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MRS CHILDERS of Yorkshire.
Oct. 17, 1797. I have been but a short time at home : your letter, with nine others, met me on my arrival, after waiting for nie some weeks with unbroken seals. Immediately on my return, drawn into a vortex of visiting engagements, and my mornings sacrificed to calls of welcome, I have as yet not been able to resume the dropt reins of my employments, domestic and epistolary ;-yet to solicitude, kind as yours, I cannot be silent. My health is better for my excursion, which no return of the frightful hemorrhage annoyed, aud my visits in Wales, on my circuit home, gave me those charms of confidential affection and intellectual participation, which the cold, ceremonial, and vapid society of High-Lake could not atford. I
would not have been born with a soul so tempered as that of some of the stately ladies I met there, for Gunning beauty, Pulteney wealth, and Norfolk precedency.
My first visit was to Mrs Price, at the large, ancient, and venerable seat of her ancestors—situated, like other grand mansions of olden time, in the flattest, and consequently the least picturesque spot in a country so wildly, so witchingly lavish of hill and dale. Proud once and princely was the mansion, ere a succession of spendthrifts waned away its splendour.
From Emral, I sought again the trebly consecrated Vale of Langollen, and found its magnificent scenery possessing heightened charms, from beholding it with the affection of local friendship, which is with me a much more powerful auxiliary to admiration than novelty. It is just the difference with which the admirer and the lover beholds the form of beauty. The ladies of the Vale, the, in all but the voluptuous sense, Armidas of its bowers, received me with every energy of regard and affection. So rich was the scenic and intellectual banquet of their mansion, as to make me half-inclined to regret as intrusive, the several visitors who paid bomage at that Arcadian court while I was resident there; though all were disținguished either by elevation of talent, or by elevation of rank, and several by both. Had not circumstances changed the plan of my excursion, I would have endeavoured to renew at * Cantly the colloquial pleasures I tasted with you at Buxton. They were lively, interesting, and sweet. -I have not yet read, but I mean to read, the work of our acquaintance, Mr Wilberforce, though what I hear of it does not violently sharpen my curiosity. Those over-strict preceptors injure the cause they labour to promote. Their books have a tendency to make young people sigh, and despair of becoming religious characters, when they find how rigid a mode of conduct, what eternal restraints upon enjoyments, generally thought guiltless, are asserted to be necessary for its attainment, nay, even necessary to avert the impending judgments of God.
There is a comic song which well burlesques these gloomy religionists, who, like Mr Gisborne and his friend, tilt their rusty lances against the innocent as well as guilty pleasures. Its burden, « Let us all be unhappy together.” It concludes,
“ Then since we must all of us die,
I contemplate with delight the interesting con
The seat of
Childers, Esq. near Doncaster.-S.
versations between yourself and your new daugh ter ;-that union of principles, that congeniality of taste, which, where they exist, produce affection, animate intercourse, and counteract disparity! Your mutual friendship will resemble that be tween Madame de Sevigué and Madame de Grignan.
It must be confest that such attachment is very uncommon, and requires to produce it a rare ascendance, in the younger party, of mind over the animal spirits. A certain married couple of rank have an only daughter, lovely in her person, and who, at the blossoming age of nineteen, and with great vivacity of character, turns with disgust from the formal circles and senseless dissipations of fashionable life. She pants to devote a large portion of her youthful leisure to a participated study, with kindred Intellect, of our historians, our oratoric moralists, and our poets. Partial in the extreme to my writings, though our interviews have been very few, she loves me with fervour. Her mother is absurd enough to oppose the attachment, as it were criminal, and to ridicule, as meanly romantic, her averseness to annihilate time in vapid ceremony.
Ah! I am convinced that parental tyranny, either through the love of power, predominating over tenderness ;--through the influence of pride