“Io dubito, Signor M. Pietro
che il mio Cortegiano non sara
stato altro che fatica mia, e fastidio degli amici.”
LORD LINDORE was in no haste to avail himself of his sister’s invitation; and when he did, it was evident his was a “mind not to be changed by place;” for he entered more with the air of one who was tired of the company he had left, than expecting pleasure from the society he sought.
“Do come and entertain us, Lindore,” cried Lady Emily, as he entered, “for we are all heartily sick of one another. A snow-storm and a lack of company are things hard to be borne; it is only the expectancy of your arrival that has kept us alive these two days, and now pray don’t let us die away of the reality.”
“You have certainly taken a most effectual method of sealing my lips,” said her brother with a smile.
“By telling me that I am expected to be vastly entertaining, since every word I utter can only serve to dispel the illusion, and prove that I am gifted with no such miraculous power.”
“I don’t think it requires any miraculous power, either to entertain or be entertained. For my part, I flatter myself I can entertain any man, woman, or child in the kingdom, when I choose; and as for being entertained, that is still an easier matter. I seldom meet with anybody who is not entertaining, either from their folly, or their affectation, or their stupidity, or their vanity; or, in short, something of the ridiculous, that renders them not merely supportable, but positively amusing.”
“How extremely happy you must be,” said Lord Lindore.
“Happy! No—I don’t know that my feelings precisely amount to happiness neither; for at the very time I’m most diverted I’m sometimes disgusted too, and often provoked. My spirit gets chafed, and—–”
“You long to box the ears of all your acquaintances,” said her brother, laughing. “Well, no matter—there is nothing so enviable as a facility of being amused, and even the excitement of anger is perhaps preferable to the stagnation of indifference.”
“Oh, thank heaven! I know nothing about indifference; I leave that to Adelaide.”
Lord Lindore turned his eyes with more animation than he had yet evinced towards his cousin, who sat reading, apparently paying no attention to what was going on. He regarded her for a considerable time with an expression of admiration; but Adelaide, though she was conscious of his gaze, calmly pursued her studies. “Come, you positively must do something to signalise yourself. I assure you it is expected of you that you should be the soul of the company. Here is Adelaide waltzes like an angel, when she can get a partner to her liking.”
“But I waltz like a mere mortal,” said Lord Lindore, seating himself at a table, and turning over the leaves of a book.