Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/60

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46
ELIZA LESLIE.

wise, her good taste is so apparent in everything. She dresses well, talks well, moves well, and plays and sings delightfully. I heard her speaking French to Madame St. Ange, with the utmost fluency and elegance. She is really a most enchanting girl.”

“You seem to be quite smitten!” remarked Miss Waterly, one of the insipid young ladies.

“Not to admire such a woman as Amelia Cotterell would evince the most pitiable insensibility to the united attractions of beauty, grace, and talent. But in the usual acceptation of the phrase, I am yet heart-whole. How long I may remain so is another question.”

Mr. Grafton then turned the conversation to another subject, and he soon after took his leave.

“Do you know, Mrs. Derrington,” said Miss Milkby, the other insipid young lady, “it’s all over town already, that Percival Grafton is dying in love with Amelia Cotterell. So you must not believe exactly all he says about her and her mother.”

“He really seems delirious,” said Miss Waterly.

Mrs. Derrington became again dubious about taking up the Cotterells. But her doubts grew fainter as she reflected that Percival Grafton was a young gentleman of acknowledged taste in all that was refined and elegant; being himself a person of birth, and “to the manner born” of the best society. Even his grandfather was an eminent lawyer, and Percival himself had been inducted into that high profession.

While Mrs. Derrington sat, “pondering in her mind,” Sophia was endeavouring to entertain the Misses Waterly and Milkby, when her aunt suddenly started from her reverie, and, her face beaming with ecstatic joy, advanced in eager empressement to receive a lady, whom the servant, throwing wide the door, announced as Mrs. Pelham Prideaux. When Mrs. Derrington had a little recovered the first excitement of this supreme felicity, and placed her high and mighty guest in the easiest fauteuil, and seen her well served with refreshments, she recollected to introduce her niece, Miss Sophia Fayland. The two other misses had long been within the pale of Mrs. Prideaux’s notice, and they timidly hoped she was well.