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In difcourfe more fweet
Others apart fat on a hill retir'd,
In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
READING was one of Lady Monteith's conftant amusements; and among her favourite writers the moral pages of Johnfon held a diftinguished pre-eminence. His inftructive romance of Raffelas occupied her one morning. She ftopped at the part which feemed to intimate the author's belief in the poffibility of spectral appearances. The idea. ftrongly engroffed her imagination. She 16 rumi
ruminated on the arguments which might
After a pause, in which lady Monteith was trying to difengage her ideas from the train of reflection which they had pursued, Edward politely expreffed his fears that he had interrupted an agreeable study; and, with an intimation that he would immediately withdraw, inquired what fubject occupied her attention. She delivered to him the unclofed volume without any comment. He read the paffage to which her finger referred, and restored it with an obfervation, that the British cenfor was perfectly confiftent. Geraldine, mistaking this remark for approbation, replied, that he had ever thought him fo, and therefore ftrove to form her mind by the exalted ftandard his works prescribed.
"I agree with you," faid Fitzofborne. "His writings do indeed prescribe an "exalted standard of morality. A gigantic one, I fhould rather say, utterly inadequate to the present state of the "world. His views and writings are, however, all uniform. An enemy to "levity and fimplicity, a lover of difcipline and system, averse to those rights "which man inherently poffeffes, tena"cious of those bulwarks which society forms, he is repulfive in his politics, uncomplying in his morality, and "auftere in his religion."
It was only the last observation which convinced the countefs that this exordium was defigned to cenfure her favourite author, and fhe began his defence by making fome preliminary conceffions. In extenuation of that air of difcontent and depreffion which ever pervades his works when he refers to the
the fituation of a profeffed writer, the maintained that large allowances ought to be made for the fenfibility of unpatronized merit, confcious of defert and ftruggling under calamity. She added, that the fituation of the moralift in his early years precluded him from entering into thofe more refined claffes of fociety, whofe amiable polifh might have foftened the afperities of his natural cha racter. But fince the world already poffeffed many elegant inftructors, who knew how to aim the lighter fhafts of fatire, and to blend improvement with amufement, perhaps the lover of literature would not regret the circumstances that gave him one lefs urbane moralift, whofe auftere fenfe exhibited the nobleft model of energetic compofition and exalted principle.
"Your juftification, madam," said Fitzofborne," is conclufive. The page
" of Johnson will ever be reforted to by "the lover of variety, and will claim "the appropriate commendations which you have given it, from minds capa"ble of appreciating his real worth. "He is too profound to be the idol of "the million and as his beauties can "only be relished by an understanding " as vigorous as his own, fo his precepts "feem calculated for difpofitions that "refemble him in firmness. On fuch "ftrong minds his tendency to fuper"stition can produce no bad effects.” My acquaintance is too limited," rejoined the countess, " for me to know a person to whom I could not fafely "recommend the works of Johnfon."
"I beg your pardon," interrupted Edward. "I fhould have many objec"tions to lady Arabella's feeing the paffage which has wrought your mind "into its present state of bigh enthusiasm.