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the vulgar minds and coarse manners of the relations by whom he was surrounded, and who stuck to him, as he observed, like leeches. "I could no more get rid of them,' said he with a sigh, 'than I could get rid of vermin, except by destroying them; and this,'he added, with still more distress, would destroy my wife.
“ I was horrified with this picture of a fine mind and generous heart, disappointed in all its fair expectations of happiness from congeniality of disposition and manners, and I saw in it only another proof of the evils attendant upon a mésalliance. I now plainly perceived one reason, at least, why he had withdrawn from those elegant circles to which he had been accustomed, and shut himself up with such inferior beings. I had attributed it to a romantic love and admiration for his wife. I found it was because he was ashamed of her connections, from whom he could not escape. They lived with him in the country, and took lodgings near him in town, and every hint he gave of a wish to be delivered from them, while it produced in Mrs. Sedley the most entire devotion to his will, produced also a proof that she thought herself a victim sacrificed to his pleasure. Tears and fits followed fast upon one another, and as she was always either in the family-way, or a nurse, the consequences would have been dreadful. His very love, therefore, stood most in the way of his wishes; and he was thus as much enthralled by the too great softness and morbid sensibility of his protegée wife, as poor Bostock was by his haughty mistress.
“ This thraldom of his I had farther occasion to observe, in the shocks which his good taste were doomed perpetually to suffer from the companions to whose society he was condemned. At our breakfast, his mother-in-law would have called forth Lord Ogleby's fearful and emphatic exclamation, Hot rolls and butter in July !' such was her love for them, and such the quantity she laid in. At dinner, her ponderous form and heated complexion were not softened by a costly, thick crimson velvet dress, in the dog-days. A very large and coarse neck, though made very fine, was not fined down by a chain of massive mock cameos, seemingly of Derbyshire spar. This, and the exertion of eating and carving, occasioned her to suffer profusely, for which there was a perpetual recourse to her handkerchief-nay, as she herself told Us, she often required two. Sędley groaned outright, but his gentle lady only exclaimed “ poor mamma!'
“ The two young ladies, his sisters-in-law, seemed so occupied with the pleasures and labours of eating, (sometimes sucking their fingers, and sometimes the inside of their cheeks, to give a favourite morsel an additional zest) that they spoke little; which so far was an advantage, that it lessened the sources of Sedley's disgust. But who shall tell his consternation when they laded gravy into their mouths with their knives !
“I must not omit an accession which the company had received at our first dinner, in the person of Mr. Stubbington Snaggs, brother of the hostess, a strongbuilt, ponderous gentleman, with a head very like a
bull-dog, and who seemed to realize the representation of the gormandizer in Wilkie's admirable picture of the Rent-day-who, with a large bone sticking across his mouth, is holding out his plate for more, before either plate or mouth is empty.
“ After dinner this gentleman confirmed his brother’s mortification by proving, from his discourse, that his inward sentiments were as gross as his outward habits. My friend, therefore, seemed relieved from a heavy burthen when, our wine being finished, he asked me to escape with him into the garden.
“ Here he recommenced the subject of the morning's complaint. “It is not,' said he, that I love my wife less than when I married her. Here he hesitated, fearing perhaps that he had opened too much, but went on, as if in parenthesis, —You see I still look upon you as my counsellor and confessor, though no longer my tutor. I begged him always to consider me so, and as such to believe me a friend heartily interested for his welfare. “I trust, however,' said I, that the prospect of happiness you anticipated from Mrs. Sedley's attachment, and her capacity as well as wish to cultivate her mind so as to be thoroughly your companion—I trust that this balances all these drawbacks, which, I own, seem great, but for which she at least is not to blame.'
6. My dear friend,' said he, pressing my arm, I wish the balance you talk of could exist; but were my wife more what I hoped to make her, and really all she wishes herself to be for my sake, I doubt her's, I doubt anybody's power to make me content with
the purgatory in which I live. Nothing short of banishing these low relations, and others whom you have not seen, whom, to break with, would break her heart, could restore me to myself; and the purchase, you see, would be too dear.'
66 « Mrs. Sedley, then,' said I, has other relations!'
666 Alas! a second edition of brother and sisters, the very counterparts of these ; and it is astonishing with what indefatigability they relieve guard; so that my house is never free from them, or I from despair. It is hence that I am driven into banishment from all my own society, among whom, as you must have seen, whatever my wife may be, these people are absolutely not presentable. But they even, in some degree, contaminate Letitia herself, who, having nobody to please in the article of manners but her husband, and being too sure (she thinks) of him, takes no pains to correct a growing indolence in that respect, which blinds her still more to the faults of her family. The good breeding she certainly once possessed, when with my cousin, Lady Lancaster, is fast ebbing away, where there is nothing but its opposite to be seen as an example for imitation. Her mother and sisters, naturally slatterns, and more so from being totally uneducated, have nothing to preserve them from sloth. Hence every thing they undertake is neglected and goes to ruin, and Letitia is becoming too like them in this respect. Even to dress is now an exertion which fatigues her ; and seeing no one but myself to participate in the pleasures of mental cultivation, much less to kindle emulation, it is with pain I see her gradually sinking, I will not say to a level with those about her, (that would be too horrible), but into an indifference to their manners, thoughts, and conversation. Believe me, I am far from happy.'
“At this he gave a deep sigh, and veiled his face with his hand.
6. Yet her gratitude,' said I, endeavouring to console him.
“6 Ah! that gratitude, cried he, interrupting me; would I could root the word from the vocabulary. It is that which causes me more distress than almost all the rest. It comes too often forward, not to make me think it takes the place of love. Had she been my equal there would have been no place for it, and every little attention, every fond caress would, for it must, have sprung from tender attachment. But to have purchased it, as it were-which gratitude implies - 0! the thought is unbearable.'
“ He was evidently suffering under this suspicion, and I knew not how to relieve him, as he alone could be the judge, if any one could, of its truth. Every way the prospect was bad, nor was it mended by any thing I saw during the week 1 staid with him. Mrs. Snaggs and her daughters continued the pictures of reckless and brazen vulgarity, and Mrs. Sedley, although not disgusting, and comparatively polished, was evidently of so inferior a cast of mind as to give me little or no notion of a companion for her cultivated husband.
“ I left them mournful at seeing so little hope of im