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things in her hair. I'm sure I ought to know her. That fellow Pultuney is talking to her, you see. Confound him, he is intimate with every body."
“And very intimate with that lady,” said Splashington—" too intimate I am afraid. I thought you knew Miss Sweetenham."
“Of course—va-ry well, but you don't mean, my good sir, to tell me that that is Miss Sweetenham in the crimson train. I saw her go home an hour ago-upon my soul I did, an hour ago. It is not probable—not at all.”
“Le vrai n'est pas toujours le vraisemblable," returned Splashington; " I scarcely knew her my
“ Dear me, mamma, if it isn't Miss Sweetenham come back again," said one of the Miss Singletons to her mother." I wouldn't have believed it if I had not seen Mrs. Sweetenham on one side of her, and Mr. Pultuney on the other. Is that dress meant for Rebecca ?
“ No—my dear, I shouldn't think so, but I don't know," said Miss Singleton's mamma.
“ Well, I don't think after all it is any thing so very fine," said the other Miss Singleton, who had just been deposited by her partner in a spare seat at the maternal side. " Trumpery, very, my dear, in my opinion,"
remarked Mrs. Singleton; “ it's only cotton velvet, I think—at all events nothing but China." ." I wonder what it is though,” said the younger Miss Singleton—" perhaps it is meant for Queen Esther."
“ If it is then," said Mrs. Singleton, “all I've got to say is, that it is very improper and indecent, and irreligious to caricature the Bible in this way; and you may depend upon it that Queen Esther never wore China velvet-she would have had Genoa at the least.”
"I don't think she looks at all well,” rejoined the elder Miss Singleton—" that I don't-I never could think her pretty, and to-night she looks plainer than
Nothing could have well been more untrue than this, for never had the beautiful Augusta Sweetenham looked half so beautiful as she did on this memorable evening, when all unexpectedly she re-appeared amongst the dancers at the Town-hall-to the delight of the gentlemen, the chagrin of the ladies, and the unbounded astonishment of all. She was, indeed, splendidly dressed, in the costume of a Roman lady of the fourteenth century, and it was not possible that the Nina Raselli of Bulwer's romance, * (which was the character Miss Sweetenham had chosen,) could have found, in every respect, a more fitting representative. Over a spangled
under-dress of white satin, she wore a robe open in front, of the richest crimson velvet, confined at the waist by a golden cincture, and descending in a long and majestic train, which swept the ground behind her, as she passed along with slow and queen-like tread, well knowing that she was the observed of all observers, the admiration of the other sex and, what pleased her better, the envy of her own. Small wonder was it that they, who did not know her well, should have at first doubted her identity; for by disposing of her rich and facile hair, after a fashion, entirely new to her, which gave an additional height to the visible expanse of her forehead, and by assuming a head-dress, which, being partly composed of a long pendent veil, concealing the back of her head and the turn of her neck and shoulders, she had to a certain extent disguised herself, so as to deceive at a first and a far off view, almost every body in the room, a deception, which her previous departure had necessarily rendered more easy. Certainly she looked most beautifuland was most sumptuously attired. Alas! alas! for poor Peregrine, who now felt more fascinated than ever by the syren charms of the fascinating Augusta.
Mrs. Sweetenham, being tired, had seated herself on a sofa, and Peregrine was left alone with Augusta-alone in a crowd, as lovers know very well indeed how to be. She leant heavily on his arm, and Peregrine pressed it to his side.
" I shall not dance any more to-night,” said Augusta; “ this train is not meant for dancing in, besides, I am tired of the nonsense, which the men are eternally talking to me. I have had my funset the room a-gape, and when I have set them a-talking about the impropriety of my walking about with you, I shall ask aunt to take me home again."
“ Not yet-not yet, for some time," urged Peregrine, who felt himself much happier than he ought to have been—delighted, flattered, enamoured-almost conscious of a mutual attachment.
“ No, not yet certainly, not yet," rejoined Miss Sweetenham—" But they are going to stand up again for a quadrille, pray take me into the refreshment-room, or they will be pestering me to dance-besides, I rather want an ice."
" That I will — that I will,” said Peregrine, " let us get out of the crowd by all means—we can walk up and down on the side of the pillars, and then the yahoos will not tread upon your train— ".
" Are you not almost tired of these scenes ?" asked Peregrine, as the two young people quitted the refreshment-room. “There is but a poor satisfaction in this kind of enjoyment after all—a momentary excitement, followed by a painful re-action, and we reproach ourselves for having been so silly."
" I agree with you, that we ought to be ashamed of ourselves," returned Augusta. “ Not, however, for taking part in these scenes, but for suffering ourselves to be excited by them. I confess that I cannot always wrap myself up in the serene cloak of the philosopher, and walk calmly over the sea of vanities, which surrounds my life. I often think of those beautiful lines of Young, but I fear that I never profit by thinking of them.
• A soul immortal spending all her fires
To waft a feather, or to drown a flyi"And even still more beautiful than the lines themselves, were the sweetly modulated tones of Augusta's voice, and the feeling manner in which she recited the poetry..
Poor Peregrine was quite lost. It was all over with him, for he was waxing sentimental.
66 Yes,” he said, “ how much sweeter than all this idle vanity—this heartless and false mirth, the free communion of two sympathising souls-heart answering to heart, understanding one another, true friendship, such as-may I say ours?-I think we understand one another.”
“ I hope we do—I hope we do,” said Augusta, “ for no one has ever understood me yet.”
“ I think I do. I think I do, indeed,” urged Peregrine; “ I know that you are not as others think you, vain, inconstant, whimsical, capriciousI know that you are not as many think you, most happy in such scenes as these,