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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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CHAPTER XIV. Encounter my Cousin at a party.

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Time flew past me now on purple wings, or
rather he bore me with him through a sunny sky.
Each day, and each hour, brought with it some
peculiar pleasure. I was constantly receiving
some now proof of confidence from Mr. Marisett,
and some new evidence of kindly regard from
Georgiana De Lancey. My duties in the counting
room had become so familiar, that their performances
ceased to be either irksome or laborious.
At home, so I called Mr. Marisett's house,
Mrs. Butler was untiring in her endeavors to add
to my comforts by innumerable little attentions,
which women only can bestow.

I had studiously avoided all public places, and
even shunned Broadway, from fear of encountering
my cousin. It is true, my condition was immensely
bettered since I saw him last, but still I
was only a humble clerk, and while I felt conscious
of being in a station inferior to him, I
could not exult in his presence. The thought of
bursting upon his envious sight with the all-lovely
Georgiana leaning upon my arm, was intoxicating

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to my senses; the bare idea made me reel and
stagger with excessive delight; it was a happiness
too great even for reflection. I could not dwell
upon it.

It happened about this time that a distant relation
of Mr. Mrisett's, Mrs. Brown, the wife of one
of the firm of Brown & Smith, cotton brokers,
gave a large party, and very much to my surprise
I received a card, for I had never seen the lady. It
was the first invitation I had ever received in my
life to a party, and I was quite beside myself with
joy, for Georgiana was to be there. I was wholly
unprepared for the event, and the first thing I did
was to purchase a bottle of Cologne water, and a
box of bear's grease; the next was to consult
with Jack Gauntlet, the fashionable young gentleman
in the counting-room of Marisett & Co.,
about the particular costume proper for such an
occasion, and according to his directions, I furnished
myself with a pair of morocco pumps, and
black silk stockings, a white cravat, and a linen
cambric pocket handkerchief; my wardrobe was
already supplied with the other requisites. Jack
said there would be no dancing, because Mr.
Brown was pious, but that there would be any
quantity of thrumming on the piano, and scandal

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by the wholesale, besides sugar kisses, and phillippinas.

The cards were sent round almost a week before
the party took place; it was for Thursday
night, and I thought it would never come; but
one after the other, Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday, hobbled away, and the sun of—of
Thursday—set at last. I dressed myself early, and
that I might be sure of being neither too soon nor
too late, I stationed myself on the opposite side
of the street, a few doors from Mr. Brown's house,
and when I thought that about one half the guests
had arrived, I crossed over, and bustled up the
steps, as though I had come in a great hurry.

Georgiana went early in the afternoon, by particular
request from Mrs. Brown. I forgot to
mention that Mrs. Butler, observing the uncommon
pains I was at in dressing myself, offered to
loan me her broach; it was ornamented with her
first husband's initials in front, and a lock of his
hair on the back, very curiously worked to represent
a weeping willow, but I declined wearing a
gem of such value, as it could not be replaced if
I lost it, and she, I dare say, was glad that I refused

Mrs. Brown's house was brilliantly illuminated
with a sperm candle in each side light, and two

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in the fan light over the door. I pulled the bell,
and the door was instantly opened by a tall black
man, in a white apron, who took my cloak and
hat, and left me to make what disposition of myself
I chose. There were two or three young
men standing in the hall, apparently waiting for
some one possessed of more courage than themselves
to lead the way into the parlor; the door
stood a-jar, and I boldly pushed it open and walked
in, leaving it to ehance to direct my footsteps.
But my heart beat terribly, notwithstanding, although
I had an idea that the secret of good
manners was to appear perfectly unconcerned,
and to speak civilly to any one near me. I knew
Mr. Brown, and I cast my eyes round upon the
company assembled, with the hope of seeing him,
but he caught sight of me before I saw him, and
very kindly took me by the arm, and walked me
through the folding doors, and introduced me to
Mrs. Brown, who, after a moment's conversation,
took my arm, and introduced me to Miss Green,
a very tall young lady, dressed in white satin, and
with a large bunch of cammelias in her hand. As
there was a vacant chair by her side, I sat down,
anticipating a taste of the scandal which Jack
Gauntlet had prepared me for. I looked over to
the opposite side of the room, and there sat

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Georgiana De Lancey and my cousin by her side, in
close conversation with her. I immediately
turned my head as if I had not observed them,
and made an attempt to speak to Miss Green, but
for the life of me, I could not open my lips. She
appeared very anxious for me to say something,
and smiled in anticipation of what I might utter.
But in spite of my having previously arranged in
my mind a very smart speech, in case I should be
introduced to a young lady, I could not command
a word. So I offered my arm to Miss Green, and
asked her to promenade round the room; she
caught it with eagerness, as though she considered
me a windfall; and well she might, for she was
tall, and yellow, and thin, and she had contrived,
with a strange perversity of taste, to dress herself
in such a manner as to magnify all her blemishes.
But had she been beautiful as the Paphian queen,
or any other beauty who never had an existence,
it would have been all the same to me. I was so
overcome at seeing my cousin seated by the side
of Georgiana, that I had no eyes for any thing
beside. I felt sick and dizzy; I could see nothing
distinctly, and a strange sound was buzzing in my
ears. Fortune seemed to make use of me expressly
as a set-off to my cousin; whenever I met
him I was sure to suffer by comparison with him.

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As I passed through the folding doors with the
tall Miss Green clinging to my arm, I could not
help turning my head to look at him, when my
eye met his, and I quickly averted it. I fancied
there was a sneer upon his lip, and that Georgiana
was smiling at something he had said. Perhaps
it was some contemptuous remark about me. I
grew faint at the thought. The simperings of
Miss Green sounded in my ear like dismal howlings.
By some manœuvre, I know not how, I got
away from my long companion, and succeeded in
reaching the piazza at the back of the house; the
night air was cold, and I soon revived; but my
feelings were too much excited, to allow of my
reappearing in the parlor. So I took my hat and
cloak, and hurried back to my chamber.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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