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innocence. Remember, then, that you live among those who are ever prone to regard an approach to friendship between persons of different sexes with uncharitable eyes. They are sceptics in the sympathy of virtue, precisely because they are devout believers in the con
nexions of vice.
The consciousness of innocence, though it enables us to bear up against calumny and injustice, cannot prevent the anguish of the wounds they inflict, wounds no salve can heal, and from which no time can smooth away the scar.
Appearances must be strictly preserved by the innocent (who, from conscious rectitude, are too often the persons most liable to neglect them); lest the guilty attempt to palliate their own improprieties by directing attention to the semblance of error in the good.
The most really immaculate woman, who is
inconsiderate enough to admit the daily visits of any man, or to permit his attentions, however respectful, to become remarked in public, must not be surprised if she is confounded with the most guilty; who are naturally anxious to blazon abroad the seeming indecorum that keeps their own faulty conduct in counte
The world judges only from appearances. By preserving these, the guilty obscure the view of their delinquencies ; and become, consequently, less pernicious than if they exhibited reckless and unveiled vice. But those
who, to vice, add the shamelessness of its
exhibition, have to answer, not only for their own sins, but for the corruption their example promotes.
How many women, free from a thought of crime, have, through a carelessness as to preserving appearances, compromised their reputations, and dragged on a long life of humiliation, with no other consolation but that
of knowing, that to imprudence, and not guilt, they owe their sufferings!
You, my dearest Augusta, will not peruse with impatience this long homily, but accept it as a proof of the affectionate interest of your true friend,
THE COUNTESS OF DELAWARD TO TIIE
COUNTESS OF ANNANDALE.
I am happy to be able to tell you, my dear Augusta, that your excellent father and mother are in perfect health ; and that our endeavours to console them for the loss of your society have not been totally unsuccessful. They can
now revert to your absence with less sorrow, though not with less affection ; and this is something gained. We have induced them to prolong their stay with us, which, I trust, will be beneficial to their spirits, as well as to those of
my dear father, who much enjoys the presence of such old and valued friends. anxious to make you acquainted with some of the persons whose society has rendered London agreeable to me, I have written to them to call on you; the period of my returning to town being too uncertain to admit of my waiting to present them to you personally.
I hope you will cultivate more than a mere visiting acquaintance with them ; for they are of that portion of our aristocracy and gentry whose unsullied reputations, and irreproachable lives, present a barrier against that censure on our order which the indecorum and levity of some of its stray branches have drawn upon it. They nobly uphold the fame and honour once so generally and so justly decreed to British women, before, at the mandate of fashion, some of them had learned to disregard that external propriety which should ever accom
The Duchess of Fitzwalter you will find a most estimable person, and as agreeable as she is amiable, although the clique who have assumed the supremacy of fashion, vote her, and her circle, dull and ennuyeuse ; but, with them, decorum is only another name for dulness. Lady Erpingham is also a charming person ; and Mrs. Algernon Wentworth is as unaffected and unspoilt as if she were neither a beauty nor a wit.
I have especially named these three ladies to you, as being my most intimate friends; but the others to whom I have written to request that they will call on you, are not less amiable.