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CHAPTER IV.

But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain,
And, even while Fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart, distrusting, asks if this be joy ?

GOLDSMITH.

The prophecies of wizards old,
Increased her terror, and her fall foretold.

WALLER.

.

Miss DELASSAUX was sitting with the Count in the Temple of Venus, which, at the moment we are now speaking of, was illuminated by a glory of lights, that might have done sufficient honour to the festivalof thegoddess herself, in herown Paphian bowers The trees immediately inclosing the grassy recess where the temple stood, were hung with tastefully disposed garlands of coloured lamps, the reflection of which faintly glimmered from the surface of the artificial lake in front. On the water floated a vast and dark body, indistinctly seen against the deep shadows of the groves lining the opposite shores, where the impenetrable gloom was unbroken by a single ray of illumination.

A grand flight of rockets suddenly shot up from the mass on the water, penetrating the dark vault of Heaven to an immense height, and a general shout was immediately heard from all parts of the gardens. This was instantly followed by a rush of many feet towards the lake, and particularly towards the temple, where Miss Delassaux and the Count were seated.

“ Let us quickly embark, Count,” said she, “ we shall otherwise become embarrassed by the crowd. Let them enjoy the view of the fireworks from the shore, whilst their groups will tend to heighten their effect to us, as we shall, in our turn, contribute, by the addition of our figures, to embellish the spectacle about to be presented to them ;" so saying, she hastened with him 'to a gilded boat in waiting for her, manned by six rowers in white dresses.

Miss Delassaux was so glad to escape from the throng, that she hurried on board the boat, without perceiving she was followed by her aunt. Her plan had been to rid herself, by this manæuvre, of Lady Deborah, who had appeared to watch her very closely during the early part of the evening, and she was so provoked to find herself defeated, that her anger knew no bounds. She went so far, indeed, as to order the rowers to return to the shore, with the intention of relanding her aunt, when happening to reflect that she could not do so, without subjecting herself to the chance of being overwhelmed by a swarm of applications for permission to get on board, and remembering that it was absolutely necessary to keep the boat with her, to prevent being followed, she reluctantly and angrily permitted the boatmen to pursue their

course.

They had no sooner ascended the steps of the immense floating body, than a discharge of guns took place, and it was almost instantaneously illuminated by a glare of light, that exhibited every part of it minutely. It was, in fact, a huge raft, covered by a light superstructure of wood, very naturally shaped and painted to represent a

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rocky islet. It was covered over with evergreens and flowers, happily disposed, and several small trees were placed on it, in so picturesque and na tural a manner, as to appear growing from its crevices and inequalities. These had an incalçulable number of lamps hanging amongst their leaves, which being lighted all at once by some unknown and ingenious contrivance, had produced the magical effect of its sudden illumination.

On a prominent part of an artificial rock at one end, sat Miss Delassaux and the Count; and as neither of them seemed disposed to make room enough to accommodate her, Lady Deborah was compelled to take her place lower down, near their feet, and close to the mouth of a cavity communicating with the hollow interior of the machine. This was made to represent the entrance to a cavern, the dark mouth of which

produced a powerful effect, when contrasted with the full glare of the lamps.

The unwieldy pile was towed slowly along by people in boats, and then made to perform various evolutions, within a short distance of the shore, amidst loud shouts of applause from the gay multitude. From time to time, very bril

liant and beautiful fireworks were displayed from the summit of a pigmy mountain, that rose from the end of the islet opposite to where Miss Delassaux sat; and, after these had been continued at intervals for a considerable time, a grand artificial explosion, followed by a magnificent jet of flame, burst from the summit of the peak, whence the fire-works had been discharged. This very superb feu d'artifice was intended to represent a volcano. It illuminated the whole surface of the sheet of water, and even the trees on its banks, and lighted up the dense phalanx of faces on the shore. Reiterated acclamations were excited by it. By means of fresh supplies of various combustibles, administered by people concealed below, it produced an imitation of all those various changes in the eruption, exhibited by nature in the real vol

cano,

Whilst the men, who managed the fire-works, were all employed, and out of sight, the trio were suddenly alarmed by the appearance of a figure from the dark mouth of the cavern. It was a tall and majestic man, habited in a green and yellow Moorish dress, its sweeping drapery giving an imposing effect to his height. In his hand he held

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