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1836

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Spaul

DIARY

ОР

A DÉSENNU YÉ E.

• COVENTRY, April 6th, 183–.-To-morrow, then, I shall be in London -Am I well-advised in commencing my little Diary with the worn-out pen and mouldy ink of an inn standish, amid the jingling of bells and jarring of waiters? No matter!-People are apt to inveigh against the stir and tumult of an inn, and protest they can nejther collect their faculties for thinking, nor tranquillize them for sleeping, amid the bustle of such places. For my part, I care little for the tumult that affects only my senses. Let the “party in number five” ring or wrangle as they please ;-"I have no part in them or theirs." Whether they eat their toast dry or buttered, let me take mine ease in mine inn, congratulating myself that, thus far, my journey has been safe and pleasant.

Dear England! How beautiful it looks after my seven years' banishment! how beautiful and how prosperous! What neatness, what completeness, after the ragged aspect of things at Ballyshumna! Here I am not ashamed of living in comfort, or travelling for my enjoyment. The lofty pyramid of society, whose regular gradation is so perceptible, from the wide basis to the tapering apex, seems as if in England it held together the firmer for its polished corner-stones; and it is, at all events, a relief to one's selfishness to look upon snug cottages, and a healthy, happy peasantry, instead of that degradation of human nature which met my eye at every turn in the neighbourhood of Delaval Cas. tle. The fortune of Rothschild, and the wisdom of Sol-. omon, would not have enabled me to alleviate a fourth part of the distress I was fated to witness; and one of the few acts of kindness I have to acknowledge towards

Colonel Delaval is his bequest of the family estate to his excellent brother, leaving me and my jointure free liberty to search the world for as much happiness as may lie at the purchase of pounds, shillings, and pence.

Yet, how strange a destiny is mine! A widow at fiveand-twenty, with six thousand a year, and an honourable position in society,-good health, good conscience, and (between myself and my diary) a tolerably good appearance; yet all this frustrated and imbittered by my sad experience of the hollowness of the world! Married at seventeen to the man of my choice, all seemed to smile upon me when I followed Colonel Delaval to Ireland; nor could I forgive my sister Armine for whispering, on the eve of our union, that an acquaintance of six weeks scarcely justified me in placing my happiness within his keeping. What prescience, alas! rendered her so wise ? How came she to guess that Delaval, in withdrawing from the army on his marriage, and devoting himself to the pleasures of Irish squirehood, would become-but let the past be forgotten.

Thanks to my experience, I re-enter the world with a heart steeled to insensibility, and a resolution to be indebted to my head alone for future pleasures. Instead of quarrelling with society (the common error of misanthropes, who, like myself, desire only a life of tranquillity), I shall, in my worst of humours, doff the world aside, and bid it pass; in my best, smile in its face, and thank it for its smiles ;-then retire like an oyster into my shell, as easily forgetting as forgotten!

It is true, Armine and I entertain for each other a more than common sisterly affection. The early loss of our parents, the secluded life we led in Staffordshire, under the care of our good aunt Margaret, now gathered to the vault of all the Montresors, rendered us in youth mutually dependant on each other's friendship. But the experiences of our married life seem to have created estrangements; and we are no longer fitted to understand each other as formerly. I once saw in a pavilion, near the Lake of Windermere, four contiguous windows of variously stained glass, imparting to the same landscape the aspect of the four seasons. Just so it is with us. Armine looks at life through the summer window, I through the winter! Our prospects are alike," alike--but, oh! how different!"

It is therefore with my little diary that I must phi,

losophize ;-it is my little diary I must take into my confidence. Having lived so long alone, or worse than alone, I have acquired a habit of gossiping and arguing with myself; and surely our opinions are never so fairly submitted to our judgment as when arrayed in black and white before us. Here, therefore, begins my first chapter of a new existence. A sad one, or a merry ? Oh! for a sibyl to unfold ! On one thing I am determined: I bid defiance to the mere ennuis of life. Never again will I submit to be bored!

My cousin, Lady Cecilia Delaval, writes me word, that the house she has engaged for me, in St. James's Place, is “a perfect bijou ;' a cant phrase of hers. She wrote me the same thing some years ago, of Azor, her pet lapdog; and when she brought the little brute to Delaval Castle, the bijou turned out to be an asthmatic pug! Better, however, trust to her experience, than yenture alone into the wide world of London, which I know so little, yet dislike so much. How detestable were those biennial visits to town with my aunt Margaret Montresor, who, every year or two, used to migrate from Staffordshire to a ready-furnished house, where the windows would not open, nor the doors close, to persecute her solicitors with a new plea for her old chancery-suit, and Armine and myself with visits to the dentist, staymaker, shoemaker, the waxwork, and the Eidouranion,-Hatchard's and Rivington's,to torment our souls and bodies into the way they should go! Ten years, however, have since elapsed; my days of dentists and backboards are over; and, though I may revisit Hatchard's shop, it will not be to procure a series of Pinnock's Catechisms, cased in strong calf, for the use and abuse of the school-room.

St. James's Place, April 9th.-Not a fault to be found with my new residence ! A house neither too large nor too small, overlooking the park; fitted up only last spring, by one of the fashionable virtu-mongers, for a newly-married couple, who spent five years' income during their first season in town, and are now doing penance for their folly in some barrack of a palace on the Arno. Poor little bride! it must have cost her many a pang to quit the shrine where she had been worshipped. There are a thousand traces of womanliness in the house, such as were never impressed by the hand of an upholsterer; particularly in my own room and boudoir, the walls of which are hung with light chints and muslin draperies, with windows opening through a conservatory to the park.

Lady Cecilia'was waiting for me on my arrival, as lively and as agreeable as ever. She is enchanted that Armine and her husband will not be in town for some months; and declares that the Herberts are just the sort of humdrum people to spoil me, to " set me in a wrong pattern."

After all, her notions are rather arbitrary. I used to fancy Lady Cecilia the most independent and easy person in the world; but her ease turns out to be a laborious affair,--a perpetual warfare with the ceremonial of life. There is such a thing, I suspect, as being the slaye of one's liberty.'

I believe, however, I cannot put myself under safer tutelage than hers. No one is so much the fashion. She commands the interest and influence of her sister, the Marchioness of Clackmannan (a lady of the bedchamber, and patroness of Almack's, and all that sort of thing), without the bore and trouble of placeholding; while her stupid husband, Sir Jenison Delaval, s'empresse de dire amen à toutes ses messes, fancying her, or at least proclaiming her, the best of wives, because she is wise enough to let him pass his life at his club, well-bred enough to be civil to him in public, and judicious enough never to see him in private.. Lady C. is, in short, a woman of what is called the world. She has prodigious tact; always some little scheme or other on foot, and which invariably succeeds. But, after all, the objects she accomplishes are comparatively trifling; and, to spend one's life in such manæuvres, seems like devoting a forty-horse power engine to cutting chaff.

Nothing, for instance, can exceed her delight at having outwitted Lady Wexford, a tortoise of a dowager (whom I used to know in Dublin), in the choice of a certain opera-box, which we are to share together. It strikes me that any other would have suited us as well. But Lady Cecilia tells me General Vernon has had a ticket of that identical box for the last thirty years, and will not be at the trouble of changing it; so that she is sure of getting rid of her spare ticket. It is plain that she does not choose to

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