“That, indeed, my dear, is the necessary qualifications of a public speaker, be he lawyer, or what he will: the man who cannot doubt himself, and can think meanly of his auditors, never fails to speak with self-applause at least.”
“But you’ll pardon me, good Sir, for speaking my mind so freely, and so early of these your friends.”
“I never, my love, ask you a question, I wish you not to answer; and always expect your answer should be without reserve; for many times I may ask your opinion, as a corrective or a confirmation of my own judgment.”
How kind, how indulgent was this, my good lady! But you know, how generously your dear brother treats me, on all occasions; and this makes me so bold as I often am.
It may be necessary, my dear lady, to give you an account of our visitors, in order to make the future parts of my writing the more intelligible; because what I have to write may turn sometimes upon the company we see: for which reason, I shall also just mention Sir George Stuart, a Scottish gentleman, with whom Mr. B. became acquainted in his travels, who seems to be a polite (and Mr. B. says, is a learned) man, and a virtuoso: he, and a nephew of his, of the same name, a bashful gentleman, and who, for that reason, I imagine, has a merit that lies deeper than a first observation can reach, are just gone from us, and were received with so much civility by Mr. B. as entitles them to my respectful regard.
Thus, Madam, do I run on, in a manner, without materials; and only to shew you the pleasure I take in obeying you. I hope my good Lord Davers enjoys his health, and continues me in his favour; which I value extremely, as well as your ladyship’s. Mr. H., I hope, likewise enjoys his health. But let me not forget my particular and thankful respects to the Countess, for her favour and goodness to me, which I shall ever place next, in my grateful esteem, to the honours I have received from your ladyship, and which bind me to be, with the greatest respect, your faithful and obliged servant, P.B.
MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I write to you both, at this time, for your advice in a particular dispute, which is the only one I have had, or I hope ever shall have, with my dear benefactor; and as he is pleased to insist upon his way, and it is a point of conscience with me, I must resolve to be determined by your joint advice; for, if my father and mother, and husband, are of one opinion, I must, I think, yield up my own.
This is the subject:—I think a mother ought, if she can, to be the nurse to her own children.
Mr. B. says, he will not permit it.
It is the first will not I have heard from him, or given occasion for: and I tell him, that it is a point of conscience with me, and I hope he will indulge me: but the dear gentleman has an odd way of arguing, that sometimes puzzles me. He pretends to answer me from Scripture; but I have some doubts of his exposition; and he gives me leave to write to you, though yet he won’t promise to be determined by your opinions if they are not the same with his own; and I say to him, “Is this fair, my dearest Mr. B.? Is it?”