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[277] or a steeple, anywhere, and you are sure to be rewarded with a rich and various prospect. . . .

The society here is certainly excellent. . . . . In open-heartedness I imagine it is almost unrivalled, and what that virtue is, how completely it will cover a multitude of deficiencies and defects, one who has long been a stranger and obliged to make many strangers his friends, can alone know. It is a great thing, too, to have so much influence granted to talent as there is in Edinburgh, for it breaks down the artificial distinctions of society, and makes its terms easy to all who ought to enter it, and have any right to be there. And it is a still greater thing to have this talent come familiarly into the fashion of the times, sustained by that knowledge which must give it a prevalent authority, and at once receive and impart a polish and a tone which give a charm to each alike, and without which neither can become what it ought to be to itself or the world. This, I think, is the secret of the fascination of society at Edinburgh. . . .

I did not, of course, seek general society at Edinburgh; still, I knew a good many persons, most, indeed, whom I was desirous to know before I went there. . . . To Count Flahault's I went often. He is a Frenchman, an elegant man, bred in England and with English habits and feelings; and now married to a daughter of Lord Keith, a woman of a great deal of spirit, talent, and culture, who was the most intimate of the personal friends of the Princess Charlotte, and had more influence over her than almost anybody else. Her health was not good, and so they were always at home, and had more or less informal society every evening. Among the persons who came there, besides Lord Belhaven and Lord Elcho,—two of the most respectable young noblemen in Scotland,—were Cranston, the first lawyer there; Clerk, Thomson, and Murray, three more of their distinguished advocates; Sir Thomas Trowbridge, the same good-natured, gentlemanly man I had known at Rome; and Jeffrey, who, both here and in his own house and in all society, was a much more domestic, quiet sort of person than we found him in America.

There was a young lady staying there, too, who drew a great deal of company to the house, Miss McLane, the most beautiful lady in Scotland, and one, indeed, whose beauty has wrought more wonders than almost anybody's since the time of Helen; for she has actually been followed by the mob in the street, until she was obliged to take refuge in a shop from their mere admiration, and gave up going to the theatre because the pit twice rose up, and, taking off their hats to show it was done in respect, called upon her to come to the front

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