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"Fie! fie! how can you talk so?" cried Flora.
'Well, well, my good coz," exclaimed Ada, as she threw herself down on the roots of a gnarled oak, which, green with moss, offered a tempting seat; "I can only say that I consider you buried alive here,-quite buried alive!" she repeated with emphasis, plucking a daisy and pulling it to pieces; “and you so charming and fair,—I am always fancying how Eddis would paint you, or whether you have not sat to him already, you are so like one of his soft, saintly beauties!"
"Don't be so absurd," said Flora, colouring.
"Ah! that was all that was wanting,—a little heightened blush on the pale white rose!" cried Ada, looking with real admiration, perhaps not unmixed with envy, at the fair, delicate features before her; for the gipsy hat which Flora wore had fallen back on her shoulders, and as the breeze played amongst her auburn tresses, and the shadow of the young leaves fell on her gentle brow, she looked one whom to behold was to love.
"Come, come," said Flora, willing to change the conversation, which embarrassed her at the
time, though, sooth to say, she found her mind frequently recurring to it afterwards, and with no disagreeable sensation; "if you think that to live here is so dreadful, how is it that you can submit for a whole fortnight to be ‘buried alive' in the country?"
"Well, my dear, I must not take credit for too sublime heroism. The London season had hardly commenced, not a single dance was in view. I think that the melody of all your nightingales, and the perfume of all your flowers, would hardly have tempted me away after Easter."
'And what are the delights which you prize so much?" inquired Flora, with some little curiosity. You know that I have never spent two days together from my home,—that I know nothing of what passes in the world, -that though I was born in London, I was so young when we left Golden Square
"Golden Square! my dear, never mention such a place,-nobody lives in Golden Square." Flora coloured again, and felt uncomfortable, she scarcely knew why.
"You ask me," continued Ada, "what are the delights of town. It is hard to describe
them, they are so utterly different from any which you experience here. Bustle and noise, incessant rattling of carriages and thundering raps at the door, late breakfasts,—perhaps in bed, dinner at the hour of your supper; and when you, innocent dear, are retiring to rest, the maid is placing the flowers in my hair, and I am off in a flutter of muslin or tulle, to mount step by step a crowded staircase, and enter some room where it is impossible to move, and barely possible to breathe!"
"Yes, night after night; that is to say, unless the season is a dull one."
"And do you not feel knocked up in the morning?”
"Well, not inclined for a long country walk through fields garnished with stiles, nor for teaching stupid children in a school, nor for listening to a very sober, sensible book, such as that to which my dear good aunt is treating us; but just inclined to rest on a sofa with a diverting novel in my hand, to chat to amusing visitors, or to fill up the time till dinner with a concert or a botanical fête.”
"Ah! these are what I should enjoy!' cried Flora; "I am so fond of music and of flowers."
"Dear simplicity! do you imagine that any one goes to a concert to listen, or to a garden to look at the flowers? You go to talk, and to see your friends, and quiz the company, and-kill time!"
"And do you never grow weary?" asked Flora.
"Weary,-yes, half tired to death, quite ennuyée; but then the only way to restore one's jaded spirits is to plunge deeper into gaiety; the excitement, and the bustle, and the diversion, become quite a necessity at last.” "It reminds me-but I'll not say of what it reminds me."
"Not say? but you must and shall. does it remind you of, little philosopher?" "The craving which some very vulgar people, to whom I should never dream of comparing my friends, have for another kind of stimulant."
"It is a sort of intoxication, you mean,' said Ada, gaily. "I will not deny it;—a very pleasant sort of intoxication. I wish that
you would come to Grosvenor Square and try it."
Flora gently shook her head.
"What! you are afraid of being contaminated by my evil example, I suppose ! You look on gaiety as a dangerous glass of champagne; and have all here taken the pledge not to go beyond a cup of the very weakest green tea?"
"It is not that," said Flora, looking diverted.
"Then I shall carry you off with me,- -I positively shall; you shall be the belle of the London season; your time shall be crammed so full with engagements, balls, operas, concerts, fêtes, that you will scarcely know day from night!"
"I do not think that my mother would approve of that.”
'Well, then, you shall go to no place of which your mother, and Mr. Ward, and the whole clerical body from bishop to curate, would not approve. We'll take you to Exeter Hall, and the Museum, and the Royal Institution, panoramas, cycloramas, dioramas! Oh! there is no place like London for opening the