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"Why, yes, I suppose we had better not
apartments together in the Rue de Rivoli, [twenty long to dance, and with whom young and are going to give balls. No wonder, ladies verging towards thirty are thankful therefore, that girls dressed as you were to dance, if they can get nothing better. last night, if they were as ugly as sin, The sisters of a young man of this class would be a great catch to any body going are soon taught to know the value of such to give balls-not to mention the particu- a brother. They have no need to fear, in larly striking appearance of your brother. going into a ball-room where there are Of course I understand the thing perfectly." strangers, that they shall be greeted with "And you will leave cards to-day, mam- cold examining glances, or find any diffima, won't you?" inquired the two young culty in obtaining an eligible vis-à-vis ladies in a breath. among the young beauties they find there. They have only to persuade him to let delay it, if we mean to get to the first ball. them "arm him with the freedom of a" But here comes Edward; he is ten times sister during a few turns up and down the more a man of the world than your father, room, and their invitation to the set is seyoung as he is. I want your opinion, Ed-cured, beyond the danger of a single disward, about visiting Lady Morton and La-senting voice. Agatha and Maria Roberts dy Foreton. I suppose you have heard all were by no means dull girls; they saw and the gossip about them? What do you felt all this by a sort of natural instinct, think? Is there any objection?'” even before experience had taught them the "Objection? Why, no, ma'am. What full value of its effect, and it is no wonder objection can there possibly be to visiting therefore that his judgment respecting the two ladies of rank, who have taken a mag-propriety of immediately calling upon Lanificent apartment in the most fashionable dy Morton and Lady Foreton was received quartier of Paris, and who have given out by them as conclusive. that they intend to receive?"
that sympathy of tastes and feelings which is the best security for domestic harmony on all questions of conduct. Mrs. Roberts nodded her assent, saying with a smile, as she looked at the pretty figure of her son, while he supported his elbow on the low chimney-piece,
"Young men are sure to be the best judges on such questions as these. We will leave the cards when we go out after luncheon for our walk in the Tuileries."
"Now then, mamma, I suppose you The son and heir of the Roberts family will have no further scruples?" said Maria. had always been a person of consequence The Robertses were a very happy family in the domestic circle, but his importance in one respect. There was great uniformwas now increasing daily, and might very ity of opinion amongst them, arising from literally be said to grow with his growth, and strengthen with his strength. The budding hair beginning to be visible upon his upper lip, and which it had been one of his best delights to shave during the last year of his university studies, had been suffered to grow since the second day of his residence in Paris; and being of a dark color was rapidly assuming the impressive aspect of a moustache. His mother, and perhaps his sisters too, watched the growth of this manly appendage with satisfaction almost equal to his own; and, in fact, it really was very important to them all. The youth, as I have said, was well-looking; his sisters had, before they left London, inured his brain to the exercise of waltzing, by pretty incessant morning practice, during the last vacation, in the Baker-street drawing-room, and the skill thus acquired had now been well-nigh brought to perfection by assiduous daily practice in the private rooms of the most accomplished professor in Europe. His style of dress too was really as good as the inexperienced imitation of so young a scholar could reasonably be expected to make it; and take him for all in all, he was precisely the sort of youth with whom young ladies under
Among many new acquaintance made and making at Paris, Mrs. Roberts had found one old one. This was a certain Mrs. Bretlow, who might indeed be called an old acquaintance, inasmuch as the intimacy now renewed between the ladies had existed before either of them had been married. As to all the various twistings and turnings in Mrs. Bretlow's destiny, which had ended in her becoming a childless widow, resident in Paris, they matter not. When Mrs. Roberts discovered her old friend, by happening to sit next her at the English church, and catching sight of her name in her prayer-book, she found her in
apparently easy circumstances, living in a |say, that Madame de Soisson ac was a good neat apartment au troisième in the Fau-deal talked of. This phrase, if used in bourg du Roule, and enjoying the entrée to England respecting a young and pretty many French houses of considerable fash- married woman, means, I believe, invaion, if not of the highest "quartier St. riably, that she has been incorrect in her Germain" rank. Both the ladies were de- conduct as a wife;-but in France it means lighted by the unexpected meeting, which no such thing; one remarkable difference afforded Mrs. Bretlow the satisfaction of between the two countries being, that the hearing a great deal about old acquaint- theme which is first brought under discusance whom she had lost sight of for many sion with us, when scandal is the business years, and which eventually gave to Mrs. of the hour, is the last alluded to: whereas Roberts and her family an opportunity of it is neveralluded to at all by our neighseeing much more of French society than bors. No, nobody talked about Madame de they could ever have done without it. Soissonac's lovers, but a great many peo Complaints are often made by English ple talked about her extravagance, her travellers, and not without reason, of the horses, her carriages, her dresses, and difficulty of getting into French society in above all, of the absurd, and every-way-deParis; and assuredly it is no great wonder testable vanity of which she and her husthat it should be difficult, as were it other-band had been guilty in prefixing de before wise, that is to say, were the French to their name. But not for this were the open their doors freely to the English, they salons of Madame de Soissonac the less would speedily be so surrounded by for- brilliantly filled; and well might our Engeigners as to leave little room in their sa- lish friends rejoice at the thrice happy loons for any thing else. And this is quite enough to account for the difficulty, without having recourse to any other cause. Certain it is that when, by the advantage of a sufficient introduction, French doors are opened to us, nothing can exceed the amenity and good breeding with which we are received. The Roberts family (with the exception of Mr. Roberts himself) were in ecstasies, when an introduction, managed very skilfully by Mrs. Bretlow, obtained an invitation to an evening party at one of the gayest houses of the Chaussée d'Antin aristocracy.
chance which had opened these salons to them. Pretty looking, always well-dressed, and with very little, or at any rate, very short-lived insular shyness to obscure their good gifts, the Miss Robertses, as well as their portly mamma, soon became constant guests at this gay mansion; nor was their daily improving brother less fortunate; and so effectually did the charming hostess exert herself to bring the young strangers advantageously forward, that their partners at her weekly balls were always among the most distinguished persons present. Of this honor and happiness they might none Madame de Soissonac was an exceeding- of them perhaps have been fully aware withly pretty and elegant-looking young wo-out the assistance of their good friend and man, whose husband, a rich manufacturer of Lyons, appeared never so well pleased as when the magnificent set of rooms which he had furnished on his marriage were crowded with guests. But, notwithstanding this expensive hospitality, he did little or nothing himself towards bringing together the gay crowds which he delighted to see parading through the rooms his lavish expenditure had decorated. All that part of the business was left to his wife, and it was impossible that he could have been blessed by the possession of a helpmate But why, oh, why is it the fate of humanmore admirably calculated to fulfil all his ity that no blessing ever visits it without wishes in this respect than was Madame de being followed by a concomitant evil? BeSoissonac. Of course it was morally im-fore the introduction of the Roberts family possible that any pretty young woman oc- to Madame de Soissonac, they had been cupying so enviable a situation could delighted, flattered, gratified in the highest escape the tax always levied upon those degree, by having been invited to the Engwho are conspicuous in any way; that is to lish embassy two Friday evenings out of
original patroness, Mrs. Bretlow, who naturally took some credit to herself for having so speedily and effectually launched the party into Parisian society. But what was her triumph compared to that of Mrs. Roberts? Who but herself, as she regularly asked her family collectively and individually every morning-who but herself could have contrived to make so much of reading a name (which she had never heard mentioned for the last twenty years) in a prayer-book?
the six that they had been in Paris. But had passed since the arrival of his family in now they began not only to think, but to say Paris, had not been an idle interval for him. aloud to all who would listen to them, that Never had he omitted an opportunity of "the manner in which the English were pushing into intimacy every casual introneglected at the embassy, was perfectly dis-duction which seemed in any way to promise graceful!"
"May it not be," said a French lady who was upon one occasion the recipient of this complaint, may it not be that the number of English in Paris is so great as to render it impossible for Lady G- to receive them all every time her rooms are open ?"
"All?" replied Miss Agatha, with great indignation. "All the English? Nobody of course expects that Lady G― should invite all the English. But people like ourselves, who move in the very first circles of Paris society, may certainly expect to be among those who are invited."
"Always?" said the French lady, with a gentle smile.
"Yes, madame, certainly, always; why not? Why, s'il vous plait, should our names ever be omitted when the weekly list is made out? It is impossible but that we should consider it as little short of positive impertinence. We none of us, I assure you, scruple to say so-not to mention the extraordinary want of hospitality shown by their never having once asked us to dinner. I really should like to ask them what they think they are sent here for? Coming, too, with such introductions as we did, it is perfectly unpardonable!"
a profitable result; and Mrs. Roberts had very soon the extreme gratification of knowing that her son might every day be seen walking arm-in-arm on the Boulevard Italien with sundry dissipated young countrymen, who, whatever might have been their "standing" in St. James's-street, considered themselves, or at least insisted upon it that all Paris ought to consider them, as specimens of the highest class of English. From these new friends and associates, Mr. Edward Roberts learned much. It is always a source of great satisfaction to young men of this description when they meet with a young countryman fresh from college, to whom they may display, with all the superiority of experience, the as yet unopened volume of Paris dissipation; and many a youth who has patroled the streets of Paris for a month, will assume the office of cicerone to a new comer, with the air of a man who has passed his life among the scenes he describes. Among all the themes discussed between Edward Roberts and his young countrymen, there was none to which he listened with so much interest as to the accounts they gave of their success in all affairs of gallantry. Their histories were all of the veni, vidi, vici kind; and certainly if their statements were correct, the fathers, husbands, and brothers of France would do well to close their doors forever against the too fascinating attractions of our English
Perhaps it is not very extraordinary that the lady to whom this was said, was heard to observe afterwards, that although she had always fancied a distinguished diplomatic ap-youth. pointment furnished the most agreeable as well as the most dignified situation that could be offered, she certainly did not covet that of ambassador from St. James's to the Tuileries, although there were many reasons which might make it rank as the most desirable in the world.
"Mais il faut avouer," she added, "que les Anglais sont bien drôle."
Upon my soul you seem to have had capital fun here," returned the juvenile Roberts to the series of interesting anecdotes to which he had been listening; " and the best part of the joke is, that the ladies being all married, there is no danger of being desired to declare your intentions,' which must, I think, without any exception, be the horridest bore in the world."
Nor were these heart-burnings respecting "Bore?" reiterated the youngest of seven the ingratitude of the ambassador and am- sons, who had the honor of having a barobassadress of England towards their distin-net for their father. "I believe it is a bore, guished countrymen theonly evilsthat follow- and so you might say if you were in the ed upon the pleasures enjoyed in the splen- army, and stuck down in Irish country did salons of Madame de Soissonac. It must quarters as my brother Tom was last year. not be supposed that Mr. Edward Roberts But in this blessed city you may make love was a degenerate son of his high-spirited mo- just as much as you like without any sort ther; on the contrary, he inherited a good of mischief following. Of course you know deal both of her noble self-confidence and it must be to married women. Nobody high-minded ambition. The gay weeks that
"Well! any thing is better than being called to account by a musty-fusty old father, merely because one has paid a girl the compliment of admiring her," replied the hourly-improving Edward Roberts. "But I suspect," he added, "that it must be necessary to know a little what you are about before you make downright positive love to a married woman. She would be likely to kick up a row, wouldn't she, if she did not happen to like you?"
"Kick up a row, my dear fellow?" returned one of his accomplished companions. "Much you seem to know about the matter. I give you my sacred honor, Roberts, that I have never known a married Frenchwoman yet, under five-and-thirty, who did not as decidedly expect me to make love to her, as one of our English girls expects to be asked to dance at a ball when a man has desired to be introduced to her. Nay, moreover, I tell you that if you do not make love to them you will speedily be sent to Coventry, as a stupid English bête not worth the civility of a bow."
here, indeed, ever dare take any notice of something more concerning the object of girls (unless they are English)." it, than he had as yet found any opportunity of acquiring. With this view he made a morning visit to his mother's old acquaintance, Mrs. Bretlow, at the hour when she was known to be at home to her friends, hoping that by making Madame de Soissonac the subject of conversation to the sort of circle he was likely to find there, he might hear something which might throw such a degree of light upon her character as might enable him to decide for or against her claims to becoming the idol of his affections. But essentially French as young Mr. Roberts flattered himself he was becoming, his calculations upon this occasion were very completely English. It might have been very possible, even for so young a practitioner as Mr. Edward Roberts, to have set the morning gossips of a London drawing-room sufficiently upon some absent fair one, as to have produced such hints as he wished to hear if any such could by possibility have been uttered. But they manage those things very differently in France. All persons who really know any thing of French society, must be aware A few such conversations as the above, that such gossip as that for which our young carried far enough in some instances to man was hoping, is precisely the very last merit the name of confidential communica- which he, or any one else, would be likely tions, went far towards removing some of to hear. What may be the cause or mothe old-fashioned English prejudices which tive for this, I will not pretend to say, nor young Mr. Roberts had brought out with could the discussion of the question be of him; and he was the more easily induced any possible use to us, whereas it is just to attempt putting these continental theo- possible that the relating Mr. Edward's ries in practice from the strong innate con-notions upon the subject may, and to him sciousness of superior attractions, which therefore let us return. He found at Mrs. the openly expressed admiration of his moth- Bretlow's much such a party as he expected, er and sisters had generated. In short, Mr. Edward Roberts determined not to waste his time any longer as he had done; but to select, without further delay, such an object for his vows, as might render his residence in Paris as enchanting to him, as he was assured it had been to his more experienced friends. He would have found no difficulty whatever in making this choice (for he really thought Madame de Soisson ac one of the most captivating women he had ever seen) had it not been for some trifling doubts, which, despite all the eloquence he had listened to, still hung about him, as to the certainty of his success. It was not that he questioned the truth of his friend's statements in general, and still less did he doubt his own chance of success in particular; but he thought he should like, before he committed himself by an open declaration of his passion, to learn, if possible,
and no greater difficulty than he anticipated in making Madame de Soissonac the subject of conversation. Every one seemed to agree that her salon was one of the most agreeable in Paris, and she herself very charming, although one thought she was un petit peu too thin; and another that she was un petit peu too pale, &c., &c. ; but every one acknowledged that she was perfectly elegant, and that her toilet was irreproachable. Now all this Mr. Edward Roberts knew perfectly well before, and he therefore determined to take courage, and at once to hazard a question, the answer to which would go far towards deciding his future conduct. Our young man, it must be observed, had already made no inconsiderable progress in the French language, and with a little occasional assistance from his friend Mrs. Bretlow, he contrived to take his share in the conversation,
Mais, oui, oui !" exclaimed two or three voices at once; and one lady in a tone of considerable authority, added, "That unless it were, perhaps, in the very highest circles, she had never known any one more talked of than Madame de Soissonac."
"Assurement!-mais assurement!" was replied by two or three of the circle, and so distinctly that Edward Roberts felt quite sure, without asking Mrs. Bretlow any questions on the subject, of his having comprehended perfectly what they said.
and at length screwing his courage to the enviable station of his chère amie, than he important point he had in view, he man- dressed himself " by the card," not the aged to ask very intelligibly, whether the "shipman's," but the shopman's, and brushfair lady they were speaking of had not ing his hair and tying his cravat with a tenbeen a good deal talked of in Paris? der anxiety that proved he was very much in earnest, he set forth" alone in his glory," to call upon her. Her carriage was at the door, but nevertheless he was admitted, and found the fair object of his intended vows in the act of reading aloud to half-a-dozen visitors a jeu d'esprit that had just been added to the collection in her album. She gently bent her head in salutation as the young man entered, but made no pause in her lecture. Had he been French instead of English he could not have understood very much of an epigram of which he only heard half; he did not, however, allow himself to be disconcerted by this, but showed his handsome white teeth as cordially as the rest of the party, when the lady ceased. But this was not all he did. The party he had found there, consisting of two ladies and four gentlemen, were all, as well as their fair hostess, standing, for, in fact, they were just about to separate, the carriage of madame having been announced. But not for this did the young lover deem it necessary to change his purpose of not suffering another day to elapse without making Madame de Soissonac aware of her conquest; for in fact he was beginning to feel a good deal ashamed of not having paid her this compliment before. He, therefore, while the rest of the party were making their lively remarks on the lines they had heard, glided round to the other side of the table around which the party were standing, and seating himself on the sofa from whence Madame de Soisson ac had just risen, he extended his hand to take the manuscript volume she held in hers, and looking up in her face with a smile at once tender and familiar, said, "Laissez moi voir donc."
Had a young Frenchman made up his mind as decidedly as our young Englishman now did, to make a declaration of love to Madame de Soissonac, it is rather more than probable that he would have sought the earliest opportunity of finding that charming person alone. But had any such course of proceeding been proposed to our young tyro, he would certainly have replied that he knew better than that. In truth, though by no means particularly diffident, the young Englishman thought it would be necessary to pave the way to this decisive interview by a series of those delicate initiatory attentions with which young gentlemen on this side the channel are apt to make evident to all, what those on the other prefer communicating to one alone.
Madame de Soissonac colored slightly, and withdrawing the book, replied, don, Monsieur," locking at the same time its little golden padlock with a jewelled key which decorated the watch chain suspended from her fair neck.
Accordingly young Mr. Roberts determined to commence his attack upon the heart of the charming Madame de Soissonac precisely in the same style that he would have adopted at home, had he, with the full consent of the parents on both sides, commenced paying his addresses to the lady he intended for his wife. The unsophisticated young man conceived, in the simplicity of his heart, that what were received as delicate attentions on one side of the water, must of necessity be received as delicate attentions on the other, and little did he guess that the only indication by which a spectator having some connaissance des choses, could ever be led to suspect that M. un tel was on particularly good terms with Madame une telle, would be the total avoid-preparing to depart. ance on the part of the gentleman of every attention whatever. No sooner, therefore, had our young Englishman made up his mind on the subject, and decided positively that Madame de Soissonac, and no other, should for the time being be elevated to the
"Madame va sortir," said one of the gentlemen present, taking up his hat and
"Si, si; il faut dire adieu," said more than one voice, and a general movement announced their intention of taking leave. But young Mr. Roberts kept his ground, or rather his sofa, depositing his hat under the table in a manner which spoke very dis