morning. And it was a production admirably suited to a lady labouring under Mrs Wititterly's complaint, seeing that there was not a line in it, from beginning to end, which could, by the most remote contingency, awaken the smallest excitement in any person breathing.
Kate read on.
`"Cherizette," said the Lady Flabella, inserting her mouse-like feet in the blue satin slippers, which had unwittingly occasioned the half-playful half-angry altercation between herself and the youthful Colonel Befillaire, in the Duke of Mincefenille's salon de danse on the previous night. "Cherizette, ma chere, donnez-moi de l'eau-de-Cologne, s'il vous plait, mon enfant."
`"Mercie -- thank you," said the Lady Flabella, as the lively but devoted Cherizette plentifully besprinkled with the fragrant compound the Lady Flabella's mouchoir of finest cambric, edged with richest lace, and emblazoned at the four corners with the Flabella crest, and gorgeous heraldic bearings of that noble family. "Mercie -- that will do."
`At this instant, while the Lady Flabella yet inhaled that delicious fragrance by holding the mouchoir to her exquisite, but thoughtfully-chiselled nose, the door of the boudoir (artfully concealed by rich hangings of silken damask, the hue of Italy's firmament) was thrown open, and with noiseless tread two valets- de-chambre, clad in sumptuous liveries of peach-blossom and gold, advanced into the room followed by a page in bas de soie -- silk stockings -- who, while they remained at some distance making the most graceful obeisances, advanced to the feet of his lovely mistress, and dropping on one knee presented, on a golden salver gorgeously chased, a scented billet.
`The Lady Flabella, with an agitation she could not repress, hastily tore off the envelope and broke the scented seal. It was from Befillaire -- the young, the slim, the low-voiced -- her own Befillaire.'
`Oh, charming!' interrupted Kate's patroness, who was sometimes taken literary. `Poetic, really. Read that description again, Miss Nickleby.'
`Sweet, indeed!' said Mrs Wititterly, with a sigh. `So voluptuous, is it not -- so soft?'
`Yes, I think it is,' replied Kate, gently; `very soft.'
`Close the book, Miss Nickleby,' said Mrs Wititterly. `I can hear nothing more today; I should be sorry to disturb the impression of that sweet description. Close the book.'
Kate complied, not unwillingly; and, as she did so, Mrs Wititterly raising her glass with a languid hand, remarked, that she looked pale.
`It was the fright of that -- that noise and confusion last night,' said Kate.
`How very odd!' exclaimed Mrs Wititterly, with a look of surprise. And certainly, when one comes to think of it, it was very odd that anything should have disturbed a companion. A steam-engine, or other ingenious piece of mechanism out of order, would have been nothing to it.
`How did you come to know Lord Frederick, and those other delightful creatures, child?' asked Mrs Wititterly, still eyeing Kate through her glass.
`I met them at my uncle's,' said Kate, vexed to feel that she was colouring deeply, but unable to keep down the blood which rushed to her face whenever she thought of that man.
`Have you known them long?'
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