Page images
PDF
EPUB

LETTER THE NINTH.

MISS CHESTERFIELD HAS BEEN TO PARIS.

How infinitely kind of Lady Coseymore! How I love her for adding, as she has done, to the happiness and amusement of my

beloved Louisa ! Not that Amelia-Charlotte de Fytchett should be excluded from a share in my thanks. But gratitude, my dear, like most impulsive qualities, is partial and one-sided. I am afraid King Charles the Second was in too great a hurry to be grateful to General Monk, who had given him back his crown, and too eager to reward him with the Dukedom of Albemarle to have much leisure for even common gratitude towards the Pendrells, who had saved him from the block when he was fain to abide in the oak, or towards the hundreds of gallant cavaliers who had perilled their lives and spent their fortunes in his cause. Let me take this fine historic example, and, profiting by it, strive for once to be just as well as generous in my gratitude. Thank

Amelia-Charlotte. Kiss her for me, darling, and tell her how fully I appreciate her efforts to cast sunshine on your life. Sure nothing could have been better managed ; and the plot of your little drama of pleasure has been as skilfully constructed as successfully worked out. Mrs. de Fytchett had been deprived, through Mr. de Fytchett's gout, of her annual autumnal holiday tour : say up the Rhine or to Hombourg-les-Bains, or to the Western Highlands, orsweet pilgrimage, endeared to me by ineffaceable memories of happy days !—to the lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland. She, weary of London, would have made a descent on Brighton or Scarborough, Harrogate or Ventnor, or the soft and emollient Torquay; nay, she might perchance have condescended to visit the crabbed passée old woman on her sofa at Pumpwell, at the fall of the year; but that dreadful influenza supervened, and, ovewhelmed by floods of farinaceous food and sweet spirits of nitre, she was again compelled to abandon her trip. But Amelia-Charlotte, an energetic woman-some people, I am not among the number, call her obstinate—was not to be balked of her plans of enjoyment. With the New Year she put into execution a plan long conceived of taking the imperial city of Paris by storm. She tore Mr. de Fytchett away from his department at the Royal Rabbit Warrens Office—it is true the Hereditary Grand Hareskin seller, who looks in once a quarter to draw his salary, told him that he was working himself to death (the Ostend correspondence is enormous), and that he ought positively to take a month's extra leave. She reminded him of a long-standing promise. She incited him to drive to his bankers, Messrs. Doublon and Moydor, Fleet Street, and procure, through the intermediary of that firm, the requisite Foreign Office passports ; and in the bleakest, frigidest of December weather she carried him, per Dover Mail train and packet steamer, and Great Northern Railway of France, to that delightful capital which these old eyes have not seen for twenty long years. Of course you were to go. Is there any rational pleasure on foot of whici my Louisa was not to partake ? Frederica was to go and renew her reminiscences of Madame de Vergenne's Pensionnat de demoiselles, like Count Rodolpho in the Somnambula. Pincott even had a corner in a passport, and was to accompany the other female domesticities, for we are a polite and genteel

you,

ty with

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

nation, and always travel with our ladies' maids, our medicine chests, and our neatly-bound Body of Controversial Theology. All was ready for the journey, when what did that dear, kind, thoughtful Lady Coseymore do, than write post haste to say that during your sojourn in Paris, she insisted on your sharing the hospitality of her splendid mansion in the Avenue Marigny. She was too old and affectionate a friend of your mamma, Lady Coseymore said, to be denied; and while you stayed in Paris she would be proud to occupy, with AmeliaCharlotte, a joint guardianship over Sir Charles Chesterfield's orphan. Need I say that with my concurrence, per electric telegraph_fancy saying "certainly" by a flash of lightningthe generous offer was gratefully accepted, and that, while the De Fytchetts occupied a sumptuous and costly suite of apartments at the Hôtel du Louvre-Mr. de F. is high up in the office without his private means and A. C.'s pin money, and can afford it—my darling was lodged at my Lady Coseymore's snug and handsome caravanserai in the Avenue Marigny, Champs Elysées. The De Fytchetts, on their part, were not sorry. My old acquaintance with the Coseymores gave them, through you, a pied à terre in higher circles than, genteel as they are, they can aspire to in London; and so a dream almost of the Arabian Nights has been realised, and my Louisa has spent a fortnight in Paris with the kindest hostess in the world—a superb old lady of the grand old school she should be by this time, and has mixed, moreover, with the very best society, both native and foreign, to be found in the gay and cosmopolitan metropolis of France. The daughter of a princess might be proud to be sheltered under the roof of such a lady as my old friend. Honoria Baroness Coseymore goes everywhere. She is a Peeress in her own ght; witness her coroneted lozenges, and supporters, and motto, “Il est mien.Her husband, General Baron Coseymore, G.C.B., died covered with wounds, British and foreign orders of knighthood, and corn-plasters. He was one of the bravest officers that fought in the Peninsular war under the immortal Wellington, and was a martyr to bunions. He was immensely rich-mainly, it was whispered, through despoils of Spanish convents—was a great musical amateur and patron of art, and was one of the rudest and coarsest old men I ever met with. His peerage is extinct, and the Baroness got the creation in her lifetime as a reward for something that Coseymore did for his party. She prefers living in Paris, on her ample jointure, to vegetating in London. She sees everybody-Buonapartists, Legitimists, Orleanists, Republicans, Diplomatists, Yankees, Muscovites, and Mussulmen. I believe that her maiden name was Maltworm, and that her grandfather brewed table ale on Bow Common.

One little thorn just seems to peer from your bouquet of Parisian roses—one little doubt perplexes me. Must it not have been by one of the very oddest of coincidences that, at the

very moment that Paris trip was arranged, Ferdinand de Fytchett should have obtained six weeks' leave of absence from his regiment, and that of all people in the world Mr. Reginald Tapeleigh, who had postponed his autumnal leave also, should have elected to disport his elegant person in Paris, and in the company of Ferdinand, of whom that amiable young gentleman is now a great crony? Three times over you tell me in your last that Reginald is not wild, that he never plays or stops out late like the dreadful guardsmen, and that you have never seen his eyes inflamed or his face unseasonably pale. I only know that Ferdinand de Fytchett is very much libelled if he be not one of the wildest young men extant—and he is not in the Guards either. I have heard, Miss, of his debts and his doings at barracks; his debts and

« PreviousContinue »