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geniuses. Darcy, however, is a young gentleman of remarkable talent, and in a very short time elevated himself " from the unpaid contributor to the poetical columns of a newspaper, to the paid writer in a popular magazine; while his poems, signed Alfred, became objects of eager expectation." All this fame is unknown to the friends of Darcy. They knew not that he was the great 2. of Blackwood's, at two guineas a sheet. At length he publishes * a volume of Poems and Hymns!” under the name of Alfred, and the reviews and journals are mad about its merits. But nobody knows the pious writer! He wrote in the Eclectic, and no one knew it!
The relatives and friends of Alfred look upon him as a worthy young gentleman, but never suspect that they are in possession of one of the jewels of "purest ray serenc."
Yet, it may be asked, was it possible that a young man, so gifted, could conceal his abilities from observation ?
Oh, yes. Darcy, to borrow Addison's metaphor concerning himself, though he could draw a bill for £1000 had never any small change in his pocket. Like him, he could write, but he could not talk; he was discouraged in a moment; and the slightest rebuff made him hesitate to a painful degree. He bad, however, some flattering moments, even amidst his relations and friends! for he heard them re. peating his verses, and singing his songs. He had also far greater joy in hearing his hymns in places of public worship, and then, 100 much choked with grateful emotion to join in the devotional chorus himself, he used to feel his own soul raised 10 heaven upon those wings which he hai furnished for others.. At such moments he longed to discover himself as the author; but was withheld by the fear that his songs would cease to be adımired, and his hymns would lose their usefulness, if it were known that he had written them. However, he resolved to feel his way; and once, on hearing a song of his commended, he ventured to observe, “ I think I can write as good a one."_“You!" cried bis uncle; “ what a conceited boy! I remember that you used to scribble verses when a child; but I thought you had been laughed out of that nonsense."-"My dear fellow, nature never meant thee for a poet, believe me,” said one of his cousins conceitedly,-a young collegian. “No, no: like the girl in the drama, thou would'st make love' and joy' rhyme, and know no better."
Darcy writes another volume, which " is more potent than the first.” He resolves to visit his native place, where dwelleth Julia Vane, (so-ho!) and accordingly pockets his manuscript, full of what Mrs. Opie calls the printer's marks, (though what they are she does not explain) and sets off for D-On the first night be offers to read his tale; but his old guardian very warily evades the kind nuisance, for as the aunt assures him, " they are engaged elsewhere. The party go to the party. A Capt. Eustace volunteers the reading of a popular volume, of which he suffers himself to be thought the author. Darcy starts at finding the volume no other than his own production. Like Mrs. Montague, he finds the little dark thing is his own!
After the reading was over, every one crowded round the reader, whose manner of receiving their thanks was such, as to make every one but Darcy believe the work was his own; and never was the PASSIVE LIE OF VANITY more complete. ly exhibited; while Darcy, intoxicated, as it were, by the feelings of gratified authorship, and the hopes excited by Julia's words, thanked him again and again for the admirable manner in which he had read the book; declaring, with great earn. estness, that he could never have done it such justice himself; adding, that this evening was the happiest of his life.
The end of all this is, that Darcy contrives to read his MS. in the presence of Capt. Eustace, Julia, and his friends. The triumph over the passive lie is immense! Truth, of course, is rewarded with Julia Vane.
“What is all this?” cried Sir Hugh at last, who with the uncle and aunt had listened in silent wonder. “Why, Eustace, I thought you owned that.”—“That I deny; I owned nothing ;" he eagerly replied.—"You insisted on it, nay, every body insisted, that I was the author of the beautiful work which I read, and of other things, and if Mr. Pennington asserts that he is the author, I give him joy of his genius and his fame!"-"What do I hear?” cried the aunt; "Mr. Darcy Pennington a genius, and famous, and I not suspect it!"-"Impossible!" cried his uncle, pettishly; “that dul fellow turn out a wit! It cannot be. What! are you Alfrel, boy? I cannot credit it; for if so, I have been dull indeed ;" while his sons seemed to feel as much mortification as surprise. “My dear uncle," said Darcy, “I am now a professed author. I wrote the work which you heard last night. Here it is in the manuscript, as returned by the printer; and here is the last proof of the second edition, which I received at the post-office just now, di. rected to A. B., which is, I think, proof positive that I may be Alfred also, who, by your certainly impartial praises, is for this evening, at least, in his own eyes elevated into ALFRED THE GILEAT.”
The lies of Flattery are next on the list; and these, according to our authoress's notions, are lies of a very bad character. “The lies of benevolence, even when they can be resolved into lies of flattery, may be denominated amiable lies; (fie! fie!) but the lie of flattery is usually uttered by the bad-hearted and censorious : therefore, to the term of LIE OF FLATTERY, might be added an alias- the Lie of MALEVOLENCE. We regret to find that any thing can be allowed an alius; but Mrs. Opie seems to reason her lies into a state of confusion. The amiable lie, or lie of benevolence, may be resolved into a lie of flattery; and then the lie of flattery might be termed the lie of malevolence. The lies are a little mixed here!
THE TUNBAX; OR THE LIE OF FLATTERI. Some persons are such determined flatterers both by nature and habit, that they Aatter unconsciously, and almost involuntarily. Such a flatterer was Jemima Aldred; but, as the narrowness of her fortune made her unable to purchase the luxuries of life in wbich she most delighted, she was also a conscious and voluntary fatterer whenever slie was with those who had it in their power to indulge her fa. vourite inclinations,
Lady Delaval, a lady accustomed to flattery in small doses, is so drenched by Jemima, that she resolves on exposing the young Liaress. An opportunity soon offers itself.
After tea, Lady Delaval desired her maid to bring her down the foundation for a turban, which she was going to pin up, and some other finery prepared for the same purpose ; and in a short time the most splendid materials for millinery shone upon the table. When she began her task, her other guests, Jemima excepted, worked also, but she was sufficiently employed, she said, in watching the creative and tasteful fingers of her friend. At first, Lady Delaval made the turban of silver tissue; and Jemima was in ecstacies; but the next moment she declared that covering to be too simple, and Jemima thought so too;-wbile she was in equal ecstasies at the effect of a gaudy many coloured gauze wbich replaced its modest costliness. But still her young companions openly preferred the silver covering, declaring that the gay one could only be tolerated if nothing else of showy orna. ment were superadded. They gave, however, their opinion in vain. Coloured stones, a gold band, and a green spun-glass feather, were all in their tụrn heaped upon this showy head-dress, while Jemima exulted orer every fresh addition, and admired it as a new proof of Lady Delaval's taste. “Now, then, it is completed," cried Lady Delaval ;'" but no; suppose I add a scarlet feather to the green one;" “Oh! that would be superh;” and having given this desirable finish to her performance, Lady Delaval and Jemima declared it to be perfect; but the rest of the company were too honest to commend it. Lady Delaval then put it on her head; and it was as unbecoming as it was ugly: but Jemima exclaimed that her dear friend had never worn any thing before in which she looked so well, adding, “But then she looks well in every thing. However, that lovely turban would become
Jemima praises with a liberality beyond all bounds, and Lady Delaval, on the ensuing day, sends a letter with the turban, and a ticket “ for an Astronomical Lecture on the Grand Transparent Orrery,” requesting the fair fatterer to wear the first, and visit the last, and promising to call for her. Jemima is struck aghast at the crazy turban and the entertainment, and after much lamentation, affects the tooth-ache, which is also putting a practical lie in her mouth, and so avoids the tinsel and the stars. Lady Delaval calls the next day with the moral and a new Leghorn bonnet, and Jemima very quietly avails herself of the latter, and leaves the moral to be its own exceeding great reward. We fear the present of the Leghorn was not likely to amend the young lady's complimentary habits.
The Lies of Fear follow; and it appears that no persons are so guilty of this kind of lie as negligent correspondents, whose exeuses for not writing sooner are mere lies of fear, “ sear of having forfeited favour by too long a silence."
As the lie of fear always proceeds, as I before observed, from a want of moral courage, it is often the result of want of resolution to say “no," when “yes” is more agreeable to the feelings of the questioner. “Is not my new gown pretty?" “Is not my new hat becoming ?” “Is not my coat of a good colour?" There are few persons who have courage to say “no,” even to these trivial questions ; though the negative would be truth, and the affirmative, falsehood. And still lese are they able to be honest in their replies to questions of a more delicate nature.
“ Js not my last work the best ?” “ Is not my wife beautiful?” “Is not my daughter agreeable?" "Is not my son a fine youth?"—those insimring questions, which contented and confiding egotism is only tvo apt to ask.
We are touching upon delicate ground here. “Is not my last work the best?" We must not prevaricate; we are goaded to speak the truth; we must say-No!
The lie of fear is illustrated by a story. Lady Leslie (is not Lady a lie?) asks a young officer, who is going to Worcester, to put a letter, with an inclosure of money, and addressed to a poor man in distress, into the post. Capt. Freeland, (query Freeling!) promises to execute the commission, and fails to keep his promise. When he unexpectedly meets Lady Leslie, he tells the lie of fear; in short, he declares he put the letter into the post. Lady L. becomes pensive; the letter inclosed money for the benefit of a poor lying-in woman.
“Yes; for the poor woman, to whom I sent it, is not only herself on the paint of being confined, but she has a sick husband, unable to be moved; and as (but owing to no fault of his) he is on the point of bankruptcy, his cruel landlord has declared that, if they do not pay their rent by to-morrow, he will torn them out into the street, and seize the very bed they lie on!
The Captain is in agonies; he flies to hock and champagne for relief, and then takes a place in the mail, and hastens to London and the lying-in woman (this even is one of the branches of lying not neglected by Mrs. Opie)--cures the sick husband, relieves all around him, and thus relieves himself; and so returns, a rectified liar, to Lady Leslie.
When Lady Leslie and he met, she praised his virtue, while she blamed his fault; and they fortified each other in the wise and moral resolution, never to violate truth ajain, even on the slightest occasion : as a lie, when told, however unimportant it may at the time appear, is like an arrow shot over a house, whose course is unseen, and may be unintentionally the cause, to some one, of agony or death,
Next follow the lies, falsely called Lies of Benevolence,-falsely called,-surely to say, a lie is a lie, is no lie; but this strict particularity leads us into sad difficulties. The illustration is a tale of potted sprats. A young lady praised some of these dainties done in garlic, and is pushed on through a whole course of them, lying and sputtering, flattering and sickening, until she is fairly poisoned into a love of truth.
The Lies of Convenience afford “ a very copious subject,” and our authoress is quite herself upon it.
I have now before me a very copious subject : and shall begin by that most common lie of convenience ; the order to servants, to say “Not at home;" a custom which even some moralists defend, because they say that is no lying, as it deceives no one. But this I deny ;-as I know that it is often meant to deceive. I know that if the person, angry at being refused admittance, says, at the next meeting with the denied person, “ I am sure you were at home such a day, when I called, but did not choose to see me, the answer is, “O dear, no;-how can you say so? I am sure I was not at home :—for I am never denied to you ;" though the speaker is conscious all the while that "not at home” was intended to deceive, and is a form used merely to exclude visiters with as little trouble as possible, i would ask whether it were not just as easy to say, “my master, or my mistress, is engaged; and can see no one this morning.” Why have recourse even to the appearance of falsehood, when truth would answer every purpose just as well?
But, if “not at home" be understood, amongst equals, merely as a legitimate excuse, it still is highly objectionable; because it must have a 'most pernicious effect on the minds of servants, who cannot be supposed parties to this implied compact amongst superiors, and must therefore understand the order literally; which is, “go, and lie for my convenience!" How then, I ask, in the name of justice and common sense, can ), after giving such an order, resent any lie which servants may choose to tell me for their own convenience, pleasure, or interest?
The Lies of convenience are numerous indeed! Those relative to unpleasant engagements; “ headaches, bad colds, unexpected visiters from the country;" all such are evils which our rigid writer would with her own pure pen utterly exterminate. There is only one tale, however, and a short one too, to all these lies-but our room will not permit us to do more than allude to the remaining illustrations.
The Lies of Interest are said to be “ very various and more excusable and less offensive than many others.” Amelia! Surely, surely we read not thy sentences aright. Yea! we look again and find that the words are so put down! Why, -why should a lie of interest be more excusable?-a lie of benevolence, as it is termed, is to our taste, infinitely more pardonablebut what is the lie of convenience but the lie of interest? What the lie of flatlery, but the same? We perceive a sort of anxiety not to run down this lie of interest, this Quaker lie, in the tender forgiveness of the interested lie, which is highly creditable to Mrs. Opie's discretion. She informs you that the tradesman who tells you he cannot afford to come down in his prices, because he gave almost as much for the goods himself, is no very abandoned liar!
It is not from persons like these that we meet with the most disgusting marks of interested falsehood. It is when habitual and petty lying profanes the lips of those whom independence preserves from any strong temptation to violate truth, and whom religion and education might have taught to value it.
The ladies in close caps, that sold blue night caps and coarse flannel petticoats at Squibb's Auction-rooms for the benefit of their own good vames and bad fellow creatures, traded on this principle; and it would therefore be flying in the face of her own sect for Amelia to denounce this “not very abandoned lie” in her usual set terms. We like her dove-coloured tact.
“ The lie of first-rate Malignity,” for malignity has its degrees of lying, would require, one would think, no illustration. This lie however is not without its tale: but we must on!
The lies of second-rate Malignity are lies of a very delicate and tender nature but let the authoress describe them herself.
I shall now explain what I consider as lies of second-RATE MALIGNITY ;--namely, templing persons, by dint of flattery, to do what they are incapable of doing well, from the mean, malicious wish of leading them to expose themselves, in order that their tempter may enjoy a hearty laugh at their expense. Persuading a man to drink more than his head can bear, by assurances that the wine is not strong, and that he has not drunk so much as he thinks he has, in order to make him intoxicated, and that his persuaders may enjoy the cruel delight of witnessing his drunken silliness, his probable vainglorious boastings, and those physical contortions, or mental weaknesses, which intoxication is always sure to produce. Complimenting either man or woman on qualities which they do not possess, in hopes of imposing on their credulity; praising a ludy's work, or dress, to her face; and then, as soon as she is no longer present, not only abusing both her work and her dress, but laughing at her weakness, in believing the praise sincere. Lavishing encomiums on a inan's abilities and learning in his presence; and then, as soon as he is out of hearing, expressing contempt for his credulous belief in the sincerity of the praises bestowed; and wonder that he should be so blind and conceited as not to know that he was in learning only a smatterer, and in understanding just not a fool. All these are lies of second-rate malignity, which cannot be exceeded in base and petty treachery.
“ Your lies” are here nicely anatomised! pushing the bottle;-a lie!-declaring your claret is not strong; a lie!-tempting a lady to write a book; a lie!-praising said book; a lie!-praising a duchess's stomacher and abusing her train; a lie!-an odious damned lie!-"a wicked lie; upon my soul a lie!” A simple story illustrates these second-hand lies, and closes the first volume, as far as the stories are concerned.
The authoress however does uot close her first volume without