The next morning Othro was late at the store; yet, when he arrived, he was full of praise of the play.
“Figaro acted Hamlet to a charm,” said he; “and Fanny Lightfoot danced like a fairy. But two nights more! Now, Edward, if you do not wish to offend me, and that exceedingly, say you will go with me to-morrow night.”
Three years had elapsed since the events of the last chapter. Edward had often visited his native village, and, as the results of these visits, Emily Lawton became Mrs. Dayton; and she, with Mrs. Brandon, was removed to an elegantly furnished house in the city. Yet, with all its elegance, Mrs. Brandon, who had been accustomed to rural simplicity, did not feel happy except when in her own room, which Edward had ordered to be furnished in a style answering her own wishes.
Messrs. Dayton and Treves had been highly successful in their business operations; and, enjoying as they did the patronage of the lite of the city, they, with but little stretch of their imaginative powers, could see a fortune at no great distance.
Becoming acquainted with a large number of persons of wealth, they were present at very many of the winter entertainments; and, being invited to drink, they had not courage to refuse, and did not wish to act so ungenteel and uncivil. Others drank; and some loved their rum, and would have it. Edward had taken many steps since the events of our last chapter; yet, thought he, “I drink moderately.”
There was to be a great party. A musical prodigy, in the shape of a child of ten years, had arrived, and the leaders of fashion had agreed upon having a grand entertainment on the occasion.
Great was the activity and bustle displayed, and in no place more than at the store of Dayton and Treves. As ill-luck would have it, Ralph had been absent a week on one of his drunken sprees, and his employers were obliged to procure another to fill his place.
The event was to take place at the house of a distinguished city officer; and, as Messrs. Dayton and Treves were to provide refreshment, their time was fully occupied.
The papers were filled with predictions concerning it; and the editors, happy fellows, were in ecstasies of joy on account of having been invited to attend. Nor were Messrs. Dayton and Treves forgotten; but lengthy eulogies upon their abilities to perform the duty assigned them occupied prominent places, and “steamboat disasters,” “horrid murders,” and “dreadful accidents,” were obliged to make room for these.
In the course of human events the evening came. Hacks were in demand, and the rattling of wheels and the falling of carriage-steps were heard till near midnight.
The chief object of attraction was a small boy, who had attained considerable proficiency in musical knowledge, not of any particular instrument, but anything and everything; consequently a large assortment of instruments had been collected, upon which he played. As music had called them together, it was the employment of the evening, and the hour of midnight had passed when they were summoned to the tables.