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His felf-command was exemplary; his information general; his reafoning, though flowery, ingenious, and, in lady Monteith's opinion, judicious. I have already observed, that her parts were rather brilliant than profound. It will not therefore be furprifing, that the fhould be eafily entangled in the snare of a fyllogifm, or that the unfufpecting fincerity of her heart should render her a dupe to any one who took the trouble to play the fpecious confummate hypo
In forming her opinion of the dangerous character which was now expofed to her obfervation, fhe had fallen into the fame error of precipitate judgment which he had been guilty of in the cafe of Lord Monteith. She now supplied talents with as much liberality as the formerly created virtues. Experience had convinced her, that love is apt
the fituation of a profeffed writer, the maintained that large allowances ought to be made for the fenfibility of unpa tronized merit, conscious 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 polish might have softened the afperities of his natural character. 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 litera ture would not regret the circumstances that gave him one lefs urbane moralift, whofe auftere fenfe exhibited the noblest model of energetic compofition and exalted principle.
"Your juftification, madam," said Fitzofborne," is conclufive. The page
"of Johnson will ever be reforted to by
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"ftition can produce no bad effects." My acquaintance is too limited," rejoined the countefs," for me to know "a perfon 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 enthufiafm.
"The uncommon fufceptibility and "delicacy of her character would make "her feel painful alarms, while I fee you only indulge a fine frenzy.' In "a converfation you lately had with "her, even fome of your guarded expreffions have caufed her the most "diftreffing agitation."
Lady Monteith recollected that the was talking to a lover, and determined to endure a little puerility. She acknowledged, that it was natural for Arabella to feem depreffed immediately after the lofs of a friend who had acted the part of an adopted mother to her, and fhe promised to be very cautious in future. "But," continued she, " I must "own that the invifible agency of fe
parated fpirits is a very favourite theme "with me; and though, contrary to "the opinion of the Abyffinian fage, I "could affirm, that we never have any " certain
"certain evidence that the dead are "permitted to become objects of our fenfes, I have long rejoiced in the hope that our departed friends are "the agents employed by over-ruling "Providence to perform offices of care "and tenderness to their furviving con"nexions. This thought has most frequently occured to me, as I have "bent over my fleeping children, and I "have fancied glorified beings watched our unconscious hours with fimilar "attention. When I was once threat"ened with the lofs of my eldest darling, "I found fenfible confolation in the idea "of its becoming a guardian cherub to "fuftain the innocence of its fifters through a dangerous world, and to "receive my parting fpirit at the hour "of my diffolution."
While the countess spoke, her radiant eyes were fuffused with tears.