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The king dined—it is always important to know where great men dine-Frederick the Great dined this day at the . Countess Laniska's, in company with her son, his friend Albert, and the English traveller. After dinner, the king withdrew to attend parade; and it was observed that he wore the Count Laniska's sword.
“ You will allow," said the countess to the English traveller, “ that our king is a great man; for none but great men can bear to acknowledge that they have been mistaken.”
“ You will allow, madam,” replied the Englishman, " that it was our English trial by jury which convinced the king of his mistake.”
“And you applaud him for granting that trial ?” said Albert.
“To a certain degree, I do,” said the Englishman, from whom it was difficult to extort praise of a despotic king: “to a certain degree, I do; but you will observe, that this trial by jury, which is a matter of favour to you Prussians, is a matter of right to us Englishmen. Much as I admire your King of Prussia, I admire our English con. stitution moie."
CHARLES HOWARD was left an orphan when he was very young His father had dissipated a large fortune, and lost his life in a duel, about some debt of honour which had been contracted at the gaming-table. Without fortune and without friends, this poor boy would probably have lived and died in wretchedness, but for the humanity of his good aunt Mrs. Frances Howard. This lady possessed a considerable fortune, which, in the opinion of some of her acquaintance, was her highest merit; others respected her as the branch of an ancient family; some courted her acquaintance because she was visited by the best company in town; and many were ambitious of being introduced to her because they were sure of meeting at her house several of those distinguished literary characters who throw a radiance upon all who can contrive to get within the circle of their glories. Some few, some very few of Mrs. Howard's acquaintance admired her for her real worth, and merited the name of friends.
She was a young and cheerful woman when she first undertook the education of her little nephew. She had the courage to resist the allurements of dissipation, or all that by her sex are usually thought allurements. She had the courage to apply herself seriously to the cultivation of her understanding: she educated herself, that she might be able to fulfil the important duty of educating a child. Hers was not the foolish fondness of a foolish aunt; she loved her nephew, and she wished to educate him so that her affection might increase, instead of diminishing, as he grew up. By associating early pleasure with reading, little Charles soon became fond of it:: he was never forced to read books which he did not understand; his aunt used, when he was very young, to read aloud to him any thing entertaining that she met
with; and whenever she perceived by his eye that his attention was not fixed, she stopped. When he was able to read fluently to himself, she selected for him passages from books which she thought would excite his curiosity to know more; and she was not in a hurry to cram him with knowledge, but rather anxious to prevent his grow. ing appetite for literature from being early satiated. She always encouraged him to talk to her freely about what he read, and to tell her when he did not like any of the books which she gave him. She conversed with him with so much kindness and cheerfulness, she was so quick at perceiving his latent meaning, and she was so gentle and patient when she reasoned with him, that he loved to talk to her better than to anybody else: nor could little Charles ever thoroughly enjoy any pleasure without her sympathy.
The conversation of the sensible, well-informed people who visited Mrs. Howard contributed to form her nephew's taste. A child may learn as much from conversation as from books—not so many historic facts, but as much instruction. Greek and Latin were the grand difficulties. Mrs. Howard did not understand Greek and Latin; nor did she, though a woman, set too high or too low a value upon the learned languages. She was convinced that a man might be a great scholar without being a man of sense; she was also persuaded that a man of sense might be a good scholar. She knew that, what. ever abilities her nephew might possess, he could not be upon a footing with other men in the world without pos. sessing that species of knowledge which is universally expected from gentlemen, as an essential proof of their having received a liberal education ; nor did she attempt to undervalue the pleasures of classic taste merely because she was not qualified to enjoy them: she was convinced by the testimony of men of candour and judgment, that a classical taste is a source of real enjoyment, and she wished her nephew's literary pleasures to have as extensive a range as possible.
To instruct her nephew in the learned languages, she engaged a good scholar and a man of sense: his namefor a man is nothing without a name-was Russell..
* Russell. This name is chosen for that of a good tutor, because it was the name of Mr. Edgeworth's tutor, at Oxford : Mr. Russell was also tutor to the late Mr. Day. Both by Mr. Day and Mr. Edgeworth he was respected esteemed, and beloved in no common degree.
Little Charles did not at first relish Latin; he used sometimes to come from his Latin lessons with a very dull, stupified face, which gradually brightened into intelligence after he had talked for a few minutes with his aunt. Mrs. Howard, though pleased to perceive that he was fond of her, had not the weakness to sacrifice his permanent advantage to her transient gratification. One evening Charles came running up stairs to his aunt, who was at tea; several people happened to be present.—“I have done with Mr. Russell and my Latin, ma'am, thank goodness—now may I have the elephant and the camel, or the bear and her cubs, that you marked for me last night ?"
The company laughed at this speech of Charles; silly lady-for even Mrs. Howard could not make all her acquaintance wise-a silly lady whispered to Charles, “I've a notion, if you'd tell the truth, now, that you like the bear and her cubs a great deal better than you do Latin and Mr. Russell.”
“I like the bear a great deal better than I do Latin, to be sure," said the boy; “but as for Mr. Russell-why ! think,” added he, encouraged by the lady's smiles, “I think I like the bear better than Mr. Russell."
The lady laughed affectedly at this sally.
“I am sure,” continued Charles, fancying that every person present was delighted with his wit, "I am sure, at any rate, I like the learned pig fifty times better than Mr. Russell !"
The judicious lady burst into a second fit of laughter. Mrs. Howard looked very grave. Charles broke from the lady's caresses, and going up to his aunt, timidly looking up in her face, said, “Am I a fool ?"
“ You are but a child,” said Mrs. Howard; and turning away from him, she desired the servant who waited at tea to let Mr. Russell know that she desired the honour of his company. Mrs. Holloway-for that was the silly lady's name—at the words “honour of his company, resumed her gravity, but looked round to see what the rest of the company thought.
“Give me leave, Mr. Russell,” said Mrs. Howard, as soon as he came into the room, “ to introduce you to a gentleman for whose works I know you have a great esteem." The gentleman was a celebrated traveller, just returned from abroad, whose conversation was as much admired as his writings.