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ment of a poor man is like the efforts of a harmless insect to sting ; it may get him crushed, but cannot defend him. Who values that anger which is consumed only in empty menaces ?
Once upon a time a goose fed its young by a pond side ; and a goose in such circumstances, is always extremely proud, and excessively punctilious. If any other animal, without the least design to offend, happened to pass that way, the goose was immediately at it. The pond, she said, was hers, and she would maintain her right in it, and support her honour, while she had a bill to hiss, or a wing to flutter. In this manner she drove away ducks, pigs, and chickens; nay, even the insidious cat was seen to scamper. A lounging mastiff, however, happened to pass by and thought it no harm if he should lap a little of the water, as he was thirsty. The guardian goose flew at him like a fury, pecked at him with her beak, and slapped him with her feathers. The dog grew angry, and had twenty times a mind to give her a sly snap; but suppressing his indignation, because his master was nigh, 'A pox take thee,' cries he, 'for a fool; sure those who have neither strength nor weapons to fight, at least should be civil.' So saying, he went forward to the pond, quenched his thirst, in spite of the goose, and followed his master.
Another obstruction to the fortune of youth is, that, while they are willing to take offence from none, they are also equally desirous of giving nobody offence. From hence they endeavour to please all, comply with every request, and attempt to suit themselves to every company; have no will of their own, but, like wax, catch every contiguous impression. By thus attempting to give universal satisfaction, they at last find themselves miserably disappointed : to bring the generality of admirers on our side, it is sufficient to attempt pleasing a very few.
A painter of eminence was once resolved to finish a piece which should please the whole world. When, therefore, he had drawn a picture, in which his utmost skill was exhausted, it was exposed in the public market place, with directions at the bottom for every spectator to mark with a brush, that lay by, every limb and feature which seemed erroneous. The spectators came, and in the general applauded; but each, willing to show his talent at criticism, stig. matized whatever he thought proper. At evening, when the painter came, he was mortified to find the picture one universal blot, not a single stroke that had not the marks of disapprobation. Not satisfied with this trial, the next day he was resolved to try thein in a different manner; and exposing his picture as before, desired that every spectator would mark those beauties he approved or admired. The people complied, and the artist returning, found his picture covered with the marks of beauty ; every stroke that had been yesterday condemned, now received the character of approbation. Well, cries the painter, ' I now find, that the best way to please all the world, is to attempt pleasing one half of is.'
INDULGENT nature seems to have exempted this island from many of those epidemic evils which are so fatal in other parts of the world. A want of rain for a few days beyond the expected season, in some parts of the globe, spreads famine, desolation, and terror, over the whole country; but, in this fortunate island of Britain, the inhabitant courts health in every breeze, and the husbandman ever sows in joyful expectation.
But, though the nation be exempt from real evils, it is not more happy on this account than others. The people are afflicted, it is true, with neither famine nor pestilence; but then there is a disorder peculiar to the country, which every season makes strange ravages among them; it spreads with pestilential rapidity, and infects almost every rank of people; what is still more strange, the natives have no name for this peculiar malady, though well known to foreign physicians by the appellation of Epidemic Terror.
A season is never known to pass in which the people are not visited by this cruel calamity in one shape or another, seemingly different, though ever the same; one year it issues from a baker's shop in the shape of a sixpenny loaf, the next it takes the appearance of a comet with a fiery tail, the third it threatens like a flat-bottomed boat, and the fourth it carries consternation in the bite of a mad dog. The people, when once infected, lose their relish for happiness, saunter about with looks of despondence, ask
after the calamities of the day, and receive no comfort but in heightening each others distress. It is insignificant how remote or near, how weak or powerful, the object of terror may be, when once they resolve to fright and be frighted; the merest trifles sow consternation and dismay; each proportions his fears, not to the object, but to the dread he discovers in the countenance of others; for, when once the fermentation is begun, it goes or of itself, though the original cause be discontinued which first set it in motion.
A dread of mad dogs is the epidemic terror which now prevails, and the whole nation is at present actually groaning under the malignity of its influ
The people sally from their houses with that circumspection which is prudent in such as expect a mad dog at every turning. The physician publishes his prescription, the beadle prepares his halter, and a few of unusual bravery arm themselves with boots and buff gloves, in order to face the enemy, if he should offer to attack them. In short, the whole people stand bravely upon their defence, and seem, by their present spirit, to show a resolution of being tamely bit by mad dogs no longer.
Their manner of knowing whether a dog be mad or no, somewhat resembles the ancient Gothic custom of trying witches. The old woman suspected was tied hand and foot, and thrown into the water. If she swam, then she was instantly carried off to be burnt for a witch; if she sunk, then indeed she was acquitted of the charge, but drowned in the experiment. In the same manner a crowd gather round a dog suspected of madness, and they begin by teasing the devoted animal on every side. If he attempts to stand upon the defensive, and bite, then he is unanimously found guilty, for ' a mad dog always snaps at every thing. If, on the contrary, he tries to escape by running away, then he can expect no compassion, for mad dogs always run straight forward before them.'
It is pleasant enough for a neutral being like me, who have no share in those ideal calamities, to mark the stages of this national disease. The terror at first feebly enters with a disregarded story of a little dog that had gone through a neighbouring village, which was thought to be mad by several who had seen him. The next account comes, that a mastiff ran through a certain town, and had bit five geese, which immediately ran mad, foamed at the bill, and died in great agonies soon after.
Then comes an affecting story of a little boy bit in the leg, and gone down to be dipped in the salt water. When the people have sufficiently shuddered at that, they are next congealed with a frightful account of a man who was said lately to have died from a bite he had received some years before. This relation only prepares the way for another, still more hideous; as how the master of a family, with seven small chil. dren, were all bit by a mad lap-dog; and how the poor father first perceived the infection, by calling for a draught of water, where he saw the lap-dog swimming in the cup.