Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/50

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36
ELIZA LESLIE.

up; and, above all, if the Pelham Prideauxs have called on her. And besides, it may be well for us not to begin till she has gradually gotten rid of the people with whom she associated in her husband’s time.”

“Surely,” said Sophia, “she cannot be expected to throw off her old friends?”

“Then she need not expect to gain new ones up here. We can not mix with people from the unfashionable districts. Mrs. Cotterell may do as she pleases—but she must be select in her circle, if she wants the countenance of the Pelham Prideauxs.”

“And who, dear aunt, are the Pelham Prideauxs?” inquired Sophia.

“Is it possible you never heard of them?” ejaculated Mrs. Derrington. “To know Mrs. Pelham Prideaux, to be seen at her house, or to have her seen at yours, is sufficient. It gives the stamp of high fashion at once.”

“And for what reason?” persisted Sophia.

“Because she is Mrs. Pelham Prideaux,” was the reply.

“What is her husband?” said Sophia.

“He is a gentleman who has always lived upon the fortune left him by his father, who inherited property from his father, and he from his. None of the Prideauxs have done anything for a hundred years. The great-grandfather was from England, and came over a gentleman.”

“Surprising!” said Sophia, mischievously. “And whom have they to inherit all this glory?”

“An only daughter,” replied Mrs. Derrington, “Maria Matilda Pelham Prideaux.”

At this moment a carriage stopped at the door, and presently Mrs. Middleby was announced; and immediately after, two young ladies came in who were presented to Sophia as Miss Telford and Miss Ellen Telford. The conversation soon turned on Mrs. Cotterell s party. Mrs. Middleby had been there—the Miss Telfords had not, and were therefore anxious to “hear all about it.”

“Really,” said Mrs. Middleby, “it was just like all other parties; and like all others, it went off tolerably well. The company