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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


84 ,BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. vexation and despair of the aeronaut at this manifestation of hostility is indescribable. He writes :-‘‘ I understand a lady has been the underhand prompter ! Hold, I beg pardon of the fair sex ; they are my best friends, and I prize their approbation beyond the highest honour fame can give ! And shall a female Machiavel of $fly be ranked with them1 Forbid it, politeness-forbid it, humanity-forbid it, truth ! ” He subsequently obtained the use of Heriot’s Hospital Green, advertised his ascent, but another disappointment occurred, and another paroxysm ensued. The waggoner from Liverpool had deceived him as to the time of his arrival-his apparatus for filling the balloon would not be forwarded till after the day advertised. “What shall I do?” he writes to his guardian; “Numbers of people will come from Aberdeen and Glasgow, and they must be disappointed ! Muledictus homo pis conjidit in hominel Oh! what a frame of mind I am in !” And then follows the confession-“Fame and glory, ye objects of my pursuits, ye destroy my peace of mind, yet are ye still dear to me.” To help him out of this dilemma, one Mr. Chalmers, a plumber; engaged to make him two vats or cisterns, in sufficient time for his purposes, but when the day appointed arrived, Chalmers had not fulfilled his promise, coolly saying he could not get them done. Such repeated disappointments were enough to make the most “ phlegmatic mortal ” mad. “ My patience forsook me,” says Lunardi ; “ I loaded him with invectives, but they were all thrown away upon the phlegmatic mortal ; he quietly maintained his sung froid.” Mr. Erskine having directed the aeronaut to a Mr. Selby, another plumber, who quickly set to work upon the vats, our hero is again transported from the depths of despair to happiness. “I am now in a happy frame of mind,” he writes, “ for conversing with the ladies, two hundred of whom have called this morning,”-(at the Parliament House, where the balloon was exhibiting). For the honour of the “Land of Cakes,” we cannot refrain from quoting the following eulogium on our countrywomen, at the close of last century :- “ Happy mortal ! you exclaim ; and well you might, could you form any idea of the SCOTTISBHE AUTIE!S Their height, in general, approaches to what I would call the majestic, adorned with easy elegance ; their figures are such as Grecian artists might have been proud to copy. But to describe their faces. The pencil of Titian, or Michael Angelo, could scarce have done them justice ! No perfume shop supplies the beautiful colour that glows on their cheeks and lips : it is the pure painting of health, and pictures forth minds as pure. Nature has made them lovely, and they have not suffered art to spoil her works. I have endeavoured to give you some idea of their personal charms, but their mental ones are far more striking, Grace without affectation-frankness without levity -good humour without folly-and dignity without pride-are the distinguishing characteristics.” This is no doubt the language of poetic feeling ; but however enthusiastic an admirer of the fair sex the young Italian may have been, he shows himself not .
Volume 8 Page 119
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Volume 8 Page 120
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