the presence of congenial minds so stimulated the prolific power of her imagination, that she was herself astonished at the fresh beauty of her new-born thoughts.
There is a mortifying sense,she writes,
of having played the Mirabeau after a talk with a circle of intelligent persons. They come with a store of acquired knowledge and reflection, on the subject in debate, about which I may know little, and have reflected less; yet, by mere apprehensiveness and prompt intuition, I may appear their superior. Spontaneously I appropriate all their material, and turn it to my own ends, as if it was my inheritance from a long train of ancestors. Rays of truth flash out at the moment, and they are startled by the light thrown over their familiar domain. Still they are gainers, for I give them new impulse, and they go on their way rejoicing in the bright glimpses they have caught. I should despise myself, if I purposely appeared thus brilliant, but I am inspired as by a power higher than my own.All friends will bear witness to the strict fidelity of this sketch. There were seasons when she seemed borne irresistibly on to the verge of prophecy, and fully embodied one's notion of a sibyl. Admirable as Margaret appeared in public, I was yet more affected by this peculiar mingling of impressibility and power to influence, when brought within her private sphere. I know not how otherwise to describe her subtle charm, than by saying that she was at once a clairvoyante and a magnetizer. She read another's bosom-secret, and she imparted of her own force. She interpreted the cipher in the talisman of one's destiny, that he had tried in vain to spell alone; by sympathy she brought out the invisible characters traced by experience