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with what was said in the Espanol about her son; and although I had no other merit in it but that of a mere translator, it really conveyed my opinion upon the subject, and I felt pleased at the opportunity which offered of showing that I only regret that he did not know me better.
I beg you will present to Lady Holland my grateful acknowledgment of her kind invitation, as well as my earnest wish of her speedy and perfect recovery. Believe me, dear Lord Holland,
Most faithfully yours,
J. Blanco WHITE.
SOME PASSAGES OF HIS DIARY IN THE YEARS 1812-19.*
Nov. 12, 1812. A very excellent friend of mine complained to me yesterday about a thing that the best characters are apt to bewail
-the misfortune of having been often misunderstood and misrepresented. This misfortune may be traced, in my opinion, to an original fault, which, from its being connected with a good disposition of the heart, is very seldom noticed by those who labour under it. I mean an over communicative disposition—an eager desire of an intimate intercourse with every one who appears disposed to take some interest in our opinions and feelings. A heart thus disposed is very apt to fall into dangerous illusions respecting the persons of whom it will be desirous to make bosom friends. It is no wonder if it meets with many who make an ill use of that intimate confidence. But the great danger of that fond vanity which leads to disclose whatever we conceive to constitute the chief merit of our moral character, is to be found in the female sex. The best of women may be utterly ruined through the influence of that disguised and treacherous sort of vanity. Those who would blush at the idea of artfully drawing the attention of everybody upon their personal charms, will suspect no impropriety in taking the first
[* These extracts, too valuable to be omitted, could not be entered under their respective dates in the Sketch of his Mind in England without interrupting the Narrative. References are given to the corresponding periods in the Second Part of the work.]
opportunity of letting as many as they can into the secrets of their own souls, that they may admire their good qualities, and conceive for them what they imagine a pure and enthusiastic tenderness. Young girls should be inspired with a kind of moral bashfulness. They ought to be taught to hide from the eyes of men the secret charms of their 'souls, as they learn to veil those of their persons. Both should be treasured up with a mysterious and religious sort of feeling, for the happy man who is to be their lawful possessor. Let a decent veil be thrown over a heavenly heart, as one is laid over a blooming bosom. The existence of the hidden charms cannot be concealed—but strangers ought scarcely to be allowed to fix a curious eye upon the outward forms. The opposite conduct in a woman is very easily and naturally misinterpreted. It is, in a moral way, allowing a man the liberty (if I may use the comparison) of seeing her at her toilet.
Bayswater, March 23, 1813.
(See Vol. I. p. 198.) As I got up this morning, and was looking at the fields opposite my window, delighted with the sight of the tender and pure verdure spread over them, and enlivened by the beams of the early sun, which had risen without a cloud, I was agreably struck with the voice of a woman, who sang along the road something that might be taken for a little air. When she came in view, I perceived that she had a basket full of flowers, and that she was going to sell them in town. My heart is still beating, sweetly beating, from
the impression which the sight of the flowers made upon me. They were primroses, new primroses, so blooming, so fresh, and so tender, that it might be said that their perfume was perceived by the eye. A sudden tear started in mine, and my heart was instantly overflowed with mixed sensations of tenderness, melancholy, and pleasure the pleasure of longings and regret.
There is, perhaps, no man more quick than I to the effect of certain associations; those particularly which remind me of the checks which have opposed my affections without the least intermission. God knows that my sonl has desired nothing but what is absolutely consistent with the first duties of virtue. I never remember to have felt the least allurement in riches, power, or splendour. Nature and its charms have been the object of my most ardent love from the earliest part of my life. My heart glows at the thought of every thing that reminds me of the endearments and charities of human nature. My tears flow at this moment with an inexpressible feeling of melancholy and regret. I consider how innocently, how easily, I might be a very happy man; and how my circumstances have debarred me from the enjoyment of every object which is dear to my heart. This thirst for love which nature has given me, while my fate has doomed me to pass through life without one with whom to share my affections, is one of the most exquisite sorts of pain which I have known in the course of my life. Though I hope to have fulfilled my duties towards those who are connected with me, either by the ties of nature or friendship, it has been with a certain degree of pain and unhappiness. The glow of my affection in the performance of those duties has ever been checked and crossed by the thought of my wretchedness, in not being
allowed to bestow part of my sensibility on the objects to which they were so forcibly directed by nature-a wife and children. I have loved, but alas ! how embittered by every painful circumstance that can distress a soul like mine. I have to envy the meanest mechanic who can go out with his little family on such a delicious day as this, and pick a bunch of new primroses from the hedges, while his wife and children are enjoying the fresh air in the next lawn.
Providence, however, is wiser than what our short and dim sight can allow us to perceive. It has been the hand of Providence that placed me on this barren tract, that I may work my way into a better world. To that I now look up with confidence: that consoling hope has shone anew on my soul, when it appeared that its light was extinguished for ever. Blessed be the hand which has worked this wonder, by means that no man could foresee !
March 26th, 1813. The Nun. (See Vol. I. p. 124.)
The day arrived when M. F. was to take the veil, and like that of a wedding, under the name and festivities of which the gloominess of this ceremony is studiously concealed, the house was all bustle from very early in the morning. Nothing was talked of but the Bride. She was up before daylight, in order to go to Church and receive the Sacrament, for the whole morning was scarcely enough for the long operations of the toilet. The milliner and the head-dresser were already in attendance when she came back from Church with her mother. She was to be dressed