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Plan for future Readings.
worth of it, I did not stay to hear the rest: I only kuow the poor Duke was most egregiously duped and confused ; and was close housed, for some time after, under pretence of indisposition.
“ Now I will tell you whose adventures I mean to give you next.” “Oh, if you are going into adventures and histories, I shall be weary,” said the Duchess ; “ most truly so.”
“ Customs then and characters,” said his Lordship ; " and they shall be those of the Honourable Mrs. Fernonville.” -"Oh! heavens,” said Lady Charlotte, “ neither her customs or character can, I am sure, be edifying ; I think they will rather disgrace your pen"-"Disgrace my pen !” replied the Marquis, “Oh! she is the glass of easy manners, in which delightful mirror I would like each dear-bewitching female to dress herself! Come now, is not that thought almost as
pretty as your divine Shakespeare's, niy prudish sister ?".
“ You cannot tax me with that,” said Lady Charlotte ; “no one, I believe, is more free from prudery than myself; but I cannot help saying, that the indecorous conduct of Mrs. Fernonville, however she may be supported by the fashionable world, is not only disgusting but extremely prejudicial : Be assured, my dear brother, it is such women who give mon an unfavourable opinion of our sex; and, not only unfavourable, but it causes them to lose that respect which is due to us, when they see the demi, more than demi nudity of a wife and a mother: and thus the continual trials in Westminster Hall, for the seduction, as it is called, of wives, most alarmingly increases. Why cannot women draw a medium between starched frigidity, and the licentious manner of a courtezan? So different from that sweet and chastened
freedoin of manners, where liberality of mind and elegant ease make up the charm of lively conversation ? Instead of this we either now find a stupid silence, a romantic and affected purity, in the air and discourse, or else they run into that levity, which is sure to injure their characiers, 'however undeservedly, and subjects them to the licentious attacks of every unprincipled libertine ;: while their dress exceeds in immodesty that of the unhappy female who walks the streets. I should think, such want of covering can leave nothing to the imagination, and must disgust your sex in the moment of reflection."
“ I declare Charlotte, you are a sweet girl," said the Marquis, embracing her: “ I believe you will one day convert me into a moral. man, in spite of the prevalence of dear fashion: But do not you see, Duchess, she has a little spice of voluptuous coquetry about her ? she wishes
to enslave the hearts of men by ensnaring their imagination.”
of at per
“Oh! you pervert what I say, brother,” said Lady Charlotte : - I wish not to enslave the hearts of men; but all wo-. men, let them say what they will, desire. nothing so much as the approbation and regard of the sensible and worthy part of mankind.”-6Honest, Charlotte !” said the Marquis, " and now, I will be ho-. nest in my turn. About a year ago, I. began to think it requisite, as a man of fashion, tò be an admirer of your sex ;and I found the truth of Ovid's remark,
ed too clai nud alls satie a pi
was a se
* A man sometimes begins to love in jest, “And after feels the torments he profest.”
berec trut? five!
« For though I entered on my amorous: career with apatby, and merely for fashı ion's sake, yet women to me became sweet erring Angels; “ I love them with, and.
The age of the Duchess.
even for, their faults ;” and I loved them all: Never could I be weary, I thought, of beholding the fine-turned limb, delineated through the almost transparent drapery that enwrapped it. The Venus-like bust, sometimes wholly uncovered, created rapture at first; till at length it grew too familiar to the eye; and now I declare to you I can behold these frequent nudities, that are obtruded 60 continually on the sight, with the same cold sensations of indifference as I would look on. a piece of carved wood.”.
The Duchess smiled, but her smile, was accompanied with confusion: She felt a sense of shame stealing into her bosom, The recollection of the years she had numbered, shot its troublesome and intrusive truth over her mind. She was fiftyfive! But she had been, and she was still beautiful, though blind. .
She wished to change the subject. She