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She has the credit of having juwabed half Calcutta and makes a boast of it too, I assure you—I do not not think this says much for her heart, at all events, whatever it may do for her head.”
“ Half Calcutta,'” remarked Peregrine, “ are such fools, that I am not surprised at her juwabing them-and as for her heart, I would not give much for a heart that is to be won by any flattering trifler.”
“ Nor I,” said Mr. Jenks, very sagely; “I do not blame her for dispensing these juwabs, but I do for making a boast of them.”
“Well," rejoined Peregrine, “nothing can convince me that that girl has no heart—her face belies the injurious thought-perhaps, it is that she has too much, and, like many deep-feeling people, finds it necessary to wear a mask.”
“ You are very charitable to-day," observed Julian.
" Only just,” returned Peregrine Pultuney.
“ Very well,” said Julian, “ have it as you will, and there is no denying that she is the prettiest girl in Calcutta, nay, indeed, in India—now.”
“ What do you mean by now ?" asked Peregrine.
"A pretty lover indeed,” rejoined his friend, “ not to be alive to such a compliment to his absent mistress.”
Peregrine's face was slightly crimsoned as he turned it away for a minute-just a minute and no more-and, when he again looked into Julian's face, he changed the subject by asking him abruptly, if he was going to the fancy ball.
“ I am thinking of it," returned Mr. Jenks, " if I have no duty to prevent me, no main guard or other horror of that kind. I suppose you will not
“Of course not," replied Peregrine" it would not be right, would it? do you think it would be very wrong?”
“ I can't say that I do," said Mr. Jenks, " but perhaps, you had better not."
“ I can't see why not though,” rejoined Peregrine, who had begun with a downright negative and was now doing his best to get rid of it, with that wonderful consistency for which young gentlemen, whose desires are at least as strong as their principles, are so celebrated. “I can't see why I should not go to the party, if I feel inclined.”
“Nor do I,” returned Mr. Jenks, “ if you no not; there would be nothing wrong in going to the ball-nothing positively wrong; only people might be apt to think so; and Calcutta is not very charitable, as you know.”
" But,” suggested Peregrine," he was only my uncle—and he has been dead now nearly three months."
" True," said Mr. Jenks, “and if the fair Julia were nothing more to you than your cousin, I would say that there was little occasion for much show of mourning—but you must remember, that half the people, who put on mourning and withdraw from society in consequence, do so more out of respect to the living than they do to the dead.”
“ Thank you, my dear fellow," returned Peregrine, cordially, his better nature triumphing over his selfish wishes, “ you are right, quite right-I forgot that I did not see it in that lightI will think no more of the ball."
Julian Jenks was about to express his approbation of this virtuous resolve, when Dr. Fitz-simon entered the room, and cut short the conversation by inviting Mr. Jenks to tiffin and dinner. The invitations were accepted, and nothing more was heard of the fancy ball during that day, for, in Dr. Fitzsimon's house it was not the custom to talk from morning till night about any such ridiculous ina. nities.
But, it so happened, that Peregrine was engaged to a dinner-party, about a week after this, at Mrs. Parkinson's. He had, since the contretemps, on the day of his landing, got considerably into favour with that lady, who had only withheld her patronage from him, whilst she thought that he was aspiring to the hand of one of her nieces. Having, however, most effectually dispossessed her of this idea, to the great chagrin, it must be added, of Lucretia Gowanspec, our young gentleman soon became a welcome guest at Mrs. Parkinson's, for she always took care to invite to her parties every body who was in any way celebrated as a popular, a talented,
to the bohtly pop
an eccentric, or a distingué personage. Now Peo regrine was eminently popular, and as such he was invited to the burra-khana, which we are now about to celebrate in the pages of this veracious history.
A lively spinster, in the next house to Mrs. Parkinson's, had just counted that lady's gong seventeen times, and longed as often to be one of the invited, when Peregrine drove into the spacious compound, and added one more to the number. Walking up the wide and well-lighted staircase, preceded by a liveried peon (messenger), he passed into the sumptuous drawing-room, which we have already minutely described, and in which no difference was discernible, except, that the gilded punkahs were absent and the chandeliers undressed-almost as much so, indeed, as some of the ladies—and that there was a perfect blaze of light in the room. The gamboge couches and ottomans were now in full perfection, and Mrs. Parkinson, being in full gamboge herself, looked very much indeed as though she were growing out of one of the former, whilst several gentlemen in black broad cloth, and several ladies in satins and velvets, looked very comfortable and very cold-weatherish, and in fact very much as such people look in England, except that the gentlemen's coats were a little worse cut and the ladies dresses in a little worse taste. Mrs. Parkinson was carrying on an animated conversation with Sir Edward Tryem, when Peregrine entered, whilst near
them Mr. Proteus was doing the facetious to Mrs. Jupiter Grand. On a couch hard by were the two Miss Dews the daughters of the Benthamite deputy-governor-looking quiet and lady-like as usual, whilst two young gentlemen, whom Peregrine recognised at once as Frederick Splashington and Mr. Clay, were doing the agreeable with all their might to the above-mentioned young ladies, the one talking French, and the other philosophy, and neither of them with very great success.
A little apart from the rest, on the gamboge ottoman, sat a young lady in a pink dress, with black lace trimmings, whose face Peregrine could not see, as it was turned away from him, but whose neck and hair and general contour of figure he recognised at a glance. She was almost surrounded by a party of young gentlemen, all anxious to claim her attention, to whom she was dispensing smiles and frowns, saying kind things to one, and severe things to another, and laughing in turn at them all. Could this be any other than Augusta Sweetenham? Peregrine's heart answered in the negative, though what right the heart of a young gentleman, in his situation, had to answer at all, we do not pretend to say.
However, we are afraid, we must add, that not only did his heart answer to his eyes, but that his feet answered to his heart, and he walked up to the gamboge ottoman. We have nothing to say in his