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cause divested of its solemnity by habit, by familiarity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when they are conscious of possessing the same or the correspondent excellence in their own characters. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels the beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right of love appropriates it, can call Goodness its playfellow; and dares make sport of time and infirmity, while in the person of a thousandfoldly endeared partner, we feel for aged virtue the caressing-fondness that belongs to the innocence of childhood, and repeat the same attentions and tender courtesies which had been dictated by the same affection to the same object when attired in feminine loveliness or in manly beauty.
Eliz. What a soothing-what an elevating 1 thought !
Kath. If it be not only a mere fancy.
Fri. At all events, these qualities which I have enumerated, are rarely found united in a single individual. How much more rare must it be, that two such individuals should meet together in this wide world under circumstances that admit of their union as husband and wife. A person may be highly estimable on the whole, nay, amiable as a neighbour, friend, housemate-in short, in all the concentrio circles of attachment save only the last and inmost; and yet from how many causes be estranged from
the highest perfection in this! Pride, coldness, or
fastidiousness of nature, worldly cares, an anxious or ambitious disposition, a passion for display, sullen temper,--one or the other too often proves " the dead fly in the compost of spices,” and any one is enough to unfit it for the precious balm of unction. For some mighty good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ursine vanity; that keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its own self-importance. And as this high sense, or rather sensation of their own value is, for the most part, grounded on negative qualities, so they have no better means of preserving the same but by negatives—that is, by not doing or saying any thing, that might be put down for fond, silly or nonsensical ;-or (to use their own phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think the most worthless object they could be employed in remembering.
Eliz. (in answer to a whisper from Katharine.) To a hair! He must have sate for it himself.
Save me from such folks! But they are out of the question.
Fri. True! but the same effect is produced in thousands by the too general insensibility to a very important truth; this, namely, that the misery of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year, the death of a child ; years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhappily ;-in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum total of the uvhappiness of a man's life, are easily counted, and distinctly remembered. The happiness of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.
Kath. Well, sir; you have said quite enough to make me despair of finding a “ John Anderson, my | Jo, John,” with whom to totter down the hill of life.
Fri. Not so! Good men are not, I trust, so much i scarcer than good women, but that what another
would find in you, you may hope to find in another.
But well, however, may that boon be rare, the pos1 session of which would be more than an adequate reward for the rarest virtue.
Eliz. Surely, he, who has described it so well, must have possessed it ?
Fri. If he were worthy to have possessed it, and had believingly anticipated and not found it, how bitter the disappointment! (Then, after a pause of a few minutes,)
ANSWER, ex improviso.
The fancy made him glad !
Crown of his cup, and garnish of his dish,
The boon, prefigured in his earliest wish, The fair fulfilment of his poesy, When his young heart first yearn'd for sympathy !
But e'en the meteor offspring of the brain
Unnourished wane; Faith asks her daily bread, And Fancy must be fed. Now so it chanced—from wet or dry, It boots not how-I know not whyShe missed her wonted food; and quickly Poor Fancy stagger'd and grew sickly. Then came a restless state, 'twixt yea and nay; His faith was fix'd, his heart all ebb and flow; Or like a bark, in some half-shelter'd bay, Above its anchor driving to and fro.
That boon, which but to have possest
Doubts toss'd him to and fro :
That cling and huddle from the cold
Fading, one by one away,
Poor Fancy on her sick bed lay; Ill at distance, worse when near, Telling her dreams to jealous Fear! Where was it then, the sociable sprite That crown'd the poet's cup and deck'd his dish! Poor shadow cast from an unsteady wish, Itself a substance by no other right But that it intercepted Reason's light; It dimmed his eye, it darken'd on his brow, A peevish mood, a tedious time, I trow!
Thank heaven! 'tis not so now.
O bliss of blissful hours !