Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/48

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34
ELIZA LESLIE.

agreeable, and every way excellent people,” said Sophia; “men on whose integrity, and women on whose propriety there is not the slightest blemish, and who are admired for their talents, loved for their goodness, and esteemed for the truth and honour of their whole conduct.”

“Stop—stop,” interrupted Mrs. Derrington, “you are going quite too far. Can you suppose all this is required to get people into society, or to keep them there? The upper circles would be very small if nothing short of perfection could be admitted.”

“What then, dear aunt, are the requisites?” asked Sophia. “Is genius one?”

“Genius? Oh, no, indeed. It is not that sort of thing that brings people into society. It is mostly considered rather a draw back. Mrs. Goldsworth actually shuns people of genius. Indeed, most of my friends rather avoid them. I have no acquaintance whatever with any man or woman of genius.”

“I am sorry to hear it,” said Sophia. “I had hoped while in New York to meet many of those gifted persons whose fame has spread throughout our country, whom I already know by reputation, and whom I have long been desirous of seeing or hearing.”

“Oh, I suppose you mean lions,” said Mrs. Derrington. “I can assure you that I patronize none of them; neither do any of my friends.”

“I thought the lions were the patronizers,” said Sophia, “and that their position gave them the exclusive power of selecting their associates, and deciding on whom to confer the honour of their acquaintance.”

“Sophy—Sophy, you really make me laugh!” exclaimed her aunt. “What strange notions you have picked up, with your garrison education. Do not you know that people of genius seldom live in any sort of style, or keep carriages, or give balls? And they never make fortunes; unless they are foreign musicians or dancers, and I am not sure that the singing and dancing people are classed as geniuses. They are regarded as something much better.”

“Is society composed entirely of people of fortune?”