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METEOROLOGICAL MORALITY, 225 what can alone explain its absurdity or apologize for its atrocity. It has, indeed, been suggested, in favour of the fair, that

When weak women go astray,

The stars are nore in fault than they: but it is to be feared that some recent instances of fe. male frailty are of too monstrous a description to be justly saddled on these celestial delinquents. No rule of destiny, for example, can account for such a strange jumble of virtue and vice, feeling and insensibility, as characterizes an event which has not yet ceased to occupy the conversation of the public. We hear of a lady of rank, cherishing the strictest religious sentiments and alive to the tenderest maternal emotions, violating, in an unhappy hour, her duty to her chil. dren, her husband, and her God': forsaking her family and forfeiting her character, and while professing the sincerest contrition and the humblest sorrow, obstinately rejecting proffered forgiveness, and clinging, in spite of entreaty and reproach, to her paramour. What more lenient, nay, what more rational conclu. sion can we draw in a case, the different features of which possess strong claims on ridicule, borror, and compassion, than that a sudden and unfavourable change in the air brought a fatal blight over the heart and understanding of this unfortunate woman, withering: and destroying every better principle and feeling?

As all charitable persons must believe, that the sex would not allow themselves to be so often surprised, were they but put more on their guard, it were to be wished that a weather-glass should form an indispensable appendage to every toilette. By a careful inspection of ihis useful article in the morning, the comparative danger of the day would be accurately: ascertained ; and thus, withoub imposing on herself any unnecessary, restrictions or severites, a lady might telly even to the fraction of a liberty, what civilities

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226

A COUNTRY HOUSE.

she may safely perniit, and what attentions it is priident to decline;-how far languishing thoughts may be indulged, and when it is expedient to fly to the prayer-book or scandal for refuge.

I am aware that there are many niceties to be attended to, should these observations ever come to be. acted on: it will doubtless require much experiment and careful discrimination accurately to arrange the moral scale of our barometers; a rare union of ethical with natural knowledge will be necessary to determine the highest point of virtue, and the lowest point of vice, with their intermediate divisions. Nay, I am not without fears, that some few very eccentric characters must have instruments adjusted to their own peculiar temperatures. But these are practical difficulties which do not come to be considered in a sketch of the system. That the latter is founded on the immutable basis of truth cannot be denied, but by those who are hardy enough to assert that the fluid which circulates in our veins, which impels our actions, and gives a flow to our feelings, is of a more insensible nature than spirits of wine, inelosed in a glass tube, and hung up against our walls.

I am, Mr. Editor, yours, &c.

TIMOTHY WEATHERWISE,

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A COUNTRY HOUSE AND A HOUSE IN THE

COUNTRY. [From the General Evening Post, Aug. 26.) MR. EDITOR, AS there may be some little interval between the

Taking of Flushing and of Antwerp, I hope you will find room to represent the grievances of a man. who dates all his misfortunes from that wbich forms

the

A COUNTRY HOUSI.

227

the hopes and happiness of two thirds of his fellow citizens I mean the possession of a country-house.

Influenced by my wife and family, and by the physician and apothecary, who, I verily believe, were in League with them, to persuade me that London, at this season of the year, is very perdicions to the health, and on Sundays absolutely fatal to human life and happiness I say, Sir, teased, tormented, and; half conviviced by these arguments, in an evil hour I took a country-house-a house, Sir, in which I was taught to believe that I could enjoy the calm pleasures of rural solitude, unruffled by the buzz of promiscuous society, and the many external and discordant noises which disturb the auricular faculties of the Londoners.

A country-house I took, and that it might be the more convenient, within five miles of the metropolis, dose to a road' through which stages were hourly passing and repassing ; so that any of my family might have a cast; as it is called, at a very trifling expense, besides the great convenience of errand-carts, return chaises, and other vehicles for lumber or pleas But, Sir, let noi quiet citizen hencefòrth hire ai house that is beset with so mariy conveniencies, and let him know, by my hard fate, that the conveniencies he enjoys niay be enjoyed by others; that the carriages that are hourly passing and repassing may convey those whoni he does not wish to see;. and that a house within five miles of London, on a public road, is a fair mark for loungers, idlers, and consumers of time ands provisions. I had not been quietly settled a fortnight at my country-house, when I found it turned into an inn, or a Sunday ordinary, a cake-house, a teå-drinking place; and, in shorts, every thing but what I intended.

In an evil hour I praised the conveniencies of my house-how could my friends believe me without

witnessing

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218

A COUNTRY HOUSE.

witnessing them I spoke of my lofty sooms they must dine in them; of my excellent bedchambers they must stay a night with me; of my garden and fruit-they must pluck it with their own hands; of my fine arched cellar--they must taste my wine; and of the many pleasant rides in the neighbourhoods they must come down for a week !

I vainly hoped for one day of quiet. Sunday, emphatically styled a day of rest, I thought I could depend upon. Alas! Sir, it is with me a day of bustle and perplexity. Although I have neither license nor profiis, I am all day providing for my guests, who are so good-natured as to praise the contents of my pantry and my cellar in the most extravagant ternis. There iş no port in the country equal to mine; my Madeira is better calculated for gouty habits than any that ever passed the line; and my hock is so healthful in hot weather, and so little disposed to turi acid on the stomach, that the greatest compliment they can pay me is to use it as a substitute for malı liquor !

Sir, I once tried what an early hour would doa Loving to have all my children and grandchildrenabout me on Sunday, I fixed my dinner-hour at three o'clock, fondly thinking that I should bilk those impromptu visitors, who are then only drawing on their boots, and thinking which way they shall set their horses' heads, and upon whom they sball inflict a visit: ation. But lel no simple soul depend on his eunning. My three o'clock scheme made no alteration but this, that what I called dinner became a luncheon to my visitors, who having eaten and drank some of my ex -cellent light wines, departed just in time to gallop five miles farther, and dine with another friend, who does business of that kind in the evening. And scarcely are they gone, when they are replaced by another set, who having been compelled to dine with old Square ! toes, at his dad hour of half past two, pop in on

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WIFE, CHILDREN, AND FRIENDS. 229 me, to tell me the news and taste that curious claret they had heard so much about!

I have only to add, that the present summer has contributed not a little to my grievances--so many wet evenings, “one could not turn out a dog in such weather;" and my beds are so excellent, many of my friends never slept so sound any where and then a ride next morning is so pleasant--the dust laid. Even when the weather is as favourable as can be wished, yet the cool of the morning has so many charms, that: my spare beds (I wish there never had been such a piece of furniture invented) are all occupied; and were you to hear of all my excellencies and convenien. cies, you would be puzzled to know whether I was most renowned as the keeper of an inn, a tavern, or a hotel.

But an end must be put to these things; and I hereby give notice, that if any London gentleman wishes to go into this line of business, I shall be happy to treat with him for the lease of the house, and he sball bave the good-will for nothing. I cannot, however, conelude, without mentioning the opinion of a friend, to whom I lately communicated my grievances. After a short pause, and striking his forehead, he exclaimed, “ Mr. Placid, I have hit it!--I have hit it! all your distresses arise from this one mistake-you took a country house instead of a house in the country !"

I am, Sir, yours, &c.

HUMB. PLACID.

WIFE, CHILDREN, AND FRIENDS.

(From the same.] If the stock of our bliss is in strangers " hands vested, But she heart issues bills which are never protested, When drawn on the firm of Wife, children, and friends.

Thougla

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