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with the utmost civility: and though her mistake as to his being a man of fortune, which from his appearance she had naturally concluded him to be, was soon rectified, she could not divest herself of the respectful deference which his manifest superiority so justly claims. She sometimes, indeed, when he is not present, wonders what people of no fortune mean by assuming the airs of quality ?
In the conversation of Delomond and the beautiful widow, I have spent many delightful hours. The first possesses a rich mine of knowledge, from which I expect pure and genuine information. The latter is not less sensible, almost equally well informed, more lively in her ideas, and more quick in her discernment; but, at the same time, so modest and unassuming is this lovely woman, that I am sometimes at a loss which to admire most—the perfection of her understanding, or her unconsciousness of its superiority.
The indisposition of these two intelligent companions, has for some days past deprived me of their society; and I should have been at a great loss how to dispose of myself, had it not been for the goodness of the niece of the Dewan, who from her own library supplied me with a fund of instruction and amusement. This young lady I have lately discovered to be a great lover of books; of which she has by far the most numerous collection of any person on board. But it is not surprising, that I should never have suspected her taste for literature. No one could possibly , find it out from her conversation, which always furns upon the most trifling subjects. Notwithstanding the knowledge she must doubtless have acquired from the number of books she has read, she is so modest as never to utter a sentiment beyond vulgar observation, nor to attempt making use of her reason upon any occasion whatever ; so that a person might easily believe her mind WOL. I i. 2 * \
to be still immersed in the depths of ignorance. In the valuable collection of Biography, which this young lady kindly submitted to my perusal, the first book that attracted my attention, was, “the History of a Nobleman;” but I soon found, that the word History has more meanings in the English language than that which is given to it in the Dictionary. It is there said to be, “a narrative of events and facts, delivered with dignity.” But the history of this illustrious nobleman consisted of nothing more than a few letters written in the days of juvenile folly on the subject of love —Indeed, I cannot imagine why such immature productions should have been preserved at all; and still less can I conceive for what purpose they are given to the world, to whom the opinion which a young man entertains of the unparalelled beauty of his mistress's complexion can surely be of very little consequence. Other histories I found written in the manner of memoirs; these are said to contain the lives of illustri
ous personages whose names adorn the title page. It appears very strange, that the lives of these great personages should abound in incidents so similar; an account of one will serve to give you an idea of the events that have occurred in fifty families, whose histories I have already read. It happens, that a noble-born infant is deserted by its fond parents, and exposed to the care of chance, and the humanity of strangers. These fortunate foundlings never fail to be adopted by the first person who takes them up, and as these are always people of fortune, they receive from their bounty an education every way suitable to their real rank. As soon as the young nobleman attains the age of manhood, he falls in love with the daughter of his benefactor, a circumstance which involves the loving pair in the deepest misery. At length a period is put to their misfortunes by the discovery of the real parents, and the young lord is admitted to all the privileges of his order. You may now perhaps expect that the his
tory should become more interesting and important, and be curious to hear how the young nobleman conducts himself in his new station; whether the experience he has had of life serves to expand his benevolence, to invigorate his intellectual powers, and to render him a more worthy member of that august tribunal, in which is concentrated the illustrious mass of hereditary virtue ! As to all these points, you must content yourself to remain in ignorance; with the marriage of the hero, the history of his life concludes 1 From this circumstance, and, indeed, from the whole tenor of these books, it appears evident, that with these islanders marriage is a certain passport to never failing and never fading bliss : A state nearly resem bling that divine absorption of the soul described by our Yogees, which entirely excludes the cares and concerns of life, and in which the mind is wrapt in a delirium of perfect and uninterrupted felicity —Happy country where the prudence and fidelity