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disrespectful to her Majesty, to say you see no good in a drawing-room! It's as bad as treason.'

“Not quite," answered Oscar, in his dry way. “ I have little doubt her Majesty is glad enough when a drawing-room day is over. She would not miss you."

“ I shall tell Mrs. Cleveland I go with her to the next,” said Selina, disposing of the matter. “ And order my court-dress to-day.”

She flew up-stairs. It was early yet to appear at Madame Damereau's; custom had regulated a later hour. What cared Mrs. Dalrymple for custom, just then? What does any lady, young and vain, care for it, when a fête-dress and a court-dress are waiting to be decided ou ? She would

go and have madame's ear all to herself, before others came to share it.

She pulled aside the "sheets and tablecloths," and glanced underneath. It was a goodly stock of dresses; but yet not all the stock : for the lace, and muslin, and flimsy gauze, and delicate white, and delicate pearl, and delicate pink, and delicate other shades, were reposing in drawers, out of sight, between folds of tissue paper. Barège and balzarine ; satin, plain and figured; velvet; silk, plain, damask, flowered, shot, corded, and glacé; robes à disposition, and robes not; two-flounced robes, and three Hounced, and four-flounced, and double-skirted, and open ; so many that the eye

looked to their colours for relief. Beautiful colours: green, blue, pink, lilac, purple, grey; pearl, stone, violet, brown, amber, lemon; not a dress of every colour, but a dress of every shade of every colour. And yet-new, and rich, and elegant as they were, Mrs. Dalrymple could not go to the fête without a new one!

“I want a thousand things,” cried Selina, when she reached Madame Damereau's.

“ Have

sold the green-and-white gauze dress ?" No, was madame's answer, she had kept it on purpose for Madame Dalreemp. Milady Oak-tonne had come in yesterday afternoon late, and wanted it, but she had told milady. it was sold.

Selina took it all in. The fact was, madame had tried to persuade Milady Oakton into it, but milady was proof against the price. It was: only seventeen guineas, and that included the fringe and trimmings. Selina had told her husband that gauze dresses cost nothing! She was too eager to ask the price now. “ I shall go in it to the breakfast on Thursday.

What mantle can I A momentous question. Mrs. Dalrymple and Madame Damereau ran over the mantles, scarfs, shawls, &c., possessed by the former, as many as they could recollect, and came to the conclusion that there was not one that would “go with it.”

“ I have a lace mantle," said madame—“ah! but it is recherché ! a real Brussels. If there is one dress in my house that it ought to go with, it is that green-and-white."

She brought it forward and exhibited it upon the dress. Very beautiful ; of that there was no doubt. It was probably a beautiful price also.

“Twenty-five guineas."

“Oh my goodness-twenty-five guineas !" cried Selina. « But l’H take it. Å breakfast fête does not come every day.”.

you

wear ?"

66 Your

“ For a wonder--for a wonder-Selina had exhibited her white lace bonnet with the emeralds but twice, and came to the conclusion that that would do." Not that she hesitated at buying another, but that it was so suitable to the green-and-white dress.

“ And now for my court -Oh, stop; I think I must have a new parasol. My point-lace one is soiled, and I caught it in my bracelet the other day, and tore it a little. You had a beautiful point-lace parasol here yesterday. Let me see it."

“ The one you were looking at yesterday will not do," cried madame. “It is lined with blue : Madame Dalreemp knows that blue can never go with the green dress. I have got one parasol-ah, but it is the beauty !-a point-lace, lined with white. I will get it. It does surpass the other.”

It did surpass the other, and in price also.. Selina chose it. It was twenty guineas.

“ And now about my court-dress. I am going to the next drawingroom. It must be all white, of course."

“ Je crois bien que oui," answered madame. “ As if a bride, with taste, would be presented in anything else !"

At this juncture, who should come in but Mrs. Cleveland. court-dress need not cost you very much,” she said to Selina, “and it is nearly the end of the season.

White is less expensive than anything else. For about fifteen pounds you may have one of elegant simplicity: always best for a presentation.

Madame Damereau turned up her nose, and Selina turned hers down: both in contempt of the advice. White silk was fixed upon ; not very expensive in itself: but before its appurtenances were completed, its train, and its trimmings, and its lace (real Mechlin), and its ribbons, and its fripperies, and its head-dress, and its flowers, and its feathers, it had amounted to -not pounds, but scores.

Mrs. Dalrymple. went to the breakfast, and she and her attire were lovely amidst the lovely. She went to the drawing-room, presented by the Honourable Mrs. Cleveland, and the admiration and envy she excited were great. Very satisfactory to her, no doubt.;. very gratifying to her heart, which was just then topsy-turvy with vanity. And so it went on to the end of the season, and her pleasurable course was never checked ; it was a dazzling career of dress, vanity, and admiration.

When they were preparing to return to the Grange, and her maid was driven wild with perplexity as to the stowing away of so extensive a wardrobe, and conjecturing that the carriage down of it would alone come to

something," it occurred to Selina, as she sat watching, that the original cost would also come to “something.” Some hundreds, she feared, now she came to see the whole collection in a mass.

“Of course I shan't let him see it,” she soliloquised, alluding to her husband. “I'll get the bill from madame before I leave: and then there'll be no fear of its coming in to him at the Grange."

Mrs. Dalrymple asked for the bill, and madame, under protest that there was no hurry in the world, promised to send it in.

Selina was sitting in the drawing-room by twilight when it was delivered to her, enclosed in a large thick envelope, with an imposing red seal. She opened it somewhat eagerly. “ What makes it such a bulk ?"

she exclaimed to herself. “Oh, she has detailed the things. I did not care about that.” It was written in a business-like, but elegant hand, that of Mrs. Cooper : dates, details, all were there. But Selina could not see clearly in the evening gloom, and she struck a match and lighted the wax taper on her writing-table, anxious to look at the sum total.

“941.” she soliloquised, glancing at the bottom of the first page." It must be a deal more than that: what does madame mean? Psha!" She found she was only looking at one item : the Venice point-lace for the decoration of a dress. She held the taper to the bottom of the second page.

666 Moire antique robe, lace, trimmings, and sapphire buttons, 1251. Psha!" again exclaimed Selina.

With a rapid movement she turned the account over to the end, and gazed at the sum total ; gazed at it, stared at it, and recoiled from it. Three thousand and odd pounds, odd shillings, and no pence! What the odd pounds were, whether one, or whether nine hundred and ninety-nine, she did not catch, in that moment of terror ; the first grand sum of three thousand absorbed her eyes and her faculties. And there floated over her a confused consciousness of other bills to come in: one from the jeweller's, one for shawls, one for expensively-trimmed linen. There was one shawl, real India—but she dared not think of that. “ Have I been mad ?" she groaned.

It would be thought so. For she knew that if her husband settled all these, he would be for years a beggar on the face of the earth.

At that moment she heard his step, coming in from the dining-room, and turned sick. She crushed the bill and

the envelope, both

of stiff satin paper, in her right hand, and thrust them, in her terror, down the neck of her dress. Then she blew out the taper, and turned, with a burning brow and fevered frame, to the window again, and stood there looking out, but seeing nothing.

Oscar came up and put his arm round her, asking whether it was not time to have lights.

“ Yes. Presently."
" What in the world have you got here ?” cried he. " A ball ?"

She pushed the “ ball” higher up, and, shaking, murmured something about some paper."

“ What is the matter with you, Selina? You are trembling."

“ The night air, perhaps," she managed to answer, in a tone that strove for calmness.

“ I feel chilly.”. Yet it was a hot night. Mr. Dalrymple immediately began to close the window. He was a minute or two over it, for one of the cords was rough and did not go well. When he turned round again, his wife was gone: she had glided silently from the room.

Up the stairs and into her own chamber she had flown, and there down upon

the carpet, in her remorse and agony, her hot brow prostrate on the floor.

“ Disgrace and ruin!” she wailed forth, “ what will become of me? Ruin, ruin, inevitable ruin! nothing but disgrace and ruin !"

103

LIFE OF AN ARCHITECT.

A LITERARY DINNER.

DURING my stay in London, while the “ Palace of Architecture” was going through the press, Mr. Fraser gave a dinner to certain of his friends and contributors to his magazine. Among the company were the late John Murray, the famed publisher, Dr. Maginn, Jerdan (then of the Literary Gazette), and Power, the matchless Irish comedian. I dare not trust my memory as to the others, but I believe some were there whose names are now well known to fame. One of the latter, who sat next myself, gave occasion for the more particular circumstance connected with the feast, which, as a matter of amusement, may be worth mentioning. The condition of the party, some time after the cloth was removed, may perhaps be sufficiently inferred by the simple statement that Mr. Power had left, to act at the Haymarket; and that, of the remainder, Messrs. Fraser, Jerdan, and one more, were sober.

My neighbour, however, was not among the latter; and the first symptoms of his extra-condition of mental elevation were shown by “sawing the air with his bands,” to a greater extent than is admitted by Hamlet as necessary to the gesture even of an emphatic declaimer, and by the somewhat singular action of placing his doily on his head whenever he made a reply or remark, and taking it off when he was a listener ! Mr.

was engaged with Dr. Maginn in a somewhat maudlin conversation about a lady of that extensive family which rejoices in the distinguishing name of Smith, when my eccentric friend, putting his doily on his head, and slapping it down as if he intended it to remain there, volunteered the gratuitous exclamation, that “ Mrs. Smith was no better than she should be.” Dr. Maginn suggested that this was “a challenge to the Smithery at large, which should only come from a man who had a head like an anvil;" and Mr. -, looking defiance at the offender, remarked, " I don't know, sir, who your Mrs. Smith may be, but if your Mrs. Smith be mine also, we differ very materially in the estimate of our mutual acquaintance.” The doily, having been removed during this mild reply, was replaced with a repetition of the unaltered opinion that " Mrs. Smith was no better than she should be.” “ Well said Maginn to his angering companion, “don't be savage, man. After all, why should any woman-Mrs. Smith, or even Mrs. herselfbe better than she should be ?” ” The offender, however, was not in a state to carry on the argument. His last glass of whisky-and-water was somewhat stronger, and quaffed more hastily “than should be ;” and he was obliged suddenly to disappear. The conversation then took a general character, creditable to the wits of the company, though, at this distance of time, I remember nothing with sufficient distinctness for accurate record, beyond the repetition of a reply said by the speaker to have been uttered by Lady Morgan, and which certainly associated with the matériel of the moment. Some one having eulogised the spirit" of Moore's poetry, her ladyship answered, “Yes, truly: it is intellectualised whisky."

Mr. continued to harp on the apparently derogatory allusion by the departed guest to Mrs. Smith; and felt the more, because it had been made by one whom it had been his intention to have called upon and hospitably noticed as a friend of Mr. Fraser's. He became so additionally amusing as the effects of the bottle worked upon his fancy, that, when we broke

up,

I affected to be bound in the same direction as himself, merely for the purpose of seeing him home. Having walked along till we came into Conduit-street, he reverted to Mrs. Smith and her calumniator; then stopping, and holding me by the lapel of my coat, he began: “Now, sir, I want your opinion. I've a great respect for James Fraser, and would wish to show every attention to his friends, but -do you conceive-that is—is it your opinion that I am obliged even in common courtesy-to ask to my table any man who abuses my friend Mrs. Smith-to say nothing of a fellow who puts a doily upon his head, and uses such extravagant gesticulations as that—that Mr.—what d'ye call him?" A policeman, seeing the state of things, and making, it appeared to me, the most of his authority, came, however, civilly forward, saying, “Gentlemen, I must beg you to walk on. “My good man,” replied the other, leaving me, and taking the officer by the button, “ I'm merely asking this gentleman-as I ask youwhether I am bound to ask to my table any man who puts a doily on his head and employs gesticulary extravagance in defaming my friend Mrs. Smith ?” “I beg your pardon, sir," rejoined the other, “but my orders is to require gentlemen, as is going anywhere at this time of night, to go on.” Well, my good friend,” continued my companion, " but, I put it to you, as a man of propriety by virtue of your office, whether,” &c. I need follow the matter no further. The police officer, at my suggestion, relieved the inquirer from any further sense of a compulsory and distasteful courtesy towards the man of the doily, and I saw him to his door in Albemarlestreet.

MY FOURTH (SLOW) MOVE. My fourth move was not only slow, but somewhat downward; though the non-clerical of my old friends remained true, and many new ones enabled me to continue my average of 9001. a year to the income-tax assessors; so that the prophecy of the Dean of and prognostics of Mr. of Oxford, with the anathemas of many of the clergy, who knew nothing of me personally, were not absolutely ruinous. But legitimate causes for declension in speed and emolument were found in the participative operations of increasing rivalry and in the effect of competition.

The latter was a change in the order of things, brought about more largely than was intended by its first promoters. It was natural my rivals, young in years or in their advent to the town, should demand their chance in correction of a too marked monopoly; but, when they exclaimed, with magnanimous local patriotism, “Throw it open !" they seem to have underrated the influx of competitors from other The first "open" opportunity was a prison for the borough.: the result was the selection of a plan from an architect of Somersetshire! The next was a town-hall for the adjoining town: the Somerset architect was again successful. A public cemetery was projected. For this I had made a design on such a moderate and economical scale, that it might

quarters!

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