myself that I was. Perhaps Gerald had provided their pres-
ent retreat for sire and daughter; perhaps they at this mo-
ment laughed over my rivalry and my folly. Methought
Gerald's lip wore a contemptuous curve when we met. "It
shall have no cause," I said, stung to the soul; "I will in-
deed forget this woman, and yet, though in other ways, eclipse
this rival. Pleasure, ambition, the brilliancy of a court, the
resources of wealth, invite me to a thousand joys. I will
not be deaf to the call. Meanwhile I will not betray to
Gerald, to any one, the scar of the wound I have received;
and I will mortify Gerald, by showing him that, handsome as
he is, he shall be forgotten in my presence ! "
Agreeably to this exquisite resolution, I paid incessant court
to the numerous dames by whom my uncle's mansion was
thronged; and I resolved to prepare, among them, the repu-
tation for gallantry and for wit which I proposed to establish
"You are greatly altered since your love," said Aubrey,
one day to me, "but not by your love. Own that I did right
in dissuading you from its indulgence ! "
" Tell me ! " said I, sinking my voice to a whisper, " do you
think Gerald was my rival ? " and I recounted the causes of
Aubrey's countenance testified astonishment as he listened.
"It is strange, very strange," said he; "and the evidence of
the boat is almost conclusive; still I do not think it quite
sufficient to leave no loop-hole of doubt. But what matters
it ? you have conquered your love now."
"Ay," I said, with a laugh, "I have conquered it, and I
am now about to find some other empress of the heart. What
think you of the Lady Hasselton? — a fair dame and a sprightly.
I want nothing but her love to be the most enviable of men,
and a French valet-de-chamhre to be the most irresistible."
"The former is easier to obtain than the latter, I fear," re-
turned Aubrey ; " all places produce light dames, but the war
makes a scarcity of French valets."
"True," said I, "but I never thought of instituting a com-
parison between their relative value. The Lady Hasselton,
no disparagement to her merits, is but one woman; but a
French valet who knows his metier arms one for conquest
over a thousand ; " and I turned to the saloon.
Fate, which had destined to me the valuable affections of
the Lady Hasselton, granted me also, at a yet earlier period,
the greater boon of a French valet. About two or three weeks
after this sapient communication with Aubrey, the most
charming person in the world presented himself a candidate
pour le supreme honheur de soigner Monsieur le Comte. In-
telligence beamed in his eye; a modest assurance reigned
upon his brow; respect made his step vigilant as a zephyr's;
and his ruffles were the envy of the world!
I took him at a glance ; and 1 presented to the admiring in-
mates of the house a greater coxcomb than the Count Deve-
reux in the ethereal person of Jean Desmarais.
THE HERO ACQUITS HIMSELF HONOURABLY AS A COXCOMB.
A FINE LADY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, AND A FASH-
IONABLE dialogue; the SUBSTANCE OF FASHIONABLE DIA-
LOGUE BEING IN ALL CENTURIES THE SAME.
"I AM thinking, Morton," said my uncle, "that if you are
to go to town, you should go in a style suitable to your rank.
What say you to flying along the road in my green and gold
chariot? 'Sdeath! I'll make you a present of it. Nay —
no thanks; and you may have four of my black Flanders
mares to draw you."
"Now, my dear Sir William," cried Lady Hasselton, who,
it may be remembered, was the daughter of one of King
Charles's Beauties, and who alone shared the breakfast-room
with my uncle and myself> — "now, my dear Sir William, I
think it would be a better plan to suffer the Count to accom-
pany us to town. We go next week. He shall have a seat in
our coach, help Lovell to pay our post-horses, protect us at
inns, scold at the drawers in the pretty oaths of the fashion,
which are so innocent that I will teach them to his Countship
myself; and unless I am much more frightful than my hon-
oured mother, whose beauties you so gallantly laud, I think
you will own, Sir William, that this is better for your nephew
than doing solitary penance in your chariot of green and gold,
with a handkerchief tied over his head to keep away cold,
and with no more fanciful occupation than composing sonnets
to the four Flanders mares."
"'Sdeath, Madam, you inherit your mother's wit as well
as beauty," cried my uncle, with an impassioned air.
"And his Countship," said I, "will accept your invitation
without asking his uncle's leave."
"Come, that is bold for a gentleman of — let me see,
thirteen — are you not ? "
"Really," answered I, "one learns to forget time so terribly
in the presence of Lady Hasselton that I do not remember
even how long it has existed for me."
"Bravo!" cried the knight, with a moistening eye; "you
see. Madam, the boy has not lived with his old uncle for
" I am lost in astonishment ! " said the lady, glancing to-
wards the glass ; " why, you will eclipse all our beaux at your
first appearance ; but — but — Sir William — how green those
glasses have become! Bless me, there is something so conta-
gious in the effects of the country that the very mirrors grow
verdant. But — Count — Count — where are you. Count ? [I
was exactly opposite to the fair speaker.] Oh, there you are!
Pray, do you carry a little pocket-glass of the true quality
about you? But, of course you do; lend it me."
" I have not the glass you want, but I carry with me a mir-
ror that reflects your features much more faithfully."
" How ! I protest I do not understand you ! "
" The mirror is here ! " said I, laying my hand to my
" 'Gad, I must kiss the boy! " cried my uncle, starting up.
"I have sworn," said I, fixing my eyes upon the lady, — "I
have sworn never to be kissed, even by women. You must
pardon me, Uncle."
"I declare," cried the Lady Hasselton, flirting her fan,
which was somewhat smaller than the screen that one puts
into a great hall, in order to take off the discomfort of too
large a room, — "I declare. Count, there is a vast deal of orig-
inality about you. But tell me, Sir William, where did your
nephew acquire, at so early an age — eleven, you say, he is
— such a fund of agreeable assurance ? "•
"Nay, Madam, let the boy answer for himself."
"Imprimis, then," said I, playing with the ribbon of my
cane, — '^imprimis, early study of the best authors, — Con-
greve and Farquhar, Etherege and Eochester; secondly, the
constant intercourse of company which gives one the spleen
so overpoweringly that despair inspires one with boldness —
to get rid of them ; thirdly, the personal example of Sir Wil-
liam Devereux; and, fourthly, the inspiration of hope."
*' Hope, sir ? " said the Lady Hasselton, covering her face
with her fan, so as only to leave me a glimpse of the farthest
patch upon her left cheek, — " hope, sir ? "
"Yes, the hope of being pleasing to you. Suffer me to add
that the hope has now become certainty."
" Upon my word, Count — "
"Nay, you cannot deny it; if one can once succeed in im-
pudence, one is irresistible."
"Sir William," cried Lady Hasselton, "you may give the
Count your chariot of green and gold, and your four Flanders
mares, and send his mother's maid with him. He shall not
go with me."
" Cruel ! and why ? " said I.
" You are too " — the lady paused, and looked at me over
her fan. She Avas really very handsome — " you are too old,
Count. You VI list be more than nine."
"Pardon me," said I, "I am nine, — a very mystical num-
ber nine is too, and represents the Muses, who, you know,
were always attendant upon Venus — or you, which is the
same thing; so you can no more dispense with my company
than you can with that of the Graces."
"Good morning, Sir William," cried the Lady Hasselton,
I offered to hand her to the door ; with great difficulty, for
her hoop was of the very newest enormity of circumference, I
effected this object. "Well, Count," said she, "I am glad to
see you have brought so much learning from school; make
the best use of it Avhile it lasts, for your memory will not
furnish you with a single simile out of the mythology by the
end of next winter."
"That would be a pity," said I, "for I intend having as
many goddesses as the heathens had, and I should like to
worship them in a classical fashion."
" Oh, the young reprobate ! " said the beauty, tapping me
with her fan. " And pray, what other deities besides Venus
do I resemble ? "
"All! " said I,— "at least, all the celestial ones! "
Though half way through the door, the beauty extricated
her hoop, and drew back. " Bless me, the gods as well as the
goddesses ? "
"You jest: tell me how."
" ISTothing can be easier ; you resemble Mercury because of
"Ay; stolen hearts, and," added I, in a whisper, "glances;
Jupiter, partly because of your lightning, which you lock up
in the said glances, — principally because all things are sub-
servient to you; Neptune, because you are as changeable as
the seas; Vulcan, because you live among the flames you ex-
cite; and Mars, because — "
"You are so destructive," cried my uncle.
"Exactly so; and because," added I — as I shut the door
upon the beauty — " because, thanks to your hoop, you cover
nine acres of ground."
"Ods fish, Morton," said my uncle, "you surprise me at
times: one while you are so reserved, at another so assured;
to-day so brisk, to-morrow so gloomy. Why now, Lady Has-
selton (she is very comely, eh! faith, but not comparable to
her mother) told me, a week ago, that she gave you up in de-
spair, that you were dull, past hoping for; and now, 'Gad,
you had a life in you that Sid himself could not have sur-
passed. How comes it. Sir, eh ? "
"Why, Uncle, you have explained the reason; it was
exactly because she said I was dull that I was resolved to
convict her in an untruth."
" Well, now, there is some sense in that, boy ; always con-
tradict ill report by personal merit. But what think you of
her ladyship ? 'Gad, you know what old Bellair said of
Emilia. ' Make much of her: she 's one of the best of your
acquaintance. I like her countenance and behaviour. Well,
she has a modesty not i' this age, a-dad she has. ' A^jplicable
enough ; eh, boy ? "
"'I know her value. Sir, and esteem her accordingly,' " an-
swered I, out of the same play, which by dint of long study I
had got by heart. "But, to confess the truth," added I, "I
think you might have left out the passage about her
"There, now; you young chaps are so censorious; why,
'sdeath, sir, you don't think the worse of her virtue because
of her wit?"
"Ah, boy! when you are my age, you'll know that your
demure cats are not the best; and that reminds me of a little
story ; shall I tell it you, child ? "
"If it so please you. Sir."
"Zauns — Where's my snuff-box? — oh, here it is. Well,
Sir, you shall have the whole thing, from beginning to end.
Sedley and I were one day conversing together about women.
Sid was a very deep fellow in that game: no passion you
know; no love on his own side; nothing of the sort; all done
by rule and compass ; knew women as well as dice, and calcu-
lated the exact moment when his snares would catch them,
according to the principles of geometry. D — d clever fellow,
faith; but a confounded rascal: but let it go no further;
mum's the word! must not slander the dead; and 'tis only
my suspicion, you know, after all. Poor fellow: I don't think
he was such a rascal; he gave a beggar an angel once, — well,
boy, have a pinch ? — Well, so I said to Sir Charles, *I think
you will lose the widow, after all, — 'Gad I do.' 'Upon what
principle of science. Sir William ? ' said he. 'Why, faith,
man, she is so modest, you see, and has such a pretty way of
blushing.' 'Hark ye, friend Devereux,' said Sir Charles,
smoothing his collar and mincing his words musically, as
he was wont to do, — 'hark ye, friend Devereux, I will give
you the whole experience of my life in one maxim: I can
answer for its being new, and I think it is profound; and
that maxim is — , ' no, faith, Morton — no, I can't tell it
thee : it is villanous, and then it 's so desperately against
all the sex."
" My dear uncle, don't tantalize me so : pray tell it me ; it
shall be a secret."
"No, boy, no: it will corrupt thee; besides, it will do poor
Sid's memory no good. But, 'sdeath, it was a most wonder-
fully shrewd saying, — i' faith, it was. But, zounds, Morton,
I forgot to tell you that I have had a letter from the Abbe
"Ha! and when does he return ?"
"To-morrow, God willing! " said the knight, with a sigh.
" So soon, or rather after so long an absence ! Well, I am
glad of it. I wish much to see him before I leave you."
"Indeed!" quoth my uncle ; "you have an advantage over
me, then! But, ods fish, Morton, how is it that you grew so
friendly with the priest before his departure ? He used to
speak very suspiciously of thee formerly; and, when I last
saw him, he lauded thee to the skies."
"Why, the clergy of his faith have a habit of defending
the strong and crushing the weak, I believe; that 's all. He
once thought I was dull enough to damn my fortune, and
then he had some strange doubts for my soul; now he thinks
me wise enough to become prosperous, and it is astonishing
what a respect he has conceived for my principles."
''Ha! ha! ha! — you have a spice of your uncle's humour
in you; and, 'Gad, you have no small knowledge of tlie
world, considering you have seen so little of it."
A hit at the popish clergy was, in my good uncle's eyes,
the exact acme of wit and wisdom. We are always clever
with those who imagine we think as they do. To be shallow
you must differ from people : to be profound you must agree
with them. "Why, Sir," answered the sage nephew, "you
forget that I have seen more of the world than many of twice
my age. Your house has been full of company ever since I
have been in it, and you set me to making observations on
what I saw before I was thirteen. And then, too, if one is
reading books about real life, at the very time one is mixing
in it, it is astonishing how naturally one remarks and how
well one remembers."
"Especially if one has a genius for it, — eh, boy? And
then too, you have read my play; turned Horace's Satires
into a lampoon upon the boys at school; been regularly to
assizes during the vacation; attended the county balls, and
been a most premature male coquette with the ladies. Ods
fish, boy! it is quite curious to see how the young sparks of
the present day get on with their lovemaking."
"Especially if one has a genius for it, — eh, sir ?" said I.
"Besides, too," said my uncle, ironically, "you have had
the Abbe's instructions."
"Ay, and if the priests would communicate to their pupils
their experience in frailty, as well as in virtue, how wise they
would make us ! "
"Ods fish! Morton, you are quite oracular. Hoav got you
that fancy of priests ? — by observation in life already ?"
" No, Uncle : by observation in plays, which you tell me are
the mirrors of life; you remember what Lee says, —
" "T is thought
That earth is more obliged to priests for bodies
Thau Ileaveu for souls.' "
And my uncle laughed, and called me a smart fellow.
THE ABB]e's return. — A SWORD, AND A SOLILOQUY.
The next evening, when I was sitting alone in my room,
the Abbe ^Nlontreuil suddenly entered. "Ah, is it you ? wel-
come ! " cried I. The priest held out his arms, and embraced
me in the most paternal manner.
"It is your friend," said he, "returned at last to bless and
congratulate you. Behold my success in your service," and
the Abbe produced a long leather case richly inlaid with gold.
"Faith, Abbe," said I, "am I to understand that this is a
present for your eldest pupil ? "
"You are," said Montreuil, opening the case, and produ-
cing a sword. The light fell upon the hilt, and I drew back,
dazzled with its lustre ; it was covered with stones, apparently
of the most costly value. Attached to the hilt was a label of
purple velvet, on which, in letters of gold, was inscribed,
" To the son of Marshal Devereux, the soldier of France, and
the friend of Louis XIV."
Before I recovered my surprise at this sight, the Abbe
said: "It was from the King's own hand that I received this
sword, and I have authority to inform you that if ever you
wield it in the service of France it will be accompanied by a
post worthj^ of your name."
"The service of France!" I repeated; "why, at present
that is the service of an enemy."
"An enemy only to a jxirt of England!" said the Abbe,
emphatically; "perhaps I have overtures to you from other
monarchs, and the friendship of the court of France may be
synonymous with the friendship of the true sovereign of
There was no mistaking the purport of this speech, and
even in the midst of my gratified vanity I drew back alarmed.
The Abbe noted the changed expression of my countenance,
and artfully turned the subject to comments on the sword, on
which I still gazed with a lover's ardour. Thence he veered
to a description of the grace and greatness of the royal donor :
he dwelt at length upon the flattering terms in which Louis
had spoken of my father, and had inquired concerning myself;
he enumerated all the hopes that the illustrious house into
which my father had first married expressed for a speedy
introduction to his son ; he lingered with an eloquence more
savouring of the court than of the cloister on the dazzling cir-
cle which surrounded the French throne ; and Avhen my van-
ity, my curiosity, my love of pleasure, my ambition, all that
are most susceptible in young minds, were fully aroused, he
suddenly ceased, and wished me a good night.
"Stay," said I; and looking at him more attentively than I
had hitherto done, I perceived a change in his external ap-
pearance which somewhat startled and surprised me. Mon-
treuil had always hitherto been remarkably plain in his dress ;
but he was now richly attired, and by his side hung a rapier,
which had never adorned it before. Something in his aspect
seemed to suit the alteration in his garb : and whether it was
that long absence had effaced enough of the familiarity of his
features to allow me to be more alive than formerly to the
real impression they were calculated to produce, or whether
a commune with kings and nobles had of late dignified their
old exj)ression, as power was said to have clothed the soldier-
mien of Cromwell with a monarch's bearing, — I do not affect
to decide; but I thought that, in his high brow and Eoman
features, the compression of his lip, and his calm but haughty
air, there was a nobleness, which I acknowledged for the
first time. "Stay, my father," said I, surveying him, "and
tell me, if there be no irreverence in the question, whether
brocade and a sword are compatible with the laws of the
Order of Jesus ? "
"Policy, Morton," answered Montreuil, "often dispenses
with custom; and the declarations of the Institute provide,
with their usual wisdom, for worldly and temporary occa-
sions. Even while the constitution ordains us to discard
habits repugnant to our professions of poverty, the follow-
ing exception is made: 'Si in occurrenti aliqua occasione,
vel necessitate, quis vestibus melioribus, honestis tamen,
inilueretur. ' " ^
'• There is now, then, some occasion for a more glittering
display than ordinary ? " said I.
"There is, my pupil," answered ^Montreuil; "and whenever
you embrace the oifer of my friendship made to you more
than two years ago, — whenever, too, your ambition points to a
lofty and sublime career, — whenever to make and unmake
kings, and in the noblest sphere to execute the will of God,
indemnifies you for a sacrifice of petty wishes and momentary
passions, — I will confide to you schemes worthy of your
ancestors and yourself."
With this the priest departed. Left to myself, I revolved
his hints, and marvelled at the power he seemed to possess.
"Closeted with kings," said I, soliloquizing, — "bearing their
presents through armed men and military espionage; speak-
ing of empires and their overthrow as of ordinary objects of
ambition; and he himself a low-born and undignified priest,
of a poor though a wise order, — well, there is more in this
than I can fathom : but I will hesitate before I embark in his
dangerous and concealed intrigues ; above all, I will look well
ere I hazard my safe heritage of these broad lands in the
service of that House which is reported to be ungrateful, and
which is certainly exiled."
After this prudent and notable resolution, I took up the
sword, re-examined it, kissed the hilt once and the blade
twice, put it under my pillow, sent for my valet, undressed,
went to bed; fell asleep, and dreamed that I was teaching the
Marechal de Villars the thrust en seconde.
But Fate, that arch-gossip, who, like her prototypes on
earth, settles all our affairs for us without our knowledge of
the matter, had decreed that my friendship with the Abbe
Montreuil should be of very short continuance, and that my
adventures on earth should flow through a different channel
than, in all probability, they would have done under his
spiritual direction. ^
1 " But should there chance any occasion or necessity, one may wear better
tbouprh still decorous Erarmeuts."
A MYSTERIOUS LETTER. A DUEL. THE DEPARTURE OF ONE
OF THE FAMILY.
The next morning I communicated to tlie Abbe my inten-
tion of proceeding to London. He received it with favour.
"I myself," said he, "shall soon meet you there: my ofBce in
your family has expired; and your mother, after so long an
absence, will perhaps readily dispense with my spiritual ad-
vice to her. But time presses : since you depart so soon, give
me an audience to-night in your apartment. Perhaps our
conversation may be of moment."
I agreed ; the hour was fixed, and I left the Abb^ to join
my uncle and his guests. While I was employing among
them my time and genius with equal dignity and profit, one
of the servants informed me that a man at the gate wished to
see me — and alone.
Somewhat surprised, I followed the servant out of the room
into the great hall, and desired him to bid the stranger attend
me there. In a few minutes, a small, dark man, dressed
between gentility and meanness, made his appearance. He
greeted me with great respect, and presented a letter, which,
he said, he was charged to deliver into my own hands,
"with," he added in alow tone, "a special desire that none
should, till I had carefully read it, be made acquainted with
its contents." I was not a little startled by this request;
and, withdrawing to one of the windows, broke the seal. A
letter, enclosed in the envelope, in the Abbe's own handwrit-
ing, was the first thing that met my eyes. At that instant
the Abbe himself rushed into the hall. He cast one hasty
look at the messenger, whose countenance evinced something
of surprise and consternation at beholding him; and, hasten-
ing up , to me, grasped my hand vehemently, and, while his
eye dwelt upon the letter I held, cried, " Do not read it — not
a word — not a -svord : there is poison in it ! " And so saying,
he snatched desperately at the letter. I detained it from
him with one hand, and pushing him aside with the other,,
" Pardon me, "Father, directly I have read it you shall have
that pleasure, — not till then!" and, as I said this, my eye
falling upon the letter discovered my own name written in
two places. My suspicions were aroused. I raised my eyes
to the spot where the messenger had stood, with the view of
addressing some question to him respecting his employer,
when, to my surprise, I perceived he was already gone ; I had
no time, however, to follow him.
"Boy," said the Abbe, gasping for breath, and still seizing
me with his lean, bony hand, — "boy, give me that letter in-
stantly; I charge you not to disobey me."
"You forget yourself. Sir," said I, endeavouring to shake
him off, "you forget yourself: there is no longer between us
the distinction of pupil and teacher; and if you have not yet
learned the respect due to my station, suffer me to tell you