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TASTE AND FASHION.
Says Fashion to TAŠTE, “ I am strangely perplex'd,
For nothing to please me you bring;
And still fancy is wild on the wing!
I've invented all things that caprice can devise,
I have mingled all colours---and still The leaders of FASHION her fancy despise,
And in ridicule, laugh at my skill!
I have dress'd and undress’d the fair nymphs of our
I've display'd ev'ry charm they possess; [land, Like their grandmother Eve, I have led the gay band,
Or like Venus, have taught them to bless."
“And 'tis therefore they scorn you,” cried Taste
with a smile; « You have left them no charm to display! When I led the blythe phalanx, I taught them the
To be sparing, and decent, and gay. (while
I told them that beauty, when seen by all eyes,
Would the proud charm of novelty lose; And that he is most constant who fearlessly sighs--
She most happy who learns to refuse !"
Let the daughters of Fashion to Truth then give ear:
Let them hide the fair charms they possess ; And tributes of Fame at their feet shall appear,
And mankind shall their triumph confess.
“ So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Whilst I wait for the amusement which I am assured of receiving from your letters, my Elizabeth, I begin to think that, with the assistance of my venerable Cicerone, I may pass a few days here not unpleasingly.
A gentleman, who had in his youth been here with the father of the present earl, had described the castle to me as the most gloomy and disagreeable place imaginable ; but Lady Sevyngton told me, her lord had made many alterations, which she thought would be to niy taste. She was right, they are indeed very
much so: and the history of those alterations, as given me this morning by the chaplain, at breakfast, has rendered them peculiarly interesting
This castle, erected by an ancestor of the present earl, in a very remote age, had remained neglected by the family for many generations; a mansion in a central county, and a house in town, becoming their alternate residence; except now and then a few weeks in the autumn, when the abundant game
its demesne afforded, tempted the younger gentlemen to an occasional visit ; and was the reason why, by some timely repairs, it had suffered less from the dilapidations of time than the abbey, which had been reared under its shelter and protection.
The woods, probably coeval with the castle, with which the country round had been profusely planted, and which had, by the opulence of the family, been preserved from the depredations of the axe, grew and thickened into forests of many miles extent, so that the mansion deeply embosomed in then, to the exclusion of all outward objects, became insulated, and hidden from the world.
The present earl had, in his youth, been several times with sporting parties at the castle, but eagerly intent on the grand object of the visit, all other peculiarities were unhceded by him. It became, however, more interesting when, in the autumn after his father's death, and soon after he came of age, he brought a party down with him for shooting.
Riding over its demesne one morning with his steward, he was astonished at the vast extent, knowing well that the estate had been so entirely unprofitable to his family, as scarcely to defray its own necessary expences; its value being deemed to consist merely in its woods. But besides these, the earl perceived a widely spreading country of barren mountains, heathy flats, and vallies, where the water pouring from the higher grounds, had been permitted to stagnate till it had loosened the earth, and rendered it marshy and boggy. The lands under culture were so inconsiderable as to afford only hay and corn for the exigencies of the steward's family, who lived in the castle, and their occasional visitants : and, except a few scattered cottages for the labouring hinds, the country was uninhabited for many miles round. The road towards London had been kept in a state not positively dangerous ; but towards any other quarter it was impassable by any kind of carriage.
“ This barren and desolate region," said the earl to his steward, “ is a disgrace to me; I am determined, Sullivan, it shall not remain so. I will have the soil improved and parcelled into farms, and the country peopled round them. What think you of my plan?"
“ If your Lordship,” replied Sullivan, " would give me leave to speak my poor thoughts of the matter, I should say, it would be throwing away a great deal of money to very little purpose."
Why should that be your opinion?” questioned the earl. “ The heathy lands, by proper manure, might be made to grow corn; and the swamps, by draining, would make excellent pasture."
“ I have not a doubt but they might,” answered the steward; “ but situated as you are, my Lord, among mountains, amidst rocks, and impassable roads, at ich an immense dista from any mar
ket, what would your Lordship's new tenants do with their corn and hay?"
“ Is a market so absolutely requisite?" said the earl.
“ It is indispensable," replied the steward; “ for if the cultivators of the land are the only consumers of its products, those cultivators and their families will indeed subsist, but will never be able to pay rent for their farms. The cultivators of a fertile soil cannot consume all its increase : the surplus of that increase it is which renders it beneficial; but to whom can your Lordship's tenants sell that surplus, when no market which affords buyers is within their reach?"
His lordship paused ; at last, as if struck by some sudden thought, he said, “ But if I could draw a new set of people near me, who, employed in other businesses, and providing no food for themselves, 'would be obliged to seek provision from the agriculture of the country? Were I to establish some large manufactory for instance, would that assist me?”
“ Admirably, my Lord,” replied the steward, “ for that would be effectually providing a market for the product of your lands. But here again we fail, for you have no place, my Lord, for your manufacturers ; you have but one small village, the houses of which are fully occupied ; and not a cottage but what is wanted for the husbandmen."
“ That village, to-morrow, Sullivan, we will inspect, for I forget its situation; and if I like it I will build upon it. I will turn it into a town.”