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Sedley's face, “and secret grief is peculiarly affecting to me.”
Sedley stared with astonishment, and the fair Matilda saw her bridal dress in perspective, she felt inspired, and thus resumed,
“ Oh! Sir Herbert, how powerful are the charms of music-listen to those dulcet strains which float through the room."
These dulcet strains proceeded from the instruments of three musicians belonging to the town of
The leader of the band was a Welch harper, who played on in happy regardlessness of tune and time. The second musician was a fiddler, and the third a flageolet player. Each instrument was tuned in a different key, and the harper took the lead as to time; the fiddle was half a bar behind the harp, and the flageolet, not wishing to appear intrusive, was a note or two behind the fiddle, However, they generally managed to come in all together at the finishing chord, and so the discord passed off admirably.
After some time Miss Williams said," As you
have travelled so much Sir Herbert, you must doubtless have encountered that divine being Byron ?"
“No," replied Sedley, “ I have never been so fortunate.”
“I pine to meet him," continued Miss Williams. “I dote peculiarly on Lara, but it is 50 tantalizingly obscure that it makes me wretched. Should I ever be so felicitous as to encounter him, I will immediately seek an eclaresizement (éclaircissement) on the interesting subject."
After a little pause, during which Sedley had been vainly endeavouring to frame a fitting reply, Miss Matilda Williams threw herself into a fine tragic attitude, which she had copied from an actress, who, having failed in comedy on the London boards, performed Lady Macbeth in the town of
with unbounded success; - and turning towards Sedley she exclaimed,
“Heavens ! Sir Herbert, whither shall I fly? --I had promised my hand for this dance to
a very elegant young man of large fortune, (the man and his fortune were both in the moon) but when you approached me, I totally forgot his existence, and now I see him coming to reproach me,-I tremble for the consequences, -I would not for worlds embroil you in a freecaw (fracas) on my account!”
Sir Herbert Sedley could scarce repressa smile at the extreme absurdity of Miss Matilda Williams, but as no infuriated youth approached to call him to account for his monopoly, her fears were soon appeased, and the dance ended. Sedley then hoped that his task was over, but to his cost, he found that his fair partner was of a different way of thinking. She remained tacked to bis arm, and even refused taking any refreshment, being unwilling to release her victim; she was so much accustomed to see her partners take advantage of the first moment of recovered liberty to make their escape, that, although she found Sedley less refractory in his bonds than most of his predecessors, sbe dared not make the experiment.
As poor Sedley was paraded about the rooms, he felt strongly inclined to ask the fair Matilda if she had ever read “Mazeppa," but his halfformed resolution was frustrated by Mrs. Williams, who came up to ask her daughter some question. The kind mother at length concluded by saying,
“ Do you feel tired love ?”
“Not in the slightest degree,” replied her daughter, “when the mind is deeply engaged in intellectual communion, the frame feels not the ills of life."
Just at these words a gallant son of Mars, who had come over to the ball from an adjacent garrison, to exhibit his uniform and his ferocious moustaches to the admiring belles of happened to come swaggering along, trying to look unconscious of the enormous sensation be created. Most unhappily, in passing the fair Matilda Williams, one of his spurs got entangled in the light drapery of her muslin dress, and an alarming rent was the consequence.
Matilda's sentimentality quite vanished at this catastrophe, and turning angrily towards the delinquent, who continued hopping on one leg, the other being still lovingly attached to the dress, she exclaimed,
“Oh! Captain Melton, how could you commit such a foxpaw (faux pas.)
Poor Captain Melton apologized most humbly, and by the kind intervention of friends he was at length liberated.
Mrs. Williams had met accidentally an old friend whom she had not seen for years,
and after a long and animated conversation, she brought him up to her daughter and introduced him.
The old gentleman seized her hand, and shaking it heartily, said,-
“I am delighted to renew my acquaintance · with you, my dear-when I last saw you, which is now upwards of thirty years ago, you were a pretty, merry little thing of four or five years old.”
At these terrific words, Matilda nearly sank into the earth ; and turning abruptly from the