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A TALE

OF

THE COURT OF GEORGE I.

Robert Folkestone Williams

“ One thing I have got by the long time I have been here, which is,
the being more sensible than ever I was of my happiness in being Maid of
Honour: I wont say "God preserve me so,' neither; that would not be
so well."-SUFFOLK CORRESPONDENCE.

IN THREE VOLS.

VOL. II.

LONDON:

HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER;

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.

1845.

LONDON:
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.

MAIDS OF HONOUR.

CHAPTER I.

THE BEAUTIES AT COURT.

God prosper long our noble King,
His Turks and Germans all.

LORD CHESTERFIELD.

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It was an eventful day to the youthful scholars of the estimable Penelope Stiffandstern that was is to be distinguished by their presentation at Court.

Intense as had been the excitement produced by their discovery of the mysterious letter which had led to their joint promenade of Ham Walk, the intimation that they were on the same day and at the same hour to be introduced to the Royal Family, created a still greater sensation.

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The communication from their unknown correspondent, as we have shown, each felt herself obliged by inclination or necessity to keep to herself; and the brief interval that elapsed between its receipt and her proceeding to fulfil its injunctions, was not favourable to its producing any very lasting impression on either. But the anticipated visit to St. James's was a matter of engrossing interest; a matter on which the future fortunes of the fair schoolfellows depended.

The daughter of the Brigadier was perhaps less elated than any of her companions; notwithstanding her father had in a very fatherly lecture disclosed to her the glorious prospect which this introduction at Court opened to her; and the Duchess of Marlborough had called expressly to endeavour to furnish her pretty little head with as much worldly wisdom as would insure her obtaining every possible advantage from so great an hönour.

It so happened, however, that there was a simplicity in the nature of Mary Lepel so entirely unselfish, that the paternal lecture and even the worldly wisdom of the great Duchess failed to corrupt it. She might see in her appearance at St. James's an opening to more splendid scenes than

she knew anything about, save through the medium of her favourite romances; but she thought little of the schemes and manœuvres which were necessary for her successful career in such a place. If imagination did assist her, it was with visions of adventure at least as bright as those that form the staple of Le Grand Cyrus."

The daughter of Lord Bellenden was in raptures. All the resources of her French education would now have an appropriate field for their display; and she lost no opportunity for rehearsing each irresistible gesture and every impressive expression that were to be brought into requisition for fascinating every one, from the King on the throne to the yeoman at the doors. She let her youthful friends know that the golden days of her Parisian conquests were about to return with increased brilliancy, and that she did not intend to be satisfied till she had brought to her feet at least double the number of adorers of every description that had sighed there in vain during her memorable residence in the delightful French metropolis.

Sophy Howe did not talk so much, but she thought a good deal on the subject. She wondered whether she should meet among the cour

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