Mrs. Perkin's Ball, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Mrs. Trotter, Miss Trotter, Miss Toady, Lord Methuselah.

Mrs. Trotter, Miss Trotter, Miss Toady, Lord Methuselah.

Dear Emma Trotter has been silent and rather ill-humored all the evening until now her pretty face lights up with smiles. Cannot you guess why? Pity the simple and affectionate creature! Lord Methuselah has not arrived until this moment: and see how the artless girl steps forward to greet him!

In the midst of all the selfishness and turmoil of the world, how charming it is to find virgin hearts quite unsullied, and to look on at little romantic pictures of mutual love! Lord Methuselah, though you know his age by the peerage — though he is old, wigged, gouty, rouged, wicked, has lighted up a pure flame in that gentle bosom. There was a talk about Tom Willoughby last year; and then, for a time, young Hawbuck (Sir John Hawbuck’s youngest son) seemed the favored man; but Emma never knew her mind until she met the dear creature before you in a Rhine steamboat. “Why are you so late, Edward?” says she. Dear artless child!

Her mother looks on with tender satisfaction. One can appreciate the joys of such an admirable parent!

“Look at them!” says Miss Toady. “I vow and protest they’re the handsomest couple in the room!”

Methuselah’s grandchildren are rather jealous and angry, and Mademoiselle Ariane, of the French theatre, is furious. But there’s no accounting for the mercenary envy of some people; and it is impossible to satisfy everybody.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00