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trived to make room for the two ladies, to whom with much respectful diffidence he offered the vacant places, taking care to retain a seat near the object of his sudden but decided adoration. The usual courtesies and bows, common on these occasions, having been gone through, Eugenius endeavoured to look like a man of this world as much as possible, feeling at the same time that the gaze of half the young men in the room was directed towards him. They were, he felt, envious of his good fortune. For the purpose, therefore, of bringing himself to a state of decent calmness, he stared immoveably at the bass-viol for a considerable period. A gentle tap on the arm with a fan disturbed him.
“Will you permit me to see your programme of the concert?” said the elder lady with an amiable smile.
Certainly, with much pleasure,” returned Eugenius, handing it with some trepidation.
“I perceive, my love,” cried the elder lady, addressing her daughter with animation, we are to have a duet by Signore Rosini and Madame Schniber,--that will be a treat indeed. Rosini was a favourite of
yours at Paris.” “Yes, I always admired Rosini,” said the daughter in a soft voice.
* You have visited Paris of course, Sir ?” enquired the elder lady of Eugenius.
“Y-es, I have," he replied, with considerable hesitation. He, however, qualified to himself the venial trespass against truth by the remembrance that he had, two years ago, seen a panorama of that city in Leicester Square.
“ A delightful place, Paris,” remarked the daughter.
Here, much to Garwood's relief, the orchestra struck up, and Rosini and Madame Schniber astonished the company by their singing, which completely—that was declared the beauty of it-extinguished the instrumental accompaniments.
“How very delightful!” cried the mother with rapture. "Oh! heavenly!” said the daughter.
“ Heavenly!" repeated Eugenius, who had been swilling huge draughts of love for the last ten minutes unobserved, and who was now intoxicated with the tender passion.
A delightful, because a more unrestrained conversation now ensued, which was carried on, at intervals, till towards the close of the concert.
“ Flora, my love,” said the elder lady, “how the general would have been pleased and gratified to-nighi!”
“ He would indeed ; --my father”—and the artless girl turned towards Garwood—“would have enjoyed this treat very greatly."
“ Indeed!” said Eugenius with polite concern, “ then I am extremely sorry he is not present.”
“Oh, Sir,” cried the young lady, resting her large dark eyes with an expression of mournful tenderness upon Garwood,“ oh, Sir, papa is dead; he died sixteen months since.”
The sensitive Garwood could not withstand that gaze. “I am
shocked," he murmured vaguely ;." then of course he couldn't be-I mean, it is not very likely he could -I beg pardon-I meant to observe_"
It was nothing less than a special providence, Eugenius felt, that caused the finale to commence at this instant. It was fortunately a bacchanalian quartette by Messrs. Ball, Stunham, Goldfinch, and Growler, whose vocal efforts effectually precluded the possibility of one party hearing another without the aid of a patent speakingtrumpet.
The concert being now over, the company prepared to depart,all except the two ladies, who retained their seats as obstinately as though they expected the performances to be encored.
Ladies," whispered Eugenius, after a pause, “shall I have the honour of calling a coach for you?”
“Would you do us the favour,” said the elder lady, “to enquire whether the carriage for Mrs. M'Gregor is yet arrived ?”
Eugenius trotted down stairs for that purpose. M Gregor! delightful name! a descendant of Rob Roy, no doubt. No carriage, however, was in waiting to convey the illustrious strangers to their destination. He returned and made known that circumstance.
"How very provoking!” cried the elder lady, turning to her daughter, “I positively will never in future put any faith in Mrs. Crumpton's promise. --Mrs. Crumpton, Sir, of Russell Square, faithfully promised to send her carriage for us.--I wish, my love, we had brought the carriage from Paris; I told you how we should be inconvenienced.”
Eugenius deferentially suggested a hackney-coach, and mumbled something touching the happiness he should feel in seeing the ladies home. The proposition having been graciously acceded to, Eugenius drew the arms of his fair companions between his own, and descended the ample staircase with all that exaltation of soul which can only be conceived by the man of true gallantry.
It was not long before the company were in motion towards Berpard Street, Russell Square, a locality which the elder lady assured her protector was by no means so genteel as could be wished, intimating, at the same time, that it was of no great importance, since they were about to return, in a few weeks, to Paris.
The heart of Eugenius began to sink rapidly at this intelligence. Going to Paris ! then, in all probability he should never see her again! The prices of travelling were reasonable: he would follow them, as sure as a gun he'd be after them. So thought the enamoured Eugenius Garwood.
Pray may I enquire,” said the elderly lady, with pleasing suavity, “ to whom we are indebted for the polite attention we have experienced this evening ?"
With a sense of deep ahasement for Garwood possessed very little of the inventive faculty, and could not extemporaneously hit upon a romantic cognomen-did Eugenius blurt forth his name and calling, which he now looked upon as hideously degrading and base.
Well, we never should have supposed that,” exclaimed the mother, “ should we Flora, love?”'
“ Oh dear! never,” sighed the daughter. But pardon me,'' resumed the mother, “ I have a great respect for commercial men : what could we do without them? Commerce is the glory of this country, Mr. Garwood : but I really thought you were one of us.”
“I was convinced of it," said Flora, with another sigh.
“ It is quite clear, however," said Mrs. M'Gregor, shaking her head and smiling blandly," that you have visited Paris, Mr. Garwood ; I could see that from the first moment."
Eugenius inwardly thought what eyes the old lady must have. A sudden jolt of the coach facilitated the low bow he returned in acknowledgment of the compliment.
It was some time before they reached Bernard Street, that Eugenius had convinced himself that Mrs. M Gregor was a lady of the most interesting description-a perfect lady of the old school. As they trundled past the lamp-posts, the momentary radiance lighted up
her features, and disclosed aristocratical indications which he had not before observed, although from the first he had suspected that both were far removed from common, every-day circles.
As they alighted from the coach, the mentally absorbed orange merchant received a pressing invitation from the two ladies to come and take tea on the following evening, and with a cordial shake of the hand bestowed by Mrs. M'Gregor, and a gentle pressure of the fingers on the part of the lovely Flora, Eugenius was permitted to depart.
The state of mystification in which Garwood found himself as he turned away from the door, it were hopeless to attempt to describe. At length, then, he had found his soul's idol, that mysterious indispensable which he had so long sighed to discover, that oasis in the desert which the pilgrim pants to pounce upon, and cannot, -that interchange of souls, that sympathetic reciprocity, that,—but he knew not what he had lighted upon,-so ecstatic was his bliss. He left time to define his happiness, and time, amongst other things on his hands at that period, did what he required.
Who can imagine the raptures of Eugenius when he witnessed the condescending cordiality with which the ladies welcomed him to the second floor in Bernard Street? They did not like first floors; it was a mistake to suppose they were more genteel than second floors; on the contrary, they were vulgar and low ;-and so they were.
Flora M Gregor possessed a charming voice. After tea, she favoured her visitor with part of a pathetic ballad ; but it was too much for her. Just as she announced the fact that “they tell me she is happy now,” she burst into a passion of tears, and, seizing her mother's handkerchief, rushed into the inner apartment.
“ That dear creature is destroying herself by inches," cried Mrs. M'Gregor, shaking her head mournfully.
“ Indeed!" exclaimed Eugenius, looking aghast at the admeasured calamity alluded to ;—“had you not better follow her, Madam ?”.
“No, my dear Sir, not for the world, by no means; she will recover her spirits sooner by herself."
An extinguisher was placed upon the lambent flame of happiness which had begun to play in the bosom of Garwood. “Has she been long thus ?" he enquired : "a weakness of the nerves, I should ima
It is, Sir. Long thus ?” said Mrs. M'Gregor,-"yes, ever since Hector's duel with Count Kauffman.”
“ Hector! Count Kauffman !” said Garwood inquiringly. “My son Hector,” said Mrs. M'Gregor, “ and Count Kauffman, a (ungarian nobleman. The Count saw Flora at the theatre in Paris, and become desperately in love with her. Flora, however, repulsed his advances; the poor girl has too much delicacy of sentiment; I fear she will never meet with a congenial spirit.
“Ah!" said Eugenius with interest. “Won't she though?” he thought to himself, I'll see that."
“ Well, Sir," continued Mrs. M'Gregor, “ the attentions of the Count became so exceedingly troublesome that my son Hector felt it proper to remonstrate with him. He, nevertheless, persevered. My son was compelled to call him out; they fought with small swords in the Champs Elysées. Would you believe it, Sir? my son ran him through the body, fixing him to a tree with the point of his rapier, where he was found on the next morning a perpendicular corpse !"
“How shocking !" cried Garwood, clasping his hands in horror.
· Yes, very. The Count was buried under that very tree. Flora has never been herself since.”
“Let me hope," said Eugenius, “there was no attachment, no subdued, no secret passion.”
“None in the world,” cried the lady; “Flora's time is not yet come, although—" and she hesitated a moment, and averted her head, "although I don't know how soon it may."
The heart of Eugenius waxed riotous at this hint, and he was about to lay a train for further disclosures, but at that moment word was brought that Miss Flora was so indisposed that she feared she should not be able to return to the drawing room again that evening ; with many apologies to Mr. Garwood, and hopes that he would speedily renew his visit. Eugenius was fain therefore abruptly to take his leave.
The bosom of Eugenius Garwood was in a state of extreme confusion when he got back to Botolph Lane. He felt himself by this time in a hapless state of corroding love. How could he aspire to the hand of Miss Flora M Gregor? Count Kauffman had got himself skewered to a tree for dreamimg of such a thing. What then would be a suitable punishment for presumption like his own? The very ghost of the general, martial baton in hand, would rise out of the bed of honour in which he had been snugly tucked up, him from the hazardous attempt. Nevertheless,
“ Though a thousand guards surround her,
Love will find out the way.” Eugenius was clearly of the same opinion as the old poet; for two afternoons only had elapsed before he found himself, with a calmness he himself could not account for, seated at the tea-table in Bernard Street,
He spent a delightful evening! Mrs. M'Gregor was so amiable,
so lively, so full of anecdote, so chatty, so quite the thing! Flora was so artless, so clever, so reserved, so lovely, so charming. Eugenius, at the conclusion of his visit, was put without reserve on list, and, I need not say, took advantage of the blissful privilege.
Weeks flew away, and the chains forged in the smithy of love were rivetted almost indissolubly to the heart of Eugenius Garwood. He found Flora all that his fondest hopes had pictured. As yet, however, he had given no testimony of his love, except by the ocular telegraph which lovers know so well how to work, and by the tender of certain handsome presents of jewels and other articles of value which“ his own” Flora with a delightfully frank confidence in his honour, and an enchanting alacrity, received from him.
One morning, however, he looked in at Bernard Street with the express intention of deciding a question which was to make him happy beyond expression, or a maniac for life. It is, however, sometimes, a difficult matter to put such questions, and Eugenius found, when he was about to come to the point, that it would be by no means an easy one to him. A pause ensued: but, presently, Mrs. M'Grégor whispered to her daughter, not in so low a key but that Garwood could hear her,
“Well, my love, I have decided upon applying to Mr. Garwood.”
“Oh!' for Heaven's sake, do not, I shall expire if you do-I cannot, cannot bear it!" and Miss Flora hid her face in her pocket handkerchief.
“Nonsense, love," expostulated the mother, “I have the utmost confidence in Mr. Garwood's honour, and I am sure he respects us too much to"
“May I ask in what way I can be of service ?” enquired Garwood.
“Why, my dear Sir,” cried Mrs. M'Gregor, “my son Hector has most unaccountably—"
“Don't, oh don't !” interrupted Flora, sobbing.
“Now, I shall be really angry, child, if you act in this foolish manner.—My son Hector, Sir, has been unaccountably backward in sending us our quarter's' remittance, for my property is lodged at La Fitte's :—could you advance us a small sum ?"
“Oh! my dear madam, with the greatest pleasure ; why had you not named it before? How much do you require ?"
Eugenius Garwood felt at this moment substantial happiness.
“I think a hundred pounds would suffice for the present ; or shall I ask too much if I say fifty more ?"
“ Too much !” cried Eugenius, " I'll go for it instantly, I am unfortunately busy this afternoon in the City, but at six o'clock, my usual time, rely upon it."
“Then we expect you at six o'clock?” said Mrs. M'Gregor, rising. “How kind, how amiable of you, my dear Sir. Nay, do not take leave of Flora now, it will be too much for her, she has retired to her apartment."
“My dearest Madam,” cried Eugenius in a transport, “if I might hope that in that bosom"
* I know what you would say,” cried Mrs.M'Gregor, tapping his