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uttered to those immediately before them. Amelia obeyed like an automaton; but the heart of Agnes leaped to her throat with a mingled sensation of fear and loyalty, as she caught a first glimpse of that court, in the midst of which she saw a monarch whom she had been trained to love, and whose presence and kindness she had never forgotten at the juvenile ball at Brighton.

"Their trains dropped-they moved forward, while the attentive pages arranged the half-acres of satin which swept gracefully behind them.

"Amelia moved with her accustomed ease. Lady Pomeroy's heart glowed with pride as she saw her bend and rise gracefully as she passed the King; and it was lucky that, in this admiration of her sister, she did not perceive the agitation which Agnes had great difficulty to conceal.

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Agnes had no eye for the moment for any but the monarch, surrounded as he was by all the heroes and statesmen of the age. They were all unregarded; her whole soul seemed swallowed up with a feeling of loyalty and affection that almost overpowered her. This feeling was plainly depicted in her rising colour and panting bosom; and she felt then that sensation which in the other sex makes the patriot and the hero.

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Agnes did not recover her self-command till she got out of the presence-chamber; but when she first arrived at the top of the stair-case, and looked down over the balustrade into the hall, she was delighted at the splendid coup d'œil that presented itself.

"It was here that the splendour of the English court was to be appreciated; a splendour not arising solely from dress and decoration, but from the really fine persons of most of those who compose it.

"Foreign courts may outstrip the English in tinsel, and diamonds, and brilliancy, but there is no court in Europe that can exhibit such a number of fine young men and handsome women as ours.

"From the gallery Agnes took a survey of the whole scene below, which the blaze of diamonds, glitter of stars, nodding of plumes, and mixture of military with civil costumes sparkling with gold and silver, rendered almost a realisation of some enchantment."

The greatest pleasure on these occasions, next to that of being presented for the first time, must be the sight of some extraordinary lion or lioness. In the present instance, the Duchess of St Albans appears to have been the spectacle in request. The Court Newsman, after his general preface, and mentioning the costly tiaras of the Royal Family (who appeared, by the way, in dresses of British manufacture), hastens to speak of the Duchess the very first; and to tell us, that "in addition to a diamond tiara, she had a stomacher of diamonds." We do not introduce the mention of this lady invidiously. We think she had as much right to be at Court as anybody there; and wish, with all our hearts, for her sake as well as the spectators, that she was as young and handsome as she was twenty years back, and had married three Dukes in succession. A French philosopher under the old regime is said to have written a very serious treatise, the object of which was to consider the best mode of making "Dukes useful." Now one of the modes, we conceive, might be the encouraging them to cross the breed with young and handsome plebeians. Her Grace, it is said, is not without hopes to that effect, though she is young no

longer. Va bene. Greater marvels have been known before this: nor is it every Duchess that has so young a heart at her time of life, to say nothing of so young a husband.

It was the famous Lord Peterborough who first set the example of ennobling a wife from the stage. He married Anastasia Robinson, a singer, who survived him several years, and appears to have adorned her station. The next union of the sort was that of Charles, third Duke of Bolton, with Miss Fenwick, another singer, who had made a great sensation, as the phrase is, in the character of Polly, in the Beggars' Opera; which she was the first to perform. A pretty story is told of her, that being once threatened with desertion by the Duke, she fell on her knees, and began singing the well-known lines, "Oh ponder well,-be not severe;" an appeal, which he found irresistible. This marriage took place in the middle of the last century. A few years previous, Lady Henrietta Herbert, widow of the brother of the Marquis of Powis, and daughter of James, Earl Waldegrave, had married a celebrated singer of the name of Beard. It is curious that he also made a great sensation in the Beggars' Opera, in the character of Macheath. There is something in that production which has always excited an instinctive sympathy in the bosoms of people of rank; and there is a view of the matter that does them credit. Mr Beard, at all events, did honour to the lady's choice; for he appears, if ever there was one, to have been a born gentleman. He was not only a great favourite of the public, an actor as well as singer, and as a singer " unrivalled," says his biographer, both in the serious and comic, but we are told that all this praise,

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great as it was, fell short of what his private merits acquired. He had one of the sincerest hearts joined to the most polished manners. He was a most delightful companion, whether as host or guest. His time, his pen, and his purse, were devoted to the alleviation of every distress that fell within the compass of his power; and through life he fulfilled the relative duties of son, brother, guardian, friend, and husband, with the most exemplary truth and tenderness."*

* Chalmers's General Biogr. Dict. Vol. IV. All these virtues and accomplishments did not hinder the writer of the article Waldegrave,' in the last edition of Collins's Peerage, from leaving out all mention of Mr Beard's marriage. The lady is mentioned as having married the Honourable Edward Herbert (only brother of the Marquis of Powis), and died May 31, 1753. Not a word of the noble-hearted singer and actor, "one of God Almighty's gentlemen." By another passage, we find that her Ladyship was grand-daughter of Henrietta, natural daughter of James II, by Mrs Arabella Churchill, sister to John, Duke of Marlborough." No shame there, though the thing is protested against in all churches and chapels throughout England, and the Waldegraves appear to have been a very grave family; but the vice of marrying an honest man, who was a singer! This is blot on the scutcheon, that must not be spoken of. We have nothing, for our parts, to say against a lady for being descended from a natural daughter; but great families have, according to modern writers; though not, it seems, on these particular occasions. "Robes and furr'd gowns hide all."-However, the peerage are gaining in liberality; and wealth may further, what has been denied to mere accomplishments.

We are not aware of another instance till the marriage of the Earl of Derby with Miss Farren in the year 1797. The prudence and lady-like manners of this actress conciliated, we believe, all With the progress of liberal opinion in general, they certainly prepared the way for other matches of the kind. In 1807, the Earl of Craven married Miss Brunton, who is handsomely designated in the Peerage above-mentioned, as of "Covent Garden Theatre;" and sometime after, we know not in what year, Miss Bolton was married to Lord Thurlow.

The objections to intermarrying with performers, among the gentry at large, appear not only to have been done away by these examples in high life, but to have merged into an absolute fashion, or propensity, the other way. Nor is it to be doubted, that if the elevated party is on a footing with those among whom she is raised by gentility of manners, the husband is probably a gainer on the score of accomplishments. At all events, the lady has more to shew for the match, than ladies have in general. She is a good actress or singer, if she is nothing else; or she has attracted somehow or other the public admiration. Miss Searle, a dancer, who married a brother of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, has been mentioned in this work, as a girl who had a look of remarkable elegance. Miss O'Neil was reckoned an actress of a high order; and the grace and refinement in the performance of Miss Tree, the singer, will not soon be forgotten. There was also a little girl at the Haymarket, Miss Blanchard, daughter, we believe, of Mr Blanchard of Covent Garden, whom in our younger days we should infallibly have added to the list of our theatrical goddesses, and who married speedily, and disappeared. She had a look of good-heartedness and domestic promise, beyond anything we remember on the boards.

In the union that has suggested this retrospect, there is supposed to be nothing of the causes that gave rise to the former ones. The tables are even turned in one respect; for the lady brings wealth; and wealth too, large enough to repair the splendours of a ducal house. Furthermore, she is many years older than her bridegroom; is no longer handsome, though she has been so; and has not only left no impression of any particular grace or refinement on the minds of those who remember her, but presents them with an idea of something the reverse. Nor is this likely to have been diminished by the power and wilfulness arising from wealth.

Nevertheless, we can easily imagine that, whatever causes may have combined to effect this marriage, the Duke may have been well inclined to it on other accounts, and the Duchess be a woman well calculated to please and interest him. We say nothing of the stories of her generosity or her want of generosity. A very wealthy person is under a great disadvantage in that matter, on account of the numerous applicants who must of necessity be refused; while those, on the other hand, who have been assisted, are seldom loud in proclaiming their obligations. Persons who come into the possession of wealth, after having been stinted when young, err

generally on the side of profuseness rather than the reverse; and if
Miss Mellon has been taught to be careful, the probability is that
she is nevertheless a generous woman, or she would hardly have
been so pleasant to those whom she has interested. She has no right
indeed to all this wealth; no single person has; but that is not her
fault; and she is not among those who have done nothing for the
good or amusement of the world. That she has talents, her acting
used to shew; that she is capable of filling up the hours, and
exciting the high gratitude, of another man, old, it is true, but we
believe not unacute, and certainly not wanting in the means of pro-
curing diversion, is clear from her marriage with Mr Coutts; and
that she can equally well fill up the hours, and obtain the gratitude
and affection of a young man, not perhaps very brilliant himself,
but the more desirous on that account of all the ideas he can get
from others, we can most easily believe, and in default of knowing
anything to the contrary, do so. Besides, though no longer hand-
some in one sense, and as large in person as genial temperaments
are too apt to get in middle life, there is something still good-look-
ing and agreeable in the face that belonged to Miss Mellon :-its
archness is not all gone, nor its disposition to enjoyment; certainly
none of its festivity; and if these evidences are true, the Duke
of St Albans in a tête-à-tête over his champagne, may think
of a hundred marriages he might have made, "unexception-
able," as people say, "in every respect;" and congratulate himself
that he is not ready to cut his throat with ennui, after one of them.
The stories that we read of Diana de Poitiers, and other marvellous
women whose fascination survived to a late period of life, had, we
may be assured, little to do with their beauty. Beautiful they
might have been; but the charm was in the power of entertainment.
In one respect, there is at least a singular fitness in this union.
The Dukedom of St Albans came by an actress (Nell Gwynn), and
it is repaired by an actress. The stage has become grateful at a
late day to his Majesty King Charles the Second, author of the race
of St Albans; though what he meant by the hopeful motto which
he gave to this new house ("The Omen of a Better Age") the
heralds must have been at a loss to conceive. The arms are his
own royal arms, with a goat on one side, and a greyhound on the
other, and the above prophetic rapture,Auspicium Melioris Evi.
Was he philosophizing? or was he drunk? The contemplations of
kings, with regard to future times, must be very curious on these
occasions. Future times, it must be owned, are very obliging; and
take the dukedoms and the indecorums in the best possible way,
with a mixture of public respect and private objection very salutary.
We
We are not for being severe on the matter; far from it; especially
where there happens to have been anything like a long and real
attachment; but we love consistency and plain dealing. If good
is to be taught us by these things, let us learn it, and better the age.
If not, how, in the name of example and Holy Mother Church, can
kings go on making peerages out of their illegal vivacities, and

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expect that provision is not to be made for the sallies of their beloved subjects?

The worst of these marriages unequal in point of age, is the time to come ;—the time when the woman must be old, in the venerable sense of the term, while the man is still in the vigour of life. Then is the good sense of the lady put to the test indeed; and the circumstances have been very peculiar from the first that would entirely justify such an experiment on either side. We may suppose the present to have been one, for the sake of argument: but generally speaking, no matches would be more foolish for the comfort of either party, and society ought unquestionably to set its face against them without exception. We speak of inequalities of age solely, and not of rank. People might, under a better system, make any experiment in reason, and provided no person were injured; but to force the old and the young to remain together, because the former perhaps is a dotard, and the latter not yet come to years of discretion, is a folly which, if it did not exist already, and were proposed as an innovation, would cause those who think themselves very good legislators at present, to be looked upon as a parcel of madmen.

MAY-DAY AND SHAKSPEARE'S BIRTH-DAY.

TOMORROW is May-day.

May-day, is it?" quoth a reader: "ah, so it is." And then he thinks of something his grandmother used to tell him about dairy-maids, and dances, and poles hung with garlands; all which are displaced by the idea of the chimney-sweeper. "May-day! Then we shall see the chimney-sweepers!" This is all that a Londoner, or perhaps a countryman for fifty miles round London, thinks of the season now.

Two hundred years ago, a poet wrote a song to May, as blithe and beautiful as the season used to be. You see the colour in her cheek.

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Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,

Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her

The flowery May, who from her green lap throws

The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill, and dale, doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

This song (profanation apart) might be now altered for the season, as follows:

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Now Sal, the daughter of the scavenger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her

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