CHAPTER XIII

I Continue My Career As A Man of Fashion

I find I have already filled up many scores of pages, and yet a vast deal of the most interesting portion of my history remains to be told, viz. that which describes my sojourn in the kingdoms of England and Ireland, and the great part I played there; moving among the most illustrious of the land, myself not the least distinguished of the brilliant circle.

In order to give due justice to this portion of my Memoirs, then — which is more important than my foreign adventures can be (though I could fill volumes with interesting descriptions of the latter) — I shall cut short the account of my travels in Europe, and of my success at the Continental Courts, in order to speak of what befell me at home. Suffice it to say that there is not a capital in Europe, except the beggarly one of Berlin, where the young Chevalier de Balibari was not known and admired; and where he has not made the brave, the high-born, and the beautiful talk of him.

I won 80,000 roubles from Potemkin at the Winter Palace at Petersburg, which the scoundrelly favourite never paid me; I have had the honour of seeing his Royal Highness the Chevalier Charles Edward as drunk as any porter at Rome; my uncle played several matches at billiards against the celebrated Lord C—— at Spa, and I promise you did not come off a loser.

In fact, by a neat stratagem of ours, we raised the laugh against his Lordship, and something a great deal more substantial. My Lord did not know that the Chevalier Barry had a useless eye; and when, one day, my uncle playfully bet him odds at billiards that he would play him with a patch over one eye, the noble lord, thinking to bite us (he was one of the most desperate gamblers that ever lived), accepted the bet, and we won a very considerable amount of him.

Nor need I mention my successes among the fairer portion of the creation. One of the most accomplished, the tallest, the most athletic, and the handsomest gentlemen of Europe, as I was then, a young fellow of my figure could not fail of having advantages, which a person of my spirit knew very well how to use. But upon these subjects I am dumb. Charming Schuvaloff, black-eyed Sczotarska, dark Valdez, tender Hegenheim, brilliant Langeac!

— ye gentle hearts that knew how to beat in old times for the warm young Irish gentleman, where are you now?

Though my hair has grown grey now, and my sight dim, and my heart cold with years, and ennui, and disappointment, and the treachery of friends, yet I have but to lean back in my arm-chair and think, and those sweet figures come rising up before me out of the past, with their smiles, and their kindnesses, and their bright tender eyes!

There are no women like them now — no manners like theirs!

Look you at a bevy of women at the Prince’s, stitched up in tight white satin sacks, with their waists under their arms, and compare them to the graceful figures of the old time!

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