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the Spin-house of Amsterdam, each employed in the occupation most congenial to their former manner of living. For young ladies poupées might be provided, on which to practise the invention of caps, the suiting of ribands, the position and size of curls, and the grouping of feathers. Ladies a little more advanced might be employed in the working up of novels, or the weaving of rebuses and enigmas. At a still maturer age, they could be employed in making matches; and at the inner end of that ward, there might be a close one, for the fabrication of scandal.
The male idlers might have another wing of the building, where the places of reception and employment should be analogous to the female. The same genius that goes to the dressing of a female figure would suffice to the undressing of a male one; for inventing the bushy club and whiskers, the knotted handkerchief round the neck, the powdered back, the colours for three or four under-waistcoats, the short bludgeon, and the hanging boot. Certain magazines and novels, with the Sportsman's Calendar, might supply the literary wants of the second class; hazard and pharo might employ the third; and politics would be the natural occupation of the fourth. For ladies like Mrs. Qualm, mentioned in Mrs. Careful's letter, and for gentlemen of similar temperaments, a sick ward must be provided, where the nervous, the rheumatic, and the bilious, might find names and consolation for their disorders. But as their chief comfort arises from having patient listeners to their complaints, I would propose their being accommodated with attendants from the academy for the deaf and dumb.
As to what the players call the property of the house, several articles would serve indiscriminately for both divisions. Snuff-boxes, tooth-picks, and mirrors, would be of equal use in both; lap-dogs might be
distributed in one, pointers and spaniels in the other; the crack of fans might enliven the female, and that of whips the male ward. At battledore and shuttlecock they might meet, like the two houses of parliament in the painted chamber, and make a noise in conjunction. Tea would of course be furnished to the ladies, and wine to the gentlemen.
Such an institution would serve both as an hospital and a school;—both as a place of retreat for past services, and of instruction for services to come. Here, from the lower orders, great men might find cork-drawers, butts, and hearers; great ladies might procure humble companions, tea-makers, and talebearers. If from the higher ranks any one should choose a wife or a husband, they would at least have the advantage of choosing them under their real and undisguised characters, and, like dealers at open market, would know their bargain before they purchased it.
SIR, I am the descendant of an ancient and respectable family. The estate which I inherit was once reckoned a good one; but it has comparatively sunk much in its value by the late inundation of fortunes
from the East and West Indies. My father bestowed upon me the best education which this country could afford; and it was his plan, after I had finished my studies at the University, and had arrived at that age when I could see and judge for myself, that I should make the tour of Europe. The period destined for this purpose approached, and I was taking measures to prepare for it. Almost the only disagreeable feeling I had in leaving my native country for a few years was the taking leave of a young lady for whom I had formed the most sincere and warm attachment. Aspasia was beautiful in her person and not less lovely in her mind. Endowed with the most tender sensibility, she possessed at the same time a purity and an ingenuousness of character which to me was most enchanting. There was a simplicity and innocence in all her thoughts and actions, which seemed to realise those pictures the poets have given us of the golden age. Warmly interested as I felt myself in her, and attentive as I was to her every word and action, I at times thought I could discover that I had also created an interest in her mind, though perhaps even she herself was not conscious of it.
I hesitated long, before I set out on my travels, whether I should disclose to her the sentiments of my heart. The reasons for this step were so obvious, that they need not be mentioned; but, on the other hand, strong motives dissuaded me against it. It was impossible for me to settle in life till
return from abroad; and though I was resolved to consider myself as most strictly engaged to her, yet it struck me as a want of generosity and confidence, to bring her under any obligation, or to restrain the subsequent freedom of her choice by any tie that looked only to futurity. This motive prevailed with me.
Our last parting was inexpressibly tender; and though not a word escaped me which could indicate the situation of my heart, yet she must have been blind indeed if she did not discover how dear she was
During the time I was abroad I heard repeatedly concerning Aspasia. The last accounts I received of her gave me much uneasiness. I was informed, that she discovered a fondness for dress, a vanity and love of admiration unworthy of her, and unlike her former deportment. I trembled at those reports; unsuitable as they were to her former character, I began to think that the very purity and simplicity of soul which I had so much admired in her might, when she came to mingle in the world, put her off her guard, and render her more a prey, than one of a less pure mind, to the seductions of vanity and folly. I recollected a remark which I had somewhere met with, that the finest natures are the most apt to be hurt, as the finest plants are the soonest nipped by the frost; and that, like those plants, they require to be sheltered and guarded to prevent their being blasted.
In a state of anxiety which cannot easily be described, I shortened the remaining period of my being abroad, and returned home as soon as I possibly could. On my arrival I learned that Aspasia had fallen a prey to the seductions of vanity, and to that warmth of mind which made her the dupe of appearances, alas! I fear, the martyr of deception ! The story is too long for my recital at present; nor can I yet easily bear its recollection- let me only tell you that she had forgotten Hortensius, and six weeks before my arrival had married a young coxcomb, who in reality had nothing but what she thought fashion and a pair of colours to recommend him.
Upon my return home, I found parliament was on the eve of a dissolution, and that different candidates had already declared themselves for the next election. My father, who had died while I was abroad, had in a former parliament represented the county in which our principal family estate was situated; my friends now proposed to me to start candidate. To this proposal I felt a good deal of reluctance: and the late severe shock I had met with increased my unwillingness. Nevertheless, the very weakness of mind which that affliction had created made me the more easily put myself under the direction of my friends; and I yielded to their solicitations. On looking over the list of voters, I found that a considerable part of them were particularly connected with myself; and others were young men who had been my school companions, and had since remained my intimate acquaintance. From many of them I had messages welcoming my return to the country, and giving at the same time oblique hints of the propriety of my setting up as candidate, and of the certainty of my meeting with success. Encouraged by such hopes, I began my canvass; and wherever I went I was favourably received. I was repeatedly advised to persist; and though I did not obtain promises from many, was constantly flattered with assurances that I should not be disappointed. My opponent was a man new and unknown in the country, but who had lately purchased an estate in it, and had brought home an immense fortune from India, which, it was said, gave him considerable influence in the direction of affairs in that quarter of the world. I was repeatedly told, that one so well known, and so much esteemed in the county as I was, whose family had been so long and so much respected there, had nothing to fear from a stranger. The day of election, however, was drawing nigh: