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our in this particular. I must therefore intreat of you, Sir, to take the earliest opportunity of giving your sentiments on the subject.
I am, &c.
The complaints of my correspondent are not without reason. The boundaries between virtue and vice cannot be too religiously maintained ; and every thing that tends to lessen, in any degree, the respect due to a woman of honour, ought ever to be guarded against with the utmost caution.
When I was in France, I observed a propriety of behaviour in the particular mentioned by Mr. A. W. that pleased me much. Even in that country, loose as we imagine the manners there to be, nobody who wishes to preserve the character of a well-bred gentleman, is ever seen at a place of public resort, in company with those misguided fair-ones, who, however much they may be objects of pity and compassion, have forfeited all title to respect and esteem. I would recommend to our young men to follow, in this, the example of our neighbours, whom they are so ready to imitate in less laudable instances. To consider it only in this view, there is certainly no greater breach of politeness than that which has given occasion to this letter. In other respects, the consequences are truly alarming. When every distinction is removed between the woman of virtue and the prostitute ; when both are treated with equal attention and observance; are we to wonder if we find an alteration of the manners of the women in general, and a proportional diminution of that delicacy which forms the distinguishing characteristic of the respectable part of the sex ?
These considerations will, I hope, prove sufficient to correct this abuse in our young gentlemen. As to my fair country-women, it is ever with reluctance that I am obliged to take notice of any lit. tle impropriety into which they inadvertently fall. Let them, however, reflect, that a certain declicacy of sentiment and of manners is the chief ornament of the female character, and the best and surest guardian of female honour. That once removed, there will remain less difference than perhaps they may be aware of, between them and the avowedly licentious. Let them also consider, that, as it is unquestionably in their power to form and correct the manners of the men, so they are, in some sort, accountable, not for their own conduct only, but also for that of their admirers.
To the Author of the MIRROR.
I do not mean to reflect, Mr. MIRROR; for that is your business, not mine; far less do I purpose to pun, when I tell you, that it might save some reflec, tions upon yourself, did you take the trouble to translate into good common English those same Latin scraps, or mottos, which you sometimes hang out by way of a sign-post inscription at the top of your paper. For consider, Sir, who will be tempted to enter a house of entertainment offered to the Public, when the majority can neither read nor understand the language in which the bill of fare is drawn and held out? I am a Scotsman of a good plain stomach, who can eat and digest any thing ; yet I should like to have a guess at what was to be expected before I sit down to table. Besides, the fair sex, Mr. MIRROR, for whom you express so much respect,—What shall they do? Believe me, then, Sir, by complying with this hint, you will not only please the ladies, but now and then save a blush in their company to some grown gentlemen, who have not the good fortune to be so learned as your. self. Amongst the rest, you will oblige one who has the honour to be Your admirer and humble servant,
IGNORAMUS. Edinburgh, Feb. 19, 1779.
Mr. Ignoramus (whom I take to be a wiser man than he gives himself out for) must have often observed many great personages contrive to be unintelligible in order to be respected.
N° 10. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1779.
Refinement, and Delicacy of Taste, are the produc. tions of advanced society. They open to the mind of persons possessed of them a field of elegant enjoyment; but they may be pushed to a dangerous extreme. By that excess of sensibility to which they lead; by that vanity which they flatter; that idea of superiority which they nourish; they may unfit their possessor for the common and ordinary enjoyments of life ; and, by that too great niceness which they are apt to create, they may mingle somewhat of disgust and uneasiness even in the highest and finest pleasures. A person of such a mind will often miss happiness where Nature intended it should be found, and seek for it where it is not to be met with. Disgust and Chagrin will frequently be his companions, while less cultivated minds are enjoying pleasure unmixed and unalloyed.
I have ever considered my friend Charles Fleetwood to be a remarkable instance of such a charac. ter. Mr. Fleetwood has been endowed by nature with a most feeling and tender heart. Educated to no particular profession, his natural sensibility has been increased by a life of inactivity, chiefly employ, ed in reading, and the study of the polite arts, which has given him that excess of refinement I have de. scribed above, that injures while it captivates.
Last summer I accompanied him in an excursion into the country. Our object was partly air and exercise, and partly to pay a visit to some of our friends.
Our first visit was to a college-acquaintance, re. markable for that old-fashioned hospitality which still prevails in some parts of the country, and which too often degenerates into excess. Unfortunately for us, we found with our friend a number of his jovial companions, whose object of entertainment was very different from ours.
Instead of wishing to enjoy the pleasures of the country, they expressed their satisfaction at the meeting of so many old acquaintance; because they said it would add to the mirth and sociableness of the party. Accordingly, after a long, and somewhat noisy, dinner, the table was covered with bottles and glasses ; the mirth of the company rose higher at every new toast ; and
though their drinking did not proceed quite the length of intoxication, the convivial festivity was drawn out, with very little intermission, till it was time to go to bed. Mr. Fleetwood's politeness prevented him from leaving the company ; but I, who knew him, saw he was inwardly fretted at the manner in which his time was spent during a fine evening, in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The mirth of the company, which was at least innocent, was lost upon him : their jokes hardly produced a smile ; or, if they did, it was a forced one : even the good humour of those around him, instead of awakening his benevolence, and giving him a philanthrophical pleasure, increased his chagrin; and the louder the company laughed, the graver did I think Mr. Fleetwood's countenance became.
After having remained here two days, our time being spent pretty much in the manner I have de. scribed, we went to the house of another gentleman in the neighbourhood. A natural soberness of mind, accompanied with a habit of industry, and great attention to the management of his farm, would save us, we knew, from any thing like riot or intemperance in his family. But even here I found Mr. Fleetwood not a whit more at his ease than in the last house. Our landlord's ideas of politeness made him think it would be want of respect to his guests if he did not give them constant attendance. Break fast, therefore, was no sooner removed, than, as he wished to visit his farm, he proposed a walk : we set out accordingly; and our whole morning was spent in crossing dirty fields, leaping ditches and hedges, and hearing our landlord discourse on drilling and horse-hoeing; of broad-cast and summerfallow; of manuring, plowing, draining, &c. Mr. Fleetwood, who had scarcely ever read a theoretical
upon farming, and was totally ignorant of the