Mrs. Perkin's Ball, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Miss Meggot.

Miss Meggot

Poor Miss Meggot is not so lucky as Miss Bunion. Nobody comes to dance with HER, though she has a new frock on, as she calls it, and rather a pretty foot, which she always manages to stick out.

She is forty-seven, the youngest of three sisters, who live a mouldy old house, near Middlesex Hospital, where they have lived for I don’t know how many score of years; but this is certain: the eldest Miss Meggot saw the Gordon Riots out of that same parlor window, and tells the story how her father (physician to George III.) was robbed of his queue in the streets on that occasion. The two old ladies have taken the brevet rank, and are addressed as Mrs. Jane and Mrs. Betsy: one of them is at whist in the back drawing-room. But the youngest is still called Miss Nancy, and is considered quite a baby by her sisters.

She was going to be married once to a brave young officer, Ensign Angus Macquirk, of the Whistlebinkie Fencibles; but he fell at Quatre Bras, by the side of the gallant Snuffmull, his commander. Deeply, deeply did Miss Nancy deplore him.

But time has cicatrized the wounded heart. She is gay now, and would sing or dance, ay, or marry if anybody asked her.

Do go, my dear friend — I don’t mean to ask her to marry, but to ask her to dance. — Never mind the looks of the thing. It will make her happy; and what does it cost you? Ah, my dear fellow! take this counsel: always dance with the old ladies — always dance with the governesses. It is a comfort to the poor things when they get up in their garret that somebody has had mercy on them. And such a handsome fellow as YOU too!

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