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A superiority to which I was so early accustomed, it gave me little uneasiness to bear. The vivacity natural to children, which in me was supported by uninterrupted good health, left me no leisure to complain of a preference, by which, though my brother was distinguished, he was seldom or never made happier. The notice, indeed, to which his birthright entitled him, was often more a hardship than a privilege. He was frequently kept in the drawing-room with mamma, when he would have much rather been with me in the garden ; he was made to repeat his lesson to the company, that they might admire his parts and his progress, while i was suffered to be playing blindman's-buff below stairs he was set at dinner with the old folks, helped to light things that would not hurt him, obliged to drink toast and water, and to behave himself like a gentleman, while I was allowed to devour apple-dumplin, gulp down small-beer, and play monkey-tricks at the side-table.
That care, however, which watched his health, was not repaid with success; he was always more delicate, and more subject to little disorders, than I ; and at last, after completing his seventh year, was seized with a fever, which, in a few days, put an end to his life, and transferred to me the inheritance of my ancestors.
After the first transports of my mother's grief were subsided, she began to apply herself to the care of her surviving child. I was now become inheritress of her anxiety, as well as of my father's fortune ; a remarkable change was made in every department of my education, my company, and my amusements. Instead of going along with a set of other girls of my own age to a class for learning French, and a public writing-school, teachers were brought into the house to instruct me privately; and though
I still went to a dancing-school three days in the week to practise the lessons which I received from an eminent master at home, yet I was always attended by my mother, my governess, or somebody, by whose side I was stuck up before and after the dance, to the great vexation of myself and the ridicule of my former companions. Of companions, indeed, I was now altogether deprived. I was too considerable a person to associate with those in whose sports and amusements I had formerly been so happy to share ; if at any time I ventured to mention a wish for their society, I was immediately checked by an observation of my mamma, that she believed they were very good girls, but not fit company for me.
To prevent the solitude in which my superiority would have thus placed me, a little girl, an orphan niece of my mother's maid, was taken into the house, whose office it was to attend me during all my hours of study or amusement, to hold the pincushion while my maid was dressing me, to get lessons along with me, and be chid if I neglected them; to play games at Draughts, which she was never to win, and to lift the Shuttlecock, which I commonly let fall; in short, she was to serve me for the practice of all that insolence which the precepts of others had taught me I had a right to
I feel, at this moment, Mr. Mirror, the most sincere compunction for the hardships which this poor girl suffered while she was with me; hard. ships, from which, at last, she freed herself, by running off with a recruiting serjeant; yet I was taught, at the time, to call her subsistence a bounty, and to account myself generous when I bestowed any trifle beyond it.
While my mind was thus encouraged in perversion, the culture of my body was little less preposterous. The freedom and exercise which formerly
bestowed health and vigour, I now exchanged for the constraints of fashion, and the laziness of pride. Every schackle of dress which the daughters of any great man were understood to wear, I was imme. diately provided with, because I could afford it as well as they I was never allowed the use of my limbs, because I could afford a coach; and, when attacked by the slightest disorder, immediate recourse was had to the physician, because I could afford a fee. The consequence was natural; I lost all my former spirits, as well as my former bloom ; and, when I first put on the womanly garb, I was a fine lady complete, with cheeks as pale and nerves as weak as the finest.
I was now arrived at a period when attention and anxiety were to be pointed almost solely to one object, the disposal of my person in marriage. With regard to this event, I was equally the slave of my mother's hopes and fears. I was dressed and redressed, squeezed and pinched, that I might catch a fine gentleman who had lately returned from his travels. I was often hurried several miles in the dark to a ball at our country-town, to display my. self to a Lord, who was to be of the party there ; I was walked over hedge and ditch, in order to captivate a country 'squire of a very large estate in our neighbourhood ; and I was once obliged to hazard my neck, that I might go out a hunting with a Duke. On the other hand, I was in perfect durance when any improper man had been seen to look at me. I was forced to leave the parish-church, upon information received of a young gentleman having bribed the beadle with a shilling, to admit him into the next pew; my dancing master was changed, because his wife died while he was attending me; and my drawing-master, an old batchelor of threescore, was dismissed because he hap
pened to put his hand on mine in shewing me how to manage my Crayons. The only poor man with whom I was allowed to associate was
the clergyman of our parish, a very old gentleman of the most irre. proachable character. To this indulgence, how, ever, I was
more indebted than my mother was aware, or I had any reason to hope. Possessed of excellent sense and great learning, the good mar was at pains to teach me the use of the first, and the value of the latter. By his assistance, my mind, which before had always been either uns cultivated or misled, was informed with knowledge more useful than the extent of my fortune, or the privileges of my birth. He shewed me the folly of pride, and the meanness of insolence; he taught me the respect due to merit, the tenderness to poverty, the reverence to misfortune; froin him I first learnt the dignity of condescension, the pleasures of civility, the luxury of beneficence. He died, alas! before I could receive the full benefit of his instructions, before he was able to eradicate the effects of early perversion and habitual indulgence; and left me rather in a condition to feel the weakness of my mind, than to recover ita strength.
My mother did not long survive him. I had been forced to see the errors of her judgment, though I could never doubt the warmth of her affection. I was unfortunate enough to lose her assistance, when her assistance would have been more useful and her indulgence less prejudicial. In the management of my fortune, which has now devolved on me, I am perplexed with business which I do not understand, -and harassed by applications which I know not how to answer. I am sometimes puzzled with schemes for improving my estate, sometimes frightened with dangers that threaten to diminish it ; I am vexed with the complaints of poor tenants, and plagued with the litigiousness of rich ones. I never open a letter from my steward in the country without uneasiness; and a visit from my agent in town is to me like that of a bailiff. Amidst all these difficulties, I have no relation whom I can trust, and no friend to whom I can tean ; the interest which people have in deceiving me deprives me of confidence in advice, or pleasure in approbation. In short, it is my singular misfortune to possess wealth with all the embarrassment of poverty, and power with all the dependance of meanness. I am, &c.
N 82. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1780.
paper of to-day was received from an unknown hand several weeks ago. The publication of it may, perhaps, appear rather unseasonable after the last Gazette. There is, still, however, much truth in my Correspondent's observations, who, I dare say, will not regret that Sir George Rodney's success has somewhat lessened their force.