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Here the good Gentleman was interrupted by the entrance of this very Mr. Daraley, who had come to pay his compliments to the family, on the arrival of my friend. His noble aspect and graceful manner, apparently justified all that had been said in his favour! and the sweet blushes that spread themselves over the countenance of the fair maiden, on unexpectedly beholding him—told, that the old Gentleman had not been wrong in his conjectures concerning the state of her heart.
But what does Maandaara think of the doctrine of Mr. Denbeigh? Not suffer a daughter to enter into the engagement of marriage before she is twenty! —Twenty!—why twenty is old enough for a grandmother—I fear the reasonings of Mr. Denbeigh would make as few converts in Hindoostan, as. in the English seminaries, where young Ladies are genteeiy educated.
We have just returned from spending the day with the eldest daughter of Mr. Denbeigh.
The company assembled were numerous and gay, and the entertainment given them by the Merchant, was at once substantial and splendid.—I should nor, however have thought of mentioning it, but for the sake of one of the guests, whose behaviour will give you some idea of the manners and conversation of such people -ofstyle as are suffered to go abroad after the loss of their fenses.—When such people visit, they make use of the company as their Chubdars*; and -always keep them waiting for their appearance such a length of time, as may give them sufficient opportunity for discussing their birth, titles, and situation. This Lady was accordingly announced, before her appearance, to be the wife of a recruiting officer, and fifteenth cousin to an Irish Lord—a circumstance, of which we might have remained in ignorance, had she arrived at the same time with the rest of the company.
When she entered, the height of the chowry that adorned her head; the length of the train of silk which followed her into the room, and which did not disdain to wipe the feet of the gentlemen; the scanty size of the veil of modesty, which covered, or rather which did not cover, her bosom; the quickness of her step, the undaunted asiurance of her mien—all spoke the consciousness of her own superiority. I listened to her conversation with the most respectful at
* The servant whose business it is 1.0 proclaim
tention, till she mentioned a circumstance, that at once struck me with astonishment and horror. "London," she said, "was become quite a desert, cot a single being remained in town." "London!" repeated I. "London! that populous city, which was late the residence of so many hundred thousand people; is it possible, that it can so suddenly have been rendered desolate?" "Lard bless me," returned the Lady, "every body knows that there is not at this time a single creature in London: and so I told the Captain before we went, but he would go, and staid whole ten days; you never knew any thing so horrid! Not one creature was to be seen."
"Horrid, indeed," repeated I. "Alas! poor Doctor Severan, what, in the general calamity, is become of him?" A smile which sat upon the faces of the company, and a look of compassion with which the benevolent Mr. Denbeigh at that moment seemed to regard my informer, made me suspect her of insanity, and she, indeed, said enough afterwards fully to confirm my suspicion.
Poor thing! she was so incapable of concealing her misfortune—that she' seemed to pique herself on having fainted at the fight of a red gown in the month of July, a convincing proof that she was not then in the possession of her understanding.—The derangement of her faculties, may, perhaps, be accounted for from the many frights and Jhccks she has met with in a country town, where her husband is unfortunately quartered.
"The frights" she said, "came to visit her, and some of their heads were so hideous, that she thought she would have died at the sight." No wonder that such a circumstance should have produced fatal effects upon a feeble mind. Like most people who labour under this sort of delirium, she was altogether unconscious of her unhappy situation, and really seemed to enjoy a fancied, preeminence over the daughters of Mr. Denbeigh, and many other females of sound mind, who were assembled upon this occasion. "Alas! poor lady," said I to myself, "how pitiable is thy situation! How much more would it have been to thy advantage, to have possessed one grain of the gocd fense of these amiable females, whom thy folly holds in such derision, than to have been cousin to all the Lords in Christendom! Had not thy malady brought blindness to thine eyes, thou lightest, doubtless, have beheld in the streets of London, thousands, and ten thousands of thy superiors in the scale of human excellence!"—But thus it is, that the dust of folly which is shaken into the eyes by the hand ofaifec-tation, produces the false perception of objects.
May we have our eyes enlightened by the * Collyrium of judgment—fo shall we be able to observe ourselves in the Mirror of Truth!
I have had the unexpected satisfaction of beholding the sister of my first English friend. Yes, Maandaara, Charlotte Percy is now the guest of Mr. Denbeigh, aud you may judge how much such a circumstance has augmented the pleasure of Zaarmilla.
I did not till lately discover, that Morley-farm was in the neighbourhood of Violet-dale, and not many hours elapsed after the discovery, till, in company with Denbeigh and his sister Emma, I went to visit the late residence of the benevolent old man, whose character is still spoken of in the neighbourhood in terms of respect, gratitude, and affection. The weather was serene and temperate, such as, at Almora, we frequently enjoy in the depth of winter; it was what is
* Collyrium. Crude Antimony, and sometimes Lead ore, ground to an impalpable powder, which the people of India put into their eyes- by means of a polished wire. They fancy it clears the sight aodencieiscs the lustre of the eye.