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apartments together in the Rue de Rivoli, twenty long to dance, and with whom young and are going to give balls. No wonder, ladies verging towards thirty are thankful therefore, that girls dressed as you were to dance, if they can get nothing better. last night, if they were as ugly as sin, The sisters of a young man of this class would be a great catch to any body going are soon taught to know the value of such to give balls-not to mention the particu- a brother. They have no need to fear, in larly striking appearance of your brother. going into a ball-room where there are Of course I understand the thing perfectly." strangers, that they shall be greeted with “ And
you will leave cards to-day, mam- cold examining glances, or find any diffima, won't you ?" inquired the two young culty in obtaining an eligible vis-à-vis ladies in a breath.
among the young beauties they find there. “Why, yes, I suppose we had better not They have only to persuade him to let delay it, if we mean to get to the first ball. them “arm him with the freedom of a" But here comes Edward; he is ten times sister during a few turns up and down the more a man of the world than your father, room, and their invitation to the set is seyoung as he is. I want your opinion, Ed-cured, beyond the danger of a single disward, about visiting Lady Morton and La- senting voice. Agatha and Maria Roberts dy Foreton. I suppose you have heard all were by no means dull girls; they saw and the gossip about them? What do you felt all this by a sort of natural instinct, think? Is there any objection ?"
even before experience had taught them the “Objection? Why, no, ma’am. What full value of its effect, and it is no wonder objection can there possibly be to visiting therefore that his judgment respecting the two ladies of rank, who have taken a mag- propriety of immediately calling upon Lanificent apartment in the most fashionable dy Morton and Lady Foreton was received quartier of Paris, and who have given out by them as conclusive. that they intend to receive ?''
“ Now then, inamma,
suppose you The son and heir of the Roberts family will have no further scruples ?” said Maria. had always been a person of consequence The Robertses were a very happy family in the domestic circle, but his importance in one respect. There was great uniformwas now increasing daily, and might very ity of opinion amongst them, arising from literally be said to grow with his growth, that sympathy of tastes and feelings which and strengthen with his strength. The is the best security for domestic harmony budding hair beginning to be visible upon on all questions of conduct. Mrs. Roberts his upper lip, and which it had been one nodded her assent, saying with a smile, as of his best delights to shave during the she looked at the pretty figure of her son, last year of his university studies, had been while he supported his elbow on the low suffered to grow since the second day of his chimney-piece, residence in Paris; and being of a dark “Young men are sure to be the best color was rapidly assuming the impressive judges on such questions as these. We aspect of a moustache. His mother, and will leave the cards when we go out after perhaps his sisters too, watched the growth luncheon for our walk in the Tuileries." of this manly appendage with satisfaction almost equal to his own; and, in fact, it really was very important to them all. The youth, as I have said, was well-looking; Among many new acquaintance made his sisters had, before they left London, and making at Paris, Mrs. Roberts had inured his brain to the exercise of waltz- found one old one. This was a certain ing, by pretty incessant morning practice, Mrs. Bretlow, who might indeed be called during the last vacation, in the Baker-street an old acquaintance, inasmuch as the intidrawing-room, and the skill thus acquired macy now renewed between the ladies had had now been well-nigh brought to perfec- existed before either of them had been martion by assiduous daily practice in the pri- ried. As to all the various twistings and vate rooms of the most accomplished pro- turnings in Mrs. Bretlow's destiny, which fessor in Europe. His style of dress too had ended in her becoming a childless wid. was really as good as the inexperienced ow, resident in Paris, they matter not. imitation of so young a scholar could rea- When Mrs. Roberts discovered her old sonably be expected to make it; and take friend, by happening to sit next her at the him for all in all, he was precisely the sort En ish church, and catching ht of her of youth with whom young ladies under name in her prayer-book, she found her in
apparently easy circumstances, living in a say, that Madame de Soissonac was a good neat apartment au troisième in the Fau- deal talked of. This phrase, if used in bourg du Roule, and enjoying the entrée to England respecting a young and pretty many French houses of considerable fash- married woman, means, I believe, invaion, if not of the highest “quartier St. riably, that she has been incorrect in her Germain” rank. Both the ladies were de conduct as a wife;—but in France it means lighted by the unexpected meeting, which no such thing; one remarkable difference afforded Mrs. Bretlow the satisfaction of between the two countries being, that the hearing a great deal about old acquaint- theme which is first brought under discus. ance whom she had lost sight of for many sion with us, when scandal is the business years, and which eventually gave to Mrs. of the hour, is the last alluded to: whereas Roberts and her family an opportunity of it is neveralluded to at all by our neighseeing much more of French society than bors. No, nobody talked about Madame de they could ever have done without it. Soissonac's lovers, but a great many peo Complaints are often made by English ple talked about her extravagance, her travellers, and not without reason, of the horses, her carriages, her dresses, and difficulty of getting into French society in above all, of the absurd, and every-way-deParis; and assuredly it is no great wonder testable vanity of which she and her husthat it should be difficult, as were it other band had been guilty in prefixing de before wise, that is to say, were the French to their name. But not for this were the open their doors freely to the English, they salons of Madame de Soissonac the less would speedily be so surrounded by for- brilliantly filled; and well might our Engeigners as to leave little room in their sa- lish friends rejoice at the thrice happy loons for any thing else. And this is quite chance which had opened these salons to enough to account for the difficulty, with them. Pretty looking, always well-dressed, out having recourse to any other cause. and with very little, or at any rate, very Certain it is that when, by the advantage of short-lived insular shyness to obscure their a sufficient introduction, French doors are good gifts, the Miss Robertses, as well as opened to us, nothing can exceed the amen- their portly mamma, soon became constant ity and good breeding with which we are guests at this gay mansion; nor was their received. The Roberts family (with the daily improving brother less fortunate; and exception of Mr. Roberts himself) were in so effectually did the charming hostess execstasies, when an introduction, managed ert herself to bring the young strangers advery skilfully by Mrs. Bretlow, obtained an vantageously forward, that their partners at invitation to an evening party at one of the her weekly balls were always among the gayest houses of the Chaussée d'Antin aris- most distinguished persons present.
this honor and happiness they might none Madame de Soissonac was an exceeding of them perhaps have been fully aware withly pretty and elegant-looking young wo- out the assistance of their good friend and man, whose husband, a rich manufacturer original patroness, Mrs. Bretlow, who nalof Lyons, appeared never so well pleased as urally took some credit to herself for harwhen the magnificent set of rooms which ing so speedily and effectually launched the he had furnished on his marriage were party into Parisian society. But what was crowded with guests. But, notwithstand- her triumph compared to that of Mrs. Robo ing this expensive hospitality, he did little erts? Who but herself, as she regularly or nothing himself towards bringing togeth- asked her family collectively and individer the gay crowds which he delighted to ually every morning—who but herself see parading through the rooms his lavish could have contrived to make so much of expenditure had decorated. All that part reading a name (which she had never of the business was left to his wife, and it heard mentioned for the last twenty years) was impossible that he could have been in a prayer-book ? blessed by the possession of a helpmate But why, oh, why is it the fate of humanmore admirably calculated to fulfil all his ity that no blessing ever visits it without wishes in this respect than was Madame de being followed by a concomitant evil? BeSoissonac. Of course it was morally im- fore the introduction of the Roberts family possible that any pretty young woman oc- to Madame de Soissonac, they had been cupying so enviable a situation could delighted, flattered, gratified in the highest escape the tax always levied upon those degree, by having been invited to the Engwho are conspicuous in any way; that is to lish embassy two Friday evenings out of
the six that they had been in Paris. But had passed since the arrival of his family in now they began not only to think, but to say Paris, had not been an idle interval for him. aloud to all who would listen to them, that Never had he omitted an opportunity of “the manner in which the English were pushing into intimacy every casual introneglected at the embassy, was perfectly dis-duction which seemed in any way to promise graceful !"
a profitable result; and Mrs. Roberts had May it not be," said a French lady very soon the extreme gratification of knowwho was upon one occasion the recipient ing that her son might every day be seen of this complaint, “may it not be that the walking arm-in-arm on the Boulevard Ital. number of English in Paris is so great as ien with sundry dissipated young country. to render it impossible for Lady G to men, who, whatever might have been their receive them all every time her rooms are standing" in St. James's-street, considered
themselves, or at least insisted upon it that “ All ?" replied Miss Agatha, with great all Paris ought to consider them, as speciindignation. "All the English? Nobody mens of the highest class of English. From of course expects that Lady G-should these new friends and associates, Mr. Edinvite all the English. But people like our ward Roberts learned much. It is always selves, who move in the very first circles of a source of great satisfaction to young men Paris society, may certainly expect to be of this description when they meet with a among those who are invited.”
young countryman fresh from college, to “Always ?" said the French lady, with a whom they may display, with all the supegentle smile.
riority of experience, the as yet unopened “Yes, madame, certainly, always; why volume of Paris dissipation ; and many a not? Why, s'il vous plait, should our names youth who has patroled the streets of Paris ever be omitted when the weekly list is made for a month, will assume the office of ciceout? It is impossible but that we should rone to a new comer, with the air of a man consider it as little short of positive imper- who has passed his life among the scenes he tinence. We none of us, I assure you, scru- describes. Among all the themes discussed ple to say so—not to mention the extraor- between Edward Roberts and his young dinary want of hospitality shown by their countrymen, there was none to which he listnever having once asked us to dinner. I ened with so much interest as to the accounts really should like to ask them what they they gave of their success in all affairs of think they are sent here for ? Coming, too, gallantry. Their histories were all of the with such introductions as we did, it is per- veni, vidi, vici kind; and certainly if their fectly unpardonable !"
statements were correct, the fathers, husPerhaps it is not very extraordinary that bands, and brothers of France would do the lady to whom this was said, was heard to well to close their doors forever against the observe afterwards, that although she had too fascinating attractions of our English always fancied a distinguished diplomatic ap- youth. pointment furnished the most agreeable as “Upon my soul you seem to have had well as the most dignified situation that capital fun here," returned the juvenile could be offered, she certainly did not covet Roberts to the series of interesting anecthat of ambassador from St. James's to the dotes to which he had been listening ; and Tuileries, although there were many reasons the best part of the joke is, that the ladies which might make it rank as the most desir- being all married, there is no danger of able in the world.
being desired to declare your intentions,' “ Mais il faut avouer,” she added, “que which must, I think, without any exception, les Anglais sont bien drôle."
be the horridest bore in the world.” Nor were these heart-burnings respecting “ Bore ?” reiterated the youngest of seven the ingratitude of the ambassador and am- sons, who had the honor of having a barobassadress of England towards their distin- net for their father. “I believe it is a bore, guished countrymen theonly evilsthat follow- and so you might say if you were in the ed upon the pleasures enjoyed in the splen- army, and stuck down in Irish country did salons of Madame de Soissonac. It must quarters as my brother Tom was last year. not be supposed that Mr. Edward Roberts But in this blessed city you may make love was a degenerate son of his high-spirited mo- just as much as you like without any sort ther ; on the contrary, he inherited a good ot
' mischief following: Of course you know deal both of her noble self-confidence and it must be to married women. Nobody high-minded ambition. The gay weeks that
here, indeed, ever dare take any notice of something more concerning the object of girls (unless they are English).":
it, than he had as yet found any opportunity “Well! any thing is better than being of acquiring. With this view he made a called to account by a musty-fusty old morning visit to his mother's old acquaintfather, merely because one has paid a girl ance, Mrs. Bretlow, at the hour when she the compliment of admiring her,” replied was known to be at home to her friends, the hourly-improving Edward Roberts. hoping that by making Madame de Soisso“But I suspect," he added, “ that it must nac the subject of conversation to the sort be necessary to know a little what you are of circle he was likely to find there, he about before you make downright positive might hear something which might throw love to a married woman. She would be such a degree of light upon her character likely to kick up a row, wouldn't she, if she as might enable him to decide for or against did not happen to like you ?"
her claims to becoming the idol of his affec“Kick up a row, my dear fellow ?'' re- tions. But essentially French as young turned one of his accomplished companions. Mr. Roberts flattered himself he was be“Much you seem to know about the mat- coming, his calculations upon this occasion ter. I give you my sacred honor, Roberts, were very completely English. It might that I have never known a married French- have been very possible, even for so young woman yet, under five-and-thirty, who did a practitioner as Mr. Edward Roberts, to not as decidedly expect me to make love have set the morning gossips of a London to her, as one of our English girls expects drawing-room sufficiently upon some absent to be asked to dance at a ball when a man fair one, as to have produced such hints as has desired to be introduced to her. Nay, he wished to hear if any such could by moreover, I tell you that if you do not make possibility have been uttered. But they love to them you will speedily be sent to manage those things very differently in Coventry, as a stupid English bête not worth France. All persons who really know any the civility of a bow."
thing of French society, must be aware A few such conversations as the above, that such gossip as that for which our young carried far enough in some instances to man was hoping, is precisely the very last merit the name of confidential communica- which he, or any one else, would be likely tions, went far towards removing some of to hear. What may be the cause or mothe old-fashioned English prejudices which tive for this, I will not pretend to say, nor young Mr. Roberts had brought out with could the discussion of the question be of
and he was the more easily induced any possible use to us, whereas it is just to attempt putting these continental theo- possible that the relating Mr. Edward's ries in practice from the strong innate con- notions upon the subject may, and to him sciousness of superior attractions, which therefore let us return. He found at Mrs. the openly expressed admiration of his moth- Bretlow's much such a party as he expected, er and sisters had generated. In short, and no greater difficulty than he anticipated Mr. Edward Roberts determined not to in making Madame de Soissonac the subwaste his time any longer as he had done ;ject of conversation. Every one seemed but to select, without further delay, such to agree that her salon was one of the most an object for his vows, as might render his agreeable in Paris, and she herself very residence in Paris as enchanting to him, as charming, although one thought she was un he was assured it had been to his more petit peu too thin; and another that she experienced friends. He would have found was un petit peu too pale, &c., &c.; but no difficulty whatever in making this choice every one acknowledged that she was per(for he really thought Madame de Soissonac fectly elegant, and that her toilet was irreone of the most captivating women he had proachable. Now all this Mr. Edward ever seen) had it not been for some trifling Roberts knew perfectly well before, and doubts, which, despite all the eloquence he he therefore determined to take courage, had listened to, still hung about him, as to and at once to hazard a question, the anthe certainty of his success. It was not swer to which would go far towards decidthat he questioned the truth of his friend's ing his future conduct. Our young man, statements in general, and still less did he it must be observed, had already made no doubt his own chance of success in particu- inconsiderable progress in the French lanlar; but he thought he should like, before guage, and with a little occasional assisthe committed himself by an open declara- ance from his friend Mrs. Bretlow, he contion of his passion, to learn, if possible, I trived to take his share in the conversation,
and at length screwing his courage to the enviable station of his chère anie, than he important point he had in view, he man- dressed himself “ by the card,” not the aged to ask very intelligibly, whether the shipman's,” but the shopman's, and brushfair lady they were speaking of had not ing his hair and tying his cravat with a tenbeen a good deal talked of in Paris ? der anxiety that proved he was very much
Mais, oui, oui !” exclaimed two or three in earnest, he set forth “ alone in his glory," voices at once; and one lady in a tone of to call upon her. Her carriage was at the considerable authority, added, " That un- door, but nevertheless he was admitted, and less it were, perhaps, in the very highest found the fair object of his intended vows circles, she had never known any one more in the act of reading aloud to half-a-dozen talked of ihan Madame de Soissonac.” visitors a jeu d'esprit that had just been
“ Assurement !-mais assurement !" was added to the collection in her album. She replied by two or three of the circle, and so gently bent her head in salutation as the distinctly that Edward Roberts felt quite young man entered, but made no pause in sure, without asking Mrs. Bretlow any ques- her lecture. Had he been French instead tions on the subject, of his having compre- of English he could not have understood hended perfectly what they said.
very much of an epigram of which he only Had a young Frenchman made up his heard half; he did not, however, allow himmind as decidedly as our young English- self to be disconcerted by this, but showed man now did, to make a declaration of love his handsome white teeth as cordially as to Madame de Soissonac, it is rather more the rest of the party, when the lady ceased. than probable that he would have sought But this was not all he did. The party he the earliest opportunity of finding that had found there, consisting of two ladies charming person alone. But had any such and four gentlemen, were all, as well as course of proceeding been proposed to our their fair hostess, standing, for, in fact, they young tyro, he would certainly have replied were just about to separate, the carriage of that he knew better than that. In truth, madame having been announced. But not though by no means particularly diffident, for this did the young lover deem it necesthe young Englishman thought it would be sary to change his purpose of not suffering necessary to pave the way to this decisive another day to elapse without making interview by a series of those delicate ini- Madame de Soissonac aware of her contiatory attentions (with which young gentle- quest; for in fact he was beginning to feel men on this side the channel are apt to a good deal ashamed of not having paid ber make evident to all, what those on the other this compliment before. He, therefore, prefer communicating to one alone. while the rest of the party were making
Accordingly young Mr. Roberts deter- their lively remarks on the lines they had mined to commence his attack upon the heard, glided round to the other side of the heart of the charming Madame de Soissonac table around which the party were standing, precisely in the same style that he would and seating himself on the sofa from whence have adopted at home, had he, with the full Madame de Soissonac had just risen, he consent of the parents on both sides, com- extended his hand to take the manuscript menced paying his addresses to the lady volume she held in hers, and looking up in he intended for his wife. The unsophisti- her face with a smile at once tender and cated young man conceived, in the simpli- familiar, said, “ Laissez moi voir donc." city of his heart, that what were received as Madame de Soissonac colored slightly, delicate attentions on one side of the water, and withdrawing the book, replied, “ Parmust of necessity be received as delicate don, Monsieur,” locking at the same time attentions on the other, and little did he its little golden padlock with a jewelled key guess that the only indication by which a which decorated the watch chain suspended spectator having some connaissance des from her fair neck. choses, could ever be led to suspect that M. “ Madame va sortir," said one of the un tel was on particularly good terms with gentlemen present, taking up his hat and Madame une telle, would be the total avoid- preparing to depart. ance on the part of the gentleman of every Si, si; il faut dire adieu," said more attention whatever. No sooner, therefore, than one voice, and a general movement had our young Englishman made up his announced their intention of taking leave. mind on the subject, and decided positively But young Mr. Roberts kept his ground, or that Madame de Soissonac, and no other, rather his sofa, depositing his hat under the should for the time being be elevated to the table in a manner which spoke very dis