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“Of the conversation at this house I would give an account if I were able; but so many talked at once, so various and desultory were the subjects on which they talked, and so unintelligibly fashionable were many of the phrases which they used, that I am altogether unqualified to abridge or analyze it. I find, Sir, there is a jargon among people of fashion as well as among the schoolmen they deride, and that it requires initiation into the mysteries of the one as well as of the other, to be able to comprehend or to relish their discourse. Conversation, however, was soon put an end to by the introduction of cards, when I found a perfect equality of understanding and of importance. At length supper was announced at a very late hour, and with it entered a gentleman, who, I was informed, possessed an infinite fund of humour, and for whose appearance I had been made to look, for some time, with impatience.
“ The superiority of his talents for conversation seemed, indeed, to be acknowledged; for he was allowed to talk almost unceasingly, with very little interruption from any other person.
After a few glasses, he was prevailed on to sing one very innocent song; a few more emboldened him to sing another a little more free; and, just before the second bottle was called for, he took off a Methodist preacher with great applause.
“ The ladies now retired. I had fancied that in the companies of the two former days, the want of their society had deprived us of the ease and gayety of discourse. But here the removal of the female members of the party seemed to have a contrary effect from what my conclusion would have warranted. I discovered a smile of satisfaction in the countenances of most of the guests when the ladies
Several of them, who had not uttered a syllable before, were eloquent now, though, indeed, the subject was neither abstruse nor delicate. The wit was called on for another song, and he gave us one perfectly masculine. This was followed by sev'eral jocular stories, and burlesque exhibitions, most of which were in perfect unison with that tone wbich the absence of the ladies had allowed the company to assume. The jests were not such as I can repeat; one fancy, however, I recollect, of which, I think, a better use may be made than its author intended. •Suppose,' said he, our words left their marks on the walls like claret spilt on a smooth table, how confounded the women would look when they next entered the room?' For my part, I have so much reverence for a woman of honour, as to hold sacred even the place she has occupied, and cannot easily bear its immediate profanation by obscenity. I therefore took the first opportunity of withdrawing, which I was the more willing to do, as I found our wit possessed, in truth, only a chime of buffoonery, which, when he had rung out, he was forced to substitute the bottle in its place, the last joke he uttered being a reproof to our landlord for not pushing it about.
Now, Mr. Mirror, I must beg of you, or some of your well-instructed correspondents, to inform me, if in all or any of those three societies, I was really and truly in good company; as I confess I have entertained some doubts of their deserving that name. These, however, are probably the effects of ignorance, and a bookish education, in which I am very willing to be corrected from proper authority. V
“I am, &c.,
No. 65. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1779.
" TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
SIR, “The polite reception you have given to letters from several persons of my sex, emboldens me to address myself to you, and to lay before you a kind of distress, of which neither you, nor any of your predecessors, as far as I can recollect, have taken notice. It is, I believe, more common in this part of the united kingdom, than in England. That circumstance may, perhaps, account for its being overlooked by the writers of both countries; in the one case from its being almost unknown, and in the other from its being so common that it has ceased to make any impression.
“ What I allude to, will be best understood from a short account I shall take the liberty to give of myself.
“My father was a gentleman of considerable fortune, and, what he valued more, was descended from a very ancient family. In the earlier part of his life he had lived much abroad, and in consequence,
I believe, of an attachment to the house of Stuart, had served some years in the French army. These circumstances, perhaps, contributed to increase his veneration for noble blood and old families. - Soon after he returned to his native country, he married Lady S D-, only daughter of the Earl of
a woman who was justly deemed an ornament
to her sex. She died before I had finished my
sixth year, leaving one son about two years younger than myself.
My father, a man of warm affections and strong passions, seemed to exist but in his children. But for us, I have often heard him say, he could not have submitted to live. To our education he dedicated the whole of his time. My brother, whom he considered as the last stay of his family, he wished to render a worthy representative of it. Nor were his pains thrown away; for never was there a more engaging youth ; and every year seemed to add some new grace to his form, and some new accomplishment to his mind.
“ To me my father was all indulgence. He seemed to watch my wishes, in order to gratify them, before I could give them utterance. It was his chief desire to see me excel in every polite and fashionable accomplishment; and the education he gave me was proportionally elegant and expensive.
“Soon after I had entered my twentieth year, my father was seized with a violent fit of illness. My brother, who was then at college, was immediately called home. My father lived but to see him; all he had power to say, was to recommend me to his protection. In you, William,' said the good old man, 'Sophia will find a father, a brother, and a friend. Without incumbering the family estate, I could make no suitable settlements on her; but this gives me no uneasiness, when I reflect on your virtues, and your attachment to your sister.'
“My brother, whose dispositions were all gentle and amiable, was much moved with this scene. After our father's death, his behaviour to me was full of attention and affection. He regretted that he was not of an age to make such settlements as
would render me independent. But why,' would he add, "should I regret it?- is not my fortune yours? as such, I must insist that you will ever consider it.'
“In a few months my brother set out on his travels. Our parting was full of tenderness, and his letters from abroad, breathed the warmest sentiments of friendship and of affection. After the common tour of France, Italy, and Germany, he went to Spa, with an intention to pass some weeks there, and then return to his native country. At Spa, he met with the sister of Lord
who soon engaged his affections so completely, that he offered her his hand. The marriage was speedily concluded; and soon after my brother and his wife arrived at his seat in
where I had resided almost constantly ever since he had gone abroad.
“ The looks and appearance of the lady prepossessed me strongly in her favour. She was beautiful, almost beyond any thing I had ever seen; and though, perhaps, there was not in her countenance any expression strongly marked, there was, nevertheless, a gentleness and a sweetness in her whole deportment, joined with an elegance of manners, that could not fail to please every beholder. I observed, with pleasure, my brother's strong attachment to her, which, if possible, seemed daily to increase ; and I could not find fault with any little want of attention to myself, when I saw that it proceeded from so amiable a motive, from affection to a lovely woman, to whom he was forever united, and on whose happiness his own was forever to depend.
“ It was my wish to live with my sister-in-law in terms of the strictest friendship; but, with all my partiality in her favour, I could not help observing