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A distant View of a Coronet.
indeed! A ducal coronet swims before her eyes! She is resolved, at any rate, to try to grasp it ; and she builds her hopes on that probability, which the season of dotage and decaying intellect afford to her view.
For this grand purpose she has taken up her residence very near the dwelling of an amorous old Duke, who was always a great admirer of her theatrical talents, and who has often declared, in her hearing, that she was the finest made woman he ever beheld : and who that knows his Grace can doubt his experience, or his connoisseurship, of all the contours of feminine beauty.
Mrs. Percival is frequent in her attentions and visits to the Duke, on the slightest of those indispositions which his Grace so frequently experiences: she knows him to be possessed of a grateful and a generous mind ; and as she is still
handsome, still captivating *, and her conduct strictly chaste (closely copying that of Madame de Maintenon towards Louis XIV., who always sent him away pleased, but never satisfied), Mrs. Percival still cherishes the illusion of being, one day, a Duchess ; an illusion which, we think, and the Duke's relations hope and trust, will never be verified.
* She, at all the periods of her life, and even now, had powerful charms to please, as well in private company as in public ; her smile is bewitching, her voice, in conversation, sonorous without arguteness, and she invariably brings to the mind the sweet girl of the poet;
Dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo
Dulce loquentem. Hor. Car. I. Od. 22.
66 Vehemens in utramque partem es nimis."
This Gentleman had the misfortune of having one of the most indulgent fathers, who suffered his son to launch into every species of extravagance to which he might be prompted either by caprice or inclination.
At the age of three-and-twenty he was sent to study the law at Gray’s-Inn; but though he had there very good chambers,
he put his father to the expence of taking · for him elegant private lodgings in Bed
ford-Row :. while the old gentleman, who was immensely rich, honoured all his extravagant bills upon him, and let him want for no one luxury of life; not reflecting that he had three young daughters, whose fortunes, by this prodigal partiality, he was most considerably injuring:
Opposite to the lodgings of young Meadowes lived a beautiful servant girl: her father, a country shopkeeper, had failed, and taken it so much to heart, that he fell sick and died. The rich inhabitants of the village made a collection for the mother, and set her up again in a little shop; but her daughter, her “ blue-eyed Patty," obtained the place of upper housemaid to a lady who lived in London, and whose sister had been, since her father's death, her mother's best friend.
Nothing could surpass the perfect beauty of this young creature : she had not only the most lovely complexion in the world, with regular features, but the sweetness and sensibility of her coun: tenance were irresistible, while her form had every charm of grace and symmetry.
The lady, her mistress, was very anx