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of his affection.
"He's not in the profession, Mrs. C. This is my friend Captain Walker, and proud I am to call him my friend." And then aside to Mrs. C., "One of the first swells on town, ma'am—a regular tip-topper."
Humouring the mistake which Mrs. Crump had just made, Mr. Walker thrust the curling-irons into the fire in a minute, and looked round at the ladies with such a fascinating grace, that both, now made acquainted with his quality, blushed and giggled, and were quite pleased. Mamma looked at 'Gina, and 'Gina looked at mamma; and then mamma gave 'Gina a little blow in the region of her little waist, and then both burst out laughing, as ladies will laugh, and as, let us trust, they may laugh for ever and ever. Why need there be a reason for laughing? Let us laugh when we are laughy, as we sleep when we are sleepy. her demoiselle laughed to their hearts' content; and both fixed their large shining black eyes repeatedly on Mr. Walker.
And so Mrs. Crump and
"I won't leave the room," said he, coming forward with the heated iron in his hand, and smoothing it on the brown paper with all the dexterity of a professor (for the fact is, Mr. W. every morning curled his own immense whiskers with the greatest skill and care)-— "I won't leave the room, Eglantine my boy. My lady here took me for a hairdresser, and so, you know, I've a right to stay."
"He can't stay," said Mrs. Crump, all of a sudden, blushing as red as a peony.
"I shall have on my peignoir, mamma," said Miss, looking at the gentleman, and then dropping down her eyes and blushing too.
"But he can't stay, 'Gina, I tell you do you think that I would, before a gentleman, take off my
"Mamma means her FRONT!" said Miss, jumping up, and beginning to laugh with all her might; at which the honest landlady of the "Bootjack," who loved a joke, although at her own expense, laughed too, and said that no one, except Mr. Crump and Mr. Eglantine, had ever seen her without the ornament in question.
"Do go now, you provoking thing, you!" continued Miss C. to Mr. Walker; "I wish to hear the hoverture, and it's six o'clock now,
and we shall never be done against then :" but the way in which Morgiana said "do go," clearly indicated "don't" to the perspicuous mind of Mr. Walker.
"Perhaps you 'ad better go," continued Mr. Eglantine, joining in this sentiment, and being, in truth, somewhat uneasy at the admiration which his "swell friend" excited.
"I'll see you hanged first, Eggy my boy! Go I won't, until these ladies have had their hair dressed: didn't you yourself tell me that Miss Crump's was the most beautiful hair in Europe? And do you think that I'll go away without seeing it? No, here I stay."
"You naughty, wicked, odious, provoking man!" said Miss Crump. But, at the same time, she took off her bonnet, and placed it on one of the side candlesticks of Mr. Eglantine's glass (it was a black-velvet bonnet, trimmed with sham lace, and with a wreath of nasturtiums, convolvuluses, and wallflowers within); and then said, "Give me the peignoir, Mr. Archibald, if you please;" and Eglantine, who would do anything for her when she called him Archibald, immediately produced that garment, and wrapped round the delicate shoulders of the lady, who removing a sham gold chain which she wore on her forehead, two brass hair-combs set with glass rubies, and the comb which kept her back hair together,-removing them, I say, and turning her great eyes towards the stranger, and giving her head a shake, down let tumble such a flood of shining, waving, heavy, glossy, jetty hair, as would have done Mr. Rowland's heart good to see. It tumbled down Miss Morgiana's back, and it tumbled over her shoulders, it tumbled over the chair on which she sat, and from the midst of it her jolly, bright-eyed, rosy face beamed out with a triumphant smile, which said, "A'n't I now the most angelic being you ever saw?"
"By heaven! it's the most beautiful thing I ever saw!" cried Mr. Walker, with undisguised admiration.
"Isn't it?" said Mrs. Crump, who made her daughter's triumph her own. 66 Heigho! when I acted at 'The Wells' in 1820, before that dear girl was born, I had such a head of hair as that, to a shade, sir, to a shade. They called me Ravenswing on account of it. I lost
my head of hair when that dear child was born, and I often say to her, Morgiana, you came into the world to rob your mother of her 'air.' Were you ever at 'The Wells,' sir, in 1820? recollect Miss Delancy? I am that Miss Delancy. recollect,
You remember that in the Bagdad Bells? Fatima, Delancy; Selim, Benlomond (his real name was Bunnion: and he failed, poor fellow, in the public line afterwards). It was done to the tambourine, and dancing between each verse,—
How the soft music swells,
Of the minaret bells!
"Oh!" here cried Miss Crump, as if in exceeding pain (and whether Mr. Eglantine had twitched, pulled, or hurt any one individual hair of that lovely head I don't know),—“Oh, you are killing me, Mr. Eglantine!"
And with this mamma, who was in her attitude, holding up the end of her boa as a visionary tambourine, and Mr. Walker, who was looking at her, and in his amusement at the mother's performances had almost forgotten the charms of the daughter,-both turned round at once, and looked at her with many expressions of sympathy, while Eglantine, in a voice of reproach, said, “Killed you, Morgiana! I kill you?"
"I'm better now," said the young lady, with a smile,—“I'm better, Mr. Archibald, now." And if the truth must be told, no
greater coquette than Miss Morgiana existed in all Mayfair,-no, not among the most fashionable mistresses of the fashionable valets who frequented the " "Bootjack." She believed herself to be the most fascinating creature that the world ever produced; she never saw a stranger but she tried these fascinations upon him; and her charms of manner and person were of that showy sort which is most popular in this world, where people are wont to admire most that which gives them the least trouble to see; and so you will find a tulip of a woman to be in fashion when a little humble violet or daisy of creation is Morgiana was a tulip among women,
passed over without remark.
and the tulip-fanciers all came flocking round her.
Well, the said "Oh!" and "I'm better now, Mr. Archibald," thereby succeeded in drawing everybody's attention to her lovely self. By the latter words Mr. Eglantine was specially inflamed; he glanced at Mr. Walker, and said, "Capting! didn't I tell you she was a creecher? See her hair, sir: it's as black and as glossy as satting. It weighs fifteen pound, that hair, sir; and I wouldn't let my apprentice -that blundering Mossrose, for instance (hang him!)-I wouldn't let any one but myself dress that hair for five hundred guineas! Ah, Miss Morgiana, remember that you may always have Eglantine to dress your hair!-remember that, that's all." And with this the worthy gentleman began rubbing delicately a little of the Eglantinia into those ambrosial locks, which he loved with all the love of a man and an artist.
And as for Morgiana showing her hair, I hope none of my readers will entertain a bad opinion of the poor girl for doing so. Her locks were her pride; she acted at the private theatre "hair parts," where she could appear on purpose to show them in a dishevelled state; and that her modesty was real and not affected may be proved by the fact that when Mr. Walker, stepping up in the midst of Eglantine's last speech, took hold of a lock of her hair very gently with his hand, she cried "Oh!" and started with all her might. And Mr. Eglantine observed very gravely, "Capting! Miss Crump's hair is to be seen and not to be touched, if you please."
"No more it is, Mr. Eglantine," said her mamma; "and now,
as it's come to my turn, I beg the gentleman will be so obliging as to go."
"Must I?" cried Mr. Walker; and as it was half-past six, and he was engaged to dinner at the "Regent Club," and as he did not wish to make Eglantine jealous, who evidently was annoyed by his staying, he took his hat just as Miss Crump's coiffure was completed, and saluting her and her mamma, left the room.
"A tip-top swell, I can assure you," said Eglantine, nodding after him: "a regular bang-up chap, and no mistake. Intimate with the Marquess of Billingsgate, and Lord Vauxhall, and that set."
"He's very genteel," said Mrs. Crump.
"Law! I'm sure I think nothing of him," said Morgiana.
And Captain Walker walked towards his club, meditating on the beauties of Morgiana. "What hair," said he, "what eyes the girl has! they're as big as billiard-balls; and 5,000l. Eglantine's in luck!
5,000/-she can't have it, it's impossible!"
No sooner was Mrs. Crump's front arranged, during the time of which operation Morgiana sat in perfect contentment looking at the last French fashions in the Courrier des Dames, and thinking how her pink satin slip would dye, and make just such a mantilla as that represented in the engraving,-no sooner was Mrs. Crump's front arranged, than both ladies, taking leave of Mr. Eglantine, tripped back to the "Bootjack Hotel" in the neighbourhood, where a very neat green fly was already in waiting, the gentleman on the box of which (from a livery-stable in the neighbourhood) gave a knowing touch to his hat, and a salute with his whip, to the two ladies, as they entered the tavern.
"Mr. W.'s inside," said the man-a driver from Mr. Snaffle's establishment; "he's been in and out this score of times, and looking down the street for you." And in the house, in fact, was Mr. Woolsey, the tailor, who had hired the fly, and was engaged to conduct the ladies that evening to the play.
It was really rather too bad to think that Miss Morgiana, after going to one lover to have her hair dressed, should go with another to the play; but such is the way with lovely woman! Let her have