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[278] of the box where she sat, and stand up, that they might see her. For myself, I could not find her so very remarkable, though still I would not appeal from a decision like this, which is like the decision of a nation. She had a fine face, certainly, an open, radiant kind of beauty, an exquisite complexion, brilliant black eyes and hair, and a very graceful figure and manner. Her conversation, too, was light and pleasant and unaffected, and, what was most of all to her credit, though she had a perfect consciousness of her own beauty, which she took no pains to conceal, it was mingled with no conceit. It was like an historical fact to her. . . . . She had half the titles in Scotland at her feet. . . . .

I went quite as often to Mrs. Grant's, where an American, I imagine, finds himself at home more easily than anywhere else in Edinburgh. She is an old lady of such great good-nature and such strong good-sense, mingled with a natural talent, plain knowledge, and good taste, derived from English reading alone, that when she chooses to be pleasant she can be so to a high degree. Age and sorrow have fallen pretty heavily upon her. She is about seventy, and has lost several of her children, but still she is interested in what is going forward in the world, tells a great number of amusing stories about the past generation, and gives striking sketches of Highland manners and feelings, of which she is herself an interesting representative1 . . . . . Not a great deal of society came to her house, and what there was did not much interest me. I met there Owen of Lanark, who talked me out of all patience with his localities and universalities; Wilson, of ‘The Isle of Palms,’ a pretending young man, but with a great deal of talent2; Hogg, the poet, vulgar as his name, and a perpetual contradiction, in his conversation, to the exquisite delicacy of his Kilmeny. . . . .

1 Extract from a letter of Mrs. Grant to a friend in America, dated June 24, 1819: ‘The American character has been much raised among our literary people here, by a constellation of persons of brilliant talents and polished manners, by whom we were dazzled and delighted last winter. A Mr. Preston of Virginia [South Carolina] and his friend from Carolina, whose name I cannot spell, for it is French [Hugh S. Legare], Mr. Ticknor, and Mr. Cogswell were the most distinguished representatives of your new world. A handsome and high-bred Mr. Ralston, from Philadelphia, whose mind seemed equal to his other attractions, left also a very favorable impression of transatlantic accomplishments. These were all very agreeable persons, Mr. Ticknor pre-eminently so, and I can assure you ample justice was done to their merits here.’—Memoirs of Mrs. Anne Grant, of Laggan.

2 John Wilson, ‘Christopher North,’ whose chief acknowledged production at this time was the ‘Isle of Palms,’ a poem.

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