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morality of the men, is only to be equal. led by their humility!
I will not conceal from you, that in these true and faithful pictures of the manners and morals of the people of England, I see much that appears to me extraordinary, and incomprehensible. Here, it is faid by our philosophers, that, “ in this life (compounded of good and evil) *fickness, and health ; opulence, and calamity; fruition, and disappointment, are bound up together; thus every thing is produced with a companion which ball destroy it. By this scheme of things, the wounds of affliction are ever within the reach of some cordial balm, which, if it does not heal, may at least serve to alleviate its anguish. While, in the pureft cup of felicity, is mingled such particles, as may serve to remind the mortal to whom it is presented, of the sublunary source from whence it flowed.-In Eng. land, on the contrary (if I am to believe these histories) happiness and misery are known only in extremes; there the tide of adversity sets in with such destructive fury, that the bare recital of the unheard-of calamities, it occasions, is sufficient to melt the hardest heart! Nor when the flood of fortune comes, is
the torrent of prosperity which it produces, less extraordinary and amazing! In its resiftless career, every barrier to happiness is broken down. The undeferving husband, the cruel father, and the malicious aunt, are all carried off by death while riches, honours, titles, fine clothes, and spotless character, complete the felicity of the beautiful and loving pair, who are designed to be overwhelmed in this sea of Liss.
From the authority of these authentic memoirs, it appears, that marriage in Europe is never contracted but from the most pure and disinterested motives. Every- young woman who is handsome and accomplished, however bumble her birth, or fmalt her fortune, is there certain of attracting the love and admiration of numbers of the highest rank in the community. What a glorious éncouragement is held forth to the females of that happy island, who must be blind indeed not to perceive that it is their own obftinatý and folly, that alone can possibly prevent their advancement to the very summit of felicity!
For such folly and obstinacy, whenever it occurs, a very peculiar and extraordinary punishment is reserved. Afier a few years, spent, as it is generally believed, in vain repentance, and useless re
gret, they all at once, without any ex. ceptions in favour of virtue, merit, ufe. ful or ornamental accomplishments, undergo a certain change, and incomprehensible transformation, and become what is termed OLD MAIDS. From all that I have hitherto been able to learn of these creatures, the Old Maid is a fort of venemous animal, fo wicked in its tem. per, and so mischievous in its disposition, that one is surprised that its very exis tence should be tolerated in a civilized society.
After having spent many days in the study of those authors, so warmly recommended by the young Bibby, I began to apprehend that though to more enlightened minds, they might doubtless prove a fource of instruction and delight, they were not fufficiently adapted to my weak capacity, to afford any recompence for the time fpent in their perusal. Never before did my heart refuse its sympathy to human misery; but the distresses of the Lady Hariots, and the Lady Charlottes, which called forth the overflowings of compassion, in the breasts of their fair corref. pondents, were of a nature too refined and delicate, to be discernable to any save the Microscopic eye of European fenfibility!
The change which according to these fage writers of Novels, has taken place in human nature, must have been as sudden as it appears unaccountable. In the days of their great Dramatic Poet, the Calidas of Europe, it was certainly unknown; in his masterly delineations of the passions, it is every where, and at every period the same : and from a perusal of his works, one would be tempted to imagine (notwithstanding the evidence of these authentic memoirs to the contrary) that though manners may differ, and local customs fall into oblivion, the traits of kindred likeness, which the Creator has been pleased to impress on the great family of the human race, may, by a dilo cerning eye, be traced through every clime, and in every period of its exiftence! How otherwise should the immortal Calidas, who flourished two thou. sand years ago *, and the Bard of Eng
* Calidas, the celebrated dramatic poet of India, flourished, according to Sir William Jones, in the first century before Christ; he was one of the nine men of genius, commonly called the Nine Gems, who were favoured with the patronage and fplendidly supported by the bounty of Vicramaditycs, a Monarch eminently distinguished by his taste for literature.
(See the preface to Sir Williain Jones's tranlla tion of Siecintala.)
ed to enlief Shakipesimself, w
land, who was cotemporary with Ackbar, teach the heart to vibrate with the fame sensations? The Sacontala of the one, and the Desdemona of the other, speak so nearly the same language, that did I not believe the soul of the Indian poet to have been long absorbed in the regions of felicity, I should undoubtedly imagine, that it was Calidas himself, who, under the name of Shakspeare, again vouchsafed to enlighten and delight the world! It is at least evident that they have both copied from the same original. Unchanging, everlasting Nature !
Achalm of many weeks has taken place in my journal. Alas! When I undertook to write it, I was not aware of, the tedious uniformity of a sea voyage. But though void of incident, the scene has not been destitute of instruction. By time, and increasing intimacy, the characters of my companions have been more fully developed. The first sketch that was drawn by the hasty pencil of imagination, I confidently pronounced to be a striking likeress; but very different now appears the picture, that has been delineated by slow-working observation.
In my letter from Madrass *, I informed you of the acquisition I expected from
* This letter is not to be found.