Слике страница
PDF
ePub

"you are too modest, it is perfectly fine; every body countenance the excess. But in eating, after naknows that nobody understands keeping venison ture is once satisfied, every additional morsel brings with your lordship.”—“Ay, and partridges too,” stupidity and distempers with it, and as one of interrupted another; "I never find them right any their own poets expresses it, where else." His lordship was going to reply,

The soul subsides, and wickedly inclines when a third took off the attention of the company,

To seem but mortal, even in sound divines. by recommending the pig as inimitable. "I fancy, my lord,” continues he, "it has been smothered in Let me suppose, after such a meal as this I have its own blood.”—“If it has been smothered in its been describing, while all the company are sitting blood,” cried a facetious member, helping himself, in lethargic silence round the table, groaning un"we'll now smother it in egg-sauce." This poig. der a load of soup, pig, pork, and bacon ; let me nant piece of humour produced a long loud laugh, suppose, I say, some hungry beggar, with looks of which the facetious brother observing, and now want, peeping through one of the windows, and that he was in luck, willing to second his blow, thus addressing the assembly: "Prithee, pluck assured the company he would tell them a good those napkins from your chins; after nature is story about that: "As good a story,” cries he, satisfied, all that you eat extraordinary is my bursting into a violent fit of laughter himself, "as property, and I claim it as mine. It was given ever you heard in your lives. There was a farmer you in order to relieve me, and not to oppress in my parish who used to sup upon wild ducks yourselves. How can they comfort or instruct and flummery ;—so this farmer","Doctor Mar- others, who can scarcely feel their own existence, rowfat,” cries his lordship, interrupting him, "give except from the unsavoury returns of an ill-digestme leave to drink your health ;"_"so being fonded meal?". But though neither you, nor the cushof wild ducks and flummery,"—"Doctor," adds a ions you sit upon will hear me, yet the world regentleman who sat next to him, "let me advise gards the excesses of its teachers with a prying eye, you to a wing of this turkey;"_"so this farmer and notes their conduct with double severity." I being fond "-"Hob and nob, Doctor, which do know no other answer any one of the company you choose, white or red?”—“So, being fond of could make to such an expostulation but this: wild ducks and flummery;"_"Take care of your “Friend, you talk of our losing a character, and band, sir, it may dip in the gravy." The doctor, being disliked by the world; well, and supposing now looking round, found not a single eye disposed all this to be true, what then! who cares for the to listen ; wherefore, calling for a glass of wine, he world? We'll preach for the world, and the world gulped down the disappointment and the tale in a shall pay us for preaching, whether we like each bumper.

other or not." The conversation now began to be little more than a rhapsody of exclamations: as each had pretty well satisfied his own appetite, he now found sufficient time to press others. “Excellent! the

LETTER LIX. very thing! let me recommend the pig. Do but From Hingpo to Lien Chi Altangi, by the way of Moscor. taste the bacon! never ate a better thing in my life: exquisite ! delicious!” This edifying dis- You will probably be pleased to see my letter course continued through three courses, which last-dated from Terki, a city which lies beyond the ed as many hours, till every one of the company bounds of the Persian empire: here, blessed with were unable to swallow or utter any thing more. security, with all that is dear, I double my rap

It is very natural for men who are abridged in tures by communicating them to you: the mind one excess, to break into some other. The clergy sympathising with the freedom of the body, my here, particularly those who are advanced in years, whole soul is dilated in gratitude, love, and praise. think if they are abstemious with regard to women Yet, were my own happiness all that inspired my and wine, they may indulge their other appetites present joy, my raptures might justly merit the without censure. Thus some are found to rise in imputation of self-interest; but when I think that the morning only to a consultation with their cook the beautiful Zelis is also free, forgive my triumph about dinner, and when that has been swallowed, when I boast of having rescued from captivity the make no other use of their faculties (if they have most deserving object upon earth. any) but to ruminate on the succeeding meal. You remember the reluctance she testified at

A debauch in wine is even more pardonable being obliged to marry the tyrant she hated. Her than this, since one glass insensibly leads on to compliance at last was only feigned, in order to another, and instead of sating, whets the appetite. gain time to try some future means of escape. The progressive steps to it are cheerful and se. During the interval between her promise and the ducing; the grave are animated, the melancholy intended performance of it, she came undiscovered relieved, and there is even classic authority tolone evening to the place where I generally retired after the fatigues of the day: her appearance was I was bound, and scizing a scimitar from one of like that of an aerial genius when it descends to the slaves, who had not courage to resist me, flew minister comfort to undeserved distress; the mild to the women's apartment where Zelis was conlustre of her eye served to banish my timidity; her fined, dressed out for the intended nuptials. I accents were sweeter than the echo of some dis- bade her follow me without delay, and going fortant symphony. “Unhappy stranger," said she, ward, cut my way through the eunuchs, who made in the Persian language, "you here perceive one but a faint resistance: The whole city was now a more wretched than thyself! All this solemnity scene of conflagration and terror; every person was of preparation, this elegance dress, and the willing to save himself, unmindful of others. In number of my attendants, serve but to increase my this confusion, seizing upon two of the fleetest miseries : if you have courage to rescue an unhap- coursers in the stables of Mostadad, we fled northpy woman from approaching ruin, and our detest-ward towards the kingdom of Circassia. As there ed tyrant, you may depend upon my future grati. were several others flying in the same manner, we tude.” I bowed to the ground, and she left me, passed without notice, and in three days arrived at filled with rapture and astonishment. Night Terki, a city that lies in a valley within the bosom brought me no rest, nor could the ensuing morn- of the frowning mountains of Caucasus. Here, ing calm the anxieties of my mind. I projected a free from every apprehension of danger, we enjoy thousand methods for her delivery; but each, when all those satisfactions which are consistent with strictly examined, appeared impracticable: in this virtue: though I find my heart at intervals give uncertainty the evening again arrived, and I placed way to unusual passions, yet such is my admiramyself on my former station in hopes of a repeated tion for my fair companion, that I lose even tenvisit. After some short expectation, the bright derness in distant respect. Though her person perfection again appeared : 1 bowed, as before, to demands particular regard even among the beauthe ground; when raising me up, she observed, ties of Circassia, yet is her mind far more lovely. that the time was not to be spent in useless cere- How very different is a woman who thus has culməny; she observed that the day following was tivated her understanding, and been refined into appointed for the celebration of her nuptials, and delicacy of sentiment, from the daughters of the that something was to be done that very night for East, whose education is only formed to improve our mutual deliverance. I offered with the utmost the person, and make them more tempting objects humility to pursue whatever scheme she should di- of prostitution. Adieu. rect; upon which she proposed that instant to scale the garden-wall, adding, that she had prevailed upon a female slave, who was now waiting at the appointed place, to assist her with a ladder.

LETTER LX. Pursuant to this information, I led her trembling to the place appointed; but instead of the slave we expected to see, Mostadad himself was there await- When sufficiently refreshed after the fatigues ing our arrival: the wretch in whom we had con- of our precipitate flight, my curiosity, which had fided, it seems, had betrayed our design to her mas- been restrained by the appearance of immediate ter, and he now saw the most convincing proofs danger, now began to revive : I longed to know of her information. He was just going to draw by what distressful accident my fair fugitive behis sabre, when a principle of avarice repressed came a captive, and could not avoid testifying a his fury; and he resolved, after a severe chastise- surprise how so much beauty could be involved in ment, to dispose of me to another master; in the the calamities from whence she had been so lately mean time ordered me to be confined in the strict- rescued. est manner, and the next day to receive a hundred Talk not of personal charms, cried she, with blows on the soles of my feet.

emotion, since to them I owe every misfortune. When the morning came, I was led out in order Look round on the numberless beauties of the to receive the punishment, which, from the severity country where we are, and see how nature has with which it is generally inflicted upon slaves, is poured its charms upon every face; and yet by worse even than death.

this profusion, Heaven would seem to show how A trumpet was to be the signal for the solemni- little it regards such a blessing, since the gift is zation of the nuptials of Zelis, and for the inflic- lavished upon a nation of prostitutes. tion of my punishment. Each ceremony, to me I perceive you desire to know my story, and equally dreadful, was just going to begin, when we your curiosity is not so great as my impatience to were informed that a large body of Circassian Tar- gratify it: I find a pleasure in telling past misfortars had invaded the town, and were laying all in tunes to any, but when my deliverer is pleased rain. Every person now thought only of saving with the relation, my pleasure is prompted by himself: I instantly unloosed the cords with which duty.

From the Same.

[ocr errors]

om any

“I was born in a country far to the West, where always regarded him merely from prudential mo the men are braver, and the women more fair than tives; but it had a very different effect upon my those of Circassia; where the valour of the hero father, who, rash and passionate by nature, and, is guided by wisdom, and where delicacy of senti- besides, stimulated by a mistaken notion of miliment points the shafts of female beauty. I was tary honour, upbraided his friend in such terms, the only daughter of an officer in the army, the that a challenge was soon given and accepted. child of his age, and as he used fondly to express It was about midnight when I was awakened by it, the only chain that bound him to the world, a message from my father, who desired to see me or made his life pleasing. His station procured that moment. I rose with some surprise, and folhim an acquaintance with men of greater rank lowing the messenger, attended only by another and fortune than himself, and his regard for me servant, came to a field not far from the house, induced him to bring me into every family where where I found him, the assertor of my honour, my he was acquainted. Thus I was early taught all only friend and supporter, the tutor and companthe elegancies and fashionable foibles of such as the ion of my youth, lying on one side covered over world calls polite, and, though without fortune my- with blood, and just expiring !—no tears streamed self, was taught to despise those who lived as if down my cheeks, nor sigh escaped from my breast, they were poor.

at an object of such terror. I sat down, and sup My intercourse with the great, and my affec-porting his aged head in my lap, gazed upon the tation of grandeur, procured me many lovers ; but ghastly visage with an agony more poignant even want of fortune deterred them all

ther than despairing madness. The servants were views than those of passing the present moment gone for more assistance. In this gloomy stillness agreeably, or of meditating my future ruin. In of the night no sounds were heard but his agonizevery company I found myself addressed in a ing respirations; no object was presented but his warmer strain of passion than other ladies who wounds, which still continued to stream. With were superior in point of rank and beauty; and silent anguish I hung over his dear face, and with this I imputed to an excess of respect, which in my hands strove to stop the blood as it flowed from reality proceeded from very different motives. his wounds: he seemed at first insensible, but at

"Among the number of such as paid me their last, turning his dying eyes upon me, My dear, addresses, was a gentleman, a friend of my father, dear child,' cried he; 'dear, though you have forrather in the decline of life, with nothing remarka-gotten your own honour and stained mine, I will ble either in his person or address to recommend yet forgive you; by abandoning virtue, you have him. His age, which was about forty, his fortune, undone me and yourself, yet take my forgiveness which was moderate, and barely sufficient to sup with the same compassion I wish Heaven may port him, served to throw me off my guard, so pity me.' He expired. All my succeeding bappithat I considered him as the only sincere admirer ness fled with him. Reflecting that I was the I had.

cause of his death whom only I loved upon earth; "Designing lovers, in the decline of life, are ever accused of betraying the honour of his family with most dangerous. Skilled in all the weaknesses of his latest breath; conscious of my own innocence, the sex, they seize each favourable opportunity; yet without even a possibility of vindicating it: and, by having less passion than youthful admirers, without fortune or friends to relieve or pity me; have less real respect, and therefore less timidity. abandoned to infamy and the wide censuring This insidious wretch used a thousand arts to world, I called out upon the dead body that lay succeed in his base designs, all which I saw, but stretched before me, and in the agony of my heart imputed to different views, because I thought it asked, why he could have left me thus? Why, absurd to believe the real motives.

my dear, my only papa, why could you ruin me “As he continued to frequent my father's, the thus and yourself, forever? O pity and retum, friendship between them became every day greater; since there is none but you to comfort me! and at last, from the intimacy with which he was “I soon found that I had real cause for sorrow; received, I was taught to look upon him as a guard- that I was to expect no compassion from my own *ian and a friend. Though I never loved, yet I es-sex, nor assistance from the other; and that reputeemed him; and this was enough to make me tation was much more useful in our commerce with wish for a union, for which he seemed desirous, mankind than really to deserve it. Wherever I but to which he feigned several delays; while in the came, I perceived myself received either with conmean time, from a false report of our being married, tempt or detestation; or, whenever I was civilly every other admirer forsook me.

treated, it was from the most base and ungenerous “I was at last however awakened from the de- motives. lusion, by an account of his being just married to “Thus driven from the society of the virtuous, another young lady with a considerable fortune. I was at last, in order to dispel the anxieties of isThis was no great mortification to me, as I had supportable solitude, obliged to take up with the

.

company of those whose characters were blasted tune still attended me; our ship was taken by a like my own; but who perhaps deserved their in- Barbary corsair; the whole crew, and I among the famy. Among this number was a lady of the first number, being made slaves. It carries too much distinction, whose character the public thought the air of romance to inform you of my distresses proper to brand even with greater infamy than or obstinancy in this miserable state ; it is enough mine. A similitude of distress soon united us; 1 to observe, that I have been bought by several masknew that general reproach had made her misera- ters

, each of whom perceiving my reluctance, rather ble; and I had learned to egard misery as an ex- than use violence, sold me to another, till it was my cuse for guilt. Though this lady had not virtue happiness to be at last rescued by you." enough to avoid reproach, yet she had too much Thus ended her relation, which I have abridged, delicate sensibility not to feel it. She therefore but as soon as we are arrived at Moscow, for which proposed our leaving the country where we were we intend to set out shortly, you shall be informed born, and going to live in Italy, where our charac- of all more particularly. In the meantime the ters and misfortunes would be unknown. With greatest addition to my happiness will be to hear this I eagerly complied, and we soon found our- of yours. Adieu. selves in one of the most charming retreats in the most beautiful province of that enchanting country.

" Had my companion chosen this as a retreat for injured virtue, a harbour where we might look

LETTER LXI. with tranquillity on the distant angry world, 1

From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo. should have been happy; but very different was her design; she had pitched upon this situation The news of your freedom lists the load of foronly to enjoy those pleasures in private which she mer anxiety from my mind; I can now think of my bad not sufficient effrontery to satisfy in a more son without reget, applaud his resignation under open manner. A nearer acquaintance soon showed calamities, and his conduct in extricating himself ' me the vicious part of her character; her mind, as from them. well as her boly, seemed formed only for pleasure; You are now free, just let loose from the bondshe was sentimental only as it served to protract age of a hard master: 'this is the crisis of your the immediate enjoyment. Formed for society fate; and as you now manage fortune, succeeding alone, she spoke infinitely better than she wrote, life will be marked with happiness or misery. A and wrote infinitely better than she lived. A per- few years' perseverance in prudence, which at your son devoted to pleasure often leads the most misera- age is but another name for virtue, will insure comble life imaginable ; such was her case : she consi- fort, pleasure, tranquillity, esteem; too eager an dered the natural moments of languor as insup- enjoyment of every good that now offers, will reportable ; passed all her hours between rapture and verse the medal, and present you with poverty, anxiety; ever in an extreme of agony or of bliss. anxiety, remorse, contempt. She felt a pain as severe for want of appetite, as As it has been observed, that none are better the starving wretch who wants a meal. In those qualified to give others advice, than those who have intervals she usually kept her bed, and rose only taken the least of it themselves; so in this respect when in expectation of some new enjoyment. The I find myself perfectly authorized to offer mine, luxuriant air of the country, the romantic situation even though I should wave my paternal authority of her palace, and the genius of a people whose only upon this occasion. happiness lies in sensual refinement, all contri- The most usual way among young men who buted to banish the remembrance of her native have no resolution of their own, is first to ask one country.

friend's advice and follow it for some time; then to “But though such a life gave her pleasure, it had ask advice of another, and turn to that; so of a a very different effect upon me; I grew every day third, still unsteady, always changing. However, more pensive, and my melancholy was regarded as be assured, that every change of this nature is for an insult upon her good humour. I now perceived the worse : people may tell you of your being unfit myself entirely unfit for all society; discarded from for some peculiar occupations in life; but heed them the good, and detesting the infamous, I seemed in not; whatever employment you follow with persea state of war with every rank of people ; that vir- verance and assiduity, will be found fit for you; it lue, which should have been my protection in the will be your support in youth, and comfort in age. world, was here my crime: in short, detesting life, In learning the useful part of every profession, very I was determined to become a recluse, and to leave moderate abilities will suffice; even if the mind be a world where I found no pleasure that could allure a little balanced with stupidity, it may in this case me to stay. Thus determined, I embarked in order be useful. Great abilities have always been less to go by sea to Rome, where I intended to take the serviceable to the possessors than moderate ones. veil : but even in so short a passage my hard for- Life has been compared to a race, but the allusion still improves by observing, that the most swift are to the pond, quenched his thirst, in spite of the ever the least manageable.

goose, and followed his master. To know one profession only, is enough for one Another obstruction to the fortune of youth is, man to know; and this (whatever the professors that while they are willing to take offence from may tell you to the contrary) is soon learned. Be none, they are also equally desirous of giving none contented therefore with one good employment ; offence. From hence they endeavour to please all

, for if you understand two at a time, people will comply with every request, attempt to suit themgive you business in neither.

selves to every company, have no will of their own, A conjuror and a tailor once happened to con- but, like wax, catch every contiguous impression. verse together. “Alas,” cries the tailor, "what By thus attempting to give universal satisfaction, an unhappy poor creature am I; if people should they at last find themselves miserably disappointed: ever take it in their heads to live without clothes, I to bring the generality of admirers on our side, it is am undone, I have no other trade to have recourse sufficient to attempt pleasing a very few. to.” “Indeed, friend, I pity you sincerely," re- A painter of eminence was once resolved to finplies the conjuror; "but, thank Heaven, things ish a piece which should please the whole world. are not quite so bad with me; for if one trick should When, therefore, he had drawn a picture, in which fail, I have a hundred tricks more for them yet. his utmost skill was exhausted, it was exposed in However, if at any time you are reduced to beg- the public market-place, with directions at the botgary, apply to me, and I will relieve you." A fa- tom for every spectator to mark with a brush, which mine overspread the land; the tailor made a shift lay by, every limb and feature which seemed erroto live, because his customers could not be without neous. The spectators came, and in general ap clothes; but the poor conjuror with all his hundred plauded; but cach, willing to show his talent at tricks, could find none that had money to throw criticism, marked whatever he thought proper. At away: it was in vain that he promised to eat fire, evening, when the painter came, he was mortified or to vomit pins; no single creature would relieve to find the whole picture one universal blot; not a him, till he was at last obliged to beg from the very single stroke that was not stigmatized with marks tailor whose calling he had formerly despised. of disapprobation : not satisfied with this trial, the

There are no obstructions more fatal to fortune next day he was resolved to try them in a different than pride and resentment. If you must resent manner, and exposing his picture as before, desired injuries at all, at least suppress your indignation that every spectator would mark those beauties be until you become rich, and then show away; the approved or admired. The people complied; and resentment of a poor man is like the efforts of a the artist returning, found his picture replete with harmless insect to sting; it may get him crushed, the marks of beauty; every stroke that had been but can not defend him. Who values that anger yesterday condemned, now received the character which is consumed only in empty menaces ? of approbation. “Well," cries the painter, "I

Once upon a time a goose fed its young by a now find that the best way to please one half of the pond-side; and a goose in such circumstances is world, is not to mind what the other half says; always extremely proud, and excessively punctili- since what are faults in the eyes of these, shall be ous. If any other animal, without the least design by those regarded as beauties." Adieu. to offend, happened to pass that way,

the

goose was immediately at him. The pond, she said, was hers, and she would maintain a right in it, and

LETTER LXII. support her honour, while she had a bill to hiss, or

From the Same. a wing to flutter. In this manner she drove away ducks, pigs, and chickens; nay, even the insidious A CHARACTER, such as you have represented cat was seen to scamper. A lounging mastiff, how-that of your fair companion, which continues virever, happened to pass by, and thought it no harm tuous, though loaded with infamy, is truly great. if he should lap a little of the water, as he was Many regard virtue because it is attended with apthirsty. The guardian goose flew at him like a plause ; your favourite only for the internal pleasure fury, pecked at him with her beak, and flapped him it confers. I have often wished that ladies like with her feathers. The dog grew angry, had twen- her were proposed as models for female imitation, ty times a good mind to give her a sly snap; but and not such as have acquired fame by qualities suppressing his indignation, because his master repugnant to the natural softness of the sex. was nigh, “ A pox take thee,” cries he, "for a fool! Women famed for their valour, their skill in sure those who have neither strength nor weapons politics, or their learning, leave the duties of their to fight, at least should be civil : that fluttering and own sex, in order to invade the privileges of ours hissing of thine may one day get thine head snap- I can no more pardon a fair one for endeavouring ped off, but it can neither injure thine enemies, nor to wield the club ef Hercules, than I could him for ever protect thee." So saying, he went forward (attempting to twirl her distaff.

« ПретходнаНастави »