Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Arch. O! you are the person, then, of whom he spoke so handsomely. I engage you in my service, and consider you a valuable acquisition. From the specimens he showed me of your powers, you must be pretty well acquainted with the Greek and Latin authors. It is very evident your education has not been neglected. I am satisfied with your handwriting, and still more with your understanding. I thank my nephew, Don Fernando, for having given me such an able young man, whom I consider a rich acquisition. You transcribe so well, you must certainly understand grammar. Tell me, ingeniiously, my friend, did you find nothing that shocked you in writing over the homily I sent you on trial — some neglect, perhaps, in style, or some improper term?

Gil B. O, sir, I am not learned enough to make critical observations; and if I was, I am persuaded the works of your Grace would escape my censure.

Arch. Young man, you are disposed to flatter; but tell me, which parts of it did you think most strikingly beautiful.

Gil B. If, where all was excellent, any parts were particularly so, I should say they were the personification of hope, and the description of a good man's death.

Arch. I see you have a delicate knowledge of the truly beautiful. This is what I call having taste and sentiment. Gil Blas, henceforth give thyself no uneasiness about thy fortune – I will take care of that. I love thee, and as a proof of my affection I will make thee my confidant — yes, my child, thou shalt be the repository of my most secret thoughts. Listen with attention to what I am going to say. My chief pleasure consists in preaching, and the Lord gives a blessing to my homilies, but I confess my weakness. The honor of being thought a perfect orator has charmed my imagination; my performances are thought equally nervous and delicate; but I would of all things avoid the fault of good authors, who write too long. Wherefore, my dear Gil Blas, one thing that I exact of thy zeal is, whenever thou shalt perceive my pen smack of old age, and my genius flag, don't fail to advertise me of it, for I don't trust to my own judgment, which may be seduced by self-love. That observation must proceed from a disinterested understanding; and I make choice of thine, which I know is good, and am resolved to stand by thy decision.

Gil B. Thank Heaven, sir, that time is far off. Besides, a genius like that of your Grace will preserve its vigor much better than any other; or, to speak more justly, will be always the same. I look upon you as

I another Cardinal Ximenes, whose superior genius, instead of being weakened, seemed to acquire new strength by age.

Arch. No flattery, friend: I know I am liable to sink all at once. People at my age begin to feel infirmities, and the infirmities of the body often affect the understanding. I repeat it to thee again, Gil Blas: as soon as thou shalt judge mine in the least impaired, be sure to give me notice. And be not afraid of speaking freely and sincerely, for I shall receive thy advice as a mark of thy affection.

Gil B. Your Grace may always depend upon my fidelity.

Arch. I know thy sincerity, Gil Blas; and now tell me plainly, hast thou not heard the people make some remarks upon my late homilies?

? Gil B. Your homilies have always been admired, but it seems to me that the last did not appear to have had so powerful an effect upon the audience as former ones.

Arch. How, sir, has it met with any Aristarchus?

Gil B. No, sir, by no means; such works as yours are not to be criticised; every body is charmed with

them. Nevertheless, since you have laid your injunctions upon me to be free and sincere, I will take the liberty to tell you that

your last discourse, in my judgment, has not altogether the energy of your other performances. Did you not think. so, sir, yourself ?

Arch. So, then, Mr. Gil Blas, this piece is not to your taste?

Gil B. I don't say so, sir; I think it excellent, although a little inferior to your other works.

Arch. I understand you; you think I flag, don't you? Come, be plain; you believe it is time for me to think of retiring

Gil B. I should not have been so bold as to speak so freely, if your Grace had not commanded me; I do no more, therefore, than obey you, and I most humbly beg that you will not be offended at my freedom. Arch. God forbid ! God forbid that I should find

! fault with it. I don't at all take it ill that you should speak your sentiments; it is your sentiment itself, only, that I find bad. I have been most egregiously deceived in your narrow understanding.

Gil B. Your Grace will pardon me for obeying

Arch. Say no more, my child; you are yet too raw to make proper distinctions. Be it known to you,

I composed a better homily than that which you disapprove; for my genius, thank Heaven, hath, as yet, lost nothing of its vigor; henceforth I will make a better choice of a confidant. Go! go, Mr. Gil Blas, and tell my treasurer to give you a hundred ducats, and may Heaven conduct you with that sum. Adien, Mr. Gil Blas! I wish you all manner of prosperity, with a little more taste.

LE SAGE.

never

a

Self-partiality hides from us those very faults in ourselves which we see and condemn in others.

LIX.-CHARCOAL'S STORY.

[ocr errors]

1. I'm only Charcoal, the blacksmith's dog,

Ugly and fast growing old;
Lying in the sunshine the livelong day,

By the forge when the nights are cold.
I look across at the little house,

The door where I used to wait
For a school-boy shout, a merry face,

To meet me within the gate.
2. My master, the smith, remembers too;

I see on his grimy cheek,
As he looks across at the cottage door,

A pitiful tear-drawn streak.
He, stooping, lays in a trembling way

His hand on my lifted head;
I look and whine, but we understand -

Each thinks of the school-boy dead. 3. Prince is the tawny and handsome hound

That comes with the hunting Squire;
Smooth and well-fed, with a stable bed,

And a place by the kitchen fire.
The Squire is going away, he said ;

He waited an hour to-day,
While my master carefully shod his mare

In his slow, old-fashioned way.
4. I heard him say, with an oath or two,

6 Put an end to that sorry cur;
Better buy my Prince, he's a noble beast : "

I heard, but I did not stir.
For I knew I was only a worn-out thing,

Not bright, like the tawny hound,
And I felt I would gladly go and die

On a short, new church-yard mound.

5. “Well, Squire,” — the brawny arm rose and fell,

The sparks from the anvil flew,-
“I s'pose the creature that's lying there

Is not much account to you;
But while I live and can earn his keep,

Old Charcoal and I won't part;
For, Squire, I really think sometimes,

The dog has a human heart.

6. “My little Jacky – he loved him so;

And Jacky, he's gone, you see;
And so it 'pears as if Charcoal knows

That he's more than folks to me."

7. The Squire is gone with his horse and hound,

And master and I still wait
Together, and side by side go in

At night through the lonely gate.
But by and by one must go alone -

Only one be left of three -
To pass the gate and the cottage door:

Alas! if it should be me.

LX.-SPONGE.

1. Sponge is a very porous and compressible substance found adhering to rocks, shells and other surfaces. It is found in large quantities in the Mediterranean Sea, among the islands of the Archipelago. Good sponges are also found in the Red Sea, on the coast of Florida, and among the Bahama islands. Those from the Greek islands, however, are considered most valuable.

2. Formerly, sponge was supposed to be a vegetable production, but it is now classed among the lowest orders

« ПретходнаНастави »