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ther, cunning in hiding the early defects of her education by smatterings acquired in afterlife, but betraying her origin chiefly by her deference to rank and wealth—her intense contempt for poverty and low-birth, and a toadying manner to her rich brother-in-law and all his dependents from Grunter and Miss Tibby down to the screeching cockatoo, the rudebutting Cashmere he-goat, and the three noisy, asthmatic old spaniels.
It was one of her maxims (for of worldly maxims she had many) that a servant, or even a pet animal, constantly with a rich relation, has more actual influence than a brother far away. Many a rich legacy has been lost, she said to herself, by the ill-will of a poor servant, or a petted dog; and so she listened to Miss Tibby, praised and agreed with Grunter, fondled Annie, petted the old spaniels, the cockatoo, and Capricorn, and was thought by Mr. Lindsay the kindest creature on earth,
« Il y a des filles à marier,
If the hearts of the young beauties of the Lindsay family beat high with a sort of indefinite expectation at the heir's approach, the head of the matchmaker throbbed and ached with her complicated calculations, her halfformed plots and incipient manœuvres.
Hitherto, as there was not one eligible match in the neighbourhood of Moss Grove Rectory, her tactics had been all of the defensive kind. She not only looked forward to Julian's arrival on his own account, but she knew that her brother-in-law meant to give her daughters the benefit of a season in town, which was to be shared with their cousin Ju
lian. She had no doubt that a young man of three and twenty, thrown constantly into the sweet and exhilarating society of two brightly intellectual and beautiful girls, of such different styles, would fall violently in love with one. “A commonly pretty and moderately pleasing woman,” she said to herself,“ seen in the beguiling intimacy of every day life, ever at hand to throw over the harsh commonplaces of existence the halo of grace and good humour, and, by a playful and ready wit, to turn all domestic tragedies into farces even such a one, watched closely, becomes a source of marvel and of love to the romantic dreamer-and what else is a man of three and twenty ?—but, if he sought the world over, he could scarcely find two so gifted and so beautiful as these girls, and yet so sweetly con trasted. Many mothers would send the one away for a time, but I think they shew each other off; and, at least, I shall try the effect of the contrast. If the one acts as a countercharm to the other, it must be seen to.”
Mrs. Lindsay loved both her daughters, and
could scarcely decide to which she wished the heir to propose. She had no doubt about Augusta's making a good match, whether she captivated her cousin or not. She saw in her something of the ambitious, plotting, and coquettish character she recognised in herself, but which she called maternal anxiety.
Augusta, then, she felt sure, would marry well; but Ellen-Ellen was to her the most impracticable of characters. She was so straightforward, she could not even understand any one's delighting in plots and counterplots; the spirit of intrigue was as incomprehensible to her as the patient pleasure people take in angling. Augusta could sympathise in the pride and joy of hooking a wily trout, and forget her own past fatigues and his tortures in the triumph of success. Ellen could never seem the thing she was not for a moment, nor bear to give the slightest pain to any thing that breathed. Under these circumstances, Mrs. Lindsay rather hoped that Ellen and Julian would make a match, and that Augusta would turn her season in town
to account, and secure both title and fortune.
True, Augusta was three or four years older than Ellen, and those years some people would have considered the best of a girl's life : passed principally at Moss Grove Rectory, or Lindsay Hall, they had been lost as far as conquests were concerned, but Mrs. Lindsay thought improved, as far as the power of making conquests went. Her beauty, in the quiet life she had led, and the pure air she had inhaled, had ripened into perfection without losing one particle of its first bloom; and how much of tact, of presence of mind, and of the art of winning, and the greater art of keeping a lover, a young woman under the surveillance of a watchful mother acquires between the ages of nineteen and twentythree !
Mrs. Lindsay was an unsuspected matchmaker, for she never betrayed the very bad taste evinced in any thing like showing girls off. She knew how much opposition there is in man's stubborn heart-she knew that most