Page images

th2t my wise, fomehow or other, contrives to carry most points fa our family; fo my opposition was pver-ruled, and to —— the girls went; but not before they had made a journey to the metropolis of our county, and brought back a portmanteau full of nectflaries, to qualify them for appearing decently, as my wise faid, in the company they should meet there.

In about a month, for their visit was drawn out to that length, my daughters returned. But, had you seen, Mr. Mirror, what an alteration that month had made on them? Instead of the rosy complexions, and sparkling eyes, they had carried with them, they brought back cheeks as white as a curd, and eyes as dead as the beads in the face of a baby.

I could not help expressing my surprise at the fight; but the younger of the two ladies immediately cut me sherf, by telling me, that their complexion was the only one worn at ——.

And no wonder, Sir, it should, from the description which my daughter fometimes gives us of the lise people lead there. Instead of rising at seven, breakfasting at nine, dining at three, supping at eight, and getting to

bed bed by ten, as was their custom at home, my girls lay till twelve, breakfasted at one, dined at six, supped at eleven, and were never in bed till three in the morning. Their shapes had undergone as much alteration as their faces. From their bofoms {nicks they called them), which were squeezed up to their throats, their waists tapered down to a very extraordinary smallness: they resembled the upper half of an hour-glassAt this,, alfo, I marvelled; but it was the only shape worn at ■, Next day, at

dinner, after a long morning preparation, they appeared with heads of such a size, that my little parlour was not of height enough to let them stand upright in it. This was the most striking metamorphosis of all. Their mother stared; I ejaculated; my other children burst, out a laughing; the answer was the fame as

before; it was the only head worn at .

. Nor is their behaviour less changed than their garb. Instead of joining in the goodhumoured cheerfulness we used to have among us before, my two fine young ladies check every approach to mirth,, by calling it vulgar. One of them chid their brother the other day for laughing, and told him it wa»

monstrously monstrously ill-bred. In the evenings, when we were wont, if we had nothing else to do, to fall to Blindman's.bujs, or Cross purposes, or sometimes to play at Loo for cherrystones, these two get a pack of cards to themselves, and sit down to play for any little money their visit has left them, at a game none of us know any thing about. It seems, indeed, the dullest of all amusements, as it consists in merely turning up the faces of the cards, and repeating their names from an ace upwards, as if the players were learning to speak, and had got only thirteen words in their vocabulary. But of this, and every other custom at ———, nobody is allowed to judge but themselves. They have got a parcel of phrases, which they utter on all occasions as decisive, French, I believe, though I can scarce find any of them in the Dictionary, and am unable to put them upon paper; but all of .them mean .fomething extremely fashionable, and are constantly supported by the authority of my Lady, or the Countess, his Lordship, or Sir John.

As they have learned many foreign, fo have ,they unlearned fome of the most common and best understood home phrases. When

one one of my neighbours was lamenting the extravagance and dissipation of a young kinsman who had spent his fortune, and lost his hea'th in London and at Newmarket, they called it Use, and faid it showed spirit in the young man. After the lame rule, they lately declared, that a gentleman could not live on less than ioco/. ayear, and called the account which their mantua-maker and milliaer sent me, for the fineries

purchased for their visit at -,a trifle, though'

jt. amounted to 59 /. 11 s. ^d. exactly a fourth part of the clear income of n:y estate.

All this, Mr.MiR.ROR, I look upon as a fort of pestilential disorder, with which my poor daughters have been insected in, .the course of this unfortunate visit. This consideration has induced me to treat them hitherto with lenity and indulgence, and try to effect their cure by rryld methods, which indeed suit my temper (naturally of a pliant kind, as every body, except my" wise, fays) better than harsh ones. Yet, I consess, I could not help being in a passion t'other day, when the diforder shewed symptoms of a more serious kind. Would you believe it, Sir, 1 my daughter Elixabtth (since her visit slie is offended if we will call

her her Betty) faid it was fanatical to find fault with card.playing on Sunday; and her .sister Sophia gravely asked my fon-in-law the clergy* man, if he had not fome doubts of the foul's immortality.

As certain great cities, I have heard, are never free from the plague, and at last come to look upon it as itotbing terrible or extraordinary; fo, I suppose, in London^ or even your town, Sir, this disease always prevails, and is but little dreaded. But, in the country, it will be productive of melancholy effects indeed; if suffered to spread there, it will not only embitter our lives, and spoil our domestic happiness, as .at present it does mine, but, in its most violent stages, will bring our estates to .market, our daughters to ruin, and our fons to the gallows. Be fo humane, therefore, Mr. Mirkos, as to suggest fome expedient for keeping it consined within those limits in which it rages at present. If no public regulation can be contrived for that purpose (though 1 cannot help thinking disease of the great people merits the attention of government, as much as the distemper among the horned cattle), try, at least, the effects of private admonition, to prevent the


« PreviousContinue »