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usual on such occasions, taking his part, and expelling her from its pale, with the consciousness, in her secret heart, that, though innocent of actual crime, or even a thought of guilt, she loves Lord Nottingham.

To whom, then, but to him, can she turn? She has never cared for the gay world, or taken any pleasure in the society that we consider its greatest attraction. The sense of innocence will console her for any annoyance the publicity of the legal proceedings may produce; and, the divorce obtained, she will become the wife of the man she loves : bad exchange for being that of one she neither loved nor respected.

You ask me how all this can be effected without some demonstration of guilt? but nothing is so facile. I have previously explained to you how easily a woman's reputation is sacrificed in London, where “ ce n'est pas la

no

faute qui est punie - c'est le bruit qu'elle fait. Les plus bruyantes sont ordinairement les plus légères fautes, et les plus fortes sont les plus silencieuses.

It would require only a little address to satisfy Lord Annandale that he is a wronged husband, because Augusta has indisposed him towards her by her undisguised indifference. His outraged vanity would avenge her coldness by a severity ruinous to her reputation ; and an appearance of criminality is easily given, which would justify her husband in resorting to legal proceedings.

You see I have already made myself au fait of the role I intend to enact : wish success to your affectionate friend,

CAROLINE.

LONDON FASHIONABLE SOCIETY.

143

MISS MONTRESSOR TO LA MARQUISE

DE VILLEROI.

You ask me, chère Delphine, to give you an apperçu of the leading peculiarities that distinguish our islanders from

your

volatile compatriots ; and of the great influence exercised on society here by that undefined, yet despotic power, fashion. I therefore send you a crude sketch, as a sort of equivalent and repayment for

your very interesting story; and you must accept the promptitude with which I comply with your request more as a proof of my desire to gratify you, than of my power of performing the task.

LONDON FASHIONABLE SOCIETY.

Among the numerous peculiarities of the English, is an extreme susceptibility with regard to any criticism on their habits, manners, and customs; and an inveterate indignation against the individuals who are so hardy as to attempt it. If any foreigner, not très répandu dans la société here, writes his sentiments on the country, he is proclaimed to be un ignorant, full of presumption, whose opinions are unworthy of notice; but if he has been très répandu, all the vials of wrath are emptied on his luckless head. To describe what he has seen, is pronounced to be a most indelicate breach of propriety and hospitality. To say that the heavy magnificence of aristrocratic dinners sometimes imposes a constraint on the guests, is, for a man who has dined with Lords A, B, and C, an indecent violation of les bienséances; and to note down that soirées of three, four, and five hundred

persons, comparatively small, are not agreeable, is an outrage of all les convenances in the favoured

in rooms

ANTIPATHY TO FOREIGN CENSURE.

145

person who has been seen jammed in the doorways, or scrambling on the stairs, at the houses of any of the ladies of fashion to which an entrée is considered a distinction.

When personalities are introduced, which I admit to be always objectionable, every one is up in arms. The praised think themselves not sufficiently so; the unnoticed consider themselves aggrieved ; and the censured, however slightly the ferule may be applied, are outrageous. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that the books, hitherto published, descriptive of English manners, have been defective. The penalty certain to follow a successful portraiture of them will always be likely to deter the attempt; except by some amateur like myself, who exhibits les ridicules de la scciété pour s'amuser, or to amuse a friend.

To describe all that I sce here, il faut être

VOL. II.

H

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