Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.
a future evil, that possibly may never happen.  I have this to say in my excuse, that the evil is of so horrid a nature, I own I feel no philosophy that could support me under it, and no mountain girl ever trembled more at one of Whitfield’s pathetic lectures than I do at the word blindness, though I know all the fine things that may be said for consolation in such a case:  but I know, also, they would not operate on my constitution.  ‘Why, then’ (say my wise monitors), ’will you persist in reading or writing seven hours in a day?’ ‘I am happy while I read and write.’  ’Indeed, one would suffer a great deal to be happy,’ say the men, sneering; and the ladies wink at each other, and hold up their fans.  A fine lady of three score had the goodness to add, ’At least, madam, you should use spectacles; I have used them myself these twenty years; I was advised to it by a famous oculist when I was fifteen.  I am really of opinion that they have preserved my sight, notwithstanding the passion I always had both for reading and drawing.’  This good woman, you must know, is half blind, and never read a larger volume than a newspaper.  I will not trouble you with the whole conversation, though it would make an excellent scene in a farce; but after they had in the best bred way in the world convinced me that they thought I lied when I talked of reading without glasses, the foresaid matron obligingly said she should be very proud to see the writing I talked of, having heard me say formerly I had no correspondents but my daughter and Mr. Wortley.  She was interrupted by her sister, who said, simpering, ‘You forgot Sir J.S.’  I took her up something short, I confess, and said in a dry stern tone, ’Madam, I do write to Sir J.S. and will do it as long as he will permit that honour.’  This rudeness of mine occasioned a profound silence for some minutes, and they fell into a good-natured discourse of the ill consequences of too much application, and remembered how many apoplexies, gouts, and dropsies had happened amongst the hard students of their acquaintance.  As I never studied anything in my life, and have always (at least from fifteen) thought the reputation of learning a misfortune to a woman, I was resolved to believe these stories were not meant at me:  I grew silent in my turn, and took up a card that lay on a table, and amused myself with smoking it over a candle.  In the mean time (as the song says),

  ’Their tattles all run, as swift as the sun,
   Of who had won, and who was undone
     By their gaming and sitting up late,’

When it was observed I entered into none of these topics, I was addressed by an obliging lady, who pitied my stupidity.  ’Indeed, madam, you should buy horses to that fine machine you have at Padua; of what use is it standing in the portico?’ ‘Perhaps,’ said another, wittily, ‘of as much use as a standing dish.’  A gaping schoolboy added with still more wit, ’I have seen at a country gentleman’s table a venison-pasty

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Lady Mary Wortley Montague from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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