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B E L IN D A.

A NOVEL.

BY

RHODA BROUGHTON,

AUTHOR OF
“RED AS A ROSE IS SHE,

;" “GOOD-BYE, SWEETHEART,
AS A FLOWER,

ETC.

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COMETH UP

NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
1, 8, AND 5 BOND STREET.

1883.

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Be,
B E L IN DA.

1533

PERIOD I.

“Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avait disclose
Sa robe de pourpre au soleil
A point perdu ceste vesprée,
Les plis de sa robe pourprée
Et son teint au vostre pareil.
Las ! voyez comme en peu d'espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place!
Las ! Las ! ses beautez laissé cheoir !
O vrayment marastre Nature
Puis qu'une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !
Donc si vous me croyez, Mignonne,
Tandis que vostre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse,
Comme à ceste fleur, la vielliesse
Fera ternir vostre beauté."

CHAPTER I.

“ Along the crisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring.”

Not less lustily than elsewhere is the spruce and jocund Spring reveling in the Grosse Garten at Dresden on this May Day. And though there is still in her very frolic a disposition to pinch sharply, a certain tartness in

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her green smile, yet many glad subjects have come forth to do homage to her new Queendom. Yes, many ; for to-day the Dresdeners—as I am told is their custom on each fresh May Day-have issued out on foot and in carriage to welcome the year's new sovereign. They are holding a sort of flower-feast; everybody is throwing bouquets to everybody else. Above their heads the trees are breaking into little leaf; upon the side-paths throng the foot-passengers ; along the drives the carriages gayly roll. Here is a very smart turn-out. Surely this must be the King and the Queen ? Not at all! It is only Graf von S-reclining with a self-satisfied air alone in a barouche, richly filled with choice nosegays, and drawn by four chestnut horses, with a crimson velvet postilion jigging up and down in front, and a crimson velvet outrider trotting bravely behind. An Englishman would feel a fool in such a position, but far indeed from a like frame of mind is that of this splendid and happy German.

Well, here come the King and Queen really now, with their mouse-colored liveries; come, bowing and smiling with as much affability as if they were real big royalties; no one troubling himself to get out of their way ; not a policeman to be seen ; no open space imperatively cleared, as when the Princess of Wales comes trotting serenely down the drive. Here are soldiers in plenty ; but soldiers thinking for the most part neither of war nor beer ; soldiers with their martial hands full of innocent daffodillies and fresh sweet Nancies. Gardereiters in their light-blue uniforms and flat blue caps, pricking hither and thither on their sleek horses, carrying bouquets of roses, azaleas, deutzias, hyacinths, and seeking here and there with grave gray eyes for the happy fair ones for whom they are destined.

Two bands are clashing merrily out; a great booming

thump on the big drum makes the horses start and fidget. Now, for a change, comes a real English turn-out. One need not look twice to decide its nationality. The squaresitting, bolt-upright servants in their quiet liveries ; the plain but shining harness; the great glossy-coated bays stepping together like one horse—who can doubt concerning them ? Now more English in hired carriages ; but do not judge us by these, O kind Saxons ; these are not our best ! And yet it is in one of these very hired carriages that are sitting a pair of young women, of whom their England has no need to be ashamed, and who are not at all ashamed of themselves. Not that the present is their happiest moment, for the expression of one face is cross, and of the other anxious.

“Shall we go home, Belinda ?” asks the cross one, morosely.

“Why, we have only just come !" objects Belinda.

A Russian carriage passes ; a coachman with a hat like a beef-eater and a long cloth frock pulled in with gathers at the waist. Then more Germans, with bunches of narcissus at their horses' ears, and in their servants' breasts. Now a Gardereiter perched on the box of a coach, driving six-in-hand, and with a confiding lady in a pink bonnet beside him, tranquilly enjoying her position, nor anywise disturbed by the hopeless muddle into which her hero has got his innumerable reins. Another blue Gardereiter flings her a bouquet ; but it is ill-aimed, falls upon the road, and the wheels pass over it. This sight is too much for the fortitude of Belinda's sister.

“I must take some desperate step to attract attention,” she says, crossly, yet with a vein of humor streaking her ill-temper ; “what do you recommend ? Shall I be frightened at the big drum, and give a loud shriek, or will you?”

Certainly not I!”

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