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Sherem, hearth 20 1801. INTRODUCTORY.
#. 0216.1842.Chatunkam.28125.08 IN
one of the southern counties of England there is a village beautifully situated within view of the sea, and inhabited chiefly by persons of easy fortune and elegant
And as the manor-house was, a few years ago, the chief ornament of this village; so the lady of the manor, at that period, shone eminently and admirably, above all her sex in that part of the country. Since, however, there is much difference of opinion concerning what may justly be called admirable in the female character, some making the fashions of this world, and others the principles of the Christian religion, the test of true excellence; I shall endeavour to give such a description of the lady in question as may enable the careful reader to form a just estimate of her worth.
The lady of the manor was descended from a respectable, though not a noble, family. Her parents were pious, and endeavoured not only to make her acquainted with the word of God, but also to regulate her life agreeably to the revealed will of her heavenly Father. In the education of this lady, literary refinement had been wisely blended with domestic usefulness, and the highest polish of manners and sweetest courtesies of life with
the most simple and moderate habits. She had married early in life. Her husband was a military man, and one whose piety did honour to his profession. With this beloved companion she had visited several foreign countries, and not without improving the opportunities thus afforded her of marking the various customs and manners of mankind. But though highly favoured in her husband, this lady had endured many afflictions: and, after passing through many scenes of sorrow, she was now left a widow, with only two children remaining out of a large and lovely family.
By the death of several intermediate heirs, the husband of the lady of the manor had, some years ago, unexpectedly entered into possession of the manor house situated in the village above mentioned, together with a considerable estate in the neighbourhood. Thus this excellent lady was introduced into a more exalted situation in society, a circumstance which afforded her opportunity for a larger display of Christian virtues than a humbler sphere of action could have supplied.
It now became evident, that her industry and moderation, her plainness of dress and her humility of carriage, were not the effect of a moderate fortune, but of Christian principles; since all these qualities remained in their original simplicity, even after a change of circumstances appeared, in the eye of the world, to require a change of habits.
But this excellent lady found other objects on which to bestow the superfluities of her purse than those which vanity would have pointed out; and, when called to occupy an elevated station, her courteous manners bore no marks of supercilious condescension, but seemed to flow from the most perfect spirit of Christian meekness.
Though now possessing the means of visiting and being visited with marks of personal distinction, this lady was still observant of the apostle's caution, and was a keeper at home; at the same time not forgetting to exercise that kind of hospitality, which we find so earnestly recommended by our Lord in St. Luke xiv. 12–14.Then said he also to him that bade him, IVhen thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours ; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made