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Title: Blue-Stocking Hall, (Vol 1 of 3)
Author: Scargill, William Pitt
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blue-Stocking Hall, (Vol 1 of 3)" ***

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    "From woman's eyes this doctrine I derive:
    They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
    They are the books, the arts, the academes,
    That show, contain, and nourish all the world."

    Love's Labour Lost.


    VOL. I.




Gentle Reader,

An Author who is only making a début, should be particularly careful
not to offend against established rules; otherwise you and I might be
spared the plague of a Preface; but as I am heartily desirous to
conciliate your regard, I will not forfeit any portion of your esteem at
my onset, by the slightest contempt of Court. I will therefore say a few
words in the way of introduction to Blue-stocking Hall, though I may
find it difficult to tell you more than you will easily find out for
yourself, if you take the trouble of reading the following Letters,
which sufficiently explain their own story. They are selected from a
correspondence which is supposed to have been spread over a period of
four years.

As to my motives (for I observe that most prefaces talk of motives)
for publishing the letters which I have been at the pains to collect,
they are such as we may in charity suppose to operate upon the mind of a
criminal, when by the expiatory tribute of his "last speech and dying
words," he endeavours, in a recantation of his own errors, to prevent
others from falling into similar ones. Besides, we are generally eager
to make as many proselytes as we can to any opinion which we have newly
adopted; and as my prejudices upon some subjects were very strong before
I visited Blue-stocking Hall, I am induced, through abundance of the
milk of human kindness, to wish that if my reader entertains any
prejudices against ladies stigmatized as Bas Bleus, as I myself once
did, he may, like me, become a convert to another and a fairer belief
respecting them.



Charles Falkland to Arthur Howard.

    My Dear Howard,

Perhaps you and I are at this moment similarly situated, and similarly
employed. I am seated at a window which opens on the sea, waiting for a
summons to the steam-packet which is to waft me over to Calais--while
you are, probably, expecting that which is to convey you to Ireland.
When I reach France I shall certainly send you a bill of health from
time to time; but as few things are less satisfactory than letters from
the road, I shall reserve my share in the performance of our parting
covenant till I am quietly settled at Geneva.

You do not require descriptions of either places or people; because
innumerable diaries, journals, and sketch-books, tell you as much as you
want to know of all the scenes which it is your intention ere long to
visit; and as to men and women, no second-hand account can supply the
place of actual acquaintance with the few of either sex that deserve to
occupy thoughts or pen. What you do desire, and what I have engaged to
furnish, is a history of my own employments, pursuits, and impressions;
but leisure is necessary for collecting and arranging; and, till I can
satisfy myself by sending you such details as I hope may interest, you
must be content to receive only certificates of whole bones.

Now you are to be set down quietly in less than a week at the end of
your journey; and before I set sail I shall take the liberty of
repeating the terms of our epistolary contract, by way of flapper to
your memory, and leaving you no possible excuse for violating the
treaty ratified at Cambridge on Monday evening, ere a mutual Vale
dismissed us on our several adventures.

You see that I have first registered my own part in our engagement,
and generously bound myself, before I proceed to tie you down.--Now for
your undertaking. Remember, that when you reach the wilds of Kerry,
you are under a heavy bond to devote a part of every day regularly to
the task which I have assigned you of narrating, in minute detail, every
circumstance connected with the external situation, personal appearance,
mind, manners, and habits of your aunt and her family. Aye, there I see
you at this instant in a full roar of laughter: so be it.--I am
case-hardened; and have so long endured your merriment with becoming
philosophy, that I am not to be subdued by a little louder ridicule than
you are accustomed to level at my romance. Well, I will confess (now
that I am a few miles distant from that taunting smile), that my notions
are somewhat odd, quaint, old fashioned, or romantic if you will; and in
return for this concession, I only ask that you will bear with me, and
indulge your friend's peculiarities, as they are at least harmlessly
eccentric. The bias of my mind is to be traced without difficulty to the
circumstances of my early life, so different from your own, that it
would be very extraordinary if much dissimilarity were not discoverable
in our ways of thinking. My boyish years were passed in the seclusion of
almost perfect solitude, with a mother, whose image lives indelibly
engraven on my heart. A child of feeble frame, I was unable in early
life to bear the "peltings of the pitiless storm," and from every wind
that would have visited my infant form too roughly, did the tenderest of
maternal affections shroud, without enervating, my childhood. My widowed
mother was every thing to me--my friend, my tutor, my protectress, my
play-fellow--my all on earth. In losing her at sixteen, I was left a
mere wreck upon the ocean of life; and, while "Memory holds her seat,"
never shall I forget the sweet expression of her elegant and feminine
countenance, as it spoke the language of love, kindness, or pity; nor
shall I ever lose the recollection of that fine understanding which
sparkled through her eye, in the brightest scintillations of
intellectual energy, and acuteness. She was my Gamaliel, and no wonder
if her lessons, her thoughts, her sentiments, have left traces upon my
mind not easily to be obliterated. When I entered Cambridge, I felt no
affection for any living creature. Relations I had none, that were not
too remote to fill the chasm which death had created in my heart. My
guardian, though an excellent man, only put me painfully in mind of my
bereavement, when he attempted to condole or advise; and I turned from
him, not with disrespect, but in disgust with all created things.

The natural elasticity of youth, and your society, gradually reclaimed
me from a state which, had it continued, must have ended in madness, or
idiotcy; and I am able now, at the termination of our collegiate career,
to think gratefully of prolonged existence, and look back with

Perhaps you have just laid down my letter to exclaim, "Poor Falkland!
surely the man is bewildered, or he would not tell me now, as if for
the first time, what I have known these six years." Now, my good fellow,
be not so hasty in declaring me non compos. You know the general
outline of my story, and you are acquainted sufficiently with what you
call my romance of character, to find in it a constant fund of amusement
when we are together; but you do not know more than this! You are not
aware that the tree has adopted its decided inclination from that bias
which the twig received. Nothing, I feel, can ever make me a man of
fashion. Nothing, I hope, will loosen the ties which, all unseen as
they are, bind me to the memory of her by whose judgment, were she
living, I should desire to be directed in all things to which her
admirable sense would permit her to apply those reasoning powers which
never dogmatized, nor lost themselves in the mazes of imagination.--I
admired my mother's taste as much as I reverenced her virtues--I
respected her talents; and since her death have not met with any one
capable of interesting me who did not resemble, in some degree, the
character which faithful memory attaches to her much-loved image.

Different as has been your path from mine, your affectionate heart has
been my best solace; and though you have been trained in the school of
modern luxury, which is so little conversant with Nature, the generous
impulses of your breast have not been sacrificed, and you are not yet
spoiled by what is called The World. For being what you are, you are, I
firmly believe, indebted in part to original structure; and perhaps, in
some degree, to that friendship which has united us both at school, and
at the University.--Somewhat older, and much graver than you, I have
always been permitted to take the lead, and exercise an influence over
your pleasures and pursuits, which, though frequently counteracted, has,
notwithstanding, communicated an individuality to one and the other,
that distinguishes you essentially from the heartless specimens of human
mechanism that pass for men of ton.

You know what pleasant day-dreams occupy my fancy--I anticipate nothing
less than your radical reform, from all the follies which sometimes
obscure your good sense; and I look for this change, not as the result
of a Hohenlohe miracle, wrought upon you through the intercession of the
Irish priesthood, but as the natural effect of living domesticated with
such a family as I conceive to be now about to welcome you at Glenalta.
I know your charming aunt and cousins only through their letters to you;
but by "these presents," I feel that I cannot be mistaken in the
attributes with which I have invested them: and, laugh as you like, you
know that my castles are all built with materials from the county of
Kerry, in Ireland; and I only say, if it be enthusiasm to love and
venerate a set of people whom I have never seen--yes, and fully to
intend, if life be spared me, to make a pilgrimage in quest of your
relations, inspired by as much zeal as ever actuated the followers of
Mahomet in their pious journeys to Mecca, why, let me cry with Falstaff,
"God help the wicked." A sort of internal evidence quite incommunicable
to any one else, assures me, that my fate is linked with that of the
Douglas family; and I can give you no better reason for this belief,
than the improbability that so much sympathy as draws me towards
Glenalta, should be thrown away.

However baseless you may consider the fabric of my visions, you can at
least imagine that, while they possess my mind, they are not a little
interesting; and therefore I conclude, as I began, by entreating that
you will feed my Quixotism with journals containing the most accurate
and minute accounts of all that is said and done, planned and projected,
at that Ultima Thule, as you call it, whither you are bending your

The gun is fired as a signal for sailing--I see an army of carpet-bags
and portmanteaus in full march, and must say--farewell! God bless you,
my dear Howard.

    Your affectionate
    Charles Falkland.


Miss Douglas to Miss Sandford.

    Dearest Julia,

Your letter, which I received yesterday, reproaches me with silence, and
I plead guilty to the charge, though you are very wrong in supposing
that my failure in punctuality proceeds from weariness of communion with
you. I have very few correspondents, and amongst these few I rejoice to
say, that there is not one, to whom I write from any other motive than
because I love and value every species of intercourse with those who are
really dear to my heart. I know that it is only necessary to tell you,
that I have been much engaged, to be certain of your forgiveness; but I
should not satisfy myself if I did not say how I have been occupied.

Shut out as we are from the gay world, and living for weeks together
without any interruption to our pursuits, even you may perhaps wonder
that time is not a burthen on our hands. Yet this is not the case; but
on the contrary, the day appears scarcely set in before it has arrived
at its close. Is this always the effect of full employment, or is it
peculiar to the little circle at Glenalta to wish that the sun would
stand still, and give more of his company?--I am too little acquainted
with people and places beyond my own home to answer the question; and
you are not here to do it for me; so now I will proceed with the causes
of my long silence.

Our dear friend, and invaluable neighbour, Mr. Otway, has been ill:
thank heaven, he is quite recovered now.--This dear friend and your aunt
are, I think, the only people on earth who for the last twelve years
could have poured the balm of comfort into the desolate spirit of my
beloved mother--the latter in becoming a tender parent to you and your
sisters has had too much care connected with her immediate duties to
admit of her being often with us; but what she, under different
circumstances, might have been, Mr. Otway has been; and what can we
ever do sufficiently to prove our gratitude, as well as our affection?
During his illness, which continued for three months, we shared, not
only the task of nursing him with unremitting assiduity, but endeavoured
to supply his place by undertaking the labours which, for a series of
years, he has imposed upon himself. We took care of his schools, we
visited his sick poor, we distributed his benefactions, became his
deputies on the roads and in the fields; and resolved that, on his
return to his gardens and plantations, he should find all things meeting
him with that pleasant welcome which even the inanimate world is enabled
to testify, when the hand of diligent affection has taught every shrub
and flower to glow with its own emotions!--I know nothing more touching
than such a reception, which needs no words to convince the object of
our solicitude, how constantly the heart has been occupied in an
endeavour to please by the cultivation of whatever might confer
enjoyment; and the suppression of all that would be productive of pain.

Though one of the actors in the scene, I will confess to you, that the
success of our efforts was complete. There was no arrangement--no
display that appeared to solicit thanks for our faithful stewardship;
but I never shall forget the happiness of seeing tears, not of grief,
stealing from my mother's eyes, while our dear friend, leaning upon her
arm on one side, and Frederick's on the other--Charlotte, Fanny, and I,
bringing up the rear--took his first walk upon the terrace which
commands that panorama of loveliness and expanse which you admired so
much in your visit at Glenalta, to which my mind frequently recurs as
the most joyful period of my existence. In addition to all the blessings
of my daily life, I had then the enlivening influence of your presence.
The landscape was the same, but you were the sunshine: and while you
were here, all seemed "gold and green."--When will you come again, I
wonder!--Well, what a wanderer I am! continually deviating from my
path, my narrative advances but slowly,--and you are yet to learn, that
besides our extra employments at his farm, we have been as busy as bees
preparing for the accommodation of my Cousin Arthur Howard, who is
expected here to-morrow evening.

People who live in towns, or even in what is called civilized parts of
the country, have little idea how we poor pill-garlicks labour to
perform what they accomplish as if by the stroke of a magical wand. A
few words are pronounced in the shape of an order, to one of your
fashionable upholsterers, and lo! sophas, ottomans, tables, arm-chairs,
and all the elegant etceteras of modern furniture rise up like an
exhalation, and are found in their exact places, as if a fairy had
arranged them. While country folks, like us, have to wish, and to wait,
for many a long day before we can obtain even an imperfect
representation of a new luxury. I do not complain of this; for I really
believe, that we gain by every difficulty, and enjoy our humble
acquisitions, after going through much trouble to obtain them, a
thousand times more than the rich and fashionable do their
superfluities, which it is only to desire, and to possess; but I state
the fact to account for the employment of time and pains in filling up a
comfortable bed-chamber and dressing-room for Arthur Howard, whose
approach I dread, not because I have any reason to be afraid of him, but
because I feel how entirely out of his natural (or perhaps I should
rather say artificial) element, he will find himself in this peaceful

I believe I told you in my last letter, that Arthur has been very
delicate for some months past, and apprehensions have been entertained
that if the change of air to a softer climate than that of
Buckinghamshire were not resorted to, his lungs might soon become
affected. Poor fellow! He is an only son; and as my aunt could not make
up her mind to going abroad with him herself, and she would not consent
to let him go to the Continent without her, though in the company of his
friend Mr. Falkland, matters have been compromised by accepting mamma's
invitation to the Island of mists; and truly it would delight us all
to cherish this young cousin at Glenalta, if it were not for the painful
feeling that he considers it a heavy penance to come amongst his Irish
relations. The performance of duty is, however, so agreeable in itself,
that if we find our cares successful, and are enabled to return the
invalid in good health to his mother and sisters, we shall be amply
recompensed. It is but to think of the grateful love which would warm
our own hearts (were Frederick similarly circumstanced) towards any
friend who might be instrumental in his recovery, to enter con amore
into the feelings of Arthur's family, and sing a Te Deum if we are
permitted to excite them. Sickness, in producing a powerful sense of our
mortality, often awakens the heart to the realities of happiness, by
shewing us the utter futility of pleasures on which we had thoughtlessly
relied, till evil days came upon us, and our helpless dependence was
brought experimentally home to our conviction.

I sometimes flatter myself with a hope that mamma's enchanting
influence, Frederick's sweet disposition, and the cheerful aid of the
three handmaids, may operate a change in Arthur's mind, and reclaim a
fine understanding from the blighting effects of cold and selfish
fashion. You see that I am castle-building--may it not be in the air!

I am desired by mamma, to say that your dear aunt shall soon hear from
her; and you shall have a letter ere long to tell you what progress we
make in acquaintance with our guest, who is a perfect stranger amongst
the juniors of our house, and only remembered as a little boy by my

So much have I had to say of our hospital concerns, that I have not
told you a word of a surprise which Frederick and I are preparing for
this precious Author of our being.--There is a little solitary spot not
far removed from this, the most sequestered, wild, and lovely glen that
Nature I believe ever formed. For years after we came to Glenalta, my
sisters and I never saw or heard of it, mamma never having mentioned its
existence; and its distance placing it without the bounds of our
allotted walks while we were children. Frederick was the first who made
me acquainted with this tiny Paradise of beauty and seclusion, the story
of which I must reserve for my next letter.

Our fond and united loves attend your circle from all here, and
particularly your

    Faithful and affectionate Friend,
    Emily Douglas.


Arthur Howard to Charles Falkland.

    My Dear Falkland,

Your letter from Dover has travelled many a mile in quest of me; first
into Buckinghamshire, then to Grosvenor-square, "tried" Cambridge, and
non est inventus being the return made at each of these places, it has
followed me into the wilds of Kerry in Ireland. Here I am actually at
Glenalta, and as I mean faithfully to perform my promise, and execute
the task which you have so solemnly spread out before me, in such
detail that I am not likely to forget the engagement, I shall begin
from the beginning, for the following cogent reasons: first, that I may
be correct by not trusting to memory; secondly, that I may not be
overwhelmed by an inconvenient accumulation of materials, thirdly and
lastly, because to vent my spleen in a letter is next to the relief of
doing so in a viva voce unburthening, disemboguing, or whatever else
you choose to call this pouring out of my vexations.

After a journey through a horrible country, as naked as if it was but
just born, and as comfortless as if it had never been inhabited, I
reached at last my haven of rest yesterday evening at six o'clock. You
must not expect me to name places which I cannot spell, nor jolt over
such roads as I have escaped again with you. This would indeed be
"thrice to slay the slain," for I am in a state of mummy this morning.
If David had known the county of Kerry, I should believe that it rose
upon his mind, when he wrote of the judges that were overthrown in stony
places. As I approached within a mile of my journey's end I should
possibly have been put into good humour, if my temper had not been
previously so ruffled as to counteract the influence of pleasanter
impressions. Candour obliges me to confess, that nothing in nature can
exceed the scenery of this spot when once you are at it; but in my
present feelings I doubt whether I would go to Heaven itself, if there
were no better road thither than that by which I have achieved my safe
landing at Glenalta. Part of my way lay through a morass, technically
called bog in this country, which brought to my recollection every
frightful engulfment that I ever heard or read of. The vast American
swamps, the Indian jungles, aye, even "that great Lerborian bog 'twixt
Damietta and the sea," so finely touched by Milton, appeared safe and
smooth to my imagination in comparison with the dark abysses that seemed
to yawn upon me from either side of my gloomy and monotonous path. No,
it is not in human nature to recover a man's equilibrium after what I
have suffered in less than a week; and therefore the features of this
cul de sac, which has nothing beyond it but the waves of the Atlantic,
will stand but a bad chance of being sketched in any other than
distemper colouring, if I must fix my first impressions. Your
orders, however, concur with my bile, and thus duty and inclination
happily coincide, which is somewhat uncommon. Well, "through mud and
mire, brake and brier," I at last beheld the termination of my woes,
and drove up in a post chaise, which I firmly believe sat for its
picture to Miss Edgeworth, and found myself in front of a verandah,
which, in any other place and any other at time, might have seemed a
bower of enchantment; but my eyes were jaundiced, my bones were weary,
and every thought was steeped in vinegar, so cross, cold, sour, and
discontented did I feel, as the lubberly brute, called post-boy by a
strange misnomer, trundled off his jaded horse, and thumping up like a
sack against the hall door, gave a knock which might have been heard in
Labrador. I expected to have been met and smothered on the threshold by
my aunt and cousins, but a servant only made his appearance, and the
step was let down; Lewis had descended, and I was fairly on my feet, and
trying to pump up a smile upon my countenance, lest its previous
expression should stamp my character irretrievably, ere in two minutes I
found myself affectionately greeted and as affectionately dismissed to
my apartments, for I have got a suite allotted to me, and as I was
preparing to obey, and retire, my aunt, with one of the sweetest voices
I ever heard, begged that I would not hurry myself. "Frederick my love,"
added she, "I depend upon your shewing dear Arthur his room, and I need
not remind you that as he is an invalid, he must not be asked to do any
thing in the least distressing, or requiring effort. Arthur, you will I
hope feel yourself at home, and that charming little word comprises
all that I can offer you, and so much, that I should weaken its force,
if I attempted by any addition to render it more impressive."

When I was dressed, I went down stairs, and opening a door that lay on
my right hand, found myself in a snug library and alone. Supposing this
to be the room in which we were to muster before dinner, I took up some
books which lay on the table, and what should I discover? why,
positively that I have got amongst a batch of Blues. Full ten minutes
elapsed before my rapid survey was interrupted; and in that short period
I found the initials of Emily and Charlotte annexed to the name of
Douglas, in at least a dozen volumes, one of which was Sallust, a
second Virgil, a third Sowerby on Minerals, a fourth some one, I forget
who, upon Botany, and so on. I absolutely felt my cheeks glow with shame
and indignation. What! set down in a nook of the county of Kerry, in
Ireland, without a creature to speak to, who I suppose ever saw "a good
man's feast," though I dare say they are not without "bells that call to
church;" and to find myself not only shut out from the world, but
screwed in a vice as it were, with all manner of pedantry, and required
to talk science all day to a set of precieuses ridicules! it was too
much for my constitution I assure you; and with the celerity of
lightning I resolved to construct an apology, as quickly as possible,
for my speedy departure. The manner of disengaging myself from the
noose still remains to be determined, but it is quite plain that at
Blue-Stocking Hall, which is a much more appropriate name than Glenalta,
I cannot stay.

My aunt's letters never threw light upon the accomplishments of her
daughters, and as one does not take much interest in the occupations of
the elders in a family, her own literary propensities would not have
annoyed me at all, particularly, too, as I might probably find able
assistance in Frederick whenever I had a mind to laugh at learned
ladies. But to my narrative,--the first who entered the room was Fanny,
the youngest of the family. She is about fifteen, strikingly pretty,
with almost the funniest expression of countenance that I ever saw, and
thank Heaven, of an age to be treated as a child. She will, I see, be
my sheet anchor while I am obliged to tarry on this coast. My aunt and
her Aspasias followed before I had time to utter a sentence, and
Frederick brought up the rear. In the moment of his entrance, the
servant who was at his heels, announced dinner, and while we were
crossing the hall, my aunt said, "You were in the library while we were
waiting your arrival in the drawing-room, so we missed the pleasure of
your company, my dear boy, for I know not how long. Arthur, I know how
disagreeable it is to be watched with too great anxiety, so to day you
shall eat and drink as you find that you can do; and if there is any
thing that you are in the habit of taking, or any thing that you would
like to try, I can promise you the aid of three of the kindest nurses
that ever took care of an invalid. They have had great experience, and
will be delighted to be useful to you." I thanked her, secretly
resolving to give my fair cousins as little trouble as possible, and
down we sat to dinner, which was not a bit like what I supposed it would
have been, but actually got up in excellent style. We had two nice
little courses of capital materials that might have done credit to the
London market; admirably dressed, served up quite in a civilized manner,
and, would you believe it, not a word of azure during the repast.
Don't fancy me, however, the blockhead to cry roast-meat before I am out
of the wood. Indigo itself could scarcely have found opportunity to
display its tints in the midst of all the inquiries for mother, sisters,
uncles, aunts, that happily filled the intervals of carving and eating.
In all my life I never felt so much indebted to my relations before;
and when the ladies got up to leave the room, not a word had escaped
their lips which was not delivered in their vernacular language; and by
the bye, I will tell you what appears to me very extraordinary, that not
one of this family speaks with that horrible accent, vulgarly called
brogue. No, positively they all express themselves remarkably well,
and what is also strange enough, they are very elegant, and modern in
their appearance. In short, I should not be ashamed of the coup
d'[oe]il of the house and its inhabitants, were it not for this cursed
blue which will burst upon me in a torrent to-morrow, and be no doubt
the more impetuous in its flow, for having been dammed up during so many

When left alone with Fred, who seems a very honest sort of fellow, I
found that he was a sportsman, I suppose in a coarse way; but still here
is a resource, and he tells me that he has excellent greyhounds and
setters; that game abounds in these mountains; and that there is good
fun to be had at small cost of labour. Tant mieux for an invalid. We
sat for an hour without drinking much wine, from which I am under orders
to abstain till this plaguy chest of mine is well, and to which my
companion seemed to have no natural propensity. We then joined the party
in the drawing-room, and there I found Emily writing music, Charlotte
tuning a harp,--yes, a very fine one too, Fanny rolling a ball for a
beautiful little spaniel, and her mother smiling at its gambols.

There was nothing appalling here, but the evening was young; however,
here was a new resource, and with grateful alacrity I hastened to beg
for a soft strain of Erin. Certainly I am lost in astonishment. Do you
know that these girls sing like syrens? Nothing can be in finer harmony
than their voices, and some of the simple Irish airs which were sung
this evening, have so completely taken possession of my mind, that I
shall dream of nothing else. Why will women be so absurd as to mistake
the true feminine character, and, despising the sceptre which nature has
placed in their hands, relinquish a legitimate and undisputed empire,
to engage in the silly project of conquest over regions which will never
submit to their arms?

Were it not for the farrago of Latin, Greek, botany, chemistry, and the
devil knows what, with which my ears are to be assailed, how readily
should I bear testimony to the charms which sweet music and good manners
possess; and when I consider (and I really speak impartially), the fund
upon which the Douglas girls might fairly trade, I am at a loss to
perceive the motive for all this nonsense of learning. If they were ugly
or old, or surrounded by professors, there might be some reason for
experimenting in literary lore, and hoisting a blue flag; but young,
pleasing, singularly elegant, with heavenly voices, what is it that the
fools would be at? I suppose that my poor aunt, whose affliction I fancy
made her a recluse for several years, has insisted upon making scholars
of the sisterhood, because Fred.'s tutor, who of course was some
antiquated piece of furniture, had time to spare, and probably knew
about as much of life and manners, as Noah did in the Ark. If this be
the case, I shall soon find out all about the matter, and my visit here
may be a blessing, as I shall take the very first opportunity that
offers of opening aunty's eyes to the impolicy of her conduct, by
assuring her that men of the present day dread a blue more than a
scorpion, which argument, I believe, never failed yet with a mamma;
and as to the poor girls, it will be easy to work upon their minds
without being ungallant. To be sure they cannot unlearn all that old
domine has crammed into their noddles, but if they are frightened into a
careful concealment, there is not much harm done; for if after they are
married, they can put their boys through the Latin grammar and Selecta,
the employment will not be disagreeable to them, the children may
benefit, and if they should settle in Ireland, I mean in the country, no
body need be the wiser for their latinity. Fanny is young enough to
snatch from contagion, and with her merry phiz, she ought not to drudge
over Hic hæc hoc. I could not help thinking of Marmontel's description
(is it not?) of Agathe in the Misanthrope, when I looked at her,
"La plus jolie espiegle que l'Amour eut jamais formé," and as I
applied these words, I resolved to save her if possible.

Well, tea, coffee, and milk-cakes, as good of their kinds as you ever
tasted, succeeded by the harp and piano-forte, left me no time for a
game of chess to which Frederick had challenged me on entering the room.
At ten o'clock a tray made its appearance with some really fine fruit,
and the best milk I ever tasted; nothing could be more easy, cheerful,
and pleasant than our little party; and so entirely were books left out
of the evening's amusement, that what I had seen before dinner was never
remembered till I reached my own room; we were as gay as larks, and even
danced some quadrille figures. Here again surprise is no word to express
what I felt at seeing my cousins acquit themselves with a grace that
would actually be quite distingué at Almack's. A little fashion
might be added, but nothing can be better than the flexibility and
perfect ear which accompany every movement of these mountaineers. So
far so good, but old Solon used to say "the end is not come yet," and I
felt all the prudence of suspended judgment conveyed in his
laconicism, when on the removal of the tray, Frederick placed a large
book before his mother, and having rung the bell, I found myself
presently engaged,--yes, actually engaged in family prayers with no less
than six domestics and an old non-descript with grey hair, who hobbled
in leaning upon a stick, and for whose accommodation Fanny placed a
cushion; all ranged along the end of the room: it was a complete take
in, and I never felt more awkwardly in all my life. However there was
no escaping, and I had nothing for it but submission. My aunt, to do her
justice, gave us a short prayer, and I cannot say that there was any
cant in it; but conceive the bad taste of following this part of the
ceremony by reading a chapter in the New Testament, and during the time,
sitting "hail fellows well met" in the midst of the servants, who took
to their seats as naturally as if they had been born to five thousand a
year each.

Now my good friend, you stand up for these exhibitions; but to see the
gentry of the country thus brought on a level with their footmen; and to
see a girl of Fanny's appearance fly to help old Lawrence, whose stick
slipped as he was about to retire, I must ever think revolting to common
sense, and I went to my room determined to hasten my departure as much
as possible. Of course I conclude that my antediluvian relations go
through this religious mummery twice a day; and though you know that I
am not of the infidel school, I hate piety in such clothing as I find it
dressed in here; and as I equally dislike old fashions and new lights,
I shall get rid of the one and the other as fast as I can. I must not
offend people, however, who are kindly inclined to me, and therefore you
may address one letter at least to this place. Good night, and believe
me, in a confounded cross humour,

    Truly yours

    Arthur Howard.

P.S. I mean to send you my next packet on this day week.


Mrs. Douglas to Mrs. E. Sandford.

My dearly loved Friend,

And are you really once more in your own Derbyshire, enjoying the
blessing of rest after all your wanderings? My heart flies to bid you
welcome at Checkley, where your presence, I doubt not, was long desired
and affectionately greeted, though not perhaps with such energy as is
conveyed in our Irish "Cead Millagh farthagh." But how doubly blessed is
your return, and how largely has a merciful Providence repaid your
labours, and compensated for every privation that you have endured, by
restoring the sweet Agnes to perfect health! You are a mother, in almost
every sense of that comprehensive title, to three dear and doubly
orphaned girls, who now employ your whole attention; and though you
have been spared those anxieties, incident to the relation of parent,
which belong exclusively to the tender years of infancy, you can
sympathize in all the solicitude to which the unfoldings of youth give
birth; and thus a new bond has arisen to link our souls together.

Now that the peril is past, that which was toil while actually present,
becomes pleasure when viewed in the distance; and thus it is that the
great Dispenser of Good rewards the patient performance of duty.

You longed to be at home, and you are safely lodged within its
delightful retreat; while your girls like bees have been collecting
honey from every flower to enrich their hive, and no longer indebted to
"books and swains alone," for their knowledge of the world, can talk of
Switzerland, and Italy, and France with all the many who have visited
their shores. My holidays are yet to come; but do not be frightened; I
am not thinking of the Continent--I am only running forward with my
mind's eye to the happy accomplishment of our mutual wishes in the
meeting at this dear spot of which your promise holds out the
exhilarating prospect. My children seem to feel that months are years,
till August comes and brings the Sandfords to Glenalta.

But dearest Elizabeth, I am not answering your question: "Will you help
me with your experience in this weighty task which I have undertaken,
and give me your advice upon the important subject of female education,
as I proceed in an endeavour to fulfil the part which I have engaged to
act?" Yes surely, my friend, I will gladly afford you every aid in my
power to bestow, but you will not expect more than I can give. You must
not look to me for that which I have never found myself, namely a plan
or system by which I could work under the guidance of another mind
without exercising at every moment whatever penetration the Almighty had
conferred upon my own. This, whatever be its measure, has been employed
night and day in scrutinizing the individual varieties that presented
themselves in the several dispositions of my children.

You know the little history of their infant years, and that they were
ever with me. You know also of the frightful chasm in my life, which
succeeded. I dare not even now look back upon that period, nor is it
necessary; for you have nothing to do with the first years of childhood:
but till this moment I never told you of the heart-sting by which I
was roused from that torpor which had diffused a species of Upas shade
over my character for some years.

While I was buried in my cottage near Linton, in Devonshire, I was
attacked by low fever which threatened my life. It was not contagious,
and therefore I was not debarred from seeing my children. Frederick, the
eldest, was then twelve years old, and one day when he and his little
sisters came to kiss and say farewell before they took their walk, I
perceived my dear boy's cheek wet as it touched mine, and almost in the
same instant that the tiny group hurried from my room I found a scrap of
paper lying on the pillow upon which my head was reclined. I opened and
read the following artless effusion addressed

"To my beloved Mamma.

    And wilt thou also fall asleep?
    And must we never cease to weep?
    And can'st thou breathe a long farewell
    To those whose little bosoms swell
    With love, that would thy sorrows cheer,
    With grief, that finds no solace here?
    Oh take us to the realms of light,
    Or stay awhile thy spirit's flight
    Tho' angels beckon: hear our prayer,
    Nor leave thy children to despair!"

This first lisping of an almost infant muse produced an electric effect,
and seemed the proximate instrument to inspire a degree of resolution
which till then had been denied to my prayers; for God does his work in
our hearts by secondary means and not by miracles. From that hour my
mind appeared gradually to receive strength. I began to feel that
solitude was too selfish an enjoyment; that I had active duties which
claimed a share of my thoughts. I prayed earnestly, I exerted myself
unceasingly, recovered health, and then determined on the great
sacrifice of re-visiting Glenalta. The anguish, which that effort cost
me, it would be as impossible for me to express, as it would be painful
to you to conceive. Enough of this! Your request for assistance in your
new character has led me back through a labyrinth of past time, and my
pen has almost unconsciously pursued the train.

The excellent tutor who was procured for me by my invaluable friend
Edward Otway, seemed as if formed expressly for my purpose. I could not
have borne the society of any mortal who expected to be made a
companion, nor could I have allowed my children to associate with a
person who did not deserve to be made a friend. Mr. Oliphant, old enough
to be my father, yet cheerful enough to be the play-fellow of my
children when he was not their teacher, religious, benevolent, learned,
simple in his manners, enthusiastic both in acquiring and imparting
knowledge, and never desiring other company than that of his pupils and
his books, was the man whom I found at Lisfarne under the roof of my
friend, and waiting the arrival of my family at Glenalta. A few dreadful
struggles over, we commenced upon the "noiseless tenor of our way." I
read every volume of which I had ever heard upon education, and found
instruction in a short paper upon the subject, written by the late Mrs.
Barbauld, whose pen was called upon to direct the conduct of a father
and mother who found themselves the parents of a darling only son, and
possessed of such affluence as to induce them to give a carte blanche
for whatever might be suggested as most likely to succeed in making this
object of their common affection all that they fondly desired to see

Her letter in reply to their solicitations for advice, was published
many years ago in a periodical work entitled "The Inquirer," and
contains more strong good sense in a few pages than I have ever met with
in the many ponderous quartos which maternal anxiety induced me to wade
through. Mrs. Barbauld tells her friends to be themselves in daily
life, in all their habits of speaking and acting, that which they
desire to impress upon their son. The quantity of Greek and Latin,
logic, and mathematics, which he might attain in the progress of his
studies, or the place in which such knowledge should be acquired, she
wisely leaves in a great measure to other advisers; and resting on what
is surely of far higher consequence in the human compound, namely the
principles, the sentiments, the opinions which it is desirable should
actuate the conduct of the future man, she admirably remarks that the
moral atmosphere by which youth is surrounded, is the real
teacher--not the tutor or governess who lays down precepts in the

We are told in holy writ, that "the children of this world are wiser in
their generation than the children of light," and we may fairly draw a
similar comparison between the young and the more advanced of our fellow
creatures upon earth. The whole strength of a child lies in his
sagacity, which accounts for all the acuteness employed by young people
in observing looks and actions, and in developing the secret motives of
those in whose conduct they are interested. In low minds this acuteness
degenerates into cunning, but in all children there is a quickness of
intellect, a readiness in deducing effects from causes, and marking
inconsistencies between theory and practice, which ought to operate as
a powerful incentive with those who undertake the care of youth, to make
singleness of heart and a broad bold integrity the rule of every act in
life. It is in vain that we talk of the beauty of truth, while we employ
dissimulation in our intercourse with society; or descant on the
advantages of occupation, while our own days are passed in idleness and
sloth. Words go for very little, whilst it is what we are doing that
secretly determines the bias of our children either to imitate or avoid.
Powerfully impressed with this leading truth, I endeavoured to act upon
my conviction. My rules were simple, few, and determined. I avoided as
much as possible the multiplication of decrees, and, where it was
practicable, rather sought to shew my little flock the path in which I
wished them to walk by accompanying their steps, than to point out by
prohibition that which was to be avoided. The success with which a
merciful Providence has blessed my humble efforts is not granted to all
in the same degree; but all must try for the goal, though it may not
be given to reach it in every case. The original structure of the human
mind is after all the great thing, and our best endeavours can but
improve or restrain; but will never create. That belongs to higher
influence. You know my feelings, and how much I prize one unselfish
movement of the heart above all the intellect that ever adorned the
greatest philosopher; and therefore it is that I have tried with such
incessant care to cultivate the affections of my children. Here again
nature must co-operate; for there are characters so phlegmatic, so cold,
so inclined to contradiction, that no kindness will warm them into
confidence and love. But though we do not make sufficient allowance for
the vast variety of constitutional temperament, and too frequently
expect equal results from different soils, which will always disappoint
our hopes; a careful study of the materials upon which we are to act,
and a judicious application of culture according to the grain and
character of those materials, will seldom fail of repaying our labours
by such harvest as it is reasonable to anticipate.

I have, you see, only attempted here to give you a loose sketch of my
ground plan. You must ask specific questions, to which you shall have
the best replies in my power to give: but if I go on tacking my thoughts
together generally upon the subject of education, I may be giving you
what you do not want. Tell me, then, all your difficulties as they
arise, and as far as my experience can remove them you may rely upon my
inclination to assist your virtuous resolution of supplying a parent's
place to your poor brother's orphans.

The many volumes devoted to the subject of education are frequently
written by people who have, like the spider, spun out the web of their
theories from within, and then applied those tissues to creatures of
their own imagination, fitting and conforming the one to the other as
nicely as Cinderella's slipper was found to suit the princess for whose
foot it had been made. Such books remind me of a fine contrivance which
should be devised with mathematical precision by one wholly unacquainted
with practical operations. The machine is set going, and the influence
of friction alone, upon which our philosopher had never calculated in
his closet, is sufficient to overset the entire speculation.

I must now employ the remainder of my paper in mentioning the arrival of
my nephew Arthur Howard. His health is far from being robust: but I
flatter myself already that our balmy breezes from the sea, and
fragrant gales from the heath-covered mountains, which nearly surround
this little glen, have been of use to him. Nothing could be more
delightful to my heart than his perfect recovery, if I might hope that,
with renewed health, he were to inhale amongst us some better notions
(for I cannot dignify his nonsense with the title of opinions) than
the silly society of his poor mother, and those vapid votaries of
fashion with whom her hours are passed, have infused into his youthful
mind. Arthur is not more than twenty, and has so good an understanding,
combined with a remarkably open, candid nature, that I cannot bear to
think of his being misled by vanity and folly. He is very engaging,
though in the high road to be spoiled, if we cannot, by some
necromancy, contrive to make him love our peaceful pleasures at

It is to me a source of great amusement as well as delight to be a
silent observer of the group by which I am encircled. I had prepared my
dear Frederick and his sisters to find their cousin frank and amiable,
but sadly led astray by the tyranny of fashion; and it is really more
interesting than I can express, to behold the sweet assiduities of these
beloved children in administering to his wants, endeavouring to promote
his amusement, and softening his prejudices by the most endearing
kindness, and gentle, judicious opposition. So nice is the tact which
singleness of heart, and affection inspire, that I have not had once to
animadvert upon any part of their manners towards our young guest since
he came amongst us, and as all their innocent projects for his
reformation, and delicate remarks upon the progress or failure of their
little schemes are imparted with the glow of confiding sympathy to me, I
am charmed with the discoveries which I am thus enabled to make in the
dispositions of my children, through circumstances calculated to place
them in new lights to my view.

My mind undergoes variety of emotion in considering Arthur, whose
conflicts of spirit I can clearly penetrate. Sometimes diverted beyond
measure by his rising indignation, I can scarcely preserve my gravity
when I see his choler ready to burst into furious invective against the
many pursuits in which my girls are occupied so new to him; then
checked ere it has exploded by some sprightly sally on their part, or by
his own evidently growing attachment to their pleasant society. Emily
reasons with him, Charlotte expostulates, and Fanny banters so playfully
with her cousin, that her merriment seems always with a magic touch to
restore his temper to its equipoise. Arthur you know has been bred up in
the school of the world, and holds all its doctrines with tenacity.
Accomplishments make up all his idea of female education. To sing, play
on the harp and piano-forte, speak French, and know enough of Italian to
quote a line from Metastasio, are the utmost extent to which he would
permit a woman's lore to extend. Any thing more than this, every degree
of literary information beyond the poems of Lord Byron or an Album, is
voted blue, and Arthur's eloquence is in continual exercise upon the
absurdity, inutility, and vulgarity of learning in a lady. His tirades
are met with such perfect good humour, and he is so frequently indebted
to those resources in his cousins which he affects to despise for
varying the pleasures of his day, that I prophesy a change in his
opinions, but it will not be wrought all at once. We must patiently
endure some more reproach, ere our young man of fashion will declare
himself a convert, but such is the charm of mind over matter, that I
think we shall conquer in the end.

My dears all unite in most affectionate loves to you and yours with my

    Attached friend,

    Caroline Douglas.

Mr. Oliphant returns from his northern trip next week.


Arthur Howard to Charles Falkland.

My dear Falkland,

Here comes the day for sealing my promised packet, which you will find
to contain the last week's register of matters and things as time glides
on at Glenalta.--Well; shall I begin by giving you this day's
impression, or travel, like a crab, backwards, in order to get forward?
As the latter will be in the Irish style, and also conformable to my
promise, I suppose that I must give it the preference. To return then--I
made up my budget on Wednesday night, went to bed, tossed about rather
feverishly for an hour or two, partly from this plaguy cough, which was,
I conclude, excited by my journey, and partly, no doubt, from the
irritation of my temper. Sleep, however, that "sweet restorer," as
our poet so beautifully calls it, came ere long to my aid, and my eyes
were closed until they opened at once upon Lewis, and the most brilliant
sunshine I ever beheld!

"Lewis, I will get up before the family are stirring--I want to look
about me, and see something of this place before breakfast." "Lord,
sir," replied my squire, "the people of this house I believe live
without sleep, at least if I may judge by what I have seen as yet. I was
up myself at half past six, and the young ladies were coming then from
the sea when I went down stairs. They are off upon some other prank now,
for I saw two of them on donkies, and Mr. Frederick is, I know not
where, but certainly not in his room, for the door and windows of it are
wide open."

I jumped up, and at eight o'clock sallied forth in quest of adventures.
The Glen, in which my aunt's dwelling is situated, is most assuredly
quite lovely; and this time of the year is so charming in itself, that
it is provoking that all things here should not be in harmony. Just
conceive a set of Blue Stockings in a scene fit for nothing but
love-music and romance,--faith it is mortifying; not that I am near so
angry as I was when I last wrote. No; they are all very prudent, I must
own; but the accursed thing is there, and only waiting for an
opportunity to overwhelm me;--but to my diary.

I had not gone ten yards from the hall door, along a winding pathway
that leads through a wood to the sea, when, fascinated by the beauty of
every thing around me, I thought that I would run back for my
sketch-book, and try if I could not at least take notes of the view
near the house, particularly as I shall leave it so soon, before I
joined the family party. Just as I regained my own room, I met pretty
Fan, looking like a rose-bud. "Fred. and I have been searching every
where for you, Arthur, to give you your little dose of milk warm from
the cow, which I am determined shall cure your cough, and make you as
fat as my Flora." So saying, off she skipped, desiring me to wait for
her return, and in a few seconds she came back in the character of Hebe,
bearing a goblet of high-frothed milk instead of nectar, not for
Jupiter, but your humble servant. Never having been paid such an
attention in all my life before, I felt rather at a nonplus. Not a line
from Scott, Byron, or any of our British bards!--no, not even the
"Thought upon new milk," at which you and I have laughed in the Rolliad,
came to my relief. Not intimate enough to be thus served by a princess
of the castle, without returning some acknowledgment, and nothing
either chivalric or poetical starting to my rescue, I was completely
at fault, and looked, perhaps for the first time, something like Simon
Pure. Fanny, however, did not seem to observe any thing but the main
point of whether the draught were honestly dregged to the very
bottom.--"Drink it all; the conserve of roses, I dare say, will reward
the last gulp,--there, that is a dear boy--it will do you good;" and
away flitted my nymph of the mountain, saying, as she sped along, that
she would come and walk with me in a moment. Scarcely had I lost sight
of her, before she was back again; and all animation, with youth,
health, and good humour, she ran up to me and said--"Old Lawrence does
not treat me so formally as you do; he does not look surprised when I
offer him a glass of milk; but smiles kindly, with a 'bless you, missy,'
as my reward."

"What," answered I, "have you been meting out your favors this morning
to a set of pensioners, amongst whom I have the honour to be classed? If
that be the case, my gratitude might be taken from the general
tribute, and hardly missed."--"Oh, then, I see how it is," replied my
little coz, "you are offended at me for having taken care of a helpless
old man in company with a smart and fashionable young one; but you will
not be angry when I tell you, that this dear old soul is the precious
mother's foster-father." "And pray, my amiable Fan, what is the meaning
of foster-father, for in my life I never happened to hear of such a
relation."--"Well, you astonish me, Arthur; I find that you have a great
deal to learn. Old Lawrence, or Lorry, as you will soon be taught to
call him, was husband to mamma's nurse. Nanny is dead, and much did we
grieve for her; but it is a great consolation for her loss, that we are
enabled to make her excellent and aged partner so happy and comfortable
as he is at Glenalta. Remember, too, that the blessed sun does not shine
less brightly upon you, dear Arthur, because it warms our poor old man:
and when you think of this, you will never grudge him a share of
Drimindhu's milk."

"And who, may I ask, is Drimindhu?" rejoined I. "A favourite cow. Our
Kerry cows are beautiful, and not unlike those of Alderney; but Drim is
my own property, and her milk is better than any other; at least, I
think so, or I would not give it to you and Lorry. Have your sisters
pets of this kind at Selby?" "No, indeed, my sisters know very
little of cows; and I question whether they ever heard that it is these
animals which supply us with milk. Louisa and Adelaide live for a great
part of every year in town, and when they go down into Buckinghamshire,
or to Brighton, or elsewhere, they ride and drive, but never take any
part in domestic affairs."--"Well, then," answered Fanny, "I am sorry
for it--they lose a very great pleasure by not cultivating a love for
the country and its pursuits. The act of loving is so delightful, that
it always seems like the soul's sunshine; and I never understand the
character of the Deity so well as when I think of Him as a God of Love."

Though I could not refrain from smiling, I felt for the time that
Fanny's view of things was very contagious. The splendor of a May
morning, the freshness of Nature, and the concert of singing birds, had
put me into a disposition to be pleased, and the simplicity of this dear
little girl had all the stimulating effect of novelty on my senses.

At this moment, turning round a wooded knoll which we had been skirting
while thus engaged in a sort of conversation so unlike what I had ever
been accustomed to, a group of three donkies appeared in view. "Here
they come," exclaimed Fanny; and, darting with the fleetness of a
greyhound, she flew to meet her sisters, who were attended by a
peasant-boy, carrying a basket before him. Nothing could be more
picturesque than the scene, and it was much heightened by the approach
of these rustic equestrians. While I was moving towards them, a fine
pointer passed me by at full speed, and a tap on my shoulder announced
Frederick, who came running across the grass to join the party. A few
moments brought us together, and, to my amazement, the brother and
sisters met with as much demonstration of gladness at sight of each
other as Louisa, Adelaide, and I could have mustered after a year's
separation. The effect was pleasant; and, if sincere, this affection
which the people here discover towards each other has something very
comfortable in it; but it is only calculated for this sort of place,
and, like hospitality, naturally flies into these recesses of the earth,
where the objects are scarce upon which one's practice can be exercised.
Politeness is necessary to a certain degree in the world, and even
that may be overdone; but beyond this how little of the heart does one
see brought into play, and indeed on a great theatre the thing would be
impracticable, if it were not such a bore as to render an attempt to
love every one that a man meets as absurd as it is impossible. But I
digress.--Large coarse straw hats shaded my pretty cousins from the sun,
which shone brightly. The eldest has a peculiar expression, made up of
the intellectual and pensive, which is singularly agreeable, though her
features are not regular enough for what requires no periphrasis to
describe, but is at once called beauty. Charlotte is very pleasing also;
her countenance is less strongly marked than Emily's by reflection, but
it is quick as lightning--and full of sensibility; while Fanny's face
exhibits a mixture of all the varied characteristics of both her
sisters', or may perhaps be more properly denominated a mirror, in which
every movement of their minds that makes it way to the surface, is
shadowed with fidelity.

All were in a hurry to get home lest my aunt should be kept waiting a
moment; and so quick were the subsequent operations, that Frederick has
assisted the two damsels from their donkies, the riding costume was
doffed, as if by magic; and ere it seemed possible to have gone
through half the preliminary work of preparation for breakfast, a bell
tingled, and hastily pocketing my sketch-book, I quitted my station near
the house, where I had lingered to make a memorandum of the spot, and
was met at the door by Fred. who stopped my entrance, saying, "Arthur,
my mother fears it may not be agreeable to you to attend family prayers;
and, as you are an invalid, I am desired to say, that you are not to
consider yourself bound to our hours, or observances; therefore, my dear
fellow, as you have of course said your own prayers, do not think it
necessary to join us; but Lewis has been asked, and as it is pleasant to
be sure of religious instruction for the servants, I came to mention
the circumstance, lest you should want your valet."

Now the fact was, that though you know I do say my prayers generally,
and think the practice a right one, I had not knelt down on that
morning. The stimulus of a new place, the vexation of the preceding
evening, and a sort of restless curiosity to look about me, and make my
observations while I had an opportunity of being alone; all excited me
to quit my room as fast as I could, and I did so without a syllable of
devotion: behold me, then, again caught in the trap; and having
blundered out something of being "very happy, &c. &c." Frederick led the
way, and in a small room where there was no appearance of eatables, I
found Mrs. Douglas and her daughters.

My aunt, who is about forty, is a heavenly looking being, without being
handsome in the common sense of the word. Her character of
countenance, manner, dress, is entirely and exclusively her own,
without conveying in any thing the idea of eccentric. Her smile is
lovely, and seems to warm into life and serenity whatever it rests upon.

    "At length her sorrows drew a line of care
    Across her brow, and sketch'd her story there.
    Years of internal suffering dried the stream
    That lent her youthful eye its liquid beam;
    A mild composure to its glance succeeds,
    The gayest look still spoke of widow's weeds."

The exquisite lines, written by I know not whom, from which I have made
this extract, seem to have been drawn for my aunt. The portraiture is
perfect; but I must not forget that we are all fasting. I was received
with "welcome, my Arthur," which I do not know why, gave me a lump
in my throat--a mixed sensation of pain and pleasure, which I have very
seldom experienced. The servants, neatly dressed, and decorously
arranged, lined the room. Fanny placed old Lawrence's cushion, and a
psalm, which was read by Frederick, was succeeded by a prayer from his
mother, pronounced with such a thrilling pathos, that I felt it "knock
at my heart," as our friend Russell said one day of an Irish melody. I
admire not only my aunt's selection, but since she must have family
devotion, her judgment in limiting the time which it occupies to so
short a period. Nobody seems either tired or inattentive; but the
petition is so simple, so energetic, and so reasonable in point of
duration, that really one cannot say much against the practice, after
all: custom, too, familiarizes one in a day or two to kneeling down
among the servants, so that on the whole I have no right to complain;
and as I shall not describe our genuflections again, you may fancy me
performing my matins and vespers with monastic regularity. The Roman
Catholic servants here attend as punctually as the Protestants, and of
their own free will, as my aunt dreads hypocrisy, and therefore
deprecates the idea of compelling her household to a mere lip-worship;
but her prayers include all who require divine assistance, of whatever
kind; and the people seem to feel that she is truth itself.

Well, we went to breakfast, and a very nice one it was. The soil of this
country and its humid atmosphere appear favourable to grass, and all the
dairy department is much better managed than in England, at least as to
the excellence of the milk, cream, and butter, when brought upon the
table; for I do not profess to be acquainted, as yet, with the
manipulations which they undergo.

"My children, have you been fortunate in your ramble this morning? What
plants have you brought me?" asked Mrs. Douglas. I now expected a first
dissertation upon stamens and pistils--felt myself starching my
countenance involuntarily into a most repellent expression, and was
hastening to swallow a bit of toast that I might turn to Frederick while
the Linnæan lecture continued, when Emily quickly, but joyously
answered, "Oh, I am delighted to tell you, that we found every thing you
want except the club-moss."

Much pleased, as well as surprised, I ventured now to hint about the
botanical books which I had glanced at, adding, "I thought that you were
all learned in botany as well as the whole circle of sciences." A hearty
laugh went round the table, and Emily replied, "We know a few plants,
and it is very amusing to go in search of them in our mountain
walks."--"And pray," I asked, "have they not all long Latin
teeth-breaking names? I dare say you know some scientific title for
club-moss." "I do know another name," said Emily, "but the English is
always the easiest and pleasantest, when one does not want to be
precise." "Then, Emmy, we may set about our recipe to-day, I think,"
half whispered little Fan. Growing bold, now that I had broken the ice,
I proceeded to say, "So then you are doctors, too. Upon my word, it is
somewhat formidable to come into the midst of an academy in this
unprepared manner. You should all put on wigs, and write treatises; and
you should inform your friends what course is necessary to be read
before they come to examination."

What answer I should have received to this sally, I cannot tell, for in
the moment of uttering it, the door opened, and my aunt's dear friend,
Mr. Otway, made his appearance. The vivid joy with which he was greeted
was quite unlike any thing that I had ever seen, before my acquaintance
here; but it was neither noisy nor overwhelming, and though certainly
very unfashionable, I could not for the life of me help feeling how
very delightful it must be to excite so much lively emotion of a
pleasurable kind by one's presence. Mr. Otway's presence was welcomed
with rapture by the whole group, though in the expression of each bien
venu there was something individually characteristic. My aunt's
reception of a person for whom she feels affection, is touchingly kind;
and while the bright glow of hospitality lights up her whole manner and
appearance, the gleam is accompanied by a sort of tender melancholy,
which would evidently conceal itself were it possible, but which, when
interpreted, seems to say, "there was a time when you would have been
doubly welcome, for then I was not alone."

Her smile brings that beautiful image in Ossian to my mind, which you
and I have admired, "It was like a sun-beam on the dark side of a wave."
Fanny's exclamation, upon Mr. Otway's entrance, was, "Oh, dearest
Phil. can this indeed be you?" To expound this extraordinary
salutation would have been difficult when first I heard it; but I am now
enabled to say, that this gay assembly christened him "The Philosopher,"
because of his extensive knowledge, to which all the family are in the
habit of appealing as to a great bank of deposit; and it appears, that
no letter of credit drawn upon it has ever been dishonored. Phil.
then, is short-hand for philosopher, and my ear is now familiar with
this playful abbreviation.

The first effervescence over, I was presented to, and met with a cordial
shake of the hand by Mr. Otway, to whom I must now introduce you. He is
about five-and-fifty, tall, and striking in his appearance, with a fine
forehead, remarkably intelligent eyes, and splendid teeth. His manners
are easy and polished: and though the first coup d'[oe]il was a little
in the Robinson Crusoe style, yet, when he put off a large and shaggy
looking cloak, laid by a prodigious staff, like that of a watchman,
which he held in his hand, and got rid of a cap, the laps of which were
folded over his cheeks when he first came in, I perceived that he was a
remarkably well-looking man; perhaps I should say distingué most
decidedly, and thereby hangs a tale, for my evil genius was at hand, and
I got into a scrape on account of him ere an hour elapsed after his
introduction; but not to anticipate, it seems that a long illness had
confined him for some time, and this was the first visit that he had
made on foot, which was the reason of his being unusually muffled, and
also of the more than common happiness expressed at sight of him. He sat
only a few minutes, but promised to dine on the following day; and
immediately after his departure my aunt, addressing herself to me, said,
"Arthur, my love, we are a home-spun set of people here, very unlike the
world to which you are accustomed, and instead of passing our mornings
in amusement, we go to our several occupations till two o'clock, at
which hour you will always find luncheon in the breakfast-parlour, and
your cousins ready to ride or walk; but as you must not be expected to
drop all at once into our old-fashioned ways, Frederick and Emily shall
be your companions to-day, Charlotte and Fanny to-morrow. In this
manner, you will be acquainted with our walks, and introduced to our
sunny bowers. When Fred.'s next examinations are over, he will be a free
man; and in the mean time you will, I know, bear with our
stupidity."--So saying, she pressed my hand, and left the room, followed
by the younger girls.

"Shall we walk or ride to-day?" said Emily. "We are your attendant
knights," answered Frederick, "and wait your decision." "Oh, oh!" quoth
I, "Sir Charles Grandison upon our hands:" I did not, however, say so
aloud; I thought it better to feel my way a little, and only replied,
"Certainly."--Emily, with perfect ease, rejoined, that she thought we
might perhaps do both, and, turning to her brother, added, "Suppose that
we take him first through the Glen, then round the coppice to Lisfarne
Wood; and after luncheon, if Arthur is not tired, we may ride up the
mountain, and shew him the bay." Matters were arranged in a moment, and
forth we sallied, Frederick presenting one arm to his sister and the
other to me. "Pooh! what a piece of ceremony you are," said I. "How so?"
eagerly asked Emily; "Fred. is so affectionate, that he cannot be
formal: his heart always serves with him in the place of etiquette, by
suggesting all that the most genuine politeness could dictate: his
attentions are not confined to strangers; but, unlike those of cold
mannerists, are bestowed upon the people whom he loves best."

This savoured of a sting, and I felt my colour rising; but in a second
I found that none could have been designed; indeed, how should it, for
they knew nothing of my conduct with my sisters, and therefore could
never have intended a stab in the dark. "Plague on these retirements,"
thought I to myself, "where there is no standard for good manners but
people's own crude notions of what is right and wrong! This ponderous
machinery of morals, brought to bear upon every trifle, is as difficult
to be at ease with, as the heavy cross-stitch, long-backed chairs of
antiquity which are just suited to such buckram, and it is a pity that
the furniture at Glenalta is not in keeping with these straight-laced
puritans who are its inhabitants."--Thoughts are rapid, and these flew
over my mind so fleetly as not to be fashioned into any sort of
utterable form, when the gay cheerfulness of my companions dispelled the
passing cloud, and we took a delightful walk, which was enlivened by a
great deal of pleasant conversation. We talked of Killarney, which they
tell me I must visit when I cease to bark. We planned some boating
parties, which, by the bye, will be just the thing, and kill two birds
with one stone; for the physicians, my mother tells me in her last
letter, desire me to go upon the water, and as I like it excessively I
shall have the credit of being a very docile patient. They tell me that
there are some curious remnants of antiquity, which I am to see; and, in
short, we cut out work enough to occupy some time, which, if I can spin
out in this back settlement of mankind, tant mieux.

Well, but now for my scrape, and a devil of a one I can tell you it
was. While we were jogging on as merrily as possible, Fred. made a hop,
step, and jump into the bottom of a ditch, "Emily, what is this?" as he
snapped at something growing near the bottom. I do believe, answered
she, that it is a leaf of the parnassia; but to make sure, we will
keep it for dear Phil. This unlucky Phil. was my stumbling block. "By
the bye," I said, "he is a very fine looking man of his age," and
totally forgetting where I was, Old Nick put it into my head to add,
"pray, is he one of aunt's aspirants?" If I had fired a pistol at
Emily, she could not have been more amazed. For a second she stood
motionless, and then burst into tears. I begged a thousand pardons, and
asked how I had offended, while Frederick, exactly as if he had been her
lover, pressed her hand with the most affectionate solicitude, and
leading his sister towards the bank, we were all seated by a sort of
tacit consent in a moment. A silence while you could reckon ten, ensued,
and I felt foolish enough, as well as vexed, at such a contre tems in
the midst of our good humour. Again I mentally cursed botanists,
philosophers, and precieuses, though I must own they were not to blame
upon the present occasion, when it was my own confounded folly in
forgetting what a Ninette à la Cour I had to deal with that produced
this vexatious kick up. But while I was biting my lip, and thinking
what I should say next, Emily brushed off her tears, and seizing my
hand in the kindest manner, gently implored my forgiveness, as if she
had been the offender, and with as much naïveté and tenderness, as if
she had never read a word of Greek or Latin in her life, said with
energy, "Arthur, will you pardon me. I know that you could never have
meant the least degree of unkindness; I was very foolish not to
recollect in the instant when you spoke, that you were only jesting; but
I am so jealous for my beloved mother, and feel such love and respect
for her valued friend, that unaccustomed to any other sentiments than
those of reverence and affection, I was quite unprepared for your joke,
which I know you will not repeat: say that you forgive me." I felt
really grateful for this good-natured address, because I had certainly
distressed her, and I therefore said very sincerely that I was sorry for
having inadvertently touched a chord that vibrated so sensitively,
adding, "but you do me only justice in believing that nothing was
further from my intentions than to wound your feelings. I live in a
world where such things are said every day with impunity, and in fact
(if you will not be angry with me for explaining) I meant simply to
say, that Mr. Otway and my aunt seem well suited to each other. She is
still a very attractive woman, and he seems to feel that she is so. Now
dear Emily is not this 'the very head and front of mine offending?'" "I
will try and not again expose myself," said Emily, "by giving way to
impulses which should be under better control; it is very wrong, as well
as silly I know, to judge all things and people by the same standard;
and therefore I ought to have remembered, that the gay circle of fashion
in which you live, must of necessity be governed both in habits and
opinions by a rule as different as possible from any that guides our
simple hearts in the Kerry mountains. Now then, here is my bargain,--I
will not be angry any more, and you will not draw conclusions, till you
are better acquainted at Glenalta. When you are, you will not be
inclined to repeat the treason; you will then see clearly how much you
mistake the characters of the persons who surround you: when the subject
may be more interesting than it can be while you are a mere stranger
here, I will give you a sketch of Mr. Otway's history; till then, you
are to be a calm observer."

All this was said with an air that partook of playful and serious; and
while it conveyed the most cheerful pardon to me, intimated as clearly,
that the error I had committed was not a slight one. Frederick gave an
encouraging look at his sister, and merrily turning to me, finished, by
saying, "We shall all be intimate by and by, and see each other as we
really are; till then, we must obey our little mistress." Frederick and
Emily appear quite devoted to one another. We recovered our fracas very
speedily; and after a walk through some of the most beautiful scenery I
ever saw, returned home. Just as we were leaving a coppice that joins
with the shrubbery grounds, a poor woman without shoes or stockings, and
one of the most grotesque figures I ever beheld, popped upon her knees
while we were crossing a stream; recollecting suddenly that I was now in
the island of saints, I expected to hear an ave at least from this
poor disciple of St. Patrick; but with uplifted hands, streaming eyes,
and county of Kerry whine, she invoked the "'blessed Virgin' to shower
down her best gifts on Emily's head" "Oh Miss, mavourneen, Jem is
well again, and going to work; and I made bould to come over the
mountain with a bit o' fish and a little hen for ye." "Eileen, I thank
you heartily," said Emily, "and am very glad to hear that your husband
is better; but where are your shoes and stockings?" "Honey, I left 'em
at home, a fear I'd be wearing 'em out too soon; but the flax you gave
me is a'most spun, and when I gets the price of it, I'll have another
pair of stockings, and then, plase God, I'll not come to your honor any
more bare-footed."

How strange is this sort of thing! and yet this creature, scarcely
human, had a kind of natural grace about her which I believe to be the
offspring of enthusiasm: she was not at all abashed by my presence, but
tripped lightly along with us, as if assured that she was welcome to
Emily, who seemed her principal object, though turning to Fred.
presently, she exclaimed "Och, then Maisther Frederick, how low my poor
Jem was the last day that your honor comed to see him! sure he called to
little Tade, and tould him to bring down the priest, and not tell me, a
fear I'd be fretted; and sure enough, Father Clancy come to us afore
night fall, and said a dail over him in gibberish like, that Jem didn't
know a word of; why then, ever since, he's growing better every day; God
bless Father Clancy, and the physicks that I gets from Miss Emly."

I was much amused: this was worthy a place in Miss Edgeworth's Absentee;
but we were now opening a little wicket into the shrubbery, and Eileen
stopping, told Emily that she would go round, it not being fit for "the
likes of her to come in front of the house." Emily's answer was, "you
should come this way my good Eileen, if it was the shortest, but you
shall go round by those trees, because you will get rid of your load
directly by doing so, and I will go with you to keep Carlo from barking
at you." How new to me is all this attention to the feelings of mere
peasants; and yet my mother's family are all zealous reformists, and of
course talk much of the people. The reason no doubt of all this is to be
found in the total ignorance of the world which prevails here. We had
now come within a few paces of the verandah, when Fanny, with a
delighted face, flew up to her brother and me, "Pray do look! the warm
sunshine of this day is bringing out my grubs, and I shall have
butterflies before the usual time." "Aye, Fan," said Frederick, "but you
will not prevail on this day's warmth to last, and your early
butterflies may be killed by frost, if you force them out before their
time." This was a new idea, and abated Fanny's joy, who now ran off to
consult her mother and Emily upon this matter of importance. I find my
obedience to your commands, will involve me in quires of paper, so if
you do not desire a stationer's bill of large amount to be brought in to
you, upon your return, you must let me skip now and then, after giving
you these peeps into character.

Imagine now a nice luncheon furnished with fine apples that have
outlived the winter, milk, honey, and sandwiches. Suppose us all met,
and an arrangement entered upon, for the mountain ride. Charlotte,
Fanny, Fred. and I, mounted, and my aunt setting out in a little donkey
cart with Emily, upon some of their inventions. We took a charming ride,
and I certainly feel this air quite a balsam in itself. These dear
little girls; think of their having prepared Iceland moss, and made up
the finest stuff you ever tasted for a cold, which they have left in my
room. At every turn I find some mark of kind attention, and all this
without fuss, or the slightest demand upon my gratitude.

Brother and sisters were gay and agreeable during our excursion.

Frederick is a very fine fellow, with excellent abilities and noble
spirits; and in short, what with sunshine, soft air, fine views, and
good society, I came back to Glenalta in monstrous good humour,
notwithstanding that I was put in mind of my morning's annoyance by the
sight of Phil. driving up to the door in a gig just as we reached
home. The bell rang, (for I do assure you that we do things here
secundum artem, and dress for dinner), and we separated after greeting
Mr. Otway en passant. A very good repast, at which Eileen's fish made
a figure, as also some extraordinary sea-kale which is a matter of
rivalry between the houses of Glenalta and Lisfarne, Emily trying one
mode of culture and Mr. Otway another, came to an end in due season
without the least stagnation, such as one so often witnesses in the

Mr. Otway is decidedly a very superior man, his conversation displays
extensive information, and, what is singular enough, though I am given
to understand that Killarney is now the limit of his excursions from
home, there is nothing awkward about him. He is accounted by all, except
this family, a great oddity, for he does not mix in society with the
neighbourhood, and is given to solitary walks and musing, which people,
less cultivated than he is, do not understand. He is not an idler
however, as they tell me that his life is a continued series of active

When the dessert was put upon the table, and the servants gone, we drew
our chairs very snugly round a blazing billet, which the evenings are
just chilly enough still to render as comfortable as it is a social
sight; and just as we had formed a crescent about the fire, that
sly-boots, little Fan, looking over at me, with the most innocent
archness imaginable, made an appeal, for which I was not quite prepared,
and addressing herself to Mr. Otway, suddenly asked him, "What is the
meaning, dear Phil. of calling people Blue-stockings, whose stockings
are really white?"

Mr. Otway smiled, and answered, "Blue-stockings, my Fan, is a vulgar
slang for learned ladies."

"Why not for learned gentlemen too?" replied Fanny.

"That is more than I can tell you, unless for the reason, that those who
have given this nickname to your sex, are of the other themselves, and
there are not many men who like ridicule, when it is brought home."

"Then I am to understand that the appellation Blue Stocking implies a

"Certainly, a learned lady is the terror of all ignorant men, and to
cover their own idleness, or incapacity, they never fail to under-value
what they do not possess, particularly if they find knowledge and
ability in those, whom, as females, they consider their inferiors; but
you ought to apply to your cousin, who can give you the latest
edition. I am an old squaretoes you know, and words change their
meaning every day. Howard, unde derivatur, modern Blue-stockings if
you please?"

I felt a little awkwardly, but answered, "Mr. Stillingfleet, I believe,
is the origin. At least his Blue-stockings at Mrs. Montagu's soirées
are the only parentage that I have heard of for the term, and you have
defined it."

"Well," said Fanny, "this is odd enough, for it appears that a gentleman
wore the blue-stockings, which are transferred to the ladies; but now
Phil. I want to know why learned ladies are disliked. I always thought
that people were esteemed in proportion to their knowledge, if they made
a right use of it."

"There," answered Mr. Otway, "you have yourself told the whole secret;
if they make a right use of it. Now it has happened that some ladies
have made a wrong use of their talents and attainments, and thus have
drawn reproach upon the whole sex to which they appertain."

"What is this wrong use which has been so heavily punished, may I
enquire," interposed Charlotte, while my aunt, Emily, and Frederick,
seemed quite delighted with this curious catechism.

"The word display, includes the whole charge," said Mr. Otway. "Some
women have foolishly destroyed the ease of society by an unseasonable
introduction of their acquirements, and a pedantic exhibition of the
variety and extent of them in pompous expression, unsuited to mixed
companies, and uncalled for by the occasion."

"But why visit the faults of a few on the whole sisterhood," interrupted
Fanny, with eagerness, "Mr. Otway?"

"Because men are very uncandid in their judgments, and find it easier to
get rid of a vexation by annihilating the cause, than by regulating the

Emily here begged to know "whether men were never vain-glorious, and if
they were, why they too were not nicknamed."

"In fact," said Mr. Otway, "dunces and fools hate in men, as well as
women, whatever they cannot understand or appreciate; and the terms
Bookworm, Philosopher, Quid-nunc, &c. are frequently employed to
designate persons of superior erudition; but men are simply avoided as
bores; women are contemned as rivals."

At this moment I chanced to look at Fanny, and saw a tear gliding down
her cheek. In the instant of being observed, she started up, and
throwing her affectionate arms around Mr. Otway's neck exclaimed, "Oh
never, never, will I call you Phil. again, which is the short name with
us for philosopher. Why did you not tell me before that it was a term of
derision? I love you as our dear friend, and I thought it the most
delightful thing possible, to know so much as you do, and to be so like
the Encyclopedia as you are."

It was not in nature to resist this sally. We all laughed heartily,
though I saw a responding tear glitter in my aunt's eye, and Mr. Otway
impressing a parental kiss on Fanny's cheek, explained in a few words,
assuring her that however he might feel undeserving of the title which
she had bestowed upon him, yet, as being her gift, it was so valuable
that he would not exchange the appellation of Phil. for the most
beautiful name in the English language.

Fanny's gaiety was immediately restored, and as the conversation hit my
fancy very much, I was glad that Mr. Otway resumed it by saying, "the
reason why display of a little learning is not so common amongst men as
women, is not that they are less subject to vanity than the latter, but
because their vanity is differently directed. Learning being the
business of all educated men, there is nothing on which to plume
themselves in knowing a little Greek, Latin, and mathematics. Every
school-boy does the same, and it is only pre-eminence in these studies
which renders a man remarkable. Now real knowledge, extensive
learning, and powerful intellect, of the highest class, preclude
boasting for two reasons, first because I believe that it may be
asserted of such minds, that they are most sensible to the great truths
of religion, which, above all monitors with whose influence we are
acquainted, inspires genuine humility; and secondly, because it is the
nature of knowledge to render those who have made the greatest progress
in its attainment most keenly alive to the deficiencies of all human
intellect. 'A little learning is a dangerous thing,' and flippancy is
ever the offspring of superficial information."

"Now unfortunately some of the female sex having just tasted of the
Pierian springs, have become stimulated to intoxication, without
proceeding to the sobering draught recommended by the poet. Then, as a
woman's education does not usually comprehend either classical or
scientific literature, a very slight proficiency in either will make a
great shew, just as a solitary candle will do in a dark place; but there
are silly people to be found in every country as of every age, and
both sexes." "Pray then," said Emily, "would not the abuse of learning
be remedied in a manner kind as well as efficient, by making
knowledge fashionable, rather than by condemning half the creation to
ignorance? If girls were generally allowed to acquire more information
than it is customary to teach them, there would be an end of what you
call blue-stockings, and women would not boast of a little reading any
more than they do of drawing or music."

"You are perfectly right, Emily," answered Mr. Otway, "the best gifts
may be abused, and the improper use of any good that we possess can
never be considered as a sound argument for relinquishing it. Neither do
men argue in this way when the question relates to money, power, rank,
or any of those advantages which they desire to achieve. Now, my own
opinion is, that much of the unhappiness of married life, as well as the
insipidity of mixed society, results from the present style of female
education. Accomplishments are ornamental, yet they are only the
acanthus that decorates the pillar, not the pillar itself. The most
empty mind, the worst regulated temper, may be the portion of a young
lady who plays and sings like a professor, who draws and models, who
can take casts, and sculpture marble. All these things, however pretty,
occupy neither the highest nor the best powers of the human mind; and,
generally speaking, they are pursuits which suppose exhibition. There
are few who cultivate them on their own account; and thousands arrive
at excellence in several branches of polite education without natural
taste, merely to attain certain ends, and when they are compassed, the
scaffolding is thrown aside altogether; the fingers are given a holyday,
and the unfurnished understanding stands confessed in all its vacuity.
If the vessel be not valuable from what it contains, it naturally
follows that the external fashion will determine its estimation; and
thus a short-lived grace comes to be the pearl of price; and when the
bloom of youth is past, there is no fund to support the long evening of
life. A sleepy animalized existence at home, or a perpetual search
after excitement abroad, succeeds. Both sexes degenerate, society grows
more vapid, and more vulgar, every day, till reduced to its coarse
elements of mere sensual attraction, folly ends in vice, and things are
worse and worse, till some new impetus arises to change the entire
system. If companionship be the charm of social intercourse, why should
not both sexes cultivate those qualities and attainments which, besides
being most intrinsically excellent, promise durability?"

"Arthur," said my Aunt, "you must represent the world, and reply to
Mr. Otway." "Well then, with deference to his opinion," said I, "let it
be remembered that there is no necessary connection between the amiable
qualities of heart which we admire in woman, and book knowledge. On the
contrary, I should say that reading is a selfish pleasure; shut up in a
library, surrounded by grammars and lexicons, people are not likely to
improve their tempers half so much as in the endeavour to please by
proficiency in music, dancing, drawing, sculpture, and all the list of
elegant accomplishments which every mother in the fashionable world
procures with the utmost anxiety for her daughters. In fact, the
establishment of a girl who has no fortune, absolutely depends upon
her power of attraction; and when you reflect that men seek society to
unbend their thoughts, and to get rid of the studies, as well as the
cares which oppress them in the several walks of busy occupation,
whether in the field, or the closet, the senate, or the court, I cannot
help feeling that matters are very happily adjusted in the division of
labour, which the general sense of mankind has adopted, and that women
have no business whatsoever with any thing but the agrémens of life,
and should leave to us the whole toil of reading and thinking."

"Well I am sure," said Fanny, "the motive is so kind that the
arrangement ought to be a good one. What do you think, Mamma?" "My
love," answered her Mother, "I shall lie by and be a listener. The
argument is in very good hands, and I shall keep my opinion in reserve,
for a single combat with Arthur, when he is inclined 'to fight the
battle o'er again.'"

"We will take Emily's judgment upon this question," said Mr. Otway:
"Emily, what think you of the gallantry which Fanny conceives to be
deserving of such praise?" "Indeed," ingenuously answered Emily, "a
kind motive, I should say with Fan, is so sweet, that it inclines one to
find fault with great moderation; but, however amiable the desire to
save our sex all trouble, I must own that I do not at all admire the
expedient, nor think that it seems to be a judicious one. Reading is a
great pleasure to me, and if books were denied me, I should feel a void
in my life which I do not believe it would be easy to fill; besides, the
day is so long, if one rises early that I do not see why there should
not be time for many things as well as music and drawing."

"Come, come," said Mr. Otway, "it is not generous to profit by the
simplicity of our panegyrists. If the motive for denying, or, at least,
grudging to women the advantages of a sound and a literary education,
be analyzed, I fear that it will turn out but little creditable to our
sex, and the proof that it is so, may rest on the circumstance that the
cleverest and really best informed men are those who encourage female
ambition to soar above the common standard. These men delight in
superior talents, and cultivation wherever they find them. They are not
afraid of rivalry, and their minds are too large to take pleasure in any
supremacy which is produced by exclusion. The lazy, and the tyrannical,
would fence in their privileges, and not permit to women a participation
in what they choose to call their inherent rights; the former to save
themselves the trouble of acquiring knowledge, and the latter because
they would depress and enslave the sex to which they would allot no
higher calling than that of administering to their amusement? Is not
this a true bill?" I could not deny that there was some force in the
statement, but urged the general voice as being considered the best
criterion of what is good in itself, and then advanced the necessity of
making some difference between two sets of beings destined to such
dissimilar offices. "Men are born to action. They live in public, they
preside in the councils of nations; they provide for the families that
look up to them for protection; they labour in the field with their
hands, and in the closet with their brains. When the toil of life is
suspended, they desire relaxation, and to be gratified by the charms of
beauty, grace, sweet music, and good manners."

"And these are all compatible with much higher and more dignified
powers, and purposes," rejoined my antagonist. "Some writer, whose name
I forget, has said, 'tell me your amusements, and I'll tell you what you
are.' There is a great deal of wisdom in the idea, and it holds good in
forming an estimate both of nations and individuals. The love of gain,
the dread of poverty, desire of fame; in short, a thousand motives may,
and do, constrain men to engage in pursuits which make the business of
life. A set of shoemakers, or a privy council, merely as such, are
brought to a level with each other, the one party as tradesmen, the
other as ministers, and the only difference that we perceive in
contemplating the body, in either case, resides in the superior or
inferior skill of the workman or the statesman, compared with his
fellows; but when the low occupation of the one, or the high employment
of the other, is brought to its close, and the man retires from his
labours to unbend in the enjoyment of the social hour, it is then that
we find of what materials he is made.

"We will suppose first of the humble artizan, that one takes the fruit
of his toil to the public-house, where it is spent in company with the
idle and the vicious; that from thence he proceeds to the pugilistic
ring, and gambles away the remainder of his earnings, while his mind is
brutalized by the nature of the sport, and his wife and children are
left to starve. Here you have no hesitation in condemning such an
appropriation of time and money; nor do I believe that you would find
any greater difficulty in bestowing your praise upon the industrious
father who, gathering his children round the evening fire, can
participate with the goodly partner of his cares in the task of rearing
a young family to virtuous principles and prudent habits as his best
happiness. Trust me, my young friend, that in the higher classes of
society we may trace as much variety of character as in the humbler
walks; and vice is both as vulgar, and unholy, when varnished over by
fashion, as it is in those situations that present its deformity to
view unveiled by the gloss of rank and fortune. Why should recreation be
found only in the inanity of sloth, or the stimulus of dissipation? Is
such recreation worthy of a rational creature? I do not mean to say that
music and merriment are not very agreeable, but are these less pleasing
because they are not the sole resources? Here are my dear little
nurses, whose kindness during a long and painful illness I shall never
forget. Do you think that I dreaded poison in my cup, because Emily can
translate Lucian, and Charlotte is not perplexed by a quotation from

"Pray, pray, dear Phil." exclaimed Fanny, "say nothing about Greek and
Latin, lest Arthur, adopting the language of fashion, should call the
peaceable inhabitants of Glenalta, Blue-stockings." "Indeed but I will,"
quoth Phil. "and, as I design to enlist Howard as the champion of his
cousins, I think it fair to tell him all that he will have to defend."

Here was a pretty loop-hole for a civil speech, such as I did not
neglect, but declared my readiness to enter the lists, provided that I
was not to be considered a Don Quixote, prepared cap-à-pé, to fight the
battles of every distressed Blue, who might chance to be attacked by
an uncourteous enemy. "But, my good Sir," said I, "since we have gone so
far in this discussion, let me soberly and seriously ask what is the
use of learning in a woman? Is she handsomer, more lively, more
attractive, for having her head crammed with strange languages? If I am
to be a champion, I must begin my service by what may appear perhaps
rather ungallant, though I hope that the present company will acquit me
of any design to do otherwise than afford my best service, provided
that you succeed in converting me from opinions which I have been
brought up in a belief are founded in nature and good sense."

"My dear fellow," replied Mr. Otway, "do not profane the names of nature
and good sense by identifying the one or the other with fashion. I would
appeal to your understanding, and if that is not convinced of error, I
would leave you to the prejudices which you have imbibed. Let us then
now fairly meet each other. You ask, will women be made more beautiful,
more lively, more attractive, by being more instructed? Perhaps I may
encounter a laugh, if I answer yes; first, I always consider
intelligence as the greatest beautifier of a face, which, if handsome,
is lit up by an additional ray in every new exercise of the mental
powers; and if ugly is at least prevented from being stupid by
cultivation. But this will not satisfy you, because I assume the very
thing that you deny; so I will ask you, have men a right to consider
women as objects merely of gratification to their eyes and ears? Are not
women endowed with sense and feeling; with high powers of intellectual
energy, and immortal spirits like men? Were these gifts, think you,
conferred for nothing but to be employed in the arts of catching
butterflies? No, no--

    'Domestic bliss, that like a harmless dove
    Can centre in a little nest,
    All that desire would fly for through the world,'

is improved by all that gives variety and interest to the social union
of two souls destined to find the principal portion of their happiness
at home. The merely fashionable accomplishments can last only for a
season, and that very season which least requires their aid, for youth
and sprightliness are so full of elasticity and joy, that were music,
painting, &c. banished from the world, there is a halcyon hour in the
life of all, in which their aids would not be missed, because they are
not wanted; but the summer-fly, which gaily flits in the warmth of a
meridian beam, ought not to be our model. Life, like every four and
twenty hours, has its morning and evening, then its night. Do not start,
I am not going to give you a homily; I would only call an intelligent
mind to a quiet investigation of truth, and farther ask, when time
steals the bloom from beauty's cheek, and the song, which once charmed
the ear has died away--when the fairy fingers have lost the ease,

    'Which marks security to please?'

When the nymph is changed into the matron, and the sylphid form of
eighteen is transformed into the "mother of many children," pray what
becomes of companionship which had rested its sole support on the
evanescent perfections of youth, the very nature of which is to pass
away like a morning dream? Would it not be wiser first to consider the
human species as formed for a world beyond this, in which it is
appointed 'to fret our little hour,' and to make a vital sense of our
ultimate destination, the primum mobile in every scheme of
existence? This is the grand, the principal, the master-link of all
earthly union, because it does not end here, but binds the faster as
terrestrial things wax nearer to a close. Upon this broad base would not
rational creatures, who are expressly fashioned for each others' society
in this world, naturally be led to cultivate in common the greatest
degree of intellectual perfection? Do you believe that the
distinguishing, the ennobling boon of reason is granted to both sexes,
to be only exercised by a very limited number of one sex, and lavished
in thoughtless waste by all the rest? Never entertain such an idea of
the Creator, who has made nothing without its end, purpose, and design.
I do not expect you to become a convert in the twinkling of an eye, but
I feel as if we should one day have you added to our ranks, a staunch
partisan of better views than those which you have learned to advocate."

"Before you conclude," said I, "your introductory lecture upon Bluism,
you must hear my creed, such as I brought it to Glenalta. Do not suppose
that I think it possible for a society to be held together without the
bond of religion. Whatever errors I might have been inclined to fall
into, had I been left to myself, I have a friend, and that a youthful
one too, who has kept such a watch upon my sayings, doings, and
thinkings, as to preserve me at least from the grosser mistakes to
which young men are liable who have no Mentor to guide their course. I
am thoroughly convinced that religion is necessary in every community
that aims at being well ordered, and that women ought to be considered
as peculiarly its guardians; they are the nurses of young ideas, the
first shoots of which are directed by female solicitude, and it would
never do to have our ladies turn infidels."

"Very well," said Mr. Otway, "here are some strong admissions. You
believe in the absolute necessity of religion in a well constituted
state, and you are right; for if all the restraints which religion
superadds to those arising out of mere moral fitness and utility, be
quite inadequate to render men virtuous, a fortiori, they would not be
better for increased latitude to do evil.

"You next admit that the most valuable of all things here, because
that which best secures peace on earth and happiness in heaven, it is
peculiarly the province of the female part of creation to protect with
care, and distribute with zeal. Here is a high trust--here is a mighty
office, and it would naturally follow from your acquiescence in reposing
such confidence in a certain set of people, that you must admit the
propriety of rendering them fit depositories for the sacred trust by
some suitable preparation. Be assured, my young friend, that a
fashionable education will not achieve this end. But you must not
mistake me. I do not mean to assert that there is any necromancy in
learning this language or the other. I would only be understood to say
that during the early years of childhood there is time enough for much
more than is usually taught to girls from five to fifteen; and while the
memory is retentive, the curiosity fresh, and all the faculties ready
for action, it is a pity that food for the mind should not be provided
of a more substantial kind than is generally supplied. In learning the
dead, we attain the principles of living languages; we become able to
trace our own mother tongue to its source; we enlarge the field of
knowledge and of comparison; we search the Scriptures with effect,
because we are enabled to search them minutely; and why should these
advantages be denied to one half of the creation? Woman's empire is
peculiarly to be found in her Home. Whatever adds dignity to her
dominion, and variety to her pleasures in the scene of them, I must ever
maintain to be the best safeguard of national virtue. Barbarism and
excessive refinement are extremes of a widely-extended series, and like
all other extremes come to meet at last. The selfishness of the former,
exercises the pre-eminence of animal strength in compelling the weaker
sex to endure the fatigue of cultivating the ground, and performing
every servile occupation, in order that the stronger may enjoy, without
interruption, the coarse and sensual gratifications which constitute
their happiness; while the equally selfish, but more elegant sons of
modern luxury, exert a tyranny not less despotic, in reducing the female
mind to that dull level best suited to their own inglorious apathy and
sloth. The matter can never rest here. Providence has formed the sexes
for each other; and the mutual attraction is too powerful to be
resisted. To regulate the nature of this attraction is all that moral
improvement can effect; and I see with grief a mighty change in
progress. Our young men are (I speak not of all) cold, careless, rude,
and covetous; our youthful females are bred up as if for the stage, and
as, with all 'the means and appliances to boot,' the opera and the
theatre will always supply more finished specimens of singing, dancing,
and acting, than can be found elsewhere. We accordingly see that many of
our present generation of men are not ashamed of seeking the companion
of their lives, the wife of their bosoms, and the mother of their
future offspring, on the boards of Drury Lane or Covent Garden: thus
destroying whatever gives sweetness to domestic retirement. An actress
may possess more worth than many of the audience who gaze upon her
through their glasses from the surrounding boxes, but the charm of
modesty can hardly belong to her who lives in perpetual exhibition;
nor can the woman, whose sole profession is the study of fictitious and,
generally speaking, unamiable characters, be expected to have much time
for cultivating her own character to the profit of an immortal soul."

"But, Sir, you speak of the theatre. Our young women of fashion are not
players; and supposing that they were, and that we must all select our
partners in the school of Thespis, would the study of Homer and
Simonides, of Virgil and Horace, be a remedy for the evils of which you

"No, my dear Howard. I attach no magic to these authors. On the
contrary, there may be an overweening attachment to the ancients, and
there are still a few scholars of the old school who value every
thing that comes to them in Greek or Latin cloathing, and encumber their
pages with quotations which have nothing to recommend them beyond the
mere learning which they exhibit. But, returning to our argument, I deny
your premises. You assert that our young women of fashion are not
actresses: I maintain that they are.

"Aye, 'all the world's a stage,' now-a-days. Nature--beautiful,
refreshing Nature--is dismissed from what is technically called 'good
society.' Too many of our youth of one sex are become horse-jockies,
and pugilists--idle at school, dissipated at the University, and
ignorant of most things, except what contributes to animal ease and
luxury, they issue from the academic groves in full-fledged folly,
knowing little indeed of learning, either ancient or modern, but well
skilled in sauces and French wines. They are well read in the last
edition of Dr. Kitchener, they are connoisseurs in eating and drinking,
they can break their heads in the fancy ring, and their hearts in a
rowing match. But, alas! how comparatively small the number of those
who commence the business of life well furnished with useful knowledge,
learning, taste, discretion! with all those qualities in short which
ought to distinguish man from the inferior creation! How often are we
disappointed when we cast our eyes around, in this polished age of the
world, in quest of the materials which are to supply our future strength
in every department of the State! A youth governed by religious
principle, his head stored with science and literature, while his heart
expands to all the social ties of generous affection, is the only
character to whom the interests of his fellow-men may be fearlessly
consigned; because he alone feels what they truly are: and he only who
has learned himself to bow with respect to the wisdom of experience, and
conform to the discipline of moral rule may be trusted to watch over the
happiness of others. Yet such a being as this is a rara avis in
terris, while the degenerate race, which I before described, crowd our
streets and highways; and hope one day, through the influence of rank,
to take their seats upon our parliamentary benches, where they will vote
away our liberties, or relax them to license, just as interest guides,
or party governs. Believe me, my young friend, 'there is something
rotten in the state of Denmark;' and in turning our eyes towards the
other sex, the eye finds nothing on which to rest with more complacency,
except amongst the few who have sense enough to perceive and courage
sufficient to resist the tide of fashionable folly. In what is called
the world, it would seem that there is a guillotine established, to
which every intellectual energy is fitted by lopping off every germ that
buds beyond the narrow limits assigned as the modern standard. The heart
is forced to undergo a like operation; and all the young affections,
timid respect, and blushing reserve, which would seem to be the
indigenous growth of the female mind, are destroyed with as much zeal as
the gardener employs in restraining the luxuriance of his espaliers.
Dressed to a common model, both in mind and body, you pass from one
automaton to another, in a London drawing-room, without being conscious
that you change your place unless by the variety of glare in the colours
that surround you. These effigies neither see, feel, hear, nor
understand, except as machines may appear to do. Likings, dislikings,
looks, words, and actions, all are artificial; and natural disposition
is only displayed when it is too late to regulate its movements.
Marriage, like the fifth act of a play, brings matters to a conclusion,
and our young ladies drive off from the theatre to exhibit at home the
materials which really compose their characters. It may be that
vanity, only changing its diet, is still fed to repletion; but should
circumstances deny what habit and education have taught to be the only
good, disappointment will have its revenge, a hecatomb of domestic
victims must expiate the crime of all who withhold the accustomed
tribute that had been paid to the attractions of youth."

I could not restrain a sigh. The portrait was sketched with animation,
and the features of it were familiar to me. Our Phil. proceeded:

"I do not insist upon any of the acquirements which excite such
general terror. I see no specific for the evils which I have prescribed
in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chemistry, Botany, or Mathematics. My only
object is to deprecate ridicule, and to ask for a little portion of that
liberality which even descends to cant at the present day, in favour
of all women of whatever country, who are seeking mental improvement.
Let us only have an end of nick-names, which terrify the timorous; and,
with the enlightened policy which is beginning to operate in our
financial and commercial relations, let us renounce our narrow ideas of
monopoly, and open the way to a free trade of mind, unincumbered by the
taxes which retard its progress. Let us look a little higher than Mrs.
Montagu's formal soirées, and the quaint cerulean hosen of Mr.

    Fortunata la calza d'azzura e d'oro
    Cosi dilett' al Febo e l'Aonio coro."

Apollo and the Aonian choir do not seem to have made any exclusions
here. The blue and gold which are thus eulogized in Ariosto, may be
permitted to decorate the softer sex; and we have no right to laugh them
out of a costume which the gods themselves proclaimed as the livery in
common of all their votaries. But you have been a patient listener to my
inaugural lecture, and it is time to give you a writ of ease. You must
breakfast with me to-morrow, and we shall find plenty of matter for more
chat upon the world and its ways."

"Oh dear Phil.," exclaimed Fanny, "how delightful it will be, if Arthur,
under your tuition, ceases to be woman-hater."

A burst of merriment at my expense, was the consequence. When I
protested that nothing could possibly be farther from my character, and
that I had rather the credit of being a lady's man; her reply was,
"well it may be so, but if you wish to continue so vile a system as
Phil. has been describing, you would sacrifice one half of the species
to indulge the whims of the other."

Our little party now broke up; and after a very short interval we found
ourselves re-assembled in the drawing-room. It was agreed upon that Mr.
Otway's late illness rendered it imprudent for him to risk the effects
of evening air; and the whole family who seemed actuated by one
principle in renouncing self, immediately declared their intention to
amuse their guest and relinquish the afternoon's ramble. We passed the
evening, I cannot tell you how pleasantly. My aunt is a charming person,
and I cry peccavi. Though her appearance is singularly striking, and
the expression of her face quite heavenly, dignity is the natural
character of both. Gentle as a lamb, there is no weakness about her. The
mother shines pre-eminently in all her conduct, and after one hour's
observation of her manners towards Mr. Otway, I felt as ready to
contradict my own suspicion which had wounded Emily's feelings as she
could possibly be herself.

You and I have often argued the point of second marriages, of which I
was always the advocate; more, I confess because we see them every day
in the first circles, than from thinking much upon the subject one way
or the other; but though I hardly as yet know why, it would grieve me,
were my aunt to marry again.

We had music, chess, and conversation, which never flagged, but I cannot
detail any more of this day's history. Phil. staid to prayers, in which
he joined with the appearance of genuine piety; and I retired to my
room, shall I own it, in a state of mind very new, and by no means
disagreeable. I felt excited without delirium, such as succeeds the
whirl of dissipation in town. My mind seemed full, my heart glowed, and
a sort of reality appeared connected with every thing around me at
Glenalta, quite unlike what I have ever experienced before. Do you know
that I was inclined two or three times this evening to turn hermit, and
live in Kerry. However, the fit will not last. The arrival of a stranger
is always met with something like a flourish of trumpets, which quickly
subsides, to say nothing of old Oliphant's return, which will tie a log
about our necks in a day or two.

As you will have exact accounts of all that we say, as well as do, I
find that I must resume my narrative in another letter. This has swelled
to an unconscionable bulk. Good night. In my next you may expect a
description of C[oe]lebs and his breakfast at Lisfarne, whither I must
go alone as the cousinhood seemed determined on giving a welcome to old
Squaretoes, the tutor, en masse. How primitive! Vale.

    Ever your affectionate friend,

    Arthur Howard.



    My dear Falkland,

    "Early to bed and early to rise,
    Is the way to be healthy and wealthy and wise."

If this be true, as the old spelling books have it, and as I saw
confirmed to-day, by the authority of a village schoolmaster, who had a
large class operating upon the above sapient apophthegm, which served as
a copy in the school, and which I have adopted for the heading of my
letter instead of an extract from some "old play," I may come out at
last a goodly example of rosy cheeks, full pockets, and well-stored
pericranium, for here I am living a life worthy of Hygeia herself. I was
up at six o'clock this morning, and according to an arrangement with
Emily, had an hour's walk with her before I set out for Lisfarne. When
we were retiring last night, I heard her whisper to Frederick that she
meant to visit "Susan" in the morning, and on inquiry, I found that the
said Susan is a poor woman residing in the mountain, for whom some
present had been prepared. Now, it occurred to me that before I saw Mr.
Otway at his own house, and particularly as I was to encounter him
alone, I should like to hear the sketch of his history, which Emily
had promised me at a future day, so following her to the foot of the
stairs, I told her how entirely I repented my error, and requested her
perfect forgiveness, proposing that she should seal my pardon by
allowing me to be her mountain beau; and moreover, that she should come
to our morning's walk prepared to gratify my curiosity. My petition was
granted; a brilliant sun-rise invited us to perform our mutual
engagement, and we had not made much way in the rugged ascent towards
Susan Lambert's wild abode, followed by Paddy, the running footman upon
such occasions, who trotted after us with a large basket, well stuffed
with I knew not what, when I reminded Emily of her task, and she gave me
the narrative, which I shall try to convey as briefly as I can of
Phil.'s Life and Character.

"Mr. Otway," said Emily, "was the dear friend of my father, and so
devotedly were they attached to each other, that even at school they
were always called Pylades and Orestes. At the University they lived
together; and the same day saw them both embark in the same profession.
For the character of that loved parent who was taken from us, before his
children were of an age to appreciate his various excellences, his
splendid talents, exquisite taste, and uncommon attainments, I must
refer you to his friend, who, it is probable will one day describe your
uncle, and tell you that he was indeed 'a man whose like we ne'er shall
look upon again.' I could not hope to do justice to the portrait, and
will therefore not attempt to draw his resemblance. My father and
mother, who seemed to have been peculiarly formed for each other, met in
early life, and became mutually attached, as one might naturally suppose
that two such gifted beings would be. Pecuniary circumstances alone
prevented their union; but while their happiness was retarded, their
affection was tried in the furnace, and came out purified. Mr. Otway
was the sole guardian of their secret, and the only support of their
long deferred hopes. After years of devoted constancy, they were
rewarded at last by such domestic felicity as I have heard from Mr.
Otway falls to the lot of very few on earth, and was too perfect for
continuance in a world designed by its Great Creator to serve only as a
vestibule to more abiding mansions. The friends were separated by the
tide of events, but never ceased to correspond. Once, and I believe but
once, imagining that he had found a resemblance of my mother, Mr.
Otway's affections were engaged, and he resigned himself to the
fascination of such an attachment as only minds of lofty pitch are
capable of feeling at once noble, disinterested, and devoted. The lady
whom he loved was rich, while, he at that time, was a younger brother,
and but slenderly provided for. The dread of being suspected of
mercenary motives, sealed his lips; and a man of fortune making his
appearance, the object of his thoughts proved how little worthy she was
of such a being, by marrying this more opulent suitor after a very
short acquaintance. So dreadful was the shock which our dear friend's
sensitive nature sustained upon this unexpected event, that his life
nearly fell a sacrifice to the conflicts which he endured. My father and
mother were now his staff and solace in the hour of trial; and their
tender solicitude, aided by time, restored to comparative peace that
generous spirit which had nearly sunk under the pressure of
disappointment. He travelled, and ere the expiration of many years, was
recalled to England, by the death of his elder brother, which event was
followed at no great distance of time by that of Mr. Stanhope, the
husband of her who had so cruelly trifled with his happiness. Mrs.
Stanhope was the mother of an only child, and the noble character of our
friend overcoming every selfish retrospect, cast off the memory of past
wrongs, and he stepped forward to offer the aid of his best services to
the widow and the orphan, without, however, I believe, even for a
moment, entertaining the remotest idea of renewing his suit. His lot had
been cast; he had retired from what is called the world, and though so
far from becoming a misanthrope that all his fine qualities appeared to
expand when he obtained the means of making others happy; yet he never
seemed to calculate upon any change in his own situation. Though
delicacy and feeling prevented him from ever uttering a harsh sentiment,
his friends were of opinion that he had arrived at a full conviction of
having misplaced his affections in early life; and that conviction once
attained, he never sought to hazard a new experiment."

But the care of young Stanhope became a favourite object, and no
assistance which the most efficient friendship could bestow was withheld
from the boy's mother. Lisfarne was part of the property which devolved
to this invaluable neighbour of ours by his brother's bequest; and the
retired beauty of the scenery determined him to make this his asylum.
His next object was to induce the beloved companions of youth, who had
shared the gladness of his brightest, and dispelled the clouds of his
darkest days, to come and live in his immediate vicinity. He purchased
Glenalta for my father, and by his good taste and activity, transformed
its rude wilds into the little paradise which you see. Here resided the
happiest family which, I believe, ever existed; but I cannot talk of
home, I must proceed with the story which I promised you:--Mr. Otway
received a letter from a Solicitor in London, to say that the interests
of his young ward (not that he was legally so) required his immediate
attendance in town. It was to him a most disagreeable undertaking. A
recluse through long habit, and devoted to the society of Glenalta;
active in the discharge of such multiplied duties at Lisfarne, as could
ill spare his vigilant eye and beneficent heart, it was great pain to
set out upon a journey without understanding its object, and plunge anew
into scenes which he had abjured in idea for ever. But dear Phil. only
hesitates till he has satisfied himself concerning what is right to be
done, and there is no farther pause--he proceeds to execution. To London
he went, and never shall I forget how much we longed for his return; and
what blazing fires of heath telegraphed his approach upon our
neighbouring hills. On reaching town, he only waited to refresh himself
before he set forward to the Solicitor's, from whom his summons had
issued, and the mystery was soon unravelled. Mrs. Stanhope had married a
young fortune-hunter, and was endeavouring to prevail upon her son, then
a child of fourteen, to make a settlement on his pennyless stepfather.
Relying on the influence of her former attractions, she had prepared a
scene, and desiring her Attorney carefully to abstain from giving Mr.
Otway the least intimation of her new tie, she burst upon him in the
moment of his entrance at Mr. Scriven's house, dressed in fashionable
attire, which had succeeded in all the gay colouring of a London
milliner's shop, to the garb of sorrow in which he had seen her arrayed
in one personal interview after her husband's death. The only time of
their meeting had been upon that occasion, when he begged permission to
consider himself as guardian to her child, thus proving that, though he
had ceased to love, he still felt the kindest and most sacred interest
in her fate. Disgusted now beyond the power of controlling his
feelings, he put a speedy termination to a conference, the manner, as
well as the matter of which had excited his utmost indignation; and
assuring her that if any undue advantage was taken by her influence over
the minor, a suit should be immediately commenced against her and her
husband, he took a hasty leave. Frightened by these menaces, the lady
retired, and soon announced her departure to the Continent, where, about
two years ago, she died of a broken heart. Mr. Otway's business
completed, he quickly returned to his favourite retreat, and loved to
wander alone along the beach which surrounds a part of his demesne. My
dear father once caught him upon a rocky promontory with pencil and
paper in his hand. The question of 'what is that? Has Otway secrets with
me?' was answered by 'it is a worthless scrap; take it, but Henry
touch not that chord again--it jars upon my ear, and spoils all
harmony.' I will now read you the lines which my father obtained by this
surprise. It is the only poetry which even mamma has ever seen of her
friend's writing.--Here Emily read to me the following stanzas:--

On first seeing Stella in a coloured dress after her second marriage.

    "Stella! thy beauty rested on the shade
      Of sorrow's lonely night, like that fair flower,[1]
    Queen of the dark, whose tender glories fade
      In the gay radiance of a noon-tide hour.

    "That flower supreme in loveliness--and pure
      As the pale Cynthian beam thro' which unveiled
    It blooms--as if unwilling to endure
      The gaze by which such beauties are assailed.

    "And in the solitude of Nature's sleep,
      Unfolds such treasures to the midnight gloom,
    As gem the vault of Heaven in silence deep
      When widowed wanderer seeks the mouldering tomb.

    "Yes! like the velvet-soft, and snowy star,
      Wrapped in thy sable garb, it erst was thine,
    With unassuming lustre, spreading far,
      In mild and chastened majesty to shine.

    "Each stranger footstep that approached the fane,
      Eager to view, yet fearful to intrude;
    Seemed to partake the dread of giving pain,
      By glance unhallowed, or by finger rude.

    "And has Aurora chased the sable cloud,
      And, even jealous of a twilight grey,
    Dispelled with sudden touch that mourning shroud,
      And with her saffron robe unfurled the day?

    "Alas! the graceful Cactus now no more,
      Queen of the dark, asserts her silver reign,
    Her empire nought on earth can e'er restore,
      With other faded flowers she strews the plain."

[Footnote 1: The Cactus Grandiflora, or Night-blowing Cereus.]

"These lines," continued Emily, "first taught my parents the nature and
extent of those feelings which had outlived the blights of early hope.
They appear to prove that, however shipwrecked had been his own
happiness, Mr. Otway had respected a perfect freedom of choice, and,
though Mr. Stanhope differed widely from him, he had tutored his
unselfish soul to consider this rival as the successful candidate in an
election, the honourable fairness of which he had no right to question.
It would seem that, in the depth of his heart, Mrs. Stanhope's pardon
had been sealed, and when the death of her husband released her from her
first vows, a romantic mixture of affection, which borrowed a reflected
glow from the memory of brighter days, and that high and delicate
respect of which the most refined and exalted minds alone are capable,
spread round the consecrated image a mantle of fond protective kindness,
akin perhaps to love, as pity is said to be, but so beautifully
tempered, that it would never have passed the sacred boundary of
friendship pure as angels might have breathed. The unseen bonds which
had silently preserved connection between our friend and a woman whom I
can never believe to have been at any time deserving such attachment as
he bestowed, was rudely severed by Mrs. Stanhope's late conduct; and,
for some time, the impression which such levity as was discovered in her
second ill-assorted marriage made upon a mind almost morbidly sensitive,
threatened to impair the benevolence of a character formed to shed on
all around an atmosphere of happiness; but a strong sense of religion,
which is the pole-star of his every action, gained its second victory;
and time gave him back, once more unshorn of his beams, to be the life
and animation of that little society who enjoy the blessing of his
presence. I must hurry you through the remaining part of my memoir,
not only because we are arriving at Susan's cabin, but also because it
is so interwoven with the sorrows of Glenalta, that I fear to trust
myself with a theme too fresh in recollection to bear the light; suffice
it to say, that Heaven has given us such a friend in Mr. Otway, as no
measure of gratitude can ever repay."

Emily paused, and I expressed my warm interest in her narrative, and
thankfulness for the eloquent sketch which she had thrown off; but as my
evil genius never even dozes in the county of Kerry, what should I
unfortunately add, but "Phil. indeed is a treasure, and I rejoice for
you all in such a tower of strength as his friendship affords to my aunt
and her family. Frederick too is, I dare say, his object, and will
inherit his possessions."

Emily blushed scarlet; her eyes were instantly suffused with tears, and
she seemed ready to choke; but, recovering herself in an instant, with a
little effort she said, "Arthur, I will not attribute any thing of
this sort to motives unworthy of you; I am determined to set down to
the mode of your own education whatever may appear like want of feeling.
You are mistaken in your surmises; but, while it pleases God to continue
to us the happiness which we now enjoy, let us not embitter life by
dreadful anticipations."

We reached the hut to which we were bound, and I had no time for reply:
I could only remark, in my own mind, on the difficulty of accommodating
the ways of the world to the peculiarities of these simple folks; yet,
at the same time, no doubt it is a pleasanter sensation to be
"Alcibiade ou le Moi," rather than cherished for the sake of one's
money.--On entering the cabin, alias cottage, we found a boy of about
twelve years old nursing a weeping infant, and vainly endeavouring with
one hand to scrape together a few expiring embers, while a poor woman,
apparently in the extremity of weakness, lay in a corner, upon a
miserable bed. "Susan, how do you do?" was answered faintly by, "very
ill, dear miss." "Where is Nancy?" "Gone to the fair to buy a bit of
flannel for the child, and her father is gone with her to sell our
slip of a pig."

"Arthur," said Emily, throwing off shawl and bonnet in an instant, "here
is work to be done, and we must not be idle. You have taken Frederick's
place this morning, and will kindly, I am sure, perform his duty: fly
and bring me a good bundle of dry heath, or any thing else that you can
find of which we can make a fire. Paddy, bring me a pitcher of water
directly; and you, Tommy, give me your little sister, and settle the
turf in a moment." So saying, she took the child, and soon set the poor
thing at rest with some milk, which the basket contained, while I, glad
to make the amende honorable by my alacrity, went off as if
quicksilver were in my heels, to rummage up whatever combustible the
mountain afforded. I was successful, and got credit for my speed. You
never saw any thing like the magic of Emily's operations: as if she had
been a peasant born, she broke up the sticks which I had gathered, and,
blowing with her breath, for the cabin was unfurnished with bellows, she
had a blazing fire in five minutes. Then, with a neatness and dexterity
which would have done honor to a Welch inn, she washed an old
sauce-pan, and put some meal into it to make gruel; hushed the baby to
sleep, and, after laying it by the poor mother, and giving the latter a
little weak wine and water, she desired Paddy to remain and stir the
gruel till her return; then, taking my arm, hurried down the hill, and
crossing a field which we had not come through before, tripped lightly
up to a half-ruined gate, which was fastened by a twig to an old post,
and disengaging this rustic band, lifted the frame, and we were in the
adjoining space before I perceived that my fair cousin, to avoid
interrupting our conversation, had performed the office of pioneer,
which, according to all the laws of chivalry, should have fallen to my
portion. I was going to apologize, when Emily pointed to a path, and
turning into another herself, bid me fly, or I should be late at
Lisfarne. We shook hands, and separated; and as I walked on alone, I
could not help moralizing on the novelties which daily present
themselves to my view. Lighting a fire, boiling gruel, sweeping up a
cabin-hearth, and singing lullaby to a squalid infant in a dirty dress;
and all this done and executed as if custom had rendered the whole
business perfectly familiar, by a young lady of family and education; a
scholar too, well read in Greek, Latin, Italian, French,--skilled in
botany, chemistry, and I know not how much more; in short, a Blue to
all intents and purposes. It is certainly neither more nor less than an
anomaly which as yet I am unable to account for.

The Douglas girls are totally divested of affectation. Whatever they say
or do, is said and done without the slightest reference to effect
farther than this, that the best tact seems to regulate every word and
action. The desire to impart pleasure makes them sure to please, and the
dread of giving pain must, I think, render it impossible that they
should wound one's feelings. Beyond this limit my cousins know no art. I
fancy that I see a half-suppressed smile curling on your lip, as you
exclaim, mentally at least, "What a revolution! Why here is Howard
talking sense like a doctor of the Sorbonne!"

I confess to some very sober thoughts as I jogged on to Lisfarne; but as
I was alone, I had nothing else to do except to muse and moralize;
however, no triumph. I enter a caveat against any manner of rejoicing. I
have not read my recantation, having a just dread of hasty judgments,
and also of old Oliphant: he is the Mordecai sitting in my gate, and
another week at Glenalta may bring out a very different story.

In four-and-twenty hours Kill-joy will have arrived, and then comes
Sunday, as if at one blow to crush one's spirits to annihilation.

These were my lucubrations en chemin faisant, and just as I reached
the hall-door at Lisfarne, the nine-o'clock bell ushered me in with
eclat, though as little hinging upon my entrée, as the thunder and
lightning which happened to synchronise with the poor Jew's carousal
over a pork steak at Genoa. I was met at the threshold by Mr. Otway, who
smiled a delightful welcome, and, taking me by both hands, accosted me
with, "My dear Howard, I am heartily glad to see you at Lisfarne, and
not the less so, because you are punctual. You should have had your
breakfast at any hour; but I love to see young people recollective." I
did not think it exactly honest to appropriate this compliment of the
old school to myself, as I certainly never deserved it in all my life,
and therefore expressed my happiness at not having kept him waiting; but
handed over to Emily the whole merit of Cindarillaship in this my
first visit at Lisfarne.

"Emily is a charming creature," answered mine host, "but that is nothing
wonderful at Glenalta, where such a mother presides. Howard, you have
the good fortune to reckon amongst your nearest relations, a little
group whose virtues would save the universe from destruction, were the
divine vengeance to overtake a guilty world, as in days of yore.--How do
you like your aunt and cousin?" "Extremely, were I to judge by what I
have seen; but we are new to each other, and they are very kind in
excusing all the blunders which a man wholly unused to retirement is
liable to make in a circle where a much higher standard of moral feeling
prevails than that which governs what we call 'the world.'"

Mr. Otway looked benignly at me, saying, "Come, we must not get into a
discussion now; you deserve your breakfast, and shall not be
interrupted." And a capital breakfast we had.

A beautiful Newfoundland dog lay at his master's feet; a fine
tortoise-shell cat purred upon the back of his arm-chair; and the
windows were presently assailed by an army of supplicants in the shape
of the finest pea-fowls that I ever saw.

"See what it is, Arthur, to be an old batchelor! I am obliged to keep my
affections from becoming stagnant, you find, by practising them upon all
these birds and beasts which you perceive are my companions as well as
pensioners." After feeding the numerous host, we sallied from the
breakfast-parlour, and Phil. escorted me to his study, a most
comfortable apartment, and well lined with books. He has a beautiful
collection of the classics, all the best modern works of science, and a
rich assortment of history and Belles Lettres. While I was glancing
over this, he pointed to a compartment in the far end of the room,
desiring me to examine its contents. "There I keep my novels, reviews,
and magazines; for you know, that 'all work and no play would make Jack
a dull boy;' and as I suppose that you do not intend to read yourself
into a consumption while you stay at Glenalta, I give you a letter of
credit on whatever amusement these shelves can supply." In this Poets'
Corner I found Scott's works, both in prose and verse; several other
modern novels of good name; and all the early poems of Lord Byron. "I
perceive," said I, "Mr. Otway, that you have not yet completed your set
of Byron's works; you have not got Don Juan, nor--" "Nor never shall, my
young friend," answered the sage of Lisfarne. "I cannot prevent people
who have money to buy and inclination to peruse, from reading these
works; but they shall not find them in my library." "Then, sir, you
are, I presume, of opinion that one cannot separate the poison from the
poetry, and avoid imbibing the one, while we enjoy the exquisite beauty
of the other."

"No, my dear boy; these are idle notions. Wherever vice is an ingredient
in any compound so mingled as to seize upon the passions, or delight the
imagination, the draught will always be injurious more or less. Even
those minds of finer mould than we commonly meet with, will not escape,
though they hate the contact, they cannot shun its defilement; and that
which is impure, must sully whatever it touches." "Well, I should have
supposed that good taste would protect a man of refined education. In
fact, such a man rejects whatever is coarse, and simply vicious: he
reads Lord Byron, not because of his occasional deviations from
religion and morality; but in spite of them he admires the splendid
genius who of all modern writers best understands, if I may so express
myself, the metaphysics of the human heart, while every man of feeling
must lament the shipwreck of such talents. The broad-cast pollution
which is necessary to season a mess for vulgar palates, must be
pernicious in the highest degree; but I confess I have never felt in the
same way of those polished compositions which are only read by people
of superior attainment, and who are fortified against evil by knowledge
of the world."

"Alas, Howard, these are nice distinctions, and lead but to delusion.
Our morals are much like a taper lit at each extremity, they are
consuming at both ends. You talk of coarse messes, seasoned to the taste
of vulgar appetite: believe me, it is a melancholy fact, that there are
cooks who undertake to cater for nicer stomachs, and who know how to
insinuate their poisons with such skill as to secure the custom of all
who are not proof against their temptation. That number, I fear, is
small; and as to the difference between vice well and ill dressed, you
will find that it is about the same with that which distinguishes
Tilburina stark mad in white satin, from her confidante stark mad in
white linen. Amongst the mal-contents of the present day, you hear the
complaint continually repeated, that there is one law for the rich, and
another for the poor: the charge is unfounded, and, generally speaking,
known to be so by the men who bring it forward. It will neither do to
have two sets of laws, nor of morals, in any country. The tendency of
all ranks in the community is to imitate those who are placed above
them; and this aspiring inclination is to be traced from the lowest
grade in society, till having reached the throne, you can rise no
higher. The self-same rule applies to religion. I was glad to hear you
say yesterday at Glenalta that you felt the absolute necessity of its
influence in a state for the preservation of order and virtue; and that
you considered women as the natural guardians of its altars. This is all
right; but you are egregiously mistaken if you suppose that women will,
generally speaking, take pains to nurture and cherish what is despised
by the other sex. There are a few, and very few, such beings as your
aunt, who appear to have dropped into our planet from some happier
sphere, and who adjust their principles of action to a model of abstract
perfection, with which common-place mortals are unacquainted. Such
beings only think of how to please God; but the mass of men and women
dress themselves daily in the mirror of each other's approbation, and
act reciprocally on each others' characters. Let one sex degenerate, it
matters not which, you will find the other follow in the downward

"But, my dear sir, these authors whom you decry, do not create vice,
they only exhibit it; and though I do not advocate the practice, yet
after all it would seem that men need not be much worse for reading,
than for hearing and seeing what is exceptionable. If infidelity and
immorality were only propagated by books, your argument against such
writers as Lord Byron would be unanswerable. But allow me to say, that
the Bible itself, in the strongest terms, insists on the depravity of
the human species, and offers the most flagrant illustrations in proof
of human delinquency. The hardness of heart, and unbelief of man, are
frequently held up to view in Holy Writ; and what does a Rochefaucauld
in prose, or a Byron in verse, do more than represent things as they

"If you consider the matter for a moment," replied my opponent, "I fancy
that you will be at no loss to discover some striking differences which
will sufficiently answer your question. The evil tendency of such
writers as Rochefaucauld, and all the class of satirists, who represent
man as a debased and hypocritical animal, does not proceed from the
truth of the picture, but from the manner of the painter. The scriptures
indulge us in no 'lying vanities;' they speak of the human race as born
in sin and the children of wrath; and Conscience, when we attend to her
voice, confirms the humiliating charge, with uncompromising fidelity.
But while the Bible, and those who preach its doctrines, point out the
disease, they likewise present the antidote. If they proclaim the
deformity of the natural man, it is to shew how the crooked may be made
straight; if they expose his weakness, it is to impart strength; if they
display his corruption, it is but to invite him to wash in those waters
which cleanse from all impurity. But such moralists as you support, if
moralists they can be called without absurdity, would seem intent on
excusing vice. The effect of their books is, as it were to legalize
iniquity, by representing it as invincible, and to destroy all sense of
shame by laying bare its concealments. Whatever produces this result by
means of a pungent and sententious brevity, is doubly injurious; for the
authority of a maxim is thus combined with the stimulus of evil: the
form is thus rendered portable and adhesive; and truths conveyed in an
epigrammatic shape at once flattering to our sagacity in an appeal to
its acuteness, and soothing to our faults by pronouncing them to be
universal, are not likely to be viewed as subjects for serious
lamentation; and the danger is, that the generality of men will
contemplate the moral sketches with feelings similar to those commonly
inspired by a spirited caricature; namely, a desire that the object of
ridicule may continue to exist, rather than not be so strikingly
pourtrayed. As to Lord Byron, who stands pre-eminent, like Milton's
Satan, at the head of all the mischief-workers of the present time, his
poison is of another kind: slow and penetrating, it is inhaled in the
breeze, and absorbed into the circulation; its effects are of the morbid
class; it seduces, it insinuates, and, like opium too freely used,
destroys every healthful function of the mind, and substitutes the
distempered energy of an over-wrought imagination for the wholesome
exercise of reason and the sweet charities of the heart. His beautiful
poetry, and an inexhaustible source of talents, rare as they were
brilliant, operate as cords which draw all mankind after him in bonds of
submission. Descriptions of nature or character, external to ourselves,
however happy in their delineation, interest but feebly in comparison
with what you justly call the 'metaphysics' of sentiment. This is the
most fascinating of all possible studies; it requires no labour, it asks
no preparation; and all people, whatever their pretensions in other
respects, conceive themselves qualified for the school of mental
analysis which Byron has instituted and endowed. A bad husband, a bad
son, a bad father, has but to retire to some 'rose-leaf couch, where,
nursing his dainty loves and slothful sympathies,' he may find, in a
volume of this too-attractive bard, an apology for every sin of temper,
every violation of duty; nay, so contagious is the influence of this
Byron-mania, that our young men cultivate the failings of their chief,
and seem to fancy that in becoming imitators of Childe Harold's
eccentricities, they may slide into his unrivalled genius. Selfishness
and egotism are to be found in the fallows of many a mind; but where are
our youth to learn Lord Byron's recipe for compounding them?"

Though not convinced, I was excited, and ventured again into the field,
by asking Mr. Otway whether good does not grow out of evil? "Surely,"
said I, "Truth, like a lazy corporation, would rely upon its charter,
and have nothing to do but fatten on its revenues, were it not for

    'Si Lyra non lyrasset,
    Lutherus non Saltasset.'

"The publication of wrong principles stirs up our slumbering virtue; and
besides, is it not useful to see exactly what we should avoid, that we
may have no doubts regarding what we ought to follow? If I had not been
the advocate of Lord Byron as a poet, I should not have had the pleasure
of hearing your excellent remarks." "No, no, young man; a specious
sophistry is not sound argument. I cannot allow you to misapply a
scripture rule. Though Providence has decreed that all things should
work together for good, it offers us no latitude to do evil that good
may come of it. Our duty is defined; we must perform our part as well
as we can, and keep ourselves unspotted from the world, leaving events
in which we have no power given us of interference to the wisdom of Him
whose ways are not as our ways. We learn much better from positive than
from negative precepts: do you remember the pretty little French song--

    'Jongeant à ce qu'il faut qu'on oublie,
    On s'en souvient.'

"The mind of man is easily corrupted, and clings with tenacity to what
it were better to forget. Believe me, that whatever we desire to keep a
stranger from the heart should not be familiarized to the imagination.
Vice is so alluring, that all the penalties appended to its indulgence
by the laws of God and man, are found unequal to its suppression; but if
the charms of wit and humour be employed to palliate its criminality,
and trifle with its punishment, we may anticipate the conclusion, and
expect to see the day when its progress will be unresisted. Do not fancy
that there is any class of men exempt from the danger of infection. The
stately quarto, like a whited sepulchre, may hide its contents under a
splendid covering, but death and destruction are its inmates: rank and
wealth confer no privilege, and afford no amulet to preserve from the
contamination of immorality, alike fatal in its effects to high and
low--rich and poor; but though I would guard you from giving yourself up
to such a pilot through Parnassus as Lord Byron, I love poetry too well
myself to withhold its enjoyment from my young friends. I am an old
bachelor, but I hope that you will not find me a severe ascetic; all
things in their season--buds in spring, blossoms in summer, and the
fruit to crown our autumn board. Youth is the natural period in which
Hope and Fancy delight to weave their golden tissues, and life is too
changeful a scene to make it necessary that we should voluntarily
abridge its harmless gratifications. We must not, however, sit here all
day, while such a brilliant sun is inviting us to walk; I have a great
deal to shew you, and we shall have many opportunities, I hope, for

We were soon in the fields. After seeing a great deal of well-kept and
tastefully disposed pleasure-ground immediately contiguous to the house,
excellent kitchen garden, and admirable farm-yard, stables, &c. we
visited an inclosure, called here the paddock, where were at least a
dozen old horses, which were turned to graze as superannuated
pensioners. "When any of these my old and faithful servants," said
Phil., "can enjoy life no longer, I have him despatched by a friendly
bullet." "But, sir, you might get money for these; they do not seem by
any means past their labour." "Not quite, perhaps, but they have
worked diligently, and shall now have a holyday while they live." From
the paddock we proceeded to a line of neat cottages, furnished each with
a strip of garden at the back, and ornamented in front by a little
rustic paling, thickened into a fence impervious to pigs and dogs, by
privet, sweet brier, and roses. "Here are some of your tenants' houses,
Mr. Otway, I suppose." "Why not exactly tenants in the usual sense:
these are poor people, who, like my old horses, have seen their best
days in my service, and it is fair that they too should rest from
their labours."

Showers of blessings were shed from these humble dwellings as we passed
along, which were repaid by kind greetings from their benefactor. With
one poor soul who sat in an arm-chair made of straw at her door, and who
was blind, the good Phil. shook hands, and said aloud, "Mr. Howard, this
is Kate Sullivan, the Queen of Pastime Row, which is the name given by
your cousin Fanny to this line of houses." Old Kate appeared to feel as
much delighted by this distinguishing compliment, as an autocrat of the
proudest empire could be in seeing all the nations of the earth paying
homage to his supremacy.

"God bless Miss Fanny, and all the misses of the Glynn," cried old
Cathleen; "they are the Lord's own children; and glory, honour, and
praise be to his holy name; he will make a wide gap for 'em whenever
they are going into heaven; and Maaster Arthur, my heart (for 'tis I
that very well has a right to know that you're he, and nobody else), if
his honour wouldn't be after telling you the maining of Miss Fanny's
concait, why, sir, 'tis, that she's a pleasant, funny craiture in
herself, and she have a double aim in wording the houses; for
pastime they say is all as one as games, and sport-like; and it
mains too, that (God be praised for all things) we are going down
the hill, as I may say, and past our time for being any good-for."

I charmed this old soul as much by laughing heartily, and entering with
spirit into Fanny's humour, as if I had presented her with fifty pounds.
She called an aged man from the next door to hobble out and join in the
merriment, which I dare say ran before it stopped, like an electric
stream through every conductor of the whole series. As we walked on, "I
perceive," said I, "that her majesty of pastime, is a Protestant, by
her assurance that my cousins are all travelling the high road to
heaven." "You are mistaken my dear fellow,--Kate has an ave for every
bead in her paddreen, which is the Hibernian version of Corona, or
Coronach; and blind as she is, is conveyed by one of my paddock horses
annually on the eve of St. John, to a holy well, not far distant from
Lisfarne. This little journey is all the work that the queen and her
cattle are able to accomplish; and the same beast, that 'roan barbary'
which came up to welcome us at the gate, has drawn Kate and her truckle
for so many years, that were Truepenny to die, I believe that blind as
is his mistress, she would find out that she had lost him, and be uneasy
till the priest was sent for, to shrive and anoint her, in the full
persuasion that her hour was also come."

"Well, you really do surprise me, but to confess the truth, you deal in
nothing but miracles in this county of Kerry. In less than a week I have
seen some strange things, which had any one presumed, ere I beheld them,
to say were existing realities, I should have laughed as the king of
Pegu is said to have done when he heard of nations being governed
without a monarch. I have seen Blue-stockings without pedantry,
refinement that has never been learned in the world of fashion,
religion free from cant, retirement unaccompanied by ennui; and now,
as my list goes on increasing like the story of the house that Jack
built, here is the Roman Catholic creed divested of bigotry; in the
shape of an old woman too, who fully expects, though a Papist herself,
to meet a Protestant family in the skies."

"Aye, my boy, and I hope that you will soon cease to wonder at any of
these things. The poor people of this island are brim-full of
intelligence and feeling; qualities which are of adjective character,
and increase the measure of good or bad exactly as they happen to be
associated. Were our peasantry fairly dealt with, the tables would
speedily be turned, and instead of that cold-hearted sarcasm which would
seem to be 'the badge and sufferance of all their kind,' you would see
their accusers glad to steal away, and hide their diminished heads."

"But, sir, this is peculiarly the age of reason, and you will soon be
able to bring your assertion to the proof. All the world is mad now upon
the subject of education, and I suppose the light of modern liberality,
which scorns the narrow principle of a churlish exclusion, has with the
eagle eye of truth, borne down and pierced the shades of prejudice that
may have hung upon your sea-girt Isle. Have you not schools at Lisfarne,
and Glenalta? and if you will let me ask one question allied to the
last, may I venture to enquire why you, whom I should imagine of all
men, the last to countenance ignorance and superstition, should abet
them both by sending old Kate upon her pilgrimage of folly, instead of
endeavouring to open her mind to the sun of knowledge?" Otway smiled,
and taking me by the hand, jocosely said, "why, Arthur, thou art fit for
a senator; we must have you in the House of Commons; you are an orator:"
then, resuming his usual expression of features, "you will despise me
perhaps," added he, "if I tell you that I am not bitten with the
fashionable school mania to the extent which you deem requisite to
constitute a liberal. I have two schools,--one of them, and by far the
most numerously attended, is for works of industry exclusively. To the
other I only admit such children as by a previous discipline in moral
conduct, and regularity of demeanor, earn the reward of being taught to
read. To this promotion there are two conditions annexed, which form a
sine qua non of admission. The first is, that the scriptures without
note or comment, should be read daily, the master selecting, according
to my instruction, such parts as are best adapted to the age and
capacity of his pupils; the second, that each child should bring a penny
per week, to create a fund for winter clothing, books, or whatever
occasion may require. In this way I endeavour to prevent the abuse of
letters, by preparing the soil for their introduction. Respect for
learning is increased, when it costs something to obtain it; and I find
a test of sincerity is established to a certain degree by this small
pecuniary condition, as people never pay for what they do not really
desire to possess. Though the money thus collected returns whence it
came, it goes back in another form. Like the dew, it rises in
imperceptible vapour, and falls in palpable, and refreshing showers. It
requires a slight degree of self-denial, even to allot a penny per
week in this manner; and there is a feeling of independence connected
with every benefit which exercises individual frugality in its
acquisition, while gratitude is still kept alive towards the fostering
hands which deal out the fund so husbanded for general good. Then again,
by not offering gratuitous teaching, I prevent many from coming, who
would not turn their learning to good account, while I may always
provide for an exception to my rule in supplying a worthy object who is
too poor to qualify, with means of contributing the appointed mite."

"Then, sir, I conclude that you think education may be spread too

"Certainly; in this country we cannot interfere with the religion of
the Mass. If I could plant a Bible in every cottage, I would teach all
men, women, and children to read it; but the accomplishment of reading
considered, without reference to religious instruction, is about as
necessary and suitable to a poor labouring man, as a gold snuff box
would be; and it is to me quite astonishing, that so many sober minds
should give into the opposite absurdity which prevails at present, with
a rage equal to that in the medical world for white mustard seed. We
never think of silk gowns or fine cloth for the poor; we do not dream of
serving up venison and turtle for them at a charity dinner; and, when
sick, we do not order them the South of France, or prescribe hock, ice,
and all the expensive delicacies become necessary to the luxury of our
opulent higher classes. All things should be in keeping. A man who
works for a shilling a day, eats his potatoes, and lies down to be
refreshed by sleep for the morrow's labour, has no need of literature.
It will neither make him happier nor better, unless you could secure the
use of his acquirement in increased knowledge of the word of God. Our
Irish Priests will not permit this. I do not mean to be hard upon them;
they are a needy class, usually taken from the lowest conditions of
life, and depending for subsistence on the measure of their influence
with the people. To keep the minds of their flocks in absolute
subjugation to their authority, is essential to their very existence;
and they are fearfully aware, that free access to the Bible would
quickly destroy their power, by undermining its foundation."

"At least," said I, "though the men cannot leave their spades, why not
teach the women? They could instruct the children, and the next
generation would reap the profit."

"Pooh, my dear Arthur, you are a young theorist, and float with the
fashionable tide. Whatever be the situation of one sex must be shared by
the other. A pair of diamond earrings would be about as appropriate an
appendage to the head of poor Susan, whom you visited this morning, as
the History of England, or a Treatise on Political Economy would be in
her hands. The thing is not wanted--it is out of place. The sordid cares
of life leave little time for bodily rest or mental repose; and unless,
as I said before, you can be sure of planting the one thing needful,
every moment which could be stolen from household toil, and devoted to
books, would be employed on the trash which is placed through the
licentious liberality of the press, within the grasp of all who
desire to quaff at the feculent stream. Music is a pleasing resource,
drawing is another, but you do not conceive these to be requisite for
the well-being of our cottagers. How are reading, writing, arithmetic,
and geometry, more allied to the happiness of an agricultural labourer
than the former? Remember always that my argument only applies when
the Bible is excluded or made subservient to the base purposes of
secular advancement by hypocrites, who employ it as a stepping-stone to
the favour of their superiors. Physicians do not read law, lawyers do
not read physic, nor either of them military tactics--and why? Because
they do not want a species of knowledge out of their department. The
same rule may be generally applied. A poor cottager has nothing to do
with letters, unless he be made better and happier by acquaintance with
them; and should his attention be directed to the tirades of Messrs.
Shiel and O'Connell, to the demoralizing details of practical vice with
which our newspapers unfortunately abound; to the ethics of Mr. Cobbett
or the religion of Mr. Carlile, instead of to the Sacred Volume, I
think that you must agree with me in doubting the growth of virtue and
contentment as the result of such studies."

I felt shaken, I must own, but replied, "The tide of public opinion is
so forcible, that we are often drawn along with it before we are aware
how far it will lead us. I confess that I have joined a hue and cry in
favour of universal education, without thinking much about the matter.
Experience, undoubtedly, must confirm or contradict the utility of its
unlimited extension, and I shall be happy to hear your farther
sentiments upon the subject, if you are not tired of my questions."

"Indeed, my dear Howard, you shall ever find me ready and willing to
discuss this and every other topic upon which I am capable of offering
an opinion; but we must not pass the day of your first visit to
Lisfarne, at school. We must have a little recreation this morning, or
I should despair of your coming again to see old C[oe]lebs in his cell.
I want to take you a walk along the sea shore, and, as the day is fine,
I am going, with your permission, to send one of my young footpads
over to Glenalta, to say that you will dine here; and should Oliphant
arrive, as I think he probably will by this evening's coach, you will
not regret being absent at the meeting, as you are a stranger to the
good man."

The name of Oliphant caused a sudden revulsion, and produced a complete
bouleversement in all my pleasurable sensations. A stripling
mountaineer was despatched, who flew like an arrow across the fields
with Mr. Otway's message, and behold us arm in arm skirting the wood,
and, ere long, approaching a bold headland which stood beautifully out
into the bay. As we jogged on together, I felt growing more and more at
ease with mine host, and at last ventured to give a vent to my
Oliphantphobia, by saying, "How I dread this tiresome piece of
parchment divinity that we are expecting! Adieu now to the cheerfulness
of Glenalta. This old bookworm is, I suppose, my aunt's domestic
sense-carrier, and will disapprove of every thing but black letter lore
in the mornings, and snuffling canticles for our evening diversion."

"I think," said Phil. "that having found yourself deceived in so many
preconceptions respecting Glenalta, you ought not to condemn poor Domine
without benefit of clergy. Suspend your judgment. If you do not like
him, you will differ widely from your family, but let him have fair
play; I will not bespeak your favour, nor stand sponsor to your taste."

We walked on, stopped now and then to look at the views, and, at length
turning into a zig-zag path, arrived by a short circuit at a little spot
of exquisite beauty. It was an archway rather than cavern in the rock,
extending inwards no farther than to form a bower of stone, if you will
admit such a description. Lined with ivy, which actually grows like a
tissue fitted to the irregular surface, and almost buried in arbutus, it
seemed as if the very Genius of Contemplation had selected this natural
alcove for her favourite haunt. I stood wonder-struck by the scene,
innumerable sea-birds wheeling round us, and uttering their plaintive
wailings to the wind. Rocks, ocean, solitude wherever the eye could
reach, while the sun-beams dancing on the calm surface of the "green
one," seemed to say, "you shall not indulge melancholy here."

Mr. Otway appeared much pleased with my silent rapture, and, after a
little pause, took me to a seat covered with the same luxuriant drapery
which hung upon the rocky walls, and which, without any apparent
assistance from art, formed a bench entirely round the cave.

When we were seated, Mr. Otway, with a sigh which seemed to break from
his heart, told me that this rude temple, hewn by nature from the wild
mass of stone under the shelter of which we were now conversing, was
sacred to my uncle.

"Here have I sat for hours with Henry Douglas, the friend, the companion
of my youth; and listened with unwearied delight to the flow of mind
which poured its exhaustless treasure from his lips; sometimes expanding
its stream to the amplitude of ocean, then narrowing its pellucid waves
within confines of unrivalled fertility; and again, (if you will allow
me to pursue the image,) still farther contracting its limits to
dissport occasionally amid the enchantments of rock and bower,
scattering its spray in bright fantastic sparkles all around. You are to
consider an introduction to this hallowed spot, which I have consecrated
to his memory, as a distinguishing mark of the regard with which I wish
to treat his nephew, and an earnest of that friendship, which if you
desire to cultivate, I shall be happy to bestow on one so nearly allied
to the man who, of all others, I most loved upon earth." There was a
solemn tenderness in his manner which thrilled me; and I thanked him
heartily, expressing as well as I could, how gratefully I felt inclined
to profit by his kindness, adding, "I do not believe that I ever saw my
uncle Henry: if I did, it must have been in early childhood, for I have
no remembrance of him, but have often heard of him as a person rarely
gifted."--"Yes,--had you ever seen him, he could never have been
forgotten! there was an illumination in his very countenance which
irresistibly seized upon the attention. The play of intelligence upon
his features was like the summer lightning, 'as bright and harmless
too;' and, in him were combined 'the wisdom of the serpent, with the
innocence of the dove.' My dear departed Douglas possessed the most
brilliant talents. Imagine these rising majestically from a solid plinth
of boldest structure in religion and morals, while Fancy in her most
tasteful mood had wreathed the light acanthus round his brow, and you
may form some idea of the man who, in our youthful days, was always
called the 'Corinthian pillar' of that little band in whose society he
passed his hours of recreation. He was at once the most profound
reasoner, the acutest critic, the soundest arbiter, and the kindest
friend. The peculiar sensitiveness of his character never impaired its
strength; and a remarkable accuracy of observation with which heaven had
endowed him, acting in concert with an uncompromising integrity,
imparted the influence of truth itself, to the decisions of his
judgment. He saw whatever subject was presented to his understanding, in
all its different bearings, with quickness bordering on intuition; and
was enabled by the variety of his knowledge, to enter into the minutest
details, without diminishing the force of outline in any question that
offered itself for discussion. As might be easily supposed, this
assemblage of qualities, at once the most solid and attractive that I
ever knew, was little comprehended by the generality of mankind. That
noble independence which disdains the tricking arts of popularity, and
dares to walk alone, was miscalled pride. The elegant retirement of a
mind replete with resources, and too refined to consider as society what
was not congenial companionship, was, with equal departure from just
discrimination, styled misanthropy, while sensibility, which with magic
touch can raise aërial hosts of imagery; and straying over the sacred
expanse of time gone by, and yet to come, sighs to the memory of the
past, or o'er the uncertainty of the future: this was selfishness,
according to vulgar interpretation. But vice and folly are compelled to
pay the reluctant homage of an involuntary respect at the shrine of
virtue, and collective excellence is always sure to receive its tribute,
however incapable the mass of mankind may prove to appreciate the
individual beauties of a character which they do not understand. Such
tribute was paid in large proportion to my friend; and while kindred
merit sought his acquaintance with enthusiasm, the little world were
forced to gaze at him with reverence, and look up with veneration. He is
gone! and I never visit this spot, associated peculiarly with his image,
unaccompanied by the recollection of that epitaph at the Leasowes, the
only beautiful testimony of surviving affection which I remember to have
seen, and which seems as if written for Douglas, and for him alone.

    Heu quanto minus est
    Cum reliquis versari,
    Quàm tui meminisse!"

Mr. Otway paused, and I felt deeply affected by the impressive manner in
which these eloquent lines were repeated. After a short silence, I told
him how greatly I felt indebted for the animated sketch which he had
just given me of a relation whom I had never till then heard so
particularly described. "At Glenalta," said I, "there is no allusion
ever made to my uncle, and I think, that I have already discovered,
even at this distance of time from his death, that even the name of
Henry cannot be pronounced without causing an inward convulsion of
feeling in my aunt. At first I thought it impossible, but on reading a
paragraph to her in the newspaper yesterday, I perceived a recurrence of
such an expression in her countenance, as determined me to avoid
producing it again, at least by a repetition of the same sound which
gave rise to her present agitation."

"This, my young friend," answered the admirable Otway, "is true to
nature. In those horrible and overwhelming moments of recent
disseverment, when the grave has just closed upon all that lived in our
fondest affections,--when the affrighted spirit glances round upon the
desert wilderness, and the tremendous solitude is only interrupted by
images of despair,--then, names arrest not the attention. The
throbbing heart is wrapped in present anguish, and the dull ear is dead
to sounds; even the shade of the beloved might float upon the mourner's
vision, and not surprise; but when the first agony of bereavement has
settled into the waking consciousness of our loss, when the astonishment
of death has subsided, when the phantoms of an amazed and distempered
imagination no longer haunt the brain and people our dreams, then it is
that the lonely heart sits in silent abandonment, and even 'the willow
that waves in the wind,' terrifies like a ghost of other times;
associations rise, names startle, and in proportion as distance from the
event diminishes the natural right to sympathy which great misfortunes
claim in the first moments of their visitation, the delicate mind
shrinks within itself fearful of repulse, and would hide its feelings
even from the eye of day, lest it might seem to solicit a participation
in those thoughts, which are too sacred to be shared. Caroline Douglas
is not to be judged of by common-place criteria. When she and the
partner of her affections took up their abode at Glenalta, they
presented a picture of human felicity of which while 'memory holds her
seat,' I shall never lose the most lively impression. Young, and united
by the most perfect attachment, grounded upon an intimate and mutual
acquaintance with disposition, character, sentiments, and opinions, the
highest eulogium which it was possible to pass on either, might be
comprised in one short sentence; they were formed for each other. Never
did I behold two people knit together in bonds of love so tender, and
friendship so rational. Every thought appeared to be held in common; and
when they were conversing, it seemed as if the lips of one only gave
utterance to that which in the same instant had started into life within
the breast of the other. So perfect was the harmony of their souls, that
every idea which arose in either mind, was caught by the other at a
glance, improved and beautified ere it was reflected back again. In
short, it was impossible that any one whose lot was not already cast,
should enjoy the privilege of their intimacy, without becoming enamoured
of a state capable of producing such celestial happiness as they were
permitted to taste; while in proportion as the mind was disposed to
offer a tribute of abstract homage at the altar of hymen, the dread
of risking individual experiment would as naturally arise, lest
mistaking an exception for the rule, disappointment should ensue as the
fruit of imitation. But there are very few who marry upon the principles
which governed their union; and to expect similar results from
discordant motives, is to look for grapes on thorns, and figs on
thistles. My friends were mutually attracted by esteem, as well as
affection. They did not join their destinies upon the ground of external
vanity, or the sordid views of worldly aggrandisement. Their's was not a
marriage of two estates; they knew what to desire: they were aware of
what they wanted, and were contented with what they possessed. How often
have I heard them talk of riches and poverty, in this place where you
and I are now sitting! how often heard them agree that a larger share of
fortune's favour might render them less dependent perhaps, upon each
other for happiness, and consequently, diminish the sum of it; thus
would they render privation a subject for gratitude, through the love
that they bore to each other."

"What a picture of earthly bliss," said I, "have you drawn, and what a
separation was that of two beings so united!"

"Aye, it was indeed a picture worth going any distance to gaze upon! It
was a lesson never to be forgotten. Minds like those which I have been
attempting to describe, possess the art of harmonizing every thing with
which they come in contact in unison with themselves. True refinement
inheres within, and no more derives its character from outward
trappings, than heaven's gift of symmetry owes its fair proportions to
the fringes with which fashion encumbers its beauty. In a cottage where
luxury never visited, inborn elegance fixed her abode. A favorite author
of mine says, that if death were considered stripped of the dreadful
paraphernalia which generally attends its mournful presence, half its
horrors would be annihilated. Of poverty, we may say the same. Vulgar
people bring the machinery of life in all its ugliness and indelicacy
before you. It is not whether your tables are of mahogany or deal; your
dishes of china or delft which distinguishes refinement from its
opposite. It is the soul that presides at the banquet. All this was so
instinctively understood, by these pattern specimens of human nature,
that dignity and ease, polish and simplicity, were the never-failing
companions of their humble home. It is a theme which makes me forgetful
of time. We will now bend our steps towards Lisfarne."

As we rose, he continued:--

"Over the misery which succeeded, I must, like Timanthes of old, draw a
veil, for it was too painful to contemplate, even in painting. Douglas
was snatched in the prime of life from the beloved of his bosom, from
whom to part was the only anguish which religion had not yet taught him
to endure with heavenly resignation. Even this bitter draught he learned
at length to drink with Christian fortitude. No language could describe
the scene of sorrow that I witnessed afterwards; but years have rolled
away; the dear survivor lives to be a blessing still; and while with
cheerfulness she can now mingle in the innocent gaieties of her
children, her heart is set on heaven where she hopes for re-union with
the only loved of earth."

Here ended a recital which I felt deeply interesting, partly perhaps
because the actors in this sad tale were my nearest relations, and
partly too on account of the noble characters which it pourtrayed.
Falkland, I am growing serious in this place, and shall lose my spirits
if I stay much longer here.

As we turned from the sacred promontory, Mr. Otway playfully shook my
elbow, and, by a sudden change in the modulation of his voice, made me
feel that we were not to dwell any longer on the topic which had
occupied the preceeding hour. At his request I gave him a history of my
life and adventures. We talked of you, and I so completely fired him
by my subject, that he has taken your address, and means immediately to
write to young Stanhope who, with his tutor, (a nephew, by the bye, of
Oliphant's) is to be at Pisa about the time of your arrival there, to
make your acquaintance with all suitable activity. Mr. Otway gives a
good character of his ward, so that probably you may find him worth
knowing; but if not for his own sake, you will I am assured fly to the
meeting for the sake of your romance; and consider the youth as a link
in that mysterious concatenation, by which your fate or your fancy
is bound to Glenalta.

Before we re-entered the house, Mr. Otway desired me to follow him down
a winding-path, at the end of which I found myself within a nice little
enclosure, sheltered by a hawthorn hedge which was bursting into a sheet
of fragrant blossoms. "This is my botanic garden," said my companion,
"and I must not forget to send Fanny some plants which I promised her.
Here, Howard, help me to take these to the gardener, and he shall send
them over to my little pupil."

"I will take them myself in the evening," said I, "and shall have the
benefit of appearing very learned, if you will tell me their names.
Emily has extracted a promise from me in our walk from the mountain this
morning, to put myself under her tuition while I remain in these flowery
regions, so the sooner I begin my task the better."

"You are very right," replied 'mine host;' "knowledge is never a
burthen; and when the news of London is once told, and the stimulus of
novelty wears off, we shall then feel the full value of such pursuits as
at once sustain social communion, exercise common curiosity, and employ
the powers of the understanding."

"You told me this morning, Mr. Otway, that you think the mania for
education is outrunning its natural progress; and that it is the fashion
at present to overleap the barrier of prudence in a premature and forced
extension of learning. May I not urge your zeal in favour of female
cultivation as somewhat inconsistent with this theory? Setting all
jocularity aside, and banishing nick-names, as you call them, from our
inquiry, will you tell me if utility be the measure by which you
ascertain and determine the question of what possible use is education,
beyond the polite limits of fashionable acquirement amongst the higher
orders, and the necessary qualifications for a housewife in the lower
classes? Can women keep schools for our youth? Can women occupy
professors' chairs? Are women called upon to write works of science? In
short, do women ever want all this lore? and if not, might not their
time be more valuably employed in cultivating the delightful arts of
pleasing? I confess to you," added I, "that I have a little scheme of
trying to save Fanny, who is as yet a child, and a very engaging one
too, from going through the ordeal which her sisters have passed. They
are sweet girls, and certainly have contributed to soften my prejudices
exceedingly against learned ladies. Still, however, it is a pity not to
spare Fanny the trouble as well as the hazard of becoming one. You are
so looked up to at Glenalta, that if you are on the opposition benches I
may despair of a majority, so pray answer me seriously."

"I will, indeed," answered Phil, "though I cannot help laughing at your
pity and intended kindness, for which, however the motive may secure
your pardon, my little Fan would certainly not thank you as gratefully
as you expect. To answer your question will in no wise perplex me.
Utility is a test by which I am very well satisfied to abide; and, if we
try the matter at present in debate by that rule, I think I shall be
able to convince you, that unless in our sex education is to lower its
tone, or be neglected, there can be no doubt of the advantage which
would be gained by the solid instruction of the female world. You grant
that it is to women we ought to look for all that is most valuable in
first impressions. Boys rarely quit their homes before ten years of age,
and girls, not generally speaking, till they marry. It seems then to
require no argument to prove, that upon a mother's being fond of her
home, and satisfied with the pleasures of her domestic fire-side, must
depend an inclination to give up society abroad for the good of her
family; at least you will grant, without difficulty that, though a sense
of duty may do much with the truly conscientious, the union of duty and
inclination will work double tides--so far we must be agreed. Now the
question which remains is, how the love of home may be produced, and
here I should have no hesitation in saying, by a marriage, in which the
greatest portion of sympathy can be found, and, consequently, the
greatest number of common pursuits. The amusements of young men at the
present day--I mean the majority are such as no female can join
in--hunting, shooting, horse-racing, pugilism, rowing matches, are
diversions exclusively appertaining to the mass of our male population
of the gentry class. Now we will, if you please, suppose two
families:--the first shall be composed of a Gentleman, who has been bred
at one of the great schools without making a figure in scholarship of
any kind, and who, having passed through the University in a manner
equally undistinguished, and vapoured at balls, concerts, and parties,
lost his money at play, and gone the rounds of fashionable dissipation,
marries at length to repair his fortune and improve his interest; and a
young Lady who plays on the harp and piano forte, draws a little, dances
and dresses according to the last French receipt. This happy pair set up
an establishment. If rich, they live in a whirl of company, sometimes at
home, but more frequently abroad. When children come, they are committed
to the care of servants and the nursery governess, till a time arrives
for sending the boys to school, and exchanging the humble services of
the infant teacher for the Ma'amoiselle, who, more like a dancing dog
than a human being, takes charge of the girls, and becomes the guardian
of their religion, morals, and manners! Perhaps you interrupt me, ere my
conclusion be drawn, to observe that this representation only applies to
what are called the higher circles. Very well--be it so; you shall have
the advantage of a second statement upon your side before I contrast
it with my view of the subject. Let us suppose a Gentleman of a
thousand a year, or a Professional man, the former may, or may not, have
profited more by his school and collegiate course than the man of
fashion. The latter is obliged to plod his weary way through law or
physic for his daily bread. These Gentlemen marry, and, according to the
present modes of female education, are not likely to be much happier
than our former Benedick; for a young Lady, now-a-days, whose fortune is
no more than a thousand pounds, learns exactly the same things which are
taught to the daughters of a Duke; and it depends upon original genius
whether her accomplishments be more or less shining than those of her
more splendid models. But music and drawing, however well performed, can
enter but a little way into the happiness of a fire-side in the country,
or that of a Barrister or Physician in town, when compared with the
comforts which might result from a different order of things. Take a
peep now into a menage, such as I wish were not too often to be found
only in an air-built castle.

"Imagine a well-educated man, who, not stopping at the animal
qualifications of eating, drinking, boxing, and fox-hunting, has
cultivated his mind, and acquired a taste for literature, will not such
a man be likely to enjoy more happiness at home, if he has a companion
capable of participating in his most rational gratifications? Will a
sensible man admire an amiable woman less, because in addition to
whatever personal qualities may have endeared her to his affections, she
is possessed of solidly useful knowledge which she is capable of
imparting to her offspring? Surely not; to maintain the contrary, would
be to pass the severest censure on our sex. A woman is neither less
pretty, less elegant, less kind, nor less accomplished of necessity,
because she has read and loves reading; and, considering her own
happiness, can there be any question respecting the advantage of books
as a source of amusement as well as usefulness, above all the lighter
acquirements above enumerated? The former pass away with the careless
gaiety of youth. The rising generation steps close upon the heels of
that which has immediately preceded it; and as novelty is the very
essence of fashion, the singing which has been heard, and the dancing
which has been seen for a few successive winters cease to charm, and
newer attractions occupy the stage. How much would the respect of
children towards their mothers be increased, were women, generally
speaking, capable of taking part in the instruction of a family,
attending to their interests, exercising a sound judgment on their
progress, and accompanying their pursuits! Reflect upon the numbers who
are left widows to guide sons, as well as daughters, through the thorny
paths of life? Is it of no importance that a woman, whom it has pleased
God to make the solitary guardian of a youthful progeny, should place
her affections on higher objects than dress, cards, theatres? Is it of
no use that she should be able to direct the eternal interests of her
children, and watch, as a careful nurse, over their temporal welfare?
And will she be less the object of veneration and love, because every
hour of the day presents some variety of cheerful companionship, where
utility and pleasure go hand in hand, and knowledge is delightful,
because associated with maternal tenderness? Believe not such untruths,
my dear Howard, and if you ever marry, beware of those idle butterflies
who, having skimmed through a summer's day, flutter their fading wings
and are forgotten. Such women are, indeed, but children of a larger
growth, and totally unfit for the responsibility which devolves upon
them. But do not suppose that by a sweeping clause, as false as it would
be uncharitable, I mean to include the entire world of fashion in the
denunciation which I have pronounced against modern modes and manners.
There are some beautiful exceptions, which not only have escaped
contagion, but which illustrate my position by being themselves amongst
its brightest examples. It is the general evil of which I complain,
and unless women will stand their own friends, and resist the tyranny
of opinion which, if it proceed much farther in its present course, bids
fair to deprive them of those faculties which Heaven has bountifully
bestowed, they may rest assured that their power will daily decline;
both sexes will degenerate, and the rude supremacy of physical strength
will be at last resorted to, to complete female subjugation, and bring
the civilized world again to a state of barbarism from which it will
slowly emerge."

Just as I was going to reply, a servant announced Mr. Bentley. A young
man entered the room, and we were ere long summoned to dinner. Nothing
could be more agreeable than the trio. You see that I include myself in
the compliment to our good humour, ease, and festivity. Phil. is an
extraordinary man, and I am much taken with him. He is a perfect
Encyclopedia, as little Fanny called him, and literally seems to know
every thing; but so absolutely is he divested of the pomps and ceremony
of literature, that it is only by the fulness of your own mind, and the
number of new ideas that you find in your brain, that you discover the
superiority of him from whom you have derived such accession to your
thoughts. We ate, drank, and were merry.

Bentley is a very sensible young man, and a near neighbour of Mr.

I suppose that I must tell you what we talked of. Well, I am patiently
going through my task of minute narrative in the beginning; but by the
time that you are acquainted with the characters around me, through
these my masterly sketches you must prepare to take your leave of such
reports. I shall write regularly, and mention whatever incidents may
occur; but to hold on in this method, of repeating every word that is
uttered, would be more than flesh and blood are equal to. Besides,
should money fall short, you may take advantage of me, and make a book
out of these my voluminous materials. Thus forestalling, for all you can
possibly tell, my intentions of giving so many sapient observations as I
have committed to paper, one day myself to the world.

Well, but you want to know who Bentley is, and what we talked about. As
to who a young man, living in the county of Kerry in Ireland, may be, I
am not quite ready to answer though faute d'autres sujets, I shall
inquire more concerning him; perhaps somewhat more determined in my
design so to do, from having remarked a scarlet blush pass over his
cheek at dinner when Charlotte's name was mentioned.

In these back settlements there is nothing to do, but exercise the skill
of a calm observer; and I expect to be quite au fait as a critic in
every thing appertaining to countenance, by the time that I return to
the world. As to conversation we had a great deal of one sort or other.
Some politics, some anecdote, some I know not what, pleasant enough, but
nothing striking. I remember only two remarks that I shall take the
trouble of exporting to Pisa. We were speaking of Scott's Novels (for I
take the liberty of calling them his, notwithstanding all the denials
which are cited to prove the contrary[2]) and I instanced these and some
other works of fiction which are justly celebrated, and of recent
publication, to support my opinion, that the present genius of
literature stands upon a lofty pedestal in comparison with former times,
adding "what can be a stronger argument in favour of modern wisdom than
that such books are the recreation of our contemporaries?" A stranger
just set down in England might naturally say, if this be amusement,
what are the serious studies in this country? And if, as some writer
has said, "tell me your diversions, and I'll tell you what you are,
carry any weight, we may fairly claim to high pre-eminence."

[Footnote 2: The authorship of the Novels has been avowed by Sir Walter
Scott since this letter was written.]

"And deserve it too," answered Phil., "if we do not push the argument
too far. The present day furnishes us some admirable samples in the
department of fiction; but I question much if you will not find, that
novels, with a large portion of existing men, and women, make the
business, as well as the relaxation of their reading hours. The novels
of our time are like letters of marque. They are armés en flute for
war or merchandize, alias for instruction or entertainment; and if
people will not read any thing more serious we must be happy that there
is a method of riveting attention by cloathing good sense in the light
drapery of fiction. Thousands are led on to better things than they are
promised by a pleasant tale; and I rejoice to perceive a growing sense
of accountableness in the writers who supply the present rage for new
publications. I see a consciousness arising amongst novelists and the
editors of reviews and magazines that the morbid diseases induced by
mental opium eating (if you will allow me the image) threaten
paralysis and, would inevitably lead to dissolution of all intellectual
energy, if not arrested in their progress. Several are usefully employed
in applying alterations, and endeavouring to bring about a more
healthful action of the rational powers. Let us earnestly desire a
blessing on every effort of this nature, and give our best individual
support even to story, when, like the useful wedge, it is successful in
sliding in, what would not find its way into the hands of half mankind
unaided by such an instrument." The remark struck me as valid, and I had
the grace to say so. Led on from one topic to another, in which this
excellent man discovered so much knowledge of life as perfectly to amaze
me, I turned to young Bentley, and said, "I have often heard people
obtain credit for extraordinary acquaintance with the world, and
wherever this has been the case, such skill has been attributed to
travelling, and a widely spreading communion with various classes of
men; but it sometimes strikes me as matter of surprise to find the
acutest sense of all that is doing on the great theatre, in a retired
corner of the earth, apparently shut out from all the bustle, vice, and
folly, that pervade the world."

Bentley replied, "I know not to whom you may apply for information on
this head, more appropriately than to my good friend of Lisfarne, who
contrives to know mankind so well without going amongst them. Let us
ask him how he manages to find them out?"

"Were it really the case," answered Phil. "that I am better informed
than my neighbours in the science which you ascribe to me; a point which
I utterly dissent from, I should be apt perhaps to take credit for my
skill as resulting from the very reason that, according to your view,
might excuse its deficiency, namely, to those retired habits which lead
me to study a few, rather than glance my eye over a multitude. It is
with men as with books. You may skim over too great a number to read any
with profit. With some few exceptions, the characters of which mankind
is made up, are easily classified; and if you master a score of distinct
specimens from each tribe with care and accuracy, you will find the sum
of your knowledge considerably to exceed that which has been gleaned
from a larger surface, where less attention has been brought to the task
of investigation. A certain impatience of decision leads people
frequently to pronounce upon as anomalies, what a severer scrutiny
would prove to be well understood, and belonging to accredited divisions
of human character."

"I seldom meet with a real non-descript, though appearances may puzzle
me for a time, and though I have not been in a crowd for many years, I
meet in succession with individuals of all sorts, and perhaps am enabled
to form a more discriminating judgment of each single figure as it
passes before me than I could do were my mind distracted by many objects
together. The whole being made up of parts, one may give a shrewd guess
at the collective effect from acquaintance with the separate atoms."

"From what you say," said I, "a man ought to live out of the world, to
judge rightly of those men who compose it."--"No, my young friend, not
quite so terse. There is no more necessary connection between
knowledge of the world and retirement, than between naval tactics and an
old gentleman sitting by his fire-side in Hampshire; yet it so happened,
that the present system of breaking the line, which was of such
astonishing importance to us in the last war, was the invention of a
man unconnected with naval affairs, and who, marshalling a parcel of
cherry-stones after dinner upon his table, proved to a practical
understanding how the object could be achieved, and what a Clarke
projected, was accomplished by a Rodney."

"In the world or out of the world sagacity may find materials upon
which to work, and it will depend on the acuteness of that sagacity to
arrive at eminence in the knowledge of man.--Where this is furnished, I
should believe retirement, I do not mean solitude, to be more favorable
to sound discrimination than a busy scene, because more likely to secure
against precipitancy of judgment. On the whole, we may see, and hear, a
great deal too much with our outward senses. The principal defect of
the present day is want of reflection. The provision, the apparatus for
conveying instruction to the mind is superb, but exactly in proportion
to these "tricking facilities" is the deficiency of original thinking.
When books were few, and purchased with difficulty, they were intensely
studied. The mind was forced to be in some sort its own library. The
treasures of learning were committed to memory, and the intellect traded
upon its internal resources; the capital was frequently turned, and
mental riches crowned exertion; but the multiplication of means often
retards the end, and the understanding is encumbered with help."

"But pray, sir, if we gain more in expansion than we lose in depth, is
not the balance on our side? Now that the press is teeming with
instruction brought down to the level of all capacities, are we not
advancing by rapid strides to a full developement of the reasoning
faculty, and approaching that happy termination of ignorance so devoutly
to be wished for?"

"I do not agree with you, Howard. If you desire my opinion, it must be
given in the negative. I am an old-fashioned fellow, and many of my
notions are desperately heretical in these days of display. I cannot
help prefering substance to shadows, and depth to surface. I love real
improvements, not mere changes. In some instances we are improving.
The exact sciences are making progress, and so are those arts which
depend upon the application of their principles. Chemistry, mechanics,
&c. advance, and there is a disposition to reward the talent that is
exhibited in forwarding them to perfection; but I maintain that the
system of school and collegiate education for our youth requires reform.
The best part of life, as regards some of our mental powers, is
frittered away in learning badly two dead languages, to the neglect of
better things at school; and at the Universities much might be done to
effect a better order of things than prevails in any of them. Then, with
respect to the prevailing taste in literature, it is too much devoted to
stimulus. We have too many new books, and too many young authors. Some
expatiating in the labyrinths of moral paradox--others in the wild
regions of uncontrolled imagination; and so on. Whatever is new, is
devoured with avidity, and so great is the quantity, so pulp-like the
quality, of this literary pabulum, that the digestive organs are
destroyed, and the mind is seldom exercised for itself."

As Phil. finished the last sentence, his old servant opened the door,
and in ran Frederick, followed by the redoubtable Domine. A general
commotion ensued. Much shaking of hands, inquiries after health,
friends, and all the etceteras which are hurried over in the first ten
minutes after meeting succeeded, I was presented; and while Mr. Otway
was engaged with Oliphant, and Fred. was interchanging civilities with
Mr. Bentley, I sat examining the object of my fearful anticipations.
Imprimis, he has no wig, but a fine expansive front with a clean bald
pate. His hair "a sable silvered," scantily set, but curling naturally
in a fringe round the back of his head, and a countenance full of
benevolence, and sparkling with affection.

Yes, it is a true bill. Here are more fruits of Prophecy and Prejudice,
quoth you!--I will give up anticipating.--It will save me a great deal
of plague in future, not to think of people till they cross my path, and
are actually before my eyes.

Before we set out on the return to Glenalta, I was as easy as an old
shoe with Oliphant; but all his quaint practice and methodistical habits
are hanging over in terrorem.

On the following day, which was Saturday, we met as usual at breakfast,
and immediately afterwards, I was called by the girls and Frederick to
come and see the treasures of which their tutor had been the escort. On
entering the Library, I saw a valuable addition to the book-shelves;
Clarke's Bible, handsomely, but unshewily bound, for my aunt; the Flora
and Pomona Londinensis for Emily; a capital Biographical Dictionary for
Charlotte; a fine Herodotus for Fred; and Withering's Botany for Fan.
Besides these were writing-desks, drawing-books, pencils, port-folios,
and a parcel containing the Pirates, Kenilworth, Quentin Durward, and
the Inheritance, as food for the "Evening hour." In short, Domine must
have been literally built up in the stack which brought him, as
tightly as poor Rose de Beverley in the dungeon wall; and to have seen
the good man deterré from such a mass of matter must have been
diverting enough.

These various objects of acquisition were all gifts of Mr. Otway, who
had made his own remarks upon the wants and wishes of his neighbours,
and written to Oliphant accordingly, to come laden with whatever he
thought most likely to gratify the family group. It is impossible to
form an idea of the advantages in one respect which people living in
these outposts of mankind possess over the civilized world. If my mother
and sisters require a packet of books, or any thing else, from town,
Gibson is ordered to write, the things come per next mail. Turner, my
mother's maid, opens the store, and the contents are spread upon tables,
where perhaps they lie for days before they are observed, and when
looked at, are either to be returned, or if retained, it is ten to one
if they produce the slightest degree of animation. Here the minds of the
little party are so alive and fresh, that one catches the contagion; and
I found myself bustling through wrapping papers and twine with an
eagerness which I certainly never experienced upon the arrival of a
similar importation at Selby.

"We have been so long wishing for these," said Emily, "that they are
quite a mine of happiness."

"Yes," answered Charlotte, "and how magical are our dear Phil.'s
guesses, for he always discovers what one wants most." "And I," added
Fanny, "am just expiring to be off to Lisfarne, with a budget of thanks
to our necromancer."

We all dispersed after this library scene; the young people to shew Mr.
Oliphant puppies, kittens, young pheasants, and sundry other live stock,
which had either grown or been acquired during his absence, and I, after
promising to walk with my aunt in an hour or two, filed off to my room
to fold up this enormous volume. On looking over my journal before doing
so, I perceived an omission: you desired me to tell you more of the
tastes of my fair friends in dress, furniture, etcetera, I thought
that I had given you a coup d'[oe]il which might have sufficed; but if
you must have more, learn now, and for ever after hold your peace, that
you may walk from top to bottom of this house without hitching your
skirts in any of the fopperies of a modern boudoir. There is no danger
of being entangled amongst a nest of spider-tables covered with china,
or of overturning a chiffoniere burthened with flower-pots. There are no
scraps of japan, nor odds and ends of any sort to molest a visitor,
and interrupt conversation. Glenalta is furnished with simplicity and
convenience: the general character, is that of chaste uniformity,
without any thing of the drab of quakerism. A few good pictures
ornament the walls both of drawing-room and parlour. Some handsome busts
in bronze give a finish to the bookcases of the library; and the hall,
which is light and airy, has a very good appearance as you enter the
house. The furniture is solid, and there is every real comfort of
polished life to be found in its place without any exhibition of finery
or nick-knackery, if I may coin a word for the occasion.--Altogether
the best idea I can convey of my aunt's dwelling, is by telling you what
it is not: it is not a shew-house--it is not a fashionable
house, neither has it the cold, raw, uninhabited look of an English
provincial residence; but it is strictly clean, bright, easy looking,
and has an air of unpretending elegance.

Now, as to dress, hang me if I know the names of any manufacture; but I
told you before, that the cousins have very pretty figures, beautiful
hair, and are always perfectly presentable. They do not wear the gaudy
colouring of the French school, nor are they squeezed as if in a vice,
to look like wasps, without any visible connecting link to unite the
upper and lower parts of the body. There is a natural grace and
gentility in every movement; and the effect is pleasing to the eye
from the repose which it meets with, equally remote from excitement
on the one hand, and torpor on the other.

What can I tell you more particular? And had I not better say Adieu at
once, than add to this mighty mass of paper by further general

    Your affectionate friend,

    Arthur Howard.


From the same to the same.

My dear Falkland,

My last despatch, you will remember, was sealed just after it had been
arranged that I should accompany my aunt in a walk. At the appointed
hour I tapped at her door, to put her in mind of our assignation; and
was not sorry to have a tête à tête in prospect, thinking that I might
take advantage of this opportunity to edge in a little word of counsel,
that might be of use, at least in Fanny's, though Emily and Charlotte
might be beyond my reach in effecting a change in their destiny.

My sweet aunt (for she is really quite delightful) was speedily
equipped, and we set out upon our rambles. As soon as we had cleared the
house, and were not in danger of being overheard, I expressed my
gratitude for her kindness in asking me to Glenalta; spoke of the
pleasure which I already felt in its society, and my admiration, as well
as surprise, at finding my cousins every thing that could be wished. My
aunt smiled. "Then," said she, "you had heard, I suppose, but an
unflattering account of us, and expected to see a very outre sort of a
family." "I expected," answered I, "to find, as I have found, very
superior attainments; but you know, dearest lady, the prejudice which
universally subsists against Blue-Stockings; and though you have
succeeded so admirably in the result of your system, and may therefore
triumph, as 'those who win may laugh,' yet you must allow the experiment
to have been a bold one." "And why so, my dear Arthur? I should not have
felt at all inclined to make bold experiments, and am not conscious how
I have done so. You must explain yourself." "Well then, I will; and hope
that I may venture to do so without running any risk of offending you."
"Certainly, I cannot be offended, having requested you to tell me what
you mean; and I, on my part, shall not only thank you for your
observations, but shall be ready, with the most perfect candour, to
satisfy you as far as I can, respecting my conduct."

"Dear aunt, then," said I, "the great object to which a girl's prospects
should tend from infancy to maturity is marriage; and every prudent
mother, I need not say to you, is perpetually intent upon this
termination of all her cares and anxiety. To marry a daughter well is
no easy matter now-a-days, and often requires a vast deal of address to
bring about the event. Beauty, though very captivating, will not do
without money, and young men have learned to be philosophers; they can
see and admire, but, like the Baron of Moubray, they must know how 'to
love and to ride away,' unless they would entail ruin on their
posterity. Almost every man's circumstances are dipped more or less,
either by his own folly or that of his predecessors; and most men look
to a fortunate marriage some time or other in their lives, for the
purpose of paying off charges on their property, and clearing a load of
debt. Now, girls of large fortune, may certainly take some liberties;
for even were they old, ugly, or Blue, thousands will tell, and they
may generally command a choice amongst the other sex; but young women,
even of such personal attraction as my cousins ought 'to be with caution
bold.' I do assure you, that were you at this moment suddenly removed to
London, I would not, for any consideration that I can name, that Emily
and Charlotte were discovered to know a syllable of Greek, Latin,
botany, chemistry, or any of the arts and sciences: it is unheard of in
town, except to be laughed at, or avoided; and as your girls have
pretensions that might secure their being courted in the best society,
it would mortify any one who loves them to witness a complete failure in
their début, through a want of that circumspection which mothers, so
inferior to you, know how to exercise. Dear little Fan is young and
volatile; there is more danger of her betraying herself than of her
sisters' being giddy. Much might be done still with your elder girls,
who are so reasonable and so docile, that they would probably take a
hint immediately; but it is quite a sin not to snatch Fanny from
perdition, by allowing what azure she has already contracted, to fade
away as quickly as possible. Elegant and accomplished, pretty and
pleasing, my cousins are formed for the world, and would shine in it:
but Greek, Latin, chemistry, etcetera, are like forgery, never to be

Here I paused, and my aunt calmly replied, "I fear, my dear boy, that I
shall make matters worse rather than better by my answer to your advice;
but, notwithstanding, I must run the risk, and boldly hazard the loss of
your esteem, by detailing some opinions of mine, which do not harmonize
at all with your's. First, then, you will stare at me perhaps when I
tell you, that I am very far from thinking marriage necessary to the
happiness of my children, though should I live to see them find such
partners as I think worthy of them, I should rejoice, inasmuch as, under
certain circumstances, I look upon marriage as the happiest lot of
life in this chequered scene; but, Arthur, rank and fortune are only
accidents, and make no part of the essence in my creed of such
requisites as constitute felicity in domestic union. My dear girls will
not be rich, but they will have enough to make them independent. If they
marry, I think I may venture to say, that it will not be through worldly
motives of aggrandizement; and should they remain single, they will, I
trust in the Almighty, be both useful and contented."

I certainly did stare. What! a mother, and disregard the establishment
of daughters! My aunt continued: "According to your ideas, a woman is
merely an appendage, and, I dare say, frequently considered a very
troublesome one to her fortune, the acquisition of which seems to be,
even under favourable circumstances of youth and beauty thrown into the
scale, the principal object, and where these may be wanting, the
sole incentive which leads a man of fashion to permit a young lady the
honour of bearing his name. Now in a country where the blessing of
freedom has never been known, where parents possess absolute power over
their children, and masters over their slaves, I can perceive a reason
for such an order of things; but I confess myself so ignorant as not to
comprehend why liberty and affluence here should be sacrificed without
any valuable consideration. It would be better to subscribe a part of
one's property to the necessities of a needy gentleman than be obliged
to give up the whole, and tie oneself to him for ever. May I ask you how
women are compensated in your scheme for the relinquishment of
independence?" "Bless me, dear aunt, the question is so extraordinary,
that really I feel at a loss to believe that you can ask it:
compensated?--Why, by being married; by being promoted to a state in
society of more consideration than they previously occupied; by being
provided for, established, and, finally, as the acme of all female hope
and ambition, taken out of the never-ending defile of recruits through
which a man has to make his way at every ball, concert, or theatre in

"Well," said Mrs. Douglas, "I am not a little amazed that these
recruits, as you call them, should be ready to place themselves under
the control of officers so little disposed to regard them with
tenderness; but, as this is a serious subject in which the happiness of
mankind at large is concerned, we will treat it gravely. Providence has
so ordered the affairs of earth, that marriage will always be a primary
object of concern with both sexes; for remember, that the idea of
wife, involves that of husband; and to supply each aspirant of
either sex, you must find a disengaged individual of the other. Now if
it appear that the mass of human beings are intended by their Creator
for the state of matrimony, and that their own wishes generally coincide
with the original purpose of creation, would it not seem a reasonable
consequence that a condition which almost all men and women anticipate,
should be rendered as desirable, as suitable, as happy, and as wise as a
reflecting choice can make it?" "Surely," said I, "and there lies the
difference between an improvident silly mother, or one who is governed
by a prudent knowledge of the world, and clear views of her childrens'
advantage. Women are, you will confess, great fools when they allow
their girls to flirt with younger sons who have nothing; military men,
whose fortunes are on their backs, and all the idle host who furnish a
drawing-room and excel in a quadrille. Maternal solicitude ought
unquestionably to be directed to a good settlement, liberal
pin-money--if possible a distinguished connection; and in short, all
the circumstances which constitute what every one admits to be a good
match. How painful must it be to read a paragraph in the public papers
announcing that on such a day Mr. Such-an-one, whom nobody knows, was
married by some clergyman whose name was never heard of, in a parish
church not to be found in any map, to Miss Douglas of Glenalta! If I am
doomed to suffer such disgrace, I shall set out directly for Greece, or
some other distant quarter to which my countrymen do not flock in the
crowds that one is certain to meet in France and Italy, there to
remain till the event is forgotten, and the unfortunate actors in it,
are consigned to well-merited oblivion. Forgive me if I am warm; I do
not mean to be disrespectful, but my energies rise in proportion to the
hourly increase of love and admiration which I feel towards relations so
near and so deserving." "Arthur, I am not angry," rejoined my aunt,
"but I must oppose, though I may fail to convince you; I can never
desire to see my dear girls, who have been loved, valued, and considered
as rational creatures in their own home, become a part of the retinue
of a man of fashion; and therefore I neither intend to introduce them
upon a theatre where success is failure according to my notion of
things, nor attempt to infuse a new class of doctrines upon the nature
of happiness into their guiltless hearts. Let us go on in our accustomed
routine, and if there ever was a case to which we may apply the maxim
'If ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise,' you will admit its force
upon that in question, for so happy are my dear children at Glenalta,
that visionary dreams of joy seem not to pass beyond its well-known
boundary. When the mind is full of resource, it is wonderfully
independent, and suffers none of that ennui which is the disease of
vacancy. From the birth of my children to the present time, they have
never heard that there was an effect to be produced by any thing they
learned except the natural consequences that grow out of virtue and
occupation. Marriage may, or may not, be their portion; should it be so,
the characters of their husbands may probably differ, as their own do,
from each other; and thus far I meet your views, that I should be sorry
to see any child of mine marry so imprudently as to plunge into the
sordid cares of life without consideration. Should misfortune bring
poverty, and the Almighty try his creatures by affliction, how beautiful
is it then to behold the exertions which the finest minds are capable
of making when sustained by religious submission, and encouraged by fond
affection; but to place ourselves willingly in situations which our
strength may not prove sufficient to admit of our filling
conscientiously, is to presume upon our own powers, and is therefore
dangerous. You see then, my dear boy, that as far as my opinion may have
weight, you are not to expect any accession to your worldly pride from
the Douglas family, who are very unambitious people; and, though I trust
that they will never 'disgrace you,' I fear that you must be contented
to love them for their own sakes, and not for any flattering unction
to be derived through their future destiny. No, I hardly think it likely
that Emily, Charlotte, or Fanny, will ever contribute their aid to a
high-sounding paragraph in the newspapers; but I shall indeed be
disappointed if they are satisfied with less than sense and affection,
if they marry."

"My dear aunt, you mistake me: as much sense as you like; and you cannot
imagine that I could be such a barbarian as to fancy that any man who
married one of my cousins should be so deficient in good taste as not to
love her as well as men generally love their wives. Remember, that the
happiest home of infancy must, in the course of nature, dissolve; and
then what becomes of a luckless sisterhood of old maids, who, having
suffered the spring and summer to pass by unheeded, in vain deplore
their idle improvidence, and fret away the gloomy remnant of their days
on earth in sourness and solitude?" "A dismal picture, indeed," replied
my aunt, "I must try if I cannot draw one less dispiriting. In the
first place you acknowledge that, according to your scheme, sense and
affection, though not principals, are useful accessories, and are to
be taken as make-weights into the scale of happiness. Now my idea is,
that this is to expect too much, and more than experience will realize,
unless in some instance perhaps of extraordinary exception upon which we
have no right to calculate. If you marry for rank, you obtain it, and
should be satisfied with your bargain; if for fortune, you have gained
your object, and must not complain: the contract is fair, though you
receive only that for which you make your agreement; and it is quite
unjust to suppose that perfections which you never sought, and qualities
of which you never went in search, will be added to heap up your

"The happiest home of early life must in nature's course dissolve, you
say: agreed; but, the affrighting scene of unavailing misery which you
have painted, is not the necessary consequence of such an event. I can
imagine three sisters who may not have been tempted to quit the paternal
roof by meeting such congeniality of character as they deemed essential
to happiness, living together as kindly in the decline, as in the
meridian of life. I can imagine them to look abroad without envy, and at
home without disgust. If excluded from some enjoyments which belong to
another mode of existence, they are spared also many of the evils which
attach to it, and with this advantage, that while the former are
precarious, the latter are inevitable. The brightest anticipations
founded on the most apparently stable foundation, may possibly
deceive, but the physical suffering, and the anxious care which are
inseparable from the maternal relation, are penalties from which there
is no exemption. No bill of indemnity can set aside a mother's pangs;
and be assured, that were women endowed with the gift of oracular
foresight, and like the ancient Sybils capable of peeping into the cup
of futurity, very few would have courage to taste the bitter draught
which marriage too frequently mingles to allure by promises, and poison
by disappointment. The fondest affection, the kindest support, and all
the inestimable charms of sympathetic companionship, may indeed render
the conjugal union an antepast of heaven; but such contracts of folly
and avarice, as are but too often sealed in what you call the world,
represent as truly a state of severest punishment; and between these
extremes, a single lot is far to be preferred to the compromise which
matrimony in its average of calculation usually exhibits. The great
purposes of life are, however, fulfilled at the expense of individual
ease, and many a spirit learns in the school of adversity, those blessed
lessons of humility and dependence upon a Heavenly Father, that pay with
such peace 'as the world can neither give nor take away' for the
infliction of an earthly husband."

"Well, my ears," said I, "are unaccustomed to such language. I confess
it is no less new than surprising; yet that I may know the full extent
of your deviation from modern creeds, perhaps you will describe the sort
of helpmate to whose guardianship you would entrust a daughter?"

"Most willingly, Arthur. The peculiar temperament of each individual
stamps an impress of its own upon the mind, and, according to the
variety of taste, will be our selection of such qualities in a friend,
as harmonize with its distinctive character. Marriage has been
eloquently described as 'the queen of friendships,' and yet the monarch
fares less well than any of her subjects; and while the choice of a
companion who is only to travel in our society for a few short miles
upon the continent, is governed by kindred feeling and pursuits, the
journey which is to end but with life, is undertaken upon the most
flimsy ground of temporary whim or expediency. Is this rational, is it
consistent conduct?"

"Then may I ask, my dear aunt, do you conceive it really necessary that
two people must have learned the same arts, have studied the same
sciences, and read the same books; spoken in the same languages, thought
the same thoughts, and been in fact, like Helen and Hermia, 'a double
cherry seeming parted, but yet a union in partition;' to make a
reasonably happy, suitable jog-trot couple in the holy bands of

"Not entirely, though perhaps the more of such similarity the better;
but Arthur, you asked for a description, and you shall have one. After
the great leading bond of sympathy upon religion and moral conduct, the
grain of character is most essential to happiness in married life.
There is a fineness of texture in some minds which cannot endure contact
with what is coarse, any more than cambrick will bear being united to
sail-cloth. The unequal tissue will give way, and the more delicate
fabric will be torn to atoms. The mere matters of acquirement may differ
without injury to affection, an interchange may take place, which shall
borrow sweetness from its source; and even that which possessed no
charms to invite its acquisition, may become delightful, if taught by,
or studied for the sake of a being whom we love. I knew a lady whose
husband was a barrister; they adored each other, but they were poor, and
professional industry could not be dispensed with. Their mornings were
necessarily passed in the performance of separate duties; but when the
business of the day was over, and the evening hearth burned brightly as
they sat together, a doubt would arise whether the most enchanting of
all gratifications, each others' society, was not a luxury too great for
them. The doubt ended in certainty, that law reading ought to
supersede the charms of conversation, and what was the result? that
affection was too powerful to be selfish, or rather self was extended
to a second and a dearer object. The wife determined to convert a
solitary and painful duty, into a social delight; she insisted on
joining in her husband's study, and several of the driest and most
difficult books were read aloud to each other in succession. The
experiment answered to admiration. They were engaged together, and
this was enough to make them happy. What was distasteful to one, and at
first unintelligible to the other, became amusement; and in the
morning's walk, were often discussed the cases which had occupied the
previous afternoon. Memory was improved by this exercise: a little time
enabled the lady still farther to share the fatigues of a beloved
partner in noting his briefs, and assisting in other professional cares,
rewarded by the delight of knowing that her presence was necessary to
the happiness of him who formed her own. Arthur, such is what I call
affection, and such is my idea of companionship in wedded love."

My heart glowed, and I could not speak; I gazed on my aunt: her cheek
was slightly flushed, and her eyes had acquired the deep and clear
expression which brought to my mind that exquisite description in the
Prisoner of Chillon.

    "The eye of most transparent light
    That almost made the dungeon bright."

We both paused: when, recovering from a momentry lapse of thought, she
continued: "I knew another wife whose husband was employed for several
years in various diplomatic trusts of high importance. He was an
invalid, and frequently incapacitated from taking part in public
affairs; but the faithful friend of his bosom who was a most admirable
linguist, wrote his letters in five different tongues, and was supposed
to be a native in them all. Can you match these instances of connubial
tenderness and confidence in the frigid annals of fashion? Turn, my
Arthur, from the heartless trammels, and dare to be free."

"Such women," said I, "as you have represented, would soon revolutionize
the world, and bring about a mighty change in the motives that influence
marriage; but instances like these occur at intervals, just to shew us
of what your sex is capable, and that is all."

"Alas, Arthur," replied my aunt, "women rarely discover objects amongst
men worthy of exciting powerful affection, and none but slaves will
bestow the semblance where the reality does not exist. Men and women act
and re-act reciprocally on each other's characters, and though
exceptions may appear, you will find it easy in general to decide upon
one sex, by the merits or demerits of the other, allowing for those
differences between them which distinguishes each from its opposite."

"How then," said I, "is a new order of things to be effected? One
swallow does not make a summer."

"The change would be achieved without any difficulty, my child, would
each individual only throw off the artificial shackles which are imposed
by opinion upon the heart and understanding. Nature is so lovely, truth
so captivating, that one would imagine it no hard matter to disengage
the mind from the bondage of a factitious yoke, and I return to their
gentle empire. Yet this is all that we are called upon to do, and that
only with ourselves. If our early years were passed in laying up store
for futurity in practising the affections within the circle of those
whom God has given to be our nearest and dearest ties, in cultivating
intellect, and acquiring useful knowledge, we should need no farther
security against the mistakes of after life. Religion, virtue, wisdom,
and good taste, would be our guides as well as our protectors."

"Aunt, 'almost thou persuadest me;' but you named religion, and before
we conclude I must say a word upon that part of the subject."

At this instant who should appear at the entrance of a moss-house, in
which my aunt and I had been seated for the last half hour, but
Oliphant, Charlotte, and Fanny? They had taken a round of the wood, and
were returning when this contre tems took place. I blushed
immoderately. It was such a topic to be caught in the act of discussing;
but my confusion did not last long.

What a blessing is tact! That monosyllable contains a volume. My aunt
saw, I suppose, exactly all that was passing across my mind--

"Caciata del core fuge nel volto,"--and, instantly seizing on
Charlotte's hand, she said, "My love, I want you and Fanny to run home
and send the little car to me. I am a wee bit tired; I will keep Mr.
Oliphant and Arthur here, till Paddy and poney arrive."

Like lightning, the nymph disappeared, and, quietly turning to me as if
our dialogue had suffered no interruption, "I am so glad that just as we
wanted Mr. Oliphant, he has come to our aid," said my aunt. "He will be
quite at home in answering your last question."

She then in a moment playfully informed Domine of our single combat,
"which," added she "was fairly fought, and rather favourably to my side
at the close, till Arthur rallying his forces, to make a powerful stand,
entrenched himself under an authority to which, were it against me, I
should implicitly submit; but I will now place you in my stead; and,
as I am sure that Arthur was going to say (no young ladies being
present) that female inferiority is supported by that volume, from which
there is no appeal at Glenalta, I am not without hope that you will
drive my nephew from this last fastness."

"I accept the challenge," said Oliphant, "and thank you for the post
which you allot to me, as the laurel of victory already circles round my
brow; but I must hear my adversary state his case."

Thus forced into a tilting match with the tutor, I laughed, and assured
him that I had never presumed upon encountering so formidable an enemy;
but as it would be a tacit confession that my cause was weak, were I to
remain silent, "I must own," said I, "that Mrs. Douglas precisely hit
upon what I was going to urge, namely, that however modern manners, to
which my aunt discovers so little gratitude, have raised women to the
pedestal on which they stand, the Bible tells a different tale; and
were it even true that female pride had got a fall through fashion's
fiat, would not such depreciation be exact conformity with holy writ?"

"Were it so," answered the giant of learning, "Mrs. Douglas would
neither lament nor contend against her fate, but the Bible is peculiarly
her sanctuary of refuge, from which, when driven to its sacred shelter
by the taunts of the world, she might proudly exclaim, 'it was not thus,
when we came from the hands of God.'"

"No, my dear sir, man was created in God's own image; 'male and female
created he them.' Eve (the meaning of which word is life) was formed
after, and out of man. She was not given to him as property, but given
'to be with him,' as a companion, because he would have been a
cheerless, as also a useless animal without her. The original Hebrew
implies no superiority, nor inferiority. Adam and Eve were the
counterparts of each other. Eve was bone of bone, flesh of flesh, to her
husband, both endowed with immortality, both invested with rule over
all creatures of the earth. The word woman is from the Hebrew Ish,
signifying man, which, when simply altered by two letters to Ishau,
literally means she-man. Andris is the female form of Aner, man, in
the Greek; and in Arabic we have Imrat, she-man, from Imree, man.
Every man should consider woman as a part of himself; and when, as a
punishment for her disobedience, the heavy denunciation was issued that
Eve should be subject to her husband, it was not required by their
Maker that she should resign any part of that understanding, any
prerogative of heart or intellect, which had originally been bestowed,
when she was formed his equal in power. Both man and woman were deprived
of immortality. Death came into the world with sin, and with these,
woman's legal bondage to her husband; but beyond this limit you cannot
proceed. On the contrary, though the brutal habits of eastern tyranny
debased the sex, to which inferior bodily strength had been from the
first communicated, yet was it exalted in the moment of depression by
Him who called it into being, and inflicted the curse. The woman was to
bruise the serpent's head. She was the first destroyer, and was
permitted to be the first in the chain of restoration, by being the
appointed medium, the sole earthly parent of the Saviour. When Abraham
was entitled Father of the faithful, Sarah received like honour, and was
named their Mother; and when our blessed Lord came upon earth, from one
end to the other of his ministry, there is not a syllable to be found
derogatory of the female sex. He loved Mary as a sister; and upon
various occasions distinguished certain women by particular expressions
of affectionate approbation. There is no authority in the Bible from
Genesis to Revelation for the opinion that you hold; and with respect to
punishment inflicted by Deity for transgression, a generous feeling
would naturally suggest the desire of lightening rather than aggravating
its infliction, especially when we reflect that the only difference
between the culprits lay in the measure of delinquency. Adam and his
sons have no cause of triumph; and I never read the story of the fall
without considering with humiliation the first proof afforded of a
lowered nature in our common progenitor, when to save himself from the
principal condemnation, he selfishly consigned his partner to the wrath
of offended divinity. When our Saviour arose from the dead, it was to
his faithful female followers that he first revealed himself; and, as a
concluding remark, permit me to observe, that if, as we are assured
unequivocally, women are equal inheritors of the skies, it ill befits us
to refuse them their rights on earth. No, sir, depend upon it, when men
cannot support themselves, except by asserting that power which the laws
have conferred upon them, they are hard run, and the edifice is
tottering when it requires a buttress. The nobler animals are all
quiescent. The lion reposes in his strength, and knowing how much he
can command, is slow at making exhibition of his force; but "man, proud

    "Dressed in a little brief authority,
    Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
    As make the angels weep."

"I remember, sir," said I, "to have seen once, in the library of a
gentleman, who, by the bye, was a most complete domestic despot, an odd
sort of a book, entitled "Rights of Women."

"Are you acquainted with, and an approver of that work?"--"No, young
gentleman, that is a book which has long ago found its resting-place
amid dust and cobwebs. When new, it was a wretched thing, and is now
forgotten; but you found it, as the mineralogists express themselves,
in situ, when you discovered a stray copy on the shelves of a tyrant.
The brawlers about liberty are generally fond of keeping it all to
themselves. The French revolution, which was before your time, set many
heads distracted, and loosened the whole frame-work of our morals; but
we are sobered, and have consigned to oblivion the grosser absurdities
of that disjointed period.

"Women have real and substantial rights, natural as well as civil, which
no one attempts to dispute; and they are fools when they part with them,
unless to secure a greater good than they relinquish; but marriage is
the rock upon which multitudes make shipwreck, because from the present
constitution of things, that solemn act of life is performed with less
consideration than people commonly employ in the purchase of a field.
Men, after a career of folly, begin to look about them, and think it
wise to settle, before time has thinned their locks and scattered
silver over the flowing honours of youth. Women sigh for what are called
establishments; and happiness slides out of a scheme in which no
provision has been made for its entertainment. Take an old man's advice,
Mr. Howard, be as deliberate in your selection as you please, and I hope
that you will not marry till you know your own mind; but when you do
become a Benedick, let your Beatrice be the friend of your bosom, the
companion of your life, and a partner in all your pains, pleasures, and

I was not prepared to contradict, for the truth is, that Domine told me
more in half a dozen sentences than I ever heard before. However, not to
appear as if I had suddenly lost my speech, I gently hinted, "that
Solomon was usually thought a wise man, upon the authority of the
Scriptures; and he declares that, in his search after wisdom, he had
never found one woman to reward his pains."

"Truly, that is not very wonderful," said Oliphant. "When the men, who
possessed all the advantages that superior power bestowed, made so
little use of it towards the cultivation of knowledge and virtue, that
Solomon complains of not finding a man of worth in a thousand, no
wonder that amongst the weaker sex, who were kept in the lowest state of
slavery and degradation, he should not discover any who, deprived of the
benefit of education, and shut out from the light of truth, had broken
her bonds, and soared above the horrible debasement to which females
were condemned by their rulers. The Christian Religion, of which that
Bible that you lately quoted as authority for the servitude of women, is
the sacred repository, is in fact the charter of female liberty; and in
proportion as the Sun of Righteousness shines with more or less
refulgence in any land, in such proportion is woman respected."

"Pray then, Mr. Oliphant, how comes it that the sense of mankind has
always been taking a contrary course? A boy is hardly out of his nurse's
arms, before he hears of his superiority over his sisters. When he goes
to school, the first grammar that his lisping tongue is turned to
repeat, tells him that his sex is most worthy. In the world, one
hears women only estimated by their beauty, or their wealth; and in
families we see them nothing better than the wrecks of a former day,
little loved by their husbands, or respected by their children."

"Hinc illæ lachrymæ," answered my opponent, "in one sense the male
sex is decidedly superior--I mean in strength; and were this employed in
supporting the weak, instead of oppressing them, the female world would
not be disposed to grudge men a supremacy of which they would themselves
enjoy the happy fruits. But as to your nursery nonsense, an elder son is
always told that he is as much above his younger brothers, as his
sisters; and so he is, by the laws of primogeniture, which give him the
estate. Yet I suppose that there are few such blockheads as to believe,
that because a man happens to come into the world before his brethren,
he is therefore invested with a patent of superior intellectual
endowment. On the contrary, it often happens, that elder sons, satisfied
with the gifts of fortune, take little trouble with their minds, and
are, in point of cultivation, at the tail instead of the head of
their Houses. Grammar rules prove nothing. They were made by men, and
according to vulgar estimates of physical force; and as to the world,
the most convincing proof in my eyes of its degeneracy in our day, is to
be found in the impertinent neglect of women, so frequently observable
in the soi-disant men of fashion. To sum up the argument: the sexes
differ from each other, but difference implies nothing of better or
worse, taller or shorter, wiser or less wise. They are different, and
each beautifully adapted by the eternal Creator to fulfil the purposes
for which it was designed. The man stronger, more active--made to
encounter danger, and endure fatigue. The woman more delicate, more
refined, formed to sooth by her tenderness, to watch over the helpless,
comfort the unfortunate, and be the balm of human kind. In mental
capacity Nature has dealt with impartial bounty, and the most splendid
talents are to be found in that sex, which I grieve to add, too rarely
exercise their powers. Rely upon it, that men are not less manly for
sharing their privileges, nor women less feminine for profiting by the
boon. The age of Chivalry is gone, and it would be well to restore it.

"Look, my dear young gentleman, around you at Glenalta. Is Frederick
less likely to attain the gold medal at his University, or is he less
ardent in pursuit of game in the fields, because he loves his mother and
sisters, and would be unwilling to enjoy any gratification in which they
were not partakers? Turn your eyes upon the dear gentle trio of your
fair cousins, and tell me are they less pleasing, less modest, less
artless, and happy, because, with minds well stored, they can always
find resources at home, for which others are vainly seeking abroad? Are
they less elegant because they are independent, or less delicate because
they neither shriek at a wasp, nor faint at the sight of a spider?"--

I was going to say something, I hardly know what, when a party appeared
in sight, that at a little distance might have passed for a group of
gipsies; Paddy and the poney car, led the van. Frederick, the three
girls, Phil., and young Bentley brought up the rear. We were together in
the next moment, and in the midst of salutations, I could not help
remarking the anxiety of all the young people about my aunt, whose
expression of fatigue had brought them back to offer aid, and satisfy
themselves that she was not ill. Frederick settled the cushions, and
dispatched Paddy, saying, that he must himself drive the little car,
lest it should go too fast. Fanny had brought a small basket, in which
was a phial of hartshorn, and a glass having been also produced, away
ran Charlotte to the stream which tumbles through this rocky glen, to
procure water,--all without fuss, or effort.

Yes, there is no question of it--what Oliphant says is true enough.
These people are not at all the worse for any thing that they have said,
done, learned, or acquired. My aunt was unusually gay, to convince her
children that nothing ailed her; and we all returned home, laughing and
talking as merrily as possible. Bentley was asked to stay and dine,
which Phil. had promised also to do, and so sped Saturday away as
smoothly as if it rolled on casters.

In the evening we walked. I took my first lesson in botany from Emily.
We planned a trip to Killarney, for July, if my aunt makes no
objection, and finished the revels with music.

What would you think, if I tell you, that Domine took the bass in
several glees, and has a remarkably fine sonorous voice. Our guests
departed. The bell rang. Servants were assembled, and the usual prayer
was read, with no other circumstance of change, than the substitution of
Mr. Oliphant, in quality of domestic chaplain, for my aunt.

Just as we were about to separate, Fanny called me, and whispered,
"Don't go yet to your room. We are going to hold a conference for a few
minutes in the study, and you must assist at our council." I accordingly
lagged behind, and after Mr. Oliphant and my aunt had severally retired,
we five mustered in the Library. Emily opened the proceedings, by
saying, "Arthur, my brother, sisters and I, have set our hearts upon
accomplishing a project which Frederick and I devised in our walk this
evening. It is to prevail with our beloved mother to accompany us to
Killarney. It is many years since she has been there, and I know that
she will not revisit that heavenly spot without the deepest emotion.
Yet we cannot help flattering ourselves with its being of such a nature
as not to amount to pain; and it will be counteracted by the pleasure of
beholding our rapture at seeing her make one in our excursion. Phil. is
in our secret, and now so are you. We are going to write a petition.
She shall not have it to-night, because it might agitate her; and it
shall only be signed by her children, because if such happiness as her
compliance would impart, should be in store for us, it is of that sacred
character which we could not bear to owe even to the dearest friends;
and if, on the other hand, as I am afraid may prove the case, we are
asking too much, we will not involve any one else in the pain of a
refusal. Now good night--wish us success, and meet us in the moss-house
at eight in the morning to learn our fate."

I went to my room quite unable to speak--I was suffocating, and, shall
I confess to Falkland (but proclaim it not in Gath) tears, such as I
never shed before in all my life, coursed each other down my "innocent
nose." It is too much. Unmanned at a short turn, and by what? a set of
children laying schemes to have their mother's company in a party of
pleasure! Well, I know not what is to come next, but this place will be
the ruin of me, if this is the way in which I go on resigning my
understanding. Positively I shall be absolutely unfit for society, and
look when I go back to town precisely as if I had been spending a couple
of months with Noah in the ark, and had just stepped out on Mount
Ararat. I took myself to task; shook myself; scolded myself; chewed the
cud of the last ball at Almack's; ditto at Lady Arabella Huntley's;
placed myself in the midst of that group with whom I passed my last
London evening at Lady Murray's after the Opera; but it would not do.

When the mind gets one of these wrenches, it is in vain to attempt
setting matters to rights again in a hurry. I found, after toiling to
give a new bent to my reflections, that they would still return with
elastic force to the place whence they set out; and I therefore gave
vent to them in the new course which they had channelled for themselves.
While in this mood, I could not help thinking, that if we measure life
by the exercise of our faculties, and the warmth of our feelings,
instead of by such evidences of existence as might apply to stocks and
stones as well as to sentient beings, I have only lived in your
society, and since I came to Glenalta. A mournful chill stole over my
heart as I involuntarily asked myself, "Is my mother like this mother,
or are my sisters like my cousins?" These questions led me to one still
more immediately painful--"Do I resemble Frederick?" The inquiry was
accompanied by a feeling of such bitterness, that I fear it must have
been answered in the negative, to each of my self-addressed queries.
Alas! thought I, of what light materials are we formed! tossed about by
every wind, and seizing on the contagion of every new situation! Well,
one week has worked a strange jumble of my tastes and opinions, but
all will be stratified in regular order, according to received
notions, by a corresponding term, when I revisit Selby or Grosvenor
Square. This consolation seemed a quietus, for I fell asleep, and
undisturbed by farther moralizing, rose refreshed and full of spring,
in due season to keep my engagement.

What a vein of lovely weather! and what an influence does it exert over
our souls. The morning appeared as if determined to cheat me into good
humour with all the wearisome business of Sunday in "a pious family" (oh
that quaint expression) in the country. Nature looked as if she had just
stepped, in the luxuriance of youth and beauty, that moment from her
bath. A dew-drop glistened on every blade of grass, and fragrance
breathed around from every flower. I set out with that invigorating
sensation of hilarity which I have always found an early walk on a fine
day to produce. I believe, that besides the animal gratification arising
from sunshine, perfumes, and the bracing quality of fresh air, we are
insensibly pleased with ourselves, when we have started from the
enervating effects of drowsy slumbers, and snatched a portion of time
from Lethe's wave.

I was in the humour to analyze, and I think that I was more complacent
in my feelings towards myself than usual. If so, it is not hard to
account for the balminess of charity towards all things else--the
key-note is ever to be found within our own breasts, and it regulates
the whole strain.

Half-musing, half-poetizing, I reached the moss-house, and was
ruminating on the sparkling stream that dashes over the rock, amongst
its tangled brush-wood, when with light feet, my nymphs and their
brother hastened round the wood, and appeared at the seat of Congress.

After a joyous "good morrow," they told me that "mamma" had not been
awake when they left the house to attend the Sunday School, and
therefore they had no good news to impart to me; and only came to the
place of appointment, lest I should wait and accuse them of a failure in

The words "Sunday School," acted as a "killing frost" to all the tender
leaves and buds with which Fanny had wreathed my morning walk, and
looking I dare say like an icicle, I said, "And are you really
enlisted amongst those troops of godly women dressed in grey, and
looking like flocks of Solon geese, who paddle from house to house on
the Sabbath, and make that which was given us for an anniversary of
repose, the most tiresome and laborious day of all the weekly seven?" My
companions laughed, and Frederick bade me not be alarmed, assuring me
that there were no Solon geese in the poultry-yard of Glenalta.

"We do not belong," said Emily, "to a train-band of any description;
and a very short portion of Sunday is sufficient for our little task.
But few children assemble at our school, as Protestants are thinly
scattered in Kerry; and, as it is a rule here, never to teach to read
where the Bible is not received, the number of our scholars is very
limited. This would be subject of grief to mamma, were it not her fixed
opinion, supported by the experience and strong sense of our friend Mr.
Otway, and the worthy tutor, that in this country matters are not ripe
for the quantity of education forced upon the people, and that a more
gradual process is for the advantage of every part of the community; but
were it otherwise, our individual labours would still be light.
Charlotte, Fanny, and I, go before breakfast to hear the children read
a chapter, repeat a collect, and answer a few questions, more as
pioneers to Mr. Oliphant, than as teachers. This occupies only one
hour, and we do no more. Domine, as you call him, and the Curate of our
parish, who is a very good clergyman, examine after church, and this
finishes the school-work of the day."

"Bless me!" said I, "I am very glad to hear these things, but must own
that your account is most unexpected. The ladies whom I have heard
called 'pious,' at our post town in Buckinghamshire, sit up, I imagine,
all Saturday night, and starve all Sunday. They defile along in troops,
looking sour enough to curdle milk into whey by their presence, and are
always to be seen loaded with tracts, and carrying bags which are filled
with other implements of the trade. These saintly damsels are, I firmly
believe, a set of whale-boned exclusionists, who deny salvation to all
who are not within their pale, and able to answer their qui va là? by
the signs and countersigns of their free masonry."

"Arthur," replied Emily, "though your anger diverts, I must scold you
for being too severe. Why should you judge so hardly upon hearsay
testimony of people whom it is your boast not to be acquainted with?
Surely starving, without food or rest by day, and sleep at night, cannot
be matter of amusement; and if your picture be not greatly
exaggerated, we may at least hope that the motives are pure, which
dictate so much self-denial."

"Not a bit of it, I assure you," answered I. "I promise you that these
folks are self-sufficient, as they are generally weak; and have as much
pride, vanity, and dogmatism, in their own plain way, as their
neighbours. They set up to be teachers, when they would be much better
employed in learning; and both men and women of the new light get into
the cant, and are sworn in to the confederacies to serve very secular
purposes. See how they nestle into the houses of the great, marry the
best fortunes, and while they preach a religious republic, always take
care if they can, to secure the dictatorship."

"We know nothing here of these abuses," said Emily; "I have heard of
noble characters who devote all their time, money, and influence, to the
high purposes of reclaiming the vicious, and teaching the Word of God to
the ignorant. But if we lived in a less refined spot than this, we
should not even then be likely to join any of the societies to which you
allude, composed of such as are technically, and most improperly called,
when with design to convey a taunt, 'good people.' Mamma dislikes
liveries, whether of dress or manners. She disapproves of bazaars,
working parties, and all religious exhibitions and excitements: in
short, of all demonstrations of what she calls a gregarious spirit of
piety; though she makes it a point never to express an opinion in the
presence of any one who could wrest it to the unworthy purpose of
throwing either ridicule or reproach on numbers of excellent persons of
both sexes who differ from her in theory as well as practice."

"I perceive," said I, with delight, "that my aunt does not consider
dancing a sin."--"No, so far from it," answered Frederick, "that when
the Sandfords were with us, we were very gay, and I hope shall be so
again when they return in the autumn. My mother loves that piety should
rear her altar in the heart, and does not rest so much as some well
meaning people are inclined to do, on petty observances of a merely
external kind. She cannot endure mannerism, and her feelings are very
strong upon the injury which true religion sustains through want of
judgment in her votaries. The tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, occupies
many, perhaps not to the entire exclusion of weightier matters; but
little things can be understood, and grasped by minds totally
incapable of enlarged views; and unfortunately these are often mistaken
for vital principles, when they are no more than sign-posts. For this
reason, the peculiar language which has become so common, is never used
here; and though Sunday at Glenalta is a very sacred day, I hope that
you will not find it more dull than other days."

As Fred. ceased to speak, who should enter our council chamber but my
aunt. "What! all my dears assembled in committee?" "Yes, dearest
mother," said Frederick, springing forward to meet her, "and with
Arthur in the chair, we have passed a resolution, that you will make us
the happiest group in Christendom, if you will grant the boon implored
in this petition." So saying, he slipped a paper into her hand, and
taking two of his sisters, leaving Fanny to grace my arm, he added, "we
must not take our sovereign by surprise. She must have time to dwell
upon the prayer of her subjects. So we will make a tour of St. Colman's
rock, and be back like true liegemen, to assist her in returning home."
Off he hurried us, and this was done to spare his mother that emotion
which is always felt when we know that what passes within the heart is
seen and comprehended by others. It is astonishing! These young people
study every look, and can follow the windings, however sinuous, of every
thought, when affection is the lamp to guide their way.

We took the round of St. Colman, a great white rock, about which, there
is a legend, that perhaps I may tell you at some other time, and found
my aunt seated where we left her: probably pondering upon past
happiness, and present gratitude, for blessings still continued. Her
own sweet smile rested on her countenance, but a tear had recently
fallen on her cheek. She did not wait to be addressed, but extending a
hand to Fred. and his eldest sister, told them by a beaming, but silent
look, that she complied with their entreaty. Fred. seized her in his
arms in extacy, and having given one emphatic kiss, which bore a world
of thanks upon its impress, he dashed out of the moss-house, unable to
control the feeling of his manly heart. He is a fine creature. Emily and
Charlotte glided away without uttering a word, and Fanny sobbed aloud.
Her mother kissed her, and taking my arm, with a tremulous voice that
seemed to struggle against display of those inward conflicts which
caused it to falter, said to me, "dear Arthur, you are unused to scenes
like this in fashionable life, yet they are very sweet. Like Cornelia, I
have my jewels, and they are precious gems; but we shall be late, and
Mr. Oliphant will wonder what has become of his congregation." I felt
again the plaguy choke, which is an endemic, I suppose of these bogs,
for I have scarcely ever experienced a fit of the disease till I came
here. I could not help giving a gentle squeeze to the hand that leaned
upon my arm. "You are the happiest set I ever saw," said I. A suppressed
sigh met my ear, and Fanny, jumping into the middle of the walk, to
arrest our progress, broke a chain which would have led to sorrow. "Oh!
mamma, stop: Arthur, don't put down your right foot for your life.
There, now he's safe poor thing," and in an instant, a frightful frog,
which had been hurt by some unlucky foot that had come down too
weightily on the reptile's leg, was gently deposited, first on her hand,
and then laid quietly on the grass under the shade of a Lauristinus. "I
will return after breakfast," muttered Fan, "and if I find that you are
not likely to recover, poor little wretch, you shall be put out of your
pain by old Lorry." How my sisters would stare in wild amaze, were I to
tell them of such an act! "Pray," said I, "Fanny, do you cherish in this
manner, all the vile vermin that chance brings into your path?" "To be
sure; every creature can live its short hour in pleasure or in pain;
and the less pretty and likely to excite sympathy, the more I feel to be
its friend: it is so pleasant to be kind to any thing that is
unfortunate. These little traits let you into whole regions of
character, and therefore it is that I relate them. You are very near the
end of my sketches, and must then be contented with letters that sum
up events; but I will not relax the labours of my pencil, to commence
upon those of my pen, till you have Sunday sent down the stream of
time, with the years before the flood."

Oliphant, who had not any starch whatever in his features, met us at
the verandah, without his hat, and looking as benign as the sky that he
seemed to have stood admiring, before we reached the door. He helped my
aunt to take off her shawl, and then presenting his arm, led the way
towards the little room which serves as a chapel, where the only
addition to the usual orisons, was a short and emphatic prayer for a
blessing upon the employments and instruction, whether public or
private, of this day. Breakfast ended, we soon set out to church, which
is full a mile distant; but the fineness of the weather tempted most of
the party to walk. My aunt and Emily accompanied Mr. Otway in his
carriage; and young Bentley, who is on a visit at Lisfarne, joined us.

Arrived at the parish church, upon the side of a bleak and barren hill,
I looked with amazement at the poverty of all around, not that there was
an absence of decency, or even comfort; but the bare white-washed walls,
the simple uncarved pulpit, unfringed cushions, with the absence of
monumental decoration, music, and all the paraphernalia of church
worship on our civilized side of the channel, struck me most
unfavourably as I entered the family pew; but these things were soon
forgotten, and the service was admirably performed. It so happened, that
a gentleman who was on his way to some other part of the country, and
whose talents as a preacher stand deservedly high, had halted the day
before at our parson's house, and was prevailed upon to take the pulpit.
Mr. Oliphant, whose voice is well modulated, and whose devotion
communicates a kindred feeling to his auditors, read the lessons, and
prepared the mind, by the simple energy of his manner, for the powerful
impression which awaited it. The sermon was upon prayer, and described
the efficacy of supplication for divine mercy and assistance. The
preacher, who perhaps I may never see again, has left an indelible
impression upon my mind. He was tall, thin, and pale, with a wonderful
benevolence of aspect. A holy calm sat upon all his features, which the
serene but clear light of his eye distinguished completely from the
dulness of vanity. There was nothing monotonous in the repose of his
appearance; and when he opened his lips, the effect was of music spoken.
To the finest voice I ever heard, he added the perfection of its
adaptation to every variety of meaning which his matter was designed to
convey, and while every inflection seemed to be suited to the words
which it uttered with such correspondence of expression, that had they
been removed echo would still have given back all they could have
imparted; study was the last idea that suggested itself in listening
to this eloquent being. All his tones, each look, each emphasis,
appeared to be the spontaneous drapery in which a bright understanding
clothed the feelings of his heart. I never was so transfixed in my life,
and the apostolic sacredness of his figure harmonized so entirely with
the simplicity of that lowly building divested of even the common-place
decoration usual in English country churches, that for some time I was
untrue to our beloved Gothic, and actually began to fancy that I had
never till yesterday been amongst the faithful worshippers of God in His
own Temple.

When the sermon was finished, the preacher remained in his pulpit,
apparently desirous of allowing the congregation to disperse before his
departure; and we saw no more of him.

The family of Glenalta had heard frequently of his extraordinary powers,
but till now had never had an opportunity of judging for themselves. As
we walked home, our talk by the wayside naturally enough took its hue
from the scene which we had just quitted, and I asked Mr. Oliphant
whether Mr. Leighton, whose performance had excited such general
admiration, held the opinions distinctively denominated Calvinistic?
"No, I should imagine not; but cannot speak positively, as I am not
personally acquainted with him." Young Bentley, who was a little behind
us, stepped up, and said, "I believe that I may answer with certainty;
for an uncle of mine, who lives in the north, is very intimate with Mr.
Leighton, and once asked him the question, from having heard some
reports which were circulated touching the doctrines that he inculcated;
and he entered upon that occasion into a full statement of his
sentiments, which, to sum up briefly, may I fancy be comprised in two
words, Gospel truth. He professed the most perfect charity for those who
sincerely differ from him; and likewise the deepest admiration for
holiness both of life and character, in some of those writers who held
the peculiar tenets that mark Calvin's creed: but he unequivocally
declared that he did not adopt the Genevan opinions, while he as
unhesitatingly asserted his belief in evangelical piety as the only
vital religion." "Pray," said I, "tell me what you mean; for with us
evangelical preachers are synonymous with Calvinists." "Aye," said Mr.
Oliphant, "and probably with Methodists too: there is nothing so easy as
a name by which people are in the habit of representing things not
understood or inquired into. I once knew a young man who, being met in
the street by another who had known him at the university, was suddenly
asked, 'Why, Dick, when did you turn Calvinist?' My young friend stared,
and the other flippantly added, 'I heard that you never dance now, and
therefore suppose you to be one of the new light.' In this way, idleness
and folly make sad confusion; but to answer your question, as to
differences between certain opinions, I will put a volume into your
hands, whenever you please, which will give you in detail the points
upon which Calvin dissented from the Lutheran doctrines, and formed a
sect now known by his name. Very many individuals are called Calvinists
in the unthinking manner which I have described, without being in
reality such; and many who incontrovertibly held Calvin's opinions, and
others who do hold them at the present day, have been, and are, men
whose virtues ought to excite our deepest veneration, and inspire an
earnest desire of imitation; however we may consider them mistaken in
their explanation of those parts of the Bible which appear to sanction
their doctrines. A pure evangelical faith embraces all that seems
necessary to salvation, namely, the most perfect self-abasement before
God, together with a lively sense of human unworthiness, full implicit
confidence in the free gift of atoning mercy as the only way to
everlasting glory, and an earnest desire, by increasing holiness and
obedience, to prove ourselves the children of God. These principles,
with the addition of a clear sense that we must adopt them, and
become, through the divine spirit infused into our souls, awakened from
the delusive securities of natural pride, and humbled by an abiding
consciousness of our sins and infirmity, constitute a summary of the
Christian system, and comprise all that is essentially evangelical."

"I observed nothing," said I, "of peculiar phraseology in Mr. Leighton's
discourse, and certainly never heard any language more entirely free
than is his from that twang which I have hitherto considered as a
characteristic of the ultras in religion." "Now, my young friend,"
replied Domine, "are you not falling yourself into the error which you
reprobate? Why use those words, which designate a sect of fashionable
fault-finders, who rail against a religion which they do not take the
trouble to investigate, just as plainly as the terms that you are
desirous to abolish, mark what you call the new light fraternity?"

I told him that I stood corrected, and he shook my hand, saying, "I
thank you for so kindly excusing me in thus abruptly calling you to
order;" and then continued--"Mr. Leighton is a person of such character,
that my conclusion respecting his not being a Calvinist was drawn
entirely from the absence of those expressions generally belonging to
the school." "But, sir," said Mr. Bentley, "I have heard several sermons
preached by men whose principles I discovered at a short turn now and
then to be really Calvinistic, though they were free from every
peculiarity of phrase, and so guarded as to doctrine, that for a long
time I have resisted the idea of their being any other than evangelical
ministers of the gospel, such as you described it to be." "Aye,"
answered Oliphant, "that is the very point to which I would draw your
attention. It is, in my opinion, not right to consider any tenet of a
particular creed essential to salvation, and yet suppress it. Either
the decretum horribile is, or is not, a vital article: If not, there
is no Calvinism, and if it be, no man who believes in its importance as
a pillar of faith is justified by motives of expediency in leaving out
subjects so essential in their view of the Christian system. A
practical evil which I have known to proceed from what is commonly
called a judicious style of preaching is, that many are taken in to
become members of a congregation before they are aware of the tenets of
their instructor. Much confusion of mind sometimes results. Weak
understandings are perplexed, and the effect is, that people who are not
capable of drawing nice distinctions, at last slide gradually, without
any exercise of their own will or understanding, into the opinions very
different from those of which they imagine themselves to be the
advocates. But, my dear Mr. Howard, we should each in his own sphere, be
it narrow or extended, rejoice in all the good that exists, though it
may vary in its livery; and, so far from cultivating a spirit of
ridicule, endeavour to draw the bonds of charity together, so as to
include all the sincere and pains-taking of the Christian community,
within its ample scope."

We were now arrived at the house, and separated into little parties. My
aunt and her daughters disappeared, Mr. Oliphant and young Bentley went
off to the school, and Fred. and I took a long and delightful walk
tête-à-tête by the sea side. We had a great deal of conversation that
informed me of many particulars respecting my family, with which I had
never till then been made acquainted. On returning home, as we passed a
cabin door, I saw Fanny busily distributing bread and money, the former
from a large basket held by the same boy who attends the donkies, and
the latter from a small leather bag which she carried slung upon her
arm. "What are you doing here?" was answered by "nothing but our
Sunday-work;" which, being interpreted, meant a weekly donation
presented by these amiable girls to a few old people who cannot work,
and who esteem the gift tenfold for being communicated by the hands of
their young mistresses. This is a striking feature in the poor of this
island. In England, a shilling is a shilling provided it come
legitimately from the mint, no matter who is the donor; but here
sentiment, which with us is confined to the higher classes, is to be
found in the most miserable habitations.

Charlotte, who was within the hut, joined our party, and told us that a
poor man had just been expressing to her feelings which certainly are
not common in any rank of life. She had said, "Tim., why are you not
walking to-day; it is too fine weather to stay in the house?" and his
answer was, "The finer the day, my dear miss, the more I'd covet not to
be looking at it; ever since I buried her, I'd rather be to myself,
and Sunday brings all the people out." What an artless expression of
faithful affection! This man's wife, who is the "her" to be
comprehended, he supposes, by every one, because there is no other to
confound with the image in his own breast, has been dead for six years;
and yet Memory is true to her trust. There is something very endearing
in this tenderness, and we feel in good humour with our species, when an
instance like what I have mentioned occurs, to prove that some of our
best movements can spring from an uncultivated soil.

At dinner, after dinner, and all the evening, I am compelled in honesty
to say, that not a moment passed heavily. We laughed and talked as
usual. The interval between dinner and tea was spent in walking; that
between tea and nine o'clock in listening to some of Handel's finest
songs, very sweetly performed; and e'er "the close of the silent eve,"
the family group were once more assembled; and after prayers, and a
short but impressive sermon, sent to their rest with an emphatic

You have now the panorama of Glenalta, and you are placed upon a
platform in the midst, from which, turning yourself round the scene, you
can form a just idea of every object which it includes within the

Thus have I brought (I believe with fidelity) the first part of my
epistolary labours to a conclusion. From this time forth you will know
all the ground-plan, and be enabled to allot its own place to each
occurrence as it may chance to arise. As to the general impression made
upon my mind, I own to you that I never was so happy anywhere as since I
came to this lone and lovely spot; and I am powerfully struck with the
truth of a remark which you once made to me, and which at that time
though I had a vague idea of your being right, I had no actual
experience that permitted me to confirm; namely, that society in its
true sense consists not in the number of those persons with whom one
converses, but in the number of ideas excited in one's own mind.
Glenalta completely illustrates this observation. A family of five
individuals, with the addition of two intimate friends, have furnished
such variety and excitement in the flow of my thoughts, that I appear to
have lived in a crowd; and through a long duration of time I was
thinking of this circumstance before I got up this morning as a
contradiction to the common notion, that when we are most happy time
seems the fleetest; but I see how it is--both remarks are strictly true.

Stimulus of an agreeable diversified nature certainly prevents our
taking note of time while present, and therefore it may be said to
glide away rapidly; but when remembered, every circumstance which
produced a change of pleasure, serves to distinguish one portion from
another, and thus to afford a sense of progress, which the dullness of
monotony is incapable of producing, just as a single acre of ground,
animated by trees, houses, and living creatures, fills a much greater
extent in imagination, when we recollect the landscape, than is
occupied by a wide expanse of ocean, though the latter, when looked
upon, appeared a boundless prospect; still, however, in the midst of
this sunshine of the heart, I always bear in mind that its locality is
the secret of its charm. You would not agree with me, but I am assured
that the sort of thing that delights where one feels no
responsibility, would cease to fascinate in the moment that the
surrounding world came to call one to account for one's country cousins:
and these dear souls, perhaps, might make one blush at the west end. I
ought not to say so from any thing that I have seen here; but the whole
course of our thoughts and feelings is so subject to join the tide of
opinion, that I hardly dare to assert how far my present impressions,
vivid as they are, would stand the test of a Bond-street jury.

As Mrs. Malaprop says, however, "let us not have any retrospections as
to the future." Viva, viva. I am so much better, that I hardly
remember how I came here in the high road to Charon's ferry.

I am longing to hear from you. Don't forget to let me know about
Stanhope, as Mr. Otway will be anxious to learn whether you and he

Adieu, dear Falkland. Am I not the very pine-apple, and quintessence of
letter-writers? Huzza!

    Yours, ever affectionately,

    Arthur Howard.


Miss Douglas to Miss Sandford.

    My dearest Julia,      Glenalta.

Unfortunately for me, I promised to write again without entering into
any covenant with you; and were I prevented from performing my vow for
half a year to come, I suppose that you would be a little female Shylock
and insist upon your bond, before you put pen to paper. I do not know
whether I shall do more wisely in refraining from all apology for my
silence, or in attempting to account for it. If you have been able to
settle into a regular track of daily employment since your return to
Checkley, you will be able to comprehend how the day should often find
us defaulters at its close, in at least half the amount of what we had
to do at its commencement; but if the whirl of travelling be still in
operation, you may wonder how people, who are stationary, should not
have too much time, rather than too little, on hand. I will therefore
keep on the safe side, and make no excuse, lest it should not be
considered a valid one, till I know how far you can understand our
habits of life; but as I am very certain of your heart, I will proceed
to tell you, as I promised in my last letter, of the surprise which
Frederick and I have prepared lately for our dearest mother.

On Wednesday next Arthur is to take a long ride with Mr. George Bentley,
and Frederick, and I mean to take advantage of our cousin's absence to
introduce mamma to the retreat, for so we have named the spot which is
consecrated by our rural labours to this idol of our daily worship.
Surely such worship cannot be idolatry, for through the finest mortal,
as the most beautiful natural, object, we may pay homage to the God that
created it. But do we really offer this tribute, or does not too much
love--does not too large a share of adoration rest in the channel
without reaching the source, like the worship of our poor Roman
Catholic, which is certainly given to the pictures and images, that
adorn their altars rather than to the Divinity which they represent?
This is a question which my conscience so often asks itself, that I
believe the true answer would come against me; and yet with the half
convicted sense of being a sinner, the sin of loving my mother beyond
due bounds, borrows so much of her character from its object, that it
appears like virtue, and so deludes.

Fred. and I talked the matter over yesterday evening, as we stole away
to our hallowed bower.

When you were at Glenalta, I never told you of the discovery which my
brother and I had made, because to have mentioned, without shewing you,
a gem so worthy of your admiration, as I shall presently describe, would
hardly have been kind. Your curiosity and feeling would have been
awakened, and I should have feared to gratify them lest we might have
disturbed the solitary genius of the place, who was at that time, a
daily visitant at its rustic shrine. When first we came here, as I told
you in my last letter, Nanny and Mr. Oliphant were alternately our
walking companions. Mamma was weak both in body and spirits; and though
she made exertion to be gay when we were with her, it is only long since
that period that I have been fully sensible how much we owed her for
efforts that were beyond her strength. As the mind requires to unbend
after intense meditation, so her spirit asked repose after over
excitement, and she used to glide along the shrubbery, meet her donkey
at its wicket gate, and, following the winding pathway of our glen,
ascend, as we imagined the mountain that lies beyond St. Colman's rock,
to breathe the "unchartered air of heaven," in full security of not
being interrupted; but, as she never went accompanied by any one, we
still only conjectured whither she directed her daily ride: and her
sorrow was too sensitive, even to our young eyes, to permit of our
asking many questions. We had been at Glenalta for three years, before
Frederick and I, who were then allowed to visit our poor people at a
distance, and explore our glens alone, found ourselves one day about
three miles from home, and along the course of the same rivulet which
sports so gracefully near our moss-house, at the most enchanting spot
that I ever beheld. It is a tiny dell, shut out, or rather shut in, from
all the world besides. A Lilliputian lawn of the softest green, and not
more than a few yards in circumference, serves as a pedestal to one
single tree, the only one of its kind in the whole scene. This tree is a
beech of surpassing beauty, which casts its delicate branches in a
sweeping curve round the little area which it occupies, forming an
umbrella of shade, except in one part, where a natural opening invites
underneath its lovely archway.

The stream, which near Glenalta is comparatively tame, though sweetly
fanciful, assumes a bolder aspect at the retreat, and dashes over
fragments of broken rock, which are richly clothed with fern and ivy,
and start from masses of holly, and other brush-wood, that grow
luxuriantly down at each side, to the verge of our mountain brook, which
makes a circuit round the beech, so as to render the velvet cushion
on which it stands almost a little island. As the bleak heath-covered
hill rises in every direction, you could fancy yourself to have reached
a fertile oasis in the midst of a desert. Nothing of animated life
appeared in view except two young goats that had ventured down the
precipice, and the silence was only broken by the rush of waters.
Frederick and I stood quite transfixed; but when our first exclamations
of wonder and delight had subsided, we determined on exploring farther,
and passing round the tree we scrambled to the other side, and found a
rude seat of stone, over which a tuft of alders and mountain-ash had
formed a roof impenetrable to the sun. A variety of the beautiful
orchis, cowslip, and primrose tribes intermixed with wild violets of the
most brilliant purple, enameled the ground, and the softest moss lined
every part of this sylvan niche with refreshing verdure. We sat down in
a perfect ecstacy, then pulled bundles of flowers, drank at the stream,
and were indulging in all the luxury of our good fortune, when something
white struck my eye, clung into the root of an old hazel which stood a
little below us. I pointed it out to Frederick, who immediately jumped
down the rock, and found a bit of paper rolled round a pencil. It was
torn, and had been injured by wet, having evidently lain for a long time
in its concealment. The holly which grows so abundantly all over the
rocks, had furnished its evergreen protection so as to save the paper
from melting away, and the weight of the pencil, round which it was
tightly wrapped, had contributed with the tangled roots, to prevent its
being carried away by the wind. We eagerly unfolded our mysterious
prize, and with some difficulty decyphered, at last completely, and in
mamma's hand-writing, the following lines:

    Inscribed upon thy polished rind,
      That name was once engraved,
    Which, traced upon my heart I find,
      The wreck that grief has saved.

    Nor ruthless time, nor cankering care,
      Hath swept that sacred line;
    The perfect record lingers there,
      Carved on the faithful shrine.

    Yes, and within thy beechen breast,
      Sweet sympathy conceals
    The characters that once confessed,
      Thy bark no more reveals.

    Thy glossy fane now furrowed o'er,
      Protects from wandering gaze
    That name adored, which never more
      Thy jealous love betrays.

    Thy roughened form,--my time-worn cheek,
      Alike refuse to tell
    The signs that idlers vainly seek
      Within this leafy dell.

    But when the axe hath laid thee low,
      And bowed thy graceful head;
    And me, life's latest mortal foe,
      Shall number with the dead;

    Then in our bosoms' inmost seat,
      The self same image found,
    Reveals to view its deep retreat,
      Fast in the heart-strings bound.

We gazed on each other, and the truth flashed upon our hearts in the
same instant. Frederick and I, by a movement imparted from within,
darted towards the tree together, and on examination found a part of the
once varnished surface, raised into irregular carbuncles, where the bark
had closed with time over some letters no longer legible. With much
pains, we satisfied ourselves that the initials H. A. C. D. had been
interwoven, and cut in the bark from the external face of which, these
letters had been carried inward by the process of annual growth. It
immediately occurred to us, that our beloved parents had made this a
favourite haunt in happier days; and that the undying memory of some
faithful mourner had sought again these now almost obliterated
characters. Such mourner could have been no other than the dear
surviving guardian of our youth; and our tears flowed without restraint,
as we read again and again, the stanzas of which we had become
accidentally possessed. The first movement of our minds was, as you may
suppose, to restore them directly to their author; and it was not
without considerable reasoning between ourselves, that either could
convince the other of its being better to suppress the verses, and say
nothing of the retreat. From mamma's never having communicated any
hint relative to this little hermit-cell, it was obvious that she did
not wish us to discover its situation; then, the pencilled lines had
been lost for some time. She had made no inquiry about them; her memory
was able in all probability, to supply them again; and in giving up
what manifestly appeared to be mamma's own composition, such explanation
might have ensued as would have opened all her wounds afresh, and
destroyed ever afterwards the pleasure which she appeared to feel in
visiting the sequestered spot which we had discovered. Upon mature
deliberation then we agreed to hush up our little adventure, and keep
the tender effusion that we had found, till some natural opportunity
might occur of giving it back again to its owner.

Time has rolled on, and the gradual influence of its healing power is
happily illustrated in the improved condition of our precious charge,
(for I consider her as a blessing conferred upon her children,
henceforward placed peculiarly in their care); and a moment having
arrived in which Frederick agreed with me that we might venture to
commence our little scheme, we set to work in the beginning of November,
just at the time when the change of weather, and the death of faithful
Dapple, that sole companion of our pilgrim's progress, conspired to
prevent the discovery of our plan. Poor Tom Collins and his son, who
live not far from the scene of our operations, were necessarily let into
the secret, for they were manual contributors to the execution of our
project; and had this not been the case, I should have still rewarded
the former by a confidence, the distinguishing nature of which he
knows how to appreciate, in return for a trait of feeling so unlike
one's abstract notion of a peasant, and so delicate, that I must tell
the anecdote of him, before I proceed with our works at the retreat. One
day preparatory to our design, Frederick and I watched an opportunity
when mamma was obliged to drive on business to a little town in our
neighbourhood, and paid a visit to our favourite spot. We were sitting
talking over past, present, and future, when a slight rustling amongst
the leaves, announced the approach of some one; and presently poor Tom
Collins, on tip-toe, and his finger, in sign of caution, placed upon his
lip, stood before us. "Och, then," said he, "its I that am after running
to stop your honours from coming down at all, at all, into my
misthess's nook. I does be keeping the childer always from this place
till the sun does be setting, and then I knows there 'ont be any danger
in life of seeing her honour, for becaase she only comes of a morning."

"And Tom," answered I, "why are you so uneasy from the fear of seeing

"Och, then, miss, my heart, I'll tell ye, and I never tould it afore,
nor wouldn't now, only becaase I never seed any one of quality like,
here, only her honour's self; and now if I don't tell, why may be she'd
be fretted to think that you and Masther Fred. would find her out in her
nook; and I knows very well, that she wouldn't like it, for when it
plased God to take my poor boy Darby away from me, I'd covet to be all
day moping if I could, down in that very bottom. Why, then, sure enough,
it was there I was one Midsummer day, lying down flat on the ground
beyont the big holly stump, and thinking heavy enough of Darby, becaase
of all days in the year, 'twas his own birth day, when I heard a
whispering like, under the baach-tree, so I gets up fair and softly,
without making as much stir as a baatle among the laaves; why then
mavourneen, what would I see but my misthess on her two knees, upon
the could ground, looking up and praying like. Well, there I stood, and
I seed her crying like droppings from the ivy beyant; and I heerd the
words axing the Lord to make yees good childer, and mark yees to Glory.
And then she'd ax Him to make her a good mother, and to keep and to help
her all the days of her life; and sure, be the same token, God listened
to her prayer, for she's the best of ladies. After that she'd get up,
and talk to the tree all as one as if it was a Christian, about my
maasther, for I heerd her say, Hinnery, and so I knew well enough who
she'd be spaiking of, being that I'd be often that way talking myself to
the air, as I may say, about Darby. Well, my heart grew so big, that I
thought it would fairly jump out o'me; so with that, I slinged away; and
seeing poor Dapple another day fastened behind the rock above, I says to
myself, to be sure says I, she's moping there like myself, and so I
never would come again till night fall; but when I have time, I does be
above, not far off, only she can't see me, be raison I'd like, if any
thing would be for going down the clift, to stop 'em till she'd be clear
and clane out o' the place for the day. So that's all about it; and she
don't be coming so often now, tho' in the main-time 'tis constant at her
prayers or writing on a bit of a paper, or reading out of a little book
that she does be, whenever she'll come to the lag below."

The eloquence of Demosthenes could not have worked upon our hearts like
this simple story. I seized instinctively upon the rough hand of honest
Tom, and Frederick did so likewise. We were too full to utter a word,
but we each of us resolved that this trait should have its recording
angel, and that, however tears might bedew the remembrance of it, they
should never blot out the registry. Of this we said nothing, for it
would have been a species of sacrilege to sully the purity of such
genuine feeling, by making it an apparent cause of any temporal benefit.
Oh what a withering breath is praise, and how sickly do the motives of
action become, when flattery, that simoon of the heart, has passed
over them! We now communicated our embryo purpose to Tom, and told him
that we intended proceeding to work on the following day, as it was not
likely, that during the winter season, my mother would visit her seat
again. Pride and joy took possession of his countenance, as we developed
our plan; and had we presented him with a purse of gold, I do not think
that the expression of his face could have indicated such happiness as
the feeling of being thus distinguished by our confidence, inspired.

I must now describe what we have done: Mr. Oliphant has been let into
our councils, and his excellent taste has assisted us not a little; but
dear Phil., Charlotte, Fanny, and Arthur are as ignorant as mamma, of
our necromancy. A beautiful rustic temple has taken place of the stone
seat. It is lined with reeds, interleaved in a sort of basket-matting,
which fits close to the inside; and the front is supported by pillars of
twisted elm, which are surmounted by capitals of remarkably fine cones
from the stone-pine. These supporters are covered with clematis,
honeysuckle, and roses. A circular seat, equal in softness to any
Ottoman divan, is raised to a convenient height, and covered with the
same reed-matting which I have mentioned. The paving is of snow-white
pebbles, which Collins' little girls have collected for me on the
strand, and the whole Glen has been decorated by every thing either
fragrant or beautiful, which was not out of character with its wildness.
I have trained a number of Alpine plants over the rocks, and taught the
lovely water-lily to unfold its flowers upon a tiny basin, which
Frederick has scooped out, lower down the stream. We have secured this
bower from trespassers, and made a serpentine path through the tangled
brush-wood, to permit the dear sovereign of these sylvan dominions to
descend the hill without fatigue, and admit of her being brought by
Dapple the second, up to the door of her rural palace. When this was
completed, we set to work at Tom Collins' abode, which is now raised and
enlarged into a thoroughly comfortable habitation. A nice cabbage-garden
is inclosed at the back, and the front is thickly planted with a double
hedge of quicks and privet, separating a little space from the moor,
which is filled with sweet, but common flowers. The family have been set
to spin, and are already clothed in their own manufacture. Frederick has
given poor Tom a cow, to which I have added half a dozen sheep; and such
a scene of contentment above, and of beauty below, it would be difficult
to equal: at least so we think; and when we contemplate the entire as
a creation of our own, Frederick and I certainly do confess to some
degree of self-complacency. But as far as I have hitherto narrated, only
relates to the body of our exertions. I must now describe the soul
of them. In the back part of our rustic temple, is a door so completely
concealed by the matting of reeds, as not to be discernible to ordinary
observers. This door, upon being opened, discovers a little cell of just
sufficient size to admit of one person's sitting in it without
inconvenience. Its furniture consists of a small pedestal of delicate
workmanship in white marble, upon which Frederick has placed the
exquisite urn that you may remember, of alabaster, found at Pompeïa. It
belonged to my father, and has been kept in a closet, hidden from every
eye since the time of his death. Upon the front of the pedestal which
supports it, we have had engraved the following lines:--

    Bless'd refuge of a sad and broken heart,
    Soft soothing solitude, thy balm impart;
    Come with thy gentle train, thy peaceful rest,
    Thy tender stillness to this grief-worn breast.
    With thee, how sweet to climb the craggy way,
    And o'er these rocky cliffs in silence stray,
    In Nature's temple to expand the soul,
    While tears distil refreshing as they roll,
    What fond deceit the present to beguile,
    And bid the shades of past delight to smile.
    Call back the dreams of youth, and hope, and love,
    And 'mid the dear aërial phantoms rove.
    But hush! too sharp that pang, my heart gives o'er,
    Invoke the memory of thy bliss no more!
    Raise up to heaven thy soul, quit earth, and fly,
    Go seek thy refuge in yon azure sky;
    Ask mercy's aid to shed celestial light
    Upon the dismal gloom of sorrow's night,
    And God's own spirits of the mountain air,
    Shall waft on high the deep unuttered prayer,
    While filial love shall consecrate the scene,
    That gave a mother's tears for hope serene.

Immediately behind the urn, which with its pedestal is let into a niche,
is a pretty little arched window of stained glass; and at the opposite
extremity of our Anchorite's cell stands a slab of Kerry marble, which
rests upon a simple cabinet of the beautiful black oak of the bog which
our island furnishes from its ebony stores. When opened, a flat box of
polished beech-wood presents itself, and this serves as a solid
portfolio, preserving from damp an exquisite drawing in pencil, by
Frederick, of the large tree to which you have been already introduced.
Underneath the tree, mamma's lines which we found, are neatly
transcribed; and the old pencil, with its original paper wrapped round
it, as when first discovered in its hiding place, and a pocket Bible, in
the first page of which, after the name of Caroline Douglas, are written
these words; "The prayer of the righteous availeth much," complete the
furniture of this rustic sanctuary.

When Frederick and I went this morning at early dawn, to see that all
was finished according to our design, we found Tom Collins already
there, leaning against one of the pillars, in an attitude of
contemplation. He started from his reverie as we approached, and
twirling his old hat in his hands, resting first upon one foot, then
upon the other, he said, after the usual salutation, "Miss, dear, I was
thinking that you wouldn't refuse me, if you plase, just to let me be
standing overright there beyant the big baach, when my mistress will be
coming--I'll engage I'll not let her see a bit o'me, any more than if I
was a sperret, nor I'ont brathe a word good, or bad, only to set my two
looking eyes upon her, when she'll see the place you done for her."
Could such a request fail of being granted?

This romantic mountaineer is full of the finest sensibilities, and not
perverted, as so much of acute feeling often is, to the purposes of
discontent and ingratitude. Tom is a good husband, a good son, and a
good father. Yet he knows not a letter in the alphabet.

"What shameful ignorance," I hear you exclaim! Ignorance of letters it
surely is, but not shameful. You, in England, can be sure of giving your
poor a religious education. We cannot! but some of our peasants act
the Bible, which their priests will not allow them to read; and what
benefit would these derive from the pennyworth of sedition or impurity
which they might be permitted to purchase, and instructed to peruse?
With what fresh delight have I sometimes returned to this dear desert,
after having visited some of the districts said to be civilized when
compared with our neighbourhood!--Oh it is a great mistake to imagine
that reading is a cure for every evil, unless the Bible be allowed to
offer its blessed promises, and hold forth its bright meed of reward for
patience in adversity, and resignation under privations, which all other
learning is calculated to reveal in the strongest light, without
affording any means to remedy. The will of God has made inequality the
very essence of every social scheme. No spread of knowledge can improve
the lot of him who must till the ground in the sweat of his brow, if
that knowledge be not of a nature to make him better, and therefore
happier; and I never pass by our smith's forge, which is the parish
coffee-house, without hearing expressions, and seeing looks that mark a
murmuring spirit.

The other day I asked an aged peasant, who lives on the lands of
Lisfarne, about fairies; "Did you ever see the Luracawn," said I, "of
which people say, that it is a sort of fairy that lives always by the
sea-side, and carries a purse such as we often find on the strand with
strings to it?"

"No, miss, I never did myself; but in ould times they used to be seen
plenty enough."

"Then," answered I, "perhaps the truth may be, that the people now are
grown too wise to believe the stories which were swallowed in old

The old man replied, "Miss, there's a great dael o' larning that is'nt
knowledge, and there's more of it than is good, I can assure you. The
people now gets hould o'books, and cares very little about their
parents, who were better folk than many o'them that are going now a'

"Then you don't approve of learning Andrew."--"Why, miss, you might as
well say I don't approve o'my fellow craitures. There's two kinds o'one
as of the other.--Good men and good books, bad men and bad books. I
likes the two first, and I don't like the two last, and when people
gets hould o'larning, the're vastly fonder o'the bad than the good."

Really these people astonish me by the clearness of their views and the
acuteness of their observations. But before I close this long letter, I
must say a word of Arthur Howard, who is a great favourite already at
Glenalta. Had he been born under a happier star than that which presided
at his birth, he would be a charming young man, and great improvements
may yet be effected, for he is young and full of generous feeling as of
quick tact. The contrarieties which nature and art sometimes display in
their contest for pre-eminence in his actions, would divert us
excessively, if there were not so much to love and regard in the
compound, that vexation must ever be a predominating sentiment when he
obeys an unworthy impulse. Selfishness is, I believe, the leading vice
of fashionable people; and it must be very difficult to throw off the
habits in which education has taught us that comfort (that aldermanic
little word, as many use it) consists.

The first thought in what is called the world, appears to be, "is such
or such a thing for my pleasure, my interest, my convenience;" and
the last is, "whether the matter in question be useful, or agreeable
to other people?" I am now speaking of the school, not the scholar, for
though Arthur has necessarily adopted some of the folly in the midst
of which he has lived, moved, and had his being, it is astonishing how
little the natural tendencies of his heart are obscured. He came here,
as I told you, with very strong prejudices, but I perceive with delight
that they are fading away; and, I believe, that he thinks less hardly
than he did when he first came amongst us, of female improvement. How
could he bask in the sunshine of mamma's sweet smile, and enjoy the
constant variety of her unrivalled powers in conversation, without
feeling how compatible are the charms of high cultivation with all that
is excellent in private life--all that is fascinating in female

As I listened eagerly to a dialogue the other day, in which she was
engaged, shedding light and animation upon every subject which came
before her, I could not help thinking, that were amusement the only
object and end of existence, cultivation of mind would appear, in my
opinion, to be an indispensable requisite in the art of attaining it.
The gay world, I suppose has its charms, and may attract for a season.
Change of place, and change of faces, may please perhaps for a time, but
this cannot last for ever, and when the period arrives in which people
must rely upon the resources of home, what an immeasurable distance
must there be between the full mind and the empty one! The very
playfulness of a superior person is so exhilarating that I never grow
weary of it; but of all the tiresome companionships on earth, it is that
of animal spirits in perennial flow, that bear no treasure on the tide.
How well Pope has expressed what I mean! "For lively Dulness ever loves
a joke."

I must reserve space for a concluding word after our visit at the
Retreat. Till then adieu.

Well, dear Julia, I feel the repose of my own room most welcome after
the excitement of this day. The sun shone in full splendor on our
project. Last night Frederick and I spoke to mamma of some trifling
alterations that we had been making for the comfort of Tom Collins and
his family, whose little dwelling had suffered much from the winter

"Yes, my loves," said she, "I am rejoiced that your activity has
anticipated me. Since the death of my poor Dapple, I have not gone so
far as Tom's house, and have been intending a visit to the mountain,
till you have made me ashamed by this lesson on procrastination. The
truth is, that my present steed is so unlike his predecessor in gait
and humour, that he and I are not such friends as to make me quite at
home in his company; and I hate to have Paddy running after me. My
morning rambles were always solitary, and I should not be at ease now in
going alone, till I am more accustomed to my new Neddy, or his temper
becomes more amiable; but all this is no excuse for not having employed
other eyes to see that the Collins' were not unroofed. I wonder why Tom
did not come."

"We happened to see him," said Frederick, "which probably prevented his
applying to you, as Emily and I did the needful; but if to-morrow
should be a fine day, suppose that I drive you and Em. in the pony car,
before breakfast, and we will shew you how we have patched up these poor
people for the present."

Mamma consented, and this morning early we sat out; but my tears
suffocate me at the bare remembrance of my mother's emotion. She was
amazed and delighted with our improvements. The garden, the hedge, the
clean house, and clean people, all appeared the effect of enchantment.
Tom, his wife, and children, grinned with broad uncontrolled rapture,
and overwhelmed the little party with blessings. When we had praised,
and been praised (such praise warms the heart without enervating its
powers), Frederick took mamma's arm, and said, "You must come, dearest
mother, to look at a dell which Emily and I discovered some time ago,
the sweetest spot that you ever beheld." A faint blush overspread her
cheek, and I perceived a thrill run through her frame. She hesitated,
then hinted that the banks were steep, and that we should be late for
breakfast; but we coaxed, and she evidently not desiring to say how
well she was acquainted with the scene which she was about to visit,
suffered herself to be led forward, I walking behind with a palpitating
heart, down the narrow descent, and poor Tom following at a discreet
distance. As we proceeded, I observed mamma gaze to the right and the
left with amazement; but when our rustic temple burst upon her eye, the
expression of her countenance became painfully inquisitive. The
mysterious door was opened, Frederick pushed her gently in, closed the
wicker-work, and waited with me in the outer inclosure. We heard her sob
aloud, and in a few moments she was in our arms.

Here I pause. The sweetness of the feeling reciprocally called forth,
would baffle my little powers of language to describe. Is it not Cora,
in the play of Pizarro, who talks of three bright moments in her life?
No moment in any one's life ever surpassed this expansion of hearts
linked by a tie so pure end so affectionate as binds our's to each
other. We sat till breakfast was forgotten. We looked, and looked again,
and when the first swell of painful pleasure had given way to more
tranquil sensations, we architects became garrulous, and in the vanity
of success, hurrying our beloved mother from flower to flower, shrub to
shrub, rock to rivulet, that we might not lose one atom, or one item
of applause; and at length so completely communicated the contagion of
gladness to her who had inspired the emotion in ourselves, that she
entered zealously into the idea of surprising the rest of our party,
adding, "I will first come here alone with our dear friend of Lisfarne,
after which we will revisit this beloved retreat in a body, and enjoy in
common the pleasures which you have created." We were now turning our
steps towards Glenalta, when the sight of poor Tom wiping his eyes in
the sleeve of his coat, as he leaned against the beech-tree, arrested
mamma's attention. She went up, shook him warmly by the hand, and
without a word uttered on either side, we separated.

I am promised a conveyance of this pamphlet rather than letter by that
excellent creature George Bentley, and I am particularly pleased with
the power of sending you so voluminous a packet by private hand at
present, because I may not be able to write for some time again. We are
all going to Killarney. Arthur is an enthusiast about our Glen scenery,
and I enjoy exceedingly the delight of shewing him that gem of purest
water. Some anxiety, however, is always wisely mingled in our cup, which
mamma's promise to accompany us, would have rendered too intoxicating,
and this anxiety is relating to dearest Fred. whose College examinations
must precede our excursion. He and Mr. Oliphant leave us on Thursday
next, and will only be absent during five or six days. I cannot sleep
from feverish solicitude, though I believe that my Fred. is very well
prepared; but we have so managed this charming trip to Killarney, that
it will either crown our victory, should such happiness be in store, or
divert our melancholy, should the dear fellow be doomed to suffer a
disappointment. Phil. and Mr. Bentley are to be of our party. Do you
know that Arthur is quite a surprising botanist already; and as I am his
Linnæa, I am as proud as a peacock of my pupil. He can now walk
without leading strings, and is grown so expert that our rambles are
become trials of rival skill. Well, I must bid my dear friends adieu.
With many loves from Charlotte and Fanny to Bertha and Agnes; and all
our loves to your dearly loved aunt, believe me, Julia's most

Emily Douglas.


Charles Falkland to Arthur Howard.

My dear Howard, Rome.

You are, indeed, a prince of letter writers, and the delight which you
have afforded me is inexpressible. Two of your admirable journals
reached me at Pisa, and the last treasure I have received since I came
here in company with--whom do you think? Why, actually, Mr. Richard
Oliphant, young Stanhope, and I are dwelling under the same roof, and
enthusiastically employed in exploring the wonders both within and
without this enchanting city. Stanhope has given Mr. Otway a detailed
account of our meeting, in consequence of a letter from Lisfarne, after
your arrival at Glenalta; and I will therefore not take up your time,
nor my own, in repetition, but proceed to say how greatly pleased I am
with my new acquaintances. Their grand object was Rome, and I determined
to quit Pisa much sooner than was my original design, that I might enjoy
such excellent society. Here then we are together, and, should no
unforeseen circumstances prevent the completion of our arrangements, I
think it likely that we shall not separate hastily, but visit Florence,
and Naples, see Pæstum, go to Venice, and pass the winter at Paris in
company with each other. If you join us there what a coterie shall we
form. I feel now as if I were in the midst of the Douglas group. I can
see the very countenances, and already make my selections, even in
that society where all are so much to my taste, that it seems at first
view difficult to prefer, without doing injustice. From Stanhope I
receive the most satisfactory answers to every question which your
volume suggests; and, oh! what happiness it is to know that in any
favoured spot of earth such purity and peace are to be found as bless
that little valley of Glenalta with their presence. In any situation the
contemplation of such a family would possess charms for me beyond the
power of any other pleasure to excite; but if it required to be
heightened through contrast, surely that contrast is to be met with on
the Continent! Yes, to a sober mind, there is something horrible in the
metamorphosis produced in the minds of some with whom you and I are
acquainted. Letters are so frequently opened at the foreign
post-offices, and so often lost, that I shall be prudent, and not send
names out to the winds; however, you will have no difficulty in
recognizing F-- and L-- by their initials; and, though you are still a
wild sort of being yourself, you will be sorry to hear that they are
immersed in every thing at Paris which they used to withstand so
vigorously at Cambridge. We ranked them there amongst the élite, for
genius, good taste, and polished habits. Alas! how are the mighty
fallen? The facilities afforded in Paris to the commission of every
vice, are, perhaps hardly greater than those which London offers to
tempt unwary youth; but there is all the difference in the world between
the manner of doing the thing in the two capitals. Notwithstanding the
daily intercourse between England and France, there is still such a
body of national virtue and good feeling unshaken in the former country,
that the most profligate can hardly sin with absolute impunity, and vice
is scarcely bold enough to throw off the veil which, however flimsy,
still protects some purer eyes from beholding corruption in all its
deformity. Have you ever felt, when you lingered at a ball till
day-light, and the bright beams of a newly risen sun shone with open
freshness on the expiring lamps, the pale faces, and the tinsel finery
of the last night's pageant; a sort of undefined sensation of shame at
being thus caught by the truth-telling hour of waking seriousness, in
the midst of a scene so unsuited to the time? If you have, I may avail
myself of the similitude to describe the difference which I feel between
England and the Continent. I say Continent at large, for the great towns
are alike in this; ours is a day-light dance, while here is the nightly
revel. With us the clear sunshine of opinion, if it cannot prevent
excess, at least exhibits its faded form and haggard countenance,
pronouncing on their ugliness, and inducing their concealment. Cross the
channel, and a new order of things presents itself. Decorum is busy
indeed, but it is to deceive, and while the fascination of gaiety and
ease presents an opiate to circumspection, the good taste which borrows
an external clothing of propriety in which to dress the votaries of
pleasure, finishes the delusion, and many young men are not aware of the
counterfeit till they are fast bound in the spell like Telemachus in the
island of Calypso. The French language too, now so universal, is a
potent ingredient in the intoxicating cup. It acts as a mask, and
since I left England, I have met with numbers of my countrymen, aye, and
countrywomen also, who say things at Paris in the idiom of another
tongue, which could never find utterance in their own, though no
infringement of decency in conduct would be tolerated publicly in good
society abroad. All this renders foreign travelling a very insidious
poison, and happy are those who can enjoy the benefits derivable from
extensive acquaintance with men and manners, without risk of confounding
the boundaries which separate vice from virtue. In short, no man is
safe, upon whom the grand tour produces other effect than to send him
back with increased thankfulness to the British Isles, as (waving adieu
to the shores he has quitted) he borrows the words of the poet to say,
"these are my visits;" and, turning to the white cliffs of Albion,
finishes the line with "but thou art my home." It would be stupid,
however, as well as ungrateful to deny the witchery, by way of securing
either one's self, or one's friends against its allurements. This
device, which my worthy guardian, I believe, in the honesty of his heart
employed as a bastion of strength to fortify my weakness, will never, in
any case, survive the first shot that experience levels against it. It
is in vain to call the Syren's song discord, to say that nectar is but
extract of wormwood, and Ambrosia but a mess of Spartan pottage. The
first sound, and the first taste, disabuse the ignorant, adding the
stimulus of surprise to what was but too attractive without it. No, let
us fairly acknowledge the magic, and then try our best to repel its
influence. You know that I shall keep all my scenery, whether moral or
physical, for fire-side talk, perhaps at Glenalta, and not so much as
a moon-beam on the Coliseum will you have in the way of description,
already exhausted by abler limners than I am; but I cannot avoid adding
my testimony to the charms of foreign society. It is not that it is
wiser or better; it is not that you have better cheer, or one half so
good accommodation as at home. No, the whole necromancy exits in one
monosyllable--ease. In England ease is practised; in France it springs
naturally from every one with whom you converse. In England people are
remembering to forget themselves; in France they do really forget
themselves, and in this simple circumstance resides the whole secret of
being at ease. In England people run to shew you how freely they can
walk, never considering that ease, that grand desideratum, is as much
banished by over exertion to be gay, as by the torpor of mauvaise
honte. In France there is neither a jerking activity, nor a leaden
stupor, but people convey the idea, while you are in their company, of
being pleased, interested, and animated, by the subject of conversation.
There is no acted egotism, no effort at making display; and the effect
of an evening passed in a Parisian society is that of gaiety without
fatigue. You have, perhaps, not heard a single sentence that you desire
to treasure; but there has been no strain upon your animal spirits.
You have spoken naturally what really presented itself to be said,
instead of fishing for a theme, and having to recollect at every turn
whether you were going to speak to a man or a woman. In fine,
conversation, however trifling, flows on the Continent, while with us it
resembles pints of water, chucked one after another into a pump. You
work the handle, and up comes your pint, but there is no more till you
make a new deposit, and a fresh exertion. It is unnecessary to add that
I speak of mixed society, and of its average state in the two
countries. Come to the sincere intercourse of mind and heart, when the
affectations of fashion are in abeyance, or I should more justly say
where they have never existed, and who would go to any climate of the
earth from that in which our happy stars have placed us, to enjoy "the
feast of reason and the flow of soul!" Ireland and Scotland, remember,
are always included in this preference. But we do not understand
society, even imitating the French, as we prove, alas, that we can do
continually, in their faults, while we cannot throw off our whalebone
and buckram. In France there is much less of gossip than in England;
the King, the Court, the national prosperity, or distress, the political
relations of Europe, philosophy, sentiment, all find their way broken
down to a convenient circulable medium into company. You hear many false
positions in each several department, but you have likewise a great deal
of good sense and discrimination; and at all events you have common
propertyin the subjects which are treated in a French circle, as if
they really interested the assembly. Perhaps at the moment of reading
this passage of my letter, you recollect what pops into my memory in
the moment of writing it; I mean a paragraph upon which you and I
commented together, in one of the letters of Madame du Deffand, where
she describes to Horace Walpole the "grand succes" of a soirée at
her house, from the introduction of some paltry New-year or Easter
gifts. There is no inconsistency here. Whether it be the army, the navy,
the funds, Cuvier's last work, La Place's talents, the Jardin des
Plantes, the fashionable actor or musician; the last song, epigram,
bon-mot cap, bonnet or pin-cushion; the thing is talked of with
animation, and apparent interest; and it is the want of this that
renders common place society in England so insufferably dull, as often
to suggest the idea that the several members who compose it prepare for
meeting, by committing to memory a set of vapidly disjointed questions,
and answers; a very catechism of inanity upon the least amusing topics
which it is possible to select, and invariably such as no stranger can
participate in from the strict confinement of their locality. Here,
men, women, old, young, handsome or ugly; all who can speak the
language, take a part according to their several measures of ability in
the general conversation. All look happy, and, from being at perfect
ease themselves, possess the power of imparting this indispensable
charm, this essential essence of society, to every one with whom they
hold companionship. Why cannot we seize upon this talent, and convert it
to our own use, grateful as we must ever feel for its enlivening
influence? Our deficiencies in colloquial power have long been matter of
observation; and it is a trite remark, that the English cannot converse;
but as it is admitted that every ingredient requisite for conversation
of the most brilliant kind is to be found in our island, it would seem
that we only want the method of combining, in which our neighbours
excel. Your charming circle in Ireland have caught the happy art, and
vainly should we look around for many such specimens as Glenalta
exhibits of its perfection; but why cannot we all go into company
determined to trade freely upon our capitals, be they large or small,
avoiding on the one hand that broad-cast sincerity which I am afraid
I must call selfishness, that refuses to take interest in any concern
which does not come home to the narrow enclosure of individual loss and
gain, pain, or pleasure; and on the other, that conventional adoption of
trifles incapable of amusing in any community, except a paradise of
fools, with which we are in the habit of performing the mechanism of
society, fatiguing our friends, and doing penance ourselves?

Stanhope is a very fine young man, full of fire and enterprize, yet
gentle and rational. He has a great deal of taste, and is very fond of
the classics. We are going presently, armed with a pocket Horace, to
visit Soracte, accompanied by Oliphant, who is exactly the sort of man
to whose care Mr. Otway may fearlessly confide his charge. He has very
good manners, plain, and unassuming, and possesses that fortunate
mixture of sobriety and cheerfulness, which peculiarity befits the
character of a tutor, securing at once the double tribute of respect and

How I long for your next letter, which will tell me of your expedition
to Killarney, and, oh that I could transport myself into the midst of

Before I close my letter, I must express the joy of a true friend, at
finding that you are so happy with your relations. Dear Arthur, I knew
that your mind would undergo a revolution. It is only in progress at
present, but I anticipate more decision in all your views of people and
things. You have too much sense, and your feelings are too fine, to
admit of your being hood-winked. You must not drop into the crowd and
suffer yourself to be borne upon its tide, without the slightest
sympathy in the folly, and, shall I add, the vulgarity that surround
you. Yes, do not start, and suppose that I have lost my senses. I repeat
the word; there is infinite vulgarity in mere fashion. Something very
poor and mean, in never daring to think for oneself, and in sacrificing
every inclination and faculty to the tyranny of arbitrary control; but
you will speedily rise into the consequence of a rational creature. You
will take your station amongst intellectual beings, and, giving reins
to the real bent of your character, find that fulness of mind, which
absolutely excludes ennui. I cannot express how much I am interested
by the conversations which you have given me. A volume of description
would not have conveyed a tithe of what you have imparted in the way
of information, by bringing me thus into the midst of the circle. I see
the whole mental map before me, and though it would be unreasonable to
think that you can have time for such details in future, I cannot set
you entirely free; but would fain hope that, coupled with the
"incidents" which are all that you promise, henceforward I may still
find a few of those graphic touches which make me present in that
unrivalled group with whom your good fortune has bound you up.

To Mr. Otway I feel that I may desire to be presented with gratitude for
the pleasure of which he has thought me worthy, in an introduction to my
agreeable colleagues; but how shall I contrive to make my bow at
Glenalta? If you can find a happy moment in which to say with a good
grace, "Charles Falkland, Mrs. Douglas," you will be more than ever
the cherished friend of,

    Your affectionate,

    C. F----.

P. S. Whenever you visit the city of the Seven Hills, be sure and come
hither provided with "Rome in the nineteenth Century." It is a tribute
which I for one, most willingly pay, to declare this work of a female
pen to be by a thousand degrees the best vade mecum with which you can
furnish yourself.


Miss Howard to Arthur Howard, Esq.

    Dear Arthur,                       London.

I am so completely obsedée with all that I have to accomplish, that
really you must be very thankful for a letter on any terms at present.
The fact is that la Madre is put into a flutterment by news which we
have just had from that old quiz, Mr. Ingoldsby, of the India House, who
says poz, that our ancient uncle is coming home as rich as Cr[oe]sus.
What is bringing him, we know not. No matter for the cause, the effect
is that Ingot (as I always call him) came here last week express
with the intelligence, since when I could not command five minutes, or
you should have had the on dit on the wings of the wind. At first I
felt transformed into a begum, and transported with joy. Shawls,
gems, and jewels, dazzled my senses. I dreamt of lacs of rupees, snuffed
otto in every breeze, and read envy, malice, and all uncharitableness,
in every female face throughout the metropolitan world.

Such was the bright vision of half an hour, when, on the per contra
side of the question a grisly band rose upon my disordered imagination,
and I terrified myself with the bare idea, that vielle-cour is
becoming religious, to such a degree that I had hardly spirits left for
Lady Anne Legrave's "At Home," to which I was obliged to go in the
evening. I told my fears to mamma and Adelaide. The former said that she
would hope the best; but, if the worst comes to the worst, we must, she
says, of course indulge the whim as long as it lasts. Ingot does not
expect him for several months, so that we may take time by the forelock.
Then it may be only a rumour, and he may be snug at Calcutta; but to
make sure, we shall take a few good books down to Selby, and, per
favour of the Morleys and Arundels, and a few more of the "Praise God
Barebones" community, we shall get up a nice vocabulary, and with the
help of a fawn-coloured bonnet, which I shall certainly borrow from
Deborah Prim the grocer, that "demurest of the tabby kind," who is of
the society called Friends, I do not despair of acting my part à

Mamma is rather cross upon the matter, I think, and foresees
trouble; but she is always a bit of a Cassandra; and besides, she lost
horribly the other night at ecarté; but for heavens sake don't say
that I told you so.

Adelaide, some how or other too, does not enter into the thing con
amore, and is not as much alive as one might expect upon a point of
such magnitude, for though we have at present nothing to go upon but
Ingot's testimony, and our own surmises, the return of the old lad is a
serious sort of concern. If he is in good humour, and neither sick, nor
pious, we are Nabobs and Nabobesses at once. C'est tout dit. If,
on the other hand, he has got the liver (as the Indians say so
vulgarly), or has any crotchet in his head, connected with new-light
fantasies, I do assure you that we may have much vexation in prospect;
and unless you just put yourself in training, and help me out, I do not
promise myself any effective assistance. Our poor mother is, as I said
before, in an acid vein, and will require Cheltenham certainly, when we
leave town; and as to Adelaide, she has other fish to fry, and till the
cookery is performed or the finny race, sent swimming again from the
net (vous comprenez); I shall not be able to enlist her in my
pantomime. Apropos, Lord George was with us last night, and protests
that his mother shall give a masquerade at which he will perform the
part of our old Rajah, and I shall rehearse my new character, dressed
as a quaker, carrying a basket of tracts on my arm, and, followed by
half a dozen of his sister, Lady Somerville's children, who are perfect
cherubs, and are to enact my school. You can't fancy any thing more
spirituel. It was quite a scene, and we were decidedly the
attraction of the evening. I was evidently prima donna, and felt so
couleur de rose with every thing, and every body, that, forgetful of a
quarrel which I had with Ady. in the morning, I caught Lord Crayton
by the arm, and, under pretence of asking his advice how to prepare for
uncle's arrival, gave him such a teeth-watering account of the old
boy's investments in the 3 per cent. Consols, that milord stuck, for
the rest of the evening, like bird-lime to my pensive sister, and almost
overturned poor Sir Leonard Twig to beau mamma down stairs; since
when, he has never missed a day in visiting, riding with our coterie in
the park; and in short I shall not be surprized if, before your return
from the land of darkness, you see a paragraph in the Morning Post:
but what should bring the Morning Post into the wilderness? I give
myself immense credit for remembering ever since I performed the
Druidical priestess at Lady Penguin's, and learned my evening's task for
the occasion, that Annan is the Druid's name for your island of saints,
and that it was held to be the dominions of night. It is so à propos!

Well, but I was talking of Crayton and Adelaide. If indeed a London
newspaper should meet your eyes while you are suffering ostracism, (I
got such credit for that stroke last nigh.) I verily think it not
improbable, that you will stumble ere long, upon, "It is rumoured in the
higher circles, that Viscount Crayton is shortly to lead to the Hymeneal
altar the lovely Miss A. Howard." What more you may see hereafter, I
cannot give you a hint of till you come.

Poor Lionel Strangeways bores me to death with his petits soins. Sir
Stephen (that odious name always sets me sneezing) haunts
Grosvenor-square; and Annesley with whom you used to be so lié, and
who, begging your pardon, is neither more nor less than bête, worries
me to dance wherever I meet him.

Adelaide, Crayton, Lord George, and I, made a parti quarré, in the
park yesterday, when we met him quite en polisson. He had no servant,
looked bourgeois; and though I am not ill-natured as you know, I was
obliged to sham blindness, and to pass by without even a nod. This may
cure him, and release me from a blister. If he were not nephew to
the Duke of Elsbury, there would be no bearing him; but every one knows
the relationship, and therefore one is safe in acknowledging him,
though he is so horribly disagreeable. Directly after I gave him the go
by, I recollected that perhaps he had heard from you since your letter
to us of the 5th, and I might have asked how your cough is, but I did
not think of it in time.

The match between Lady J. Marston and Mr. Harrop, ditto between Miss
Percy and Lord Anfield are off, positively off faute d'argent. The old
Countess held out for £2,000 a-year settlement, and Harrop was tied up
by his former marriage. It is whispered that a Scotch coronet hove in
sight just before poor H. got his congé; but I don't pledge myself
for the truth of this codicil to the story.--I was interrupted here by
Lord George and Mr. Cambray, and have been laughing till I am weary at
the best thing in the world. I told you in a former part of this letter,
that I was in particularly good spirits last night, and made a sally, in
speaking of your banishment. Lord George's "bravissimo" was the signal
of applause, but poor Sir Hargrove Miles did not know the meaning of
ostracism, and asked some one (I believe young Felton), who, in a
funny mood, told him that I was talking of oysters. There was a laugh,
and some ridiculous things were said which I did not hear, but Sir
Hargrove looked cloudy, and your Marplot friend, Annesley, dreading a
meeting in the morning, explained like a goose, and put him into good
humour by allowing him to turn the joke against me. Poor Sir H. has
accordingly been representing me to-day up and down the whole length of
Bond-street as a Blue, and were it not that Lord George is my
chevalier, and that nuncle is coming home with a heavy purse, it
would not be so pleasant. As things are, I can afford a blue banner,
or, as Lord George says, "We may hoist the blue Peter now if we like."
He is very witty, and I assure you that our society is considered
quite haut ton--quite French.

I did not intend to have written six lines, and you see how I have run
on. Do, my dear, return to us as quickly as possible: you ought to be at
your post when the old fellow lands on English ground. You will of
course be his principal look out, and ought certainly to toad him a
little, especially as he will probably be very bilious after the voyage.
Mamma thinks it likely that the new light and the bile will be
extinguished together, and proposes being ready at an hour's notice to
whisk him off to Leamington; but should we find that there is any
thing so fixed in his religious derangement as not to give way
immediately to the waters, she says that the worst which can happen is
our leaving him for a time, and going to the continent. He will probably
come home after so long an absence with his heart in his hand, and be as
generous as a prince. If so, we shall get plenty of money to take us
abroad, and thus fare the better for any little twist that he may have
got from received opinions, I do not say from fashionable ways of
thinking; for I observe, that East Indians are never people of ton:
they are expensive and luxurious, but want the je ne sais quoi, that
inexplicable odeur de la bonne société which marks the select few in a
London circle.

My uncle, in all likelihood, will purchase a magnificent seat, have a
splendid establishment; and as a little time will remove any quaint
prejudices which he may have contracted, he may keep a first-rate table,
and see the best company if he is properly managed. The great bore
will be to watch him so vigilantly as to prevent his marrying. I am
sure that I know at least six regular sieges that will be commenced
against the citadel of his purse, besides whatever masked batteries may
be prepared to take him by surprise. It must be our care to be his
videttes, and keep a strict guard upon the motions of the enemy,
giving him notice upon every approach of danger.

Well, I must go and dress: I hate the Opera, but we are forced to join a
party of Lady Mildmay's, and Lord Clayton will not let us be off. Adio
mio Caro. Say something civil to the goodies of the Glen. What sickly
stuff is pastoral life! I yawn as I write the word. Heaven defend me
from your Arcadias! I absolutely shudder at the notion of a golden age,
cool grots, and mountain nymphs. That milk diet, too, is a sleepy,
corpulent sort of thing. You will loose your air de noblesse, and we
shall have to put you in training, and fine you down like a jockey
before you are fit to be seen.

Come quickly. Bon repos. You are retiring to your slumbers, no

Your mother and Ady said something, I suppose--loves, and so forth, but
I'm not sure.

    Yours, ever,

    L. Howard.


General Douglas to Mr. Otway.

    My dear old Friend,             Calcutta.

Were I less acquainted than I am with what was once Edward Otway, I
could not dare to address a line with any hope of being remembered after
the lapse which has occurred since last I wrote to you. I almost dread
to look back and mark the time; I fear too that I should not advance a
very satisfactory apology in declaring that I have been equally silent
to all the European world. I am in this dilemma. I will therefore make
no effort at defence or explanation, but proceed to tell you my present
object in applying to you. A short time ago I wrote to my old friend
Ingoldsby, one of the East India Directors to the like effect; but it
may be prudent to provide against casualties, and therefore be it known
to you, that with a constitution much shattered through vicissitudes of
climate, and a mind somewhat jaundiced by disappointment, I am turning
my face towards England, which I hope to reach in about six months
after you receive this announcement of my design. Though I speak of
disappointment I am not poor; on the contrary I have amassed more
money than enough to secure all the luxuries, as well as comforts of
life, for my remaining term; but I have lived in banishment from all
that ought to have been dear to me; I have lost my health, seen little
but wickedness in my early intercourse with mankind, and, now arrived at
a premature old age, I look on the past without pleasure, and to the
future divested of hope. I have for some time been determined to return,
but found my pecuniary circumstances in much need of winding up; and
having learned, through sad experience, to distrust the people in whose
rectitude I had principally confided, I resolved on an arduous
undertaking, which was no other than to go myself first to Delhi, and
thence across the country to Bombay, hoping not only to settle my
affairs in the best manner, but to retrieve my health by change of air
and scene. The first object I have in a great measure achieved, but my
liver is deranged, my digestive powers are so impaired that I almost
despair of cure, and my spirits are gone. Here is a sorry picture; but
to business. If this should find you in England, I wish your own taste
to be employed, and if you are in Ireland, that of any friend on whose
judgment you can rely, in the purchase of a snug demesne, well wooded,
well watered, and having a handsome, commodious house, in an airy
situation, into which I may step as soon as possible after landing. As
well as I recollect my own impressions, I liked Hampshire,
Staffordshire, and Warwickshire, better than any other parts of the
country, and I have no objection to go as far as forty or fifty thousand
pounds; it must be fee simple property, and in a rich, cultivated
district. Order whatever furniture you think suitable, and let me find a
travelling carriage, five or six good horses, and a few servants to
begin with.--Dear Otway forgive me if I am giving you a great deal of
trouble; but Ingoldsby is a fixture in town, and I know so little of my
relations, that I am hardly aware to whom I could give these
commissions. The Howards, I conclude, are flourishing, for I believe
that when my poor brother took the name he got a pretty estate. Of the
Douglas family I have lost sight, and as I have long enjoyed the
privilege (no small one I promise you) of being considered an oddity, I
mean to preserve the character, and choose for myself amongst the people
I may meet with. I hate consanguinity. It is a cursed plague to have a
set of needy folks continually pressing about one, whose claims are
supported by relationship, and whose cares are generally directed by
self-interest. I have lived too long, and seen too much to be
bamboozled, though I do not mean to be uncivil. Poor Henry might have
made a fortune had he taken my advice, and come out to India according
to my suggestion; he was my favourite brother, and I should have found
both pride and pleasure in providing handsomely for him; but so absurd a
marriage as his naturally alienates a prudent man. Poor fellow! I never
answered his letters, and looked on him as my son; for he was several
years my junior, and felt his resistance to my advice. I never saw his
wife, nor any of his children, who have all been born since I came from
Europe, and though I do feel sorry that he died without any act of
reconciliation on my part; though I intend also to settle something on
his family if they are in want; yet I certainly cannot blame myself for
having shewn a well merited resentment at conduct so highly injurious to
himself, and obstinate towards me. It is all over now, and I may
perhaps follow him ere long; yet, while we are here, it is human
nature to deplore that folly which blights the happiest anticipations
in the bud. No man knows the value of money so well as he who has made
it for himself. If you know where poor Mrs. H. Douglas and her family
are, I shall thank you to let me hear of their retreat, and believe me,
my dear Otway, with best wishes for a happy meeting,

    Your very sincere old friend,

    Fred. Aubrey Douglas.



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