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might amount, at the very most, to about five-and-thirty pounds, and as she supposed it would not be called for before the expiration of some months from the present time, she had calculated that by a persevering adherence to wine of four sous the bottle, instead of ten; by contenting herself with bad butter, no cream, and the total avoidance of fish, game, pastry, and preserved green peas; together with a little extra economy in the article of washing, she should be perfectly prepared to meet it, without saying a single word to Mr. Roberts on the subject. Clever as she was, however, she had now decidedly made a great blunder; and it was not very easy to see, at the first glance, how she was to get out of the scrape into which she had fallen. But, as I have said, she did not lose her courage, but raising her eyes, and fixing them on the messenger, she said, “Disez à votre maitress.” It was now the man's turn to color, which he did, looking rather fierce at the same time. Mrs. Roberts observed it, and attributed it to displeasure at her having forgotten his rather remarkable proficiency in the English language. “Oh, I beg your pardon, young man; I quite forgot that you knew how to speak English, which I really think I still prefer to every other language when I can make it convenient to use it. Tell your mademoiselle then, if you please, that as the bill is a good deal longer than I expected, it is absolutely necessary that I should look it over quite at my leisure. And you may mention to her also, if you please, that by her foolishly leading me into such a great error about the time when she wished to be paid, I shall not be ready with the money for a day or two—that's all. You may go now, if you please. I will see about it, and your mademoiselle shall hear from me.” The man civilly replied that he had no doubt the end of the week would suit Mademoiselle Amabel perfectly well, and then, with as low a bow as he thought necessary, left the room. “What will papa say?” exclaimed Agatha, as the door closed behind him. “Isn't eighty pounds, mamma, a monstrous deal of money for such a short time ! Don't you think it is a shocking large sum ?” “No, my dear, I do not think it is at all, considering the very elegant appearance that I have taken care you should both of you make. As to my part of it, every body knows that no girl in the world, let her be
ever so handsome, or ever so elegant, can hope to get on, either in marrying, or even getting a decent partner, unless her chaperon is well-dressed, and looks like a woman of fashion. On this point, I am quite sure your father will agree with me. But I own I am rather afraid that he will find fault at seeing such an immense quantity of things put down to your names. Besides he never, you know, ventures to find fault with me; but I don't think it is quite clear that he will consider it necessary to be equally ceremonious about you. I am sure if he is angry, I don't know what on earth you will say to him.” “Don’t you think it might be possible, mamma, to pay this horrid bill without his knowing any thing about it?” said Agatha, looking very sad. “It would be so much better, you know, if you could, for when he once gets hold of a thing, he bores one for ever with it—doesn't he 7” “He is a little in that line, Agatha, there is no denying it,” replied her mother. “But you know I never get any thing worse for my share than just the tiresomeness of listening to it. You both of you know persectly well, that he would never dream of finding fault with me for buying a cloak or any thing else. Indeed it would be very odd if he did.” “But you wouldn't like, mamma, to hear him going ding-dong, on day after day, every time that we put on any thing decent, eternally repeating eighty pounds in nine weeks! eighty pounds in nine weeks! eighty pounds in nine weeks" said Maria, wittily putting her hands behind her back, and walking up and down the room with a step and attitude, which certainly resembled those of her papa, more than might have been expected from so light-footed and slender a young lady.— Mrs. Roberts smiled, and Agatha laughed aloud. “It is very clever, Miss Maria,” said her mother, endeavoring to recover her gravity, “but it won't go far, I'm afraid, towards paying Mademoiselle Amabel's bill; and as to doing it without making your father give me an extra check, it is impossible. Fancy me squeezing out eighty pounds out of our eating and drinking, my own little pocket expenses, and coach-hire l I have no other funds to go to, I promise you ; and, into the bargain, it is to be done at three days' warning. I must ask him for the money— there is no other way of getting out of it.” “Don’t mamma!” persisted the usually volatile, but now firm-minded Maria. “Pray don’t; if you do, you will repent it as long as you live, for you will never hear the last of it. You know, mamma, as well as I do, that papa is not over quick in finding any thing to say when he takes it into his head to show fight about any thing, and if you tell him of this bill, you will be putting an ever-loaded pistol into his hand, that he will go on popping in our faces to the end of time; and you will get your share of it in one way, mamma, if you don't in another, you may take my word for that; for we shall both of us be worn into peaking, pining, yellow-faced old maids in no time—at least, I can venture to answer for myself.” “I have not a word to say against the correctness of your statement, Maria,” replied her mother, “except the just assuring you that it is as inevitable as it is true. If you know how to think as well as to talk, just set your wits to work, my dear, to invent a way of getting out of it.” “As to that, mamma,” said Agatha, setting down the alarming bill, which she had been perusing with a heightened complexion, “as to that, you know there are, for there must be ways enough to manage such a matter as this, without going at the very first pinch and telling papa of it. What do you suppose all the exquisitely dressed women in Paris do when a bill happens to run up a little higher than they expected 7 Can you possibly believe that they all trot off to show it to their husbands? Or that things would go on as smoothly as they seem to do now, if they did? Do you really suppose the women of Paris are such idiots?” “Then what do you suppose they do do, Agatha 7" returned Mrs. Roberts, who had listened to this remonstrance with considerable attention. “Oh, as to that, mamma, there may be a variety of ways and means with which, of course, I am not likely to become acquainted; and as to any of them, you know, one can but guess.” “Well, child, and what do you guess?” said her mother, rather impatiently; for Mrs. Roberts not being at all in the habit of requiring the opinions of either husband or children as to what was best to be done in any emergency, was rather restive under the process of receiving advice. “Why, this is what I guess, mamma; when a lady finds herself, a propos of her milliner, exactly in the position that you are now, a propos of Mademoiselle Amabel, I guess, as the Yankees say, that it is to her she would apply, and not to her own hus
band, to ascertain what would be the easiest way of settling the affair.” “What can you mean, Agatha, by talking such abominable nonsense to me?” returned Mrs. Roberts, in a tone of great displeasure. “You may think as lightly of running in debt as you please, but I can tell you that this is no time for joking, and if you don't believe me, you may ask your papa for his opinion.” “Yes, yes, I do believe you, mamma; but it seems to me that you must be joking, if you mean to say that I have proposed your asking Mademoiselle Amabel to pay her own bill. But she may make the paying of it comparatively easy, without lending you the money, according to the old Sheridan plan. If I had to pay the bill, I should go to the woman this morning, and take with me as much ready money from my housekeeping purse as I could conveniently spare; this I should give her, taking good care to have her receipt for it, and I should tell her, with the most perfect frankness, that her bill having come in considerably before I expected it, I could not possibly pay it directly without taking it formally in to my husband, which was what I never did with my milliner's bills if I could possibly help it. I should then add, with a gay sort of laugh, that, nevertheless, if she insisted upon having the money directly, it should be done; but that if so, I should be obliged, though I liked her style extremely, to employ another milliner, as I did not choose to be subjected to this startling style of doing business.” Mrs. Roberts listened to all this very gravely, but with an expression of countenance not quite easy to interpret. There was a mixture of admiration and surprise in it, but in addition to this, there was an air of being half frightened. But as she remained silent, expecting, perhaps, that her young counsellor would proceed, Maria ventured to say that what Agatha proposed appeared to her extremely reasonable, and very likely to succeed. “Upon my word, mamma, I think, that at any rate you ought to make the experiment. Just think how we were hurt and vexed last night by that horrid woman's impertinence. I quite give her up now, for it is past three o'clock, and we have neither card, note, nor any thing else to explain it. So think, dear mamma, of our vexation last night, and do not add to it by bringing down papa upon us, about these unfortunate dresses, which, after all, you know, it would have
been absolutely impossible for us to do without, if he were to take it into his head to kill us for it. Just fancy, if you please, the pretty appearance that Agatha and I should have made had we been left to our pitiful thirty pounds per annum, at Lady Moreton's and Lady Forton's—at the embassy—at that horrid Madame de Soissonac's —and in short, at all the places that have given us the least pleasure. I am sure if it had not been for Mademoiselle Amabel, we might, and we must, have contented ourselves with going to church on a Sunday, going to a play about once a week, and indulging in an occasional excursion to Versailles in a railroad omnibus. So you have just got to make up your mind, mamma, as to which you think best—the being obliged ...to set your wits to work for a little clever management with mademoiselle, or to see us, and yourself too, turned from being people of fashion and consequence, as we are now, into vulgar humdrums, that no soul worth knowing would choose to speak to, or even look at.” The evident savoir faire of both her daughters, certainly surprised Mrs. Roberts a good deal; but she felt that it might be, and at the present moment actually was, very useful. “Where in the world did they get such clever thoughtful notions?” was the idea which first suggested itself to her mind; for in London, in her very gayest days, Mrs. Roberts had never been called upon to exercise her superior faculties in this sort of way—but the mental answer to the mental question was obvious—France had done it —Paris had done it. She herself felt a perfectly different creature in Paris, and no wonder the girls did so too. But although Mrs. Roberts very pleasantly felt the use of such ready and intelligent advisers, she had been too long accustomed to be herself the main spring of the domestic machine, to relish the idea of her children's taking it into their heads that she could not get on without their help. She, therefore, only nodded to them both, with an air of lighthearted, gay good-humour, and said, “Well done, girls, you have not been three months in Paris for nothing. Great wits generally jump together, you know, and your scheme is not very much unlike what I have been thinking of myself all the time that you have been chattering. At any rate, when the carriage comes, which it will do directly, I suppose, I shall drive to Mademoiselle Amabel's and see what I can do
with her. But before I go to put on my bonnet, girls, I shall choose to say one word to you both. You must remember, my dear children, that our happening to have fallen into particularly gay and elegant society since we have been in Paris, which I have contrived to bring about solely for your sakes, and that of your exemplary brother, you must take great care to remember that although this may have justified, and more than justified, my having permitted this little excess in the article of dress, yet, that as a general principle, I most strongly recommend economy, and the most careful avoidance of every thing like running into debt. If I did not conceive it impossible that with such a mother as myself you should ever forget this, I should be perfectly miserable, I should indeed. But I trust there is no danger of it.” As this was spoken with much solemnity, and that air of authoritative dignity which Mrs. Roberts so well knew how to assume, the two young ladies listened to her in submissive silence, and with features arranged into an expression of the most profound gravity and even deference. The carriage did come to the door immediately, as Mrs. Roberts expected it would, but although this usually punctual lady was naturally inclined to hasten away, both because she made it a rule never to keep the coachman waiting, and because she was really very anxious to finish the business she was upon, Miss Maria detained her long enough to say, “But remember, mamma, the best way in the world to bring Mademoiselle Amabel to terms is to order something new ; and if you do, dearest mamma, don’t forget how very badly I want a new scarf. I have not one that is fit to be seen.” Mrs. Roberts only nodded in reply and departed; but she returned very soon, apparently in excellent spirits, and generously made a present to each of her daughters of a very splendid new scarf. No more was said at that time on the subject of mademoiselle's bill, the young ladies very wisely deciding in their own minds that if their mamma wanted any more talk about it she would take care to let them know it, and that if she did not, it would be a great pity to set her going again upon so very disagreeable a theme. “How much would you bet, Maria,” said Agatha, “that mamma never had an idea of going to mademoiselle till I put it into her head “If I bet upon the subject at all,” replied
her sister, laughing, “it certainly would not be that she had not. In the first place, I am sure of it, from her manner—oh, I know mamma so well ; and in the next, I am sure of it, because with all her cleverness, and I do not mean to deny that she certainly is clever in her own way, she has so very little notion of what women of real fashion do, either in this country or our own. She has never, you know, been at a modern boarding-school as we have, and therefore she has never had the advantage of hearing all the anecdotes that our admirable teacher used to recount for our advantage—not to mention all we have read, you know, in more languages than one. All this makes a great difference, and those are the sort of reasons, you may depend upon it, why old people never do know how to do any thing so well as young ones. And the fact is, Agatha, that if we hope to get on, as I know we should both of us like to do, we must contrive, somehow or other, to have our way in most things, or we shall be disappointed, you may depend upon it.”
RETURN or Poles.—We presume the following may be attributed as one good result of the visit which the Emperor of Russia recently paid to this country. Permission has been granted to the Poles, in ioni. to return under amnesty, to their native country, with the condition that they should pass through Holland, to Poland; and it has ... been communicated to them, through the Russian ambassador, that, as many of them are in a state of poverty, and wholly unable to meet the expenses of the journey, a sum sufficient for the purpose is placed at their disposal by his Government. On Sunday last, thirteen of these exiles, two of whom have married in Englond, left London for Rotterdam. It is really worth mentioning, as a striking expression of that rapidity of movement, which is practically bringing the ends of the earth together, that the journey from London to Brussels is now performed in a single day !—the arrangements for this great object having been brought finally to bear on Sunday last. On that day the travellers left London for Dover, at half-past five in the morning, and were in Brussels at a quarter past nine in the evening, performing the whole distance, two hundred and thirty-eight miles of sea and land, in fifteen hours and three-quarters—more than two of which were spent at Ostend —Athenaturn.
The BRitish AND Foreign Institute held its first general annual meeting yesterday week, the Earl of Devon, president, in the chair. Mr. Buckingham read a report, which gave a favorable account of the progress, funds, and numbers of the society, which was approved of, and ordered to be printed for distribution.—Lit. Gaz.
LE PEUPLE SOURIQUOIS.
AN. Historical sketch, BY A MoUse.
Mice are a nation of very great antiquity they crept into the world when it was but five days old, thus having precedence of the human race by full twenty-four hours. No people ever had a loftier parentage; all their historians, from AEsop to La Fontaine, agreeing that they are descended from the Mountains. No mouse could ever see matter for ridicule in this descent, although Horace has been so merry on the subject. In consequence of their connexion with the Mountains, mice are, of course, allied to the illustrious family of the Hills, and consider themselves part of the haute noblesse of the kingdom. Previously to the era of the Deluge the annals of the race are necessarily brief; but Mice are generally of the opinion that Nimrod obtained the title of the “mighty hunter” from the wars which he waged with their gallant nation. Noah paid them distinguished attention, but their antiquaries have not yet succeeded in discovering the card of invitation which Mr. and Mrs. Mouse, the antediluvians, must have re ceived from the commander of the ark. However, they survived the Flood by that officer's courtesy, and in gratitude for so valuable a service, have adhered to the houses of his posterity from that day to this. If they were more attached to one of their benefactor's sons than to another, it was unquestionably to Ham. It has been said that a mouse of the patriarchal times was caught nibbling the venison pasty which Esau made for his father Isaac. There may be truth in the report, or there may be none. In all probability it is a sheer calunnn W. The affection of mice for Ham has led to the notion that they were the inventors of mustard, which is certainly confirmed by the obvious derivation of that word from mus, a mouse. Amongst the mice of the old world, those of Babylon enjoyed the first celebrity. The walls of that famous city were, in fact, nothing else than a vast army of mice with cocked tails, a curious fact which appears plainly from the description given of those walls by the poet Ovid :
That “coctilibus muris” is properly translated “cock-tailed mice,” is acknowledged by a learned writer in the “Anti-Jacobin,” who, however, absurdly supposes that the mice in this case were dead. Of all Asiatic cities Angora was probably the most unpopular with the mice of antiquity, on account of the race of cats by which that place was infested; the cat having been at all times the inveterate enemy of our name. Like other nations, the Souriquois have had their fabulists as well as their historians, and one of their legends recounts an early and close alliance contracted with a no less illustrious personage than the Lion, to whom a mouse was once upon a time enabled to render a service of the last importance. It is natural to think that the Lion must have been only too happy to cultivate the friendship and conciliate the goodwill of auxiliaries like us. Though a peaceful race, when left to themselves, the mice have had their wars; and they are too great a nation to have little wars. History records no such brilliant campaign as that of the Souriquois with the Frogs. Some idea of the magnitude of the quarrel may be collected from the circumstance that the greatest poet of ancient times has immortalized it in that beautiful epic of which he subsequently wrote an amusing parody, which he entitled the “Iliad.” The “Batrachyomachia; or, Battle of the Frogs and Mice,” is indeed a stupendous poem ; but no less a work would have been worthy of the theme.
Oh, fill my rising song with sacred fire,
And again :
Nay, the gods decline to mix in the fight through fear of our martial prowess. Pallas thus addressed the celestial council:
Let all like me from either host forbear,
Nor tempt the flying furies of the spear.
Some daring mouse may meet the wondrous odds,
Though gods oppose, and brave the wounded gods.
Achilles shines with a faint splendour by the side of our great Psycarpax. The stone
which this warrior flung at the frog, Pelobates, the poet describes as follows:
Not twice ten mice th' enormous weight could raise, Such mice as live in our degenerate days.
Homer, however, probably underrates the mice of his own time, to exalt those of the heroic age. But more illustrious still was Meridarpax. He was indeed
The foremost mouse of all the world !
adorned with every mouseful quality, the bravest and most accomplished noblemouse in the Souriquois aristocracy.
Pride of his sire, and glory of his hole,
It has always been a subject of just surprise to our critics, how the bard who sang the exploits of mice could have stooped his wing to celebrate the puny deeds of men; but it is still more curious to find that the true cause of the wars of the Souriquois with the nations of the fens has been left for a mouse of the present day to discover. The truth is this. The mice were always a melodious nation, endowed by nature with the finest ears, and it was not possible that they could always patiently endure the discordant croakings of the population of the marshes and low countries. At length the nuisance became intolerable. They convened a parliament, or mouse-mote, as it was termed, and proclaimed war to the bullrush with their untuneful neighbors. Fifty thousand mice-at-arms took the field, and every mouse behaved mousefully. In addition to our land force, they collected (which Homer has not mentioned) a powerful navy, consisting of one hundred mice-of-war, all moused with able-bodied sea-mice. The youngest midship.mouse in the fleet was fit to command an Armada. Our admiral was one of the most remarkable mice in history, and could have taught Blake and Nelson their duty. Indeed, it was from him that the latter borrowed the famous battlecry of Trafalgar. The original was this— “Mouseland expects that every mouse will do his duty,” An English writer named Southey has written “the Lives of the A dimirals,” and has not mentioned the name of Troglodytes! Our generalissimo by land was Troxartes. He had lived the life of a philosopher in calm obscurity, until his country required the service of his paws,