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softness approaching to timidity, which forms its most amiable feature, makes it stand in need of assistance. That support and assistance Emily had received in the completest manner from her father. - What an alteration now! Instead of receiving support herself, she was obliged to give it; she was under the necessity of assisting, of counselling, and of strengthening the timid resolutions of him who had been, in her earlier years, her instructor and her guide, and to whom, next to Heaven, she had ever looked up. Emily felt all this ;—but feeling took not from her the power of acting.
Hargrave is abundantly sensible of his daughter's goodness. Her consciousness of this, and of how much importance her attentions are to her father, gives her the best consolation.
While I was at his house, he hardly ever spoke of himself. Once indeed, I remember he said to me, 'I am become a strange being ;--even thegoodness of that girl distresses me; it is too much for me to bear ;- it is,' added he, in a very faint and broken voice, like to overwhelm me.'
I have often remarked, that there is a perseverance in virtue, and a real magnanimity in the other sex, which is scarcely to be equalled in ours. In the virtue of men, there are generally some considerations, not altogether pure, attending it, which, though they may not detract from, must certainly diminish our wonder at their conduct. The heroic actions of men are commonly performed upon the great theatre, and the performers have the applauses of an attending and admiring world to animate and support them.-- When Regulus suffered all the tortures which cruelty could invent, rather than give up his honour or his country, he was supported by the conscious admiration of those countrymen whom he had left, and of those enemies in whose hands he was ;-when Cato stabbed himself, rather than give up the cause of liberty, he felt a pride which told him, that · Cato's would be no less honoured than Cæsar's sword ; '-and when the ' self-devoted Decii died,' independent of their love for Rome, they had every motive of applause to animate their conduct :-—but when Emily Hargrave sacrifices every thing to filial goodness and filial affection, she can have no concomitant motives, she can have no external circumstance to animate her. Her silent and secret virtue is the pure and unmingled effect of tenderness, of affection, and of duty.
No. 64. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1779.
- Populumque falsis
HOR, CAR. ii. 3. 19. Thescience of Manners, for Manners are a science, cannot easily be reduced to that simplicity in its elements of which others admit. Among other particulars, the terms employed in it are not, like those of Arithmetic, Mathematics, Algebra, or Astronomy, perfectly and accurately defined. Its subjects are so fleeting, and marked with shades so delicate, that wherever a general denomination is ventured, there is the greatest hazard of its being misapplied or misunderstood.
In a former paper, I endeavoured to analyze the term a man of fashion, in this I am enabled by an ingenious correspondent to trace the meaning of another phrase, to wit, good company, which, as it is nearly connected with the former, is, I believe, as
doubtful in its signification. The following letter is a practical treatise on the subject, which I shall lay before readers in the precise terms in which I received it.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
SIR, "I am at that time of life when education, formerly confined to the study of books, begins to extend itself to the study of men. Having lately arrived in town, I was anxious to be introduced into good company of every rank and denomination; and, in virtue of some family-connections, assisted by the kindness of some college-friends and acquaintances, I flattered myself I should succeed in my purpose.
“My strong bent for Letters induced me first to procure an introduction into the good company of the learned ; and I went to a dinner where several of the literati were to be assembled, full of the hopes of having my mind enlightened with knowledge, expanded with sentiment, and charmed with the Atticism of elegant conversation.
“ During our meal, there was a more absolute suspension of discourse than I expected in a society of spirits so refined as those with whom I was associated. The ordinary functions of eating and drinking made no part of my idea of a learned man; and I could observe in my fellow-guests an attention to the dishes before them, which I thought did not quite correspond with the dignity of that character. This, however, was but a small deviation from my picture, and I passed it over as well as I could, in expectation of that mental feast with which I was to be regaled when the table should be uncovered.
“ Accordingly, when the cloth was removed, the conversation, which I expected with so much impatience, began. I had too humble an opinion of myself to take any other part than that of a hearer ; but I very soon discovered that I was the only person in the company who had an inclination to listen. Every one seemed impatient of his neighbour's speech, and eager to have an opportunity of introducing his own. You, I think, Mr. MIRROR, have compared conversation to a favourite dish at an entertainment; here it was carried on like a dinner at one of those hungry ordinaries, where Quin used wittily to call for a basket-bilted sword to help himself with : in a short time, every one, except your correspondent, endeavoured to secure it to himself, by making it a dish which nobody else could taste. An old gentleman, at the head of the table, introduced a German treatise, written by a man whose name I could neither pronounce nor remember, which none of the rest of the
had Another, taking advantage of a fit of coughing with which he was seized, brought us upon a philosophical inquiry into the properties of heat, and a long account of some experiments he had lately witnessed on that subject. Being unfortunately asked for his toast, and pausing a moment to deliberate on it, he was supplanted by my right-hand neighbour, who suddenly transported us into the country of Thibet, and seemed to have a very intimate acquaintance with the Delai Lama. One of the company, who sat opposite to him, thrust in, by mere dint of vociferation, Travels through the interior Parts of America, just then published, and sailed over the lakes in triumph ; till happening to mention a particular way in which the Indians dress a certain fish, the discourse was, at last, laid open to every body present on the subject of cookery; whence it
naturally fell into a discussion of the comparative excellence of different wines ; on which topics the conversation rested with so much emphasis, that a stranger who had overheard it, would have been led to imagine this symposium, into which I had procured admission with so much eagerness, to be à society of Cooks and Butlers, met to improve each other in their several callings. “ I next procured an introduction into the
very best company ; that is, I contrived to become a guest at a table of high fashion, where an entertainment was given to some of the greatest men in this country. The ambition natural to my age and complexion prompted me to desire this honour ; which, however, I purchased at the price of a good deal of embarrassment and uneasiness. Nothing, indeed, but the high honour conferred by such society, could compensate for the feelings even of that minute, in which a man, not used to the company of the great, ascends from the lowest step of a wide echoing stair-case, to the door of a great man's drawing-room.-Through this, however, and several other little disquietudes, did I pass, in hopes of finding, in the discourse of those elevated persons, that highly polished elegance, that interesting information, and those extensive views of polity and government, which their rank had afforded so many opportunities of acquiring.
“ Not only during the time of dinner, as in my last company, but for a considerable time after, the scene was silent and solemn; this, while it added to my confusion, increased my expectations. Conversation at last began; it was carried on in a manner exactly the reverse of that in my former visit. There nobody was disposed to listen ; here few seemed inclined to speak; for in this assembly I could perceive there were two or three very great