Page:Once a Week, Series 1, Volume II Dec 1859 to June 1860.pdf/376

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April 21, 1860.]

intently gazing at the gyrations of the sea-gulls, or walk back fast, as if you had forgotten your pocket-handkerchief, and all you will gather from the lips of the fair and youthful Vestals in frilled trousers will be such scraps as “I’m sure I told Miss—” or “Oh! Mary Jane, you naughty!” Surely a Cuvier in the Social Sciences would be puzzled to re-construct the entire fabric of these beautiful young lives from such meagre fragments as these.

The Science of Matrimony - Caspar.png
Caspar! (see p. 364.)

Boarding School Helmston was out emphatically for an airing! Amongst the various schools, the pupils in charge of the Misses Fitzchauncey were distinguished by their general correctness of demeanour and the variety of their accomplishments. The establishment was situated in Metropolis Crescent, and united in itself the two functions of the ordinary seminary and the finishing school. The seminary was out a-walking. The finishing school was at home. The finishing school never walked in its public capacity. The finishing pupils were six in number. They went out for airings in carriages when they had mastered the exceedingly difficult art of getting into one. A fly was kept in the back-yard for their instruction in this matter—just as the model ship has been set up behind Greenwich Hospital for the benefit of the young sailors. Then they had regular rides on horseback with a riding-master all covered over with military medals in attendance;—and professors of callisthenics, and music, and dancing, and water colours, and poetry, and the exact sciences, were never out of the house. But when all this was done, little was done. It was for her tutelage and education of the latent energies and capabilities of the female mind that Miss Harriet Mountchauncey, the elder of the two sisters, was so widely celebrated. The professors instructed the young ladies in the various arts and sciences, but Miss Harriet Mountchauncey fitted them for empire.

I love precision in all things, and so here are the names of the six finishing pupils with a few marginal notes.

  1. Miss Sophia Sparrow, 16 years of age, short, plump, auburn-hair, restless, and given to the fidgets; parents, eminent solicitor and lady—resident in Dorset Square.
  2. Miss Theresa Tilly—tall, languid, dark-hair—tendency to thrust her left shoulder out of her dress—exceedingly indisposed to early hours; romantic in appearance—bnt in truth as matter of fact as a Dutch cheese. An orphan—Guardian, Mr. Thomas Jago, of Montague Place.
  3. Miss Selina Tender—fair, blue-eyed, sentimental—her mother—widow of a General Officer, resident at Cheltenham—reluctant to receive her daughter home. The fair Selina spent a large portion of her existence in tears, and read more novels on the sly than any young lady of her age.