Sivut kuvina

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 suspension. You may imagine, my dear Maandaara, what a sacrifice this must be—to people possessed of so much wisdom, and who are so eminently qualified for the pleasures of conversation. What a sacrifice to be deprived of the interchange of ideas, of every communication of sentiment and every advantage of understanding, and to be doomed to sit stiffling 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 circumstances the countenances of these votaries of fashion should so frequently be distinguished by the insipid stare of vacancy, or the lowering frown of discontent. For my part I could not help pitying them from my very soul; I was particularly concerned for a group of young females, who were placed

on a sopha in a corner of the room, and WOL. II. 9 *

who, instead of cards, held each in their hand a small fan, which they from time to time opened and again shut in a very melancholy manner. As I contemplated their situation with much compassion, wondering whether silence 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, dressed in the military habit, whose pale faces and puny figures rendered it a matter of doubt to which sex they actually belonged, till one of them being saluted Lord relived me from the dilemma. Whether there was any thing exhilarating in the perfumes which these Saibs had plentifully bestowed upon their persons, I know not; but their appearance seemed 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, waving 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 one head-dress to another, now turned their glances towards that part of the room were 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 solicited their attention, sat down at a card-table, each placing himself opposite to a wrinkled Bibby old enough to be his grandmother. The young Lord, either possessing less resolution than his companions, or, not considering this sort of penance necessary for the good of his soul, joined himself to the fin-playing party of the young ladies.—Dulness and melancholy vanished at his approach; every word he uttered produced a simper on the pretty faces of his female audience; the simper, at length, en

* A fabulous bird, frequently mentioned by the Poets of India as the ambassador of love.

creased into a tittering laugh. Observing that they cast their eyes to the opposite side of the appartment, I judged it was some object placed there that excited their risibility; following the direction of their glances, 1 perceived a lady with a remarkably pleasant countenance, who had indeed no chourie upon her head, and who was in every particular less disfigured by dress than any other person in the room. I was pondering in my own mind how this modest and unassuming personage could excite the risibility of the fair group, when a Lady who had for some time stood near them, apparently engaged in over-looking a card-table, turned round, and addressed them in the following manner: “When you, my Lord and Ladies, have sufficiently amused yourselves in ridiculing the dress of that excellent woman, I hope you will next proceed to her character. You cannot do better than compare it with you own. I do assure you, her dress is not so widely different from your's as the furniture of either her head or heart. That

[ocr errors]

very woman, with he 3 flat cap and plain petticoat, has an understanding of the first quality, and a heart replete with every virtue. While she has been cultivating the one and exercising the other in the noblest manner, be so good as to ask yourselves how you have been employed 2 but, perhaps your observations, like those of a monkey, can go no farther than the ornaments of the person 2 Then, poor things! who can blame you for exercising the highest of your intellectual powers; and for asserting your claim to rationality, though even by the lowest and most equivocal of its characteristicks?”— You have beheld a flock of Paroquets basking themselves in the rays of the sun, all exerting their little throats and squalling and chattering with all their might: when, lo! a Cormorant or other bird of prey has made its appearance, and in a moment the clamorous voices of the little green-robed chatterers has been hushed in silence—becoming as mute as the vegetable tribe under whose friendly leaves they sought for shelter.

« EdellinenJatka »