Слике страница
PDF
ePub

neighbour, who heard it from very good au- not there; wherever you see a beautiful woman thority.

good-natured and obliging, be convinced Fortune Were most stories of this nature thoroughly ex- is never there. In short, she is ever seen accomamined, it would be found that numbers of such as panying industry, and as often trundling a wheelhave been said to suffer were no way injured; and barrow as lolling in a coach and six. that of those who have been actually bitten, not If you would make Fortune your friend, or, to one in a hundred was bit by a mad dog. Such ac- personize her no longer, if you desire, my son, to counts, in general, therefore, only serve to make be rich, and have money, be more eager to save the people miserable by false terrors, and some than acquire: when people say, Money is to be got times fright the patient into actual phrenzy, by here, and money is to be got there, take no notice; creating those very symptoms they pretended to mind your own business; stay where you are, and deplore.

secure all you can get, without stirring. When But even allowing three or four to die in a season you hear that your neighbour has picked up a purse of this terrible death (and four is probably too large of gold in the street, never run out into the same a concession), yet still it is not considered, how street, looking about you in order to pick up such many are preserved in their health and in their another; or when you are informed that he has property by this devoted animal's services. The made a fortune in one branch of business, never midnight robber is kept at a distance; the insidi- change your own in order to be his rival. Do not ous thief is often detected; the healthful chase re- desire to be rich all at once; but patiently add pairs many a worn constitution; and the poor man farthing to farthing. Perhaps you despise the finds in his dog a willing assistant, eager to lessen petty sum; and yet they who want a farthing, and his toil, and content with the smallest retribution. have no friend that will lend them it, think farth

"A dog," says one of the English poets, "is an ings very good things. Whang, the fuolish miller, honest creature, and I am a friend to dogs.” Of when he wanted a farthing in his distress, found all the beasts that graze the lawn or hunt the for- that no friend would lend, because they knew he est, a dog is the only animal that, leaving his fel- wanted. Did you ever read the story of Whang, lows, attempts to cultivate the friendship of man; in our books of Chinese learning ? he who, deto man he looks in all his necessities with a speak- spising small sums, and grasping at all, lost even ing eye for assistance; exerts for him all the little what he had. service in his power with cheerfulness and plea- Whang, the miller, was naturally avaricious; sure: for him bears famine and fatig with pa- nobody loved money better than he, or more retience and resignation; no injuries can abate his spected those that had it. When people would fidelity; no distress induce him to forsake his talk of a rich man in company, Whang would say, benefactor; studious to please, and fearing to I know him very well; he and I have been long offend, he is still an humble, steadfast depen- acquainted; he and I are intimate ; he stood for a dant; and in him alone fawning is not flattery. child of mine : but if ever a poor man was menHow unkind then to torture this faithful creature, tioned, he had not the least knowledge of the man; who has left the forest to claim the protection of he might be very well for aught he knew: but he man! how ungrateful a return to the trusty ani- was not fond of many acquaintances, and loved to mal for all his services! Adieu.

choose his company.

Whang, however, with all his eagerness for LETTER LXX.

riches, was in reality poor ; he had nothing but

the profits of his mill to support bim; but though From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow. these were small they were certain; while his mill

The Europeans are themselves blind, who de- stood and went, he was sure of eating, and his fruscribe Fortune without sight. No first-rate beauty gality was such, that he every day laid some moever had finer eyes, or saw more clearly; they who ney by, which he would at intervals count and have no other trade but seeking their fortune, need contemplate with much satisfaction. Yet still his never hope to find her; coquette like, she flies acquisitions were not equal to his desires ; he only from her close pursuers, and at last fixes on the found himself above want, whereas he desired to plodding mechanic, who stays at home and minds be possessed of affluence. his business.

One day as he was indulging these wishes, he I am amazed how men can call her blind, when, was informed, that a neighbour of his had found a by the company she keeps, she seems so very dis- pan of money under ground, having dreamed of it cerning. Wherever you see a gaming-table, be three nights running before. These tidings were very sure Fortune is not there; wherever you see daggers to the heart of poor Whang. “Here am a house with the doors open, be very sure Fortune I,” says he, "toiling and moiling from morning till is not there; when you see a man whose pocket- night for a few paltry farthings, while neighbour holes are laced with gold, be satisfied Fortune is Hunks only goes quietly to bed, and dreams hima

self into thousands before morning. Othat I pal entertainments of the citizens here in summer, could dream like him! with what pleasure would I is to repair about nightfall to a garden not far from dig round the pan; how slily would I carry it town, where they walk about, show their best home; not even my wife should see me; and then, clothes and best faces, and listen to a concert proO the pleasure of thrusting one's hand into a heap vided for the occasion. of gold up to the elbow !"

I accepted an invitation a few evenings ago from Such reflections only served to make the miller my old friend, the man in black, to be one of a unhappy; he discontinued his former assiduity, he party that was to sup there; and at the appointed was quite disgusted with small gains, and his cus-hour waited upon him at his lodgings. There I tomers began to forsake him. Every day he re- found the company assembled and expecting my peated the wish, and every night laid himself down arrival. Our party consisted of my friend in suin order to dream. Fortune, that was for a long time perlative finery, his stockings rolled, a black velvet unkind, at last, however, seemed to smile upon his waistcoat which was formerly new, and a gray wig distresses and indulged him with the wished-for combed down in imitation of hair; a pawnbrokers vision. He dreamed, that under a certain part of widow, of whom, by the by, my friend was a prothe foundation of his mill, there was concealed a fessed admirer, dressed out in green damask, with monstrous pan of gold and diamonds, buried deep three gold rings on every finger; and Mr. Tibbs, in the ground, and covered with a large flat stone. the second-rate beau I have formerly described, toHe rose up, thanked the stars, that were at last gether with his lady, in flimsy silk, dirty gauze inpleased to take pity on his sufferings, and conceal. stead of linen, and a hat as big as an umbrella. ed his good luck from every person, as is usual in Our first difficulty was in settling how we should money dreams, in order to have the vision repeated set out. Mrs. Tibbs had a natural aversion to the the two succeeding nights, by which he should be water, and the widow being a little in flesh, as certain of its veracity. His wishes in this also warmly protested against walking: a coach was were answered; he still dreamed of the same pan therefore agreed upon; which being too small to of money, in the very same place.

carry five, Mr. Tibbs consented to sit in his wife's Now, therefore, it was past a doubt; so getting lap. up early the third morning, he repairs alone, with In this manner, therefore, we set forward, being a mattock in his hand, to the mill, and began to entertained by the way with the bodings of Mr. undermine that part of the wall which the vision Tibbs, who assured us he did not expect to see a directed. The first omen of success that he met single creature for the evening above the degree of was a broken mug; digging still deeper, he turns a cheesemonger : that this was the last night of up a house tile, quite new and entire. At last, the gardens, and that consequently we should be after much digging, he came to the broad flat stone, pestered with the nobility and gentry from Thames. but then so large, that it was beyond one man's street and Crooked lane, with several other prostrength to remove it. “Here," cried he in rap- phetic ejaculations, probably inspired by the untures to himself, where it is ! under this stone there casiness of his situation. is room for a very large pan of diamonds indeed! I The illuminations began before we arrived, and must e'en go home to my wife, and tell her the I must confess, that upon entering the gardens I whole affair, and get her to assist me in turning it found every sense overpaid with more than exup.” Away therefore he goes, and acquaints his pected pleasure; the lights every where glimmering wife with every circumstance of their good fortune. through the scarcely moving trees, the full-hodied Her raptures on this occasion easily may be ima- concert bursting on the stillness of the night, the gined; she flew round his neck, and embraced him natural concert of the birds, in the more retired part in an agony of joy; but those transports, however, of the grove, vieing with that which was formed by did not delay their eagerness to know the exact sart; the company gaily dressed, looking satisfacsum; returning, therefore, speedily together to the tion, and the tables spread with various delicacies, place where Whang had been digging, there they all conspired to fill my imagination with the visionfound--not indeed the expected treasure, but the ary happiness of the Arabian lawgiver, and lifted mill, their only support, undermined and fallen. me into an ecstasy of admiration. “Head of ConAdieu.

fucius!" cried I to my friend, "this is fine! this unites rural beauty with courtly magnificence! if

we except the virgins of immortality, that hang on LETTER LXXI.

every tree, and may be plucked at every desire, I

do not see how this falls short of Mahomet's ParaFrom Lien Chi Allangi, to Fum Hoam, First President of

dise!" thic Cereinonial Academy at Pekin, in China.

“As for virgins,” cries my friend, " it is

true they are a fruit that do not much abound in The people of London are as fond of walking as our gardens here; but if ladies, as plenty as apples our friends at Pekin of riding; one of the princi- in autumn, and as complying as any houri of them

all

, can content you, I fancy we have no need to go tory, and for the rest of the night to listen and imto heaven for Paradise.”

prove. It is true, she would now and then forget I was going to second his remarks, when we herself

, and confess she was pleased, but they soon were called to a consultation by Mr. Tibbs and the brought her back again to miserable refinement. rest of the company, to know in what manner we She once praised the painting of the box in which were to lay out the evening to the greatest advan- we were sitting, but was soon convinced that such tage. Mrs. Tibbs was for keeping the genteel walk paltry pieces ought rather to excite horror than of the garden, where, she observed, there was al- satisfaction : she ventured again to commend one ways the very best company; the widow, on the of the singers, but Mrs. Tibbs soon let her know, contrary, who came but once a season, was for se- in the style of a connoisseur, that the singer in curing a good standing place to see the water-works, question had neither ear, voice, nor judgment. which she assured us would begin in less than an Mr. Tibbs, now willing to prove that his wife's hour at farthest; a dispute therefore began, and as pretensions to music were just, entreated her to fait was managed between two of very opposite cha- vour the company with a song; but to this she gave racters, it threatened to grow more bitter at every a positive denial—" for you know very well, my reply. Mrs. Tibbs wondered how people could dear,” says she, “that I am not in voice to-day, pretend to know the polite world, who had received and when one's voice is not equal to one's judgall their rudiments of breeding behind a counter; ment, what signifies singirg? besides, as there is to which the other replied, that though some people no accompaniment, it would be but spoiling music.” sat behind counters, yet they could sit at the head All these excuses, however, were overruled by the of their own tables too, and carve three good dishes rest of the company, who, though one would think of hot meat whenever they thought proper ; which they already had music enough, joined in the enwas more than some people could say for them- treaty. But particularly the widow, now willing selves, that hardly knew a rabbit and onions from to convince the company of her breeding, pressed a green goose and gooseberries.

so warmly, that she seemed determined to take no It is hard to say where this might have ended, refusal. At last then the lady complied, and after had not the husband, who probably knew the im- humming for some minutes, began with such a petuosity of his wife's disposition, proposed to end voice, and such affectation, as I could perceive gave the dispute, by adjourning to a box, and try if there but little satisfaction to any except her husband. was any thing to be had for supper that was sup- He sat with rapture in his eye, and beat time with portable. To this we all consented: but here a his hand on the table. new distress arose ; Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs would sit You must observe, my friend, that it is the cusin none but a genteel box, a box where they might tom of this country, when a lady or gentleman see and be seen, one, as they expressed it, in the happens to sing, for the company to sit as mute very focus of public view; but such a box was not and motionless as statues. Every feature, every easy to be obtained, for though we were perfectly limb, must seem to correspond in fixed attention ; convinced of our own gentility, and the gentility and while the song continues, they are to remain of our appearance, yet we found it a difficult matter in a state of universal petrifaction. In this mortito persuade the keepers of the boxes to be of our fying situation we had continued for some time, opinion; they chose to reserve genteel boxes for listening to the song, and looking with tranquillity, what they judged more genteel company. when the master of the box came to inform us, that

At last, however, we were fixed, though some- the water-works were going to begin. At this inwhat obscurely, and supplied with the usual enter- formation I could instantly perceive the widow tainment of the place. The widow found the sup- bounce from her seat; but correcting herself, she per excellent, but Mrs. Tibbs thought every thing sat down again, repressed by motives of gooddetestable. “Come, come, my dear,” cries the breeding. Mrs. Tibbs, who had seen the waterhusband, by way of consolation, “to be sure we works a hundred times, resolving not to be intercan't find such dresssing here as we have at Lord rupted, continued her song without any share of Crump's, or Lady Crimp's; but for Vauxhall dress- mercy, nor had the smallest pity on our impatience. ing it is pretty good: it is not their victuals indeed The widow's face, I own, gave me high entertainI find fault with, but their wine; their wine," cries ment; in it I could plainly read the struggle she felt he, drinking off a glass, “indeed, is most abomina- between good-breeding and curiosity: she talked ble."

of the water-works the whole evening before, and By this last contradiction, the widow was fairly seemed to have come merely in order to see them; conquered in point of politeness. She perceived but then she could not bounce out in the now that she had no pretensions in the world to dle of a song, for that would be forfeiting all pretaste, her very senses were vulgar, since she had tensions to high life, or high-lived company, ever praised detestable custard, and smacked at wretched after. Mrs. Tibbs therefore kept on singing, and wine; she was therefore content to yield the vic-/ we continued to listen, till at last, when the song

very mid

For the Same.

was just concluded, the waiter came to inform us matrimony, as it is more difficult for the lover to that the water-works were over.

please three than one, and much more difficult to “ The water-works over!” cried the widow; please old people than young ones. The laws or "the water-works over already! that's impossible ! dain, that the consenting couple shall take a long they can't be over so soon!"-"It is not my busi- time to consider before they marry: this is a very ness,” replied the fellow, “to contradict your lady- great clog, because people love to have all rash acship; I'll run again and see." He went, and soon tions done in a hurry. It is ordained, that all returned with a confirmation of the dismal tidings. marriages shall be proclaimed before celebration : No ceremony could now bind my friend's disap- this is a severe clog, as many are ashamed to have pointed mistress, she testified her displeasure in their marriage made public, from motives of vicious the openest manner; in short, she now began to modesty, and many afraid from views of temporal find fault in turn, and at last insisted upon going interest. It is ordained, that there is nothing sacred home, just at the time that Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs in the ceremony, but that it may be dissolved, to assured the company, that the polite hours were all intents and purposes, by the authority of any going to begin, and that the ladies would instan- civil magistrate. And yet, opposite to this, it is taneously be entertained with the horns. Adieu. ordained, that the priest shall be paid a large sum

of money for granting his sacred permission.

Thus you see, my friend, that matrimony here

is hedged round with so many obstructions, that LETTER LXXII.

those who are willing to break through or surrount

them, must be contented if at last they find it a

bed of thorns. The laws are not to blame, for Not far from this city lives a poor tinker, who they have deterred the people from engaging as has educated seven sons, all at this very time in much as they could. It is indeed, become a very arms, and fighting for their country; and what re- serious affair in England, and none but serious ward do you think has the tinker from the state people are generally found willing to engage. The for such important services? None in the world : young, the gay, and the beautiful, who have mohis sons, when the war is over, may probably be tives of passion only to induce them, are seldom whipped from parish to parish as vagabonds, and found to embark, as those inducements are taken the old man, when past labour, may die a prisoner away; and none but the old, the ugly, and the in some house of correction.

mercenary, are seen to unite, who, if they have Such a worthy subject in China would be held any posterity at all, will probably be an ill-favoured in universal reverence; his services would be re- race like themselves. warded, if not with dignities, at least with an ex- What gave rise to those laws might have been emption from labour; he would take the left hand some such accidents as these:—It sometimes hapat feasts, and mandarines themselves would be pened that a miser, who had spent all his youth in proud to show their submission. The English scraping up money to give his daughter such a laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they fortune as might get her a mandarine husband, reward virtue!

found his expectations disappointed at last, by ber Considering the little encouragement given to running away with his footman; this must have matrimony here, I am not surprised at the dis- been a sad shock to the poor disconsolate parent, couragement given to propagation. Would you to see his poor daughter in a one-horse chaise, believe it, my dear Fum Hoam, there are laws when he had designed her for a coach and six. made which even forbid the people's marrying each What a stroke from Providence! to see his dear other? By the head of Confucius, I jest not; there money go to enrich a beggar; all nature cried out are such laws in being here; and yet their law- at the profanation ! givers have neither been instructed among the Hot- It sometimes happened also, that a lady, who had tentots, nor imbibed their principles of equity from inherited all the titles, and all the nervous comthe natives of Anamaboo.

plaints of nobility, thought fit to impair her dignity There are laws which ordain, that no man shall and mend her constitution, by marrying a farmer : marry a woman against her own consent. This, this must have been a sad shock to her inconsolable though contrary to what we are taught in Asia, relations, to see so fine a flower snatched from a and though in some measure a clog upon matri- flourishing family, and planted in a dunghill; this mony, I have no great objection to. There are was an absolute inversion of the first principles of laws which ordain, that no woman shall marry things. against her father and mother's consent, unless In order, therefore, to prevent the great from bearrived at an age of maturity; by which is under- ing thus contaminated by vulgar alliances, the obstood, those years when women with us are gene- stacles to matrimony have been so contrived, that rally past child-bearing. This must be a clog upon the rich only can marry amongst the rich, and obe

poor, who would leave celibacy, must be content to mistress herself upon reasonable terms; but to court increase their poverty with a wife. Thus have her father, her mother, and a long train of cousins, their laws fairly inverted the inducements to matri- aunts, and relations, and then stand the butt of mony. Nature tells us, that beauty is the proper a whole country church; I would as soon turn tail allurement of those who are rich, and money of and make love to her grandmother. those who are poor; but things here are so con- I can conceive no other reason for thus loading trired, that the rich are invited to marry, by that matrimony with so many prohibitions, unless it be fortune which they do not want, and the poor have that the country was thought already too populous, no inducement, but that beauty which they do and this was found to be the most effectual means not feel.

of thinning it. If this was the motive, I can not An equal diffusion of riches through any coun. but congratulate the wise projectors on the success try ever constitutes its happiness. Great wealth of their scheme. “Hail, O ye dim-sighted politiin the possession of one stagnates, and extreme cians, ye weeders of men! 'Tis yours to clip the poverty with another keeps him in unambitious wing of industry, and convert Hymen to a broker. indigence; but the moderately rich are generally 'Tis yours to behold small objects with a microactive : not too far removed from poverty to fear its scopic eye, but to be blind to those which require calamities, nor too near extreme wealth to slacken an extent of vision. 'Tis yours, O ye discerners the nerve of labour, they remain still between both of mankind ! to lay the line between society, and in a state of continual fluctuation. How impolitic, weaken that force by dividing, which should bind therefore, are those laws which promote the accu- with united vigour. 'Tis yours, to introduce namulation of wealth among the rich ; more impolitic tional real distress, in order to avoid the imaginary still, in attempting to increase the depression on distresses of a few. Your actions can be justified poverty.

by a hundred reasons like truth; they can be opBacon, the English philosopher, compares money posed by but a few reasons, and those reasons are to manure—"If gathered in heaps," says he, "it true.” Farewell, does no good; on the contrary, it becomes offensive. But being spread, though never so thinly, over the surface of the earth, it enriches the whole country.” Thus the wealth a nation possesses must expati

LETTER LXXIII. ate, or it is of no benefit to the public; it becomes From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow. rather a grievance, where matrimonial laws thus confine it to a few.

AGE, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases But this restraint upon matrimonial community, our desire of living. Those dangers which, in the even considered in a physical light, is injurious. vigour of youth, we had learned to despise, assume As those who rear up animals, take all possible new terrors as we grow old. Our caution increasing pains to cross the strain, in order to improve the as our years increase, fear becomes at last the prebreed; so, in those countries where marriage is vailing passion of the mind; and the small remainmost free, the inhabitants are found every age to der of life is taken up in useless efforts to keep off improve in stature and in beauty; on the contrary, our end, or provide for a continued existence. where it is confined to a cast, a tribe, or a horde, Strange contradiction in our nature, and to as among the Gaurs, the Jews, or the Tartars, which even the wise are liable! If I should judge each division soon assumes a family likeness, and of that part of life which lies before me, by that every tribe degenerates into peculiar deformity. which I have already seen, the prospect is hideous. Hence it may be easily inferred, that if the man- Experience tells me, that my past enjoyments have darines here are resolved only to marry among each brought no real felicity; and sensation assures me, other, they will soon produce a posterity with man- that those I have felt are stronger than those darine faces; and we shall see the heir of some which are yet to come. Yet experience and senhonourable family scarcely equal to the abortion of sation in vain persuade ; hope, more powerful than a country farmer.

either, dresses out the distant prospect in fancied These are a few of the obstacles to marriage beauty; some happiness in long perspective still here, and it is certain they have, in some measure, beckons me to pursue; and, like a losing gamester, answered the end, for celibacy is both frequent and every new disappointment increases my ardour to fashionable. Old bachelors appear abroad without continue the game. a mask, and old maids, my dear Fum Hoam, have Whence, my friend, this increased love of life, been absolutely known to ogle. To confess in which grows upon us with our years ? whence friendship, if I were an Englishman, I fancy I comes it, that we thus make greater efforts to preshould be an old bachelor myself; I should never serve our existence, at a period when it becomes find courage to run through all the adventures pre- scarcely worth the keeping? Is it that nature, atscribed by the law. I could submit to court my tentive to the preservation of mankind, increases

« ПретходнаНастави »