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For a quarter of an hour he held a consultation with his wife, who fortunately had a weakness for arts and letters, and advised him to serve
"To be sure,' said the landlord, they may have money for once, by chance.
So he told the waiter to take up whatever they asked for, and then plunged into a game of piquet with an old customer. Fatal imprudence!
From ten to twelve the waiter did nothing but run up and downstairs. Every moment he was asked for something more. Musette would eat English-fashion, and change her fork at every mouthful.* Mimi drank all sorts of wines, in all sorts of glasses. Schaupard had a quenchless Sahara in his throat. Colline played a cross-fire with his eyes, and while chewing up his napkin, as his habit was, kept pinching the leg of the table, which he took for Phemy's knee. Marcel and Rodolphe maintained the stirrups of self-possession, expecting the catastrophe, not without anxiety.
The stranger regarded the scene with grave curiosity; from time to time he opened his mouth as if for a smile; then you might have heard a noise like that of a window which creaks in shutting. It was the stranger laughing to himself.
At a quarter before twelve the bill was sent up. It amounted to the enormous sum of twenty-five francs and three quarters.
"Come,' said Marcel,' we will draw lots for who shall go and diplomatize with our host. It is getting serious. They took a set of dominoes; the highest was to go.
Unluckily, the lot fell upon Schaupard, who was an excellent virtuoso, but a very bad ambassador. He arrived too at the bar, just as the landlord had lost his third game. Momus was in a fearful bad-humor, and, at Schaunard's first words, broke out into a violent rage. The other, whose knowledge of art was much better than his temper, replied by a double discharge of slang. The dispute grew more and more bitter, till the landlord went up-stairs, swearing that he would be paid, and that no one should stir till he was. Colline endeavored to interpose his pacifying oratory; but, on perceiving a napkin which Colline had made lint of, the host's anger redoubled; and to indemnify himself, he actually dared to lay profane hands on the philosopher's bazel over-coat and the ladies' shawls
. A volley of abuse was interchanged by the artists and the landlord. The women talked of their dresses and their conquests. The stranger began to quit his impassible attitude; gradually he rose, made a step forward, then another, and walked as an ordinary man might; he approached the landlord, took him aside, and spoke to him in a low tone. Rodolphe and Marcel followed him with their eyes. At length, the host went out, saying to the stranger, 'Certainly, Mr. Barbemache, certainly; arrange it with them yourself.
Mr. Barbemache returned to his table to take his hat; put it on, turned round to the right, and in three steps came close to Rodolphe and
* At provincial inns, and the lower order of Parisian eating-houses, the same knife and fork is expected to serve the guest throughout his dinner.
Marcel; took off his hat, bowed to the men, waved a salute to the women, pulled out his handkerchief, blew his nose, and began in a feeble voice :
"Gentlemen, excuse the liberty I am about to take. For a long time, I have been burning with desire to make your acquaintance, but have never, till now, found a favorable opportunity. Will you allow me to seize the present one?'
Certainly, certainly,' said Colline. Rodolphe and Marcel bowed, and said nothing. The excessive delicacy of Schaunard came nigh spoiling every thing. 'Excuse me, Sir,' said he, briskly, “but you have not the honor of knowing us; and the usages of society forbid that could you be so good as to give me a pipeful of tobacco ? In other respects I am of my friends' opinion.'
Gentlemen,' continued Barbemache, 'I am a disciple of the fine-arts, like yourselves. So far as I have been able to judge from what I have heard of your conversation, our tastes are the same. I have a most eager desire to be a friend of yours, and to be able to find you here every night. The landlord is a brute; but I said a word to bim, and you are quite free to go. I trust you will not refuse me the means of finding you here again, but accept this slight service.'
A blush of indignation mounted to Schaunard's face. He is speculating on our condition,' said he; "we cannot accept. He has paid our bill: I will play him at billiards for the twenty-five francs, and give him points.
Barbemache accepted the proposition, and had the good-sense to lose. This trait gained him the esteem of the party. They broke up with the understanding that they were to meet next day.
“Now,' said Schaunard, our dignity is saved; we owe him nothing.' • We can almost ask him for another supper,' said Colline.
8 Α Β Β Α Τ Η • Η Υ Μ Ν .
God! may the light of this Tay day
On our benighted spirits shine,
Of hope, and joy, and love divine!
May all its quiet, sacred hours
Be kept from sin and folly free;
Employed in love and praise of THER!
And, as its sun sinks in the west,
With brilliant hues in every ray,
The dawning of an endless day!
J. B. B
• Trou canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth.'
STJoux. I am never merry when I hear sweet music,
MERCHANT OF VENICE.
WHENCE come ye, saddening chords!
Art thou a prince, O Song?,
Or art thou God's own voice,
Poor instruments of Earth
Hark! distant swells of song
Hope, that, o'er moon-lit seas,
Where fly ye, touching chords,
Or haply are ye sent
I call — but ye are gone!
Yet, stay! Can BEAUTY die?
*The home of all sweet melody is Heaven!!
But open one door more, and joy leaps madly on the scene. To-night the Salle des Fleurs is the adytum of elegance. Deep in a draperied recess sits a Brobdignagian band, whose strains burst loose sweetly, grandly as the winds from Eolus' cave, filtered through Apollo's lyre. On every side reach long, lofty walls, festooned with flowers, and inlaid with continuous mirrors, through which, multiplied into myriads, the mirthful scene enclosed seems to float into infinitude. Inviting seats surround the hall in one unbroken coil of repose. A thousand lustres, ferronières, and trembling plumes, mingled with music and laughter, fill the air. Cavaliers incline with Viennese courtesy to their partners; or stand for one brief moment clasping their waists, waiting to plunge into the whirlpool of the giddy area; and then, swimming, undulating, skipping, finished, sentimental, the stately Polonaise, the swinging Mazurka, the Trois Temps, and the Redowa, graceful and drooping as a willow, follow each other in floating succession. Frenchmen — who are never serious except in dancing — are performing like dervishes. The fainting fair glide through quadrilles, retire to flirt and lemonade, and da capo.
My little rail-road beauty was employed in an adagio movement, looking as arch as she was starch at the Trinkhalle.
Mrs. FLEDGEFEMME appeared. Her march through the sumptuous saloon was an imperial triumph. No one, not even the Italian princessa, to whom the Austrian militaire is now making such a profound salute, can boast of a more magnificent train of gentlemen than Mrs. FLEDGEFEMME, the wife-vender. The Chevalier de l'Empire, and the Chevalier d'Industrie, pay court to her with equal assiduity. Are you curious to know the secret of her attraction? It is this : flat flattery. Her tongue, like a locomotive, begins to give forth a thick smoke of compliments the moment the semblance of mankind draws near; how natural, then, to fall into her train!
Singular! the American notion that neatness in apparel or in equipage is an English characteristic! On the present occasion, Mrs. FLEDGEFEMME revelled in the full-blown glories of a crimson brocade. Sacred to the narrow walls of her chambre à coucher be the mysteries of her interior attire. Her head-dress was like the city of Venice -'a tiara of proud towers' - and plumed and flowered to such a pitch that it would seem as if some tame ostrich had nestled there in drowsy voluptuousness, and was flaunting his downy decorations from above the brightness of his floral bed.
Conspicuous as the wife-vender ever is in society for the grace of her manners and her luring conversation, she attitudinized about the very Amphytrite of flattery, spouting it refreshingly around at every step. Her female dependant to-night was Miss Monosyllable, a fresh damsel from May-Fair, the catalogue of whose accomplishments, as displayed in public, was limited to a sovereigu Yes, and a magnificent No! The Chaperone was all smiles; the Debutante all stares.
Misses Darkle and Sparkle had just languished into light. Captain Bruin was tormenting them to his utmost with criticising uniforms, generals, and every thing else that they cared nothing about. Thus bores, when straitened for conversation, always have recourse to strictures. Figure to yourself vulgarity personified, and conceit laid on with a trowel, and you will still have an idea somewhat too favorable of Mrs. AUREOUS Glorieux's appearance. The monster-marshalling BARONNE VON BLUDGEONBORE also lent her countenance as well as she could through a blending of wrinkles and rouge: a plaster-mask was on her brow, and the finest fresco on her cheeks. The coöperation of pure water and pure air has proved highly beneficial to most complexions; but still there are numbers who, like the BARONNE, scorn to depute to so coarse a handmaid as Nature that art of tinting in which they themselves so eminently excel. In the pump-room to-morrow, where the children of vicious artificiality, like the prodigal, return to Nature for restoration after their long estrangement, how many of these embalmed beauties will the rising sun reveal, looking rougeless and wretched !
Behold the turtle who has lost her mate! this Cleopatra in foulard; she of the countenance which seems to have borrowed its enamelled smoothness and purity from an antique cameo! Who is she?' is a question that has moved many ere to-day. As you see her now, she appears always, the same sad, restless mystery, travelling ever with a single attendant, in quest of the gayest scenes, but steadfastly declining all participation in the pleasures, of which she covets only the spectacle and distraction. Wealth and a noble name have, in her case, afforded no talisman against dejection ; secure, if the constant presence of festivity can but minister forgetfulness to her mind, she has now for three years lived a wanderer from her home in Naples, where her once proud family is wrecked, and her young husband lies a political prisoner, without hope of release. Yet if, as sages aver, perfect tranquillity be the sincerest type of happiness, the Countess M — has perhaps little reason to envy the lightest of these ladies who philander through the crowd.
The invincible Passim PARTOUT was in conversation with a figure of sabre-chains and spurs — a piece of assery who was not allowed farther admission, on account of his costume, but was authorized to lean in a gracceful position against the entrance-door during the evening. PARTOUT was evidently upon a high horse, and gesticulating madly, as he always does when the course of narrative leads him into difficulties where a whole troop of lancers would founder. I believe his present theme was a description of an elephant-supper given by the Shampoo Indians in South Tartary. The listener, too polite or else too lazy to question the travellers asseverations, could only find a safety-valve for his incredulity in shrugging his shoulders, and bobbing his head with an energy of action which resembled the play of the little balls you sometimes see dancing up and down the jet of a fountain.
There is no one worth looking at in the same radius with the COUNTESS