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Soft were the slumbers which ended the innocent daywhen Louisa, literally beautiful as an angel, closed her beaming eyes, and the sound of her mirthful voice at length was still.
Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain ;
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain ;
“ And so, Louisa, you are going to these races,” said Charles, lifting his head from a huge dark folio which lay upon his table, in one corner of the vicar's parlour, as Louisa, the ball dress for the evening of display hanging upon her arm, entered the room. “And what do you intend to do among all these fine people ?”.
“I intend to be as happy as I can-Mrs. Digby is exceedingly kind to me always; and Mrs. Carlton is very goodnatured to ask me. But I hate to leave you in rusty black, poring over these musty folios, and making all those dreadful rounds, squares, and triangles--those necromancing hideous figures, for hours together, while I am befluttering myself, like any butterfly, all silks and satins. Your dolorous figure will quite haunt me!”
“Dear Louisa! pray let it haunt you as much as it possibly can-but you need not pity me. These musty folios; these necromancing squares, rounds, and triangles, will do very well for me-much better than a ball. I never remeniber being at a ball in my life where I was in the least happy," said the student.
“Oh, fy!-not even when you danced with me ?”
“Not even when I danced with you. Be satisfied that you made me dance at all. No one else could."
And he resumed his studies, somewhat disturbed by the various movements of his fair companion.
First, the dress was laid upon the little settee, and submitted to sundry stitchings and alterings; then an old cabinet was introduced ; and beads, bugles, and Birmingham chains, with sundry articles of oldfashioned finery, were spread out upon the table.
“ It will never do, Louisa,” said Charles.
" What will never do ?" said she, looking up, a little vexed. She was out of humour at the paltry exhibition before her.
“ You will never make your dress appear more splendid than your condition ; unless you condescend to use means less justifiable, than the arrangement of all that old trumpery."
“I don't want to make my dress appear more splendid than my condition."
“ But you want to pass off your gewgaws for more than they are worth-do you think any one at this grand race ball will honour, as finery, all this old rubbish, unless you can iinpose it upon them for something very different to what it really is? It will never do, I tell you. You must ask your
father for more money, if you cannot be happy without a necklace."
“I should be sorry to do that,” said she, gravely, " for I know he can ill afford the expense I have been at already. Miss Green's bill will be large, after all, but everybody will be so much dressed-bracelets, chains, ornaments-they make them so splendidly now, you can have no idea. Mr. Benn showed me his things from London. I am afraid I shall look most remarkably mean. These chains I thought might be cut"
"Nonsense, Louisa! they will only look shabby and ridiculous. Mean no one can look, except by their own fault. You are too pretty," added he, smiling, “ to escape being remarkable. As for you dress, simplicity, in my eyes, is always elegance. But if you must be fine, I advise you to embarrass your father.”
" And that I never will do,” said she. “But I am afraid I shall be quite a figure.”
And, with a sigh, and a look of anxiety, that somewhat wounded the honest pride of her friend, she disappeared with the cabinet of treasures in question.
The days which elapsed, till the arrival of the eventful nineteenth, were spent much in the same unsatisfactory manner, striving to do that which never yet was done-to reconcile a conscientious frugality with the vague aspirations of vanity.
At length the nineteenth arrived. Mrs. Digby's carriage drove to the door. Loud rung the vicar's hall bell-loud barked Chloe-Molly hurried from her kitchen-the glass door was flung open, and Mrs. Digby was ushered into the parlour.
Charles was alone. The labours of the toilette still occupied Louisa. He rose, with his usual unaffected good man. ners, to do the honours to the lady, who, indeed, was no stranger at the vicarage, and whose good sense, kind temper, and fine breeding, rendered her an object of respect and affection wherever she went.
After a few apologies, on his part, for the delay in Louisa's appearance, they both sat down, and waited till the young lady should obey the summons which Charles had imme. diately despatched.
A quarter of an hour, or more, however, elapsed before she came down. She entered the room, looking fluttered and nervous; her careless ease, her natural grace, and the lively brightness of every look and gesture, somewhat impaired by the exchange of her straw hat for a silk bonnet, in Miss Green's best taste, which, we need not say, was the worst possible; and of her simple white frock for a somewhat tawdry silk pelisse, more suited, as Miss Green thought, to the dignity of the occasion.
Her natural taste, which, in the dearth of artists incidental to a small town, wanted opportunity for exercising its powers of selection, serving now only to distress her, by giving her a full sense of what was vulgar and incongruous in her attire.
Little versed in those arts of the needle by which more ingenious young ladies supply the deficiencies of scanty purses; and yet too shy and too new to abide by the graceful simplicity recommended by her friend Charles, she had lain completely at Miss Green's mercy, who had been most unmerciful; and, completely dissatisfied with her appearance, which it was now too late to amend, her sensations were uneasy to a degree of which those cradled in the happy self-complacency of fashion can form no conception.
“ There is a box, madam,” said Mrs. Digby's footman, 66 which Mrs. Carlton's maid desired me to bring for Miss Mildmay, and a note"
Louisa opened it, and passed it to Mrs. Digby.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, I am going, I fear, to be very impertinent; but, as I have not perfect confidence in Miss Green's taste in costume, I have taken the liberty to desire Carsan to send you a few things, which I hope you will do me the favour of accepting, as proofs of the regard and warm interest with which I am,
Dear Miss Mildmay,
Louisa looked vexed.
The student groaned. “ The beginning of humiliations," thought he.
“ What should I do, dear madam ?" said Louisa, looking at Mrs. Digby.
Mrs. Digby thought, but did not say, “ This is always the way with these over busy people; they force one into situations where one has no choice left but to do just what is 'most distasteful to one's habits and feelings."
“ My dear,” said she, aloud, after a little hesitation, “I think you have no choice. It would seem rude to refuse what has been procured, no doubt, with considerable trouble. I think,” continued she, “ you must take off that very fine pelisse,' (she could hardly help laughing when she looked at it,)“ and put on what Miss Green would, doubtless, think shockingly mean in comparison-| really beg her pardon; but I must advise you to run up stairs, and try Carsan.”
Louisa left the room.
“ I think, madam, as you do, that she can scarcely avoid it-but I think-" and he was rising.
“Don't let me disturb you, Mr. Lovel, here is my book.” And she began to read, while the student resumed - his folio_" Insolence of the great !-impertinent interference ! : unpleasant obligations !" ringing in his head..
But when, arrayed in all the light and airy grace which : Carsan so well knows how to give to her tasteful.draperieś, Louisa reappeared, the Mother of Love herself never formied a more charming spectacle. Her soft, gay smiles ! Thë. ease of taste, self-gratified! The loveliness that hung like a charm around her!
The student raised his eyes, and sighed. :: ::
For a moment, he seemed endeavouring again to rivet them upon the page before him-but it would not do; he shut the book, and pushed back his chair.
Mrs. Digby rose io take leave.
* I think we must own,” said she, smiling, and looking, with something of a mother's pride and fondness, 'upon the charming girl who stood before her, “ that Carsan under stands her art rather better than Miss Green-eh, Mr. Lovel ?"
But Charles did not answer-his eyes werė fixed upon Louisa. A mingled feeling of admiration and of regret might have been read in their expression. How beautiful. she looked in this elegant attire! 'How formed-how fitted for that station of which it was the significant costume ! How far, already, removed from the humble sphere which they had occupied together!
He felt as if that separation had, in part, begun, which he anticipated as the possible consequence of the intended visit.
He gulped down a rising sigh, and then came forward to hand the ladies to their carriage.
Mrs. Digby's landau and four stood ready to receive them; her footman, elegant and tall, cane in hand, at the door. : A moment--they were in. The footman sprang to the box behind—and they were gone.
He stood upon the threshold-his ear catching the distant sound of the rapidly retreating carriage-his thoughts painfully absorbed. Those bitter reflections which, sooner or later, all must make, upon nature, circumstance, destiny, and society-succeeding to the cheerful visions of peace.and love which had long occupied his fancy, almost without exciting his attention.
Long, in painful rumination, did he pace the circle of that little garden, pondering upon his expectations; his purposes, his hopes, his fears-his own obscure prospects, the vast claims of