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“Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Or tasting, long enjoy thee !" “MAJOR SPENCER, of whom you have heard me speak so much, purposes calling on you to-day, mamma," said Ellen, “at my request, as he applied to me on your account, yesterday, for a subscription to the charity ball."
“I shall be happy to receive him," said Mrs. Lockyer, “I hear he is a most agreeable person, with a sweet expression of countenance, and I imagine his intellect is of the highest order, as Mr. Devereux seems to be so well acquainted with the great outlines of his character. It appears he has spent the meridian of his days in India, and is come into Devonshire for the air, and he so admires the lovely scenery and genuine hospitality of the inhabitants, that it is more than probable his stay will be prolonged. From his age (nearly fifty) he must be a man of fixed habits and principles.”
A servant at this moment announced the Major, who was introduced by Ellen to her mother.
“ You will, probably, discuss with us,” said Mrs. Lockyer, "a subject of domestic moment at this time, upon which we are a little at variance.”
“ It must be in a trifling degree,” said the Major, with one of his peculiarly sweet smiles ; " for no one in Miss Lockyer's society could be at variance even for a moment."
“ Thank you, Major,” said Ellen, “ remember, we are finite creatures, prone to err, and more prone to indulge in error."
“ Nay, think not so harshly," said the Major. “I spent a few hours yesterday in the society of Mrs. De Tracy and family, and am deputed as a pleader on behalf of Miss Laura and the future charity ball ; not that I think she can fail in eloquence, or that any word of mine can add weight to influence minds so regulated as those with whom I have the high honour to converse.”
“He who flatters,' Major, 'must suppose a barren soil ;' where neither sense nor judgment grow,' &c.— But to our affair for decision.
I argue, sir,” said Ellen, with increased seriousness, “ that Laura is far too young to judge for herself in matters of public amusements, and that so early an introduction may give her a taste for trifling pleasures, which too often cloy in the enjoyment, and, in fact, produce no real satisfaction to the mind, for this is the first consideration, in my opinion."
“If madam," replied the Major, "you were to descant upon the improprieties, or to analyze the disadvantages in so home a strain for an hour, whilst I could, with pleasure and deference, listen to you gladly, I must at last arrive at the same conclusion, that our charity ball will not admit of a cavil. Will you not give ten shillings, even though you will not join in the dance, when I tell you that such money will aid to feed the hungry, and give fuel to the cold and aged at this inclement season.
I need not say more, for I see your ready assent, my dear madam, and, as I shall be one of Mrs. De Tracy's party, your daughter, if I be permitted, shall have a double chaperon.”
“Oh, mamma! mamma!” said Laura, running into the drawing-room, ignorant of the visitor there; “how long you have kept me waiting. I have weeded all my flower-beds, and said pretty things to many passing by.”
“Not to me,” said the Major, interrupting the lively girl ; "for you ran behind the myrtle tree to avoid me.”
“Be not so flattered, sir,” said Laura ; "I never conceal myself from any one, for I seldom suppose myself so great an object of observation; and I am so happy in my garden, that hours insensibly pass in, as Ellen calls it, “heaven's own atmosphere.' have been the cause of detaining mamma so long I freely forgive you; for who can sit in her society and not feel hours pass as minutes ?”
If you 10
QUADRILLES AND POLKAS.
“ You and the ball have been our topics of conversation ; and you have my consent to join in the dance,” said Mrs. Lockyer.
6. Thanks ! thanks ! dear mamma.”
Major Spencer looked at the joyous girl, her lovely countenance beaming with animation, and said,
“I hope you will not forget your advocate by a first quadrille."
“ Cela dépend,” said Laura, smiling ; “quadrilles are out of date. I prefer valse a deux temps and polkas. Say, do you like them ?”
The Major looked a little chagrined, as these were innovations; and though he was conscious of not being au fait, he nevertheless shook a hearty farewell.
THE INFANT SUNDAY SCHOOL.
“All earthly charms, however dear,
Will quickly fade and fly;
In endless darkness die.
“ The nobler beauties of the just
Or know a sad decay;
Beam everlasting day.”
“I must say adieu, mamma, for a few hours," said Ellen, as I have to attend several meetings to-day. The most important relates to our Infant Sunday School, over which I preside. The interim you can devote to Laura and your promised walk."
“Yes, my love," replied Mrs. Lockyer; “but I wish you
would invite Mr. Devereux to dine with us on Monday next; he has so often called, that I wish to show him every attention in return for his great civility to us."