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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesMemoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter III. MINEWVRING
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Memoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter III. MINEWVRING Post by :dont1040 Category :Long Stories Author :William Makepeace Thackeray Date :April 2012 Read :1468

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Memoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter III. MINEWVRING

Master rose the nex morning with a dismal countinants--he seamed to think that his pa's visit boded him no good. I heard him muttering at his brexfast, and fumbling among his hundred pound notes; once he had laid a parsle of them aside (I knew what he meant), to send 'em to his father. "But no," says he at last, clutching them all up together again, and throwing them into his escritaw, "what harm can he do me? If he is a knave, I know another who's full as sharp. Let's see if we cannot beat him at his own weapons." With that Mr. Deuceace drest himself in his best clothes, and marched off to the Plas Vandom, to pay his cort to the fair widdo and the intresting orfn.

It was abowt ten o'clock, and he propoased to the ladies, on seeing them, a number of planns for the day's rackryation. Riding in the Body Balong, going to the Twillaries to see King Looy Disweet (who was then the raining sufferin of the French crownd) go to chapple, and, finely, a dinner at 5 o'clock at the Caffy de Parry; whents they were all to adjourn, to see a new peace at the theatre of the Pot St. Martin, called Sussannar and the Elders.

The gals agread to everythink, exsep the two last prepositiums. "We have an engagement, my dear Mr. Algernon," said my lady. "Look--a very kind letter from Lady Bobtail." And she handed over a pafewmd noat from that exolted lady. It ran thus:--

"FBG. ST. HONORE, Thursday, Feb. 15, 1817.

"MY DEAR LADY GRIFFIN,--It is an age since we met. Harassing public duties occupy so much myself and Lord Bobtail, that we have scarce time to see our private friends; among whom, I hope, my dear Lady Griffin will allow me to rank her. Will you excuse so unceremonious an invitation, and dine with us at the embassy to- day? We shall be en petite comite, and shall have the pleasure of hearing, I hope, some of your charming daughter's singing in the evening. I ought, perhaps, to have addressed a separate, note to dear Miss Griffin; but I hope she will pardon a poor diplomate, who has so many letters to write, you know.

"Farewell till seven, when I POSITIVELY MUST see you both. Ever, dearest Lady Griffin, your affectionate

"ELIZA BOBTAIL."

Such a letter from the ambassdriss, brot by the ambasdor's Shassure, and sealed with his seal of arms, would affect anybody in the middling ranx of life. It droav Lady Griffin mad with delight; and, long before my master's arrivle, she'd sent Mortimer and Fitzclarence, her two footmin, along with a polite reply in the affummatiff.

Master read the noat with no such fealinx of joy. He felt that there was somethink a-going on behind the seans, and, though he could not tell how, was sure that some danger was near him. That old fox of a father of his had begun his M'Inations pretty early!

Deuceace handed back the letter; sneared, and poohd, and hinted that such an invitation was an insult at best (what he called a pees ally); and, the ladies might depend upon it, was only sent because Lady Bobtail wanted to fill up two spare places at her table. But Lady Griffin and Miss would not have his insinwations; they knew too fu lords ever to refuse an invitatium from any one of them. Go they would; and poor Deuceace must dine alone. After they had been on their ride, and had had their other amusemince, master came back with them, chatted, and laft; he was mighty sarkastix with my lady; tender and sentrymentle with Miss; and left them both in high sperrits to perform their twollet, before dinner.

As I came to the door (for I was as famillyer as a servnt of the house), as I came into the drawing-room to announts his cab, I saw master very quietly taking his pocket-book (or pot fool, as the French call it) and thrusting it under one of the cushinx of the sofa. What game is this? thinx I.

Why, this was the game. In abowt two hours, when he knew the ladies were gon, he pretends to be vastly anxious abowt the loss of his potfolio; and back he goes to Lady Griffinses to seek for it there.

"Pray," says he, on going in, "ask Miss Kicksey if I may see her for a single moment." And down comes Miss Kicksey, quite smiling, and happy to see him.

"Law, Mr. Deuceace!" says she, trying to blush as hard as ever she could, "you quite surprise me! I don't know whether I ought, really, being alone, to admit a gentleman."

"Nay, don't say so, dear Miss Kicksey! for do you know, I came here for a double purpose--to ask about a pocket-book which I have lost, and may, perhaps, have left here; and then, to ask you if you will have the great goodness to pity a solitary bachelor, and give him a cup of your nice tea?"

NICE TEA! I thot I should have split; for I'm blest if master had eaten a morsle of dinner!

Never mind: down to tea they sat. "Do you take cream and sugar, dear sir?" says poar Kicksey, with a voice as tender as a tuttle- duff.

"Both, dearest Miss Kicksey!" answers master; who stowed in a power of sashong and muffinx which would have done honor to a washawoman.

I shan't describe the conversation that took place betwigst master and this young lady. The reader, praps, knows y Deuceace took the trouble to talk to her for an hour, and to swallow all her tea. He wanted to find out from her all she knew about the famly money matters, and settle at once which of the two Griffinses he should marry.

The poar thing, of cors, was no match for such a man as my master. In a quarter of an hour, he had, if I may use the igspression, "turned her inside out." He knew everything that she knew; and that, poar creature, was very little. There was nine thousand a year, she had heard say, in money, in houses, in banks in Injar, and what not. Boath the ladies signed papers for selling or buying, and the money seemed equilly divided betwigst them.

NINE THOUSAND A YEAR! Deuceace went away, his cheex tingling, his heart beating. He, without a penny, could nex morning, if he liked, be master of five thousand per hannum!

Yes. But how? Which had the money, the mother or the daughter? All the tea-drinking had not taught him this piece of nollidge; and Deuceace thought it a pity that he could not marry both.

. . . . . .

The ladies came back at night, mightaly pleased with their reception at the ambasdor's; and, stepping out of their carridge, bid coachmin drive on with a gentlemin who had handed them out--a stout old gentlemin, who shook hands most tenderly at parting, and promised to call often upon my Lady Griffin. He was so polite, that he wanted to mount the stairs with her ladyship; but no, she would not suffer it. "Edward," says she to the coachmin, quite loud, and pleased that all the people in the hotel should hear her, "you will take the carriage, and drive HIS LORDSHIP home." Now, can you guess who his lordship was? The Right Hon. the Earl of Crabs, to be sure; the very old genlmn whom I had seen on such charming terms with his son the day before. Master knew this the nex day, and began to think he had been a fool to deny his pa the thousand pound.

Now, though the suckmstansies of the dinner at the ambasdor's only came to my years some time after, I may as well relate 'em here, word for word, as they was told me by the very genlmn who waited behind Lord Crabseses chair.

There was only a "petty comity" at dinner, as Lady Bobtail said; and my Lord Crabs was placed betwigst the two Griffinses, being mighty ellygant and palite to both. "Allow me," says he to Lady G. (between the soop and the fish), "my dear madam, to thank you-- fervently thank you for your goodness to my poor boy. Your ladyship is too young to experience, but, I am sure, far too tender not to understand the gratitude which must fill a fond parent's heart for kindness shown to his child. Believe me," says my lord, looking her full and tenderly in the face, "that the favors you have done to another have been done equally to myself, and awaken in my bosom the same grateful and affectionate feelings with which you have already inspired my son Algernon."

Lady Griffin blusht, and droopt her head till her ringlets fell into her fish-plate: and she swallowed Lord Crabs's flumry just as she would so many musharuins. My lord (whose powers of slack-jaw was notoarious) nex addrast another spitch to Miss Griffin. He said he'd heard how Deuceace was SITUATED. Miss blusht--what a happy dog he was--Miss blusht crimson, and then he sighed deeply, and began eating his turbat and lobster sos. Master was a good un at flumry, but, law bless you! he was no moar equill to the old man than a mole-hill is to a mounting. Before the night was over, he had made as much progress as another man would in a ear. One almost forgot his red nose and his big stomick, and his wicked leering i's, in his gentle insiniwating woice, his fund of annygoats, and, above all, the bewtific, morl, religious, and honrabble toan of his genral conservation. Praps you will say that these ladies were, for such rich pipple, mightaly esaly captivated; but recklect, my dear sir, that they were fresh from Injar,--that they'd not sean many lords,--that they adoared the peeridge, as every honest woman does in England who has proper feelinx, and has read the fashnabble novvles,--and that here at Paris was their fust step into fashnabble sosiaty.

Well, after dinner, while Miss Matilda was singing "Die tantie," or "Dip your chair," or some of them sellabrated Italyian hairs (when she began this squall, hang me if she'd ever stop), my lord gets hold of Lady Griffin again, and gradgaly begins to talk to her in a very different strane.

"What a blessing it is for us all," says he, "that Algernon has found a friend so respectable as your ladyship."

"Indeed, my lord; and why? I suppose I am not the only respectable friend that Mr. Deuceace has?"

"No, surely; not the only one he HAS HAD: his birth, and, permit me to say, his relationship to myself, have procured him many. But--" (here my lord heaved a very affecting and large sigh).

"But what?" says my lady, laffing at the igspression of his dismal face. "You don't mean that Mr. Deuceace has lost them or is unworthy of them?"

"I trust not, my dear madam, I trust not; but he is wild, thoughtless, extravagant, and embarrassed: and you know a man under these circumstances is not very particular as to his associates."

"Embarrassed? Good heavens! He says he has two thousand a year left him by a god-mother; and he does not seem even to spend his income--a very handsome independence, too, for a bachelor."

My lord nodded his head sadly, and said,--"Will your ladyship give me your word of honor to be secret? My son has but a thousand a year, which I allow him, and is heavily in debt. He has played, madam, I fear; and for this reason I am so glad to hear that he is in a respectable domestic circle, where he may learn, in the presence of far greater and purer attractions, to forget the dice- box, and the low company which has been his bane."

My Lady Griffin looked very grave indeed. Was it true? Was Deuceace sincere in his professions of love, or was he only a sharper wooing her for her money? Could she doubt her informer? his own father, and, what's more, a real flesh and blood pear of parlyment? She determined she would try him. Praps she did not know she had liked Deuceace so much, until she kem to feel how much she should HATE him if she found he'd been playing her false.

The evening was over, and back they came, as wee've seen,--my lord driving home in my lady's carridge, her ladyship and Miss walking up stairs to their own apartmince.

Here, for a wonder, was poar Miss Kicksey quite happy and smiling, and evidently full of a secret,--something mighty pleasant, to judge from her loox. She did not long keep it. As she was making tea for the ladies (for in that house they took a cup regular before bedtime), "Well, my lady," says she, "who do you think has been to drink tea with me?" Poar thing, a frendly face was a event in her life--a tea-party quite a hera!

"Why, perhaps, Lenoir my maid," says my lady, looking grave. "I wish, Miss Kicksey, you would not demean yourself by mixing with my domestics. Recollect, madam, that you are sister to Lady Griffin."

"No, my lady, it was not Lenoir; it was a gentleman, and a handsome gentleman, too."

"Oh, it was Monsieur de l'Orge, then," says Miss; "he promised to bring me some guitar-strings."

"No, nor yet M. de l'Orge. He came, but was not so polite as to ask for me. What do you think of your own beau, the Honorable Mr. Algernon Deuceace;" and, so saying, poar Kicksey clapped her hands together, and looked as joyfle as if she'd come in to a fortin.

"Mr. Deuceace here; and why, pray?" says my lady, who recklected all that his exlent pa had been saying to her.

"Why, in the first place, he had left his pocket-book, and in the second, he wanted, he said, a dish of my nice tea; which he took, and stayed with me an hour, or moar."

"And pray, Miss Kicksey," said Miss Matilda, quite contempshusly, "what may have been the subject of your conversation with Mr. Algernon? Did you talk politics, or music, or fine arts, or metaphysics?" Miss M. being what was called a blue (as most hump- backed women in sosiaty are), always made a pint to speak on these grand subjects.

"No, indeed; he talked of no such awful matters. If he had, you know, Matilda, I should never have understood him. First we talked about the weather, next about muffins and crumpets. Crumpets, he said, he liked best; and then we talked" (here Miss Kicksey's voice fell) "about poor dear Sir George in heaven! what a good husband he was, and--"

"What a good fortune he left, eh, Miss Kicksey?" says my lady, with a hard, snearing voice, and a diabollicle grin.

"Yes, dear Leonora, he spoke so respectfully of your blessed husband, and seemed so anxious about you and Matilda, it was quite charming to hear him, dear man!"

"And pray, Miss Kicksey, what did you tell him?"

"Oh, I told him that you and Leonora had nine thousand a year, and--"

"What then?"

"Why, nothing; that is all I know. I am sure I wish I had ninety," says poor Kicksey, her eyes turning to heaven.

"Ninety fiddlesticks! Did not Mr. Deuceace ask how the money was left, and to which of us?"

"Yes; but I could not tell him."

"I knew it!" says my lady, slapping down her tea-cup,--"I knew it!"

"Well!" says Miss Matilda, "and why not, Lady Griffin? There is no reason you should break your tea-cup, because Algernon asks a harmless question. HE is not mercenary; he is all candor, innocence, generosity! He is himself blessed with a sufficient portion of the world's goods to be content; and often and often has he told me he hoped the woman of his choice might come to him without a penny, that he might show the purity of his affection."

"I've no doubt," says my lady. "Perhaps the lady of his choice is Miss Matilda Griffin!" and she flung out of the room, slamming the door, and leaving Miss Matilda to bust into tears, as was her reglar custom, and pour her loves and woas into the buzzom of Miss Kicksey.

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I said that my master was adoard by every person in my Lady Griffin's establishmint. I should have said by every person excep one,--a young French gnlmn, that is, who, before our appearants, had been mighty partiklar with my lady, ockupying by her side exackly the same pasition which the Honrable Mr. Deuceace now held. It was bewtiffle and headifying to see how coolly that young nobleman kicked the poar Shevalliay de L'Orge out of his shoes, and how gracefully he himself stept into 'em. Munseer de L'Orge was a smart young French jentleman, of about my master's age and good
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