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Mademoiselle Panache
by [?]


[Footnote 1: The first part is in the Parent’s Assistant, vol. iv.]

The tendency of any particular mode of education is not always perceived, before it is too late to change the habits or the character of the pupil. To superficial observers, children of nearly the same age often seem much alike in manners and disposition, who, in a few years afterward, appear in every respect strikingly different. We have given our readers some idea of the manner in which Mrs. Temple educated her daughters, and some notion of the mode in which Lady Augusta was managed by Mlle. Panache; the difference between the characters of Helen and Lady Augusta, though visible even at the early age of twelve or thirteen to an intelligent mother, was scarcely noticed by common acquaintance, who contented themselves with the usual phrases, as equally applicable to both the young ladies. “Upon my word, Lady Augusta and Miss Helen Temple are both of them very fine girls, and very highly accomplished, and vastly well educated, as I understand. I really cannot tell which to prefer. Lady Augusta, to be sure, is rather the taller of the two, and her manners are certainly more womanly and fashioned than Miss Helen’s; but then, Miss Helen Temple has something of simplicity about her that some people think very engaging. For my part, I don’t pretend to judge–girls alter so; there’s no telling at twelve years old what they may turn out at sixteen.”

From twelve to sixteen, Lady Augusta continued under the direction of Mlle. Panache; whilst her mother, content with her daughter’s progress in external accomplishments, paid no attention to the cultivation of her temper or her understanding. Lady S—- lived much in what is called the world; was fond of company, and fonder of cards, sentimentally anxious to be thought a good mother, but indolently willing to leave her daughter wholly to the care of a French governess, whose character she had never taken the trouble to investigate. Not that Lady S—- could be ignorant that, however well qualified to teach the true French pronunciation, she could not be a perfectly eligible companion for her daughter as she grew up: her ladyship intended to part with the governess when Lady Augusta was fifteen; but from day to day, and from year to year, this was put off: sometimes Lady S—- thought it a pity to dismiss mademoiselle, because “she was the best creature in the world;” sometimes she rested content with the idea, that six months more or less could not signify; till at length family reasons obliged her to postpone mademoiselle’s dismission: part of the money intended for the payment of the governess’s salary had been unfortunately lost by the mother at the card-table. Lady Augusta consequently continued under the auspices of Mlle. Panache till her ladyship was eighteen, and till her education was supposed to be entirely completed.

In the meantime Mlle. Panache endeavoured, by all the vulgar arts of flattery, to ingratiate herself with her pupil, in hopes that from a governess she might become a companion. The summer months seemed unusually long to the impatient young lady, whose imagination daily anticipated the glories of her next winter’s campaign. Towards the end of July, however, a reinforcement of visitors came to her mother’s, and the present began to engage some attention, as well as the future. Amongst these visitors was Lord George —-, a young nobleman, near twenty-one, who was heir to a very considerable fortune. We mention his fortune first, because it was his first merit, even in his own opinion. Cold, silent, selfish, supercilious, and silly, there appeared nothing in him to engage the affections, or to strike the fancy of a fair lady; but Lady Augusta’s fancy was not fixed upon his lordship’s character or manners, and much that might have disgusted consequently escaped her observation. Her mother had not considered the matter very attentively; but she thought that this young nobleman might be no bad match for her Augusta, and she trusted that her daughter’s charms would make their due impression on his heart. Some weeks passed away in fashionable negligence of the lady on his part, and alternate pique and coquetry on hers, whilst, during these operations, her confidante and governess was too much occupied with her own manoeuvres to attend to those of her pupil. Lord George had with him upon this visit a Mr. Dashwood, who was engaged to accompany him upon his travels, and who had had the honour of being his lordship’s tutor. At the name of a tutor, let no one picture to himself a gloomy pedant; or yet a man whose knowledge, virtue, and benevolence, would command the respect, or win the affections, of youth. Mr. Dashwood could not be mistaken for a pedant, unless a coxcomb be a sort of pedant. Dashwood pretended neither to win affection nor to command respect; but he was, as his pupil emphatically swore, “the best fellow in the world.” Upon this best fellow in the world, Mlle. Panache fixed her sagacious hopes; she began to think that it would be infinitely better to be the wife of the gallant Mr. Dashwood, than the humble companion or the slighted governess of the capricious Lady Augusta. Having thus far opened the views and characters of these various personages, we shall now give our readers an opportunity of judging of them by their words and actions.