(5) I had once a sweet little country house in the neighbourhood of those ladies, and used to be often at their gardens and grottos. Mrs. Crafton had the finest shells, but her grott was dull and regular, and had no appearance of nature in the formation. She was a pious, plain, refined lady, but had not a fancy equal to the operation required in a shell-house.
The excellent, the polite, the well-bred, the good and unfortunate Mrs. O'Hara had a glorious fancy. She was a genius, and had an imagination that formed a grotto wild and charming as Calypso's. Her fancy did likewise form the garden (in which the grotto stood, near the margin of a flood) into a paradise of delights. Page 47 Many a pleasing, solitary hour, have I passed in this charming place; and all at last I saw in ruins; the garden in disorder — and every fine shell torn from the grotto.
Such are the changes and chances of this first state; changes wisely designed by providence as warnings not to set up our rest here: that we may turn our hearts from this world, and with all our might labour for that life which shall never perish.
What ruined Mrs. O'Hara's grotto deprived me of my little green and shady retreat. Charles O'Hara, this lady's husband, a strange man, from whom I rented my pretty farm, and to whom I had paid a fine to lower the rent, had mortgaged it, unknown to me, to the famous Damer, and that powerful man swallowed all. All I had there was seized for arrears of interest due of Mr. O'Hara, and as I was ever liable to distrain∣ing, I took my leave of Fingall.Page 46
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