From my very soul I hate,
All kings and ministers of state.
Thus much it was necessary to premise, in order to acquaint the reader with the situation of our heroine, and that of some other personages in this history. Having discharged this task, we will return to the point from which we set out.
It was at one of the balls at the races at Southampton—the company was already assembled. The card tables were set, and our maiden ladies, together with many other venerable pieces of antiquity, were assembled around them. In another and more spacious room, appeared all that Southampton could boast of youth and beauty. The squire and his sister, Mr. Prattle, and lord Martin, formed a part of the company. The first bustle was nearly composed, when Damon entered the assembly.
He appeared to be a stranger to every body present. And, as he is equally a stranger to our readers, we will now announce him in proper form. Damon appeared to be about twenty years of age. His person was tall, and his limbs slender and well formed. His dress was elegance itself. His coat was ornamented with a profusion of lace, and the diamond sparkled in his shoe. His countenance was manly and erect. There appeared in it a noble confidence, which the spectator would at first sight ascribe to dignity of birth, and a perfect familiarity with whatever is elegant and polite. This confidence however had not the least alloy of hauteur, his eye expressed the most open sensibility and the kindest sympathy.
There is something undescribably interesting in the figure we have delineated. The moment our hero entered the room, the attention of every person present was fixed upon him. The master of the ceremonies immediately advanced, and escorted him to the most honourable seat that yet remained vacant. While Damon examined with an eager eye the gay parterre of beauty that appeared before him, a general whisper was excited upon his account. “Who is he?” “Who is he?” echoed from every corner of the room. But while curiosity was busy in his enquiries, there was not an individual capable of satisfying them.