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welfare, I might be less severely disposed towards this lady: but when I reflect that she is an inmate beneath your roof, your daily associate - nay, more, your friend, -I examine, with rigid eyes, her claims to such distinction ; and, finding them so defective, would fain
preserve you from contact with one whom I
deem most unworthy. I fear my pertinacious adherence to the evil opinion I entertain of her will displease you, but I cannot vanquish it; and again I entreat you to guard against her influence.
I lament that Lord Annandale wishes you to avoid an acquaintance with the friends I was so desirous you should know. I dare say you have judged rightly in imagining his prejudices to proceed from the pique of the Comtesse Hohenlinden. Nothing serves more to render a person averse from good company than the habit of associating with bad; and,
in the circle in which Lord Annandale has
moved, all who are moral and decorous are
pronounced to be dull. There is policy in this opinion; for, as the really good would not countenance the clique to which I refer, they proclaim their dislike of what they know they cannot attain. Notwithstanding I entirely disapprove Lord Annandale's selection of associates for you, still let me advise you not to irritate him or them by any harsh censures. Patience is a woman's best armour; and gentleness, her only safe weapon.
These may not have an immediate, but, I believe, they generally have a sure effect; and, therefore, I entreat you to use them always. A prudent woman will seek, not so much to convict her husband of error as to wean him from it; for men rarely pardon any exhibition of intellectual superiority in their wives, while they are soothed and gratified by meekness and affection,
You are young, lovely, and highly gifted; Lord Annandale greatly admires you : why not convert this admiration into a sentiment more durable, more valuable, which would secure for you an influence over him most advantageous to his interests, and to your own ? Coldness and indifference never enabled a woman to gain an empire over a husband's heart; and yet these are, even from your own confession, but too visible in your demeanour towards him. Can you, then, wonder that he appears careless of your wishes, or callous to your reasoning? Remember, that Lord Annandale has been a spoiled child of fortnne-indulged and flattered to satiety. Truth has rarely reached him, and the love of hearing it is like the partiality for olives, an acquired taste. The friend who administers this unpalatable medicine should render it less nauseous, by affectionate kindness; so that its bitterness, like the physic given to children, may be almost merged in the accompanying sweets. Do not abandon yourself to the dispiriting and erroneous belief that yours is an incurable lot; for it is only a persistance in thus thinking that can render
Duties discharged, domestic affections cultivated, and the consciousness of having no subject for self-reproach, preclude unhappiness ; though they may not bestow that vivid, but evanescent feeling, which the romantic but too often mistake for it.
Believe me, my dear Augusta,
Your most affectionate friend,
THE COUNTESS OF ANNANDALE TO THE
COUNTESS OF DELAWARD.
You give me good counsel, dearest Mary; would to heaven that I had sufficient resolu
tion to follow it! But I am a wayward creature, and cannot feign a semblance of affection when I do not entertain the sentiment. It would be wiser, and more amiable, to endeavour to win Lord Annandale to purer, better, feelings and pursuits, - even though, as I strongly suspect, the attempt would be utterly unavailing,—than to dwell on his defects, as I am prone to do: but when was I wise or amiable? Alas! never the first, and rarely, if ever, the second. You will reproach me if I dwell on this painful theme; I will, therefore, dismiss it, and adopt an agreeable one.
The only amusements I enjoy in London are the theatres, and the opera. One of the divine