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Graham's Magazine Vol XXXIII No. 4 October 1848   By:

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[Illustration: Sir W. C. Rofs, R.A. A.B. Ross THE UNMARRIED BELLE Engraved Expressly for Graham's Magazine]






Talk not of wasted affection, affection never was wasted; If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters returning Back to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refreshment; That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain. Patience; accomplish thy labor; accomplish thy work of affection! Sorrow and silence are strong, and patient endurance is godlike; Therefore accomplish thy labor of love, till the heart is made godlike, Purified, strengthened, perfected, and rendered more worthy of heaven! LONGFELLOW'S EVANGELINE.

I was loitering beside my mother's chair, in her drawing room, one day on my return from school, listening to the conversation between her and some morning visiters; they were discussing most earnestly the merits of a reigning belle.

"She is, indeed, perfectly beautiful," exclaimed my mother. "I looked at her the other evening, when I saw her at the last concert, and thought a more lovely creature could not exist. The music excited her, and her cheek was delicately flushed, which heightened the brilliancy of her eyes; her lovely lips were just half apart and trembling with feeling. Then she understands so well the art and mystery of dressing. While other young ladies around her were in the full pride of brilliant costume , the eye felt freshened and relieved when looking at her there was such a repose in her demi toilette . The simple white dress was so pure and chaste in its effect, displaying only her lovely throat, and her beautiful chestnut brown hair was gathered up carelessly but neatly, while over one tiny ear fell a rich cluster of ringlets; then, with all her beauty and exquisite taste, she is so unconscious, so unstudied. That the world should call Mary Lee a beauty, I do not wonder; but that society should pronounce her a belle, is, indeed, a surprise to me she is so unassuming, so free from art and affectation ."

"So unlike her mother," exclaimed a lady, eagerly. "I think Mary's success in society is as gratifying as unexpected to Mrs. Lee. She delayed her entrée into society as long as she could, and used to lament most piteously to me the trouble she expected to have with her, from her total want of animation and spirit. But now she seems to have entirely forgotten her former misgivings, for she takes many airs on herself about Mary's popularity, talking all the while as though scarcely any one was good enough for the husband of the daughter she pronounced one year ago a stupid, inanimate creature."

"Ah!" said a gentleman, laughing, "the tie now is between young Morton and Langley, I believe. As Langley is the more distingué of the two, I suppose the mother will favor him; but if one can judge from appearances, the daughter prefers Harry Morton."

"I can assure you," interrupted Mr. Foster, an intimate friend of our family, "the daughter has quite as much admiration for the rich Mr. Langley as the mother. There is a little incident connected with that same concert Mrs. Duval speaks of, that convinces me of the daughter's powers of management."

"Shame on you, Philip Foster!" said my mother, "you should not talk thus of any lady, much less of Mary Lee."

"What was the incident, Mr. Foster?" eagerly inquired the other ladies.

"Yes, do tell us, Phil," urged his gentleman friend.

My mother looked reproachfully at Mr. Foster, but he shook his head laughingly at her, as he said,

"Hear me first, dear Mrs. Duval, before you judge. I was at Mrs. Lee's two or three mornings since. Several visitors were in the drawing rooms, among them Harry Morton, as usual. I was looking at a new and costly collection of engravings on the commode table, when I overheard Harry Morton ask Miss Lee if he should join their party at the concert the next evening... Continue reading book >>

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