THE dancing was not yet begun, but the company was met, and the
sprightly violins were employed to quicken their motions, when the
Cleves party entered the ball room. They were distinguished
immediately by a large party of officers, who assured Lionel, with
whom they were acquainted, that they had impatiently been
'I shall recompense you for waiting,' answered he, in a whisper,
'by introducing you to the rich heiress of Cleves, who now makes
her first appearance from the nursery; though no! upon farther
thoughts, I will only tell you she is one of our set, and leave it
to your own ingenuity to find her out.'
While this was passing, Indiana, fluttering with all the secret
triumph of conscious beauty, attended by Edgar, and guarded by Miss
Margland, walked up the room, through a crowd of admiring
spectators; in whom a new figure, without half her loveliness,
would have excited the same curiosity, that her extreme
inexperience attributed solely to her peculiar charms. Camilla and
Eugenia followed rather as if in her train, than of her party; but
Lionel kept entirely with the officers, insisting upon their
guessing which was the heiress; to whom, while he purposely misled
their conjectures, he urged them to make their court, by
enumerating the present possessions of Sir Hugh, and her future
Camilla, however, passed not long unnoticed, though the splendor
of Indiana's appearance cast her at first on the back ground; a
circumstance which, by impressing her with a sensation of
inferiority, divested her mind of all personal considerations, and
gave to her air and countenance a graceful simplicity, a disengaged
openness, and a guileless freedom from affectation, that rendered
her, to the observant eye, as captivating upon examination, as
Indiana, from the first glance, was brilliant and alluring. And
thus, as they patrolled the room, Indiana excited an unmixt
admiration, Camilla awakened an endless variety of remark; while
each being seen for the first time, and every one else of the
company for at least the second, all attention was their own,
whether for criticism or for praise. To Indiana this answered, in
fulfilling her expectations; by Camilla, it was unheeded, for, not
awaiting, she did not perceive it; yet both felt equal
satisfaction. The eyes of Camilla sparkled with delight as she
surveyed all around her the gay novelty of the scene; the heart of
Indiana beat with a pleasure wholly new, as she discovered that all
surrounding her regarded her as the principal object.
Eugenia, meanwhile, had not even the negative felicity to pass
unobserved; impertinent witticisms upon her face, person, and walk,
though not uttered so audibly as to be distinctly heard, ran round
the room in a confused murmur, and produced a disposition for
sneering in the satirical, and for tittering in the giddy, that
made her as valuable an acquisition to the company at large, who
collect for any amusement, indifferent to its nature, as her fair
cousin proved to the admirers of beauty, and her sister to the
developers of expression. She was shielded, however, herself, from
all undeserved mortifications, by not suspecting any were meant for
her, and by a mind delightedly pre-occupied with that sudden
expansion of ideas, with which new scenery and new objects charm a
When they had taken two or three turns up and down the room, the
saunterers were called upon to give place to the dancers. Edgar
then led out Indiana, and the master of the ceremonies brought
Major Cerwood to Camilla.
Eugenia, wholly left out, became the exclusive charge of Miss
Margland; she felt no resentment of neglect, for she had formed no
species of expectation. She looked on with perfect contentment, and
the motley and quick changing group afforded her ample
Miss Margland was not so passive; she seized the opportunity of
inveighing very angrily against the mismanagement of Sir Hugh: 'If
you had all,' she cried, 'been taken to town, and properly brought
out, according to my advice, such a disgrace as this could never
have happened; everybody would have known who you were, and then,
there is no doubt, you might have had partners enough; however, I
heartily hope you won't be asked to dance all the evening, that he
may be convinced who was in the right; besides, the more you are
tired, the more you may see, against another time, Miss Eugenia,
that it is better to listen a little to people's opinions, when
they speak only for your own advantage, than to go on with just the
same indifference, as if you had no proper person to consult
Eugenia was too well amused to heed this remonstrance; and long
accustomed to hear the voice of Miss Margland without profit or
pleasure, her ear received its sound, but her attention included
not its purpose.
Indiana and Camilla, in this public essay, acquitted themselves
with all the merits, and all the faults common to a first
exhibition. The spectators upon such occasions, though never
equally observant, are never afterwards so lenient. Whatever fails
is attributed to modesty, more winning than the utmost success of
excellence. Timidity solicits that mercy which pride is most
gratified to grant; the blushes of juvenile shame atone for the
deficiencies which cause them; and aukwardness itself, in the
unfounded terrors of youth, is perhaps more interesting than
Indiana could with difficulty keep to the figure of the dance,
from the exulting, yet unpractised certainty of attracting all
eyes; and Camilla perpetually turned wrong, from the mere flutter
of fear, which made her expect she should never turn right. Major
Cerwood, her partner, with a view to encourage her, was profuse in
his compliments; but, as new to what she heard as what she
performed, she was only the more confused by the double claim to
Edgar, meanwhile, was most assiduous to aid his fair partner.
Miss Margland, though scarcely even superficial in general
knowledge, was conversant in the practical detail of the hackneyed
mode of forming matrimonial engagements; she judged, therefore,
rightly, that her pupil would be seen to most advantage, in the
distinction of that adulation by which new beholders would stamp
new value on her charms. From the time of his first boyish
gallantry, on the ill-fated birth-day of Camilla, Indiana had never
so much struck young Mandlebert, as while he attended her up the
assembly-room. Miss Margland observed this with triumph, and
prophesied the speediest conclusion to her long and weary sojourn
at Cleves, in the much wished-for journey to London, with a bride
ready made, and an establishment ready formed.
When the two first dances were over, the gentlemen were desired
to change partners. Major Cerwood asked the hand of Indiana, and
Edgar repaired to Camilla: 'Do you bear malice?' he cried, with a
smile, 'or may I now make the claim that Sir Hugh relinquished for
'O yes,' answered she, with alacrity, when informed of the plan
of change; 'and I wish there was any body else, that would dance
with me afterwards, instead of that Major.'
'I dare believe,' said he, laughing 'there are many bodies else,
who would oblige you, if your declaration were heard. But what has
the Major done to you? Has he admired you without knowing how to
keep his own counsel?'
'No, no; only he has treated me like a country simpleton, and
made me as many fine speeches, as if he had been talking to
'You think, then, Indiana would have swallowed flattery with
'No, indeed! but I think the same things said to her would no
longer have been so extravagant.'
Edgar, to whom the sun-beams of the mind gave a glow which not
all the sparkling rays of the brightest eyes could emit, respected
her modesty too highly to combat it, and, dropping the subject,
enquired what was become of Eugenia.
'O poor Eugenia!' cried she, 'I see nothing of her, and I am
very much afraid she has had no better partner all this time than
Edgar, turning round, presently discerned her; she was still
looking on, with an air of the most perfect composure, examining
the various parties, totally without suspicion of the examination
she was herself sustaining; while Miss Margland was vainly pouring
in her ears observations, or exhortations, evidently of a
'There is something truly respectable,' said Edgar, 'in the
innate philosophy with which she bears such neglect.'
'Yet I wish it were put less to the proof;' said Camilla. 'I
would give the world somebody would take her out!'
'You don't think she would dance?'
'O yes she would! her lameness is no impediment; for she never
thinks of it. We all learnt together at Cleves. Dancing gives her a
little more exertion, and therefore a little more fatigue than
other people, but that is all.'
'After these two dances then—'
'Will you be her partner?' interrupted Camilla, 'O go to her at
once! immediately! and you will give me twenty times more pleasure
than I can have in dancing myself.'
She then flew to a form, and eagerly seated herself where she
perceived the first vacancy, to stop any debate, and enforce his
The dance, which had been delayed by a dispute about the tune,
was now beginning. Edgar, looking after her with affected reproach,
but real admiration, asked the hand of Eugenia; who gave it with
readiness and pleasure; for, though contented as a spectatress, she
experienced an agreeable surprise in becoming a party engaged.
Camilla, happy in her own good humour, now looked at her
neighbours; one of which was an elderly lady, who, wholly employed
in examining and admiring the performance of her own daughters, saw
nothing else in the room. The other was a gentleman, much
distinguished by his figure and appearance, and dressed so
completely in the extreme of fashion, as more than to border upon
foppery. The ease and negligence of his air denoted a self-settled
superiority to all about him; yet, from time to time, there was an
archness in the glance of his eye, that promised, under a deep and
wilful veil of conceit and affectation, a secret disposition to
deride the very follies he was practising. He was now lounging
against the wainscoat; with one hand on his side, and the other
upon his eye-lids, occupying the space, without using the seat, to
the left of Camilla.
Miss Margland, perceiving what she regarded as a fair vacancy,
made up to the spot, and saying, 'Sir, by your leave,' was
preparing to take possession of the place, when the gentleman, as
if without seeing her, dropt suddenly into it himself, and, pouring
a profusion of eau suave upon his handkerchief, exclaimed:
'What a vastly bad room this is for dancing!'
Camilla, concluding herself addressed, turned round to him; but,
seeing he was sniffing up the eau suave, without looking
at her, imagined he meant to speak to Miss Margland.
Miss Margland was of the same opinion, and, with some pique at
his seizing thus her intended seat, rather sharply answered: 'Yes,
sir, and it's a vast bad room for not dancing; for if
every body would dance that ought, there would be accommodation
sufficient for other people.'
'Incomparably well observed!' cried he, collecting some bonbons
from a bonboniere, and swallowing one after another with great
rapidity: 'But won't you sit down? You must be enormously tired.
Let me supplicate you to sit down.'
Miss Margland, supposing he meant to make amends for his
inattention, by delivering up the place, civilly thanked him, and
said she should not be sorry, for she had stood a good while.
'Have you, indeed?' cried he, sprinkling some jessamine drops
upon his hands; 'how horribly abominable? Why don't some of those
Mercuries, those Ganymedes, those waiters, I believe you call them,
get you a chair?'
Miss Margland, excessively affronted, turned her back to him;
and Camilla made an offer of her own seat; but, as she had been
dancing, and would probably dance again, Miss Margland would not
let her rise.
'Shall I call to one of those Barbarians, those Goths, those
Vandals?' cried the same gentleman, who now was spirting lavender
water all about him, with grimaces that proclaimed forcibly his
opinion of the want of perfume in the room: 'Do pray let me
harangue them a little for you upon their inordinate want of
Miss Margland deigned not any answer; but of that he took no
notice, and presently called out, though without raising his voice,
'Here, Mr. Waiter! Purveyor, Surveyor, or whatsoever other title
"please thine ear," art thou deaf? why dost not bring this
lady a chair? Those people are most amazing hard of hearing! Shall
I call again? Waiter, I say!' still speaking rather lower than
louder; 'Don't I stun you by this shocking vociferation?'
'Sir, you're vastly—obliging!' cried Miss Margland, unable
longer to hold silence, yet with a look and manner that would much
better have accorded with vastly—impertinent.
She then pursued a waiter herself, and procured a chair.
Casting his eyes next upon Camilla, he examined her with much
attention. Abashed, she turned away her head; but not choosing to
lose his object, he called it back again, by saying, 'How is Sir
A good deal surprised, she exclaimed, 'Do you know my uncle,
'Not in the least, ma'am,' he coolly answered.
Camilla, much wondering, was then forced into conversation with
Miss Margland: but, without paying any regard to her surprise, he
presently said, 'It's most extremely worth your while to take a
glance at that inimitably good figure. Is it not exquisite? Can you
suppose any thing beyond it?'
Camilla, looking at the person to whom he pointed, and who was
sufficiently ludicrous, from an air of vulgar solemnity, and a
dress stiffly new, though completely old-fashioned, felt disposed
to join in his laugh, had she not been disconcerted by the mingled
liberty and oddity of his attack.
'Sir,' said Miss Margland, winking at her to be silent, though
eager to answer in her stead, 'the mixt company one always meets at
these public balls, makes them very unfit for ladies of fashion,
for there's no knowing who one may either dance with or speak
'Vastly true, ma'am,' cried he superciliously dropping his eyes,
not to look at her.
Miss Margland, perceiving this, bridled resentfully, and again
talked on with Camilla; till another exclamation interrupted them.
'O pray,' cried he, 'I do entreat you look at that group! Is it not
past compare? If ever you held a pencil in your life, I beg and
beseech you to take a memorandum of that tall may-pole. Have you
ever seen any thing so excessively delectable?'
Camilla could not forbear smiling; but Miss Margland, taking all
reply upon herself, said: 'Caricatures, sir, are by no means
pleasing for young ladies to be taking, at their first coming out:
one does not know who may be next, if once they get into that
'Immeasurably well spoken, ma'am,' returned he; and, rising with
a look of disgust, he sauntered to another part of the room.
Miss Margland, extremely provoked, said she was sure he was some
Irish fortune-hunter, dressed out in all he was worth; and charged
Camilla to take no manner of notice of him.
When the two second dances were over, Edgar, conducting Eugenia
to Miss Margland, said to Camilla: 'Now, at least, if there is not
a spell against it, will you dance with me?'
'And if there is one, too,' cried she, gaily; 'for I am
perfectly disposed to help breaking it.'
She rose, and they were again going to take their places, when
Miss Margland, reproachfully calling after Edgar, demanded what he
had done with Miss Lynmere?
At the same moment, led by Major Cerwood, who was paying her in
full all the arrears of that gallantry Miss Margland had taught her
to regret hitherto missing, Indiana joined them; the Major, in
making his bow, lamenting the rules of the assembly, that compelled
him to relinquish her hand.
'Mr. Mandlebert,' said Miss Margland, 'you see Miss Lynmere is
'Yes, ma'am,' answered Edgar, drawing Camilla away; 'and every
gentleman in the room will be happy to see it too.'
'Stop, Miss Camilla!' cried Miss Margland; 'I thought, Mr.
Mandlebert, Sir Hugh had put Miss Lynmere under your
'O it does not signify!' said Indiana, colouring high with a new
raised sense of importance; 'I don't at all doubt but one or other
of the officers will take care of me.'
Edgar, though somewhat disconcerted, would still have proceeded;
but Camilla, alarmed by the frowns of Miss Margland, begged him to
lead out her cousin, and, promising to be in readiness for the next
two dances, glided back to her seat. He upbraided her in vain; Miss
Margland looked pleased, and Indiana was so much piqued, that he
found it necessary to direct all his attention to appeasing her, as
he led her to join the dance.
A gentleman now, eminently distinguished by personal beauty,
approached the ladies that remained, and, in the most respectful
manner, began conversing with Miss Margland; who received his
attentions so gratefully, that, when he told her he only waited to
see the master of the ceremonies at leisure, in order to have the
honour of begging the hand of one of her young ladies, his
civilities so conquered all her pride of etiquette, that she
assured him there was no sort of occasion for such a formality,
with a person of his appearance and manners; and was bidding
Camilla rise, who was innocently preparing to obey, when, to the
surprise of them all, he addressed himself to Eugenia.
'There!' cried Miss Margland, exultingly, when they were gone;
'that gentleman is completely a gentleman. I saw it from the
beginning. How different to that impertinent fop that spoke to us
just now! He has the politeness to take out Miss Eugenia, because
he sees plainly nobody else will think of it, except just Mr.
Mandlebert, or some such old acquaintance.'
Major Cerwood was now advancing towards Camilla, with that
species of smiling and bowing manner, which is the usual precursor
of an invitation to a fair partner; when the gentleman whom Miss
Margland had just called an impertinent fop, with a sudden swing,
not to be eluded, cast himself between the Major and Camilla, as if
he had not observed his approach; and spoke to her in a voice so
low, that, though she concluded he asked her to dance, she could
not distinctly hear a word he said.
A good deal confused, she looked at him for an explanation;
while the Major, from her air of attention, supposing himself too
Her new beau then, carelessly seating himself by her side,
indolently said: 'What a heat! I have not the most distant idea how
you can bear it!'
Camilla found it impossible to keep her countenance at such a
result of a whisper, though she complied with the injunctions of
Miss Margland, in avoiding mutual discourse with a stranger of so
showy an appearance.
'Yet they are dancing on,' he continued, 'just as if the
Greenland snows were inviting their exercise! I should really like
to find out what those people are made of. Can you possibly imagine
Heedless of receiving no answer, he soon after added: 'I am
vastly glad you don't like dancing.'
'Me?' cried Camilla, surprised out of her caution.
'Yes; you hold it in antipathy, don't you?'
'No, indeed! far from it.'
'Don't you really?' cried he, starting back; 'that's amazingly
extraordinary! surprising in the extreme! Will you have the
goodness to tell me what you like in it?'
'Sir,' interfered Miss Margland, 'there's nothing but what's
very natural in a young lady's taking pleasure in an elegant
accomplishment; provided she is secure from any improper partner,
'Irrefragably just, ma'am!' answered he; affecting to take a
pinch of snuff, and turning his head another way.
Here Lionel, hastily running up to Camilla, whispered, 'I have
made a fine confusion among the red-coats about the heiress of
Cleves! I have put them all upon different scents.'
He was then going back, when a faint laugh from the neighbour of
Camilla detained him; 'Look, I adjure you,' cried he, addressing
her, 'if there's not that delightful creature again, with his
bran-new clothes? and they sit upon him so tight, he can't turn
round his vastly droll figure, except like a puppet with one jerk
for the whole body. He is really an immense treat: I should like of
all things in nature, to know who he can be.'
A waiter then passing with a glass of water for a lady, he stopt
him in his way, exclaiming: 'Pray, my extremely good friend, can
you tell me who that agreeable person is, that stands there, with
the air of a poker?'
'Yes, sir,' answered the man; 'I know him very well. His name is
Dubster. He's quite a gentleman to my knowledge, and has very good
'Camilla,' cried Lionel, 'will you have him for a partner?' And,
immediately hastening up to him, he said two or three words in a
low voice, and skipped back to the dance.
Mr. Dubster then walked up to her, and, with an air
conspicuously aukward, solemnly said, 'So you want to dance,
Convinced he had been sent to her by Lionel, but by no means
chusing to display herself with a figure distinguished only as a
mark for ridicule; she looked down to conceal her ever-ready
smiles, and said she had been dancing some time.
'But if you like to dance again, ma'am,' said he, 'I am very
ready to oblige you.'
She now saw that this offer had been requested as a favour; and,
while half provoked, half diverted, grew embarrassed how to get rid
of him, without involving a necessity to refuse afterwards Edgar,
and every other; for Miss Margland had informed her of the general
rules upon these occasions. She looked, therefore, at that lady for
counsel; while her neighbour, sticking his hands in his sides,
surveyed him from head to foot, with an expression of such
undisguised amusement, that Mr. Dubster, who could not help
observing it, cast towards him, from time to time, a look of the
most angry surprise.
Miss Margland approving, as well understanding the appeal, now
authoritatively interfered, saying: 'Sir, I suppose you know the
etiquette in public places?'
'The what, ma'am?' cried he, staring.
'You know, I suppose, sir, that no young lady of any
consideration dances with a gentleman that is a stranger to her,
without he's brought to her by the master of the ceremonies?'
'O as to that, ma'am, I have no objection. I'll go see for him,
if you've a mind. It makes no difference to me.'
And away he went.
'So you really intend dancing with him?' cried Camilla's
neighbour. ''Twill be a vastly good sight. I have not the most
remote conception how he will bear the pulling and jostling about.
Bend he cannot; but I am immensely afraid he will break. I would
give fifty guineas for his portrait. He is indubitably put together
Mr. Dubster now returned, and, with a look of some disturbance,
said to Miss Margland: 'Ma'am, I don't know which is the master of
the ceremonies. I can't find him out; for I don't know as ever I
'O pray,' cried Camilla eagerly, 'do not take the trouble of
looking for him; 'twill answer no purpose.'
'Why I think so too, ma'am,' said he, misunderstanding her; 'for
as I don't know the gentleman myself, he could go no great way
towards making us better acquainted with one another: so we may
just as well take our skip at once.'
Camilla now looked extremely foolish; and Miss Margland was
again preparing an obstacle, when Mr. Dubster started one himself.
'The worst is,' cried he, 'I have lost one of my gloves, and I am
sure I had two when I came. I suppose I may have dropt it in the
other room. If you shan't mind it, I'll dance without it; for I
don't mind those things myself of a straw.'
'O! sir,' cried Miss Margland, 'that's such a thing as never was
heard of. I can't possibly consent to let Miss Camilla dance in
such a manner as that.'
'Why then, if you like it better, ma'am, I'll go back and look
Again Camilla would have declined giving him any trouble; but he
seemed persuaded it was only from shyness, and would not listen.
'Though the worst is,' he said, 'you're losing so much time.
However, I'll give a good hunt; unless, indeed, that gentleman, who
is doing nothing himself, except looking on at us all, would be
kind enough to lend me his.'
'I rather fancy, sir,' cried the gentleman, immediately
recovering from a laughing fit, and surveying the requester with
supercilious contempt; 'I rather suspect they would not perfectly
'Why then,' cried he, 'I think I'll go and ask Tom Hicks to tend
me a pair; for it's a pity to let the young lady lose her dance for
such a small trifle as that.'
Camilla began remonstrating; but he tranquilly walked away.
'You are superlatively in the good graces of fortune to-night,'
cried her new friend, 'superlatively to a degree, you may not meet
with such an invaluably uncommon object in twenty lustres.'
'Certainly,' said Miss Margland, 'there's a great want of
regulation at balls, to prevent low people from asking who they
will to dance with them. It's bad enough one can't keep people one
knows nothing of from speaking to one.'
'Admirably hit off! admirable in the extreme!' he answered;
suddenly twisting himself round, and beginning a whispering
conversation with a gentleman on his other side.
Mr. Dubster soon came again, saying, somewhat dolorously, 'I
have looked high and low for my glove, but I am no nearer. I dare
say somebody has picked it up, out of a joke, and put it in their
pocket. And as to Tom Hicks, where he can be hid, I can't tell,
unless he has hanged himself; for I can't find him no more than my
glove. However, I've got a boy to go and get me a pair; if all the
shops a'n't shut up.'
Camilla, fearing to be involved in a necessity of dancing with
him, expressed herself very sorry for this step; but, again
misconceiving her motive, he begged her not to mind it; saying, 'A
pair of gloves here or there is no great matter. All I am concerned
for is, putting you off so long from having a little pleasure, for
I dare say the boy won't come till the next two batches; so if that
gentleman that looks so particular at me, has a mind to jig it with
you a bit himself, in the interim, I won't be his hindrance.'
Receiving no answer, he bent his head lower down, and said, in a
louder voice, 'Pray, sir, did you hear me?'
'Sir, you are ineffably good!' was the reply; without a look, or
any further notice.
Much affronted, he said no more, but stood pouting and stiff
before Camilla, till the second dance was over, and another general
separation of partners took place. 'I thought how it would be,
ma'am,' he then cried; 'for I know it's no such easy matter to find
shops open at this time of night; for if people's 'prentices can't
take a little pleasure by now, they can't never.'
Tea being at this time ordered, the whole party collected to
remove to the next room. Lionel, seeing Mr. Dubster standing by
Camilla, with a rapturous laugh, cried, 'Well, sister, have you
Camilla, though laughing too, reproachfully shook her head at
him; while Mr. Dubster gravely said, 'It's no fault of mine, sir,
that the lady's sitting still; for I come and offered myself to her
the moment you told me she wanted a partner; but I happened of the
misfortune of losing one of my gloves, and not being able to find
Tom Hicks, I've been waiting all this while for a boy as has
promised to get me a pair; though, I suppose he's fell down in the
dark and broke his skull, by his not coming. And, indeed, if that
elderly lady had not been so particular, I might as well have done
without; for, if I had one on, nobody would have been the wiser but
that t'other might have been in my pocket.'
This speech, spoken without any ceremony in the hearing of Miss
Margland, to the visible and undisguised delight of Lionel, so much
enraged her, that, hastily calling him aside, she peremptorily
demanded how he came to bring such a vulgar partner to his
'Because you took no care to get her a better,' he answered,
Camilla also began to remonstrate; but, without hearing her, he
courteously addressed himself to Mr. Dubster, and told him he was
sure Miss Margland and his sister would expect the pleasure of his
company to join their party at tea.
Miss Margland frowned in vain; Mr. Dubster bowed, as at a
compliment but his due; observing he should then be close at hand
for his partner; and they were proceeding to the tea-room, when the
finer new acquaintance of Camilla called after Mr. Dubster: 'Pray,
my good sir, who may this Signor Thomaso be, that has the honour to
stand so high in your good graces?'
'Mine, sir?' cried Mr. Dubster; 'I know no Signor Thomaso, nor
Signor nothing else neither: so I don't know what you mean.'
'Did not I hear you dilating, my very good sir, upon a certain
Mr. Tom somebody?'
'What, I suppose then, sir, if the truth be known, you would say
'Very probably, sir: though I am not of the first accuracy as
the gentleman's nomenclator.'
'What? don't you know him, sir? why he's the head waiter!'
Then, following the rest of the party, he was placed, by the
assistance of Lionel, next to Camilla, in utter defiance of all the
angry glances of Miss Margland, who herself invited the handsome
partner of Eugenia to join their group, and reaped some consolation
in his willing civilities; till the attention of the whole assembly
was called, or rather commanded by a new object.
A lady, not young, but still handsome, with an air of fashion
easy almost to insolence, with a complete but becoming undress,
with a work-bag hanging on her arm, whence she was carelessly
knotting, entered the ball-room alone, and, walking straight
through it to the large folding glass doors of the tea-room, there
stopt, and took a general survey of the company, with a look that
announced a decided superiority to all she saw, and a perfect
indifference to what opinion she incurred in return.
She was immediately joined by all the officers, and several
other gentlemen, whose eagerness to shew themselves of her
acquaintance marked her for a woman of some consequence; though she
took little other notice of them, than that of giving to each some
frivolous commission; telling one to hold her work-bag; bidding
another fetch her a chair; a third, ask for a glass of water; and a
fourth, take care of her cloak. She then planted herself just
without the folding-doors, declaring there could be no breathing in
the smaller apartment, and sent about the gentlemen for various
refreshments; all which she rejected when they arrived, with
extreme contempt, and a thousand fantastic grimaces.
The tea-table at which Miss Margland presided being nearest to
these folding-doors, she and her party heard, from time to time,
most of what was said, especially by the newly arrived lady; who,
though she now and then spoke for several minutes in a laughing
whisper, to some one she called to her side, uttered most of her
remarks, and all her commands quite aloud, with that sort of
deliberate ease which belongs to the most determined negligence of
who heard, or who escaped hearing her, who were pleased, or who
Camilla and Eugenia were soon wholly engrossed by this new
personage; and Lionel, seeing her surrounded by the most
fashionable men of the assembly, forgot Mr. Dubster and his gloves,
in an eagerness to be introduced to her.
Colonel Andover, to whom he applied, willingly gratified him:
'Give me leave, Mrs. Arlbery,' cried he, to the lady, who was then
conversing with General Kinsale, 'to present to you Mr.
'For Heaven's sake don't speak to me just now,' cried she; 'the
General is telling me the most interesting thing in the world. Go
on, dear General!'
Lionel, who, if guided by his own natural judgment, would have
conceived this to be the height of ill-breeding or of ignorance, no
sooner saw Colonel Andover bow in smiling submission to her orders,
than he concluded himself all in the dark with respect to the last
licences of fashion: and, while contentedly he waited her leisure
for his reception, he ran over in his own mind the triumph with
which he should carry to Oxford the newest flourish of the bon
In a few minutes, after gaily laughing with the General, she
turned suddenly to Colonel Andover, and, striking him on the arm
with her fan, exclaimed: 'Well, now, Colonel, what is it you would
'Mr. Tyrold,' he answered, 'is very ambitious of the honour of
being introduced to you.'
'With all my heart. Which is he?' And then, nodding to Lionel's
bow, 'You live, I think,' she added, 'in this neighbourhood? By the
way, Colonel, how came you never to bring Mr. Tyrold to me before?
Mr. Tyrold, I flatter myself you intend to take this very ill.'
Lionel was beginning to express his sense of the loss he had
suffered by the delay, when, again, patting the Colonel, 'Only
look, I beg you,' she cried, 'at that insupportable Sir Sedley
Clarendel! How he sits at his ease there! amusing his ridiculous
fancy with every creature he sees. Yet what an elegant posture the
animal has found out! I make no doubt he would as soon forfeit his
estate as give up that attitude. I must make him come to me
immediately for that very reason;—do go to him, good Andover, and
say I want him directly.'
The Colonel obeyed; but not so the gentleman he addressed, who
was the new acquaintance of Camilla. He only bowed to the message,
and, kissing his hand across the room to the lady, desired the
Colonel to tell her he was ineffably tired; but would incontestably
have the honour to throw himself at her feet the next morning.
'O, intolerable!' cried she, 'he grows more conceited every
hour. Yet what an agreeable wretch it is! There's nothing like him.
I cannot possibly do without him. Andover, tell him if he does not
come this moment he kills me.'
'And is that a message,' said General Kinsale, 'to cure him of
'O, Heaven forbid, my good General, I should cure him! That
would utterly spoil him. His conceit is precisely what enchants me.
Rob him of that, and you lose all hold of him.'
'Is it then necessary to keep him a fop, in order to retain him
in your chains?'
'O, he is not in my chains, I promise you. A fop, my dear
General, wears no chains but his own. However, I like to have him,
because he is so hard to be got; and I am fond of conversing with
him, because he is so ridiculous. Fetch him, therefore, Colonel,
This second embassy prevailed; he shrugged his shoulders, but
arose to follow the Colonel.
'See, madam, your victory!' said the General. 'What would not a
military man give for such talents of command?'
'Ay, but look with what magnificent tardiness he obeys orders!
There is something quite irresistible in his impertinence; 'tis so
conscious and so piquant. I think, General, 'tis a little like my
Sir Sedley now advancing, seized the back of a chair, which he
twirled round for a resting place to his elbow, and exclaimed, 'You
know yourself invincible!' with an air that shewed him languidly
prepared for her reproaches: but, to his own surprise, and that of
all around him, she only, with a smile and a nod, cried, 'How do
do?' and immediately turning wholly away from him, addressed
herself to Colonel Andover, desiring him to give her the history of
who was in the tea-room.
At this time a young Ensign, who had been engaged at a late
dinner in the neighbourhood, stroamed into the ballroom, with the
most visible marks of his unfitness for appearing in it; and, in
total ignorance of his own condition, went up to Colonel Andover,
and, clapping him upon the back, called out, with a loud oath,
'Colonel, I hope you have taken care to secure to me the prettiest
little young angel in the room? You know with what sincerity I
despise an old hag.'
The Colonel, with some concern, advised him to retire; but,
insensible to his counsel, he uttered oath upon oath, and added,
'I'm not to be played upon, Colonel. Beauty in a pretty girl is as
necessary an ingredient, as honour in a brave soldier; and I could
find in my heart to sink down to the bottom of the Channel every
fellow without one, and every dear creature without the other.'
Then, in defiance of all remonstrance, he staggered into the
tearoom; and, after a short survey, stopt opposite to Indiana, and,
swearing aloud she was the handsomest angel he had ever beheld,
begged her hand without further ceremony; assuring her he had
broken up the best party that had yet been made for him in the
county, merely for the joy of dancing with her.
Indiana, to whom not the smallest doubt of the truth of this
assertion occurred; and who, not suspecting he was intoxicated,
thought his manner the most spirited and gallant she had ever seen,
was readily accepting his offer; when Edgar, who saw her danger,
started up, and exclaimed: 'This lady, sir, is engaged to dance the
next two dances with me.'
'The lady did not tell me so, sir!' cried the Ensign,
'Miss Lynmere,' replied Edgar, coolly, 'will pardon me, that on
this occasion, my memory has an interest to be better than her's. I
believe it is time for us to take our places.'
He then whispered a brief excuse to Camilla, and hurried Indiana
to the ballroom.
The Ensign, who knew not that she had danced with him the last
time, was obliged to submit; while Indiana, not conjecturing the
motive that now impelled Edgar, was in a yet brighter blaze of
beauty, from an exhilarating notion that there was a contest for
the honour of her hand.
Camilla, once more disappointed of Edgar, had now no resource
against Mr. Dubster, but the non-arrival of the gloves; for he had
talked so publicly of waiting for them to dance with her, that
every one regarded her as engaged.
No new proposition being made for Eugenia, Miss Margland
permitted her again to be led out by the handsome stranger.
When she was gone, Mr. Dubster, who kept constantly close to
Camilla, said: 'They tell me, ma'am, that ugly little body's a
Camilla very innocently asked who he meant.
'Why that little lame thing, that was here drinking tea with
you. Tom Hicks says she'll have a power of money.'
Camilla, whose sister was deservedly dear to her, looked much
displeased; but Mr. Dubster, not perceiving it, continued: 'He
recommended it to me to dance with her myself, from the first upon
that account. But I says to him, says I, I had no notion that a
person, who had such a hobble in their gait, would think of such
thing as going to dancing. But there I was out, for as to the
women, asking your pardon, ma'am, there's nothing will put 'em off
from their pleasure. But, however, for my part, I had no thought of
dancing at all, if it had not been for that young gentleman's
asking me; for I'm not over fond of such jiggets, as they've no
great use in 'em; only I happened to be this way, upon a little
matter of business, so I thought I might as well come an see the
hop, as Tom Hicks could contrive to get me a ticket.'
This was the sort of discourse with which Camilla was regaled
till the two dances were over; and then, begging her to sit still
till he came back, he quitted her, to see what he could do about
his gloves. Edgar, when he returned with Indiana, addressed himself
privately to Miss Margland, whom he advised to take the young
ladies immediately home; as it would not be possible for him, a
second time, to break through the rules of the assembly, and
Indiana must, therefore, inevitably accept the young Ensign, who
already was following and claiming her, and whose condition was
obviously improper for the society of ladies.
Miss Margland, extremely pleased with him, for thus protecting
her pupil, instantly agreed; and, collecting her three young
charges, hastened them down stairs; though the young Ensign,
inflamed with angry disappointment, uttered the most bitter
lamentations at their sudden departure; and though Mr. Dubster,
pursuing them to the coach door, called out to Camilla, in a tone
of pique and vexation, "Why, what are you going for now, ma'am,
when I have just got a new pair of gloves, that I have bought o'