Page images


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

come very much limited to those who hear the. • Now, in England, people in middle life same preacher, and very much alienated from are constantly talking of their superiors, and the friends of early life.

talking so very much of them, that, as Johnson You know my dislike to very conspicuous says of Shakspeare, who "exhausted worlds goodness among females, which makes me and then imagined 'new," they exhaust their shrink a little from Female Societies formed follies and vices, and then imagine new ones. with the very best intention; not by any means This style of conversation is, of all the styles I as doubting the purity of the intention, or, in have met with, the most contemptible. many instances, the beneficial results; but such societies so often include in their number offi- Speaking of a young Englishman who had cious gossiping characters, who derive a certain been introduced to her family, she imagined consequence by overruling and inter-marks :fering, and are so officious in raising contributions on all their acquaintance, and have so little He appears to them a young man very corof the charity of opinion, that I could never feel rect in his conduct, and of good disposition ; but congenial with many of them, though there are

evidently born in the age of calculation; a prosome I hold in reverence. I think if I were pensity of which we Scots, in revenge for the wealthy, however, I should gladly “shake the obloquy formerly thrown on us by John Bull, superfux to them,” as not doubting of their faith- are very apt to accuse his calves. There is no ful administration, and intimate knowledge of doubt but there are among the inhabitants of the those on whom they bestow; but having little Northern Athens many who calculate very to give, I bestow that little on the poverty with nicely; but they leave that to be discovered in which I am well acquainted.

their conduct, and take care that it does not ap

pear in their conversation. Perhaps there is no Young ladies of ostentatious piety, and place where gossiping discussions respecting the consequently of weak understanding, began, articles of luxury, are so seldom heard; yet

amount of individual incomes, and the prices of at this period, to carry out Bibles in their people here think of these things, and struggle reticules, on which practice Mrs. Grant re- to attain them as much as others. Good taste marks :

keeps many things out of sight, which good feelTo have the Scriptures laid up in the heart

, ling in a high-toned mind would not suffer to

exist and influencing the heart and conduct, would be just as well as carrying them about: neither rents and exorbitant wealth have cherished, till,

A propos to all the evil propensities which high Lady Rachel Russell nor Hannah More, nor like the cuckoo's progeny, they turn the owners any other of those illustrious women that did

out of their proper abodes; I hear the comhonor to Christianity and their country, ever carried about a Bible as a spell to protect them, most philosophic indifference, and reserve my

plaints that resound from every side, with the or as a Catholic relic.

I am grieved

sympathy for great and real evils. As I never to find in some high professors, and in those thought people essentially the better for the suwho are rather boldly termed advanced Chris- perfuities which the latě unnatural state of tians, such inconsistencies, such a want of can- things enabled them to possess, so I do not think dor and charity, as makes me at a loss how to them the worse for wauting them. estimate these professions. This produces a painful distrust both of myself and others; I Such is this Tory lady's opinion of the accuse myself of having less reverence for high consequences of high rents, and “the proprofessors than formerly, and considering some tection of agriculture.” of them as self-righteous and uncharitable; while

The structure of Edinburgh society, in I find others, who have walked softly under the relation to Mrs. Grant and others of the frusame fears and doubts as myself, more constant and upright.

gal-genteel, is amusingly illustrated in the

following description of the composition of Elinburgh, as may be expected, figures at her respective parties : large in Mrs. Grant's correspondence. Nor

I have this morning the muddiest head you does she at all underrate the many advan- can suppose, having had a party of friends with tige3 of “Scotia's darling seat," when she me on the last two evenings. To understand states, what however may be perfectly just, of the cause of all this hospitality, you must know one of its circle :

that, being a very methodical and economical

family, every cow of ours, as we express it in One high preëminence, however, that Edin- our rustic Highland dialect, has a calf; that is burgh holds above other towns, and more par- to say, when we have a party, which in Edinticularly above London, is the liberal style of burgh' includes a cold collation, we are obliged conversation. All the persons most distin- to provide quantum sufficit for our guests, who, guished and admired here speak with a degree being of a description more given to good talkof respect and kindness of each other—no petty ing than good eating, are content to admire and animositiez nor invidious diminutions, even be admired, and have little time to attend to though differing much on political or other sub-vulgar gratifications: of consequence, the more jects. Then, there is no scandal, no discussion material food, after contributing, like the guests, of people's private affairs or circumstances to be to embellish the entertainment, remains little met with in what is accredited as good society. diminished. As our wide acquaintance includes

the greatest variety of people imaginable, there without an object or an aim, run at random are among them a number of good, kind people, through the world, and are led on by the unfeelthat dress finely, laugh heartily, and sing mer- ing great and gay to acquire a taste for expen: tily, and have, in some instances, genealogy sive pleasures and elegant society, and then left besides; yet on these good people the lions and 10 languish in forlorn and embittered obscurity, lionesses of literature would think their roaring when their health and their spirits and their very ill bestowed. These, however, make a means ebb together. Raise, then, your voice of greater noise in their own way, and before their truth and affection, and outsing all the syrens superior prowess the substantials soon vanish: that, on the coast of idleness, strive to aitract they are in every sense less fastidious; happier Theodore by the songs of vanity, pleasure, and because less wise, and more benevolent because dissipation; teach him to love those that love less witty. An assemblage of these contented him, independent of all that flatters or pleases, beings, who can amply appreciate the value of for luimself; and make auxiliaries of all those a custard, a jelly, or a jest on its second appear- kindred among whom you are now placed, to ance, are convenient successors to the refined make him know something of more value than pretenders to originality, who prefer what is new empty admiration. to what is true, and would not for the world be Though you had not the generous and tender caught eating' blanc-mange while Mr. Jeffrey motives which actually instigate your endeavors and Dr. Thomas Brown are brandishing wit to gain an ascendency over the volatile though and philosophy in each other's faces with elec- accomplished mind of Theodore Hook, worldly tric speed and brilliance. These good fat peo- prudence should induce you to woo into the ple, who sing and eat like canary-birds, come paths of honorable exertion and permanent rewith alacrity the day after, and esteem them- spectability the brother of your husband and selves too happy to be admitted so soon to con- uncle of your children; and mere worldly wissume mere mortal aliment in the very apart. dom would point out to you the other means by ment where the delicacies of intellect were so which this could be brought about. "Sour adlately shared among superior intelligences. vice with scrupulous head" would only produce

the effect of driving him for shelter into the The grand first-day entertainment, and enemy's camp; no cords will draw him but that those who afterwards thriftily eat up “the “silken band of love" that poor Burns talks of. funeral baked meats," might be a subject for Dickens.

In a subsequent letter, she remarks :Theodore Hook, apropos to such writers, Among other glad tidings you send me, I am frequently formed the subject of Mrs. Grant's highly pleased with Theodore Hook's intention correspondence with his sister-in-law, Mrs. of entering the Temple. He is not too old for Hook; and we are struck with the justice it, and has certainly sense enough to know, and of her observations on his position and char- spirit enough to feel

, how precarious and disre

putable it would be to spend one's whole life in acter, and his pitiable-most pitiable !-ca

a manner which, however it might amuse the In one place, she says:

butterfly spirit of youth, made so little provision Talking of genius leads me naturally to con

of any kind for riper years. It would be mortigratulate you on the awakened brotherly feel-fying to see one that has so many better things ings of that Theodore for whom I know your sis- than wit and gaiety about him shuffled into the terly concern is restless and extreme. You may them first applauded and next endured, when

mob of people, whose amusive talents make believe I rejoice over the capture of this shy bird, for his own sake, as well as yours: I do in people see that it is all they have. I think that my heart love genius in all its forms, and even

the fate of Monk Lewis may serve as a warning in its exuberance and eccentricity. You will to wits by profession. Spirits will not always teach him, for his own good, to make a due dis- How; and Pope has finely described the many tinction between living to please the world at miserable nights of those who must needs affect large, and exerting his powers in a given direc- them when they have them not.” Hall the intion for his own benefit

, and the satisfaction of genuity that Theodore wastes to amuse people his real friends. The uncultured flowers, and who are not worth his pains would make him even the early fruit of premature intellect, form eminent in a profession. I always think of bim an admirable decoration for a dessert; but woe

with much kindness, and rejoice not a little to to him who would expect to feast on them daily hear of his being likely to cast anchor. and only. Of a person depending merely on

Mrs. Grant often played the critic in her talents and powers of pleasing, what more brilliant example can be given than Sheridan ? and letters, and could not well avoid it, while her who would choose to live his life, and die his friends were continually inquiring her opindeath? I talk of his death as if it had already ion of the new books that appeared, as that taken place, for what is there worth living for of one who sometimes looked in the living that he has not already outlived ? and who, that face of Mr. Jeffrey,—and who had authority ever knew the value of a tranquil mind and spot- in literature herself. One of her most pointed less name, would be that justly admired, and as critiques is this, on Peter's Letters, though justly despised individual ? And if the chieftain it is not perhaps one of the most just :of the clan be such, what must the tribe be “of those that live by crambo-clink," as poor Burns You would know what I think of Peter's Letcalled those hapless sons of the Muses, who, ters! I answer in a very low whisper-not




much. The broad personality is coarse, even the death of her eldest son, Mr. Duncan where it is laudatory; no one very deserving of Grant, whose prospects in Inlia were of the praise cares to be held up to the public eye like most cheering kind, and his conduct and a picture on sale by an auctioneer: it is not the character all that the fondest mother could style of our country, and is a bad style in itself. So much for its tendency. Then, it you speak have wished, we find Mrs. Grant writing to of it as a composition, it has no keeping, no her eldest daughter, then in England, in the chastity of taste, and is in a high degree florid true spirit of Christian philosophy. This and verbose.

Some depth of thought fondly-loved brother, suddenly snatched and acuteness appears now and then like the away, had been the pride and stay of his weights at the tail of a paper kite, but not sisters. enough to balance the levity of the whole. With all this, the genius which the writers possess, in

My Dear Mary,– I have just read your letter, no common degree, is obvious through the and with every allowance for human frailty, siswhole book: but it is genius misapplied, and terly affection, and the sinking effect of many running riot beyond all the bounds of good taste sorrows, I must affectionately reprove you for and sober thinking, We are all amused, and indulging, under any circumstances, the feeling so we should be, if we lived in a street where or expressing the language of despair. Had those slaves of the lamp had the power of ren

we been reduced, by the death of


dear dering the walls so transparent that we could brother, to extreme poverty, and deprived of the see every thing going on at our neighbor's fire- daily society of a beloved relative, as has been sides. But ought we to be so pleased ?

the case with many other more deserving per

sons, we would not be entitled to speak of "the In general, however, she is an indulgent extinction of every hope;" because, even then, critic, protesting against the frequent se- been still more visibly open to us for our tran

the gates of a blessed immortality would have verity and petulance of the Edinburgh Re- sient, though severe sufferings. But here we view, and Mr. Jeffrey's denial of the exist- had no right to rest any hopes on him so early ence of female genius, save in Miss Edge- taken from us, but those of knowing at a distance worth. Though Wordsworth’s Religion and that he loved and remembered us. I never Metaphysics do not appear to have pleased meant that we should subsist upon the price of her, she liked his poetry. We consider the blood, as I think all do who live at ease on what following unstudied praise an offset for prolongs the exile of their relatives in that fatal whole reams of technical critical condemna- views of subsisting by our own exertions as we

Indian climate. We have the same worldly

had before; and our views of futurity, if we imThere is something so pure and lofty in his prove and patiently submit 10 the Divine will, conceptions; he views external nature so en

are improved by this severity, from that fatherly tirely with a poet's eye, and has so little of the hand which chastens in love. You know my taini of worldly minds, that I grieve when I find reliance on Bishop Taylor, who asserts, from him wandering through the trackless wilds of close observation of God's providence, and deep metaphysics, where I cannot follow him, or in study of his word, that where the vial of wrath the lower and too obvious paths of childish in- is poured out in this world, without any visible anity, where I wish not to accompany him.cause why the punished should be distinguished Yet he is always morally right; and his pictures by superior inflictions, there is reason to hope in the Excursion delight me. It is next to pro- in the next. This is a rich source of comfort.

that a treasure of divine mercy may be reserved fanation to read that book in town, unless at midnight: its purity and simplicity, and occa

Then, what may not this dispensation have presional elevation of thought, make us all, with vented! Riches are a great snare; and he who our note-writing and everlasting door-bell's call-once sets his mind on making money is apt to ing us to talk nothings to mere nobodies, seem of worldly advantage were opened to the be

forget the just uses of wealth. Great prospects like puppets on wires, without a thought beyond loved object of our sorrow; but it is impossible our daily trifles, which are worse than his worst; the radiance of the White Doe excepted. What to know whether he, or we, should have borne a treasure the Excursion would have been at this well: if otherwise, we are best thus. Laggan! How often, even amidst the senseless

It is the language of humility and submission, hurry, have I read the account of this eccentric not that of rash despair, that we ought to speak. clergyman, who removed his family in panniers Much, much remains that we may still be deto the mountain parsonage. People come in prived of; you have relatives to lose, whose here constantly with new books, that take up

value would be trebled in your estimation, were one's time: dear Laggan, where we conned over you deprived of them; you have my firmness of those we had till they grew like old friends!

mind and exertion to lose, which has hitherto

been almost miraculously preserved to me, for This series of Letters has a use, and per- your general good; and you have the means of haps its highest and most permanent use, in subsistence to lose, which fruitless and sinful the manner in which it shows how the deep-think me harsh: the excuse you will all make

excess of sorrow may deprive you of. Do not est affliction may be borne by a pious and to yourselves for sinful indulgence of sorrow reasonable mind. On the death of a third or is, that we have suffered so very much. The fourth daughter, and soon after hearing of very contrary inference should be drawn by a

tion :

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

chastened and well-regulated mind. Why did with his whole family, were particularly fond of we suffer so much? God has no ill-will towards Catherine, had lodgings near her, and some of his creatures; no delight in giving them pain. them saw her daily. I found a letier addressed, If He has so often broken, with a strong hand, by my desire, to relfoot, in which they told me those ties that bound us to the world, should we that she had not at any rate been worse than not, by this time, be loosed from it, and prepared when I saw her, and that they hoped she would for all that the vicissitudes of life can bring to be better by the time I retured. Some days those whom sorrow should have sanctified? We after, I got a letter at Rokeby from Mr. Hall. I are perınitted to weep, but we must not lie down opened it, and found the first lines a preparation in the dust and forsake each other; but rather for some wounding intelligence. I feared it consider ourselves as a remnant of a once large might affect me so powerfully as to force me to and promising family, left to soothe and support distress a house full of strangers, and particularly each other, and do honor, by our patience and alarm Mary, whose mind had suffered so much submission, to the religion we profess. Com- from former distress, that she was ill prepared sort, comfort me, my child! and may the God for a new shock. I put the letter, unread, in of consolation visit you with light and many my pocket, and feigned indisposition to Mary, to blessings. All here are rather mending, and account for the tremors I felt, which shook me support is given to your affectionate mother, every now and then almost to fainting. I sent

ANNE GRANT. Mary to bed before me, and when she was

asleep, opened the fatal letter. I will not deThose who have read the “Superstitions of scribe my anguish on finding the dear creature the Highlands," must be aware, that there had got beyond my cares and tenderness, at the was a little tinge of something deserving a very time I waz languishing to clasp her to my softer name than superstition, apparent in

breast. Nothing could be more sudden or more Mrs. Grant's mind, as there is, perhaps, in quiet than her departure.

My dear friend, I can write no more. When every imaginative mind. One proof of it, I arrive at Stirling, and settle quietly, I will tell and nearly the only thing of the sort in the you at large of my Catherine, that you may entire correspondence, occurs at the end of know how valuable she was. And yet how one of the above letters, in which she says, much fitter her fervid spirit was for the bliss of that she will not recur again to her daugh- angels than for the struggles of suffering huter's death, feeling the wound too deep to manity. Adieu! my grief will in time be tranit to indifferent eyes.

quil as she who caused it. .... Shall I comexpose

plain, whose mind had suffered so much from I only add what I must tell you, that Anne former distress, while conscious that angels hovfor a few days before her death, when waking er round me, and while those that still on earth confused froin unquiet sleep, exclaimed three or love me so tenderly are themselves so worthy of four times, “ Duncan is in Heaven !" Strange, love? The fire of heaven has indeed scathed this gave us no fear or alarm at the time; now my branches; but while the stem is bound by it is balm to my sad recollections: he died about such tendrils as these, life will still remain in it

. ten days before her. Accept poor Isabella's How tender, how interesting were those eight love, and believe me, with affection, your attach- days we passed together! The dear souls live ed friend,

in a voluntary seclusion, that they may cherish

the precious memory of my beloved children, We shall cite but one more proof of the and indulge those aspirations after a happier sacrificing strength of this mother's mind, state, so natural to the wounded heart. I her power to control her own emotions, when am apt to say, in some moments of “ anguish receiving the severest chastisement, and to unmingled and agony pure," "O Catherine, sustain the less disciplined minds of her Catherine, thou hast split my heart;" and I young daughters. She was on a visit with live the purer with the other half.” Sure I must

think I hear her melodious voice reply, " Then her eldest daughter, at Rokeby Hall, whence have told you of Catherine's voice; the day she got a little boy, the heir of that place, as that we parted she sang the Judgment Hymn a pupil. She had left one of her daughters to me like a seraph. “Angels hear that angel at home, in a very delicate and precarious sing." There is no speaking of that admirable state of health, though immediate danger was creature without soaring into rapture, or sinking not apprehended : and the daughter who ac- in anguish." Turn, hopeless thoughts, turn

from her!" companied, was also in indifferent health. When she had returned to Glasgow, on her We have been beguiled by Mrs. Grant's way home, she thus wrote Mrs. Hook:

Letters into exceeding our allotted space, Now, my dear friend, after wearing out my and must abruptly leave off with a passage in very soul and spirits with communicating sad a letter to her son in India, which we eartidings to others, I come to claim your sympa- nestly commend to the attention of the many thy and gratulation at once; for you will both British mothers who have sons in that country. feel my distress, and duly estimate my consolations. Catherine, my 'admired and truly I must now tell you of an additional and very admirable Catherine, is at rest! My old strong motive that I have for keeping your sisattached friend, the Rev. Mr. Hall, who, ters independent of you. I regard with very

“the pomp,




From the Court Journal.

[ocr errors]

great compassion most men who are destined to young married people of America justified in spend their lives in India. Far from home and living in boarding houses for a time, if they all its sweet and social comforts, and burdened could not afford, all at once, perhaps with relations who keep them back in

pride, and circumstance of glorious housethe paths of independence, they seek a resource in forming temporary connexions with

the keeping.” “How much is affection,” she says, natives. These, I am told, are often innocent curbed in this country, and how much hapand even amiable creatures, who are not aware piness delayed, by the ambition for style !" of doing any thing reprehensible in thus attaching themselves. In the meantime, the poor woman who has devoted herself to him secures his affection by being the mother of his children: time runs on; the unfortunate mother, whom he TO A MOTHER, ON THE RECOVERY OF HER CHILD must tear from his heart and throw back to misery and oblivion, is daily forming new ties to him. The children, born heirs to shame and sorrow, are for a time fondly cherished, till the wish of their father's heart is fulfilled, and he is enabled to return to his native country, and Lady, tho' silent long the bard has lainmake the appearance in it to which his ambition Tho'long unstruck has hung the voiceless stringhas been long directed. Then begin his secret No disrespect withheld the tribute strain, but deep vexations; and the more honorable his No guilty negligence forbade to sing. mind, and the more affectionate his heart, the deeper are those sorrows which he dare not Mute is the night-bird, whilst the driving blast, own, and cannot conquer. This poor rejected With raging sway tempestuous sweeps along; one, perhaps faithfully and fondly attached, must Yet, when the fearful storm is overpast, be thrown off; the whole habits of his life must She hails the calm with joy’s reviving song. be broken ; he must pay the debt he owes to his And oft in fancy's mirror I have seen progenitors, and seek to renew the The suffering cherub, worn, and wan, and weak; forts of the domestic circle by soliciting with lit- Mark'd the mild patience of her placid mien, tle previous acquaintance and no great attach- And seen the parent's silent anguish speak. ment, some lady glad to give youth and beauty for wealth and consequence. The forsaken chil- For I had known her gentle, good, and mild; dren, once the objects of his paternal fondness, Known each young virtue of her blameless breast; must be banished, and have the sins of their fa- and scen cach opening feeling in the child, thers sorely visited upon them.

Hereafter doom'd to make the woman blest; I will spare myself and you the pain of finishing this picture, which you must know to be a And rightly I read ; for, firmly meek, likeness, not of an individual only, but of a whole she bore the burning pangs of keen disease ; tribe of expatriated Scotchmen, who return whilst glowing anguish flush'd the crimson cheek, home exactly in this manner. This, my dear son, The languid smile bespoke the mind at ease. is what I dread in your case, and would sain avoid, that is, prevent it if I could. All that re. If heaven shall chasten whom it loves the best,

So may she every coming sorrow bear,mains for me is, in the first place, not to burden So smile at sorrow and the weight of care, you with encumbrances that may check the free- In sorrow patient, and in patience blest, dom of your will; and in the next, to assure you, But, happier hours be hers; be hers to know

any person, whom it would be decent or The tranquil joys of each domestic tie; proper for you to connect yourself with by hon- Unvex'd by sickness, undisturb’d by woe, orable ties, should gain your affections, your Whilst life's calm stream unruffled slumbers by. mother and your sisters will be ready to adopt her lo theirs. Difference of nation, or even Be hers her husband, children, friends to bless; of religion, would not alienate us from any wife To soothe with smiles afliction's clouded brow'; that you would choose. Doubtless, we should The heart that feels, the hand that aids distress, much prefer that you were married to one that Be Kate hereafter all her mother now. we knew and esteemed; but we should far rather Balliol College, Marck 23, 1794. make room in our hearts for a stranger, who was modest and well principled, than see you in the predicament I have described.

THE MEETING OF THE ITALIAN Savans is fixed We fear that Mrs. Grant's liberality as to to take place on the 12th of September; and Genreligion might only extend to the Episcopal- eral Cæsar Cantu, the historian, has been commisian form, and of nation, to the English, and, Guide-book to that city and its environs; on which

sioned by the municipality of Milan, to edit a perhaps, the Irish. She showed that strong the most distinguished writers, in their different prejudice against the French which was the specialities are engaged ; amongst them Litta, the feeling of her Anti-Gallican age.

author of the Illustrious Families of Italy,' Catena, But Mrs. Grant was, on principle, a friend the Orientalist, Labus, the antiquary, Crivelli, the to early marriages ; and, in contradistinction work is to be presented by the town to the mein

geologist, and Carlini, the astronomer; and which to Mrs. Trollope and others, thought the bers of Congress.-Ath.

that if

« PreviousContinue »