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Art And Nature
by [?]

As to Isabella and Emma, the sensation that they made in society was enough to have gratified a dozen ordinary belles. All that they said, and did, and wore, was instant and unquestionable precedent; and young gentlemen, all starch and perfume, twirled their laced pocket handkerchiefs, and declared on their honor that they knew not which was the most overcoming, the genius and wit of Miss Emma, or the bright eyes of Miss Isabella; though it was an agreed point that between them both, not a heart in the gay world remained in its owner’s possession–a thing which might have a serious sound to one who did not know the character of these articles, often the most trifling item in the inventory of worldly possessions. And all this while, all that was said of our heroine was something in this way: “I believe there is another sister–is there not?”

“Yes, there is a quiet little blue-eyed lady, who never has a word to say for herself–quite amiable I’m told.”

Now, it was not a fact that Miss Fanny never had a word to say for herself. If people had seen her on a visit at any one of the houses along the little green street of her native village, they might have learned that her tongue could go fast enough.

But in lighted drawing rooms, and among buzzing voices, and surrounded by people who were always saying things because such things were proper to be said, Fanny was always dizzy, and puzzled, and unready; and for fear that she would say something that she should not, she concluded to say nothing at all; nevertheless, she made good use of her eyes, and found a very quiet amusement in looking on to see how other people conducted matters.

* * * * *

Well, Mr. George Somers is actually arrived at Mrs. Grey’s country seat, and there he sits with Miss Isabella in the deep recess of that window, where the white roses are peeping in so modestly.

“To be sure,” thought Fanny to herself, as she quietly surveyed him looming up through the shade of a pair of magnificent whiskers, and heard him passing the shuttlecock of compliment back and forth with the most assured and practised air in the world,–“to be sure, I was a child in imagining that I should see Cousin George Somers. I’m sure this magnificent young gentleman, full of all utterance and knowledge, is not the cousin that I used to feel so easy with; no, indeed;” and Fanny gave a half sigh, and then went out into the garden to water her geraniums.

For some days Mr. Somers seemed to feel put upon his reputation to sustain the character of gallant, savant, connoisseur, etc.., which every one who makes the tour of the continent is expected to bring home as a matter of course; for there is seldom a young gentleman who knows he has qualifications in this line, who can resist the temptation of showing what he can do. Accordingly he discussed tragedies, and reviews, and ancient and modern customs with Miss Emma; and with Miss Isabella retouched her drawings and exhibited his own; sported the most choice and recherche style of compliment at every turn, and, in short, flattered himself, perhaps justly, that he was playing the irresistible in a manner quite equal to that of his fair cousins.

Now, all this while Miss Fanny was mistaken in one point, for Mr. George Somers, though an exceedingly fine gentleman, had, after all, quite a substratum of reality about him, of real heart, real feeling, and real opinion of his own; and the consequence was, that when tired of the effort of conversing he really longed to find somebody to talk to; and in this mood he one evening strolled into the library, leaving the gay party in the drawing room to themselves. Miss Fanny was there, quite intent upon a book of selections from the old English poets.