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them, so as to take a fraternal interest in the suc ceeding periods of their lives. Their fathers I certainly had not seen; nor had they, consciously. These two fathers must both have died in India, before my inquiries had begun to travel in that direction. But, as old acquaintances of my mother's, both had visited The Farm before I was born; and about General Smith, in particular, there had survived amongst the servants a remembrance which seemed to us (that is to them and to myself) ludicrously awful, though, at that time, the practice was common throughout our Indian possessions. had a Hindoo servant with him; and this servant every night stretched himself along the "sill" or outer threshold of the door; so that he might have been trodden on by the general when retiring to rest; and from this it was but a moderate step in advance to say that he was trodden on. Upon which basis many other wonders were naturally reared. Miss Smith's father, therefore, furnished matter for a not very amiable tradition; but Miss Smith herself was the sweetest-tempered and the loveliest of girls, and the most thoroughly English in the style of her beauty. Far different every way was Miss Watson. In person she was a finished beauty of the very highest pretensions, and generally recognized as such; that is to say, her figure was fine and queenly; her features were exquisitely cut, as regarded their forms and the correspondences of their parts; and usually by artists her face was said to be Grecian. Perhaps the nostrils, mouth, and forehead, might be so; but nothing could be less Grecian, or more eccentric in form and position, than the eyes. They were placed
obliquely, in a way that I do not remember to have seen repeated in any other face whatever. Large they were, and particularly long, tending to an almond-shape; equally strange, in fact, as to color, shape, and position: but the remarkable position of these eyes would have absorbed your gaze to the obliteration of all other features or peculiarities in the face, were it not for one other even more remarkable distinction affecting her complexion: this lay in a suffusion that mantled upon her cheeks, of a color amounting almost to carmine. Perhaps it might be no more than what Pindar meant by the nogQugɛov Qws ɛgatos, which Gray has falsely* translated as "the bloom of young desire, and PURPLE light of love." It was not unpleasing, and gave a lustre to the eyes, but it added to the eccentricity of the face; and by all strangers it was presumed to be an artificial color, resulting from some mode of applying
*Falsely, because лоɛоs rarely, perhaps, means in the Greek use what we mean properly by purple, and could not mean it in the Pindaric passage; much oftener it denotes some shade of crimson, or else of puniceus, or blood-red. Gibbon was never more mistaken than when he argued that all the endless disputing about the purpureus of the ancients might have been evaded by attending to its Greek designation, namely, porphyry-colored: since, said he, porphyry is always of the same color. Not at all. Porphyry, I have heard, runs through as large a gamut of hues as marble; but, if this should be an exaggeration, at all events porphyry is far from being so monochromatic as Gibbon's argument would presume. The truth is, colors were as loosely and latitudinarially distinguished by the Greeks and Romans as degrees of affinity and consanguinity are everywhere. My son-in-law, says a woman, and she means my stepson. My cousin, she says, and she means any mode of relationship in the wide, wide world. Nos neveux, says a French writer, and means not our nephews, but our grandchildren, or more generally our descendants.
a preparation more brilliant than rouge. But to us children, so constantly admitted to her toilet, it was well known to be entirely natural. Generally speaking, it is not likely to assist the effect of a young woman's charms, that she presents any such variety n her style of countenance as could naturally be alled odd. But Miss Watson, by the somewhat enical effect resulting from the harmony between rer fine figure and her fine countenance, triumphed over all that might else have been thought a blemish ; and when she was presented at court on occasion of her marriage, the king himself pronounced her, to friends of Mrs. Schreiber, the most splendid of all the brides that had yet given lustre to his reign. In such cases the judgments of rustic, undisciplined tastes, though marked by narrowness, and often by involuntary obedience to vulgar ideals (which, for instance, makes them insensible to all the deep sanctities of beauty that sleep amongst the Italian varieties of the Madonna face), is not without its appropriate truth. Servants and rustics all thrilled in sympathy with the sweet English loveliness of Miss Smith; but all alike acknowledged, with spontaneous looks of homage, the fine presence and finished beauty of Miss Watson. Naturally, from the splendor with which they were surrounded, and the notoriety of their great expectations,- so much to dazzle in one direction, and, on the other hand, something for as tender a sentiment as pity, in the fact of both from so early an age having been united in the calamity of orphanage,- go where they might, these young women drew all eyes upon themselves; and from the audible comparisons sometimes made between
them, it might be imagined that if ever there were a situation fitted to nourish rivalship and jealousy, between two girls, here it might be anticipated in daily operation. But, left to themselves, the yearnings of the female heart tend naturally towards what is noble; and, unless where it has been tried too heavily by artificial incitements applied to the pride, I do not believe that women generally are disposed to any unfriendly jealousy of each other. Why should they? Almost every woman, when strengthened in those charms which nature has given to her by such as she can in many ways give to herself, must feel that she has her own separate domain of empire unaffected by the most sovereign beauty upon earth. Every man that ever existed has probably his own peculiar talent (if only it were detected), in which he would be found to excel all the rest of his race. And in every female face possessing any attractions at all, no matter what may be her general inferiority, there lurks some secret peculiarity of expression some mesmeric individuality — which is valid within its narrower range-limited superiority over the supreme of beauties within a narrow circle. It is unintelligibly but mesmerically potent, this secret fascination attached to features oftentimes that are absolutely plain; and as one of many cases within my own range of positive experience, I remember in confirmation, at this moment, that in a clergyman's family, counting three daughters, all on a visit to my mother, the youngest, Miss FP, who was strikingly and memorably plain, never walked out on the Clifton Downs unattended, but she was followed home by a crowd of admiring men, anxious
to learn her rank and abode; whilst the middle sister, eminently handsome, levied no such visible tribute of admiration on the public.
I mention this fact, one of a thousand similar facts, simply by way of reminding the reader of what he must himself have often witnessed; namely, that no woman is condemned by nature to any ignoble necessity of repining against the power of other women; her own may be far more confined, but within its own circle may possibly, measured against that of the haughtiest beauty, be the profounder. However, waiving the question thus generally put here, and as it specially affected these two young women that virtually were sisters, any question of precedency in power or display, when brought into collision with sisterly affection, had not a momentary existence. Each had soon redundant proofs of her own power to attract suitors without end; and, for the more or the less, that was felt to be a matter of accident. Never, on this earth, I am satisfied, did that pure sisterly love breathe a more steady inspiration than now into the hearts and through the acts of these two generous girls; neither was there any sacrifice which either would have refused to or for the other. The period, however, was now rapidly shortening during which they would have any opportunity for testifying this reciprocal love. Suitors were flocking around them, as rank as cormorants in a storm. The grim old chancellor (one, if not both, of the young ladies having been a ward in Chancery) had all his legal jealousies awakened on their behalf. The worshipful order of adventurers and fortune. hunters, at that time chiefly imported from Ireland,