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was enough to make us turn masters and governesses out of doors, and leave our daughters and granddaughters to Mrs C.'s system of non-instruction. I should have liked to meet with another specimen, just to ascertain whether the peculiar charm and advantage arose from the quick and active mind of this fair Ignorant, or was really the natural and inevitable result of the training ; but, alas! to find more than one unaccomplished young lady, in this accomplished age, is not be hoped for. So I admired and envied ; and her fair kinswomen pitied and scorned, and tried to teach ; and Mary, never made for a learner, and as full of animal spirits as a school-boy in the holidays, sang and laughed, and skipped about from morning to night. It must be confessed, as a counter-balance to her other perfections, that the dear Cousin Mary was, as far as great natural modesty and an occasional touch of shyness would let her, the least in the world of a romp! She loved to toss about children, to jump over stiles, to scramble through hedges, to climb trees; and some of her knowledge of plants and birds may certainly have arisen from her delight in these boyish amusements. And which of us has not found that the strongest, the healthiest, and most flourishing acquirement has arisen from pleasure or accident ; has been in a manner self-sown, like an oak of the forest?— Oh she was a sad romp; as skittish as a wild colt, as uncertain as a butterfly, as uncatchable as a swallow ! But her great personal beauty, the charm, grace and lightness of her movements, and above all, her evident
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innocence of heart, were bribes to indulgence which no one could withstand. I never heard her blamed by any human being. The perfect unrestraint of her attitudes, and the exquisite symmetry of her form, would have rendered her an invaluable study for a painter. Her daily doings would have formed a series of pictures. I have seen her scudding through a shallow rivulet, with her petticoats caught up just a little above the ancle, like a young Diana, and a bounding, skimming, enjoying motion, as if native to the element which might have become a Naiad. I have seen her on the topmost round of a ladder, with one foot on the roof of a house, flinging down the grapes that no one else had nerve enough to reach, laughing and garlanded, and crowned with vine-leaves, like a Bacchante. But the prettiest combination of circumstances under which I ever saw her, was driving a donkey cart up a hill one sunny windy day, in September. It was a 'gay party of young women, some walking, some in open carriages of different descriptions, bent to see a celebrated prospect from a hill called the Ridges. The ascent was by a steep narrow lane, cut deeply between sand-banks, crowned with high, feathery hedges. The road and its picturesque banks lay bathed in the golden sunshine, whilst the autumnal sky, intensely blue, appeared at the top as through an arch. The hill was so steep that we had all dismounted, and left our different vehicles in charge of the servants below; but Mary, to whom, as incomparably the best charioteer, the conduct of a certain nondescript machine, a sort of donkey curricle, had fallen, determined to drive a delicate little girl, who was afraid of the walk, to the top of the eminence. She jumped out for the purpose, and we followed, watching and admiring her as she won her way up the hill: now tugging at the donkeys in front, with her bright face towards them and us, and springing along backwards— now pushing the chaise from behind— now running by the side of her steeds, patting and caressing them — now soothing the half-frightened child — now laughing, nodding, and shaking her little whip at us — darting about like some winged creature – till at last she stopped at the top of the ascent, and stood for a moment on the summit, her straw bonnet blown back, and held on only by the strings; her brown hair playing on the wind in long natural ringlets; her complexion becoming every moment more splendid from exertion, redder and whiter; her eyes and her smile brightening and dimpling; her figure in its simple white gown, strongly resieved by the deep blue sky, and her whole form seeming to dilate before our eyes. There she stood under the arch formed by two meeting elms, a Hebe, a Psyche, a perfect goddess of youth and joy. The Ridges are very fine things altogether, especially the part to which we were bound, a turfy breezy spot, sinking down abruptly like a rock into a wild fore-ground of heath and forest, with a magnificent command of distant objects; — but we saw nothing that day like the figure on the top of the hill. After this I lost sight of her for a long time. She was called suddenly home by the dangerous illness of
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her mother, who, after languishing for some months, died; and Mary went to live with a sisteromuch older than herself, and richly married in a of. town, where she languished in smoke, confinement, dependence and display, (for her sister was a matchmaking lady, a manoeuvrer,) for about a twelvemonth. She then left her house and went into Wales—as a governess! Imagine the astonishment caused by this intelligence amongst us all; for I myself, though admiring the untaught damsel almost as much as I loved her, should certainly never have dreamed of her as a teacher. However, she remained in the rich baronet's family where she had commenced her vocation. They liked her apparently, - there she was ; and again nothing was heard of her for many months, until, happening to call on the friends at whose house I had originally met her, I espied her fair blooming face, a rose amongst roses, at the drawing-room window, and instantly with the speed of light was met and embraced by her at the hall door.
There was not the slightest perceptible difference in her deportment. She still bounded like a fawn, and laughed and clapped her hands like an infant. She was not a day older, or graver, or wiser, since we parted. IHer post of tutoress had at least done her no harm, whatever might have been the case with her pupils. The more I looked at her the more I wondered; and after our mutual expressions of pleasure had a little subsided, I could not resist the temptation of saying—
“So you are really a governess?”
44 Yes.” “And you continue in the same family?" “Yes.” “And you like your post?” “O yes! yes!” “But, my dear Mary, what could induce you to go?” “Why, they wanted a governess, so I went.” “But what could induce them to keep you?” The perfect gravity and earnestness with which this question was put, set her laughing, and the laugh was echoed back from a group at the end of the room, which I had not before noticed — an elegant man in the prime of life showing a portfolio of rare prints to a fine girl of twelve, and a rosy boy of seven, evidently his children. t “Why did they keep me? Ask them,” replied Mary, turning towards them with an arch smile. “We kept her to teach her ourselves,” said the young lady. “We kept her to play cricket with us,” said her brother. “We kept her to marry,” said the gentleman advancing gaily to shake hands with me. She was a bad governess, perhaps; but she is an excellent wife— that is her true vocation.” And so it is. She is, indeed, an excellent wife; and assuredly a most fortunate one. I never saw happiness so sparkling or so glowing; never saw such devotion to a bride or such fondness for a step-mother, as Sir W. S. and his lovely children show to the sweet Cousin Mary.