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Nothing can be more repulsive, and hence such a proceeding is never had recourse to, except in extreme cases.
The old masters, José Candido, Lorencillo, José Delgado, and Romero, used to give zest to the natural dangers inevitable to the combat by extemporaneous or sometimes pre-arranged maneuvres. Romero, for example, has been known to kill a bull with shackles on his feet, seated on a chair, and having only his hat for a muleta. El Americano has encountered a bull, mounted on another bull, saddled and bridled. The licentiate De Falces has presented himself before the animal wrapt up in his mantle, and not even having the freedom of his arms.
These rash proceedings, or coquetteries de témérité, as Théophile Gautier justly designates them, have fallen into desuetude, although Montès, when in good spirits, will play a number of tricks upon his opponent before he despatches it, and which would be very dangerous to any one else but himself.
When the cachetero has completed his office, a number of mules, brilliantly harnessed, are brought into the arena, and they drag off the victim with astonishing celerity. The trumpets sound, the gates of the toril open once more, and another four-footed actor rushes upon the same stage, whence none are allowed to withdraw in order to appear again.
THE GHOSTS ROUND BISMARK'S COUCH.
BY MRS. BUSHBY.
They come, they come, in thronging hosts,
Why didst thou send us there ?" demande
“ You were not always of that opinion.”
“My intellect has become enlarged, my child. Can you not understand how difficult one may find it to break through old babits of neighbourhood, friendliness, and all that sort of thing? Besides, there is really no barm in poor Magdalen; only, as I said, she bores one with her perpetual reminiscences.”
“ I have been so happy this week, George !"
“ That will not do at all, Laura. If I allowed you, you would be a perfect turtle-dove, and make yourself and me ridiculous.”
“ You know I hate public demonstrations of that kind as much as
“ That is all right. And now, sweet one! I hope, when our friends come, you will not be nonsensical, but do your devoir as a hostess should, and allow me to make myself generally agreeable, without my having the miserable consciousness that I am fettered by my wife's causeless and ungenerous suspicions.”
"I delight in seeing you generally agreeable, George."
“A most invidious emphasis, madam! But I shall not quarrel with you. As you say, we have been very happy this week, and it only rests with yourself that we should be always equally so. Shall it be a bargain ?
“I should be but too glad. I am so miserable when there is any cloud between us."
“The clouds arise from your own busy imagination, which magnifies everything, especially your poor husband's peccadilloes."
I thought, and fain would still think, that he had none." “Very well !-think so. And, for that matter, I might retort on you, if I were not too magnanimous, by a reminder or two on the subject of your tender friendship with Hans Carey. Ha! you are blushing at the first hint of it." Laura laughed merrily.
“Hans has been always so kind to me,” she said. " When I had few bright or cheerful things in my life, he was so good! Oh! you may get up a jealous fit about him as soon as you please ; it shall not make me love him, or show that I do so, a bit the less."
“And can you not allow me the same latitude ?”
“In your construction of them. But, since you call them little affairs,' 'I am satisfied; that is the right way to think of them. Are you not my wife ?”
“Yes, George ; and I shall try hard to be what I ought to be." “Dear child! only trust me.'
In two days more the guests began to arrive. Mr. and Mrs. Heytesbury, with Emilie and Adelaide, were the first to make their appearance, and were followed by the Careys, and a miscellaneous col. lection of shooting young men, and girls pretty and plain, clever and stupid. Laura, in her character of hostess, had her hands full of occupation, and was rejoiced to see that Adelaide was not quite so ready to lead her host into the labyrinths of sentimentality as she had been.
Two causes operated in producing this desirable change. The one was that Emilie had incited Mrs. Charlton to lecture the wilful beauty on her injudicious encouragement of a married man, and that the anxious mother had strongly represented to her daughter the injury she must inevitably do her matrimonial projects should she once get a character so unlikely to advance her interests. A noble incitement to the right path! but neither mother nor daughter knew of any more powerful. But the strongest dissuasive lay behind. Amongst the party at Thornicroft was a young baronet who had just attained his majority, and who, besides being rich to the fullest realisation of Adelaide's dreams, was good-looking, full of gaiety and spirit, and a professed admirer of beauty. He openly declared that he meant to seek neither wealth nor high lineage in a bride-beauty, amiability, and talent were the qualities he proposed to secure in his future wife--and he also intimated his intention of marrying as soon as he could find a lady to suit his taste and incline seriously to his vows. It must be owned that Adelaide had some reason for her change of manner towards her host, and he, being excessively piqued, took pains to show her that others were less capricious than she, and distributed his attentions so equally amongst his lady-guests as to charm them one and all. Laura also benefited by her lord's fit of pique, and, unconscious of the cause, received his attentions with a radiant pleasure, which made her duties as hostess quite a different thing from the compulsory penance to which she had looked forward. Even Miss Heathcote, who was asked to several dinner and evening parties at Thornicroft, and who came, looking handsome, defiant, and superb, had no power to disturb Laura's equanimity. In vain she sang her finest songs in her finest manner—in vain her regal airs and graces were put forth; her sovereignty had passed into the hands of a younger, fairer, and (above all) a newer rival, and that rival, being one whose sweetest smiles were now given to another, was more than ever admired by a man to whom difficulty ever gave a new impetus. However, poor Laura, not seeing the hidden springs which moved her husband's actions, was only too happy in his renewed consideration for her.
Some days and weeks of halcyon calm passed, when Sir Edward Preston, the object of Adelaide's aspirations, received letters, which, he said, made it necessary for him to bring his visit to a close ; and next day he went, making no sign. Adelaide's grief was not very deep, whatever may have been her mortification ; and, to console herself for her disappointment, she returned to her old pursuits. When Adelaide was resolved tobe winning, severe indeed must have been the displeasure that she could not thaw, and Colonel Home's reserve melted before her smiles. In truth, matters were soon worse than ever, if it be true that a relapse is always more dangerous than the first attack of a disease; and Laura, despite her earnest endeavours to be indifferent, found herself once more deserted. Adelaide was a capital horse-woman, and one morning after breakfast, as the whole party at Thornicroft stood on the lawn watching the antics of a young horse which Mr. Carysbroke, one of the gentlemen, bad bought for his wife, the animal took fright at something, and ran off, almost throwing the groom who rode it. It was some time before it could again be reduced to tolerable quietness, and even then Mrs. Carysbroke declared
that nothing should induce her to mount a horse so easily startled. In vain her husband promised not to stir from her side; she absolutely refused to mount, and, as a projected excursion was in prospect, and the hour fixed for starting was close at hand, Mr. Carysbroke, who had been proud of his wife's skili as a horse-woman, was very much displeased. Adelaide volunteered to take the lady's place, and went off to don her habit. Presently she came into Laura's morningroom, where Laura was teaching Emilie a new netting stitch.
“Laura, will you lend me your riding-veil? Mine caught on Thursday as I was coming through Thorden copse, and it is a perfect show."
“You can have the veil, of course," said Laura, quietly, “but I wish you would not think of riding that horse.”
“Think of it! I certainly shall. Mrs. Carysbroke thinks it so interesting to be timid, and likes so much to be entreated to change her mind, I was quite glad that her husband got angry and left her to her own devices."
“I don't think you are wise.”
“Adelaide never was that, and, I greatly fear, never will be," said Emilie.
“ Prophet, said I, thing of evil ?” chanted Adelaide, laughing. “Laura, did you ever see anything so ill-natured as Emilie has become ?"
“Just now, I think, she is only anxious to keep you from doing a foolish thing;
“One might fancy I was a child, to be lectured and ordered about. I declare it is insufferable."
“ I know what I think much more so," retorted Emilie. “ Myself, I presume.”
“ Exactly so; and I tell you what it is, Adelaide, I shall write to mamma to order you home, if you don't change your tactics."
“ You may do as you please, but I certainly shall not go home in a hurry; there is no one at Charlwood, and will you tell me, please, am I to waste my sweetness there ? Not a bit of it." “I wonder Laura can be so quiet; it is well for her," said Emilie.
Pray, what do I do to vex Laura P” asked Adelaide, with a conscious smile.
“I call it shameful !" cried Emilie, rising indignantly. "I am sure Colonel Home himself must be disgusted with your conduct. A man will always be weak enough to encourage a girl if she be sufficiently silly to run after him; but he must have a very low opinion of her, nevertheless."
“ You do talk such folly about him," returned Adelaide, blushing angrily; " as if I may not say and do what I please with him! Are we not a sort of brother and sister ?”
“ You are as much his sister as you are the sister of the Khan of Tartary ; you might marry him to-morrow if Laura were dead.”
“ Laura is not dead, however; and, as for him, I shall just act as I choose ; he suits me, and I suit him, and we get on famously. I prefer him to all the young men in England."
“You did not think so a week ago, but your disappointment has made you change your opinion.”
“Please, Adelaide! Emilie, have an end of this. I cannot allow such a discussion in my presence ; it is bad taste, if nothing worse, and if
will persevere in it, I shall leave the room to you. “For my part, I am off. I shall just get that veit from your maid, Laura."
And Adelaide went off; as for Emilie, she attempted to resume the subject with Laura, but the latter firmly declined all discussion on that head, and alleging, as an excuse, the necessity of going to look after her other guests, she left Emilie to her own resources.
A NEW STAR APPEARS ON THE HORIZON.
It may be remembered that Colonel Home had a wish to enter parliament, and, unlike many of his wishes, time failed to make him less eager for its accomplishment. Whether he believed himself pos. sessed of the requisites for winning distinction in the senate I cannot tell, but certain it was that he allowed no amusement or pursuit to interfere with his desire to render himself popular in the county: This was not difficult, for “Thornicroft" was pleasant to young and old, and those who disapproved of Colonel Home's manners, politics, or principles, were sure to be conciliated by his sweet, gentle wife, who seemed to have the gift of charming every one but the person sbe most wished to charm. Mr. Leslie, the member whom the colonel hoped to succeed, was too ill to allow any expectation of his recovery, and as the fatal termination of his illness was an event which might occur at any time, the aspirant who looked forward to filling his place redoubled his efforts to make himself agreeable. Poor Laura did her utmost to second his wishes, and, as I have said, succeeded; but she did everything so quietly, and had so little dash or demonstrativeness about her, that, while her husband could not find fault with results, he continually took exception to the manner in which those results had been obtained, generally, too, commending for his wife's imitation some woman who was particularly obnoxious to her. Indeed, just now the gallant colonel was not on a bed of roses, and, of course, his wife was the natural and legitimate safety-valve by which his superfluous irritability found vent. Miss Heathcote and her family were a good deal at Thornicroft; they were valuable auxiliaries where the entertainment of a number of people was an object, and Magdalen was with very great difficulty kept in tolerable good humour by her perplexed host. Keen of instinct as both Magdalen and Adelaide were,
each discerned in the other a powerful and dangerous foe, and of course a very promising dislike arose between them, veiled, however, by the smiles and conventional civilities which are so often used to cloak many a poisoned shaft. Adelaide, with her pretty girlish imperious ways,
half appealing and half commanding, and secure, moreover, in the power of her undoubted beauty, was divided between surprise and indignation at Miss Heathcote's daring to imagine she could successfully compete with her for Colonel Home's attentions.
“You certainly are the best old thing in the world, Laura !” she