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A TALE FROM REAL LIFE.
EPEND upon it, my dear bro “ If they do not fall and break their
ther !” said Lady Leith, “ de- necks," said Mr. Rusby. pend upon it, your education has been “ It were better to do that,” said the cause that you have advanced so Lady Leith, “than remain at the botlittle in life. Had our parents been tom of the ladder all their days. Take as careful to instil into your mind the it from me, as an axiom, brother ; other principles of good policy and that ambition is a natural passion of contrivance, as they were to form your the human heart, the absence of which heart to virtue, and your mind to in any bosom renders life insipid. knowledge, you might at the present After the playfulness of childhood, time have been Archbishop of Canter- and the dalliance of youth are past, bury, instead of being Vicar of Holton, we must have some powerful impulse with a miserable income of two hun. to keep us from sinking into absolute dred and fifty pounds a-year.” “I languor.” endeavour, sister !” replied the respec “ I do not see the necessity of that table old vicar, whose name was Rus- impulse,” replied My Rusby. “We by, “ to be content: for although my may be more happy by limiting than condition is by no means enviable, and by extending our views. There are I enjoy little beyond the mere necessa- many innocent and agreeable ways of ries of life, I have escaped from those rendering life pleasurable, without re degrading humiliations and unworthy sorting to such powerful stimulants as fatteries which people for the most ambition.” part are obliged to practise who wish “I suppose," said Lady Leith, to rise from inferior to high situations. "you mean such means of happiness I differ, however, materially from you as are to be derived from reading, in opinion. I believe that no instruc- planting, gardening, drawing, and othtion from my parents could have made er languid and inert occupations, which me a man of the world. My natural disappointed or feeble characters are disposition is of a retired and studious apt to resort to, when the moments character, which is probably the re- hang heavily upon their hands. Diosult of some inherent quality of the clesian and Charles the Fifth, I recorporeal functions, that instruction member, planted cabbages, and studied could not alter."
mechanics, as poor substitutes for the “ Be that as it may," replied Lady nobler pursuits of ambition : Lord BoLeith, “I hope, however, that you do lingbroke in a moment of petolaace not intend to educate your two children and disappointed ambition professed to in the same manner, as you were edu- turn farmer. Swift amused himself in cated."
low society, and low poetry. These “Why not,” replied Mr. Rusby; pursuits, however, were merely adopt“I shall teach them to be virtuous ed as amusements which constant coand intelligent, and leave the rest to cupation had rendered necessary, not Providence.”
as occupations which natural choice or “ You had better, my good bro-' taste bade them 'cultivate." ther!” said Lady Leith, "purchase a “ Those men,” said Mr. Rosby, ladder; and placing it before your “would bave been much happier, il children's eyes, bid ihem regard it as their views had been more moderate, an emblem of the world. Exhort and their ambition less. Dioclesian them to fix their eyes upon the top, and Charles the Fifth, resorted to inhold fast by their bands, direct their nocent amusements after they had been feet well, and strive with all their force surfeited with glory, as if their hearts to ascend, and in all probability they had been sick of the vanity of glory, will make quick progress towards the and sighed for things of a softer and summit.
less pernicious character. Bolingbroke
and Swift were justly punished for « Attribute my success," said Lady the restless ambition of their early Leith, with an impatient tone, and a lives, by the neglect and misfortunes movement of the head wbich indicated which fell upon the latter part. Such hauteur, " to its proper cause, my abilmen have done no good to human so- ities. You remember the many offers ciety. They neither made themselves 1 rejected before I could be moved to nor others happy. More moderate marry. Sir James Leith was not the views would have secured them from youngest, nor the handsomest, nor the vexation and disappointment. They most beloved of my admirers, but he might have lived happy and unknown; was the richest, and the most inclined the admired and beloved friends of a to obedience and indulgence. I mar. small domestic circle, who might have tied him because a thought that such a felt the benevolence of their hearts, marriage would be productive of the and lived unconscious of the extent of greatest share of happiness that matritheir abilities."
mony is capable of. My plans have "! perceive, brother,” rejoined La- been crowned with success; and nody Leith, " that your prejudices are thing has been wanting to my felicity inveterate. Your moderation and phi- but children. I am anxious that your losophy may be well suited to your daughters should have the benefit of age, and if they merely concerned my instruction and experience. I see yourself, might pass without reprehen- clearly that your moderation and consion. But you bave two daughters, fined circumstances will prevent them whom it behoves you to place in the from enjoying those opportunities of world to the best possible advantage. forming acquaintance with people of This cannot be done without exertion rank, or of being brought forward unon your part to inspire their minds der such circumstances, and at such with ambitious views. They have al- times as may enable them to marry adready the germ of future beauty, and vantageously. I therefore wish you to the promise of minds capable of great confide the care of their education to accomplishment and refinement. This me. The ample fortune of Sir James beauty, however, must be polished can well provide them with those exand fashioned according to certain ternal accomplishments and attracprinciples adopted in elegant society, tions, which are all in all in the preand their minds must be taught to des sent state of society; and a few thourive the greatest advantages from their sands spared from his immense fornatural endowments. Nature must be tune will not be felt as a loss by his controlled, subdued, if possible, extin- nephew, wliom he has constituted his guished; and art superinduced. Of heir." all persons in the world, brother, you “I cannot," said Mr. Rusby, “part appear to me to be the least fitted to with both my children. That were too instruct a young girl in what manner great a sacrifice to make. You shall she should lay out her capital of beauty have one-the other shall remain with and accomplishment to the best ad- me.” vantage.”
« Well! well!” said Lady Leith, “I am convinced of the truth of “I will not endeavonr to prevail on your observation,” said Mr. Rusby, you to yield up both your children " and shall be happy to receive in- notwithstanding I am conscious that struction from one who has given it would be greatly to the advantage of such practical illustration of the prin- both. I have felt too severely the ciples she professes. No person has want of children myself, to be insensibeen more successful in marriage than ble to that affection which dreads the yourself—a husbaud obedient to your entire loss of them.” wishes, his splendid fortune at your This conversation between Lady command, and the possession of every Leith and her brother, Mr. Rusby, comfort and luxury, prove you to have took place during a short visit which been extremely fortunate, or extremely she made at Harlton Parsonage, the skilful in forming your marriage." residence of the worthy vicar. The
result of this conversation was an un- directing those ambitious and selfish derstanding that Lady Leith should propensities which are inberent in hoadopt the eldest daughter of Mr. Rus man nature. She taught her to set a by, consider her as her own, and have high value on her personal appearance the entire management of her educa- and mental acquirements; to consider tion. It happened fortunately that the an advantageous marriage as the great favourite daughter of Mr. Rusby was end of her exertions, and to endeavour the least acceptable to Lady Leith. to surmount all those feelings of natuShe beheld something in the charac- ral and fond affection, which lead ter of Monimia, the eldest, which flat- astray so many young ladies 10 the tered her hopes of seeing her one great detriinent of their interest.
She day aspire to distinction, by means of would occasionally say to her, “ Be an illustrious marriage ; and Mr. prudent in forming attachments. EveRusby thought he discovered in Clara, ry happiness in life depends upon a the youngest, a sweetness of disposi- successful marriage. Resist the aption and a nobleness of heart which proach of sentiment, and direct your promised happiness to bis declining mind solely to the attainment of an years. These expectations probably advantageous settlement." These preoriginated in the predilection they cepts she enforced by examples drawn preferred. We often imagine in those from life and held up to the observa. we love, the qualities which we wish tion of her niece, such matches among to see.
her acquaintances as presented to her Lady Leith was a being who thought eyes instances of happiness attained that the happiness and misery of indi- through a prudent and careful attention viduals, their success and misfortunes, to interest; or of misfortune, resulting resulted entirely from their education. from thoughtless and precipitate affecBy this term we do not mean that tion. The young lady being of a school-instruction, which generally goes character wary and prudent, received under the denomination of education, the admonitions of her aunt with albut that more enlarged and useful in- tention. Her personal charms and acformation by which persons are in- complishments soon attracted the assistructed to make the best use of their duities of some young suitors, but as natural and acquired advantages, so as their rank and fortune in life were into advance in life towards wealth or ferior to her expectations, she bad the rank. She was herself an illustration prudence to resist their offers, and reof the principles and doctrines she serve herself for a more exalted destiny. professed; while her brother, Mr. In proportion as she advanced in age, Rusby, was an example, in her opin- she grew more obstinate in her adherion, of an ill-directed and erroneous ence to her aspiring intentions, and her education. This gentleman and her- beauty was already on the decline, self were the only children of a respec. and the admiration of her suitors wastable tradesman, who thought the best ing cold and negligent, when she hapmethod of promoting their interest in pened to meet at Baih, the wealthy life, was to bestow on them a good Sir James Leith. He was an old education. To this end he sent them bachelor whose youth had been passed both to eminent schools, were they in industrious exertion ; an exact and went through the usual routine of scho- regular attention to business, combiced lastic instruction, with credit and ap- with good fortune, had made him ricb: probation. About the age of eighteen, riches procured him rank and honours, Miss Rusby was committed to the care and he had attained the dignity of Baand superintendence of an aunt, from ronet, and was a member of the House whom she received much of that useful of Commons. Miss Rusby was re knowledge which had conducted her presented to bim, as a lady whose manso favourably to prosperity. The ners and accomplishments would do aunt observing in Miss Rusby, a cer- honour to a splendid establishment tain portion of beauty and address, be- Sir James Leith had felt a twinge of stowed great pains in cultivating and the gout: Miss Rusby had seen the
roses of her cheeks give way to an in- the most important consideration, and cipient sallowness of complexion, he brought the full powers of a clear which she felt to be hostile to love. understanding to bear on that subject. Sir James foresaw that he should soon The young creatures were already conwant a nurse: Miss Rusby foresaw siderably advanced in knowledge, and that she should soon want lovers. He had attained, the one to twelve, the proposed, and she instantly accepted. other to eleven years of age, when La
The conduct of Mr. Rusby had dy Leith in her visit to Harlton Parbeen of a different description. He sonage, proposed to relieve her brother had no sooner left college and was from all farther solicitude about the possessed of a small living purchased the welfare of his daughters, by taking for him by his father, than he followed upon herself the expense and care of the propensities of his heart, and fell their education. If Mr. Rusby bad in love with a beautiful girl, whose been rich he would have refused all inwhole fortune consisted in the elegance terference on the part of Lady Leith and simplicity of her character, great in the education of his daughters, for sweetness of disposition, and a heart he thought the principles of that lady which was rich beyond estimation in might be injurious to the simplicity of every mild and affectionate feeling. character which he so much admired, Their attachment was soon followed and which he was anxious to preserve. by marriage; and as their means He did not suppose her capable of were limited, they were constrained instilling into their minds opinions or not less by necessity than by choice, feelings which might be detrimental to to cultivate all their sweet and simple their virtue, but he feared that her pleasures in a domestic country life; instruction might inspire them with too which persons of wealth are apt to dis- exalted ideas of their own importance, regard. Content with the society of an inordinate love of wealth, and ameach other, and those recreations which bitious intentions, which through disare derived from books and rational appointment might end in misery. amusements, they lived unmindful of In a short time after the arrangethe world, its bustle and its passions. ment had been made for Monimia to Their life was love, and the history of reside with Lady Leith, they both their days a series of sweet and recip- took leave of Mr. Rusby, and returned rocal instances of a profound and un- forthwith to London. Her father felt interrupted attachment. The union severely the loss of his child. Her which made thein happy, was not per- adoption by his sister appeared to him manent, for after a few years of per- little short of an entire separation. On fect felicity, Mrs. Rusby was separat- the other hand, the young girl who had ed from her husband by an untimely never before quitted home, was pleased death, leaving him the two daughters with the prospect of the new scenes whom we have mentioned above. The she was about to see. In quitting her loss of a wife in whom all his felicity father and sister she felt a momentary was centred, annihilated for a time the anguish, which was soon dissipated by happiness and exertion of Mr. Rusby, the variety of novel objects which she and a year elapsed before he recovered beheld on their journey towards Lonthat composure of heart and peace of don. On their arrival in town, the mind which enabled him to devote his carriage proceeded immediately to Sir attention to domestic concerns, the du- James Leith's mansion in Portman ties of his profession, and the welfare of Square. Monimia accustomed from his children. In proportion as his her insancy to the hunible dwelling of grief settled into a milder recollection of her father, and never having seen any his lost wife, he began to fix his mind house more splendidly furnished, nor on the characters of his children, and rooms of larger dimension than those to exert himself by administering to which she had been accustomed to see their instruction and happiness. Their at Halton Parsonage, bebeld with education became a matter to him of great astonishment the superb mansion 55
ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.
of her uncle. A feeling of contempt, prosperity, when compared to the (the first emotion of the kind which more humble circumstances of the had ever entered her young heart,) greater part of the parishiopers of arose from the comparison which she Halton,) became as she advanced in made between the different situations years a source of shame and repugof her poor and humble father, and the nance. She heard at the wealthy table proud and wealthy Sir James Leith. of Sir James so much in praise of the
Lady Leith in a short time began riches of fortunate individuals, and so her course of experimental instruction few comments upon virtue and abilion the heart and mind of the young ties, that she gradually imbibed that Monimia. She sought out a govern- opinion so prevalent in the mercantile ess whose conduct would be a pattern world, that wealth is the criterion of from whence her niece might learn excellence. Whenever a desire to see to dress herself. After considerable his daughter called Mr. Rusby up to search, she discovered in a young London, Monimia suffered a great deal French woman those artificial man- of uneasiness and shame at the thought ners, and that happy tact of character, of being obliged to appear in public which accommodate themselves with with him: and upon one occasion ber facility to the opinions and habits of feelings were wrought up to a bigh those persons whoid it is their interest state of torture, when she was asked to serve.
She had sufficient know- by an intimate friend, " who those ledge to instruct in the rudiments of queer people were, that sat in Sir languages, geography, and music, but James's box at the Opera.” She dera perfect mistress in the art of dissimu- terously escaped the shame which this lation. She had a language, a cour question might have brought upon her, tesy, a smile, for every distinct variety by saying " that she understood they of the human species. Her distance were people of immense estates in and courtly pride towards the servants Lancashire, but who had never been were not less remarkable than her ex- in London before.” She was at one treme obsequiousness and humble def- time exceedingly disconcerted by the erence to Lady Leith, and she gained following question from a young girl. almost immediately after her introduc- “ Pray, Miss Rusby, have you any retion into the house, the respect of the lations except Sir James and Lady prudent and circumspect Sir James, Leith, for I never hear you mention the deference and assiduous notice of them?” This question 'she parried, that gentleman's nephew, the presump- by turning her bead away and covertive heir of his property, and the fonding her face with her hand, as if some attachment of Monimia.
agonizing recollections had been called Under the auspices and tuition of up, and ber young friend supposing two such able performers as were Lady that she was agitated by the rememLeith and Mademoiselle Artifice, the brance of the loss of her relatives young Monimia made regular advan- dropt the subject and never again re ces towards refinement. By degrees sumed it. It has generally been found they pruned away those exuberant by those who have elevated their pushoots of infantile feeling which are pils to ambitious views, that their plans thought by the cultivators of the hu- bave ran a greater risk of being ceunman mind to weaken the parent stem. teracted by the passion of love than by Step by step she was taught to speak, any other feeling, and Lady Leith, smile, walk, sit, rise, dress, eat, only conscious bow difficult it is to disposwith the design of captivating atten. sess that sentiment when it has once tion by those acts, and she became gained an entrance, made it her chief mannered even to the putting on of a endeavour to guard against its apglove, or the position and arrangement proach. Her caution was so particoof her fingers. The poverty of her lar, that having once observed ber father, (which in her infancy, and niece blush when the name of a young while she lived at home, showed like man, who was very handsome but very