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are not accustomed ? If this be so, should Queen Elizabeth herself appear again in her ruff and farthingale, she would be the height of uncouthness, but she would not be vulgar.”
“Not vulgar, possibly,” returned I, “but surely ridiculous, which is perhaps akin to it.”
“ Not,” replied the lady (looking much in earnest), “ if it proceeded not from some defect of character. For if being merely innocently ridiculous made us vulgar, I don't know what would become of nous autres.' No; I still
that the vulgarity which we so detest, and of which alone we are talking, must take its rise from something unsound in the mind or heart; something which, as it certainly may be found among the upper ranks, so the lower may as certainly be exempt from it.”
66 I fear to ask,” said I, “ for the proofs of this among the upper ranks.”
Why, there is always vulgarity, at least of mind," answered Lady Hungerford, “ where there is silly affectation, low-thoughted pride (as of purse or other prosperity) towards our inferiors, or envy, hatred, and malice towards our superiors; or, what is worse, a despicable attempt, by flattery or parasitical attentions, to obtain their notice, or insinuate ourselves into their acquaintance. Such is the case of all parvenues, who have not sense or pride of mind enough to use their good fortune
properly, but barter the diamond of their independence for the Bristol stone of vanity. As nothing is so soon seen through by people of real fashion, so nothing is so much ridiculed or contemned.”
Having said this, she added with a good-humoured smile, “ This I think is enough for to-day's lesson, só now we will break up school, and you may go play.”
I heard all this with regret, for I was absolutely charmed; but seeing she was engaged, I took my leave with all necessary acknowledgments,
Certainly there is no pleasure more gratifying than to listen to refined sense, falling from the lips of a refined and beautiful woman.
OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF MANKIND WHICH BEING
IN OFFICE PRODUCES, AND OF THE HAPPINESS OF COURTS AND COURTIERS, IN THE OPINION OF
A PHILOSOPHIC MINISTER.
The art of the court,
Shakspeare.-Cymbeline. While I was thus progressing in the knowledge of high life, under the auspices of this charming lady, who by opening her evening saloon to me added practical lessons to theory, I found I was not behind hand in what was still more important, my official business. The ability of Lord Castleton filled me with respect, while his kind as well as polished manners would have won me to him, had he been, what he was not, one of those everyday ministers who get into office without knowing how ; some as Corinthian capitals, in the shape of high titles ; some from a reputation, nobody knows by what means acquired, and forfeited as soon as
brought to the test. These are often continued in place because they happen to be there ; and sometimes are kept in merely to keep others out. The presiding geniuses, such as Lord Castleton, were few. They did all the work, and directed affairs, while the rest pocketed their salaries, content to do what they were bid, and be well paid for doing so.
My place in Lord Castleton's estimation having become known, procured me many introductions and acquaintances; how many friends I know not, for that test of friendship, the vacating of office, had not occurred, so I was sought after, courted, and fêted, by men and women of all ranks—the men, for supposed patronage; the women, to frank their gowns and muffs through the post-office and customs.
My power was supposed both great and inexhaustible. Everybody knew that Lord Castleton governed the realm, and thought I had at least a jackal's share with him. If I was seen, as was sometimes the case, going with him in his chariot to his villa at Roehampton, though our conversation was of the lightest kind, I was set down as the depositary of all the secrets of Europe. It reminded me of Swift's intercourse with Lord Oxford :
“ When what's o'clock ? and how's the wind ?
And though what passes inter nos
I was much amused, but sometimes teased and sometimes revolted, by the consequences of this opinion, which, the more I sought to refute it, the stronger it grew, and often shewed itself in the shape of offered bribes, more or less covered. One • great lady, who had a son to promote, sent me opera
tickets for six months, till the place she wanted was filled up, when the tickets came no
A duke always invited me to his battues, and sent me game besides, while the lieutenancy of his county was vacant; though not even Lord Castleton had any thing to do with it. He got it from other interest, and from that instant no more invitations.
One of the highest of the female haute noblesse, who was courted, like the sun by the Persians, for one genial ray, after I had been six months installed with Lord Castleton most graciously admitted me amongst her elect. I plumed myself upon it with Lady Hungerford. She smiled mischievously, and said, “ Don't be too sure ; wait till you or your patron is out of office.” She was right.
A great colonist offered me one day twenty thousand acres of unreclaimed land, adding, if I did