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A MORNING CONVERSATION,
Parcere Personis dicere de Vitiis.
Am astonished at the homeliness of your ideas, and your strange misconception of fashion," said the once lovely Duchess of Pjrmont to the elegant young woman who was seated beside her, and who was essaying to render an incorrect drawing in some degree tolerable. "I only remarked, madam," said Lady Charlotte Stanmore, "that, I thought the conduct of Lady Westbourn very unbecoming for a person of her years."
"And it was that very ridiculous remark which so much distresses me," said
VOL. I. B
Characters of the Duke and Duchess of Pyrmont.
the Duchessi "Was it not that I was for a twelvemonth confined to your father's society in the country, at one period of my life, to retrieve my constitution from a round of dissipation, I should really think you had been the offspring of some romantic fool instead of his." "My dear Duchess, now you are jesting, I am sure," said Lady Charlotte. Her mother gave her a look of contempt, and quitted the room for the important business of the toilette.
Lady Elmira Seabright, the present Duchess of Pyrmont, had been married, not at a very early age, to the Duke. They were congenial souls, and yet they detested each other: both courted fashion and dissipation, in whatever form they chose to present themselves. The Duke was a man of Herculean make, and stronger in his constitution than in his mind; the latter was easily warped, the former seemed invulnerable to all attacks. The They retire to their Country Seat.
frame of the Duchess, more delicate, seemed sinking under the frequent repetitions of revelry. Sleep was banished from her nights, and the morning avocations of receiving and returning visits, attending auctions, various exhibitions and fashionable lounging shops, prevented her experiencing, from the somniferous god, that benefit which might enable her to recruit her declining strength.
The wealthy Duke wished for an heir; but four years had elapsed and no prospect presented itself of such a blessing; au absolute order from the physicians compelled the weeping fair one to accompany her Lord to an hunting-box, situated above one hundred miles from the capital. Here, to the great disappointment of the Duke, at the end of ten months, his Duchess presented him with his daughter, Lady Charlotte, and, after a lapse of five years, his grace became the delighted father of a son.
Dissipation, more than time, had made sad havoc in the charms of the Duchess; • no art was left untried to repair those de
vastations ; but in spite of Sicilian bloom, Circassian pomatum, and all the ransack, ed stores of the perfumers' shops, the perfidious wrinkles would appear; the bared throat presented a yellow tinge, which no art could disguise; the azure circle encompassed the sinking eye; and the anatomical stay in vain exerted its elastic force to render full and plump the fast-withering bosom: Yet the blind vanity of the Duchess of Pyrmont made her insensible to these decays *; she was rich,
* The art of the Toilette is not of modern invention; Homer and Anacreon give us to understand that women in their times were already great proficients in the elegant science, and the beautiful description of the Cestus in the Iliad, is a proof that the Maeonian Bard had a peep into the female Arsenal: Esther and Judith of old, were full aware of its powerful influence on the eyes of the stronger sex;