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If in the execution of this defign the pencil fhould fail, let Candour remember the intention, and excufe the unfkilful painter. Perhaps the imperfect outline may induce fome fuperior genius, more converfant with life and manners, to execute the inftru&tive fubject with all the glowing energy that its importance requires.
I shall gratify my own tafte by dwelling a little longer on that part of lady Monteith's hiftory, when, unaffailed and happy, the fpread delight and comfort all around her, and her own heart derived an allowable gratification from the confciousness of deferved applaufe. The first four years of her married life were unembittered by reftless anxiety, corroding difappointment, or the ftill keener pangs of felf-accufation. But, left my readers fhould fuppofe that I am now falfifying my own maxims, I fhall ex
hibit a curfory view of that period which, though it did not include any great forrows or marked deviations from reftitude, ftill bore fome fainter marks of the penalty of Adam..
When the young countefs arrived at Monteith, fhe was aftonished at the cruel ravages which time and negligence had made in that venerable pile. Its native magnificence, the fublime features of the adjacent fcenery, every spot of which feemed by fome traditionary anecdote connected with her lord's family, and the attachment which the peafantry, notwithstanding their extreme wretchedness, expreffed for the defcendants of their old mafters, kindled in her mind an agreeable enthusiasm, and she rejoiced in a diftinction which feemed capable of uniting her own individual happiness with the general good. Though fhe continued to think that lady Madelina
lina carried her ideas of hereditary confequence to a ridiculous extent, a ge nerous heart would find a fair field to gratify its nobleft paffions in the fupremacy of a wide domain. She seemed never weary of wandering through the romantic fcenery. "Here," faid fhe, as the one day refted on the flope of a green hill, over-hung by a pine-clad precipice, "I will build a neat little "village. The houses fhall all be white; "there fhall be a garden to each, and a "refidence in this agreeable spot fhall "be the reward conferred upon fuch of "my lord's tenants as feem to fulfil "their duties with marked propriety. "I will frequently vifit them; I will be "their legiflator, their inftructor, their phyfician, and their friend. They "fhall look up to me with gratitude, "and my own heart fhall enjoy the pure "recompence of confcious beneficence."
In the improvements which fhe planned at the caftle, the fame social and benevolent spirit prevailed, though here perhaps it received a more worldly teint from the dangerous approximation of vanity. "These rooms," faid fhe, " if " embellished in the grand Gothic style, "will fhame the feeble glitter of mo"dern frippery. Every article of fur"niture fhall be maffy and fubftantial, "and convey an idea of general useful"nefs rather than a felfish defire of ex"hibiting the cold enjoyments of unimparted wealth. My lord's fortune is "ample; I have made to it a confiderable " addition: how infir.itely fhall I prefer fpending it upon this fpot, which has "a local claim to our preference, to fquandering it in the unvarying round " of a London life! Here, without feel
ing the pain of competition, expence
may be juftified by the motive of em
ploying industry and diffufing plea"fure. I will cultivate the esteem of "all my neighbours by the most winning << attentions. The peculiarities which "entitle me to pre-eminence fhall not give them uneafinefs, because they "fhall be uniformly exerted for their pleasure or amusement. Here, without "obfervation or interruption, I may "purfue my plan of influencing lord "Monteith's tafte, till it gradually affi
milates to my own. Lady Arabella's predilection for a London life, and her acknowledged influence over her aunt, "prevent me from fearing that my "fchemes will be fruftrated by the pre
fence of those whom I cannot propi tiate and wifh not to offend. Distance "may, perhaps, difarm their prejudices; "and when perfonal competition is re"moved, the reprefentative of their family may receive thofe commenda❝tions