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as I really liked and esteemed him, I was resolved not to hear; accordingly I turned to another part of the room there I found Lady Dawtonshe was a tall, handsome woman, as proud as a liberal's wife ought to be. She received me with unusual graciousness, and I sat myself beside her. Three dowagers, and an old beau of the old school, were already sharing the conversation with the haughty countess. I found that the topic was society.

Vincent muttered something which, has the happiness of sitting, what possible subject can one broach with any prudence. I put politics aside, because, thanks to party spirit, we rarely meet those we are strongly opposed to; but if we sneer at the methodists, our neighbour may be a saint-if we abuse a new book, he may have written it—if we observe that the tone of the piano-forte is bad, his father may have made it-if we complain of the uncertainty of the commercial interest, his uncle may have been gazetted last week. I name no exaggerated instances; on the contrary, I refer these general remarks to particular individuals, whom all of us have probably met. Thus, you see, that a variety of topics is proscribed in a mixed company, because some one or other of them will be certain to offend."

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No," said the old beau, who was entitled Mr. Clarendon, "society is very different from what it was in my younger days. You remember, Lady Paulet, those delightful parties at D-House? Where shall we ever find anything like them? Such ease, such company-even the mixture was so piquant; if one chanced to sit next a bourgeois, he was sure to be distinguished for his wit or talent. People were not tolerated, as now, merely for their riches."

"True," cried Lady Dawton, "it is the introduction of low persons, without any single pretension, which spoils the society of the present day!" And the three dowagers sighed amen, to this remark.

"And yet," said I, "since I may safely say so here without being suspected of a personality in the shape of a compliment, don't you think, that without any such mixture we should be very indifferent company? Do we not find those dinners and soirées the pleasantest where we see a minister next to a punster, a poet to a prince, and a coxcomb like me next to a beauty like Lady Dawton? The more variety there is in the conversation, the more agreeable it becomes! "

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Perceiving that we listened to him with attention, Mr. Clarendon continued-"Nor is this more than a minor objection to the great mixture prevalent amongst us: a more important one may be found in the universal imitation it produces. influx of common persons being once permitted, certain sets recede, as it were, from the contamination, and contract into very diminished coteries. Living familiarly solely amongst themselves, however they may be forced into visiting promiscuously, they imbibe certain manners, certain peculiarities in mode and words—even in an accent or a pronunciation, which are confined to themselves: and whatever differs from these little eccentricities, they are apt to condemn as vulgar and suburban. Now, the fastidiousness of these sets making them difficult of intimate access, even to many of their superiors in actual rank, those very superiors, by a natural feeling in human nature, of prizing what is rare, even if it is worthless, are the first to solicit their acquaintance; and, as a sign that they enjoy

it, to imitate those peculiarities which | dowagers, "that of all the novels on are the especial hieroglyphies of this society with which we are annually sacred few. The lower grades catch inundated, there is scarcely one which the contagion, and imitate those they gives even a tolerable description imagine most likely to know the of it!" essentials of the mode; and thus manners, unnatural to all, are transmitted second-hand, third-hand, fourth-hand, till they are ultimately filtered into something worse than no manners at all. Hence, you perceive all people timid, stiff, unnatural, and ill at ease, they are dressed up in a garb which does not fit them, to which they have never been accustomed, and are as little at home as the wild Indian in the boots and garments of the more civilised European."

"And hence," said I, "springs that universal vulgarity of idea, as well as manner, which pervades all society -for nothing is so plebeian as imitation."

"Not strange," said Clarendon, with a formal smile, "if your ladyship will condescend to reflect. Most of the writers upon our little great world, have seen nothing of it: at most, they have been occasionally admitted into the routs of the B.'s and C.'s of the second, or rather the third set. A very few are, it is true, gentlemen; but gentlemen, who are not writers, are as bad as writers who are not gentlemen. In one work, which, since it is popular, I will not name, there is a stiffness and stiltedness in the dialogue and descriptions perfectly ridiculous. The author makes his countesses always talking of their family, and his earls always quoting the peerage. There is as much fuss about state, and dignity, and pride, as if the greatest amongst us were not far too busy with the petty affairs of the world to have time for such lofty vanities. There is only one rule necessary for a clever writer who wishes to delineate the beau monde. It is this: let him consider that 'dukes, and lords, and noble princes,' eat, drink, talk, move, exactly the same as any other class of civilised people-nay, the very subjects in conversation are, for the most part, the same in all sets-only, perhaps, they are somewhat more familiarly and

"A very evident truism!" said Clarendon. "What I lament most, is the injudicious method certain persons took to change this order of things, and diminish the désagrémens of the mixture we speak of. I remember well, when Almack's was first set up, the intention was to keep away the rich rôturiers from a place, the tone of which was also intended to be contrary to their own. For this purpose the patronesses were instituted, the price of admission made extremely low, and all ostentatious refreshments discarded: it was an admirable institution for the interests of the little oligarchy who ruled it easily treated with us than among the but it has only increased the general lower orders, who fancy rank is disimitation and vulgarity. Perhaps the tinguished by pomposity, and that records of that institution contain state affairs are discussed. with the things more disgraceful to the aristo- solemnity of a tragedy-that we are cracy of England, than the whole always my lording and my ladying history of Europe can furnish. And each other-that we ridicule com how could the Messieurs et Mesdames moners, and curl our hair with DeJourdains help following the servile brett's Peerage." and debasing example of Monseigneur le Duc et Pair?"

We all laughed at this speech, the truth of which we readily acknow

"How strange it is," said one of the ledged.

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"Nothing," said Lady Dawton,

Finding our little knot was now

of the room, and joined Vincent, Lady Roseville, Ellen, and one or two other persons who were assembled round a table covered with books and prints. Ellen was sitting on one side of Lady Roseville; there was a vacant chair next her, but I avoided it, and seated myself on the other side of Lady Roseville.

amuses me more than to see the broken up, I went into another part great distinction which novel-writers make between the titled and the untitled; they seem to be perfectly unaware that a commoner, of ancient family and large fortune, is very often of far more real rank and estimation, and even weight, in what they are pleased to term fashion, than many of the members of the Upper House. And what amuses me as much, is the no distinction they make between all people who have titles :-Lord Athe little baron, is exactly the same as Lord Z, the great marquess, equally haughty and equally important."

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"Pray, Miss Glanville," said Lord Vincent, taking up a thin volume, "do you greatly admire the poems of this lady?"

"What, Mrs. Hemans? answered Ellen. "I am more enchanted with her poetry than I can express: if that

Vincent turned over the leaves with the quiet cynicism of manner habitual to him; but his countenance grew animated after he had read two pages.

Mais, mon Dieu," said a little is The Forest Sanctuary' which you French count, who had just joined | have taken up, I am sure you will bear us; "how is it that you can expect to me out in my admiration." find a description of society entertaining, when the society itself is so dull? the closer the copy, the more tiresome it must be. Your manner, pour vous amuser, consists in stand-"This is, indeed, beautiful," said he, ing on a crowded staircase, and complaining that you are terribly bored. L'on s'accoutume difficilement à une vie qui se passe sur l'escalier."

"It is very true," said Clarendon, "6 we cannot defend ourselves. We are a very sensible, thinking, brave, sagacious, generous, industrious, noble-minded people; but it must be confessed, that we are terrible bores to ourselves and all the rest of the world. Lady Paulet, if you are going so soon, honour me by accepting my arm.' "You should say your hand," said the Frenchman.

"really and genuinely beautiful. How singular that such a work should not be more known! I never met with it before. But whose pencil marks are these?"

"Mine, I believe," said Ellen, modestly.

And Lady Roseville turned the conversation upon Lord Byron.

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"I must confess, for my part," said Lord Edward Neville (an author of some celebrity and more merit), “that ."I am exceedingly weary of those doleful ditties with which we have been favoured for so many years. sooner had Lord Byron declared himself unhappy, than every young gentleman with a pale face and dark hair, thought himself justified in frowning in the glass and writing Odes to Despair. All persons who could scribble two lines were sure to make them into rhymes of 'blight' and 'night.' Never was there so grand a penchant for the triste."

"Pardon me," answered the gallant old beau; "I say, with your brave countryman when he lost his legs in battle, and was asked by a lady, like the one who now leans on me, whether he would not sooner have lost his arms? No, madam,' said he, (and this, Monsieur le Comte, is the answer I give to your rebuke,) 'I want my hands to guard my heart."

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