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No. LVI. SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 1779.
THE first of the two following letters I received some time ago from my friend Mr. Umphraville ; and I think I need make no apology, either to him or my readers, for giving it a place in this day's Mirror.
MY DEAR SIR,
THE moment that I found myself disengaged from business, you know I left the smoke and din of your blessed city, and hurried away to pure skies and quiet at my cottage.
I found my good sister in perfect health, free from flying rheumatic pains, agueish complaints, slight megrims, and apprehensions of the tooth-ache, and all the other puny half-pangs that indolence is heir to, and that afford a kind of comfort to the idle, by supplying them with topics of complaint and conversation.
You must have heard that our spring was singularly pleasant; but how pleasant it was you could
not feel in your dusky atmosphere. My sister remarked, that it had a faint resemblance of the spring in
Although I omit the year, you may believe that several seasons have passed away since that animating æra recollected by my sister. « Alas! my friend,” said I, 6
seasons return, but it is on “ ly to the young and the fortunate." A tear started in her eye ; yet she smiled and resumed her tranquillity.
We sauntered through the kitchen-garden and admired the rapid progress of vegetation. “ Every " thing is very forward,” said my sister ; we must 6 begin to bottle gooseberries to-morrow.” “ Very « forward, indeed," answered I. 6 This reminds « me of the
ladies whom I have seen lately ; “ they seemed forward enough, though a little out of
It was a poor witticism : but it lay in my way, and I took it up. Next morning the gardener came into our breakfast parlour : “ Madam,” said he, “ all “the gooseberries are gone."...." Gone,” cried my sister, “ and who could be so audacious ? Brother,
you are a justice of the peace ; do make out a 6 warrant directly to search for and apprehend. « We have an agreeable neighbourhood indeed ; the 6 insolence of the rabble of servants, of low-born
purse-proud folks, is not to be endured.” .....“ The “ gooseberries are not away," continued the gardener, they are all lying in heaps under the bushes; 6 last night's frost, and a hail shower this morning “ have made the crop fail.”....“ The crop fail !) said my sister; and where am I to get gooseberries “ for bottling ?” “ Come, come, my dear,” said I, “ they tell me that in Virginia, pork has a pecu“ liar flavour, from the peaches on which the hogs “ feed ; you can let in your goslings to pick up
t the gooseberries; and I warrant you, that this un“ looked for food will give them a relish far beyond " that of any greengeese of our neighbour's at the « castle.”.... Brother,” replied she, “ you are a phi. © losopher." I quickly discovered that, while endeavsaring to turn one misfortune into jest, I recalled another to her remembrance ; for it seems, that by. a series of domestic calamities, all her goslings had perished.
A very promising family of turkey-chicks las at length consoled her for the fate of the goslings; and on rummaging her store-room, she finds that she has more bottled gooseberries left of last year, than will suffice for the present occasions of our little family. • What shall I say of my sister? Her understanding is excellent; and she is religious without superstition. Great have been her misfortunes, poor woman! and I can bear testimony to her fortitude and resignation under them; and yet the veriest trifles imaginable unhinge her mind. 1: That people of sense should allow themselves to be affected by the most trivial accidents is absurd and ridiculous. There are, indeed, some things which, though hardly real evils, cannot fail to vex the wisest, and discompose the equanimity of the most patient; for example, that fulsome court paid by the vulgar to rich upstarts, and the daily slights to which decayed nobility is exposed.
I hope that your periodical essays find favour in the sight of the idle and frivolous. You may remember I told you long ago, that I would never read any of them. The perusal of them.could not make me esteem you more than I do already; and it might bring many fashionable follies to my knowledge of · which I am happily ignorant.
I ever am,
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
Edinburgh, July 23, 1779. SIR,
I AM confined, by the occupations of a laborious employment, to a constant residence in town. During the summer and autumn, however, I sometimes can afford a day, which I wish to spend in a jaunt to the country. I lived in the country, Sir, in my earlier days; and whenever I hear a wood, a meadow, or the banks of a river mentioned, I always think of peace, of happiness, and innocence.
This season I have had a friend in town, who being an idle man, is a great maker of parties. Among others, he contrives to get people together of a Saturday or a Sunday, to go and dine in the country, which, he says, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, affords some of the most beautiful and romantic scenes, he ever saw. Last Saturday I was asked to join in one of his parties of this sort ; to which, being a lover of rural scenes, as I mentioned before, I readily consented.
My friend had the ordering of every thing on our expedition. The carriages he had bespoke did not arrive at the place of meeting till near an hour after the time appointed ; and, when they did come, we had another hour to wait for our conductor, who having sat up at a town-party till five that morning, was not willing to be disturbed till mid-day. - We arrived at the destination betwixt two and three. I immediately proposed a walk, to enjoy the beauty of the fields, and the purity of the air; but my proposal was over-ruled, from the consideration of the near approach of dinner; some of the company likewise observing, that the evening was the properest time for walking in this hot weather. Mean time a cup was called for, which, in this same hot weather, was pronounced vastly pleasant, and my