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gan, for the five hundredth time, to tell him why he was not in Lochmarlie Castle, and why he was in Bath.
Mary now saw, that there are situations in which a weak capacity has it uses, and that the most foolish chat may sometimes impart greater pleasure than all the wisdom of the schools, even when proceeding from a benevolent heart.
Sir Sampson and Grizzy were so much upon a par in intellect, that they were reciprocally happy in each other. This the strong sense of Lady Maclaughlan had long perceived, and was the principal reason of her selecting so weak a woman as her companion; though, at the same time, in justice to her Ladyship's heart, as well as head, she had that partiality for her friend, for which no other reason can be assigned than that given by Montaigne: “Je l'amais parceque c’étoit elle, parceque c’étoit moi.”
Mary paid a long visit to her aunt, and then took leave, promising to return the following day to take Miss Grizzy to deliver a letter of introduction she had received, and which had not been left to the chance of the carrier and the snow.
“This sort of person is skilled to assume the appearance of all virtues, and all good qualities; but their favourite mask is universal benevolence. And the reason why they prefer this disguise to all others, is, that it tends to conceal its opposite, which is, indeed,
their true character—an universal selfishness.” KNox’s Essays.
ALTHOUGH, on her return, Mary read her mother's displeasure in her looks, and was grieved at again having incurred it, she yet felt it a duty towards her father to persevere in her attentions to his aunt. She was old, poor, and unknown—plain in her person—weak in her intellects—vulgar in
her manners; but she was related to her by ties more binding than the laws of fashion or the rules of taste. Even these disadvantages, which, to a worldly mind, would have served as excuses for neglecting her, to Mary’s generous nature, were so many incentives to treat her with kindness and attention. Faithful to her promise, therefore, she repaired to Milsom Street, and found her aunt all impatience for her arrival, with the letter so firmly grasped in both hands, that she seemed almost afraid to trust any one with a glance at the direction. “This letter, Mary,” said she, when they were seated in the carriage, “will be a great thing for me, and especially for you. I got it from Mrs. Menzies, through Mrs. M“Drone, whose friend, Mrs. Campbell’s half-sister, Miss Grant, is a great friend of Mrs. Fox's, and she says, she is a most charming woman. Of course she is no friend to the great Fox; or, you know, it would have been very odd in me, with Sir SampVOL. III. H
son's principles, and my poor brother's principles, and all our own principles, to have visited her. But she’s quite of a different family of Foxes: she's a Fox of Peckwell, it seems—a most amiable woman, very rich, and prodigiously charitable. I am sure we have been most fortunate in getting a letter to such a woman.” And, with this heartfelt ejaculation, they found themselves at Mrs. Fox's. Every thing corresponded with the account of this lady's wealth and consequence; the house was spacious, and handsomely furnished, with its due proportion of livery servants; and they were ushered into a sitting-room, which was filled with all the wonders of nature and art, Indian shells—inlaid cabinets—ivory boxes—stuff. ed birds—old china—Chinese mandarins —stood disclosed in all their charms. The lady of the mansion was seated at a table covered with works of a different description: it exhibited the various arts of wo