Thus she loses the respect, the reverence, she might receive, were it not for this miserable affectation; takes pains, by aping youth, to make herself unworthy of her years, and is content to be thought less discreet than she might otherwise be deemed, for fear she should be imagined older if she appeared wiser.
What a sad thing is this, Madam!—What a mistaken conduct! We pray to live to old age; and it is promised as a blessing, and as a reward for the performance of certain duties; and yet, when we come to it, we had rather be thought as foolish as youth, than to be deemed wise, and in possession of it. And so we shew how little we deserve what we have been so long coveting; and yet covet on: for what? Why, to be more and more ashamed, and more and more unworthy of that we covet!
How fantastic a character is this!-Well may irreverent, unthinking youth despise, instead of revere, the hoary head which the wearer is so much ashamed of. The lady boasts a relationship to you, and Mr. B. and, I think, I am very bold. But my reverence for years, and the disgust I have to see anybody behave unworthy of them, makes me take the greater liberty: which, however, I shall wish I had not taken, if it meets not with that allowance, which I have always had from your ladyship in what I write.
God knows whether ever I may enjoy the blessing I so much revere in others. For now my heavy time approaches. But I was so apprehensive before, and so troublesome to my best friends, with my vapourish fears, that now (with a perfect resignation to the Divine Will) I will only add, that I am your ladyship’s most obliged sister and servant, P.B.
My dear Billy, and Miss Goodwin, improve every day, and are all I can desire or expect them to be. Could Miss’s poor mamma be here with a wish, and back again, how much would she be delighted with one of our afternoon conferences; our Sunday employments especially!—And let me add, that I am very happy in another young gentleman of the dean’s recommending, instead of Mr. Adams.
MY DEAREST LADY,
I am once more, blessed be God for all his mercies to me! enabled, on my upsitting, to thank you, and my noble lord, for all your kind solicitudes for my welfare. Billy every day improves. Miss is all I wish her to be, and my second dear boy continues to be as lovely and as fine a baby as your ladyship was pleased to think him; and their papa, the best of husbands!
I am glad to hear Lady Betty is likely to be so happy. Mr. B. says, her noble admirer is as worthy a gentleman as any in the peerage; and I beg of you to congratulate the dear lady, and her noble parents, in my name, if I should be at a distance, when the nuptials are celebrated.
I have had the honour of a visit from my lady, the Countess Dowager, on occasion of her leaving the kingdom for a year or two, for which space she designs to reside in Italy, principally at Naples or Florence; a design she took up some time ago, but which it seems she could not conveniently put into execution till now.