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of the day, entertained without affection, and parted from without regret; and yet what pains did they take to leave on our minds the impression of their consequence.
“ The country where the scene lay, is the land of the nativity of Romance; and it is probable that warm suns and pure skies enliven and fertilize the invention of its inhabitants. But Romance, for I will not give it a harsher name, thrives not in the bleaker and more northern climates ; there it is forced fruit, without that flavour which it has in its
“ We can as little rival the French in their ease of behaviour, and in the inexhaustible talent of enunciating trifles with grace, as in their colloquial romances. How do I feel for my countrymen, on observing them toil through a romance, compose sentence by sentence as they go on, hesitate with the consciousness of doing wrong, stare like a criminal, at once abashed and obdurate, and at length produce a story as tedious and as dull as truth?
“I am, &c.,
No. 63, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1779.
- Celebrare domestica facta.
HOR. ARS POET. 287.
Tor incidents attending domestic and private situations are, of all others, the most apt to affect the heart. Descriptions of national events are too gen
eral to be very interesting, and the calamities befalling kings and princes too far removed from common life to make a deep impression. With the virtues of such personages, it is nearly the same as with their sufferings; the heroic qualities which history ascribes to great and illustrious names, play around the imagination, but rarely touch the feel. ings, or direct the conduct; the humbler merits of ordinary life are those to which we feel a nearer relation ; from which, therefore, precept is more powerfully enforced, and example more readily drawn.
Mr. Hargrave is one of my earliest friends. Being many years younger than he, I have ever been accustomed to regard him both as my guardian and my friend ; and the reverence with which I looked on him in the one character, never took from the tender and affectionate warmth I felt for him in the other. After having been for some time a good deal in the world, he retired to the country, where he lived with elegance and ease.
His wife, a very amiable woman, died soon after her marriage, leaving one only child, a girl, to the care of whose education, Mr. Hargrave, after her mother's death, de. voted his whole attention. Nature had done much for her; and the instruction she received from an accomplished father, gave her every grace which can adorn the female character.
Emily Hargrave was now in her twentieth year. Her father was advanced in life, and he began to feel the weaknesses of age coming fast upon him. Independent of the gratification which he used to receive from the observation of his daughter's virtues and accomplishments, he had come to feel a pleasure somewhat more selfish from the advantage which those virtues were of to himself. Her care and
dutiful attention were almost become necessary to him; and the principal pleasure he received was from her company and conversation. Emily was sensible of this ; and though she was. at pains to conceal ber solicitude, it was plain that her whole care centred in him.
It was impossible that a girl so amiable as Emily Hargrave could fail to attract attention. Several young men of fortune and character became her professed admirers. But, though she had a sweetness which gave her a benevolent affability to all, she was of a mind too delicate to be easily satisfied in the choice of a husband. In her present circumstances, she had another objection to every change of situation. She felt too much anxiety about her father, to think of any thing which could call off her attention from him, and make it proper to place any of it elsewhere. With the greatest delicacy, therefore, and with that propriety with which her conduct was always attended, she checked every advance that was made her; while, at the same time, she was at the utmost pains to conceal from her father the voluntary sacrifice she was resolved to make on his account.
About a month ago, I paid a visit to Mr. Hargrave's family. I found him more changed than I had expected; the imbecilities of age, which were beginning to approach last time I had seen him, had now made great advances. Formerly, Mr. Hargrave used to be the delight of every company, and he never spoke without instructing or entertaining. Now he spoke little; when he did, it was with feebleness both of voice and manner. Feeling his memory declining, sensible that he was not so acute as he once was, and unable to keep up his attention to a continued discourse, though his understanding
was still perfectly good, he was afraid to venture his
That expression sweet of melancholy
There is something in the female character which requires support. That gentleness, that delicate softness approaching to timidity, which forms its most amiable feature, makes it stand in need of assistance. That support and assistance Emily had received in the completest manner from her father.
– What an alteration now! Instead of receiving support herself, she was obliged to give it; she was under the necessity of assisting, of counselling, and of strengthening the timid resolutions of him who had been, in her earlier years, her instructor and her guide, and to whom, next to Heaven, she had ever looked up. Emily felt all this ;
but feeling took not from her the power of acting.
Hargrave is abundantly sensible of his daughter's goodness. Her consciousness of this, and of how much importance her attentions are to her father, gives her the best consolation.
While I was at his house, he hardly ever spoke of himself. Once, indeed, I remember he said to me: “I am become a strange being; goodness of that girl distresses me; it is too much
for me to bear; - it is,' added he, in a very faint and broken voice, like to overwhelm me.'
I have often remarked, that there is a perseverance in virtue, and a real magnanimity in the other sex, which is scarcely to be equalled in ours. In the virtue of men, there are generally some considerations, not altogether pure, attending it, which, though they may not detract from, must certainly diminish our wonder at their conduct. The heroic actions of men are commonly performed upon the great theatre, and the performers have the applauses of an attending and admiring world to animate and support them. When Regulus suffered all the tortures which cruelty could invent, rather than give up his honour or his country, he was supported by the conscious admiration of those countrymen whom he had left, and of those enemies in whose hands he was ; - when Cato stabbed himself, rather than give up the cause of liberty, he felt a pride which told him, that. • Cato's would be no less honoured than Cæsar's sword;' — and when the self-devoted Decii died,' independent of their love for Rome, they had every motive of applause to animate their conduct;- but when Emily Hargrave sacrifices every thing to filial goodness and filial affection, she can have no concomitant motives, she can have no external circumstance to animate her. Her silent and secret virtue is the pure and unmingled effect of tenderness, of affection, and of duty.