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What joy at the ball, what delight have I found,
In short, there is something in very fine women,
Anstey's Bath Guide.
The ball was extremely animated. Mr. Lindsay's wise precaution in securing an overplus of dancing men had all the effect he had anticipated. The old Aurora, the faded Morning Star, the full-blown La Vallière-in short, all those whom experience had taught to hope little in the way of partners, danced inces. santly.
As vanity is the readiest of interpreters, so no one sought any other.
“ I must look very young and lovely to
night," said a scraggy old honourable miss, to herself; “ I've not sat down once, and here I'm almost sure of the two next. Ah! this Turkish dress is very becoming. No wonder the women of the East are so celebrated. Oh! that I could wear it always ! I should marry yet.”
The young and pretty were all engaged many dances deep. There was triumph on every brow, and old Mr. Lindsay rubbed his hands to see an affected stripling lord actually leading out the lovely young Lavinia, the only lady not engaged. When Lord
and Count d’D- , and Captain M- , who were his models in every thing, seemed so eager to get partners, it must, he thought, be quite “ the thing” to dance, and not at all “ the thing” to sit down.
Julian, at his request, had presented him, saying, “ Will the lovely young Lavinia permit me to introduce the renowned Rob Roy Mac Gregor ?"
“I shall be most appy, sir,” replied the lady, gaily taking firm hold of the young lord's
limp and unwilling arm. “ First come, first served,' as the proverb says;" and she squeezed herself and him into a place, alas! close to his model, Lord C , and within ear-shot of another satirical exquisite. She then bobbed to a vis-à-vis. And the young fop had the annoyance of perceiving that himself and his partner were engrossing the sarcastic attention of the two autocrats he most dreaded; and their partners, two handsome but most ill-natured quizzes, who were suspected of writing for a very sarcastic paper, and one of whom had actually published a satirical norel, in which she had caricatured all who knew her, friends and foes. Whether they were to blame or not, none could tell; but in the next Sunday “ Quiz,” there was a very bitter paper called Lavinia and Palemon, in which his lordship cut a most contemptible and ridiculous figure.
“I ope you won't esteem me rude," said (Mrs. Jobb) Lavinia, playfully, “but ere no one can know who's who, as the saying is. I should be much obligated if you would tell
me your real name, sir; exchange is no robbery-mine's Jobb. Mr. Jobb, the celebrated medical man, whose name was published in all the papers - he as attended Mr. Lindsay, junior, and extracted the ball; that Mr. Jobb is my lord and master.”
“-r-rem, em r-r," was all his little lordship’s reply.
“Perhaps he's rather hard of hearing, poor young man !” thought the lady. “ It might be a case for Jobb-in our profession, sharp's the word. I beg your pardon, sir,” she cried, considerably raising her voice, “but I took the liberty of asking your name, observing that exchange is no robbery – I am the better half,” she added, playfully, for she thought herself a wit, “ of the celebrated Mr. Jobb, surgeon, of Great Quebec Street. He has been very successful in cases of hardness of hearing ; his aural paste' has done wonders.”
The young lord saw his exquisite friends and their quizzing partners convulsed with laughter. He turned scarlet, and knew not
what to do. However, perceiving the lady about to repeat her question, he said, hur. riedly, “ My name, er-er-er, is Lord Weaklington. I am not hard of hearing, er-er-er;" then added, aside to his friend, “ I wish to Heaven I were !"
Mrs. Jobb was for a moment awed by the discovery that she was dancing with a lord; but, perceiving that he looked disdainfully away, took no notice of her, addressed himself to the lady on his other side, and, in short, was “ giving himself airs,” to use her expression, she said to herself, “ Lord or no lord, he's a little hop o' my thumb, as full of pride as an egg's full of meat. However, civility costs nothing. I'll be polite to him at first, and if he's rude to me, I'll give it him well.”
Thus resolved, she began, perceiving that be did not set to her — that he scarcely touched her hand, and more than once confused the figure. “Your lordship is not an amatent dancer, I presume, my lord.” His fair neighbour laughed.
“Do you imagine, er er-er, I am a professional one, em-em-em?” sneered his lordship.