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"And why will you not allow me to think of mine?" said the lady.—" Because," said the philosopher, "you ought not to think of them; and since so many great ladies have been so unfortunate, it ill becomes you to despair. Think on Hecuba; think on Niobe."— "Ah!" said the lady, "had I lived in their time, or in that of so many beautiful princesses, and had you endeavoured to console them by a relation of my misfortunes, would they have listened to you, do you imagine?"
Next day the philosopher lost his only son, and was like to have died with grief. The lady caused a catalogue to be drawn up of all the kings who had lost their children, and carried it to the philosopher. He read it; found it very exact; and wept nevertheless. Three months after, they renewed their visits, and were surprised to find each other in such a gay and sprightly humour. They caused to be erected a beautiful statue to Time, with this inscription, To him who comforts.
THE LOVER OF MUSIC TO THE PIANOFORTE.
Oh, friend, whom glad or grave we seek,
And peace is mine.
More sweet may be.
To thee, when our full hearts o'erflow
With griefs or joys,
A fitting voice.
And Memory dear—And Sorrow, with his tighten'd breast,
Comes for a tear.
Oh! since no joys of human mould
Thus wait us still,
Of peace at will.
In thee we find:
Thine answers kind.
JOURNAL OF A LADY OF FASHION*
Mondat Awoke with a head-ache, the certain effect of being bored all the evening before by the never-dying strain at the Countess of Leyden's. Nothing ever was half so tiresome as musical parties: no one gives them except those who can exhibit themselves, and fancy they excel. If you speak, during the performance of one of their endless pieces, they look cross and affronted: except that all the world of fashion are there, I never would go to another; for, positively, it is ten times more fatiguing than staying at home. To be compelled to look charmed, and to applaud when you are half dead from suppressing yawns, and to see half-a-dozen very tolerable men, with whom one could have had a very pleasant chat, except for the stupid music, is really too bad. Let me see, what have I done this day? Oh! I remember every thing went wrong, as it always does when I have a head-ache. Flounce, more than usually stupid, tortured my hair; and I flushed my face by scolding her. I wish people could scold without getting red, for it disfigures one for the whole day; and the consciousness of this always makes me more angry, as I think it doubly provoking in Flounce to discompose me, when she must know it spoils my looks.
Dressing from twelve to three. Madame Tornure sent me a most unbecoming cap: mem. I shall leave her off when I have paid her bill. Heigh-ho, when will that be? Tormented by duns, jewellers, mercers, milliners: I think they always fix on Mondays for dunning: I suppose it is because they know one is sure to be horribly vapoured after a Sunday evening's party, and they like to increase one's miseries. Just as I was stepping into my carriage, fancying that I had got over the desagremens of the day, a letter arrives to say that my mother is very ill, and wants to see me: drove to Grosvenor square in no very good humour for nursing, and, as I expected, found that Madame Ma Mere fancies herself much worse than she really is. Advised her to have dear Dr Emulsion, who always tells people they are not in danger, and who never disturbs his patient's mind with the idea of death until the moment of its arrival: found my sister supporting mamma's head on her bosom, and heard that she had sat up all night with her: by-the-bye, she did not look half so fatigued and ennuied as I did. They seemed both a little surprised at my leaving them so soon; but really there is no standing a sick room in May. My sister begged of me to come soon again, and cast a look of alarm (meant only for my eye) at my mother; I really
* From "Sketches and Fragments. By the Countess of Bleasington."
think she helps to make her hippish, for she is always fancying her in danger. Made two or three calls: drove in the Park: saw Belmont, who looked as if he expected to see me, and who asked if I was to be at the Duchess of Winterton's to-night. I promised to go —he seemed delighted. What would Lady Allendale say, if she saw the pleasure which the assurance of my going gave him? 1 long to let her see my triumph. Dined tete-a-tete—my lord very sulky—abused my friend Lady Winstanley, purposely to pique me, —he wished me not to go out; said it was shameful, and mamma so ill; just as if my staying at home would make her any better. Found a letter from Madame, the governess, saying that the children want frocks and stockings:—they are always wanting:—I do really believe they wear out their things purposely to plague me. Dressed for the Duchess of Winterton's: wore my new Parisian robe of blonde lace, trimmed, in the most divine way, with lilies of the valley. Flounce said I looked myself, and 1 believe there was some truth in it; for the little discussion with my Caro had given an animation and lustre to my eyes. I gave Flounce my puce-coloured satin pelisse as a peace-offering for the morning scold.—The party literally full almost to suffocation. Belmont was hovering near the door of the anti-room, as if waiting my approach: he said I never looked so resplendent :.—Lady Allendale appeared ready to die with envy—very few handsome women in the room—and still fewer well dressed. Looked in at Lady Calderwood's and Mrs Burnet's. Belmont followed me to each. Came home at half past three o'clock, tired to death, and had my lovely dress torn past all chance of repair, by coming in contact with the button of one of the footmen in Mrs B.'s hall. This is very provoking, for I dare say Madame Tornure will charge abominably high for it.
Tuesday.—Awoke in good spirits, having had delightful dreams: —sent to know how mamma felt, and heard she had a bad night:— must call there, if I can:—wrote Madame a lecture, for letting the children wear out their clothes so fast: Flounce says they wear out twice as many things as Lady Woodland's children. Read a few pages of Amelia Mansfield: very affecting: put it by for fear of making my eyes red. Lady Mortimer came to see me, and told me a great deal of scandal chit-chat: she is very amusing.'—I did not get out until past five: too late then to go and see mamma. Drove in the Park, and saw Lady Litchfield walking: got out and joined her: the people stared a good deal. Belmont left his horse and came to us: he admired my walking-dress very much.—Dined alone, and so escaped a lecture:—had not nerves sufficient to see .the children,.—they make such a noise, and spoil one's clothes. Went to the Opera: wore my tissue turban, which has a good effect. Belmont came to my box, and sat every other visitor out. My lord came in, and looked, as usual, sulky. Wantedme to go away without waiting for the dear delightful squeeze of the round room. My lord scolded the whole way home, and said I should have been by the sick bed of my mother instead of being at the Opera. I hummed a tune, which I find is the best mode of silencing him, and he muttered something about my being unfeeling and incorrigible.
Wednesday.—Did not rise till past one o'clock, and from three to five was occupied in trying on dresses and examining new trimmings. Determined on not calling to see mamma this day, because, if I found her much worse, I might be prevented from going to Almack's, which I have set my heart on:—drove out shopping, and bought some lovely things:—met Belmont, who gave me a note which he begged me to read at my leisure:—had half a mind to refuse taking it, but felt confused, and he went away before I recovered my selfpossession :—almost determined on returning it without breaking the seal, and put it into my reticule with this intention; but somehow or other my curiosity prevailed, and I opened it.—Found it filled with hearts, and darts, and declarations:—felt very angry at first; for really it is very provoking that one can't have a comfortable little flirtation half-a-dozen times with a man, but that he fancies he may declare his passion, and so bring on a denouement; for one must either cut the creature, which, if he is amusing, is disagreeable, or else he thinks himself privileged to repeat his love on every occasion. How very silly men are in acting thus; for if they continued their assiduities without a positive declaration, one might affect to misunderstand their attentions, however marked; but those decided declarations leave nothing to the imagination; and offended modesty, with all the guards of female propriety, are indispensably up in arms. 1 remember reading in some book that " A man has seldom an offer of kindness to make to a woman, that she has not a presentiment of it some moments before;" and I think it was in the same book that I read, that a continuation of quiet attentions, leaving their meaning to the imagination, is the best mode of gaining a female heart. My own experience has proved the truth of this.—I wish Belmont had not written to me:—I don't know what to do:—how shocked my mother and sister would be if they knew it!—I have promised to dance with him at Almack's too:—how disagreeable! 1 shall take the note and return it to him, and desire that he will not address me again in that style. I have read the note again, and I really believe he loves me very much:—poor fellow, I pity him:—how vexed Lady Winstanley would be if she knew it!—I must not be very angry with him: I'll look grave and dignified, and so awe him, but not be too severe. I have looked over the billet again, and don't find it so presumptuous as I first thought it:—after all, there is nothing to be angry about, for fifty women of rank have had the same sort of thing happen to them without any mischief following it. Belmont says I am a great prude, and I believe I am; for I frequently find myself recurring to the sage maxims of mamma and my sister, and asking myself what would they think of so and so. Lady Winstanley laughs at them, and calls them a couple of precise quizzes; but still I have remarked how much more lenient they are to a fault than she is. Heigh-ho, I am afraid they have been too lenient to mine:—but 1 must banish melancholy reflections, and dress for Almack's. Flounce told me, on finishing my toilette, that I was armed for conquest; and that I never looked so beautiful. Mamma would not much approve of Flounce's familiar mode of expressing her admiration; but, poor soul, she only says what she thinks.—I have observed that my lord dislikes Flounce very much; but so he does every one that I like.
Never was there such a delightful ball:—though I am fatigued beyond measure, I must note down this night's adventures: I found the rooms quite filled, and narrowly escaped being locked out by the inexorable regulations of the Lady Patronesses, for it only wanted a quarter to twelve when I entered. By-the-bye, I have often wondered why people submit to the haughty sway of those ladies; but I suppose it is that most persons dislike trouble, and so prefer yielding to their imperious dictates to incurring a displeasure, which would be too warmly and too loudly expressed, not to alarm the generality of quiet people. There is a quackery in fashion, as in all other things, and any one who has courage enough (I was going to write impudence), rank enough, and wealth enough, may be a leader. But here am I moralizing on the requisites of a leader of fashion, when I should be noting down the delicious scene of this night in her favourite and favoured temple. I tried to look very grave at poor Belmont; but the lights, the music, and the gaiety of the scene around me, with the consciousness of my looking more than usually well, gave such an exhilaration to my spirits, that I could not contract my brows into any thing like a frown, and without a frown, or something approaching it, it is impossible to look grave. Belmont took advantage of my good spirits to claim my hand, and pressed It very much. I determined to postpone my lecture to him until the next good opportunity, for a ball-room is the worst place in the world to act the moral or sentimental. Apropos of Belmont, what have I done with his note?—My God, what a scrape have I got into! I left my reticule, into which I had put the note, on my sofa, and the note bears the evident marks