an opposition pamphlet, and present it to him that night at the ball; and retiring for the purpose of writing it, Fanny was left alone with Mowbray and her sister, who was embroidering the last letter of the motto on Lord Leicester's garter, and whom the former, in spite of herself, was making die with laughter at a scena she had got up of the supposed virgin demeanour of the dowager queen, and the amatory devotion of her two courtier sons. Fanny was in the midst of an imaginary speech of the mimic queen to Lord Leicester about his head and hort, when Lord de Clifford himself en
tered, and hearing Mowbray's laugh, and seeing Fanny in the middle of the room, with her hands out like his illustrious mother, he said, folding his arms, putting his head back and drawing in, and biting his upper lip, as was his wont when he wanted to be ultra dignified, “As usual, Miss Neville, at your buffoonery, I suppose. If there is one thing more low and degrading than another, and more a proof of imbecilie ty of mind, it is that turn for mimicry which you are eternally indulging in.”
"I must say, said Fanny, bowing to this complimentary speech, “that l'eau benite de la cour of the Elizabethian age is not quite so sweet, my lord of Leicester, as that of our own."
“Never mind, Miss Neville,” said Mowbray ; “I have observed that persons who cannot themselves mimic, have no toleration for, but a great dread of, those who can; however, you have some good authorities with you: is it not Percival who says, Parody is a favourite flower both of ancient and modern literature ; its ludicrous properties derive their wit from association, and never fail to produce admiration and delight, when it unites taste in selection with felicity of application; even licentious specimens of it move to laughter; for we are always inclined to be diverted with mimicry, or ridiculous imitation, whether the original be an object of respect, or indifference, or even of contempt ? Recollect, too, that a polished Athenian audience heard with bursts of mirthful applause, even the discourses of their favourite Socrates burlesqued upon the stage. These wise saws,'” concluded Mowbray, laughing, “may perhaps console you for more 'modern instances of disapprobation.”
To I'm not quite sure that they will," said Fanny, “ for there was a great deal of truth in Hogarth's answer to the young lady who said she envied him his powers of caricaturing.”
“What was that ?" asked Mowbray.
"Why, that the sense of the ridiculous had destroyed for him the beautiful; for, that in the face of an angel he could not help detecting something to caricature. It is for the same reason that one never can sympathize with an habitual sneerer, however affectingly and beautifully some of their thoughts may be expressed. I feel this in a peculiar degree with Vol