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declaration, you choose to try the experiment of persecuting it, you will only make us prize it more, and love it better. Religion, true or false, is so necessary to the mind of man, that even you have begun to make yourselves a new one. You are sowing the seeds of superstition; and in two or three generations your posterity will be worshiping some clumsy idol, with the rites, perhaps, of a bloody Moloch, or a lascivious Thammuz. It was not worth while to have been philosophers and destroyed the images of our saints for this; but let every one choose the religion that pleases him; I and my parishioners are content with ours, it teaches us to bear the evils your childish or sanguinary decrees have helped to bring upon the country.’” The curé turned his footsteps homeward, and the Convention looked for some minutes on one another, before they resumed their work of blood.
DEAR MADAM, I think it my duty, as well from the high esteem I bear yourself, as from the tender and solicitous affection I feel for your lovely daughter, to inform you of an affair between her and one who has lately been fluttering about her; and for whom, young as she is, she seems to have conceived an extraordinary inclination. Of this you will be convinced, madam, when I assure you she often walks in the fields purposely to meet him; and that on her return I have seen her lips and cheeks improved in their colour by his kisses. It is but within these few weeks that this lover of hers has frequented the environs of Hampstead, for he spent the winter between Lisbon and the Canary Islands; and since his return, which by her has been passionately longed for, her fondness for walking has been much more apparent. Her excursions to the Heath, and her parties to West-end, particularly when she gave me the slip the other day, have
been all planned with the hope of meeting him. Nor can I wonder, indeed, that she admires so pretty a fellow; for he is a light airy being like herself, as playful and as frolicsome. He dresses in a light garment of the thinnest blue silk, fluttering in a thousand different folds, and by way of epaulette two silver wings peeping above his shoulders. His breath is made up of sighs, and perfumed with violets; and his whispers, especially at this season of the year, have a certain prevailing languishment and softness in them, that few can resist. He is fond of caressing the opening roses; and no birthnight beau is more powerfully scented with Mareschal powder than he is with every blossom of the spring. But then he is a general lover, inconstant as he is gay; noted for levity, here today and gone tomorrow, hovering about every beautiful object without attaching himself to one. To fix him would be as difficult as to arrest a sunbeam or to hold a wave between your fingers. Yet I am sorry to say," madam, your daughter absolutely courts this volage, and allows him liberties which a prudent mother like yourself must tremble at. He delights to play with her fair hair; sometimes he throws it over her forehead, and almost covers her face with it. Sometimes he takes a single lock, and plays it about her temples; now he
spreads her tresses all over her graceful shoulders; and then lifts them up, or gently parts them, to discover the elegant turn and whiteness of her neck, giving them all the while a thousand kisses. Why need I mention what passes before your eyes, under your own window? It is there that I have seen him busied in wafting her to and fro with an easy motion, when her light form dances through the air in the swing you have lately put up, while he catches her fluttering garment and throws it into every varying fold his fancy dictates. It may be, however, that you may not think these sportive liberties of great consequence to one so young as your daughter is: but I am not without apprehensions that he may some day or other absolutely run away with her. I the rather fear this, as a brother of his, a rough blustering fellow, did once carry off a young lady whose parents had rejected his addresses, as is well known to all who are acquainted with the anecdotes of the family. It is true, he that I speak of has neither the strength nor the impetuosity of his brother; but when I consider the peculiar lightness and airiness of the nymph in question, the enterprise appears to me very practicable. I have only to add, that his amour with Flora* is of long standing; and so little is it a secret in the world that every schoolboy is acquainted with it. I doubt not, madam, but you will take the measures your prudence must suggest on this occasion. All my motive in this affair has been to prove with how much zeal and affection I am,
* The name of this young lady was Flora.