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А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я


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Chapter IX.

Being a Chapter of the Satyrical Kind.

At their Return, Sir Charles told his Niece, That she had now had a Specimen of the World, and some of the fashionable Amusements; and ask'd her, how she had been entertain'd.

Why, truly, Sir, replied she, smiling, I have brought away no great Relish for a Renewal of the Amusement I have partaken of To-night. If the World, in which you seem to think I am but new initiated, affords only these Kinds of Pleasures, I shall very soon regret the Solitude and Books I have quitted.

Why pray, said Miss Glanville? What Kind of Amusements did your Ladyship expect to find in the World? And what was there disagreeable in your Entertainment to Night? I am sure there is no Place in England, except London, where there is so much good Company to be met with, as here. The Assembly was very numerous and brillant, and one can be at no Loss for Amusements: The Pump-Room in the Morning, the Parade, and the Rooms, in the Evening, with little occasional Parties of Pleasure, will find one sufficient Employment, and leave none of one's Time to lye useless upon one's Hand.

I am of Opinion, replied Arabella, that one's Time is far from being well employ'd in the Manner you portion it out: And People who spend theirs in such trifling Amusements, must certainly live to very little Purpose.

What room, I pray you, does a Lady give for high and noble Adventures, who consumes her Days in Dressing, Dancing, listening to Songs, and ranging the Walks with People as thoughtless as herself? How mean and contemptible a Figure must a Life spent in such idle Amusements make in History? Or rather, Are not such Persons always buried in Oblivion, and can any Pen be found who would condescend to record such inconsiderable Actions? Nor can I persuade myself, added she, that any of those Men whom I saw at the Assembly, with Figures so feminine, Voices so soft, such tripping Steps, and unmeaning Gestures, have ever signalized either their Courage or Constancy; but might be overcome by their Enemy in Battle, or be false to their Mistress in Love.

Law! Cousin, reply'd Miss Glanville, you are always talking of Battles and Fighting. Do you expect that Persons of Quality, and fine Gentlemen, will go the Wars? What Business have they to fight? That belongs to the Officers.

Then every fine Gentleman is an Officer, said Arabella; and some other Title ought to be found out for Men who do nothing but Dance and Dress.

I could never have imagined, interrupted Mr. Tinsel, surveying Arabella, that a Lady so elegant and gay in her own Appearance, should have an Aversion to Pleasure and Magnificence. I assure you, Sir, replied Arabella, I have an Aversion to neither: On the contrary, I am a great Admirer of both. But my Ideas of Amusements and Grandeur are probably different from yours.

I will allow the Ladies to be sollicitous about their Habits, and dress with all the Care and Elegance they are capable of; but such Trifles are below the Consideration of a Man, who ought not to owe the Dignity of his Appearance to the Embroidery on his Coat, but to his high and noble Air, the Grandeur of his Courage, the Elevation of his Sentiments, and the many heroick Actions he has perform'd.

Such a Man will dress his Person with a graceful Simplicity, and lavish all his Gold and Embroidery upon his Armour, to render him conspicuous in the Day of Battle. The Plumes in his Helmet will look more graceful in the Field, than the Feather in his Hat at a Ball; and Jewels blaze with more Propriety on his Shield and Cuirass in Battle, than glittering on his Finger in a Dance.

Do not imagine, however, pursued she, that I absolutely condemn Dancing, and think it a Diversion wholly unworthy of a Hero.

History has recorded some very famous Balls, at which the most illustrious Persons in the World have appear'd.

Cyrus the Great, we are inform'd, open'd a Ball with the divine Mandana at Sardis. The renown'd King of Scythia danc'd with the Princess Cleopatra at Alexandria. The brave Cleomedon with the fair Candace at Ethiopia; but these Diversions were taken but seldom, and consider'd indeed as an Amusement, not as a Part of the Business of Life.

How would so many glorious Battles have been fought, Cities taken, Ladies rescu'd, and other great and noble Adventures been atchiev'd, if the Men, sunk in Sloth and Effeminacy, had continually follow'd the Sound of a Fiddle, saunter'd in Publick Walks, and tattled over a Tea-table.

I vow, Cousin, said Miss Glanville, you are infinitely more severe in your Censures than Mr. Tinsel was at the Assembly. You had little Reason methinks to be angry with him.

All I have said, reply'd Arabella, were the natural Inference from your own Account of the Manner in which People live here. When Actions are a Censure upon themselves, the Reciter will always be consider'd as a Satirist.


Chapter VIII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter X.