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The Bedford-Row Conspiracy William Makepeace Thackeray

I. Of the loves of Mr. Perkins and Miss Gorgon, and of the two great factions in the town of Oldborough.

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Whilst this scene was going on under one chandelier of the ballroom, beneath the other scarlet little General Gorgon, sumptuous Lady Gorgon, the daughters and niece Gorgons, were standing surrounded by their Tory court, who affected to sneer and titter at the Whig demonstrations which were taking place.

"What a howwid thmell of whithkey!" lisped Cornet Fitch, of the Dragoons, to Miss Lucy, confidentially. "And thethe are what they call Whigth, are they? He! he!"

"They are drunk, ----- me,--drunk, by -----!" said the General to the Mayor.

"WHICH is Scully?" said Lady Gorgon, lifting her glass gravely (she was at that very moment thinking of the syllabubs). "Is it that tipsy man in the green coat, or that vulgar creature in the blue one?"

"Law, my Lady," said the Mayoress, "have you forgotten him? Why, that's him in blue and buff."

"And a monthous fine man, too," said Cornet Fitch. "I wish we had him in our twoop--he'th thix feet thwee, if he'th an inch; ain't he, Genewal?"

No reply.

"And heavens! Mamma," shrieked the three Gorgons in a breath, "see, one creature is on the whist-table. Oh, the wretch!

"I'm sure he's very good-looking," said Lucy, simply.

Lady Gorgon darted at her an angry look, and was about to say something very contemptuous, when, at that instant, John Perkins's shout taking effect, Master George Augustus Frederick Grimsby Gorgon, not knowing better, incontinently raised a small shout on his side.

"Hear! good! bravo!" exclaimed he; "Scully for ever! Hurra-a-a-ay!" and fell skipping about like the Whigs opposite.

"Silence, you brute you!" groaned Lady Gorgon; and seizing him by the shirt-frill and coat-collar, carried him away to his nurse, who, with many other maids of the Whig and Tory parties, stood giggling and peeping at the landing-place.

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Fancy how all these small incidents augmented the heap of Lady Gorgon's anger and injuries! She was a dull phlegmatic woman for the most part, and contented herself generally with merely despising her neighbours; but oh! what a fine active hatred raged in her bosom for victorious Scully! At this moment Mr. Perkins had finished shaking hands with his Napoleon--Napoleon seemed bent upon some tremendous enterprise. He was looking at Lady Gorgon very hard.

"She's a fine woman," said Scully, thoughtfully; he was still holding the hand of Perkins. And then, after a pause, "Gad! I think I'll try."

"Try what, sir?"

"She's a DEUCED fine woman!" burst out again the tender solicitor. "I WILL go. Springer, tell the fiddlers to strike up."

Springer scuttled across the room, and gave the leader of the band a knowing nod. Suddenly, "God save the King" ceased, and "Sir Roger de Coverley" began. The rival forces eyed each other; Mr. Scully, accompanied by his friend, came forward, looking very red, and fumbling two large kid gloves.

"HE'S GOING TO ASK ME TO DANCE," hissed out Lady Gorgon, with a dreadful intuition, and she drew back behind her lord.

"D--- it, madam, THEN DANCE with him!" said the General. "Don't you see that the scoundrel is carrying it all his own way! ----- him! and ----- him! and ----- him!" (All of which dashes the reader may fill up with oaths of such strength as may be requisite).

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The Bedford-Row Conspiracy
William Makepeace Thackeray

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