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Playing at hide-and-seek.
ried suavity, and suits, with such a masterly subtlety, his conversation and manners to those persons he wishes to impress in his favour, that there are samples of old maids and widows, wives and · virgins, who have been, in a great degree, captivated with his apparent amiability, and who have unanimously declared Sir William Featherington a most mild, gentlemanly, and worthy man.
Amongst the male sex he is not so much to be feared as shunned; for there is in his conduct, establishment, and deportment, such an impenetrable mystery, as must ever lead to distrust and suspicion. Sometimes he is seen with a wellappointed equipage, house, and servants, with other convenient appendages : in the space of a few weeks, he is met on an old broken-winded horse, and found in a common lodging in some obscure street; and, in a little time, he is walking on foot, without one seven-shilling-piece to
Outlines of a Picture.
rub against another : running about to get a bill do!le, or playing at hide-andseek for fear of being dished-up ! Shortly after he is heard of in a shop, asking for letters, directed ia a fictitious name, and producing a note of considerable amount in order to discharge a small debt of two pounds. It is equally mysterious by what means he has obtained his preferment; for before he was presented with the living of Bryarsfeldt, he scarce ever visited his parishioners at Wingfield and Derwater, but was a constant resident in the metropolis, where he shone “ the gayest of the gay !” sporting it, alternately, with that titled demirer, Lady Backswarden, or joining the easy parties of ci-devant mistresses ; paving his court to the principled old, and his addresses to the unsuspecting young; endeavouring, by a shew of generưus sympathy, to seduce the unfortunate wife; indulging irregular and promiscuous inclinations, and treating with harsh and
The Portrait continued.
cruel indignity the unfortunate who held the distinguished place of his private or household mistress.
Such are the outlines of the picture ! and vera city may pledge herself of its be- ing a faithful representation. We could wish, for the honour of human nature, that the portrait were exaggerated, for certainly there seems not a little of the demon in the present sketch ; but this is an unprejudiced, and we are sorry to add, a moderate statement: to descend to some particulars would bring Sir William low indeed! yet, to withhold all, is to suffer the just and amiable to be deluded by a specious exterior—they who are unwilJing, from their own purity of mind, to admit the possibility, that a character like Sir William Featherington's can be in existence.
Rank and fortune, the protectors of exalted relatives, happily exclude those who
An unfortunate Female.
move in the very high spheres of noble life, from the association, as well as from the danger, of such a character as is here pourtrayed; yet, those exalted females of virtuous character, who feel a generous reluctance to admit a belief of such worthlessness in the male sex, will not forget to feel for those unfortunate objects of their own, who have, by such characters as Sir William Featherington, been seduced from the paths of rectitude, and been led, even by their love of virtue, to the brink of ruin. We shun, with disgust, the professed reprobate ; but, can innocence shield itself against the sinner in the garb of the saint ?
When first Sir William visited at the Dowager Lady Clairville's, there was a female, whose misfortunes, integrity, and strength of mind, had created an interest, and secured her an asylum under the roof of this hospitable and benevolent Lady, who had had some knowledge of
Base and contemptible Conduct.
her in her brighter days : this ill-fated fair, whose history of domestic sorrows would form a most pathetic and instructive lesson, had the misfortune to possess such personal qualifications as attracted the particular notice of Sir William Featherington.
A combination of cruel circumstances had deprived her, at that time, of legal protection, and her scanty income, by no means answering the claims of that genteel mediocrity to which she had been accustomed, Sir William thought her' a fair subject of pursuit, and flattered himself with the prospect of an easy conquest: but the Lady possessed an high sense of female honour, together with a frank and discerning mind ; and Sir Williani was obliged to ply all his artillery of gentle offices, sympathizing, and amiability, to make any impression on an heart, at that time, mourning over its departed happiness. At length, however, his delicate