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magnificence of their entertainment. With this view, the carpenters, painters, &c., &c., were compelled to enter at the rear of the premises, so that Mrs. Jones lost sight of them at the corner of the street adjoining Mr. Forbes's residence, and being thus unable to trace them to their destination, conjured up, in her fertile imagination, an attack on the district of Barnsbury Park, by the revolutionists of the day.
The Misses Miggles kept an Establishment for Young Ladies.
The Retreat-for that was the name of the establishment-- was to be found between Hampstead and Highgate, and was, of course, as those places always are, situated in a most healthy spot, commanding a most extensive view of everywhere there was a large garden for the pupils to play in, the walks in the neighbourhood were lovely and invigorating, there was every convenience for everything, and masters into the bargain. At least so said the circulars, and so said the Miggles', when applied to by Mr. and Mrs. Forbes when that worthy couple applied for information as to whether there was a
vacancy.” Now an advertisement in the Times had stated that there were two, but in reality there were ten, for it was always a leading principle with the Misses Miggles to assume a certain aristocraticality of manner which they thought imposing.
There was some little disparity in point of years between the two schdolmistresses. Miss Miggles was of mature ageindeed she had attained that staid sort of crustiness of manner which attracted the admiration of mamas, and her years had got so far the better of her that she seriously thought of calling herself “Mrs.” although she was not legally entitled to that honourable prefix, never having entered the holy state of matrimony. Miss Miggles was certainly an intelligent person, and had not lived half a century in vaini, It had been her misfortune to be thwarted in early life in an affair of love; in the extremity of her anguish she vowed eternal celibacy as the only means of being out of the reach of the faithlessness of man, and she had kept her vow.
Miss Jemima Miggles, however, had entered into no such bond, nor did she contemplate any resolve of the kind. Younger than her sister by some fifteen years, Miss Jeinima
had all the vivacity peculiar to a cheerful and almost amiable disposition. She was pleasing, though perhaps not handsome, and as regards the perfections peculiar to her day, she might be considered accomplished. The two sisters agreed very well together, the prudishness of the one counteracting the exuberant vivacity of the other, while the cheerfulness of the younger seemed as it were to some extent to antagonise the acerbity of the elder.
It had been the great object of the Misses Miggles’ existence to introduce into the discipline adopted at The Retreat such principles as could not fail to ensure the advancement of the pupil in study, and at the same time, by strictly pursuing a steady system of moral training, to promote the happiness of the young and tender mind. Their advertisements said so -their circulars said so; and these documents were so successfully worded, that the most scrutinising reader would scarcely suppose that the Misses Miggles ever intended anything but what was intended for the advancement of mankind generally in happiness and improvement, and that the absurd sum of twenty-five pounds per annum for young ladies under sixteen --who must also bring a silver fork, spoon, and six towelswas a mere secondary consideration. Masters were extras, of course ; and although Miss Jemima taught music exclusively, she was considered as good as a master, and the item was charged in the bill accordingly.
But the grand leading principle which the Misses Miggles attributed to themselves was, the avoidance of anything like coercion, and the substitution of such treatment as would, in the opinion of the Misses Miggles, lead to the attainment of the desired end, without recourse to extremities. This consisted in allowing all the pupils to have their own way as much as they liked. This involved many things that were unpleasant; but the pupils themselves were so delighted with that kind of treatment that they all unanimously cried when the holidays came, knowing that they would be placed under much greater restraint at home than at the Retreat. But the principle was good, as far as regarded the Misses Miggles; for the account given of the Retreat was such as to induce fond parents to believe that their children were so happy it would be a pity to remove them, and that perhaps they would improve more next half year.
The time at which we are desirous to introduce the reader to the Retreat is the festive season of Christmas, when the vacation is about to commence. There is a great bustle from the
top of the house to the bottom. 'Young ladies of all ages from six to sixteen are tearing up and down stairs in a most riotous manner, screaming from one landing to the other after the servants, to whom they apply some playful little sobriquet of their own; the rooms, without an exception, are in the greatest disorder, the sorting and packing up of the clothes all being done on the bare floors and the bits of carpet kicked up in every direction. Square spotted-paper trunks stand open here and there, some half filled and others crammed to excess, whilst others have been very carefully packed and left, without being locked, just long enough for some playful pupil to kick over and run away.
Some pupils are going away that day, others are going to stop a few days longer in order to be present at the little breaking-up ball which the Misses Miggles always make a point of giving, more perhaps with a view of showing off the proficiency of some pupils in the art of dancing, as well perhaps as to give parents generally an insight into the comforts of the Retreat. Such
and mamas as are within reach are invited, and more particularly those whose children are considered most proficient and who are likely to be shown off to the greatest advantage.
The drawing-room—which is only used as a reception room for parents enquiring the terms of the Retreat-is beautifully furnished, and is, of course, laid out to every possible advantage ; the covers are pulled off the sofa, the ottomans and chair-bottoms; wax candles are thrust into the hands of bronze maidens standing on pedestals in the corner of the room, and also into the glass shades at each end of the mantel-piece; and all the other numberless little adornments to match are carefully brought into requisition.
Tea and muffins for thirty are ordered at five, but as every thing is of course left till the last, nobody is dressed to receive the company except Miss Miggles, who is found sitting by herself, reading Burke on the Sublime,' her head bedizened with a huge turban of black velvet trimmed with gold lace, a black satinet dress with full sleeves, black satin shoes and sandals, and mittens to match.
Mr. and Mrs. Doodle arrive. Miss Miggles does not rise from her seat till they are actually in the room when she welcomes them, remarks how cold it is, bids them draw closer to the fire, and says the little folks will be down directly. The “ little folks” arrive by instalments, all dressed alike in bookmuslins, with short sleeves, pink sashes, and satin shoes,
They make most particular curtseys as they enter the room, and side off to the ottomans. At length the entire establishment has assembled, flanked by Miss Jemima Miggles, who soon appeared, to take her place as the presiding Deity of the teatable. Some more parents soon arrived, and others were to. drop in late. Tea was cleared away and the dance began. Miss Forbes was placed at the piano-greatly to her annoyance, as she thought of opening the ball with her friend Miss
Poppins, who is about her own age, and she hammered away
the Echo' Quadrilles unceasingly, being interrupted only by the clapping of hands, indicative of a change of figure. After the quadrille the dancers were refreshed by sundry slices of orange, which were handed round in company with some sweet wine ; and after the clearing of throats Miss Poppins is requested to favor the company with the favorite cadenza, which she does with great fear and trembling. It is however completely successful, for Mr. and Mrs. Poppins applaud most vigorously, aş also the Misses Miggles.
But the grand card of the evening was the minuet movement of the more juvenile portion of the establishment, which formed a sort of tableau vivant of a very imposing character. The smiles that danced upon the faces of the delighted parents who looked with fondling eyes on the accomplishments of their daughters were so many triumphant victories to the Misses Miggles. Maps, copy-books, cyphering ditto, sąmplers, and the whole host of perfections are nothing to this, which is looked upon as so aristocratic an accomplishment.
When the dancing had subsided, the older pupils commenced the amusement of acting charades, after again appealing to the oranges and sweet wine. Some license having been allowed for the purpose of aiding the performance by the deception of dress, the ingenuity of the young actor is put to the test. Miss Forbes' personification of a medical student, with a tinselled cigar in her mouth and her hat cocked on one, side, gained general applause; and it was her friend, Miss Peppins, alone who could really appreciate the fidelity of the picture, which was intended for an imitation of Dr. Gallipot's senior apprentice, Mr. Swigsby, with whom she had been on speaking terms over the garden wall for some time past.
But the time flew rapidly, and papas began to look at their large family watches, and the flies that had been ordered began to keep their appointments. The leavetakings of such of the pupils as went home that night were tearful and intense, thekissing and weeping keeping pace with one another. Miss Forbes was
leaving school altogether, and the parting was in proportion to the amount of feeling she entertained towards the instructress of her tender years. But though she felt acutely the farewell she was about to take of her friends of The Retreat, perhaps her sorrow was not unmixed with some sort of regret at leaving a place where she, in her romantic moments, had experienced some slight feeling towards Mr. Swigsby, who had, it seemed, in his turn become sensible of the impressions of a certain little public character called Cupid. Certain three-cornered billet doux had beer exchanged over the wall the passion was reciprocal.
Mr. Forbes's fly was at the door. Another and another kiss—“Good bye, dear Miss Miggles—how I do love you!”
Farewell, my ch—ch-child! May Heaven bless you ! The steps are banged down, the whole family of Forbeses deposit themselves in the fly, the steps are banged up again, and away they go !
As they go quietly down the little hill, the figure of a man is seen leaning against a lamp-post, smoking a cigar. As the fly passed him, he raised his hat, kissed his hand, put the lighted end of his cigar into his mouth by mistake, swore loudly and deeply, and disappeared. That man was Dr. Gallipot's senior apprentice-Swigsby beyond doubt.
Silence reigns at The Retreat. The company has all left -the wax candles are burning the fingers of the bronze maidens who stand on the pedestals in the corners of the drawing room-and as the weather is very cold, the Misses Miggles undress themselves by the drawing-room fire, and ultimately go up stairs in their night-caps and flannel dressing-gowns, after having discussed the various occurrences of the evening, and precluded the possibility of an attack froin their old enemy, the spasms, by imbibing a small quantity of hot ginand-water, which had frequently been recommended by Dr. Gallipot for that purpose.
THE BROKEN HEART.
By John St. CLEMENT.
Few feelings are more characteristic of our countrymen than the fond remembrance in which they love to hold the spot which gave them birth. Be it in the busy thronging city