Imágenes de páginas

say, but what Mr.Willoughbywould have said in the hearing of the whole assembly; merely some pretty-turned compliments on the taste and imagination of the fair contriver, but quite enough to convince me that the wisdom of man can be flattered by the elegant follies of the woman whom he happens to call his wife. Something was said of how proud Mr. Dunstan must be of such talents. I marked it, my dear, because if you will pardon me I have thought that you have been a little careless that way - only careless - mind the word, for you can, if you will, outshine Lady Charlotte in this respect, as well as in every other. But in all the things that you have given since you were married, you have never seemed to interest yourself; provided you had about you, and you

had dancing enough, all went well. All was very

your friends


proper, all was done by rule — all very well - perfectly well — critically well -- but nothing creative, nothing that bespoke the master-hand which you might have put forth if

you have given yourself the trouble, and which you really must take, for you shall give a ball.”

“ I fear I have none of those talents upon

which you compliment me," said Isabella, “ for really I did not discover that there was anything wanting in the ball and party that Mr. Willoughby so kindly spared no expence in giving, to make as many others as he could, as he flatteringly said, share in the happiness that he felt. I am sure I was very happy; and I thought that everybody else was so also."

“Oh! certainly,” replied Mrs. Nesbitt, “there was nothing wanting to others, but I was afraid that so far it was a cost manque, as it did not seem to

have reflected any honour upon you. Whole columns were filled with a description of the marvels of Lady Charlotte's feast, of the charms of the fair enchantress, of her wit and her talents. One should have thought that she was the only person in the room worth looking at, and there might have been no Mr. Dunstan in the world. But you were dismissed with, • On Monday evening Mr. Willoughby gave a splendid entertainment to his numerous friends, and other distinguished fashionables, at his house in Grosvenor-street, in ho. nour of his nuptials. Not a word of you, my dear! Nothing said of your beauty, of your taste! Not a word as if you had had any share in the busi.

Mr. Willoughby's entertainment, not Mrs. Willoughby's : it might as well have been the celebration of your funeral as your marriage." “ Not quite as well;" said Isabella, smiling, “ I remember reading the paragraph, and being pleased that the only circumstance was noticed that could reflect honour upon me.”


“ Oh, you would not have thought so," said Mrs. Nesbitt, “ if you had heard what Mr. Willoughby said to Lady Charlotte, as they stood shaded from the general eye by the crimson and gold drapery. And I am sure you will not think so when I tell you that this ball, which you hold so lightly, is to be the first step in the plan that I have formed for your reforming your husband.”

“ Reforming my husband !” exclaimed Isabella, “Good God, madam! does Mr. Willougby want reforming ?"

“: Yes, my dear," returned Mrs. Nesbitt, coolly, “and so do all other men who have lived unmarried till two or three and thirty- now don't agitate

yourself—don't suppose that I am going to charge Mr. Willoughby with treasons, stratagems, and spoils. He is the last man in the world that would betray any body, though he may be betrayed. And as for spoils, poor Willoughby!-he is more likely to furnish, than to gain them; but, my dear, • the full soul loatheth the honey comb,' as the wise man says; and there are certain habits that a lengthened celibacy gives men, and certain notions not very favourable to our sex that it generates, which it is for the wife's good to have broken and rooted out. It is a sublime idea, that a beautiful young creature, scarcely eighteen, should be able to work such a reforma

labour of love we may call it ; but it cannot be done by a coup de main.French again! I declare.-We must proceed by sapping.

66 I have heard Mrs. Obrian talk of


« AnteriorContinuar »