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THE NEW YORK FUBLIC L.ZRARY 2804981 ASOR, LINOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS

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Ir the Readers of the following pages expect " a novel," in the circulating library sense of the word, they will probably be disappointed ; and indeed the writer is by no means sure that they will not be disappointed, whatever it may be that they expect to find. But if the incidents of his tale should be deemed trite, and the characters common, it will the more readily be conceded, that he may have heard of such things-that he may have seen such people.

Perhaps it is the reverse of propitiatory to own, that these pages have been penned more with a view to divert their writer than any one else. Not that he professes himself indifferent either to the amusement or edification of any one who may choose to become his reader; but he is unaffectedly diffident as to his powers of communicating either. Indeed, so strange does he feel in his new character of Author, that if any, the most easily pleased of his friends, should unconsciously be indebted to him for having “beguiled the tediousness and process of their travel," on leaving London, or helped them to wade through a long wet evening on first arriving in the country, such will be the utmost success he presumes to contemplate.

MATILDA.

CHAPTER I.

It was early in the month of July, when that most valuable department of the daily press, which is headed “Fashionable Arrangements,” contained, among many other pieces of information, which, however intrinsically important, would not be so interesting to my readers, the two following paragraphs :

“Lord Ormsby (late the honourable Augustus Arlingford,) is arrived at Mivart's Hotel, after an absence of two years on the Continent.'

“ Lord and lady Eatington will this day entertain a distinguished party at their splendid mansion in Grosvenor square.”

That intelligence of this description should have attracted every eye, is not to be wondered at, when it is recollected, that, as the advance of the season had diminished the number of these events, the type in which they were announced had proportionably

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increased in size and importance; and many an absent fair one, who had been prematurely hurried from chalked floors to green fields, had now no other resource than to make that a distant study which was no longer a present pleasure. But be this as it may, a little before eight, on the day above mentioned, the firsť carriage was heard to come clatterinġ up South Audley street, containing Lord George Darford and Henry Penryn; two youths, most comprehensively described as “Young men about town.” «« Very unlucky, my father wanting the carriage afterwards," said Lord George. “I do so hate to be early. The half-hour introduction to a dinner, like the preface to a book, should always be skipped.”

“ One might know one was too early, the fellow drives so fast," said Mr. Penryn, as they swung round the last corner, at the risk of annihilating a pensive nursery maid, and all her "pretty ones, at one fell swoop."

" I wonder who we shall have at the Eatingtons'?" continued he; “ they have been too much in the Pidcock line this year."

“Yes," said Lord George, “and that's another bore in being early ; for your human lion is not like his royal brother-the liveliest before he's fed.”

Stopping at the door at this moment, the length of time that elapsed before the thundering announcement of their arrival produced its (usually instantaneous) effect, seemed to confirm their apprehensions

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