“Well—what do you think of Lindore?” demanded Lady Emily of her aunt and cousins, as they were about to separate for the night. “Is he not divine?”
“Perfectly so!” replied Lady Juliana, with all the self-importance of a fool. “I assure you I think very highly of him. He is a vastly charming, clever young man-perfectly beautiful, and excessively amiable; and his attention to his dog is quite delightful—it is so uncommon to see men at all kind to their dogs. I assure you I have known many who were absolutely cruel to them—beat them, and starved them, and did a thousand shocking things; and——”
“Pray, Adelaide, what is your opinion of my brother”
“Oh! I—I—have no doubt he is extremely amiable,” replied Adelaide, with a gentle yawn. “As mamma says, his attentions to his dog prove it.”
“And you, Mary, are your remarks to be equally judicious and polite?”
Mary, in all the sincerity of her heart, said she thought him by much the handsomest and most elegant-looking man she had ever seen. And there she stopped.
“Yes; I know all that. But—however, no matter—I only wish he may have sense enough to fall in love with you, Mary. How happy I should be to see you Lady Lindore!—En attendant—you must take care of your heart; for I hear he is un peu volage—and, moreover, that he admires none but les dames Mariees. As for Adelaide, there is no fear of her. She will never cast such a pearl away upon one who is merely, no doubt, extremely amiable,” retorting Adelaide’s ironical tone.
“Then you may feel equally secure upon my account,” said Mary, “as I assure you I am still less danger of losing mine, after the warning you have given.”
This off-hand sketch of her brother’s character, which Lady Emily had thoughtlessly given, produced the most opposite effects on the minds of he sisters. With Adelaide it increased his consequence and enhanced his value. It would be no vulgar conquest to fix and reform one who was notorious for his inconstancy and libertine principles; and from that moment she resolved to use all the influence of her charms to captivate and secure the heart of her cousin. In Mary’s well-regulated mind other feelings arose. Although she was not one of the outrageous virtuous, who storm and rail at the very mention of vice, and deem it contamination to hold any intercourse with the vicious, she yet possessed proper ideas for the distinction to be drawn; and the hope of finding a friend and brother in her cousin now gave way to the feeling that in future she could only consider him as an common acquaintance.
“On sera ridicule et je n’oserai rire!”
IN honour of her brother’s return Lady Emily resolved to celebrate it with a ball; and always prompt in following up her plans, she fell to work immediately with her visiting list.