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dressed; that the effect their appearance produces on a stranger is that of wonder and delight; it carries with it the idea of wealth and comfort, equally remote from prodigality as from parsimony. Their carriage is more dignified than graceful; many of them have adopted in walking a sort of military step, which, although unfeminine, is not without its advantages, as it enables their male companions to keep pace with them with great ease.
I have nowhere been more forcibly struck with the power of the female mind than in this country. An Englishwoman seems conscious that she is destined to be the partner and companion of man, and not his tyrant nor his victim. This is as it ought to be; woman is essentially equal to man; she is calculated to shine in her own peculiar sphere, where she is as much superior to man, as man is superior to her in other particulars. The women of this country seem to feel this, and to derive from the conviction a sentiment of independence and dignity which entitles them to respect. There is, however, much feminine softness in the character of Englishwomen; not that morbid sensibility of the girls of some other countries, or the heedless passion of our southern fair, but what is less fascinating though much more valuable, there is a great fund of affection, benevolence, and candour. They seem little acquainted with our susceptibilities of love; they feel, perhaps, less exquisitely its pangs and raptures ; they little understand the science of looks and the mysterious sympathies of the tender passion, which an Italian girl seems to know by instinct. There appears at first sight to be little imagination or enthusiasm in the character of an Englishwoman; if you speak to her passionately upon any subject her countenance varies but little; she listens with great composure and placidity ; she seldom replies with an equal animation; and she appears even less affected than she really is. Every thing seems calm and benignant"about the young women of this country; yet, I believe them susceptible of strong and lasting affections. To a native of the south they exhibit a new book to study in the science of the heart; a fairly written volume in which there is much to pique and interest his curiosity. On trying occasions, Englishwomen are capable of great energy. I have myself been surprised at their presence of mind, and quickness of perception and determination in particular instances; and this I attribute to their habit of reasoning and of controlling their ideas, and restraining their imagination. Their education, generally speaking, I consider as excellent; it does not qualify them to shine and to dazzle, but to observe and appreciate justly, to be happy in their domestic
circle, to engage the affections of one man instead of captivating the admiration of twenty.
English girls are from early age accustomed to exercise, and to the free use of their limbs; they breathe the wholesome air of the country ; they are inured to the alterations of the weather ; those of the better class learn to ride ; all this inspires them with security, and gives them confidence, without, however, rendering them masculine. What a difference with our Italian fair, who, although bountifully endowed by nature both in physical and moral faculties, are by an erroneous system of education cooped up within walls, trained to indolence, and hardly acquainted with the use of their limbs; they become by that means enervated and helpless. Their minds, too, are seldom stored with substantial knowledge; and their natural strength is wasted, or turned into wrong channels.
With regard to the manners and address of Englishwomen, they vary of course according to the gradations of classes ; the more you rise in the scale of English society, the more urbanity and ease you meet with. In the middling ranks, especially among those who have not travelled, there is an appearance of stiffness mixed with their politeness, which is at first very repulsive. It is a mistaken notion of dignity and propriety which forbids them to smile and almost to look at a stranger, as if modesty were necessarily united with austerity of countenance. They have no idea of that happy medium between familiarity and total strangeness, which our continental women so well understand.
There is something ungainly and awkward in girls of the middling classes who have not yet mixed with the world ; but there is at the same time an air of simplicity, propriety, and purity about them, which interests while it commands respect. As you become better acquainted with them, you find them communicative and often very entertaining ; above all, there is a justness of ideas, a soundness of judgment, which I have seldom met with in females of other countries.
The accomplishments of music and dancing are very common, and indispensable to what is termed a genteel education. Yet, with regard to music, they certainly exhibit less taste and feeling, especially in their singing, than our Italian women, who seem to pour out their whole souls in their tones ; in musical skill or execution, however, the English ladies are very proficient. The harp is still a favourite instrument with many of them; it seems to suit their style of beauty, and shows to advantage their generally fine figures.
The evening dress of the ladies is what would be considered voluptuous even in Italy; but here it has not the same effect, accompanied as it is with a decency of demeanour and a seeming unconsciousness of the charms they expose to view.
You are acquainted with the respect that Englishwomen, generally speaking, pay to marriage vows. This is the quality that I most admire in them; it is the foundation of all their domestic virtues: but as this subject would lead to melancholy reflections upon other countries, which we have already often made together, I shall only express my earnest wish, that the intercourse that exists now between the English and other nations, may in this respect afford a beneficial example to the latter, without being detrimental to the former, in a point so closely connected with moral rectitude and the welfare of society. I attribute to the dereliction of this principle, many of the public evils which afflict the continent; as for the individual misery it entails upon families, you need not be told of it by me.
In order to form a correct idea of the domestic happiness and comforts of this people, one must be admitted to their private family circles, when they spend their evenings by the fire-side. I have often had this gratification, and I have been delighted with the appearance of peace, simplicity, and affection, which the groups around me exhibited. I have had the good fortune to see in this manner families of different ranks, and I have found the nobleman did not differ in this from the private gentleman or the man of business. One is not obliged to talk nonsense to every woman in the company as in France, or to appear the humble worshipper of one imperious beauty as in Italy ; here a man is allowed to follow the bent of his inclination, provided it be within the limits of propriety and good manners. A well-bred Englishman seldom talks upon a subject he is not well acquainted with ; he prefers remaining silent, and silence is always preferable to impertinence. There is more unity and less versatility in the English character than in the French or Italian ; an Englishman, therefore, does not attempt too many things, but what he undertakes he generally succeeds in. There is much less brilliancy in English than in foreign society, but there is more ease and equality of temper. Great deference is paid to the ladies, by studying their convenience and comfort, without buzzing in their ears continual common-place flattery.
There is an astonishing calmness in the countenance and demeanour of Englishmen, in those trying moments in which we natives of more southern climes have the greatest difficulty to keep our self-command. Were you to listen to the debates of the British senate, "and compare them with those of our continental assemblies, you would immediately perceive the difference. The same coolness is remarkable at their clubs and dinners, and in common conversation. This phlegm, on public questions, is perhaps owing in a great measure to the fortunate position of their country, which has saved them from those scenes of horror that have made us so nervous and irritable upon all matters connected with a reminiscence of those times. There is also an affectation of bon ton mixed with this singular impassibility of the English; but I believe much of it is owing to constitutional gravity, as well as to that early discipline which the English exert over their imagination. It is imagination that magnifies the evils or blessings of life, so as to startle us by their reflected images : reality is much tamer, as Metastasio elegantly describes it : Sempre è maggior del vero-l'idea d'una sventura—al credulo pensiero dipinta dal timor. The English are more matter-of-fact people than we; they see things more correctly. Yet this sedateness has its interruptions ; for, as our friend Count C. observes : Les Anglais avec toutes leurs bonnes qualités sont sujets à des accés de fièvre; but happily for them the fits are not too long.
Thus far, my dear friend, have I sketched for you these few remarks upon some of the moral qualities of this nation. Should you feel sufficiently entertained by this letter, I may at a future period give you some account of the general appearance of the country. Meantime, believe me, I shall never forget il bel paese, nor those who inhabit it.--Addio.
SECOND CANTO OF LA BELLE. TRYAMOUR.
Shifts with the breeze o'er this secluded stream,
My boat hath floated since the noon-day gleam;
And I am scarce awaken'd from my dream
2. The storm, by which my heart so late was shaken,
Is over, and my thoughts are tranquil now, And I can bear to feel myself forsaken,
Yea, with a placid and unalter'd brow; Though, ever and anon, doth Memory waken
The slumbering gusts which make my spirit bow And reel to its foundations—still my sleep Is throng'd with passionate dreams, from which I start to weep.
3. And though these lovely haunts * have never seen
Thy beauty-nor, perchance, shall ever see,
And here are fresh remembrances of thee.
These woods and hills, speak feelingly to me;
From the cold world one last and pensive day To bury my dead hopes, and soothe fond sorrow
With the last tears these eyes will ever pay To passion--thou wilt pardon me. To-morrow
Breaks the last spell, and bears me far away From this dream-haunted region ;-here I part With the last folly of my hardening heart.
5. So now, farewell to Love - but not to thee,
High-hearted Friend !--The hour of my despair Did first reveal thy being's depths to me; ..
I saw the beauty of thy soul laid bare,-
Its deep and strong affections; and I swear,
* H Park, near Newbury, Sept. 6th.