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the lilies of the valley, "which toil not, neither do they spin." Waiving all objections upon the ground of decorum, surely the young men and women of the present age were giddy enough before, without the stimulus of these fantastical gyrations. If a fortunehunter choose to single out an heiress, and spin round and round with her, like a billiard-ball, merely to get into her pocket at last, there is at least a definable object in his game; but that a man should volunteer these painful circumvolutions for pleasure, really seems to be a species of saltatory suicide. I never saw the figurantes at the Opera whirling their pirouettes, like whipping-tops, without wishing to be near them with a stout thong, that I might keep up the resemblance; and as to imitating their ungraceful roundabouts, by joining in a waltz, I would rather be a tetotum at once, or one of the front wheels of Mrs. C―y's carriage. Thanks to the Goddess of fashion, fickle as she is foolish, our ball-room misses have at length ceased to be twisted and twirled in this unmerciful manner, and our spinning-jennies are again pretty nearly confined to Manchester and Glasgow.
Tired as I was of sitting like a spondee, with my two long feet hanging idle on my hands, (if the catachresis may be allowed,) I began now to entertain hopes of again planting my exploded heel upon a chalked board. But alas! I was doomed to experience, that there are as many disappointments between the toe and the ground as between the cup and the lip. France, my old enemy, was upon the watch to export a new annoyance: the Genius of
Quadrille started up from amid the roses painted on a ball-room floor, and my discomfited legs were again compelled to resume their inglorious station beneath the benches. I could not put them into a go-cart, and begin all my steps again: I could not make a toil of a pleasure, rehearse beforehand, and study my task by card and compass, merely to make an exhibition of myself at last. It was too like amateur acting; the constraint of a ballet, without its grace or skillthe exertion of dancing, without its hilarity; and it was moreover an effort in which I was sure to be eclipsed by every boarding-school miss or master, who would literally learn that by heart, which I, in my distaste to these innovations, could only expect to learn by foot. In this melancholy and useless plight, do I wander from one ball-room to another, dancing nothing but attendance, and kicking nothing but my heels; sometimes, like a tripod that has lost a leg, leaning disconsolately against the wall, because I cannot stand up in my proper place; and sometimes beating time to the music with my foot, which is as bitter a substitute for genuine jumps, as is the coculus Indicus for real hops.
Oh, for the days that are gone!—the golden age of cocked hats; the Augustan era of country-dance; the apotheosis of minuet! How well do I remember the first night I ventured upon the latter, that genuine relic of the old French court! What an awful recollection have I of the trying moment, when, with a slow and graceful curve of my arm, I first deposited the triangular beaver upon my powdered locks, press
ing it down upon my forehead, with a firm determination to look fierce and fascinating, and yet with a tender and sympathetic regard for the economy of my elaborate curls; somewhat in the style recommended by old Izaak Walton, when, in instructing you to impale a worm for angling, he bids you handle him tenderly withal, and treat him like a friend. The scented pulvilio, which the untwisted hairs reproachfully effused, still seems to salute my nose, and flutter between my eyes and the dipping and swimming figure of my partner. With what pride I led her to her seat, and what a bewitching bow I flattered myself I had made, when she blushed into her chair! In those happy days, the next operation was a regular and persevering set-to at the genuine old English countrydance; and the amusements of the night were invariably wound up by the Boulanger, or Sir Roger de Coverley. One of my nieces played me those exploded tunes a few days ago, and what a flush of rosy recollections did they conjure up! Their music seemed to penetrate into the quiet caves and grottoes of memory, awakening ideas that had long slumbered undisturbed. Methought they issued from their recesses like so many embodied sprites; and, fastening their flowery wreaths to the spokes of Time's great wheel, they dragged it rapidly backward, until the days of my youth became evolved before me in all the fidelity and vividness of their first existence. Then did I again behold the rich Miss B, the sugar-baker's daughter, whom my parents invariably urged me to engage for the supper-dances, with many a shrewd
hint that a partner at a ball often became a partner for life;-nor was her corpulent mother omitted, who carried vanity so far as even to affect a slight degree of palsy, that the motion of her head might give a more dazzling lustre to the magnificent diamonds with which it was thickly studded. I see her now, at her old place in the card-room, shaking and sparkling like an aspen-tree in the sunshine of a white frost. I behold, also, the bustling little old man, her father, receiving the tickets of admission in all the pomp of office, with his snuff-coloured suit, and the powdered and pomatumed peak coming to a point in the centre of his bald head. I hear him boasting, at the same time, of his wealth and his drudgery, and declaring that, with all the hundreds he had spent upon his hothouses and plantations at Hackney, he had never seen them except by candle-light. As for the daughter, thank Heaven, I never danced with her but once; and my mind's eye still beholds her webby feet paddling down the middle, with the floundering porpus-like fling she gave at the end, only accomplished by bearing half her weight upon her partner, and invariably out of tune. Often have I wondered at the patience of the musicians, in wasting rosin and catgut upon her timeless sprawls. She was obtuse in all her perceptions, and essentially vulgar in appearance: in the consciousness of her wealth she sometimes strove to look haughty, but her features obstinately refused to assume any expression beyond that of inflexible stupidity. She was too opulent, according to the sapient calculations of the world, to marry any but a rich
man; and she succeeded, at length, in realizing her most ambitious dreams. Her husband is a yellow little nabob, rolling in wealth, and half suffocated with bile. She has three rickety children, whom she is ashamed to produce. With no more ear than a fish, she has a box at the Opera, and gives private concerts. In short, there is no luxury she is incapable of relishing, which her fortune does not enable her to command; and no enjoyment really adapted to her taste, in which her imagined gentility does not deter her from indulging.
What a contrast was the accomplished, the fascinating Fanny with her lovely features irradiated with innocent hilarity, yet tempered with sentiment and deep feeling. She was all intelligencespiritual-ethereal; at least, I often thought so, as her sylph-like form seemed to be treading upon air, while it responded spontaneously to every pulsation of the music, like a dancing echo. In the romance of a first love, one who thought it would be delightful to die for her sent her the inclosed song, but she never noticed the effusion, though she never returned it. Poor Fanny! she fell a sacrifice to one of those pests of society, a dangler, a male coquet; who paid her his addresses, won her affections, changed his mind, and married another-the scoundrel! Her pride might have borne the insult, but her love could not be recalled-her heart was broken. Her fine mind began to prey upon itself-the sword wore out the scabbard-her frame gradually faded away, and a rapid decline at length released her from her uncom