« 前へ次へ »
beau, who has been labouring for half an hour in a little crowded refreshment-room, to procure something, for a cross, impatient belle; who hears the next quadrille strike op in the ball-room, and who knows that her attendant has a partner, and that she has none.
Judgment, taste, and wealth, all had united to embellish this fête with all that could de light, and to exclude and to avoid every thing that could annoy. Mr. Lindsay had remarked, in his own quiet way, that when at a ball the ladies preponderate, the men (true to their nature, and regardless of a pleasure they are able to command) generally give themselves airs, and often decline dancing at all, but that, where they abound, the spirit of rivalry creeps in, and all are on the qui rite to be mated, and every danseuse, old and plain though she be, is eagerly sought, and had resolved that on this occasion there should be many more caraliers than ladies.
The result, of course, was a most animated ball; for the women, not knowing the cause, were in high good-humour at being so sought
after; and the men, obliged to be empressés, or to be cut out, had no time to stand about, sneering, criticising, suppressing a yawn, and conveying to all who looked at them the ennui they at first pretend, and ere long actually feel.
“For once,” Mr. Lindsay said, “I will have it my own way. I have often seen very pretty girls sitting, their hearts beating, and their eyes filling with tears, while a quadrille was forming; and a set of young puppies, whom I should have liked to have caned, lounging and laughing together; sure at the last moment, from the numbers of women present, that they could get a partner at once; or perhaps sinking into a seat, as if fatigued by the bare idea. I've seen the mother's looks growing ominously darker and darker, and I've wished that I could have divided myself into twenty young men, to thrash the idle coxcombs, and to dance with the poor girls. I'll have none of those scenes on Ellen's birthday. There shall not be a dancing spinster of fifty disengaged.”
True to his good-humoured resolve, there were hosts of young lords and honourable misters, guardsmen, attachés, and young men reading for the bar, Oxonians, and Cantabs. Aware that they would see little of each other in the crowd they expected, the Lindsays and De Villeneuve had agreed to meet half an hour before the company arrived, for the sake of enjoying each other's society, minutely examining each other's dresses, walking through the rooms, and having the amusement together of watching the arrivals -a great entertainment at a fancy-ball.
The appointed place of rendezvous was Ellen's boudoir, where she had had the fore thought to cause tea and coffee to be pre
Mr. Lindsay, as Cedric the Saxon, looked a fine picturesque and amiable old man. He carried in his hand a red morocco case, and, opening it, said, “ My own Ellen ! here is my birthday present." A necklace and bracelets of brilliants sparkled on the black Velvet cushion of the box, and, in a few moments,
he had fastened them around the neck and arms of Ellen. “ There, dearest, I could think of nothing else ; at once dazzling and solid, they are an emblem of you."
“ Except in being cold and cutting,” said De Villeneuve, delighted and confirmed by this costly present in his idea that Ellen was her uncle's favourite.
Ellen seemed nor cold nor cutting ; for she had thrown herself into her uncle's arms, and, spite of herself, a tear bright and priceless as the gems he offered, would fall.
Julian, as Ivanhoe, was all we dream Ivanhoe to be-interesting, graceful, noble, reserved, while his recent illness gave the touch of sadness the character requires.
Ellen had all the beauty of Rowena, and, to those who knew her, the charm of a warmer heart and a loftier character. The dress suited her admirably; it was closely copied from Sir Walter's description, and was much set off by Ellen's beautiful profusion of golden hair, which fell, like Rowena's, unbound upon her shoulders. The quiet
dignity of the part suited her well; and De Villeneuve-who made an admirable Bois Guilbert, except that he was too handsome
-gazed on the fair Saxon with a glance as ardent as that which had compelled the original Rowena to drop her veil when, at the board of Cedric, the Templar owned himself vanquished, and paid the Prior his lost bet on the maiden's beauty.
Mrs. Lindsay came in, very smiling, coaxing, and bustling. She was dressed as a Chinese! At first she seemed very dazzling; but, on a closer inspection, much of her splendour was to be traced to gold and silver paper, which she had adroitly cut out into stars, crescents, and moons, and had stuck on white muslin and dyed silk. However, Mr. Lindsay was no connoisseur; to his eye her dress appeared most costly, and though he did not think the strained hair and Chinese head-dress very becoming, he felt sure the whole must have been extremely expensive.
Mrs. Lindsay, in spite of her assumed smiles, general coaxings, and universal praises,