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all caused by your own misplaced, selfish, and too successful partiality.”
I now absolutely groaned at this forcible picture, and begged him to desist.
“ Not yet,” said he, "for say what you please of the poetry of life, and particularly of love; deck it out in pastorals, and repeat every day the pretty song which you say once so moved you, of Lucy singing at her wheel, in russet gown and apron blue; Miss Hastings was never made to turn a wheel, or wear a russet gown; or if she could wear it for your sake, she could not submit to it without flying from the world, and living in a desert. There indeed, out of reach of former habits, acquaintance, and ideas, it might be possible, and only possible, that in total oblivion of the past, life might not be made a perpetual burthen by memory; yet even there, memory would often force her way, and embitter present enjoyment by former recollections. In short, the world is an imperious world, and never forgives an attempt at rebellion.” :
“ Alas!” said I, “ I fear that is too true.”
“ Without therefore, steeping the senses in forgetfulness,” proceeded he, “which could only be achieved by being cut off from it, it would be vain for a woman who has sunk from her station, to think herself independent of it. Every transitory or chance account of former amusements, former grandeur, and, above all, former friends, would make her heart sink at the thought of what she had been, contrasted with what she was.”
6 Yet she might love her husband,” said I, hesitat
“She might, but would that reconcile her to the loss of family love ? a father's fondness, for example.”
- I fear not,” said I, and I trembled when I thought of the mutual fondness of Mr. Hastings and his daughter.
Fothergill saw how I was affected, and went on. “ These things,” said he, “ will have their weight spite of romance. A marquess who becomes a bergèr for love, must either have little dignity of character, or repent and be miserable in banishment.”
As a last struggle in the argument, I now asked Fothergill, if he could mention instances of this ?
“ A pregnant one,” he replied, “in the Countess of Warwick, with no less a man than Addison; though that could scarcely be called a mésulliance, for, in the end, he was Secretary of State. That union was not happy, because, as was said, the Countess could never forget (perhaps never forgive), that her second husband had been her son's tutor. And yet, no doubt, when the great lady first made this stoop, she was actuated, as she thought, by a most generous devotion, as well as admiration, for a person certainly the ornament of his age. Still it availed little for poor Addison ; and I cannot do better, as an illustration of the subject, than refer you to what Johnson says of it, in his life of that illustrious man.”
At this, taking down his Lives of the Poets, he read as follows:
“ This year (1716), he married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, whom he had solicited by a long and anxious courtship, perhaps with behaviour not very much unlike that of Sir Roger, to his disdainful widow; and who, I am afraid, diverted herself often by playing with his passion. He is said to have first known her by becoming tutor to her son. In what part of his life he obtained the recommendation, or how long, and in what manner, he lived in the family, I know not. His advances, at first, were certainly timorous, but grew bolder as his reputation and influence increased; till at last the lady was persuaded to marry him, on terms much like those on which a Turkish princess is espoused, to whom the Sultan is reported to pronounce, “daughter, I give thee this man for thy slave. The marriage made no addition to his happiness; it neither found them, nor made them equal. She always remembered her own rank, and thought herself entitled to treat with very little ceremony the tutor of her son."*
“This is surely enough for the argument,” concluded Fothergill, “ though there are other cases which I have not been without observing, and which, in fact, first prompted this opinion of mine."
I entreated to know them.
* She was a Middleton, daughter of Sir Thomas. Who that reflects upon the universal fame of Addison, and feels him in his delightsul literature one of the benefactors of mankind, and at the same time is puzzled to find out the family name of the wife who thus looked down upon him, but must laugh such nonsense to scorn.
settled maxims of life arise from accidental circumstances. When I was the companion of Lord Castleton, a picture of mésalliance forcibly struck me, in the person of his own sister, Lady Harriet Longueville, who exchanged that name for Baggs.”
“ Baggs !” exclaimed I, “ what a name !” and I thought with complacency of the De Cliffords.
“ Plebeian, certainly,” said Fothergill, “ nor was Mr. Baggs in his condition much better than his name, though he was the son of honest parents, respectable in their line of life, his father, in fact, having a place in the Lord Mayor's court. As for himself, the best that can be said of him was, that he was not disreputable from any vice, and had a certain coarse vigour of character; the worst, that being tolerably educated, he had conceived too high an idea of his own abilities, which he supposed would ensure him fortune whenever be pleased. In the meantime, his reading gave him notions far beyond himself; for he practised the sentimental and romantic, with much contempt for those whom he called common-place persons."
I thought my good tutor looked too significantly at me while thus describing the hero Mr. Baggs; but I contented myself with saying, “ And was it such a person as this who obtained an earl's sister ? Ah ! she could not have been like Bertha ! Perhaps she was plain and unattractive; perhaps half-witted or uneducated ; or perhaps a despairing old maid.”
5 Far from them all,” said Fothergil). “She was rather handsome ; had had the usual education of her rank; was accomplished and popular, and though not in
her teens, was by no means antiquated. Of her wit, I will not say much, for whatever it was, she showed it not here ; it was all lost and overlaid by a love of romance, by which she too was bit, and which, in fact, was what occasioned the step which ruined her.”
“She is, then, ruined ?” said I.
“ I think so. But listen. While her brother, over whose house she had presided, was abroad, she resided with an aunt, on old and infirm lady, who, during the summer, shut herself up with her niece in a monotonous park in Gloucestershire; and in this park, where she had full liberty to range, Lady Harriet one eventful morning met this young swain reading aloud to himself. It was poetry, and he read well. He seemed confused at seeing her-shut the book in a hurry-feared he was a trespasser—was taken by the beauty of the park—a stranger that lodged in the village et cetera, et cetera. The lady was pleasedthought it an adventure ; said that reading out aloud in a park to one's self must be very delightful; in fine, gave him leave to repeat his walk whenever he pleased, and went home and told her aunt that she had met a love of a man, who, she was sure, had a most beautiful mind. The next day they met again, and again after that. They found they had both of them beautiful minds, akin of course to one another, and how much was that above the dross of the world ! Besides, though Lady Harriet was not richly endowed, she was her own mistress, and told him so.
6 Upon this hint he spake," and was accepted before either of them had inquired after their means of