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duns, and the other impertinent concomitants of bankruptcy, are apt, from the trouble they occasion, to spoil a fine face before its time. In like manner, though I grant it is below a fine lady to cultivate the qualities of sweetness, mildness, humility, tenderness, or good nature, because she is taught that it is her duty to do so ; I would, nevertheless, humbly propose to the ladies, to be good-humoured, to be mild to their domestics, nay, to be complaisant even to their husbands ; because good-humour, mildness, and complaisance are good for their faces. Attention to these qualities, I am inclined to believe, will do more for their beauty, than the finest paint the most skil. fully laid on: the culture of them will give a higher luftre to their complexion, without any danger of this colouring being rubbed off, or the natural fine, ness of the skin being hurt by its use.
Let every lady, therefore, consider, that whenever she says or does a good-humoured thing, she adds a new beauty to her countenance ; that by giv. ing some attention to the affairs of her family, and now and then living regularly, and abstaining from the late hours of dissipation, she will keep off, some. what longer than otherwise, the wrinkles of age ; and I would hope the prescription I have given, may, amidst the more important cares of pleasure, appear deserving of her attention.
This prescription must, from its nature, be confined to the ladies, beauty in perfection being their prerogative. To recommend virtue to our fine gentlemen, because vice might hurt their shapes, or spoil their faces, may appear somewhat like irony, which on so serious a subject, I would wish to avoid. Some considerations may, however, be suggested, why even a fine gentleman may find his account in an cccasional practice of virtue, without derogating from the dignity of that character which it costs
him so much labour to attain ; and these may perhaps be the subject of a future paper.
N° 4. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1779.
Meliora pii docuere parentes.
The following letter I received from an unknown correspondent. The subject of it is so important, that I shall probably take some future opportunity of giving my sentiments on it to the Public : in the mean time Í am persuaded it will afford matter of much serious consideration to many of my readers.
To the Author of the Mirror.
SIR, At the age of twenty-five I succeeded to an estate of 1500l. a year by the death of a father, by whom I was tenderly beloved, and for whose memory I still retain the most sincere regard. Not long after, I married a lady, to whom I had for some time been warmly attached. As neither of us were fond of the bustle of the world, and as we found it every
day become more irksome, we took the resolution of . quitting it altogether; and soon after retired to a
family-seat, which has been the favourite residence of my ancestors for many successive generations.
There I passed my days in as perfect happiness as any reasonable man can expect to find in this world. My affection and esteem for my wife increased daily ; and as she brought me three fine children, two boys and a girl, their prattle afforded a new fund of amusement. There were, likewise, in our neighbourhood, several families that might have adorned any society, with whom we lived on an easy, friendly' footing, free from the restraints of ceremony, which, in the great world, may, perhaps, be necessary, but, in private life, are the bane of all social intercourse.
There is no state, however, entirely free from care and uneasiness. My solicitude about my children increased with their years. My boys, in particular, gave me a thousand anxious thoughts. Many plans of education were proposed for them, of which the advantages and disadvantages were so equally balanced, as to render the choice of any one a matter of no small perplexity.
Meantime the boys grew up; and the eldest, who was a year older than his brother, had entered his tenth year, when an uncle of my wife, who, by his services in parliament, and an assiduous attend. ance at court, had obtained a very considerable office under government, honoured us with a visit. He. seemed much pleased with the looks, the spirit, and promising appearance of my sons; he paid me many compliments on the occasion, and I listened to him with all the pleasure a fond parent feels in hearing the praises of his children.'
After he had been some days with us, he asked me in what manner I proposed to educate the boys, and what my views were as to their establishment in the world ? I told him all my doubts and perplexi, ties. He enlarged on the absurdity of the old-fash, ioned system of education, as he termed it, and talked
much of the folly of sending a boy to Eton or Westminster, to waste the most precious years of his life in acquiring languages of little or no real use in the world : and begged leave to suggest a plan, which, he said, had been attended with the greatest success in a variety of instances that had fallen within his own particular knowledge.
His scheme was to send my sons for two or three years to a private school in the neighbourhood of London, where they might get rid of their provincial dialect, which, he observed, would be alone sufficient to disappoint all hopes of their future advancement. He proposed to send them afterwards to an academy at Paris to acquire the French language, with every other accomplishment necessary to fit them for the world. "When your eldest son,' added he, “is thus qualified, it will be easy for me to get him appointed secretary to an embassy; and if he shall then possess those abilities of which he has now every appearance, I make no doubt I shall be able to procure him a seat in parliament; and there will be no office in the state to which he may not aspire. As to your second son, give him the same education you give his brother; and, when he is of a proper age, get him a commission in the 'army, and push him on in that line as fast as possible.'
Though I saw some objections to this scheme, yet, I must confess, the flattering prospect of ambi. tion it opened, had a considerable effect upon my mind; and, as my wife, who had been taught to receive the opinions of her kinsman with the utmost deference, warmly seconded his proposal, I at length, though not without reluctance, gave my assent to it. When the day of departure came, I accompanied my boys part of the way ; and, at taking leave of them, felt a pang I then endeavoured to conceal, and which I need not now attempt to describe.
I had the satisfaction to receive, from time to time, the most pleasing accounts of their progress, and after they went to Paris, I was still more and more flattered with what I heard of their improvement.
At length the wished for period of their return approached : I heard of their arrival in Britain, and that, by a certain day, we might expect to see them at home. We were all impatience : my daughter, in particulai, did nothing but count the hours and minutes, and hardly shut her eyes the night preceding the day on which her brothers were expected : her mother and I, though we shewed it less, felt, I believe, equal anxiety.
When the day came, my girl, who had been con. stantly on the look-out, ran to tell me she saw a post-chaise driving to the gate. We hurried down to receive the boys. But, judge of my astonishment, when I saw two pale, emaciated figures get out of the carriage, in their dress and looks resembling monkies rather than human creatures. What was still worse, their manners were more displeasing than their appearance. When my daughter ran up, with tears of joy in her eyes, to embrace her brother, he held her from him, and burst into an immoderate fit of laughter at something in her dress that appeared to him ridiculous. He was joined in the laugh by his younger brother, who was pleased, however, to say, that the girl was not ill-looking, and, when taught to put on her clothes, and to use a little rouge, would be tolerable.
Mortified as I was at this impertinence, the parti. ality of a parent led me to impute it, in a great measure, to the levity of youth ; and I still flattered myself that matters were not so bad as they appeara ed to be. In these hopes I sat down to dinner. But there the behaviour of the young gentlemen did not,