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“ I know.
The sum of all
MASSINGER.- New Way to Pay Old Debts.
LOUISA MIL D M A Y.
FRAGMENT OF A LETTER FROM MRS. CARLTON TO MRS. DIGBY.
* * * I FLATTER myself, indeed, my dear friend, that you do me justice, and appreciate the desire I have ever experienced to encourage merit-and, above all, modest merit -whenever it falls under my observation. Now this really is a remarkably sweet and beautiful girl; and when I saw her with you, I felt an irresistible desire to produce her.
There is something quite painful to my feelings in the idea of so much elegance and beauty condemned for life to the seclusion of an odious parsonage-neither carriage, table, nor society !--for I understand that poor Mr. Mildmay is wretchedly straitened in his circumstances, and wants the very indispensables of existence.
I thought his daughter had a singularly aristocratic air; to be sure ihey are of a good family ; but I consider it as a proof of the delicacy of her taste, and of a native refinement that one loves to see, that she has escaped those thousand little vulgarisms that shock and offend one's taste so much in the non comme il faut.
There is certainly nothing about Louisa Mildmay that one can be afraid to produce, even in the very best company; so I shall be extremely glad if you will give her a corner of your carriage, and I write by this post to Mr. Mildmay, and shall send a very pressing invitation to his daughter to come to Dangerfield during the races; and, indeed, to pass as much time afterward with us as she can.
The race ball is on the twentieth of March, for, as you know, we are resolved to try the experiment of anticipating the London season; and on the nineteenth I hope to see you and your fair companion. And should it be my happy fate to prove the means of affording her the opportunity of entering those certain circles, which, indeed, na
ture seems expressly to have formed her to adorn-in short, if any of my young lords . . . But I will say no more—you know what my heart would feel upon the occasion-except that I am,
My dear Helen,
Mrs. Digby to Mrs. Carlton. MY DEAR Mrs. CARLTON, For the first part of your invitation-namely, that which regards myself-I am very sorry to say that it will not be in my power to accept it. Mr. Digby's mother has set her heart upon assembling all her family around her, to keep her eightieth birthday, which falls precisely upon the very twentieth that I should have been with you. She knew nothing of my plans, and I did not like to disappoint her, so left her in happy ignorance, and must go. This, however, has nothing to do with the second part of your invitationthat to Louisa Mildmay; for, as I shall pass very near you in going to Northamptonshire, I can give her a place in my carriage; and, as you have already written to Mr. Mildmay, I will most certainly bring her, provided she accepts.
She certainly is a very beautiful, a very good, and a very well-mannered girl, and such a merry little grig withal-in spite of Mr. Mildmay's grievous privations—that I think she cannot do better than remain as she is, whatever your young lords may say to it.
I have a notion that all without the boundary of the certain circles is not so triste, and so vulgar, and so horrid, as we are apt to suppose it. At least, as I often find that within, which is wearisome enough, I doubt whether those young ladies do the wisest thing in the world who sacrifice every old habit, and sever themselves from every old connection for the privilege supreme of stepping within a magic ring, where they are never very welcome, and seldom very happy. &c. &c.
Mr. Mildmay to Mrs. Carlton. I thank you sincerely, my dear madam, for your obliging attention to my little Louisa, and accept your invitation for her with extreme pleasure.
Though scenes of gayety, like those to which you would kindly introduce her, are little suited to the daughter of my fortunes, yet I feel persuaded that it is unwise to debar a young creature from them entirely. It is good to see and to judge for ourselves, and when my little girl sits down contented with that obscurity which is her most probable des