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We stepped, with this dialogue, upon the threshold of the lady patroness, and after a proper attention to our several toilettes in the dressing-room, descended, half an hour past nine, into the saloon, already filled with the village and neighboring towns. The company was stated about the margin, on chairs and sofas, or stood or walked in groups, through the interior and entries, under the light of brilliant chandeliers. The conversation was soft and subdued, movements gentle and studied, and the picture altogether excessively lovely.
* I cannot recover from my surprise,' said the gentleman, 'at seeing women so beautiful, and tastefully dressed, in a village.'
• Do try to recover!' replied Roxalana ; 'I should be sorry that a gentleman put under my care should fall a victim to a lady's toilet.'
• A pretty woman attired gracefully is every where dangerous, but in contrast with this rude drapery, and desolate prospect
* The drapery, Sir, is damask, as you see, and the prospect pretty men and women, tastefully dressed. To say a company is well dressed, on such an occasion, is not a high compliment, since it hints a suspicion that it might have been otherwise. I had imagined, too, a woman being well dressed, that the woman only was seen; and when the dress was remarkable, that the woman was not well dressed. But do please point out these beauties that have such dangerous powers of captivation, for I really do n't see them.'
* I can see nothing else. It seems to me they have picked out beauty expressly for the occasion.'
• It seems to ime they have assembled together all the deformities of the village.'
* This one, for example, mounting the stairs ; is she not beautiful ? Alcina never saw, I am sure, a prettier foot and ankle.'
• Then Alcina never saw a very great assortment. It is an insignificant beauty, any way, to be in such raptures about; not having seen the lady's face.'
I think differently. Delicacy of feet and hands are the marks of true nobility; so says Byron.'
• Byron says nothing about feet.'
• Yes, you may look at it - there! But as a well-bred gentleman, I presume you will not venture a word in praise. Violent passion's are silent, and the gentle ones are complimentary.'
* Now that I have recovered the use of speech, do let me ask your opinion of this little creature in the blonde or auburn tresses ? To my mind, she is exceedingly pretty.' *With that piece of a face ?' • Men have sometimes died of little women.' 'I suppose so; they made them sick.'
Has n't she pretty eyes ?' • Has n't a toad pretty eyes ? I ask, at least, a little round sufficiency and plumpness, in my conceptions of beauty.'
* Like this in the rocking-chair, so panting ripe, and lips so persuasively pouting!'
· How scandalous you are ! She has a face like a rabbit's. She seems as if she would enjoy a cabbage-leaf. But hush! Matters of more interest are now to be discussed.'
Here a dumpling black boy, in sea-green jacket, and a tawny maid, also in graceful attire, entered, and were followed soon by others, carrying in, some the tea, and some the cakes, upon trays.
You must do the ladies fust, then the gemmen,' said Dina ; and now the bohea, imperial, and gunpowder went round; the guests being displayed in fancy and picturesque groups; the women mostly seated, and their gallants in relief; one leaning gracefully toward the wall, or upon a marble mantle ; another god-like erect in the midst of the saloon; another bending over a group of beautiful and bare-necked maids, seated lowly upon stools, and surveying the undulating prospect; and many showed their civilities, by administering fresh cups, and bearing oif the vacant China to the side-board. Roxalana and I - we stood vertically by the side of each other, and sipped and looked ; applying the warm lips of the cup simultaneously to our own lips, and inhaling the balmy nectar, as it were in the same breath together; and then we took a bit of cake. I flatter myself we had our share in the general effect.
Tongues were now set loose (such is the potency of tea,) to very incontinence, and the house was in a buzz; dividing variously, according to the several humors. One, the centre of a circle, entertained with wit his numerous audience, who burst out now and then into flashes of merriment; another walked, with his belle, up and down the entry, in soft and secret conversation; and another was seated humbly at Izabella's feet, while she poured the poison of her beauty in his ear. Suddenly, to interrupt these intellectual delights, came in the same sea-green Ganymedes and Hebes, bearing oranges, citrons, pears, peaches with rosy cheeks, pine-apples, kisses, wrapped in poetry, and luscious bon-bons, in silver baskets, and trays overheaped ; and the gentlemen vied with each other in puns, and other soft things, according to their several capacities, pouring the treasures of Ceres upon the ladies' laps.
• What are you two yammering about so earnestly ? said Mr. Dibble. * And pray, what is the meaning of that pretty word, yammering !
Talking and eating.' • How very expressive !' said Mrs. Ketchum ; ‘I would have it in Webster's next.'
Yes,' replied Rox.; "it would be a word to the wise. (y's) Notwithstanding a great authority, I like 'eating women;' especially when they eat in public, and after the rules of a fashionable etiquette. They contrive to perform this function with such an appearance of easy leisure, and graceful negligence ; with an air which seems to indicate they have obliged the company by condescending to eat at all, which is exceedingly genteel.
The wines came in next, accompanied with syrups, lemonades, punches, and with those two pet tipples of the ladies, curaço and maraschino, and circulated through the rooms, flanked with confectionaries, queens, Spanish buns, and wafers, delightful for their croquancy. There are in the village numerous confectioners, charcu. tiers, and restorants; one excels in entrés, one in the entremets, and another is prëeminent in patés. When the guests had taken the bloom off their appetites,' and bottles and dishes were removed, the music
struck up its thrilling notes, and the house was in a flutter of quadrilles ; the girls dancing as if their legs had taken leave of their senses, and the mothers sitting round the margin of the room, like so many flower-pots, and looking silently on.
Roxalana, having fulfilled her duties in the dance, now returned to me, longing
* I beg pardon for treading on your toe.' • It is the lightest impression, you have made that on the toe.'
• So you have been to France, as any one may see. Then let us talk of French girls.'
• There are no French girls. They keep the children nursing, till they are as big as their mammas, then marry them. Till then, the society of men is forbidden altogether; even their doll-babies are little girls. I knew one who screamed out when she first saw a man, at twelve years of age.'
• Yes, I heard of her; she ran away at sixteen with her father's coachman, and stole his horses.
They lock up their unmarried women, and give their wives the key of the fields. I presume you think our customs in this a little more sensible.'
• Yes; bere is Mr. Dalby, not content with monopolizing his pretty wife all the week, has stuck to her the whole night as close as
• As close as U does to Q, if you want a simile.'
'I want it reversed, for Q only deserves the credit of this fidelity; U plays truant occasionally with the other letters.'
* Now let us be seated. I begin to feel sick of this nonsense : it disagrees with me. Do n't, if you please, be so familiar !' What use of chaining those born savage,
these mounlains, to the tyranny of city usages ?'
• Savage, free;' you must belong, I should imagine, to the Pawnees. I should advise another visit to Paris.'
• I had thoughts of going back this winter; but luckily, having heard of Pottsville
Perhaps you did well; for nothing, they say, polishes brass like coal-dust.
• Roxy, my dear, I hope you are entertaining the gentleman.' • Yes, ma, he seems a good deal entertained
A good deal abused, you mean, and vexed. Play on what key I will, I am sure of being out of tune with Miss Roxalana. However, she has so much open-hearted benevolence mixed up with her malice and contradictory spirit —
* Now I shall have my brains knocked out with a compliment. Come, I confess I have been naughty, and I am going to agree with you in whatever you may say, however absurd, for the rest of the evening.'
• Do n't you think Mr. Squally good-looking ?'
* Very good looking! He is not too big for a dwarf, nor too little for a man.
* I mean 'good-looking ;' I am glad you did not say very !
*One thing only I regret; it is the confixed, erratic life of its inhabitants. You make an agreeable acquaintance; she steals by de
degrees upon your affections, and when your happiness is involved in the attachment, you are compelled to take leave of her, perhaps for ever!'
• Yes, that is very bad. It is the reason I do n't like to ride in an omnibus.
Now wrap this shawl about my shoulders. plague on the stars ! - what are they good for ? But I won't abuse them, if you like them. This is the door. We shall be very glad to see you to-morrow. Good night !'
TO LUCI FER.
EY ALFRED B. STREET, AUTHOR OF THE • FOREST WALK,' 'FOWLING,' ETC.
"And there was war in beaven.' - REVELATION.
Son of the Morning! brightest mid the throng
Why didst thou shoot 'so madly from thy sphere,'
And thou, the loftiest one, with burning rage
And thee, quick rushing to thy destined hell.
And now, thy punishment has been dealt to thee;
Thou hast a glorious empire: gorgeous flames
Still lift up
The terrible glory of thy stricken crest,