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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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CHAPTER XV. Shows the benefit of studying morals at the theatre, and the difference between falling in love on the stage and off.

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Being left alone the next morning after the
night of adventures related in the last chapter, I
had abundant time to ruminate on all I had seen,
as well as to form new plans for my future conduct.
But the moral of the sterling English
comedy which I had seen, took so strong a hold
of my imagination, I could think of nothing else.
I could not but fancy myself in the situation of
the fine, free-hearted, thoughtless young fellow,
who ran away with a beautiful young heiress from
her boarding school, and then cajoled her cross
old guardian into good humor, just before the
curtain fell, by a witty repartee. Nothing could
be more palpable than the moral of such a conclusion,
and nothing more desirable than to imitate
such a proceeding. I found no difficulty in
comparing myself with the hair-brained hero, and
the ingenious architect of airy castles lent her
ready aid to help transform the gentle Georgiana
De Lancey into the heroine of the comedy. That

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she was rich I had no doubt; that she was at a
boarding school I knew, for a silver plate on the
door of the house into which I had seen her enter,
announced that fact to the world; that she loved
me was not to be questioned; I had travelled
with her in the stage coach; and that I loved
her, every fibre in my body, and every pulsation
of my heart, bore witness. Nothing could be
plainer. The fates had very obligingly given me
possession of the young lady's handkerchief, as
if on purpose to afford me an opportunity of seeking
an interview with her; and to neglect such
evident advantages would be to tempt fortune;
something I could not well afford to do, seeing
that all my hopes rested upon her caprices. As
I thought over these things, and revolved in my
mind the ease with which an heiress could be obtained
and her guardian mollified, my imagination
became wrought up into a perfect phrensy of
delight. But nothing gave me half so much
pleasure as the thought of triumphing over my
haughty cousin, and of giving the lie to his prediction.

To make all the points of resemblance to my
model as exact as possible, I went to a clothing
store in Maiden Lane, where I furnished myself
with a suit of clothes, at a moment's warning,

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precisely like his, namely: a claret colored frock
coat, a pair of striped pantaloons, and a figured
satin vest. It took nearly all the money I had in
the world to pay for them; but I bore in
mind the valuable casket that I had purchased on
speculation, and the ten dollars which Mr. Worhoss
was to pay me when he got paid for his prize
article. But I should not have hesitated in the
purchase, even though I had not had these valuable
reliances to fall back upon in case of need; to
have done so would have been quite out of character
with my original.

Having dressed myself in my new clothes, and
made a pretty liberal use of a bottle of cologne
water which I found in my room, I liked the appearance
of myself so well, that I resolved to set
off without any delay, and call on Miss De Lancey,
under the pretence of returning her pocket
handkerchief, and trust to the kind power who
takes venturesome young fellows under her charge,
to bring matters to the wished for conclusion.

There had been a slight shower in the morning;
but now the sky was clear and blue, and the
sun was shining bright and warm, but the snowy
white awnings stretched across the side walks
gave a cool and delightful shade. The activity
and bustle which I encountered as I made my way

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through the crowded streets, added to my hilarious
feelings, and as I emerged from a bye street
into Broadway, they were still more excited by
the lively and elegant scene which that famous
promenade presented, and I pulled up my shirt
collar and mingled in the throng with as consequential
an air as I could assume, and probably
with as light a heart as any in the crowd. When
a man's happiness is based upon things in possession,
it must, of necessity, be limited in extent;
but when it springs from his hopes, there need be
no limits to the amount of it. There was, therefore,
no reason why I should not be perfectly happy,
for I had nothing but my hopes to build

Although I was sufficiently engrossed with a
sense of my own importance, I could not avoid
bestowing a glance, as I sauntered along, upon
the numerous groups of gayly dressed and beautiful
women who tripped past me, chatting and
laughing, and showing their brilliant white teeth.
Some of them were leading by the hand cherublike
children, with golden locks flowing down
their graceful shoulders. Others were stepping
in or out of elegant carriages at the doors of the
fancy stores, while the liveried servants, with gold
bands round their hats and white gloves on their

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hands, stood, either holding open the carriage
doors, or leaning idly against the awning posts.
Neatly dressed young gentlemen, with ebony
sticks in their hands, and a tuft of hair on their upper
lips, made a part of the crowd, and paced
along with measured step, and with an air as solemn
and important as though the sun was shining
expressly for their particular pleasure and benefit.

What with the attractions of the shop windows,
the beauty of the women, the loveliness of
the children, and the odd airs of the men, my attention
got completely diverted from myself, and
I forgot the errand on which I was bound, until
I was reminded of it by reaching the street which
led to Miss Smith's boarding school. My heart
fluttered, and the blood rushed into my face, as I
found myself so near the end of my journey; but
I got fresh courage, and strengthened my nerves
with a glass of wine and a cracker at the Independent
Coffee House, and then walked briskly
on until I reached Miss Smith's establishment. I
felt in my pocket to make sure that the handkerchief
was there, and then ran boldly up the white
marble steps, and gave the bell handle a pull.
The door was opened by a stout black girl, and
I asked if Miss De Lancey was at home. “Walk

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into the parlor,” said the girl, “and I will call
Miss Smith.” I did walk into the parlor, where
I was left to my reflections for a length of time,
which I could have sworn exceeded an hour, had
not a French clock on the mantel piece assured
me it did not exceed five minutes. The parlor
was altogether the handsomest room I had ever
seen, and besides a great abundance of furniture,
it contained a good many curious works of art,
principally composed of shells, such as grottos and
temples, vases of flowers, and card racks in the
shape of harps set off with blue ribands; there
was also the picture of a young lady and a weeping
willow, looking very much like two sisters,
embroidered on white satin, and hung up in
a highly ornamented gilt frame; this last work
of art was executed by Miss Isabella Davis, aged
eleven years. Having at a glance observed all
these things, and a good many more, I began to
feel very uneasy, and I had just made up my
mind to steal out of the house as quietly as possible,
when I heard a light step on the stairs. It was
light to the ear only, for each step seemed to
strike as palpably upon my heart as though it
had been trod upon; and I am certain if I had
died at that moment, the print of a little shoe
would have been distinctly seen there. I held my

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breath with apprehension, but tried to look remarkably
easy. The door opened, and in walked,
not the beautiful Georgiana, but a tall lady,
dressed in a snuff colored silk gown and a turban
of fearful dimensions. It was no less a person
than Miss Smith herself. I made a low bow,
and being entirely at a loss for a remark, waited
for Miss Smith to speak.

“Which of the young ladies did you wish to
see?” asked Miss Smith.

“I called for the purpose of seeing Miss De Lancey,”
I replied, blushing very red.

“Have you a letter from her guardian?” inquired
Miss Smith.

“Not exactly a letter,” I replied.

“Only a note, then, I suppose,” remarked Miss

“I believe not,” I replied, feeling in my pocket
for the handkerchief.

“Perhaps,” said Miss Smith, “you are not
aware, that it is contrary to the rules of my establishment
to allow any young lady under my
charge to see a gentleman without the permission
of her parents or guardian.”

“Indeed I was not,” I replied, drawing a long

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“I must then inform you that such is the case,”
replied Miss Smith, with cold dignity.

“Ah, it is very unfortunate that I did not know
that before,” I said, as the recollection of the cost
of my new clothes flashed across my mind.

“Pray, could I have the liberty of addressing
a few lines to Miss De Lancey?”

“By all means,” replied Miss Smith, “provided
you allow me to read them first.”

I thanked Miss Smith for her kindness, made
her another low bow, and wished her a good morning.
As I turned to go out of the hall, I discovered
there were a score of bright eyes peeping over
the bannister at the head of the stairs, and not
doubting that the brightest and bluest pair among
them belonged to the beautiful Georgiana, I consoled
myself with the reflection, that she would recognise
me, and give me credit for trying to see
her. I could not prevail upon myself to give up
her pocket handkerchief; for now that I had been
disappointed in my attempt at an interview with
her, it was more precious than ever in my sight,
and I resolved henceforth, that I would wear it
next to my heart.

I could no longer compare myself with the lucky
scapegrace in the comedy, and nothing could
have been more undramatic than my interview

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with Miss Smith. I felt unhappy and dispirited,
and I made my way back to my boarding house,
through lanes and bye streets, avoiding Broadway,
with its gewgaws and crowds.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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