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The soaring of the octave flute in “Hail Columbia,” with which
the band was patriotically opening the ball, woke me from the
midst of a long apologetic letter to my friend's sister, and I found
Van Pelt's black boy Juba waiting patiently at the bed-side with
curling-tongs and Cologne-water, ordered to superintend my toilet
by his master, who had gone early to the drawing-room to pay
his respects to Miss Ellerton. With the cold cream disappeared
entirely from my face the uncomfortable redness to which I had
been a martyr, and, thanks to my ebony coiffeur, my straight and
plastered locks soon grew as different to their “umquhile guise”
as Hyperion's to a satyr's. Having appeared to the eyes of the
lady, in whose favor I hoped to prosper, in red and white (red phiz
and white jacket), I trusted that in white and black (black suit
and pale viznomy), I should look quite another person. Juba
was pleased to show his ivory in a complimentary smile at my
transformation, and I descended to the drawing-room, on the best
terms with the coxcomb in my bosom.

Horace met me at the door.

Proteus redivivus!” was his exclamation. “Your new name
is Wrongham. You are a gentle senior, instead of a bedeviled
sophomore, and your cue is to be poetical. She will never think
again of the monster in the white jacket, and I have prepared her
for the acquaintance of a new friend, whom I have just described
to you.

I took his arm, and with the courage of a man in a mask, went
through another presentation to Miss Ellerton. Her brother had
been let into the secret by Van Pelt, and received me with great


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ceremony as his college superior; and, as there was no other person
at the Springs who knew Mr. Slingsby, Mr. Wrongham was
likely to have an undisturbed reign of it. Miss Ellerton looked
hard at me for a moment, but the gravity with which I was presented
and received, dissipated a doubt if one had arisen in her
mind, and she took my arm to go to the ball-room, with an undisturbed
belief in my assumed name and character.

I commenced the acquaintance of the fair Alabamian with great
advantages. Received as a perfect stranger, I possessed, from
long correspondence with her, the most minute knowledge of the
springs of her character, and of her favorite reading and pursuits,
and, with the little knowledge of the world which she had gained
on a plantation, she was not likely to penetrate my game from my
playing it too freely. Her confidence was immediately won by the
readiness with which I entered into her enthusiasm and anticipated
her thoughts; and before the first quadrille was well over, she had
evidently made up her mind that she had never in her life met one
who so well “understood her.” Oh! how much women include
in that apparently indefinite expression, “He understands me!

The colonnade of Congress Hall is a long promenade laced in
with vines and columns, on the same level with the vast ball-room
and drawing-room, and (the light of heaven not being taxed at
Saratoga) opening at every three steps by a long window into the
carpeted floors. When the rooms within are lit in a summer's
night, that cool and airy colonnade is thronged by truants from
the dance, and collectively by all who have anything to express
that is meant for one ear only. The mineral waters of Saratoga
are no less celebrated as a soporific for chaperons than as a tonic
for the dyspeptic, and while the female Argus dozes in the drawing-room,
the fair Io and her Jupiter (represented in this case, we


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will say, by Miss Ellerton and myself) range at liberty in the fertile
fields of flirtation.

I had easily put Miss Ellerton in surprised good humor with
herself and me during the first quadrille, and with a freedom based
partly upon my certainty of pleasing her, partly on the peculiar
manners of the place, I coolly requested that she would continue
to dance with me for the rest of the evening.

“One unhappy quadrille excepted,” she replied, with a look
meant to be mournful.

“May I ask with whom?”

“Oh, he has not asked me yet; but my brother has bound me
over to be civil to him—a spectre, Mr. Wrongham! a positive

“How denominated?” I inquired, with a forced indifference,
for I had a presentiment I should hear my own name.

“Slingsby—Mr. Philip Slingsby—Tom's fidus Achates, and a
proposed lover of my own. But you don't seem surprised.”

“Surprised! E-hem! I know the gentleman!”

“Then did you ever see such a monster! Tom told me he
was another Hyperion. He half admitted it himself, indeed; for
to tell you a secret, I have corresponded with him a year!”

“Giddy Miss Fanny Ellerton!—and never saw him!”

“Never till to-night! He sat at supper in a white jacket and
red face, with a pile of bones upon his plate like an Indian tumulus.”

“And your brother introduced you?”

“Ah, you were at table! Well, did you ever see in your travels,
a man so unpleasantly hideous?”

“Fanny!” said her brother, coming up at the moment, “Slingsby


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presents his apologies to you for not joining your cordon to-night—but
he's gone to bed with a head-ache.”

“Indigestion, I dare say,” said the young lady. “Never mind,
Tom, I'll break my heart when I have leisure. And now, Mr.
Wrongham, since the spectre walks not forth to-night, I am yours
for a cool hour on the colonnade.”

Vegetation is rapid in Alabama, and love is a weed that thrives
in the soil of the tropics. We discoursed of the lost Pleiad and
the Berlin bracelets, of the five hundred people about us, and the
feasibility of boiling a pot on five hundred a year—the unmatrimonial
sum total of my paternal allowance. She had as many
negroes as I had dollars, I well knew, but it was my cue to seem

“And where do you mean to live, when you marry, Mr.
Wrongham?” asked Miss Ellerton, at the two hundredth turn on
the colonnade.

“Would you like to live in Italy?” I asked again, as if I had
not heard her.

“Do you mean that as a sequitur to my question, Mr. Wrongham?”
said she, half stopping in her walk; and though the sentence
was commenced playfully, dropping her voice at the last
word, with something, I thought, very like emotion.

I drew her off the colonnade to the small garden between the
house and the spring, and in a giddy dream of fear and surprise
at my own rashness and success, I made, and won from her a
frank avowal of preference.

Matches have been made more suddenly.