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learning was equally excluded from polite circles. Fitzofborne had been announced to her as the "mirror of information;" and the faw nothing ridiculous in the idea, that a man of reading should devote a part of his attention to the study of the nobleft truths. Indifference on ferious fubjects was, as far as her ob fervations extended, combined with ig norance and a general relaxation of mind. Fitzofborne's manner evinced energy and attention. She had often felt indignant at hearing the witling attempt to ridicule what he did not understand, or the libertine feek to invalidate what he feared to believe. But Fitzofborne poffeffed too much real talent to envy the wreath that fades upon the coxcomb's, brow, and his conduct seemed too correct to fupply him with a motive for taking fhelter in infidelity. His fentiments on every fubject were moral and liberal.
His felf-command was exemplary; his information general; his reafoning, though flowery, ingenious, and, in lady Monteith's opinion, judicious. I have already obferved, that her parts were rather brilliant than profound. It will not therefore be furprifing, that she fhould be eafily entangled in the fnare of a fyllogifm, or that the unfufpecting fincerity of her heart fhould render her a dupe to any one who took the trouble to play the fpecious confummate hypocrite.
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 fupplied 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 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 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 amusement, perhaps the lover of literature 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 "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 firmnefs. On fuch ftrong minds his tendency to fuperftition can produce no bad effects."
My acquaintance is too limited," rejoined the countefs, " for me to know a person to whom I could not fafely "recommend the works of Johnson."
"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 prefent ftate of bigh enthusiasm. "The
"The uncommon fufceptibility and "C delicacy of her character would make "her feel painful alarms, while I fee "8 you only indulge a ‹ fine frenzy.' In "a converfation you lately had with "her, even fome of your guarded ex"preffions 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 fu
ture. "But," continued she, " I must "own that the invifible agency of fe"parated spirits 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