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beigh would make as few converts in Hindostan, as in the English seminaries, where young Ladies are genteelly 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 not, 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 of style as are suffered to go abroad after the loss of their senses.— When such people visit, they make use of the company as their Chubdars;" and al
* The servant whose business it is to proclaim the titles,
ways 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 assurance of her mein—all spoke the consciousness of her own superiority. I listened to her conversation with the most respectful attention, till she mentioned a circumstance, that at once struck me with astonishment and horrour. “London,” she said, was now
WOL. II. 23 +
become quite a desert, nor a single being remained in town.” “London t” 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 ten whole 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 7” 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 sus. picion.
Poor thing! she was so incapable of concealing her misfortune—that she seemed to pique herself on having fainted at the sight 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 shocks 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 pre-eminence 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 good sense of these amiable females, whom thy folly holds in such derision, than to have been cousin to all the Lords in Christen. dom Had not thy malady brought blind. ness to thine eyes, thou mightest, doubtless, have beheld in the streets of London, thou. sands, and ten thousands of thy superiours in the scale of human excellence "—But thus it is, that the dust of folly which is shaken into the eyes by the hand of affectation, produces the false perception of objects.
May we have our eyes enlightened by the * Collyrium of judgment—so shall we be able to observe ourselves in the Mirror of Truth :
* Collyrium. Crude Antimony, and sometimes Lead ore, ground to an inpalpable powder, which the people of India put into there eyes, by means of a polished wire.
They fancy it clears the sight, and encreases the lustre of the eye.