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Sunday Evening Readings.
attentions, the interest and concern he professed to take in her situation, and the belief she entertained of the probity and benevolence of his disposition, induced her to acknowledge him as one of her warmest friends.
We should offend the Lady, who is the subject of this anecdote, were we to give the sequel of Sir William's base and contemptible conduct towards her; and abhorrence would be excited in the reader, were we to offer a progressive detail of his dastardly and insidious proceedings in this affair : we will, therefore, only remark, that this circumstance, with the consequence it gave him to be adınitted en famille in Lady Clairville's society, induced him to make a point of securing, by his speciousness, plausibility, and attentions, the good opinion of that Lady. As to those chro: icles of scandal Lady Turnabout and her malicious Cousin Snargate, they will seize on any thing
Sunday Evening Readings
that is gilded with a title ; and man, we should conceive, must be so rare a commodity with them, that they will naturally wish to retain him, in any shape, purely for the sake of novelty!
There are women, who, in preserving the virtue of chastity, lose almost every other; and if such women be of an ordinary mould, which is commonly the case, they have, in fact, no virtue at all !* for
* The true meaning of the word virtue is not what it is generally taken to be. Virtue is a struggle of our reason against the bent of inclinations, or the impetus of passions ; no virtue without temptation: and my old Aunt, who from her infancy has been the most curious pattern of ugliness, and has added to this forbidding and repulsive power the crabbiest temper in the world, you may call virtuous, if you please, but I never can think her so; her severity towards the innocent wantonness of one of my sisters, exemplifies forcibly what has been said above. . A woman who has struggled against the danger, and with difficulty escaped the fangs, of seduction, is naturally prone to indulgence and forgiveness. : “Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco,"
where is the merit of preserving a treasure which no one seeks to wrest from 11s ? Now, with respect to the moral widow, Lady Duffledown, wliom we have always heard mentioned as an inoffensive good kind of woman, how she could be edified by the incongruous medley exhie bited at Sir William's Sunday Evening Readings, we are somewhat at a loss to conceive : but we conclude her Ladyship only staid the play! which was generally a sentimental comedy (alias a sermon) of Sir William's own composition ; and which he read aloud for the amusco ment and instruction of his assembled friends. When this discourse was concluded, the guests were offered tea and coffee ; and, after about an hour's cheerful conversation, the more pure and sober of the party retired ; and amidst those of course was numbered the widow Duffledown : then commenced the farce, in which every one present took a part; and Sir William's list of amusements exceedcd, in variety and taste, that of any
theatre in the metropolis. There were, What's my thought like ? Cross Purposes, Christmas Gambols, and Misletoe Forfeits; with imitations of Mr. Punch and his family, by the ingenious Miss Drogmore: in short, the games of feudal times united with modern manners to heighten the pleasures of the charming scene! After the owners of forfeits had paid the customary fines of kissing through the rails of the chairs, and other
ridiculous sports, the whole ended with · a cold collation, where the rosy god
lent his aid: and thus was concluded Sunday night, and commenced Monday morning; for frequently, before Sir William's doors were closed on all his guests,
the dial pointed” half past four o'clock, and the sonorous voice of the drowsy watchman sounded the alarm to the jocund party. Such were the Sunday evening parties of Sir William Featherington, which, if not exactly formed to edify, will at least instruct.
WITH A CONTINUATION OF
SIR WILLIAM FEATHERINGTON'S CHARACTER.
“ Dicite, Pontifices, in Sacro quid facit Aurum?”
Tue Marquis of Waltham, after giving the above sketch, in bis own gay, sarcastic manner, addressing himself to his sister, said, “ Now, my dear Charlotte, be content to profit by the scrutiny of your brother; our sex gives us oppor: . tunity for a more enlarged information of mankind than your's;--where delicacy precludes female investigation, our sex penetrate without opprobrium.
Lady Charlotte was disappointed in the favourable opinion she had formed, and in that momentary predilection which had taken place in her heart; her humid eyes met those of her brother: she