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and virtues of an ugly woman,' can make little impreslion even on the mind of a philosopher.-My friend coloured, but before he could reply, a loud explosion from the farther end of the room, burst upon our ears, and filled us with momentary terror. In discoursing on Lady Grey, my friend had forgotten the necessary management of a retort, which, for want of his attention, burst in pieces. I know not what were its contents, but they sent forth fuch fuffocating effluvia, as, had I not been restrained by politeness, would quickly have driven me from the room
When the smoke which followed the explosion, was somewhat dissipated, I observed my friend, standing in a melancholy posture, with claiped hands, and fixed eyes, ruminating on the misfortune that had befallen him. A course of ex. ' "periments, the labour of many weeks, were by this unhappy accident, rendered abortive; it was a subject that could not immediately admit of confolation. I therefore, for some time, preserved the strictest filence. Just as I was about to open my lips with the voice of sympathy, the philosopher, who had never lifted bis eyes from the remains of the broken vessel, suddenly clapping his hands together, exclaimed in a transport of ecitacy, '“ I see it! I see it! Heavens !
what a discovery - Never was there fa fortunate an accident ?" I was at first
e newhat afraid that my friend's senses had received a shock from this alarming jacident; but was happily relieved from my apprehensions, on being informed, atat the appearances which the matter, contained in the retort, had affumed on its-explofon, gave a hint to the philofopher, for the explanation of some phænonena hitherto unaccounted for. moment,
that fine countenance (and never did Brahma bestow upon a hun.an loul, an index fo intelligible) which bad beer fo lately shaded by the cloud of despondency, was brightened by the emanations of joy, and irradiated by the smile of exultation and delight.
I was not sufficiently initiated in science, to be able to appreciate the value of the discovery, which gave such ecstatic pleasure to the mind of ihe philofopher; but con. templated with rapture, the wisdom of the immortal spirit, who when he spread the volume of Nature before his rational off spring, passed this unalterable decree: " That to the mind, devoted to its perufal, the corrosive passicns should be unknown. That it should have power to assuage the tumults of the foul ; to fofter the emotions of virtue; and to produce a species of enjoymept, peculiarly its
79) own !”-Such, O! Maandaara! such are the advantages of science!!
According to appointment, I went, a few evenings ago to Lady Ardent's rout. Doctor Severan had the goodness to accompany me; a piece of condescenfion, which, now that I know what sort of a thing a rout is, I cannot but consider as a very distinguished compliment.
A rout is a species of penance, of which the pious Yogees of Hindoostan never conceived an idea ; if thefe people were not the professors of a religion which prohibits the worship of the inferior deities, I should say, it was a facrifice to the God. dess of Fashion; a facrifice not of the joint of a finger, or a toe, as we are here told it is the custom to present to that Goddess in some newly discovered countries *, but of every faculty of the soul, that distinguishes the rational from the brute creation. These remain during the ceremony of the rout, in an absolute state of fufpenfion. You may imagine, my dear Maandaara, what a' facrifice this must be-to people pofseffed of so much wisdom, and who are so eminently qua
* It is supposed by the Translator, that the Rajah here alludes to a custom said to be practised in Diaheite. See Cook': l'oyages.
lified for the pleasures of conversation.. What a sacrifice! to be deprived of the interchange of ideas, of every communi. cation of sentiment, and every advantage of understanding, and to be doomed to fit fiffling in a crowded room, during the length of an evening, with no other employment, than that of turning over little bits of painted paper!
It is not surprising, that in such cir. cumstances the countenances of these votaries of fashion, should so frequently be distinguished by the insipid stare of vacancy, or the lowering frowns of dis. content. For my part, I could not help pitying them from my very foul; I was particularly concerned for a group of young females, who were placed on a fopha in a corner of the room, and who, instead of cards, held each in their hand a fmall fan, which they from time to time opened, and again fhut in a very melancholy manner. As I contemplated their fituation, with much compassion, wondering, whether filence had actually been imposed upon them, as one of the duties of the ceremony, my feelings were effectually relieved by the entrance of three effeminate-looking youths, drefled in the military habit, whose pale-faces and puny figures, rendered it a matter of doubt, to which sex they actually be
longed, till one of them being faluted Lord, relieved me from the dilemma. Whether there was any thing exhilarating in the perfumes wbich these Saibs had pleatifully bestowed upon their persons, I know not; but their appearance feemed to spread a sudden ray of animation over the dejected Bibbys who in a moment began to speak to each other with wonderful loquacity; the fans were opened and shut, with encreasing celerity.. The Chouries upon their heads, were with one consent put into motion, waviog like the graceful plumage of the Auney *, when it carries the messages of Camdeo; and their eyes, which had hitherto rolled with languid vacuity, from y one head-dress to another, now turned
their glances towards that part of the room, where the lady-like gentlemen stood. Two of these heroes, with a degree of fortitude, to which many more gallant-looking men would have been unequal, turning their backs upon the fair creatures, who so sweetly folicited their attention; sat down at a card-table, each placing himself opposite to a wrinkled Bibby, old enough 10 be his grandmother. The young Lord, either poffef
* A fabulous bird, frequently mentioned by the Poets of India, as the ambassador of love.