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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about Marriage.

Mary felt it a relief to have done with this surfeit of soul, and was of opinion that learning, like religion, ought never to be forced into conversation; and that people who only read to talk of their reading might as well let it alone.  Next morning she gave so ludicrous an account of her entertainment that Lady Emily was quite charmed.

“Now I begin to have hopes of you,” said she, “since I see you can laugh at your friends as well as me.”

“Not at my friends, I hope,” answered Mary; “only at folly.”

“Call it what you will—­I only wish I had been there.  I should certainly have started a controversy upon the respective merits of Tom Thumb and Puss in Boots, and so have called them off Lord Byron.  Their pretending to measure the genius of a Scott or a Byron must have been something like a fly attempting to take the altitude of Mont Blanc.  How I detest those idle disquisitions about the colour of a goat’s beard, or the blood of an oyster."’

Mary had seen in Mrs. Douglas the effects of a highly cultivated understanding shedding its mild radiance on the path of domestic life, heightening its charms, and softening its asperities, with the benign spirit of Christianity.  Her charity was not like that of Mrs. Fox; she did not indulge herself in the purchase of elegant ornaments, and then, seated in the easy chair of her drawing-room, extort from her visitors money to satisfy the wants of those who had claims on her own bounty.  No:  she gave a large portion of her time, her thoughts, her fortune, to the most sacred of all duties—­charity, in its most comprehensive meaning.  Neither did her knowledge, like that of Mrs. Bluemits, evaporate in pedantic discussion or idle declamation, but showed itself in the tenor of a well-spent life, and in the graceful discharge of those duties which belonged to her sex and station.  Next to goodness Mary most ardently admired talents.  She knew there were many of her own sex who were justly entitled to the distinction of literary fame.  Her introduction to the circle at Mrs. Bluemits’s had disappointed her; but they were mere pretenders to the name.  How different from those described by one no less amiable and enlightened herself!—­“Let such women as are disposed to be vain of their comparatively petty attainments look up with admiration to those contemporary shining examples, the venerable Elizabeth Carter and the blooming Elizabeth Smith.  In them let our young ladies contemplate profound and various learning, chastised by true Christian humility.  In them let them venerate acquirements which would have been distinguished in a university, meekly softened, and beautifully shaded by the exertion of every domestic virtue, the unaffected exercise of every feminine employment.” [1]

[1] “Coelebs.”

CHAPTER XXXI.

“The gods, to curse Pamela with her pray’rs,
Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares;
The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate. 
She glares in balls, front boxes, and the ring—­
A vain, unquiet, glitt’ring, wretched thing! 
Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward part;
She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart.”

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