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upon Mr. Edward's fine waistcoat, when Mr. Bearskin, informing the company that his cousin was a great lover of music, called on his daughter, Miss
with which, after some of the usual apologies, she complied; and in compliment to Mr. Umphraville's taste, who she was sure mtist like Italian music, she sung, or rather squalled, a song of Sacchini's, in which there was scarcely one bar in tune from beginning to end. Miss Blubber said, in her usual phraseology, that it was a monstrous sweet air. Her brother swore it was divinely sung. -Umpkraville gulphed down a falsehood with a very bad grace, and said, Miss would be a good singer with a little more practice. A compliment which was not more distant from truth on one side, than from Miss's expectations on the other, and I could plainly perceive, did not set him forward in the favour of the family.
• My father is a judge of singing too,' said Mr. Edward Blubber ; . what is your opinion of the
song, Sir ??— My opinion is,' said he, that your • Italianos always set me asleep; English ears should • have English songs, I think.'— Then, suppose
one of the ladies should give us an English song,' said I. "'Tis a good motion,' said Mr. Bearskin, • I second it; Miss Betsy Blubber sings an excellent • English song.'-Miss Betsy denied stoutly that she ever sung at all; but evidence being produced against her, she, at last, said she would try if she could make out The Maid's Choice.' • Ay, ay, Betsy,? said her father, a very good song ; I have heard . it before.
- If I could but find, "I care not for fortune-Umh!-a man to my mind.' Miss Betsy began the song accordingly, and to make up for her want of voice, accompanied it with a great
deal of action. Either from the accident of his being placed opposite to her, or from a sly application to his state as an old bachelor, she chose to personify the maid's choice in the figure of Umphraville, and pointed the description of the song particularly at him. Umphraville, with all his dignity, his abi. lities, and his knowledge, felt himself uneasy and ridiculous under the silly allusion of a ballad; he blushed, attempted to laugh, blushed again, and still looked with that awkward importance which only the more attracted the ridicule. of the foals around him. Not long after the ladies retired ; and no persuasion of his cousin could induce him to stay the evening, or even to enter the drawing-room where they were assembled at tea.
• Thank Heaven !' said Umphraville, when the door was shut, and we had got fairly into the street, * Amen!' I replied, smiling, for our good dinner 6 and excellent wine !'~ How the devil, Charles,' said he, do you contrive to bear all this nonsense with the composure you do?'Why, I have often told you my friend, that our earth is not a planet fitted up only for the reception of wise • men. Your Blubbers and Bearskins are necessary parts of the system; they deserve the enjoyments they are capable of feeling ;-and I am not sure if he who suffers from his own superiority does not deserve his sufferings.
N* 35. TUESDAY, MAY 25, 1799.
To the Author of the MIRROR.
age of twenty, my time was divided between my books, and the society of a few friends, whom a similarity of pursuits and dispositions recommended to me, About that period, finding that the habits of reserve and retirement had acquired a power over me, which my situation, as heir to a considerable fortune, would render inconvenient, I was prevailed upon, partly by a sense of this, partly by the importunity of my relations, to make an effort for acquiring a more general acquaintance, and fashionable deportment. As I was conscious of an inclination to oblige, and a quick sense of propriety, two qualities which I esteemed the ground of good-breeding ; as my wit was tolerably ready, and my figure not disadvantageous, I own you
that I entertained some hopes of success. I was, however, unsuccessful. The novelty of the scenes in which I found myself engaged, the multiplicity of observances and attention requisite upon points which I had always regarded as below my notice, embarrassed and confounded me. The feelings to which I had trusted for my direction, served only to make me awkward, and fearful of offending.' My obsequious services in the drawingroom passed unrewarded ; and my
observations, when I ventured to mingle, either in the chat of the women, or the politics of the men, being de.
livered with timidity and hesitation, were overlooked or neglected. Some of the more elderly and discreet among the former seemed to pity me; and I could not help remarking, that they often, as if they had meant the hint from me, talked of the advantage to be derived from the perusal of Lord Chesterfield's Letters. To this author, then, as soon as I learned his subject, I had recourse, as to a guide that would point out my way, and support me in my journey. But, how much was 1 astonished, when, through a veil of wit, ridicule, elegant expression, and lively illustration, I discerned a studied system of frivolity, meanness, flattery, and dissimu. lation, inculcated as the surest and most eligible road to eminence and popularity?
Young as I am, Mr. Mirror, and heedless as I may consequently be supposed, I cannot think that this work is a code proper for being held up to us as the regulator of our conduct. The talents insisted on with peculiar emphasis, the accomplishments most earnestly recommended, are such as, in our days, if they ought to be treated of at all, should be mentioned only to put us on our guard against them. If riches naturally tend to render trifles of importance; if they direct our attention too much toward exterior accomplishments; if they propagate the courtly and complying spirit too extensively at any rate, we certainly, in this country, so wealthy and luxurious, have no need of exhortations to cultivate or acquire those qualifications. The habits that may arrest for a little time the progress of this corruption, ought now to be insisted on. Independence, fortitude, stubborn integrity, and pride that disdains the shadow of servility; these are the virtues which a tutor should inculcate, these the blessings which a fond father should supplicate from Heaven for his offspring VOL. XXXIV.
It is, throughout, the error of his Lordship's system, to consider talents and accomplishments according to the use that may be made of them, rather than their intrinsic worth. In this catechism, applause is rectitude, and success is morality. That, in our days, a person may rise to eminence by trivial accomplishments, and become popular by flattery and dissimulation, may, perhaps, be true. But from this it surely does not follow, that these are the means which an honourable character should employ. There is a dignity in the mind which cultivates those arts alone that are valuable, which courts those characters alone that are worthy, which disdains to conceal its own sentiments, or minister to the foibles of others ; there is, I say, a conscious dignity and satisfaction in these feelings, which neither applause, nor power, nor popularity, without them, can ever bestow.
Many of his Lordship's distinctions are too nice for my
faculties. I cannot, for my part, discern the difference between feigned confidence and insince. rity ; between the conduct that conveys the appro, bation of a sentiment, or the flattery of a foible, and the words that declare it. I should think the man whose countenance was open, and his thoughts concealed, a hypocrite ; I should term him who could treat his friends as if they were at the same time to be his enemies, a monster of ingratitude and duplicity. It is dangerous to trifle thus upon the borders of virtue. By teaching us that it may insensibly be blended with vice, that their respective limits are not in every case evident and certain, our veneration for it is diminished. Its chief safeguard is a jealous sensibility, that startles at the colour or shadow of deceit. When this barrier has been in. sulted, can any other be opposed at which conscience will arise and proclaim, Thus far, and no farther, shalt thou advance ?