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happy, I also discharged those suspicions. Still it was not without curiosity that I accepted an invitation to pay him a visit in the summer at his new. christened house.
“On arriving, I was struck with what I thought a strange incongruity, in a porch of elaborate Grecian architecture with Corinthian pillars, stuck upon the plain, old-fashioned edifice, whose many gables, picturesque enough in themselves, seemed put to shame by this heterogeneous modern addition; nor could my quaint fancy help thinking it might be a sort of emblem of the alliance of my friend, Benjamin Bostock, with Lady Cherubina Bragge. When I afterwards pointed it out to him as a want of keeping, which, with his good taste, I wondered at, he, with some hesitation, acknowledged it, and that he had even remonstrated against it; but it was Lady Cherubina’s fancy, which, after all she had done for him, he could not well oppose.
“ I quite approved this grateful disposition of his. To Lady Cherubina I now expected to be introduced, he having sent her up word of my arrival, and request ing her presence. But when the door opened, and I expected the ceremony of being presented to the lady of Beaumanoir, I was somewhat surprised with the flippant tone of a groom of the chamber, in silk stockings and gold-laced knee-bands, who, addressing his master with the literal answer of his mistress, said, "Sir, my lady says she begs you will entertain Mr. Fothergill as well as you can yourself till dinner-time, as she is really so busy that she cannot see him till then,
“ I saw my friend was hurt at this ; but not knowing what to make of it, I formed no conjecture, farther than to suppose Lady Cherubina was a woman who knew the value of time.
“A gay landau and four now drove up to the door, with a footman, a valet, and lady’s-maid outside, and two ladies and as many gentlemen within ; and bandboxes and packages innumerable, though no more seemingly than was necessary for so many people. They were eagerly kissing their hands to some one in the window above, whom I rightly judged to be Lady Cherubina ; but what surprised me was, that, far from being eager to meet them, Bostock did not seem pleased. They are my lady's cousins,' said he,' and have come too soon by an hour, as they will prevent a walk in the garden. I hope, however, they will not come in here, and we may then escape through the glass door. . “His hope was not disappointed; for though the door of the room was thrown open, and all the four heads poured in at once, they as precipitately withdrew, as if by common consent, and, without the least notice of the master of the house, the whole party ran up stairs, one of the ladies exclaiming in the way, It is only Bostock and somebody with him; let us go to Cherubina’s dressing-room.' • 6 My friend looked somewhat abashed at this, but forebore any remark, except that they were all such friends! He then invited me into the garden, where I found a strange medley, owing to most fearful alterations in the act of being perpetrated. The original plan of the inclosure had been in the character of the house, old-fashioned, straight gravel walks, clipt hedges, and yews cut into shapes, pyramidal, globular, and now and then a peacock. But all these were giving way to an attempt at both an Italian and a French garden; much trellis, and many balustrades, forming as much incongruity with the mansion as the porch in the other front.
“ I had not quite recovered my surprise at the cavalier conduct to my friend of his guests just arrived, and we both were for some time silent, till at last, by way of something to say, looking at the alterations going forward, I observed, “I suppose this too is the taste of Lady Cherubina?
“ He seemed a little embarrassed, when he replied, "You are right; but it is all unfinished, and it is not fair to judge. That trim hedge and all those yews are to come down."
“A pity,' said I, though hesitatingly, for I saw it was against his own wish; those yews seem five hundred years old, and assort so well with the house.'
" True,' said he, but things are not advanced enough to be understood, and everybody allows Lady Cherubina has so exquisite a taste, and she was so decided about it, I thought it a pity, and useless, to thwart her.'
“ I felt this unanswerable, particularly the last part of the assertion, so tried to change the subject, but was saved the trouble by another barouche and four, the very counterpart of the first arrival (dead and live lumber inside and out), which drove up to the porch and began to unload.
“Seeing my surprise and almost dismay at this, Bostock observed, It is only Lord Gayhurst, and his two sons and daughter, the uncle, and some more cousins of Lady Cherubina; they always come here preparatory to the first of September. Perhaps I ought to have apprised you of it, knowing your retired habits; but to tell you the truth, I was afraid you would not come if you had known it.'
6. I trust there are no more,' said I, somewhat annoyed; which I saw rather discomposed him.
666 I am not sure,' answered he, again somewhat embarrassed, “ for visitors are always Lady Cherubina’s province; and I never know exactly—that is, she does not always tell me how many or whom she invites.'
66. Is that quite so comfortable or convenient?' asked I; but seeing that he was a little flurried, I addedheaven forgive the equivocation—it at least shews on what very pleasant terms you must be together.'
666 Why, yes,' replied he, “it is pleasant to have no restraint on either side, and Lady Cherubina has done so much for me, that it would be hard if she was not her own mistress in these respects.'
Or in any others,' I was about to add; but recol. lecting we were not at Queen's, I checked my tutorlike customs, and was silent.
“ I own I was annoyed by the prospect of all this company, having promised myself a quiet week with my old pupil, to say nothing of a wish to investigate his real position as a husband, in a marriage so unequal in point of rank. Not that I thought there
might not be happiness if each party studied the thing as they ought; that is, if the gentleman made up his inferiority in birth and connections by great decision of character and superiority of mind, and the lady had sense and moderation enough duly to appreciate his merits; but here I doubted both. Bostock was too sensitive, I had almost said too modest, too much alive to his own deficiencies in birth and breeding, to be firm in asserting himself against his highbred wife, if she chose to oppose his authority; and, from what I have heard, the Lady Cherubina was no cherub in nature, whatever she might be in name,
“ But the awful ceremony of introduction now approached, and put an end to all my speculations. For I felt forced to brush up all my old recollections of the fine manners I had formerly seen, when I found myself in a rich drawing-room, furnished in the most costly taste by this high lady, and surrounded by half a dozen of her high relations, with no one of my own degree to give me countenance, except my friend, who, though the master of the house and giver of the feast, I grieve to say, seemed to stand quite as much in need of countenance as myself.
“His wife, to do her justice, was a very magnificent person, tall and well-shaped, with a commanding, perhaps I might say a haughty air, eyes like basilisks, and hair in dark profusion. The former flashed incessantly, and yet seemed to have but little sentiment in them. She was any thing but soft; fitter we might say for a queen among subjects, than the wife of a bourgeois gentilhomme, which, with all his merits,