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'But I can't help it, ma.'
'Exorbitant!-don't tell me! You should have a little more aristocracy about you! Come, come, my precious; come, take them there knots out of your hankecher, and come down without any more affected ways.'
I can't, ma: no, indeed, I can't.'
'You provoke me! I shall never make anything on you. What, is she any more than you are? She's only a lady of title like yourself! I never heered tell of such a thing! I'm ashamed of you, reely.'
And having delivered herself to this effect, she again with due boldness descended alone.
'My daughter, the Countess, says as you must excuse her,' she observed as she hastily re-entered the room. She don't feel at all the thing this morning. At any other time you like to come she'd be happy.'
Well! The Marchioness could do no more. She could not insist upon seeing her, certainly, although she much wished to arrive at the truth; and therefore feeling it to be useless to press the point then, she rose, and without any unnecessary ceremony, left the house, intimating that she was not by any means satisfied, and that she felt herself bound to see into the matter further.
As the soirée had been fixed to come off on the morrow, the Captain wrote to the Earl by that night's post, to inform him that his presence in town at a certain hour was absolutely indispensable; and, as he made it appear that this special command had been prompted by something connected with the speculation, that noble person duly arrived, and found his partners pretending-in order that there might appear to be a sufficient excuse for the summons-to be deeply engaged in a discussion having reference to the propriety of continuing the scheme.
Into this really animated discussion the noble Earl entered with spirit, with a view of proving the advantages which would as a matter of necessity spring from the very fact of putting down ten thousand pounds more; and as it was then but eight o'clock, the discussion was kept up with warmth until nine, at which hour the company began to arrive.
The professional people came first, and were received by the Countess and her mamma with unexampled condescension; but as the rattling of carriages continued, the Earl suddenly inquired if they knew what it meant ?
'Oh! yes,' replied the Captain. The Countess gives a soirée musicale!
'A soirée devil!' exclaimed the noble Earl: and starting up in a rage, he rushed from the room amidst loud peals of laughter.
"What is the meaning of this?' he demanded, on reaching the brilliantly illuminated salon, in which the Countess and Mrs. Gills-dressed in all conceivable colours, and further embellished, in order to look sweetly pretty, with a greater variety of artificial flowers than ever adorned the active person of a sweep on May-day-were entertaining the professional people with characteristic dignity and grace,-what, I ask, is the meaning of it all?'
'My noble lord,' replied the Countess, we are only going to have a little party!'
'A little party! Are you mad?'
'But it's the Countess's own party!' interposed Mrs. Gills.
'I'll have no parties!' thundered forth the Earl. 'Why did you not let me know of it, madam?'
'We thought it would be an agreeable surprise!'
"Tom!' cried the Earl, calling loudly to the porter. 'Do you hear? Lock that door! Open it to no one! Not another soul shall enter tonight. What persons are these?' he added, turning to the Countess with a look which made her tremble.
"They are the singers, my lord.'
'Dismiss them! I'll not have them here: they're not wanted.' Whereupon he returned to his associates, who were all extremely merry, and demanded of them why they had not informed him of the issue of the cards for this soirée musicale?
'We thought it by far too good a joke,' was the reply.
'A joke!' exclaimed the Earl. It may be a joke to you, gentlemen; but look at the position in which it places me! Tom!' he added, calling again to the porter, as the knocking at the door became tremendous. 'Never mind their knocking! If you let another creature in I'll strangle you. Are those people gone?'
'No, my lord.
"Turn them out! Why do they remain ?'
The reason soon appeared. They had resolved not to leave the house without being paid; and no sooner was the Earl informed of this, than he rushed fiercely up to them again, with a forcible ejectment in
'I'll hear nothing of your demands,' said he 'to-night. I insist upon your leaving instantly. If you remain another moment you will draw upon yourselves consequences which may not be pleasing."
Several of the professional gentlemen here endeavoured to reason with him on the subject, but he would not hear a word, and exhibited such excessive violence that they eventually deemed it expedient to depart.
He saw them out, while Tom kept on guard, and then closed the door upon them himself. But the knocking still continued, for the street was full of carriages, and the whole neighbourhood seemed to be in a state of commotion.
"Wrench off that knocker,' he cried, 'and then write upon the door.' 'What, my lord?'
Gone to the devil!-to let!-anything!-run away!-no matter
Tom mixed up some whitening with great expedition, and while the enraged Earl himself kept guard, he wrenched off the knocker, and marked upon the door in legible characters, 'To LET. GONE
'Now,' said the Earl, 'let them thunder if they can. Snap that bell-wire-snap it at once! I charge you, Tom, not to let another soul in to-night.' And having given this charge with violent emphasis, he quitted the house, leaving the Countess and her mamma sobbing over each other like children, while the Captain and his band were enjoying themselves highly, and making a soirée musicale of it, occa sionally looking out upon the long line of carriages which continued to arrive and to depart with their loads until past one o'clock in the morning.
GUY FAWKES: AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ILLUSTRATed by george
Book the Third.
Chapter I.-How Guy Fawkes was put to the torture.
BY THE AUTHOR OF 'STEPHEN DUGARD'
MARINE MEMORANDA, no. III.
BY HAL WILLIS, STUDENT AT LAW
THE GIRL AT NO. 7.-THE OLD LEDGER, NO iv.
EDITED AND ILLUSTRATED BY ALFRED CROWQUILL
THE LAY OF THE OLD WOMAN CLOTHED IN GREY.
BY GEORGE DANIEL
BY PAUL FLEMMING
BY A SUBMARINE
BY THOMAS INGOLDSBY
BY DR. PANGLOSS
NOTES ON SOME NEW NOVELS,
Chapter XLII.-The Countess of Clarendale receives another lesson.
THE STAGE-COACHMAN ABROAD,
* This illustration was not received with the English copy.-Aм. PUB.
BY DUDLEY COSTELLO
BY PAUL FLEMMING
Want of room compels us, says the English publisher, to postpone till next month a clever paper on the 'Education of the Middle Classes,' by Dr. Taylor; and for the same reason we are obliged to omit 'Horæ Offleanæ.'