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upon, and is now an old maid, with neither fortune nor connections. Very hard, but must be denied when she calls.'
“ There were many more entries,” said Mr. Manners, “ but this is enough to shew the effrontery of the vanity of Lady Feignwell; and yet she was weak enough to be annoyed at the exposure, and this is what made me say she was not perfect in her class. To be a true heroine in her way, she ought to have been impenetrable to feeling. But what do you
think of the picture ? It astonishes me,” said I; “ she was as you said, worse than frivolous. What did her country neighbours do when she returned among them ? "
“ Despised and laughed at her—which, to my surprise, annoyed her still more. No; you see she was not perfect.”
“ Were there many more like her?”
“ So many, that when I had made them all out, it went far to make me take the leave I did of artificial life.”
“One class of your cases, however," said I, “ still remains; and as you are giving me the benefit of your experience, I trust you will not think it impertinence if I remind you of it.”
You mean," returned he, “ when real friendship has been wounded, intimacy dropped, opinion changed, and esteem undermined. It is certain this
did not attend Lady Feignwell, whose glitter, perhaps, dazzled me, but for whom I neither felt friendship, high opinion, or esteem. The case I alluded to was certainly far different. And yet I was wrong to call it a disappointment of expectation, for expectation had been thoroughly realized, and those who are in my mind had not only fulfilled, but gone beyond it. They were a noble pair, whom I knew from youth upwards ; the lady before her marriage. Her father loved me, oft invited me:' I felt honoured by his notice, and loved the whole family. Our mutual kindness, indeed, lasted for some time, and to her and her husband some of my happiest years were owing. Their doors opened at my approach ; with them there was always the feast of reason as well as other feasts, and to both I seemed ever welcome. Yet all this changed-not by degrees, not for accountable reasons, not from change of circumstances, but abruptly like a sudden death."
66 How could this be ? "
“ I suppose from change of character in them, and of habits and powers of amusement in me.”
66 Amusement ! "
“ Yes; for they, the lady especially, seemed to plunge deeper and deeper in worldly distractions ; and though every hour ought to have made her more and more independent of them (which, from her accomplishments and a large family, she was
formed to be), advancing life only made her more and more studious of its artificial enjoyments. In the splendour of her lot, therefore, she forgot her younger days, and those earlier friends, who seemed once to have made them sweet ? ” “Forgot her younger days ! was she then a par
Oh, no! Had she been so, her change would have been more intelligible. As it was, it was sheer caprice, and devotion to worldly objects—to fashion, show, and dissipation. These, in her amiable youth, she was above, and one would have thought her inind would have soared to something higher as she grew older ; but she became only more and more devoted to the fantastic tricks which make the angels weep.'
“ And in this you did not imitate her ?”
“No; and as I could not follow her track, but aimed at something better, in doing so I lost, as I said, the power of amusing ; and, as I had thrown myself out of politics, all other power ceased at the same time. In short, for truth must be told, I was forgotten, and laid aside as a useless piece of lumber.”
“ Astonishing !” said I. “ What, without a fault? without neglect on your part ? without change of life, or local separation ? Again, I say, how can such things be ?"
“ Ask the world, and this foolish woman,” replied my friend.
The subject now dropped, though (perhaps reverting to it) he added soon after, “ What I have said ought to prepare you for stranger things than this-in fact, whether in political, or private friendships, you must look to be drawn on, or drawn off, like a pair of gloves, as convenience, humour, or change of views may dictate.”
Here Mr. Manners ceased ; and, I know not why, but this last part of our conversation made me more serious, or, perhaps I might say, uneasy, than any other I had had
other I had had with him : for, if such a man, with so much mind, cultivation, good breeding, as well as good birth-instructed in all the usages and conventions of men, independent, and even rich withal—if such a man could, as he said, be dropped, and that for nothing, by one of his oldest friends, what was I to expect, or how escape ? Far better, I thought, to recur to my original destination, the church, and a fellowship, or at worst a village curacy; and so I told my adviser.
“No ;” said he. “Unless you feel an almost apostolical zeal and dedication of yourself to this arduous (for it is an arduous) career-unless you have really that call, which the Articles require, and to which all pretend, though so few feel it—the church shall have none of you. You shall not be one of those
• Who, for their bellies' sake, Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold.' “ With sincere conviction, and real holiness of
purpose, there is no character so holy as a Christian churchman ; his very presence inspires veneration, and with it, gladness. Be one of these, and welcome; but if you are, nothing worldly must come near you. Thrones, palaces, and purple, must not be in your thoughts. I would rather you were a clerk, at a hundred a year, or, what is worse, get your bread as one of those pauvres miserables in this country, the men of letters, than that you should be a trading clergyman."
“ Amen," said I; “ but as to men of letters, whom you designate under the cruel appellation you have used, how can the dwellers in the flowery regions of literature be miserable? You might as well call the denizens of your beautiful forest here by the same epithet.”
“ My good cousin,” replied he, smiling, “ you have, I see, a great deal more to learn than you are aware of, and friend Fothergill, after all, has taught you more of books than the technicalities of the professions of men. Perhaps, in the quiet walks of his college, with all the independence of academical learning, he was under a happy ignorance of the cruel fate of those who are used (and used hardly) as mere instruments or tools of literature. I suppose it never occurred to him to talk to you of the happiness of a bookseller's hack ?"
“As I never thought of being one,” said I," he had no occasion. But what is there so terrible in it?"