Tag Archives: Bakhtin

Proverbs (L63)

I have mentioned several times the pertness of Mrs. Betty to me; and now, having a little time upon my hands, I will give you a short dialogue that passed just now between us. It may, perhaps, be a little relief to you from the dull subjects with which I am perpetually teasing you.
As she attended me at dinner, she took notice, That Nature is satisfied with a very little nourishment: and thus she complimentally proved it—For, Miss, said she, you eat nothing; yet never looked more charmingly in your life.
As to the former part of your speech, Betty, said I, you observe well; and I have often thought, when I have seen how healthy the children of the labouring poor look, and are, with empty stomachs, and hardly a good meal in a week, that God Almighty is very kind to his creatures, in this respect, as well as in all others in making much not necessary to the support of life; when three parts in four of His creatures, if it were, would not know how to obtain it. It puts me in mind of two proverbial sentences which are full of admirable meaning.
What, pray, Miss, are they? I love to hear you talk, when you are so sedate as you seem now to be.
The one is to the purpose we are speaking of: Poverty is the mother of health. And let me tell you, Betty, if I had a better appetite, and were to encourage it, with so little rest, and so much distress and persecution, I don’t think I should be able to preserve my reason.
There’s no inconvenience but has its convenience, said Betty, giving me proverb for proverb. But what is the other, Madam?
That the pleasures of the mighty are not obtained by the tears of the poor. It is but reasonable, therefore, methinks, that the plenty of the one should be followed by distempers; and that the indigence of the other should be attended with that health, which makes all its other discomforts light on the comparison. And hence a third proverb, Betty, since you are an admirer of proverbs: Better a hare-foot than none at all; that is to say, than not to be able to walk. Continue reading

My family is strangely discomposed (L2)

Our family has indeed been strangely discomposed.—Discomposed!—It has been in tumults, ever since the unhappy transaction; and I have borne all the blame; yet should have had too much concern from myself, had I been more justly spared by every one else.
For, whether it be owing to a faulty impatience, having been too indulgently treated to be inured to blame, or to the regret I have to hear those censured on my account, whom it is my duty to vindicate; I have sometimes wished, that it had pleased God to have taken me in my last fever, when I had every body’s love and good opinion; but oftener that I had never been distinguished by my grandfather as I was: since that distinction has estranged from me my brother’s and sister’s affections; at least, has raised a jealousy with regard to the apprehended favour of my two uncles, that now-and-then overshadows their love. . . .
I will begin, as you command, with Mr. Lovelace’s address to my sister; and be as brief as possible. I will recite facts only; and leave you to judge of the truth of the report raised, that the younger sister has robbed the elder. , , ,
My sister made me a visit there the day after Mr. Lovelace had been introduced; and seemed highly pleased with the gentleman. His birth, his fortune in possession, a clear 2000L. a year, as Lord M. had assured my uncle; presumptive heir to that nobleman’s large estate: his great expectations from Lady Sarah Sadleir and Lady Betty Lawrence; who with his uncle interested themselves very warmly (he being the last of his line) to see him married.
‘So handsome a man!—O her beloved Clary!’ (for then she was ready to love me dearly, from the overflowings of her good humour on his account!) ‘He was but too handsome a man for her!—Were she but as amiable as somebody, there would be a probability of holding his affections!—For he was wild, she heard; very wild, very gay; loved intrigue—but he was young; a man of sense: would see his error, could she but have patience with his faults, if his faults were not cured by marriage!’
Thus she ran on; and then wanted me ‘to see the charming man,’ as she called him.—Again concerned, ‘that she was not handsome enough for him;’ with, ‘a sad thing, that the man should have the advantage of the woman in that particular!’—But then, stepping to the glass, she complimented herself, ‘That she was very well: that there were many women deemed passable who were inferior to herself: that she was always thought comely; and comeliness, let her tell me, having not so much to lose as beauty had, would hold, when that would evaporate or fly off:—nay, for that matter,’ [and again she turned to the glass] ‘her features were not irregular; her eyes not at all amiss.’ And I remember they were more than usually brilliant at that time.—’Nothing, in short, to be found fault with, though nothing very engaging she doubted—was there, Clary.’ Continue reading