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retrospect, it may be no unapt employment to note down fragments of our hours, to sketch the relation of a fact, and add its monitory lesson before it fleets beyond recall, to trace the hopes and preserve the observations of the mind as they rise from living testimonies in our experience.
Sometimes, a lonely walk shall conduct our reason to probe into the source of its intrusive fears, and perhaps to doubt of its groundless and variable happiness; so that a recreation at eventide may store our understandings with sadder, and better thoughts, than we could derive from any formulary of instruction ; and at others, a conversation apparently accidental, an acquaintance on our part unsought, or an incident as much unforeseen, shall lay the foundation for changes in our life, which give a prevailing colour to the stream till it reaches the ocean of eternity
Relations as simple as these will characterize the following memorandums. They were transcribed from the heart of the writer, with such notes and illustrations as naturally arose in copying the unobtrusive occurrences.' Should
they be directed to the feelings of the reader, her wish in their preservation will be abundantly gratified.
When the latest kind accents of farewell were drowned in the rattling of the approaching mail-coach, and the various sounds of London were deafened by the sonorous chiming of eight from city clocks, the hour announced our moment of departure. My entrance into the vehicle, completed its complement of travellers, and after shuffling into our seats with the usual appendages of bundles, carefully and carelessly secured, of uncouth shape and intractable dimensions, the parties sheltered themselves each within their nook, in as impenetrable silence as if its retreat were dedicated to solemn meditation or laborious study; but like most external appearances, these symptoms were false indications of the fact; for we had not been whirled far beyond the boundaries of London, before the whole of my companions illustrated the effects of a recent adieu to the dining table, in certain nasal intimations of uneasy oblivion..
After taking a devious range amidst the objects which passed across my sight, memory
brought her stores to amuse, and hope lent her pencil to embellish the excursions of observation.
I had left the city of commerce shaken with her thousand busy wheels, and as we were bowled along the road with even velocity, I passed by the dwellings of rank and luxury, painted ceilings, and fastidious pleasures; these I never envied and quitted without regret. But modest mansions, which an elegant sufficiency enabled its possessor to decorate, a glancing view of fields in nature's cool and placid colouring, shaded with trees sending invitations of repose through their whispering foliage ; such residences bore so visibly the character of home with its retiring simplicity and identified content, that my affections caught gladness from the hints of my fancy, and in courtesy greeting the receding dwelling; every thought of my heart hovered over the dear relatives who were now anticipating my arrival.
As I quitted the metropolis with no intention of future residence, or even any expectancy of a distant visit, having made my choice of a secluded asylum under the affectionate protection of my only near connexion, my mind naturally
reverted to the diversified scenes connected with the intercourse and habits of London.
At nineteen years of age, the loss of a mother had cast me an orphan on the surface of society, and though mingling with its amusements and perhaps cherished by its praises, I had felt the difference between notice bestowed as the suffrage of polished manners, and regard proffered as the claim of acknowledged situation. The pristine years of youth had passed away (amid interludes of sickness and anxiety) in gaining access to the accomplished, or establishing admittance to the revelries of the fashionable ; seeking, from a participation of their advantages to be assimilated in the dispersion of their honours. But nothing which is not inherent can receive any stability. Young women who have the acquisition of what is called the best introduction, are easily led to estimate this circumstance injudiciously : those who receive benefits are trophies in the train of power, not coadjutors in its possession. Candidates for favour are never equals in condition : and although gratitude is the offering of a noble mind, and servility the sacrifice of a mean one, whoever hangs upon the world for its smile, must purchase the security of such favour by the choicest fruits of the heart and the understanding.
I had adequate though limited independence of fortune, yet I often bartered its respectability in exchange for gaudy acquaintance and tinselled entertainments : so that resources which would have been affluent in obscurity, were insufficient for the demands of gaiety, and the wisest result I gained from this misapplication of blessings, was to apprehend the acute truth of a noble author's conclusion : “ The world is a comedy to those that think, and tragedy to those that feel.”
The experience of another is rarely effectual to benefit our companions, or the assurance I have purchased of disappointment in the fruition of all worldly allurements, might withdraw others from the seduction of their pursuit. We are apt to conclude that pleasures which reason sanctions must satisfy the heart; but mental superiority, however it may dignify the uses of time, has no necessary affinity.with happiness. Wisdom has authoritatively proclaimed that “ all is vanity,” and it only wants individual acquirement in wisdom's school to ascertain that whatever procures its reward from the