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seemed to surround Bertha, so far from having charms, was even disgusting.
This was my first taste of the misfortune which attends a decayed gentleman, who, no matter from what cause, wilfully lifts himself above the sphere to which his family has fallen ; and I began more than ever to feel the sagacity of Fothergill's advice, and to deplore that I had not obeyed it.
And yet the little progress I had made in the society I so admired, or rather the many steps I had retrograded from it, was too cruelly proved to my feelings at this moment not to make me regret this turn in my lot. It was not that my father's associates had anything uncouth or repulsive about them; that their station was other than respectable; or even that they had not the general advantages of common education. They were not indeed able to make or quote verses like Foljambe; they were all men of business, and cared not for song, nor possibly for love. But this it was that made my too sickly pride, added to the devotion of my young love, look upon
them with aversion. Yet they had shrewd, sensible heads, reasonably honest hearts, and understood the world, practically at least, if they did not philosophize upon human nature.
Had I not therefore lain under a spell, which warped my mind, and left it anything but free, I might have found pleasure as well as profit in communicating with them. But this, not only the state of my heart, “sighing like furnace,” but the taste I had imbibed for elegance, and what may be called tournure, forbade.
Tournure, indeed, was not a term then in my vocabulary, for I had not then known the charming woman who taught it me-herself the most elegant pattern of its most finished character. Nor did I use the word in examining why I felt the distaste I had for everything that did not belong to it. But the idea made itself understood, though I could not describe it in language, and my feelings told me plainly enough that it was all traceable to Bertha. Everything that did not seem in connection with her and hers (even though with hers I had so bitterly quarrelled) was vapid, dull, tasteless, and uninteresting.
Hence, though I had sense enough to feel that in my station of life I had no right to look to the refinement of higher classes, yet the fascination of manners which I met not at home, and the consciousness of our descent from ancient nobles, would never let me think that I was that miserable character under which I have designated myself-of a decayed gentle. man. Decayed I might be, but not the less, I thought, a gentleman ; and this only heightened the delicacy of feeling always created by love.
For this I took myself to task, but that did not help me; and I fear I passed with my father's friends, perhaps with my father himself, for a sullen youth, stranger to good manners, possibly to good-nature. It is certain, that, whether from this over-delicacy, or the resentful recollection of the evening before, the day after the ball was the least happy of my life.
Another, however, now opened before me, though, as it happened, it was devoted to the same engrossing
subject. For, notwithstanding I had resolved to weàn myself from those who had so mortified, nay, as I thought, so insulted me, and therefore meant to pass the morning in the courts, I found that on leaving our inn, instead of turning to the right towards the Castle, I turned to the left towards the sheriffs' lodging. For what purpose this was, I had not time to ask my own breast, for I was there before I knew where I was.
I found, also, I had been particularly attentive to my dress,—with what view, let those who can understand me explain. I did not exactly at the time explain it to myself, but felt a sort of anxious curiosity as to the persons I might meet with in my walk; and that walk brought me exactly opposite to those windows which I knew contained a pearl of price, though never to be worn by me.
For one who had vowed such spirit and dignity, I was afraid I did not come off well. Bertha was in the balcony arrayed for a walk with her brother and her cousin. She looked more lovely than ever, but not for me ; for, occupied with her friends, neither she, nor they, I verily believe, saw me; and I record this in proof of the folly that possessed me : for, will it be believed that I pouted, nay, was fiercely angry,
because they had not chosen to recognise a person whom I would not believe they had not seen ? If it is thus I am to be treated, said I-if all my devotion is to be so neglected, adieu to Bertha-adieu to Foljambe
As to Mansell, he was not worth an adieu ; and I was stalking off with great dignity, when I met Sir
Harry, bending towards the inn, evidently to join the select party above. He looked so happy, that I hated him ; nor was the feeling diminished by the certainty I felt that he intended not to notice me. Yet mark, how wrong we may be! Sir Harry had naturally good breeding, spite of his title and £8,000 a-year, which, like the fool I was, and in the very spirit of a decayed gentleman, I chose to think would prevent the possession of that pleasing attribute. I therefore felt surprised that—recollecting me for the person who had saved Bertha from a fall the evening before-he actually, and not ungracefully, gave me a bow of recognition. My decayed gentility thus relieved, Sir Harry rose instantly in my esteem-nay, immediately became in my eyes himself“ a marvellous proper gentleman.”
What children-or rather what fools—are we, high as we think ourselves in the scale of being !
To return to my tale: I walked quickly on, resolving to think no more of the sheriff's party. What could it be to me what they were doing, or what going to do? Yet as Bertha, in the balcony, was equipped for a walk, her beautiful green pelisse would not get out of my mind; so I thought I would just stop at the end of the street, from mere curiosity, to observe where they were going. Of course to the Castle, as I thought, and I therefore resolved not to go there myself, for why should I throw myself in their way? They, however, took the road to Bishopthorpe, and most consistently I changed my resolve, and, taking a shorter cut, determined to meet them on the road. I
will shew them, said I, that I am master of myself, and they nothing to me. As to Mansell, he is a clown, who cannot dance; Foljambe has long turned coxcomb, and belied all his pretensions to sincerity ; and for Sir Harry-now for the life of me I could find no fault with Sir Harry, and was almost sorry that he had not treated me ill, instead of condescending to know me.
With these feelings I met the party full in their front, within a few yards of the palace, * whither they were bound.
How many associations are wound about that palace, which afterwards became a source of some of my happiest recollections-happy no longer. Yet can I not refuse to record (when thus presented to my memory) the pleasure I had in being noticed by the venerable and venerated being who, in those days, presided over that spot in patriarchal dignity and patriarchal love. He has long slept with his fathers, and left this earthly abode for a better, together with all belonging to him whom it is any pleasure to remember: and it may be politic to touch but slightly upon days and feelings which are gone, never to return.
The party all seemed struck with surprise at meeting me; the men, as I thought, annoyed, and rather puzzled how I was to be greeted. But with Bertha, dear Bertha! there was no hesitation. Her eye, indeed, could never forget to sparkle, whatever her mood; but though I might be deceived by its brilliancy, I could not mistake a sort of blush, and the
* The Archbishop's.