THE FAMILY PICTURE. IN TWO VOLUMES.

A se suisque orsus, primum domum suam coercuit, quod plerique haud minus arduum est, quam provinciam regere. Tac. in Vit. Agric.
La Magnanimité est un noble effort de l' orgueil par laquel il rend l' homme maitre de lui-meme, pour le rendre maitre de toutes choses. Rochefoucault.

THE FAMILY PICTURE; OR, DOMESTIC DIALOGUES ON AMIABLE AND INTERESTING SUBJECTS; ILLUSTRATED BY HISTORIES, ALLEGORIES, TALES, FABLES, ANECDOTES, &c. INTENDED TO STRENGTHEN AND INFORM THE MIND. BY THOMAS HOLCROFT, AUTHOR OF DUPLICITY, A COMEDY.

VOLUME II.

LONDON: Printed for LOCKYER DAVIS, in Holborn; Printer to the Royal Society. M DCC LXXXIII.

CONTENTS. VOL. II.

  • DIALOGUE XI. LOVE of Fame in Alexander the Great Page 1
    • —In an Indian 3
    • AMBITION: a Tartarian Tale 4
    • MERCY: Anecdotes of Ottoman and Aliverdi 16
    • LOVE: or Idris and Mahmut 20
  • DIALOGUE XII. 28
    • An Account of Mahomet and Mahometanism 29
    • Mahomet's Inducements to establish a new Religion 30
    • His art in contrasting the Pleasures of Para­dise and the Pains of Hell 31, 32
    • His tendency to miracles 33
    • Farther particulars of his Paradise 35
    • — of his Hell 37
    • The Mahometan History of the Last Day 38
    • Story of the White Elephant 41
    • Terrible relation of a Turkish Fast 43
    • SUPERSTITION: or the Satirical Traveller 47
  • DIALOGUE XIII. 57
    • CREDULITY: or the Miraculous Chest 58
    • Dexterous trick of a Thief 85
    • INCREDULITY: or the story of the Sultan of Egypt 86
    • Respect paid by the Athenians to Xenocrates 100
    • Anecdote of the Duke of Ossura and a Galley-Slave ibid.
    • TRUTH: or the story of Saddyq 101
    • Anecdote of Colonel Edmonds—of Pyrrhus 111
    • EQUIVOCATION: a tragical history of its effects 112
  • DIALOGUE XV. 129
    • Anecdote of Papyrius 130
    • SECRESY: or the Enraged Lover 131
    • Fable of the Herdsman 140
    • DETRACTION: or the story of Dorantes 143
  • [Page] DIALOGUE XVI. 150
    • Anecdote of the Emperor Trajan ibid.
    • Remarkable Legacy of Eudamidas 151
    • FRIENDSHIP: An Arabian Anecdote 154
    • — The Schoolfellows. A Tale 159
  • DIALOGUE XVII. 171
    • The Peasant and Watch-Dog. A Fable ibid.
    • Anecdote of King Philip and the Ungrateful Courtier 173
    • INGRATITUDE: or the Magical Candlestick 175
    • GRATITUDE: or the Good Italian and the Grateful Turk 184
  • DIALOGUE XVIII. 192
    • INDULGENCE: or the Two Sisters ibid.
    • Anecdote of Xenocrates and an Athenian Youth 203
    • Fable of Industry, Curiosity, and Idleness 204
    • Essay on Industry 208
  • DIALOGUE XIX. 214
    • Anecdote of a Gentleman and his Tenant ibid.
    • —of a Generous Man 215
    • Gallantry of Sir Walter Raleigh to Q. Elizabeth 216
    • Anecdote of Archias the Spartan 217
    • SOCIAL DUTY: or Mirza 218
    • Mahmoud and the Vizier. A Fable. 225
    • PERSEVERANCE: The History of a German Philosopher 227
    • HEALTH: or the Vicar. A humourous cha­racter. 232
  • DIALOGUE XX. 239
    • The Loquacious Barber 240
    • YOUTHFUL LEVITY: or the Necessity of knowing your Company 243
    • LEVITY OF CONDUCT: The story of Flavilla 251
    • AMIABLE LEVITY: Letter to a new-born child 273
    • PATERNAL FEELINGS: or the Indian 277

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THE FAMILY PICTURE.

DIALOGUE XI.

MR. EGERTON.

IN our last conversation we had the history of an ambitious woman. Let us resume the sub­ject; let us cursorily examine the passion of ambition.

The word Ambition, like the word pride, may be taken both in an ill and a good meaning. It is usually applied to those destructive actions which are inspired by a love of fame, regardless of the means; which root out the nations, and desolate the earth, that the people who remain may tremble and admire. When it takes this course, ambition is the most pernicious of all the passions; because the miseries with which it teems are supposed glorious and bene­ficial to the conquerors; who, therefore, never neglect to praise, and almost idolize him who leads them to victory. The leader fails not to return [Page 2] this false praise—he is the first of heroes, and they are the bravest of troops. Thus each is dilated with imaginary virtues, for actions the most oppressive, the most intolerable, and the most wicked that man can commit.

If you wish for a lively picture of the effects of this passion, and the horrors I have just hinted at, turn to the history of Sylla and Caius Marius, or, indeed, to the history of any great and powerful people, and you will soon be satiated.

Ambition is the most active principle in the mind, and its effects are frequently prodigious: Many persons have wilfully devoted their lives to it, by committing crimes for which they knew they should suffer; chusing rather to endure tortures, and have their names recorded in infamy, than to die and be for­gotten. Such were Erostratus, who fired the Tem­ple of Diana, at Ephesus; Hermoxles, who killed Philip, King of Macedon; and many others.

Numerous are the examples too of those who, inspired by this passion, have been inclined to obtain it by virtuous means, but who could not resist vi­cious opportunities of gaining their purposes. Ju­lius Caesar, Pompey, Alexander, Pisistratus, &c. &c. gave, at different times, evident proofs of their sense of, and respect for, virtue. They committed likewise the most horrible crimes and devastations in pursuit of glory.

The love of fame seems never to have been more predominant in any person than in Alexander the [Page 3] Great. He took Calisthenes, a man famous for his eloquent writings, with him to his wars, that he might be a witness of his actions, and record them for posterity. When he came to the tomb of Achilles, at Sigaeum, he exclaimed, "Oh fortunate hero, thou hadst a Homer to make thy praise im­mortal!" So lively was his own sense of this passion, that he could not forbear esteeming it in others. He had heard of a certain Indian, whose skill in archery was so great, that he could shoot his arrows through a ring at a great distance. This man was taken prisoner, and brought to Alexander, who desired him to exhibit some proofs of his dexterity; this the Indian peremptorily refused: at which Alexander was so enraged, that he commanded him to be taken away and slain. Being questioned by the soldiers, as they were leading him to death, concerning the reason of his obstinacy, the Indian told them, he had been long out of practice, and was afraid he should not be able to equal his former exploits. Alexander immediately ordered him to be released, gave him his liberty, and loaded him with presents: admiring the greatness of that spirit that would suffer death rather than lose renown.

The word ambition, when applied to a good in­tention, we usually call emulation; a word too cold to express actions eminently virtuous. The follow­ing tale will fully explain what I would have you understand by Ambition in each sense of the word.

[Page 4]

AMBITION. KOREM and ZENDAR: A Tartarian Tale.

CORDUBA, King of Teran, in Great Tar­tary, was a Prince adored by his subjects, whose felicity he constantly laboured to promote, during a very long reign. Covered with glory, and bending under the infirmities of old age, his care was to fix upon a successor, who should cause him to be the less regretted by his people. It was his pre­rogative to elect one: and, having no son, he was obliged, according to the law of Tartary, to com­mit the sceptre to him whom he should chuse to marry his daughter, provided he were of the blood of Tamerlane.

Akebar, King of Balk, and Mameluke, Sultan of Carism, pretended, with equal ardor, to a match that would double their respective powers; and, pre­suming that Corduba would declare in favour of him whose enmity was most to be dreaded, each of them threatened to appear at the head of an army, to make good, at Teran, his demand for Almanzaris and her rich dowry. The old King, having con­sidered what was the fittest course to be taken, deter­mined for war, and convoked the States of his king­dom, in order to acquaint them with his resolution.

There were now, at the court of Teran, two younger brothers, Princes of the blood of Tamer­lane, whose personal merit seemed to render them worthy of the highest fortune. They entertained [Page 5] the most violent passion for Almanzaris; but, having nothing but their birth and qualifications to recom­mend them, they had not yet dared to declare their intention. The King had observed what restraint they put upon themselves, in order to conceal their sentiments, and generously attributed this respectful deportment to the account of their other merits.

The grandees having posted up to the capital from all parts, and the deputies of the people repaired to the palace, the wise Corduba addressed them in these terms:

"I have not yet lived too long, my people: for, each day of my life, by being employed in pro­moting the advantage of my subjects, has been with­out reproach. But, as my infirmities no longer allow me to live for your sakes, it is time for me to depart; or, at least, until it pleases God to cut me off from the number of the living, I ought to employ the few days he grants me, in endeavouring to prevent your being injured by my death."

The good King was interrupted by the sighs and tears of the assembly.

"Akebar and Mameluke wish to reign over you, continued the aged Monarch. They are destitute of all right to my throne, as well as my daughter; yet they threaten to acquire both by force of arms. I am a King, I am a father, O Teranites! and I know what sort of husband is proper for my daugh­ter; and what Sovereign my subjects ought to wish for. Akebar and Mameluke are alike unworthy of [Page 6] my choice; and, whatever may be their force, it is better to have them for enemies than for masters. Illustrious descendants of the great Timur! brave Korem! intrepid Zendar! to you I commit the care of preserving the Teranites from oppression. Divide between you the forces of my kingdom, and march against my enemies. The head of my people and the husband of my daughter must be an hero: Contend both of you for this title with a noble emu­lation: He that shall have deserved it, at the end of this war, shall be King of the Teranites and the husband of Almanzaris."

Corduba dissolved the assembly. They answered him with shouts of applause. He dispatched orders for Korem and Zendar to be obeyed throughout Teran, as if he himself were present.

Zendar laboured with extraordinary diligence in augmenting the army he was to command: He won the hearts of the soldiers by liberalities, and animated the officers by marks of distinction and the most flat­tering hopes: He collected vast quantities of pro­visions and ammunition, erected magazines, exer­cised his levies, and took the field, as soon as the season was favourable. It was his lot to march against Mameluke. As the petty republics, that lay between the kingdoms of Teran and Carism, might suffer themselves to be wrought upon by the promises, or intimidated by the menaces of the Sultan, Zendar made sure of them by surprising their towns, putting garrisons in their fortresses, and [Page 7] seizing their arms; and, having nothing more to fear from these petty states, which he had rendered incapable of molesting him, he poured like a torrent into the kingdom of Carism.

Mameluke was too well acquainted with the pa­cific temper of Corduba to expect such vigorous proceedings. He had not even assembled his army, when Zendar, master of the field, had made several great towns open their gates to him. The General of the Teranites, equally skilful and active, attacked such places as shut their gates against him: He con­tinued his approaches so artfully, carried them on so vigorously, and stormed the breaches with so much bravery, that, in a few days, the most resolute gar­risons surrendered at discretion.

Already Zendar was in sight of Carism, when the Sultan, at the head of an army much more nume­rous, advanced to oppose his rapid progress. For several days successively, there were skirmishes be­tween large parties, in which the Teranites had always the advantage. The Sultan, considering those losses as so many presages of a general defeat, in case he ventured a battle, made proposals for a peace: The principal conditions were, That he would renounce his pretensions to Almanzaris; that he would be the ally of him that should marry her; that he would render homage to the King of Teran for the territories of Carism, which Zendar had put under contribution.

[Page 8]The Teranite Prince rejected these proposals as ridiculous; Mameluke, said he, relinquished what he could not any longer hope to obtain, and desired to become a vassal, when he could not avoid be­coming a subject. The battle was fought under the walls of Carism, and lasted the whole day. The Sultan behaved like a Prince whose only resource lay in a victory, and performed prodigies of valour. Zendar acted the part of a great Captain and a brave soldier; more than once, by his personal bravery, he animated his disordered broken troops to return to the charge; and, by his profound capacity, he obviated the ill consequences of other unlucky inci­dents. In fine, he fixed fortune to his standard; his victory was complete. The Sultan, leaving half of his army dead on the field of battle, brought off the flower of the rest into his capital, and there shut himself up, resolving to be buried in its ruins, if the enemy refused to listen to peace.

Zendar was deaf to the intreaties of the Sultan's deputies. After letting his army rest a few days, he formed his lines of contravallation round the city. He amused the Sultan with all the preparations and works requisite for a regular siege, and, taking the advantage of a dark night, ordered a general scalade. The Sultan ran to that side where the greatest efforts were made, judging that Zendar must be there in person: He beheld this implacable enemy, who, bearing down all that opposed him, had already got footing on the counterscarp, and was preparing to [Page 9] force his way to the rampart. Urged by despair, or hoping to retrieve all by single combat, he cut his way up to the Prince, and challenged him. Zen­dar's fortune did not forsake him; his first blow laid Mameluke dead at his feet. The rumour of his death once spread, the Carismites laid down their arms, and implored the clemency of the con­queror, who, with great difficulty, drew off his fu­rious soldiers from the carnage.

At break of day, Zendar secured the posts of the city, caused Corduba to be proclaimed Sultan of Carism, and made the inhabitants swear allegiance to him; and, as it took up no more time to subdue the rest of the kingdom, than was necessary to march through it, he returned to Teran towards the end of autumn, and laid at the feet of Almanzaris one of the most considerable crowns of Tartary.

While Zendar filled Teran with the fame of his exploits, the Teranites scarce remembered that his rival, Korem, had an army under his command; and yet he had laboured indefatigably towards the acquisition of a title on which his happiness de­pended; but he took a course different from Zen­dar's. His first care was to dispel the fears and jea­lousies of the petty republics situated between the kingdoms of Balk and Teran. As pledges of his fidelity in keeping his word with them, he gave them hostages, and thereby acquired a right to de­mand hostages of them. He sent manifestoes into the provinces of Balk, setting forth the motives of [Page 10] the war, and making Akebar the cause of all the calamities it might bring upon the people: Besides which, he ordered trusty emissaries to lie concealed in the enemy's towns, to mix in company with the citizens, to extol the conduct he proposed to ob­serve, and to exaggerate every loss the King might sustain. Thus assured of the affections of the neu­tral republics, he made no other provision for his expedition, but arms and money; and, followed by twenty thousand Teranites, picked out of the most robust and docible in that part of the kingdom which had been assigned him for making levies, he began his march. The punctuality with which he paid for what he required, soon made his camp abound with all kinds of provisions; the peasants flocked to him with every thing they could spare; and, thinking themselves happy in a war, that inriched with­out exposing them to any danger; love and gra­titude attached them to the General, to whom they were indebted for this surprising scene.

So much caution and moderation gave Akebar leisure to assemble his forces: He was already on the frontiers, with a prodigious army, not doubting in the least that he should crush Korem; but he little knew what sort of an enemy he had to deal with. This Prince, being charged to preserve the Teranites from oppression, contented himself with protecting them. Ever upon the wing with his little army, which he even frequently divided into flying parties, he applied himself to keeping Akebar in con­tinual [Page 11] alarm. He made choice of posts where he might fight only when he pleased: He charged his officers to decline every skirmish that might bring on a general engagement, but not to avoid any other action. By this conduct he succeeded in stop­ping, fatiguing, and consuming that numerous army, which could not move, without being exposed to the sword of the vigilant Teranites.

Akebar, having seen all his foragers cut off, and one of his quarters beat up and plundered, resolved to bring the war to a short issue, by penetrating into the kingdom of Teran. He entered the territories of the neutral petty republics; but, as he was not disposed to pay for what he thought he had a right to exact, and as his enemy had the hearts of the people, he soon found himself in want of provisions.

Korem, who had foreseen all this, depended on the troops he had left on the frontier, for making head against the King. As for his part, having caused part of his cavalry to take an extensive cir­cuit, in order to lay under contribution the pro­vinces of Balk, which were quite bare of troops, he followed Akebar in the rear with the rest of his army, incessantly and harrassing him, retarding the arrival of those convoys which he could not cut off, and daily reducing his army to greater straits.

The peasants, finding that the soldiers of Akebar used them ill, annoyed them in every respect, and began a kind of war that was more cruelly managed than open hostilities. The contributions levied by [Page 12] the Teranite cavalry, filled the kingdom of Balk with consternation, and made all the people murmur. The supplies, which Akebar drew from his domi­nions, stopped all on a sudden; a sickness broke out in his army; and, to complete his misfortunes, Korem managed so artfully, that he cut off his re­treat home. Thus all hearts fainted in his camp.

In so terrible a situation Akebar sued for peace, leaving Korem intirely master of the conditions, and resolving to die, should they prove intolerable: The Teranite Prince sent him this answer:

"Kings should make war to establish peace. Promise, Sir, to observe faithfully the alliance with Corduba and the successor he shall please to appoint, and repair the damage you have occasioned to the neutral republics and the Teranites. Would to God we could bring the slain to life! Then might all be forgotten."

Akebar, struck with admiration, swore to observe the peace; he gave security for the performance of articles; and, in his march back to his capital, he proclaimed every-where, that Korem's virtue was equal to his talents. The Prince, after disbanding his army, repaired to Teran, to give an account of his expedition. Corduba, too well informed to be ignorant of any part of Korem's conduct, had al­ready passed sentence between the two rivals.—He called together, however, the States of Teran, who being assembled, and the Deputies of Carism having been called to sit with them, Corduba thus spoke:

[Page 13]"Intrepid Zendar, your courage and conduct have acquired me a new kingdom; but the subjects, which your conquest procures me, are only enemies in disguise, whom you add to the number of my children. I will not, by adopting them, introduce discord into my family. Let the Carismites have a King, whose love cannot be divided between them and another people."

"Go, brave Zendar, go and reign in Carism. The terrible effects of your valour have made you dreaded and admired in that fine empire. Let your great talents rest, and add to them virtues of a higher value. The losses the Carismites have suffered by your means, ought to be repaired; they will not allow you to indulge your genius, and to exhibit to them a mere conqueror on the throne of their Kings: shew yourself to them as a father, and constrain them, by continual benefactions, to bless the hand that shed their blood."

"As for you, generous Korem, who know how to vanquish the enemies of the Teranites, and to procure them friends; you, who love peace, under­stand the art of war, and excel in the practice of useful and amiable virtues, be my daughter's Con­sort; receive my Scepter together with her Hand. Under such a King as you, my people have nothing to fear either from intestine vices and disorders, or neighbouring nations. Be their master, and be my son. You are a Hero, Zendar may become one."

EUSTACE.
[Page 14]

Korem was indeed, Sir, an illustrious Hero. If ever I should arrive at the command of an army, I hope to be like him.

NANCY.

I hope you would; for, indeed, it makes one's heart chill with horror when we read of so many dreadful relations of men murdering each other, of the sacking of towns, of killing poor helpless women and children, and all the rest of their horrible cruelties.

HARRY.

Pray, papa, can you tell me why Frenchmen and Englishmen don't love one another? I am al­ways hearing of their going to fight: and then we ring the bells, and make bonfires, when the English have killed a good many of the poor Frenchmen; and, I am sure, I can't guess why; for all the Frenchmen I have ever seen are so good-natured, and so civil, that I can't believe they would quarrel with any body in the world by their own good-will.

MR. EGERTON.

The subject we have been discoursing upon— Ambition, my dear, is the cause. Neither French­men nor Englishmen have, of themselves, any na­tural propensity to hate each other, but it is the destructive views of a few, who inspire that [Page 15] passion, and encourage nations to butcher each other, to serve their own selfish and ambitious purposes.

MISS FORRESTER.

I have always, Sir, been a great admirer of such Kings as were rather disposed to forgive than to punish criminals. I have heard people say that no man ought to put another to death.

MR. FORRESTER.

That is a very ridiculous doctrine. I could wish those who broach it might first be robbed of their property: if that will not convert them, let their lives be attacked; and see what effect this would produce.

MR. EGERTON.

It is part of the novel and paradoxical philosophy of the present day, in which I am sorry to say, it does not appear to be to much the endeavour of our reasoners to enforce truth as to incite surprize; and in which those who are incapable of attracting the public notice by the strength of their genius, do yet obtain a temporary admiration by the strangeness of their assertions. Mercy is undoubtedly a most hea­venly virtue; "It droppeth like the gentle rain from Heaven on the place beneath;" but even this di­vine attribute, even Mercy, may be misapplied, may become a vice, may become CRUELTY. To let criminals of a certain complexion escape, is to [Page 16] multiply crimes. Nerva, the successor of the cruel Domitian, carried this virtue to such excess, as even during his short reign to become, in some degree, contemptible. The following anecdotes will help to point out the distinction I mean to inculcate.

MERCY. Anecdotes of OTTOMAN and ALIVERDI.

OTTOMAN, the first Sultan of the Turks, was of so mild a temper, that to this day, at the ceremony of proclaiming the Emperors his suc­cessors, they wish them his meekness. One day his officers brought to him a man that had been found concealed in the Imperial tent with a dagger under his garment. The criminal confessed that he in­tended to murder the Sultan; and the officers waited impatiently for orders to execute the villain: But Ottoman, whom nothing could warp from his good-nature, said to the officers, let the wretch go, I cannot resolve to shed blood.

This instance of unbounded clemency has its value, though it is the effect of temper: But let us see whether clemency produced by sentiment and re­flection is not superior to it.

Aliverdi, generalissimo of the armies of Abbas the Great, King of Persia, and his prime minister, was as good a general and as able a politician, as he was amiable in the capacity of a courtier. From the constant serenity of his countenance it was [Page 17] judged that nothing could ruffle the calmness of his heart; and virtue displayed itself in him so grace­fully and so naturally, that it was supposed to be the effect of his happy temper. An extraordinary incident made the world do him justice, and placed him in the rank he deserved.

One day as he was shut up in his closet, bestow­ing on affairs of state the hours which other men devote to sleep, a courier quite out of breath came in and told him, that an Armenian, followed by a posse of friends, had in the night surprized his pa­lace at Amandabat, destroyed all the most valuable furniture in it, and would have carried off his wife and children, doubtless to make slaves of them, had not the domestics, when the first fright was over, made head against him. The courier added, that a bloody skirmish ensued, in which his servants had the advantage at last; that the Armenian's friends were all killed upon the spot, but that their leader was taken alive.

I thank thee, Offali*, cried Aliverdi, for afford­ing me the means to revenge so enormous an at­tempt. What! whilst I make a sacrifice of my days and my repose to the good of Persia; while, through my cares and toils, the meanest Persian lives secure from injustice and violence, shall an audacious stranger come to injure me in what is most dear to me! Let him be thrown into a dun­geon, [Page 18] and give him a quantity of wretched food sufficient to preserve him for the torments to which I destine him. The courier withdrew, charged with these orders to those who had the Armenian in custody.

But Aliverdi soon growing cool again, cried out, What is it, O God, that I have done! Is it thus that I maintain the glory of so many years? Shall one single moment eclipse all my virtue! That stranger has cruelly provoked me: But what im­pelled him to it? No man commits evil merely for the pleasure of doing it: There is always a motive, which passion or prejudice presents to us under the mask of equity; and it must needs be something of this kind that blinded the Armenian to the dread­ful attempt. Doubtless, I must have injured the wretch!

He dispatched immediately an express to Aman­dabat, with an order under his own hand, not to make the prisoner feel any other hardship than the privation of liberty. Still tranquil, after this act of moderation, he applied himself again to public bu­siness, till he should have leisure to sift this bu­siness to the bottom. From the strict inquiries he ordered to be made, he learned, that one of his inferior officers had done very considerable damage to the Armenian, considering the mediocrity of his fortune; and that he himself had slighted the com­plaints brought against him. Eased by this disco­very, he called for the Armenian, whose counte­nance [Page 19] expressed more confusion than terror, and passed this sentence upon him.

"Vindictive stranger, there was some ground for thy resentment; thou didst think I had justly incurred thy hatred; I forgive thee the injury thou hast done me. But thou hast carried thy vengeance to excess; thou hast attacked a man whom thou oughtest to respect; nay, thou hast attempted to make thy vengeance fall upon innocent heads: therefore I ought to punish thee. Go, and reflect in solitude on the wretchedness of a man that gives full swing to his passions. Thy punishment, which justice requires of me, will be sufficiently tempered by my clemency; and thy repentance may permit me to shorten the term."

*
The Prophet most revered by the Persians next to Mahomet.
HARRY.

That Aliverdi was a very good man, papa, be­cause he loved his wife and children.

MR. EGERTON.

Yes, my dear; but, observe, though he loved them very much, he would not suffer either love or pity to subvert justice.

HARRY.

And yet, papa, I have heard that love makes people do strange things.

MR. EGERTON.

Very true, my dear; love is a powerful passion, the effects of which cannot be too cautiously at­tended [Page 20] to and guarded against by young people. It is a passion which ought not to be mentioned in a careless and slight manner, nor without the utmost purity of sentiment. The novels which undertake the difficult task of pourtraying love, generally paint it as weak, cunning, and contemptible; but in persons in whom virtue and real dignity of mind are conspicuous, it is simple, chaste, and noble. The story of Mahmut and Idris will shew you what it ought to be; I must only caution you all to re­member, that in Persia, where the scene is laid, the manners are very different from ours, and that though the refusal of Idris to become the wife of Mahmut, and acting, as she afterwards did, would have been wrong here, there it was not only proper but heroic.

LOVE. IDRIS and MAHMUT.

AMONG the dancers of the palace, in the reign of Abbas the Great, King of Persia, there was a young maid, named Idris, whom the master of the revels, on the report of her charms, had sent for from Casbin to Ispahan. Her mother being of the same profession, she had followed that way of life: But as she honourably distinguished herself from her female companions, she demonstrated that virtue is practicable in every situation, however slippery or dangerous it may be.

[Page 21]Scarcely had Idris appeared on the theatre of the capital, but she found herself beset by the grandees, who strove to please her by the same means that had won others in that station. Every one exerted his faculties and address, in order to gain the preference over his rivals. But Idris was not to be caught with such baits. At the palace, at assemblies, in the public walks, and in all places, the discourse turned upon the new dancer: Every one talked of her beauty, her wit, and her engaging behaviour; and, which was more than they had ever said of any other of her profession, they agreed in acknowledging her to be virtuous. It is the property only of the most exalted virtue to gain the respect and admi­ration of young courtiers. Mahmut conceived a high opinion of Idris's virtue, from the extraordinary effect it produced.

Mahmut bore among the young Lords of the Court the same character which Idris maintained among the dancers of her sex; proof against the defects of his equals and the vices of his station. As soon as he began to appear in the world, he became sensible of the ridiculousness of that noisy, obstre­perous giddiness, which most young people of qua­lity affect; and being happily prejudiced against the idle life he saw them lead, he took care not to follow their example, yet without seeming to condemn them. While their days were divided between the toilet, the table, visits, ladies' bed-chambers, and gaming, he spent the morning in his closet among [Page 22] his books, or with those whose conversation could instruct him better. In the afternoon he frequented the manufactories, and working places about the palace; talked with the ablest hands in the several arts; and observed with the utmost attention how they proceeded in their works. In the evening he went to the Play or other public entertainments, which he enjoyed with the moderation that is ever insepa­rable from taste and discernment: After which he repaired to some of the most brilliant assemblies of Ispahan, as well to avoid a singularity that would have rendered him odious, as to acquire a greater share of the complaisance and politeness which reigned in them. Mahmut's wit, and the use he made of it, rendered him superior to those who were his equals in birth; and besides the advantage of a good figure and graceful air, he distinguished him­self no less among them by his natural and acquired talents. Idris could not behold this amiable Persian without emotion: She immediately shunned all her importunate suitors; and complacently fancying him free from all their faults, she secretly wished that the beauty, which they had so highly extolled, might make an impression on him. Her wishes were met more than half-way: Mahmut soon let her know that he loved her most passionately; and her answer to his declaration, on account of its singularity, deserves to be given entire.

"Doubtless you give the name of love (said she with an enchanting smile) to that which is only an [Page 23] effect of your taste for novelty. I will not, my Lord, go farther at present on this head: 'Tis your business to fix my judgment. I will ingenuously confess, though it will give you an unfavourable opinion of me, if you are not the man I take you to be, that I am not displeased at your liking me: yet if ever I see occasion to alter the idea I have con­ceived of you, hope not that I shall in the least in­dulge my inclination. I shall not take it ill, if you give your heart to a more virtuous woman; there­fore do not complain of your lot, if I dispose of mine in favour of any man whom I may find superior to you in virtue."

Mahmut, struck with admiration and overflowing with joy, laboured to rise to such a pitch as might oblige Idris to be constant to him. He applied him­self with fresh vigour to acquire the arts and sciences necessary for a man in his station. He made it his business to relieve indigent merit and unfortunate virtue. His humanity, generosity, capacity and modesty, were equally conspicuous; and Idris abun­dantly rewarded him for all the pains he took to please her. Praise grounded on truth, and coming from the mouth of so charming a person, filled the tender Mahmut's heart with joy and satisfaction. He read in the eyes of his beauteous mistress how dear he was to her: He talked of his attachment, and described its sincerity; Idris listened to him with pleasure, vowed she would make him a just return, and thus animated him to give her no occasion to [Page 24] repent her engagement. In these overflowings of their hearts, which none but true lovers can know and feel the sweetness of, they laid open to each other the most secret recesses of their souls. Mah­mut was grieved whenever he took leave of Idris; nor could she bear his absence without a visible concern: They always parted under the greatest impatience to meet again.

Between two neighbours so powerful as the Grand Signior and the King of Persia, there can be no long peace: A war soon broke out, and Mahmut was obliged to set out for the army. He waited upon Idris, to deplore with her the dire necessity that forced them asunder: But while he lay at her feet, he durst not disclose to her all his grief: The fortitude of the fair one daunted him; he was afraid of lessening himself in her esteem, by discovering any weakness. Idris perceived the sore conflict in his breast, and loved him for it the more intensely.

Mahmut had not been gone a month, when he gave way to his desire of an interview with Idris. He slipped away privately from the army, and with the help of relays which he had got ready on the road, he was at the gates of Ispahan before they missed him in the camp. Alighting at the house of one of his old servants, he disguised himself in the apparel of a peasant, that he might not be known in the city; and, impatient of an interview with his Idris, he flew to her house.

[Page 25]The charming maid was sitting at her balcony as Mahmut was advancing, and knew him, notwith­standing his disguise. Grieved to see him thus neglect his glory and his duty, she ran directly to her closet, charging her slave to admit no visitor whatever. She melted into fears at the weakness of her lover; but soon recovering herself, she wrote him the following billet.

IDRIS to the PEASANT.

"Friend, I know that thou art to be forthwith at the army. Call upon Mahmut, and tell him from me, that I desire him to remember the con­ditions on which the heart of Idris is to be secured."

Mahmut was too much confounded with these few words, to ask any questions of the slave that deli­vered him the billet. He went back to his domestick's house, to put off his disguise; and fluctuating be­tween admiration, grief, and fear, he repaired again to the army with as much haste as he had travelled up to Ispahan. His chief study being to make amends for the fault he had committed, he behaved the rest of the campaign with so much ardor, bra­very and conduct, that he was deservedly promoted to a higher post, which the King conferred on him, with the most honourable eulogies, at the head of the army. Idris wrote him a congratulatory letter on his promotion, in which, without mentioning his weakness, she gave him to understand that she had forgiven him.

[Page 26]Mahmut, transported with joy, hastened back to Ispahan as soon as the army was ordered into winter quarters; and listening to no other considerations but his esteem for the virtuous girl, he entreated her to complete his happiness in becoming his wife. Your wife, my Lord! answered Idris, with a kind of surprize mixed with indignation: What! would Mahmut forget himself so far? In disposing of your heart, you may indeed consult nothing but your inclination: But when the question is to choose a partner in your dignity and fortune, you are ac­countable to those of whom you hold both. I that am ready to sacrifice my life, were it necessary, to preserve your glory, shall not be instrumental myself in sullying it.

Sentiments like these made the passionate Mahmut only more pressing. What are those things, said he, which, create so great a disparity between us? An instant may deprive me of them: But the dowry which you will bring me, charming Idris, is a bles­sing that depends not on men nor fortune. In uttering these words, his countenance began to be clouded with grief: Fresh denials drove him to de­spair; he drew his poniard, and was going to plunge it into his breast. The tender Idris could hold out no longer: Ah! Mahmut, cried she, stop your hand, and live: To-morrow I shall be your's; grant me this short respite. She could not utter more; tears put an end to her surprize, and stopt her speech. Ashamed of her weakness, she broke loose [Page 27] from her lover's arms, withdrew to her closet, and soon repented the promise she had made.

In the mean while Mahmut was desperate enough to resolve upon death, if she denied his request. The maid, wavering between tender passion, and con­cern for the glory of her lover, soon hit upon a de­vice that would reconcile them. While she was free, notwithstanding the meanness of her condition, she could not in honour give herself to him, upon any other terms than marriage; and considering the dis­tance which fortune had put between them, she was sensible she could not receive the title of wife with­out disgracing her admirer. She resolved then to remove those obstacles to her Mahmut's happiness, at the expence of what was most dear to her. Wrapping herself up therefore in a long mantle, she left her house in the dusk of the evening, and sold herself to a dealer in slaves. After this she wrote the following letter to Mahmut.

MY LORD,

"You have not judged me unworthy to be your wife, and I have the deepest sense of gratitude for this signal testimony of your esteem. I think my heart and my sentiments would not have disgraced that honourable quality: But what would your re­lations say? What would all Persia say, whose eyes are upon you, and who see nothing in me but the mean profession I was bred to? I allow that in one moment you may be deprived of every thing that [Page 28] makes the great disparity between us: But if ever you should be borne down by adverse fortune, the whole world would be forced to acknowledge the injustice, and to pity and admire you. You love Idris: You are resolved to die, if she does not make herself your's: Come then and take her out of the house of the master, to whom she has sold herself, in order that you yourself may become her master. She is not qualified to be your wife: Take her then as your slave."

DIALOGUE XII.

MR. EGERTON.

IN our conversations, children, we have had fre­quent occasion to mention the Eastern nations, from the tales which have lately multiplied among us; some of which I have introduced here, for the sake of their moral intent, as well as for variety. The doctrines of Mahomet being now almost universally received in the East, I thought an account of the man, and his opinions, would tend not only to in­form your minds, but to make you tolerant in your principles. I have, therefore, drawn up the narrative, which I am going to read for your use and informa­tion. [Page 29] Afterwards, I mean to give you some ad­vice relative to superstition, and its pernicious effects.

MR. EGERTON.

No person, my children, can read the above ac­count of the Day of Judgment without admiring the sublimity and grandeur of the images that are there collected. It is taken from a dialogue between Mahomet and Abdàllah Ebn Salam, a Jew, who was supposed to have assisted him in composing the Alcoran. Many particulars contained in this ab­stract, are taken from the accounts given by Com­mentators, and many from the Alcoran itself.

CHARLES.

It is very wonderful indeed, Sir; but surely Ma­homet must have been exceedingly wicked to make the people believe such lies, and persuade them that he was a Prophet.

MR. EGERTON.

Yes, Charles, he was exceedingly wicked. I know no wickedness equal to that of disseminating lies under the mask of religion: that is, of propa­gating incoherent and contradictory opinions, of infusing mental terrors into the minds of the simple [Page 41] and the ignorant, and of causing them to dispute, hate, and exterminate each other for ages to come, in support of doctrines which are so involved in mystery, absurdity and falsehood, that no two men, even among those who imagine they comprehend them, were ever of one belief.

EUSTACE.

Certainly, Sir, we have no right to either disturb or despise persons who think differently from our­selves.

MR. EGERTON.

By no means. The Russians believe St. Nicholas swam down the river Volga on a mill-stone; the Gentoos worship a cow; the Egyptians a cat; the Papists a wafer. These things are ridiculous, but not pernicious, till they are rendered so by the arts of ambition, or the zeal of enthusiasm. Superstition should be pitied, not persecuted. A King of Siam had a white elephant, which he supposed was pos­sessed of supernatural powers, and he, therefore, made it the object of his adoration. The King of Pegu was a cunning and ambitious Prince, that wanted a pretext to make war upon the King of Siam. For this purpose he likewise pretended to believe in the white elephant; ordained it sacrifices, paid it di­vine honours, and, at last, sent to demand it of the King of Siam, that it might be seen and wor­shipped by all the people of Pegu. The demand [Page 42] was peremptorily refused by the King of Siam. This was foreseen by the King of Pegu, who had previously taken his measures, and having a vast army in readiness, immediately invaded Siam, which he conquered; added it to his own kingdom, and took the white elephant, which, that he might seem to be consistent, he caused all his subjects to adore. The religious wars of Christians, Jews, and Turks, are not unlike the war of the white elephant; reli­gion is the pretence, but ambition is the motive. Men go to battle, and afterwards, with miraculous effrontery, to the temples of the God of Benevo­lence, to render thanks for having obtained the power to murder and destroy their own species; nay more, they pretend to fast, and to pray that they may induce the God of Mercy to be of their party.

Protestants themselves are sufficiently weak, suffi­ciently absurd, and have far, far too much of the persecuting spirit remaining among them. Let us, however, do them the justice to acknowledge, they are more rational, and more tolerant, than other sectaries. We are but too well acquainted with the persecutions of the Catholics, their inquisitions, and their massacres; yet do not let us cherish ourselves, or endeavour to inspire others with hatred towards them: their leaders, their rulers, and their instruc­tors only are guilty.

The following account of a Turkish fast forcibly and lamentably describes the power of that super­stition of which Mahomet was the founder. The [Page 43] Sultan Selim having been constantly defeated in his wars with the Germans, who were commanded by the great Eugene, and being afraid of losing his crown and his life by popular insurrections, endea­voured to amuse the people, and divert them from re­bellious thoughts by proclaiming a Fast, which ex­hibits a melancholy picture of abject folly, and inco­herent cruelty.

PROCLAMATION.

ASHMED Selim, Sultan, Emperor of the East and of the West, Lord of Lords, true imitator of the prophet Mahomet, &c. The Grand Sultan being apprehensive, that the hand of the great God is stretched out against his government, his subjects, and his empire, since he permits them to be oppressed and tormented by their enemies the christians, who have vanquished them several times, both by sea and land, and taken from them a large extent of country; and all this, as it appears to him, because the mus­sulmans have corrupted themselves, and become too confident of their power: To appease the wrath of God, therefore, and of his prophet Mahomet, he expressly orders, That on Friday, after new moon, in the fifth, sixth, and seventh months, all and sin­gular his subjects shall keep a rigorous fast all that day, and abstain from meat and drink, from the rising of the sun, till that of the stars. On that day, the Mufti, and other ecclesiastical servants, cloathed [Page 44] with penitential garments of hair-cloth, with down-cast eyes, beards uncombed, and all in tears, shall repair first to the public places, and afterwards to the mosques, crying with all their strength, "Ya mofateth ilabwab," [i. e. Open the gates of thy fa­vour.] In the island of Mecca, the prophet's coffin shall be laid open, and exposed to public view upon silver tressels, perfumed with incense, and filled with the bones of servants and spahi's killed in the battle; that the prophet, moved by so great and so sensible a loss, may be induced to appease the wrath of Heaven. This to be performed three Fridays, the coffin car­ried through the streets and in the fields; and all the pilgrims and inhabitants of the mosques, with the Chiefs of the trades, shall make the round seven times, singing, with a doleful voice, the Canticle of Lamentation, on account of this terrible destruc­tion. No instrument of music shall be heard, but cries of sorrow and universal mourning; and, on the last day of fasting, a solemn and general pro­cession shall be made, ten miles round, in the fol­lowing order:

First, The procession shall begin with a coffin filled with dead men's bones, broken scimiters, flatted cuirasses, broken bows, and blunt arrows. All these shall be carried by six-hundred Turks cloathed in penitential habits, bare-footed and bare-headed, without turbans.

2. Three hundred mussulmans shall follow, with habits dyed in blood and strewed with ashes, striking [Page 45] their breasts, with lamentable outcries and doleful howlings.

3. Six thousa [...]d, n [...]k [...]d from their h [...]ads to their girdles, shall lash their breasts and shoulders with thorns, till the blood droppeth on the ground, without their wiping it off.

4. The coffin of the prophet, supported by thirty Spahis without turbans, surrounded by four hun­dred Bashaws, with drawn scimiters, to destroy all who shall look on the coffin without respect, and whose bodies shall be cast to the dogs.

5. At every quarter of a mile, an ass and a Jew shall be killed, and left on the ground weltering in their blood.

6. Thirty land Bashaws shall be without purple, and with pitiful turbans of a black stuff dipped in the blood of the ass and the Jew, having one hand tied behind to the shoulder; without scimiters, but with tails of black horses dragging on the ground to raise the dust.

7. Three thousand Janizaries, without arms, having sticks in their hands trailing on the ground, shall cry, "Alla hasbi fagavuri!" [i. e. God is my protector! let him pardon me!]

8. A chest filled with silver to be thrown to the people, but not to be gathered, till the procession be over, under pain of being impaled alive.

9. In fine, this procession shall be closed by an in­numerable multitude of people, in the midst of whom there shall be an hundred Turkish penitents, who [Page 46] with knives shall cut off the flesh of their arms, their breasts, and their faces, the better to appease the wrath of the great God and his prophet Mahomet; and, at every quarter of a mile, they shall lift up the right-hand, and cry, with all their strength, "Alla sifai sededni Ahday." [i. e. I invoke God with my mouth, that he may fortify me against my enemies.]

NANCY.

This is a most barbarous and cruel ceremony, Sir.

MR. EGERTON.

Ay, my dear, so much so, that I would not have shocked your ears with so black a relation of human depravity, but that I wish to inspire a universal de­testation of the persecuting spirit of superstition. We will close this subject with the fictitious travels of Scarmentado, which, though done in the form of a novel, contain a true and melancholy collection of facts.

SUPERSTITION: Or SCARMENTADO.

MY name is Scarmentado; my father was go­vernor of the city of Candia, where I came into the world in the year 1600, and I remember that one Jro, a stupid and scurrilous poet, wrote a copy [Page 47] of doggrel verses in my praise, by which he proved me descended from Minos in a direct line; but my father being disgraced some time after, he wrote another poem, by which it appeared I was no longer a-kin to Minos, but the descendant of Pasiphae and her lover.

When I was fifteen years old, my father sent me to Rome, to finish my studies. Monsignor Profonde, to whom I was recommended, was a strange kind of man, and one of the most terrible scholars breath­ing; he took it into his head to teach me the cate­gories of Aristotle, and I narrowly escaped his throw­ing me into the category of his minions. I saw many processions and exorcisms, and much oppres­sion. Signora Fatelo, a lady of no rigid morals, was foolish enough to like me: she was wooed by two youthful monks, the Rev. Father Poignardini, and the Rev. Father Aconiti, but she put an end to the pretensions of both of them, by granting me her good graces; yet, at the same time, I narrowly escaped being excommunicated and poisoned. I left Rome, exceedingly well pleased with the archi­tecture of St. Peter's church.

I went to France, in the reign of Lewis, surnamed the Just; the first thing I was asked was, whether I chose a relish of the Marshal d'Ancre, whose body the public had roasted, and which was distributing very cheap to such as desired the happiness of tasting. This nation was at that time torn to pieces by civil wars, occasioned sometimes by ambition, sometimes [Page 48] by controversy; and those intestine broils had for the space of forty years deluged the most delightful country in the world with blood. Such were the liberties of the Gallican church: the French, said I, are naturally wise; what makes them deviate from that character? They are much given to joking and pleasantry, and yet they commit a massacre; happy that age in which they shall do nothing but joke and make merry.

From hence I set out for England; the same fa­natical temper excited here the same furious zeal; a set of devout Roman Catholics, had resolved, for the good of the church, to blow up the king, the royal family, and the parliament, with gunpowder, and thereby free the nation from those heretics. I was shewn the spot where the blessed Queen Mary, daughter to Henry VIII. had caused above five hundred of her subjects to be burnt alive. A pious Hibernian priest assured me, it was a very laudable action, first, because those they had burned were English; and, secondly, because they were wretches who never took any holy water, and did not believe in St. Patrick.

From England I went to Holland, in hopes of find­ing more peace and tranquillity among a more fleg­matic people. At my arrival at the Hague, I was entertained with the beheading of a venerable old patriot, the prime minister Barnevelt, who was the most deserving man in the republic. Struck with pity at the sight, I asked what his crime was, and [Page 49] whether he had betrayed the state? He has done worse, replied a preacher with a black cloak, he believes that we can be saved by good works, as well as by faith. You are sensible, that were such systems suffered to prevail, the commonwealth could not long subsist, and that a severe law is necessary to check and refute such scandalous errors. A deep Dutch politician told me with a sigh, that such com­mendable actions could not last for ever: Alas, Sir! said he, our people naturally incline towards tole­ration; some day or other they will adopt it; I shudder at the thought: believe me, Sir, pursued he, it is a mere chance that you actually find them so laudably and zealously inclined as to cut off the heads of their fellow-creatures for the sake of reli­gion. Such were the lamentable words of the Dutchman; for my own part, I thought proper to abandon a country, whose severity had no compen­sation, and therefore embarked for Spain.

I arrived at Seville in the finest season in the year. The court was there, the galleons were arrived, and all seemed to proclaim joy, abundance, and profu­sion. I espied at the end of a beautiful alley, full of orange and lemon-trees, a vast concourse round an amphitheatre richly adorned; the king, the queen, the infants and infantas, were seated under a stately canopy, and over against that august family, another throne, higher and more magnificent, had been erect­ed. I told one of my travelling companions, that unless that superb throne were dedicated to the Deity, [Page 50] I could not see the use of it; but these indiscreet words being overheard by a grave Spaniard, I paid dear for having uttered them. In the mean time, I imagined we were to be diverted with a carousal, wrestling, or bull-baiting; when I perceived the grand inqui­sitor ascend that throne, and bestow his blessing upon the king and people. Then appeared an army of monks, filing off two by two; some were white, others were black, grey, and brown; some were shod, and some bare-footed; some had beards, and some had none; some were with cowls, and some without. Then came the executioner, followed by about forty wretches, guarded by a world of gran­dees and alguazils, and covered with garments, upon which were painted flames and devils. These fel­lows were Jews, who would not altogether be com­pelled to abandon the law of Moses; and Christians who had married their godmothers, or perhaps re­fused to worship Neustra Dama d' Atocha, or to part with their money in favour of the brothers Hiero­nymians. Prayers were said very devoutly, after which all those wretches were tortured and burnt: which concluded the ceremony, to the great edifi­cation of all the royal family.

The same night, while I was going to bed, two messengers from the inquisition came to my lodg­ings with the holy Hermandad. They embraced me tenderly, and, without speaking a word, carried me out of the house, and conducted me into a dun­geon, not incommoded by heat, adorned with a cu­rious [Page 51] crucifix, and a mat instead of a bed. After I had been there six weeks, the father inquisitor sent his compliments, and desired to see me: I obeyed the summons: he received me with open arms, and after having embraced me with more than paternal fondness, told me, he was very sorry they had put me in so bad a lodging, but that all the apartments happening to be full, it was impossible to give me a­nother; adding, however, that he hoped I should be better taken care of another time. He then asked me very lovingly, whether I knew why I was put in there. I told the reverend father, I supposed it was for my sins. Well, my dear child, replied he, but for what sin? make me your confident—speak. I did all I could to bethink myself of some misde­meanor, but in vain; upon which, he made me re­collect my imprudent words: in short, I recovered my liberty, after having undergone a severe disci­pline, and paid 30,000 reals. I went to take leave of the grand inquisitor; he was a very polite man, and asked me how I relished the holidays they had given me? I told him they were delightful, and at the same time went to press my companions to quit this enchanting country. They had time enough, during my confinement, to learn all the great at­chievements of the Spaniards, for the sake of reli­gion. They had read the memoirs of the famous bishop of Chiapa, by which it appears, that ten millions of infidels had been murdered in America to convert the rest. I imagined that bishop might ex­aggerate [Page 52] a little, but supposing the victims were but half that number, the sacrifice was still admirable.

Notwithstanding the disagreeable adventures I had met with in my travels, determined to finish my tour, and accordingly embarked for Turkey, fully resolved never more to intermeddle with other people's affairs, nor give my judgment about public shews. These Turks, said I, to my companions, are a set of unbaptized miscreants; and of course more cruel than the reverend fathers of the inquisition. Let us be silent among the Mahometans.

I arrived at Constantinople, where I was strangely surprized to see more Christian churches than in Candia; but much more so, to see also a numerous train of monks, permitted to offer their prayers freely to the Virgin Mary, and to curse Mahomet, some in Greek, others in Latin, and some in Arme­nian. How reasonable are the Turks! exclaimed I. Whilst the Christian world stains a spotless reli­gion with blood, these infidels tolerate doctrines which they abhor, without molestation or inhuma­nity. The Grecian and Latin Christians were at mortal enmity in Constantinople, and like dogs that quarrelled in the streets, persecuted each other with the utmost violence. The Grand Vizir protected the Greeks, whose patriarch accused me before him of having supped with the Latins, and I was most charitably condemned by the divan, to receive one hundred blows with a lath, upon the sole of the foot, with permission, however, to be excused for 500 se­quins. [Page 53] The next day the Grand Vizir was strangled; and the day following, his successor, who was for the Latin party, and who was not strangled till a month afterwards, condemned me to the same pu­nishment, for having supped with the Grecian pa­triarch: and, in short, I was reduced to the sad ne­cessity to frequent neither the Latin nor the Greek church. To make myself amends, I determined to make love to a young Turkish lass, who seemed to have a disposition as gentle, kind, and compassionate in private, as it was pious and devout in the mosque. One night, as I was pleading my passion, and com­plaining of her cruelty, she suddenly exclaimed, Oh alla, alla, alla. These are the sacramental words of the Turks, which I mistook for the soft transports of love, and therefore cried out in my turn, Oh alla, alla, alla; upon which she said, "Let Mahomet be glorified, you are a Turk." In the morning the iman came to perform the initiating ceremony, but as I made some resistance, the cady, who certainly was a very loyal gentleman, told me he intended to have me impaled. I preserved my religion, &c. by a thousand sequins, and fled into Persia, firmly re­solved never to go to the Latin or Grecian mass, or to say alla, alla, alla, in Turkey.

At my arrival at Ispahan, I was asked which I was for, white or black sheep? I answered, that the flesh of a white or black sheep was equal to me, provided it was tender. It should be known, that the factions of the white and black sheep still di­vided [Page 52] [...] [Page 53] [...] [Page 54] the Persians, who imagined I meant to laugh at both parties, insomuch that I had scarce entered the city gates, when I had a sad affair to extricate myself from; which I did however with a good num­ber of sequins, and by their means got safe out of the hands of these sheep.

I went as far as China with an interpreter, who informed me, that it was the only country where one might live freely, gaily, and peaceably. The Tartars had rendered themselves masters of it with fire and sword, and the reverend fathers me Jesuits, on one side, and the reverend fathers the Dominicans, on the other, said that they drew souls towards God every day, without any body's knowing it. Sure there never was a set of more zealous converters! for they persecuted one another by turns; and sent to Rome whole volumes of calumnies, wherein they were reciprocally called infidels and prevari­cators. There was particularly a terrible quarrel among them, about the method of making a bow. The Jesuits taught the Chinese to salute their pa­rents after the manner of their country; and the Dominicans, on the contrary, held that they ought to bow to them after the manner of Rome. I hap­pened to be taken by the Jesuits for a Dominican, and they told his Tartarian majesty, that I was the Pope's spy. The supreme council immediately or­dered the prime mandarin, who ordered a serjeant, who ordered four guards to arrest and bind me, with all the ceremony usual on such occasions. I was [Page 55] brought, after one hundred and forty genu-flexions, before his majesty, who asked me, whether I really was the Pope's spy, and whether it was true, that his holiness intended to come in person to dethrone him? I answered, that the Pope was a priest, three­score and ten years of age; that he lived four thou­sand miles distant from his sacred Tartaro-Chinese majesty; that he had about two thousand soldiers, who mounted guard with an umbrella; that he never dethroned any body; and, in short, that his majesty might sleep in quiet. This was the last un­fortunate adventure I met with in the whole course of my travels. I was sent to Macao, where I em­barked for Europe.

I was obliged, in order to refit my ship, to put into a harbour, on the coast of Golconda. I laid hold of that opportunity, to go and see the court of the great Aureng-zebe, so much renowned for its wonderful magnificence: he was then at Delhi; and I had the good fortune to see him the day of that pompous ceremony, in which he received the Heavenly Present sent him by the sheriff of Mecca, viz. the broom, with which they had swept the holy house, the Caaba, and the Beth alla. That broom is a symbol which sweeps away all uncleanness of soul. Aureng-zebe had no occasion for it, since he was the most pious man in Indostan. It is true, he had cut his brother's throat, poisoned his father, and put to death, by torture, about twenty rayas, and as many omrahs; yet nothing was talked of but his [Page 56] devotion, which, they said, was without equal, ex­cept that of his most sacred majesty Muley Ismael, the most serene emperor of Morocco, who never failed to strike off several heads, every Friday after prayers.

To all this I spoke not a word; my travels and adventures had taught me to bridle my tongue; and I was very sensible, it was not mine to decide be­tween the piety of the emperors of India and Mo­rocco.

I had not yet seen Africa; but whilst I was de­bating with myself, whether it was better to satisfy this last inclination, or sail for Italy, my ship was taken by the negroes, and I was, of course, carried thither. Our captain railed against the captors, asking them the reason why they thus outrageously violated the law of nations? They replied, Your nose is long, and Our's is flat; your hair is straight, and our wool is curled; you are white, and we are black; con­sequently we ought, according to the sacred and unalterable law of nature, to be ever enemies.— You buy us on the coast of Guinea, as if we were not human creatures, then treat us like beasts, and with repeated blows constrain us to an eternal dig­ging into the mountains, in order to find a ridicu­lous yellow dust, of no intrinsic value, and not worth a good Egyptian onion; therefore when we meet with you, and happen to be strongest, we make you our slaves, and force you to till our ground, or else we cut off your nose or ears. We had nothing to say [Page 57] against so wise a discourse. I was employed to till the ground of an old negro woman, having no incli­nation to lose either my nose or my ears; and, after a twelvemonth's slavery, was redeemed by some friends I had written to for that purpose.

Having thus seen the world, and all that is great, good, and admirable in it, I resolved to return to Candia, where I married presently after my arrival, and soon became an example to devotees and jealous husbands, by the profound taciturnity and tranquillity which I observed upon all occasions. To say the truth, I found matrimony, when compared to what I had seen and suffered, a very tolerable evil.

DIALOGUE XIII.

CHARLES.

YOU were so good yesterday, Sir, as to explain the ill consequences of superstition, and the injustice of persecution. This brought to my mind the story of the flying chest, which I read some time ago; and I thought very diverting. As it is founded on superstition, will you give me leave to read it? Perhaps it will entertain the company.

MR. EGERTON.
[Page 58]

Very willingly, Charles; for though there is more of diversion than instruction in this tale, yet, as you may be innocently merry at the incidents, and as innocent mirth is very desirable, I gladly give my consent. Neither is it without a moral; it will caution you against credulity, and teach you not to give a hasty assent to bold and rash pretenders.

CREDULITY: Or the Story of MALEK and the Princess SCHIRINE.

I AM the only son of a rich merchant of Surat. A little while after his death, I spent the best part of the wealth he left me. I was making an end of the remainder with my friends, when a stranger that passed by Surat, to go, as he said, to the Isle of Ceylon, by chance dined at my table. They hap­pened to talk about travelling. Some commended the usefulness and pleasure of it, others represented the dangers. Some of the company gave us an account of their travels. The curious things they had seen excited me to travel; but the dangers they had run through, hindered me from resolving on it.

After I had heard them all, I said, one cannot hear you speak of the pleasures you have had in going over the world, without feeling an extreme desire of travelling. But the dangers that travellers are exposed to, take from me the inclination of [Page 59] seeing other countries. If one could, added I, smiling, go from one end of the world to the other, without meeting with unlucky accidents on the way, I should set off to-morrow from Surat. At these words, which made all the company laugh, the stranger said to me; Seigneur Malek, if you have a desire to travel, and if the danger alone of meeting with robbers hinders you from resolving to do so, I will teach you, when you will, a way to go from king­dom to kingdom, without any danger. I believed he was in jest; but after dinner he took me aside, and told me that the next morning he would come to me, and shew me something very extraordinary.

He did not fail: he came again to me, and said, I will keep my word with you; but you will not see the effect of my promise these two or three days, for it is a work that cannot be done to-day. Send one of your slaves for a joiner, and let them both bring boards with them; which was done immediately.

When the joiner and the slave were come, the stranger bid the joiner make a chest six feet long, and four broad. The workman went presently to work; the stranger, on his part, was not idle; he made a great many pieces of the machine, the vices and the springs. They worked all day long, and the joiner was dismissed: the stranger spent the day following to place the springs, and to perfect the work.

At three days end the chest was finished; it was covered with a Persian carpet, and carried into the [Page 60] country, whither I went with the stranger: who said to me; send away your slaves, and let us stay here alone, I will have none near but yourself to be witness of what I do. I ordered my slaves to go home, and I staid alone with the stranger. I longed to know what he would do with this ma­chine; he at length got in it, and at the same time the chest raised itself up from the ground, and cut the air with incredible swiftness; in one moment it sprung a great way from me, and the next was again at my feet.

I cannot tell you how much I was surprized at this prodigy. You see, said the stranger to me, getting out of the machine, a very easy carriage, and you ought to be persuaded, that, travelling after this manner, one need not fear being robbed on the road. This is the method I would have you take to travel in safety. I will make you a present of this trunk; you may make use of it when you have a mind to go into foreign countries. Think not, con­tinued he, that there is any inchantment in what you have seen: 'tis not by cabalistick words, nor by virtue of a talisman, that this chest raises itself in the air. Its motion is made by an ingenious arti­fice, that shews the power of mechanics, of which I am a perfect master.

I thanked the stranger for so rare a present, and gave him, as an acknowledgment, a purse full of sequins. Inform me, said I to him afterwards, how I must do to set this chest in motion: I will teach [Page 61] you that presently, answered he. At these words he made me go into the machine with him; touched a spring, and presently we were lifted up in the air. Then shewing me what method was to be taken to guide it right; in turning this vice, said he to me, you go to the right, and in turning that, you go to the left; by touching this string you ascend, and by touching that you descend. I made trial of it myself; I turned the vices, and touched the springs; the chest, effectually obedient to my hand, went which way I pleased, and hastened or slackened the motion as I managed. After having made a great many wheelings about in the air, we took our flight towards my house, and descended into my garden; which we easily did, because we had taken off the carpet that covered the machine, which had a great many holes through it, as well to admit the air, as to look through.

We were at home before my slaves, who were enough surprized to see us return. I locked the chest up in my apartment, where I kept it with as much care as if it had been a treasure; and the stranger went away as content with me, as I was with him. I continued to divert myself with my friends, till I had spent all my patrimony. I began also to borrow, insomuch that I insensibly found myself loaded with debts. As soon as it was known in Surat that I was ruined, I lost my credit, nobody would lend me any thing; and my creditors, impa­tient to have their money again, gave me notice to [Page 62] pay it. Not knowing any longer which way to turn myself, and by consequence being liable to troubles and affronts, I had recourse to my chest: I drew it one night out of my apartment into my yard, I got into it, with some provisions, and the little money I had left. I touched the spring that made the machine mount; then turning one of the vices, I went far enough from Surat, and from my creditors, without fear of their sending any officers after me.

I made the chest go all that night as fast as pos­sible, and I believed that I surpassed the wind in swiftness. At day-break, I looked through a hole to see where I was, and perceived nothing but moun­tains and precipices, a dry country, and a frightful desert; I could discover no appearance of an habi­tation. I continued to travel through the air all that day and the night following. The next day I found myself over a very thick wood, nigh which there was a very fine town situated in a plain of great extent.

I stopt to look at the town, as well as at a mag­nificent palace, that offered itself to my view at the end of the plain. I desired passionately to know where I was, and had already thought on a way to satisfy my curiosity, when I saw in the fields a peasant tilling the ground. I descended in the wood, where I left my chest, and went towards the hus­bandman, of whom I asked how they called the town. Young man, answered he, one may see you [Page 63] are a stranger, since you know not that this town is called Gazna; the equitable and valiant King Ba­haman makes it the place of his residence. And who lives, said I to him, in that palace that we see at the end of the plain? The King of Gazna, re­plied he, has built it to keep his daughter the Princess Schirine in, who is threatened by her ho­roscope to be deceived by a man. Bahaman, to elude this prediction, built this palace, which is of marble and surrounded with deep ditches of water. The gate is steel of China; and besides that, the King keeps the key of it; there is a numerous guard that watches night and day, to hinder any man from going in. The King goes once a week to see the Princess his daughter, and then returns to Gazna. Schirine has no company in this palace, but a governess and some maiden-slaves.

I thanked the peasant for his information, and went towards the town. When I was almost ar­rived there, I heard a great noise, and presently saw many horsemen, magnificently cloathed, and all mounted on very fine horses that were richly ac­coutred. I perceived, in the middle of that stately cavalcade, a lusty man, who had on his head a crown of gold, and whose cloaths were covered with diamonds. I judged that he was the King of Gazna, who was going to see the Princess his daughter, and I understood in the town that I was not deceived in my conjecture.

[Page 64]After I had taken a turn or two about the town, and satisfied my curiosity a little, I remembered my chest; and though I had left it in a place where I had reason to think it safe, yet I was uneasy. I went from Gazna, and I could not be satisfied, till I came where it was. Then I was at ease, I eat with a good appetite what was lest of my provi­sion, and the night coming on, I resolved to spend it in the wood. I doubted not but I should sleep well; for neither my debts, nor the ill condition I found myself in, gave me much uneasiness: never­theless I could not sleep; what the peasant had told me of the Princess Schirine was always in my thoughts. Is it possible, said I, that Bahaman should be afraid of a frivolous prediction? Was it necessary to build a palace to shut up his daughter in? Was she not safe enough in his? Besides, if astrologers can dive into the obscurity of what is to come, if they can read futurity in the stars, it is in vain to endeavour to elude their predictions, they must of necessity be accomplished. If the Princess of Gazna be predestined to be deceived by a man, it is in vain for any one to pretend to prevent it.

I was so taken up with thinking on Schirine, who I fancied to myself was handsomer than all the ladies I had seen, though at Surat and Goa I had beheld many of the most beautiful women, who had con­tributed not a little to ruin me. But I had a great desire to try my fortune. I will, said I, transport myself to the top of the Princess's palace, [Page 65] and endeavour to get into her apartment. Perhaps I am the mortal, whose fortunate attempt the astro­logers have seen written in the stars.

I was young, and by consequence heedless; I wanted not courage: I formed this rash design, and executed it immediately. I raised myself in the air, and guided my chest towards the palace. The dark­ness of the night was such as I could desire. I passed, without being perceived, over the soldiers heads, who being posted about the ditches, kept a strict guard. I descended upon the roof of the pa­lace, nigh a place where I saw a light. I got out of my chest, and slipt in at a window, that was open to receive the freshness of the air, into an apartment richly furnished, where the Princess Schirine was lying on a brocaded sopha. She seemed to me of a dazzling beauty; I found her far excelling the idea I had formed of her. I went near to behold her, but I could not look on so many charms without transport; I fell on my knees before her, and kissed one of her delicate hands. She waked that instant, and perceiving a man in such a posture, was fright­ened. She gave a shriek, and presently her go­verness, who lay in the next chamber, came running to her. Mahpeiker, said the Princess, come and help me. There is a man! How got he into my apartment? Or rather, are not you an accomplice of his crime? Who I? replied the governess, your suspicion wrongs me! I am not less astonished than you, to see this audacious youth here: Besides, if I [Page 64] [...] [Page 65] [...] [Page 66] would have favoured his boldness, how could I have deceived the vigilance of the guards that are about this castle? You know there are twenty steel doors to open, before any can get into this apartment; that the royal signet is upon every lock; and that the King your father has the keys: I cannot com­prehend how this young man has surmounted all these difficulties.

While the governess was thus speaking, I thought on what I should say to them; and it came in my head to persuade them that I was the prophet Ma­homet. Charming Princess, said I to Schirine, let not yourself, or Mahpeiker, be surprised to see me here; I am not one of those lovers who make use of gold, and employ every artifice to accomplish their wishes. I have no desires that your virtue need to be frightened at; far be all guilty thoughts from me. I am the prophet Mahomet. I could not, without pity, see you condemned to pass your youth­ful days in a prison, and I come to give you my promise, that I will secure you from the prediction which Bahaman your father is afraid of. Let him and yourself be both easy henceforth as to your future destiny, which cannot but be full of glory and hap­piness, since you shall be Mahomet's wife. As soon as the news of your marriage shall be spread abroad in the world, all the Kings of the earth will fear the father-in-law of the great prophet, and all the Prin­cesses will envy your condition.

[Page 67]Schirine and her governess looked upon one ano­ther at this discourse, as if to consult what they ought to think of it. I had reason to fear, I confess, that they would not believe me; but women are apt to give into wonders. If you are the holy prophet Mahomet, said Schirine, you are pure, and free from evil intentions; you will first reconcile my father to the match, and then, on an appointed day, perform the ceremonies proper to marriage: but if you are an impostor, you will betray your wicked designs. My governess shall wait in the next apart­ment whenever you visit me, till this be accomplished; one shriek from me will alarm her, and she will call the guards, if your actions should shew you are not what you pretend. I answered the Princess by com­mending her virtue, applauding the justice of the test she proposed, and fixing on that day month for the solemnization of our nuptials, as I hoped by that time to find some lucky means of deceiving her father into the same belief. Accordingly Mahpeiker and her mistress gave credit to my story, and be­lieved me to be Mahomet. After having passed the best part of the night with the Princess of Gazna, I went out of her apartment before it was day-light, not without promising her that I would come the following evening. I made haste to my machine, I put myself in it, and raised myself very high, that I might not be seen by the soldiers. I descended in the wood; I left my chest, and went to the town, where I bought provisions for eight days, with magni­ficent [Page 68] apparel, a fine turban of Indian linen, with stripes of gold, and a rich girdle. I did not forget essences and the best perfumes. I laid out all my money in these purchases, without perplexing myself to know where I should get more: I thought I could want for nothing, after so extraordinary an adventure.

I staid all that day in the wood, where I em­ployed myself in perfuming and setting myself out. When the night was come, I got into my chest, and returned to the top of the Princess Schirine's palace. I introduced myself into her apartment as the night before. The Princess declared she waited for me with much impatience. O great prophet, said she, I began already to be uneasy, and I feared you had forgot your spouse. My dear Princess, answered I, could you give way to such a fear? Since I have plighted you my troth, ought not you to be persuaded that I would love you always? But tell me, replied she, why have you so young a look? I thought that the prophet Mahomet was a venerable old man. You were not deceived, answered I, 'tis the idea you ought to have of me; and if I should appear to you such as I sometimes shew myself to the faithful, to whom I deign that honour, you would see me with a long white beard and a bald head; but I thought you would better like a form not super­annuated: And, for this reason, I have borrowed the shape of a young man. The governess joining then in our discourse, told me, that I had done very [Page 69] well; and that whoever would personate a husband, cannot appear too agreeable.

I went again from the castle towards the end of the night, for fear it should be discovered that I was a false prophet. I returned the next day, and be­haved myself always so cautiously, that Schirine and Mahpeiker could not suspect the least deceit in me. It is true, the Princess took insensibly such a liking to me, that it contributed very much to make her believe all that I said to her. When we are favourably prepossessed, we mistrust not sincerity.

In a few days, the King of Gazna, attended by his officers, went to the palace of the Princess his daughter, and finding his doors all shut, and his seal on the locks, he said to his visiers that were with him, all is safe; while the doors of the palace are in this condition, I shall not fear the misfortune my daughter is threatened with. He went alone into the apartment of Schirine, who could not conceal her confusion at the sight of him. He perceived it, and was willing to know the cause of it. His curiosity augmented the Princess's confusion, who seeing herself at last obliged to satisfy him, told him all that had past.

You may imagine how much King Bahaman was surprized, when he understood he was Mahomet's father-in-law. Oh absurdity! cried he, Oh! my daughter, that you should be so credulous! O Hea­ven, I now see very plain, that it is in vain to en­deavour [Page 70] to shun the misfortunes you have reserv­ed for us. The fate of Schirine is inevitable. A traitor has deceived her. In saying this, he rushed out of the Princess's apartment in affliction, and searched the palace from top to bottom. But his search was to no purpose, for he found no marks of discovery. At this his surprize increased. Which way, said he, did this audacious fellow get into the castle? 'Tis what I cannot conceive.

Then he called his visiers and his confidents. They ran at his call, and seeing him agitated, they were afraid. What is the matter, Sir? said his first Minister to him; you seem trou­bled. What misfortune does the concern that appears in your looks, declare to us? The King told them all he had been informed of, and asked them what they thought of the story. The Grand Visier spoke first. He said, that the in­tended marriage might be true, though it had the appearance of a fable. That there were some noble families in the world, who made no difficulty to as­cribe their origin to such like events, and that for him he looked on the communication that the Princess had with Mahomet, as a thing very likely.

The other visiers, in complaisance perhaps to him that spoke first, were of his opinion: but one of the courtiers declared himself against it, in these terms; I am surprised to see sensible men give credit to a story, so little worthy of belief. How can it enter into the heads of men of sense, that our great pro­phet [Page 71] should be capable of coming to seek women in this world, who in his heavenly abode is encom­passed by the most beautiful ones. It is contrary to common sense; and if the King will take my advice, instead of giving ear to so ridiculous a story, he should examine thoroughly into the affair. I am persuaded, that he would presently discover the deceiver, who, under that sacred name, has the audaciousness to endeavour to seduce the Princess.

Though Bahaman was naturally credulous; though he took his first Minister for a man of great judge­ment; and though all his visiers believed that Schirine was actually betrothed to Mahomet; he de­clared himself nevertheless for the negative. He re­solved to be informed of the truth of it; but being willing to act with prudence in this affair, and to endeavour to speak with the pretended prophet, in private, he sent his visiers and his courtiers back to Gazna. Go back, said he to them, I will stay alone to-night in this castle with my daughter. Go; but come hither to me again to-morrow. They all obeyed the King's orders. They went back to the town, and Bahaman waiting for the night, began to ask the Princess new questions. He asked her if I had eaten with her. No, Sir, said his daughter, I offered him in vain meat and drink, he would not touch them, and I never saw him take the least nou­rishment, nor commit the least indelicacy, since he has used to come hither. Relate to me again this adventure, replied he, and hide not from me any [Page 72] one particular. Schirine gave him a renewed account of it, and the king, attentive to her relation, carefully weighed every circumstance.

In the mean while, the night came on; Bahaman sat himself on a sopha, and wax candles were lighted, and placed before him on a marble-table. He drew his scimitar to use it, if there should be occasion, to wash away in my blood the affront done to his honour. He expected me every moment, and in the expectation he was, of seeing me appear all on a sudden, I cannot believe he was without trouble.

It happened that night to lighten very much. A great flash chanced to dart full in the king's eyes, and made him startle. He went to the win­dow which Schirine told him I came in at, and per­ceiving the air all on fire, he was much perplexed in his thoughts. Though he saw nothing that was unnatural, he could not look on those meteors, as the effects of exhalations kindled in the air; he rather believed that the flames announced to earth, the descent of Mahomet, and that the gates of heaven unfolding to let out the prophet, made the air one luminous body.

In the disposition the king's mind was, I pre­sented myself without danger before that Prince. Far from shewing himself furious when I appear­ed at the window, he was seized with respect and fear. He let fall his scimitar, cast himself at my feet, and kissing them, said to me: O great [Page 73] prophet, who am I, and what have I done, to deserve the honour to be your father-in-law? I judged by these words, what had passed between the king and the princess, and I found that the good Bahaman was not more difficult to be deceived than his daughter. I was charmed, to perceive that I had nothing to do with one of those penetrating heads who would have made the prophet undergo an examination that would have puzzled him. Taking advantage of his weakness, O king, said I to him, raising him up, you are of all the Mahometan princes, the most firm to my sect, and by consequence, he that ought to be the most acceptable to me. It was recorded in the Book of Fate, that your daughter should be de­ceived by a man; this your astrologers very truly discovered by their sublime science, but I have prayed the most High to exempt you from that mortal affliction, and to blot out this misfortune from the predestination of mankind. This he was pleased to do for my sake, upon condition that Schirine should become one of my wives. To this I con­sented, to recompense you for the good deeds you do every day.

King Bahaman was not in a condition of unde­ceiving himself. That weak prince believed all I had told him; and overjoyed at this alliance with the great prophet, he cast himself at my feet a second time, to shew me the sense he had of my kindness. I raised him up again, embraced him, and assured [Page 74] him of my protection, while he could not find words to express the gratitude of his mind.

The next morning the visiers and the courtiers returned to the princess's palace. They asked the king if he was informed of the truth of what he de­sired to know. Yes, said he, I know now to what I am to trust. I have seen and spoken to the great prophet himself; he is to be my daughter's husband. Nothing is more true. Upon this the visiers and the courtiers, turning towards him that had opposed the possibility of this marriage, reproached him with incredulity; but they found him resolute in his opinion: He maintained it with obstinacy, what­ever the king could say to persuade him that Ma­homet was married to Schirine; till at last Bahaman became almost angry with this incredulous courtier, who was made the jest of the council.

The heavens conspired, as it were, to deceive the King. An accident that happened the same day, con­firmed the visiers in their opinion. As they were re­turning to the town with their master, a storm surpris­ed them in the plain. The lightning flashed in their faces, and the thunder roared in so terrible a manner, that they feared it was the last day. It happened that the incredulous courtier's horse took fright; he pranced, flung his master on the ground, and broke his leg with the fall. This event was looked upon as an effect of the wrath of heaven. O miserable wretch, cried the king, seeing the courtier fall, this [Page 75] is the fruit of your obstinacy; you would not believe me, and the prophet has punished you!

They carried the lame courtier home, and Baha­man was no sooner returned to his palace, but he caused it to be published at Gazna, that all the in­habitants should celebrate with feasting, the day appointed for the marriage of Schirine with Ma­homet. I took a walk in the town; and was in­formed of this news, as well as of the accident of the courtier's falling from his horse. It is not to be conceived how credulous and superstitious the people were; they made public rejoicings, and ran crying up and down, Long live Bahaman, the father-in-law of the great prophet!

As soon as it was night, I got to the wood again, and was presently with the princess. Charming Schirine, said I, going into her apartment, you know not what has happened to day on the plain. A courtier, who doubted that you were to be Maho­met's wife, has atoned for this doubt. I raised a tempest that frightened his horse; the courtier fell, and broke his leg. I did not think fit to carry my revenge any farther; but I swear by my tomb which is at Mecca, that if any one hereafter dares to doubt of your happiness, it shall cost him his life. After having staid some hours with Schirine, I re­tired.

The day following, the king assembled his visiers and courtiers. Let us go all together, said he to them, to ask Mahomet's pardon for the unhappy man [Page 76] who refused to believe me, and who has received the chastisement of his unbelief. At the same they mounted their horses, and went to the princess's palace. The king himself opened the doors, which he had locked and sealed with his signet the day before. He went up, followed by his visiers, into his daughter's apartment. Schirine, said he, we are come to desire you to intercede with the prophet for a man who has incurred his wrath. I know very well what you mean, Sir, answered the princess; Mahomet has spoken to me of it. She then re­peated to them what I had told her over night, and informed them that I had sworn to destroy all those who doubted of her marriage with the prophet.

When the good king Bahaman heard this dis­course, he turned himself towards his visiers and courtiers, and said to them. Had we not hitherto given credit to what we have seen, could we, after this, disbelieve that Mahomet is my son-in-law. You find that he himself told my daughter, that he had raised the storm to revenge himself of that faith­less man. All the ministers and others were con­vinced that she was the prophet's wife; they cast themselves before her; they humbly besought her to intercede with me in behalf of the wounded courtier; and she promised them so to do.

During this time, I had consumed all my provisions, and having no money left, the poor prophet Maho­met began not to know what to do. I bethought [Page 77] myself of an expedient. My princess, said I, one night to Schirine, we have forgot to observe one formality concerning our wedding; you have brought me no portion, and that omission troubles me. Well; my dear spouse, answered she, I will speak of it to-morrow to my father, who, without doubt, will offer to you his treasures. No, no, replied I, there is no need of speaking to him of it; I value not all his riches: they are of no use to me. It will be sufficient to grant me some of your jewels; which is all the portion I ask of you. Schirine would have loaded me with all her jewels, to make her portion the handsomer; but I was contented with two great diamonds, which I sold the next day to a jeweller of Gazna. I put myself by this means in a condition to continue to personate Mahomet.

Just at this, time, unluckily for me, an ambassador arrived at Gazna, on behalf of a neighbouring king, to demand Schirine in marriage. He had presently audience, and when he had declared the subject of his embassy, Bahaman said to him, I am sorry I cannot give my daughter to the king your master, I have promised her to the prophet Mahomet. The am­bassador judged by this answer, that the king of Gazna was mad. He took leave of that prince, and returned to his master, who believed at first, as well as he, that Bahaman had lost his senses. At length, imputing this refusal to contempt and slight, he be­came angry, flew to his army, and invaded the kingdom of Gazna.

[Page 78]That king, who was named Cacem, was much superior in strength to Bahaman; who moreover prepared so slowly to receive his enemy, that he could not hinder him from making a great progress. Cacem fought some troops that would have opposed his passage; he came forward with all speed towards the town of Gazna, and found Bahaman's army in­trenched in the plain before the castle of the princess Schirine. The design of this provoked lover was to attack him in his intrenchments; but his troops having need of rest, and he arriving not in the plain till towards night, put off the attack till the next morning.

In the mean while the king of Gazna, being in­formed of the number and valour of Cacem's troops, began to be afraid. He assembled his council, where the courtier, who was hurt in falling from his horse, spoke in these words: "I am amazed that the king should be in the least uneasiness on this occasion; what cause of dismay can the father-in-law of Ma­homet have, not only of Cacem, but of all the princes in the world put together? Your Majesty, Sir, has nothing to do but to apply yourself to your son-in-law; implore the assistance of the great prophet; he will presently confound your enemies. He can do no less, since he is the cause of Cacem's coming to trouble the repose of your subjects."

Though this was spoken in derision, it inspired Bahaman with confidence. You are in the right, said he to the courtier, 'tis to the prophet I ought to [Page 79] address myself; I will pray him to drive away my haughty enemy, and I dare promise myself he will not reject my prayer. At these words he went to Schirine; daughter, said he, to-morrow morning, as soon as day appears, Cacem designs to attack us; I fear he will force our intrenchments. I am come hither to implore the assistance of Mahomet. Make use of all the interest you have with him, to engage him to defend us. Let us join in our intercessions to render him propitious to us. Sir, replied the prin­cess, it will not be very difficult to engage the prophet on our side. He will shortly disperse the enemy's troops, and all the kings of the earth will learn, at Cacem's cost, to respect you. However, replied the king, the night is come, and the prophet does not appear. He has forsaken us! No, no, my father, replied Schirine, think not he will abandon us in necessity; he sees from heaven the army that besieges us, and, perhaps, he is this moment going to strike them with terror and dismay.

This was indeed what Mahomet had a great desire to do. I had all that day observed the troops of Cacem afar off. I had regarded their disposition, and above all had taken great notice of the king's quarters. I picked up great and little stones; I filled my trunk with them, and in the middle of the night I raised myself up in the air. I went towards Ca­cem's tents. I discovered without trouble that where the king lay, it was a very high pavilion, finely gilt, made in the form of a cupola, and supported by [Page 80] twelve pillars of painted wood, that were driven into the ground. The intervals of the pillars were filled up with boughs of several sorts of trees twisted to­gether. Towards the top there were two windows, one to the east, and the other to the south.

All the soldiers that were about the tent were asleep, which gave me an opportunity to descend to one of the windows without being perceived. I saw the king lying on a sofa, with his head on a sattin cushion. I got a little out of my trunk, and throw­ing a great stone at Cacem, I struck him full in the forehead, and wounded him dangerously. He gave a loud cry, which presently waked his guards and his officers. They ran to that prince; they found him all over blood, and almost senseless. They called out, the quarters took the alarm, every one asked what was the matter. The report went that the king was wounded; but they could not tell by whom. While they were inquiring out the author, I raised myself up almost to the clouds, and let fall a hail of stones upon and about the royal tent. Some soldiers were wounded, and cried out, that it rained stones. This news spread itself abroad, and to confirm it, I flung stones all about. Then a panic fear seised the whole army; the officers, as well as soldiers, believed the prophet was angry with Cacem, and that he declared his wrath by this prodigy. At last the enemies of Bahaman were struck with dismay, and fled with such precipitation, that they left their equipage and tents [Page 81] behind them, crying, we are undone, Mahomet will destroy us.

The king of Gazna was very much surprised at day-break, when, instead of seeing himself attacked, he perceived that the enemy was making off. He presently pursued them with his best soldiers. He made a great slaughter of the fugitives, and overtook Cacem, whose wound hindered him from making speed. Why, said he to him, did you come into my dominions against all right and reason? What cause had I given you to make war against me? Baha­man, answered the vanquished king, I thought you had refused me your daughter in contempt and dis­dain, and I was resolved to revenge myself on you. I could not believe that the prophet Mahomet was your son-in-law; but I doubt it not now, since it is he that has wounded me, and dispersed my army.

Bahaman ceased to pursue his enemies, and re­turned to Gazna with Cacem, who died that day of his wound. They divided a booty which was so con­siderable, that the soldiers returned home loaded with riches. Prayers were made in all the mosques, to return thanks to heaven for having confounded the enemies of the kingdom; and when it was night, the king went without any attendants to the prin­cess's palace. Daughter, said he to her, I am come to return thanks to the prophet; you have been in­formed, by the courier I sent you, of what Mahomet has done for us; I am so sensible of his goodness [Page 82] to us, that I die with impatience to embrace his knees.

He soon had the satisfaction he desired. I entered by the usual window into Schirine's apartment, where I expected to find him. He flung himself at my feet, and kissed the ground, saying, O great prophet, no words can express the gratitude I feel. Read in my heart my acknowledgments. I raised Bahaman up, and kissed his forehead. Prince, said I, could you think I would refuse you my assistance in the ill circumstances you were reduced to for my sake? I have punished the proud Cacem, who designed to have made himself master of your dominions, and to have taken away Schirine to place her among the slaves in his seraglio. Fear not from henceforth, that any potentate in the world will dare to make war against you. If any one should have the boldness to come and attack you, I will pour on his troops a rain of fire, that shall reduce them all to ashes.

After having assured the king of Gazna afresh that I would take his kingdom under my protection, I told him how the enemy's army was frightened when it rained stones on their camp. Bahaman, on his part, repeated to me what Cacem had told him, and retired. That princess, who was not less sensible than the king her father of the important service I had done the state, declared to me her acknowledg­ments in so tender a manner, that I had very nearly forgot the time: for the day appeared as I [Page 83] got to my trunk; but I passed so well then for Mahomet in every body's opinion, that if the sol­diers had seen me in the air, they would not have been undeceived. I could hardly forbear think­ing myself to be the prophet, after having routed an army.

Two days after, when they had interred Cacem, to whom, though an enemy, they gave a magnifi­cent burial, the king ordered public rejoicings to be made in the city, as well for the defeat of the ene­my's troops, as to celebrate solemnly the marriage of the princess Schirine with Mahomet. The mor­row was the day I had appointed upon which I thought I could do no less than signalize, by some prodigy, a festival that was observed in honour of me. To this end I bought in Gazna some white pitch, and cotton-seed, together with a little steel to strike fire with. I spent the day in the wood to prepare my fire-works. I steeped the cotton-seed in the pitch; and at night, when the people were rejoicing in the streets, transported myself above the town; I raised myself as high as was possible, for fear they should discern my machine by the brighthess of my artificial flame; then struck fire, and lighted the pitch, which, with the cotton-seed, produced a wonderful effect. This done, I retired into my wood. The day ap­pearing a little afterwards, I went into the town, to have the pleasure of hearing what they said of me. Was not deceived in my expectation; the people talked extravagantly of the trick I had played them; [Page 84] some said it was Mahomet, who, to shew that their festival was agreeable to him, had made celestial fires appear; and others affirmed, that they saw the pro­phet in the middle of those new meteors, with a long white beard, and a venerable air, as they fancied.

All this discourse was exceedingly diverting to me; but, alas! while I was taking this pleasure, my trunk, my dear trunk, the instrument of all my wonders, was burnt in the wood. In all appear­ance, some spark, that I did not perceive, took hold of my machine in my absence, and consumed it. When I returned, I found it reduced to ashes. A father, who, returning home, should see his only son pierced in a thousand places, and weltering in his blood, could not be more shocked than I was. The wood echoed again with my cries and groans. I tore my hair, and rent my cloaths. I know not how I spared my own life in the rage of my desperation.

Thus ended my adventure with the princess Schirine, at the very time when I had nearly accom­plished my plot; and which, though I was then in despair, I have since been happy to reflect that it did not proceed any further.

MR. EGERTON.

The foregoing story, my children, however ex­travagant and fabulous, is no bad satire upon Cre­dulity; and may teach us, that though fear and sus­picion are disgraceful, yet a proper degree of doubt [Page 85] and circumspection are necessary, as the following little anecdote may serve to confirm. One Sunday, in the afternoon, as two ladies were knocking at a door, a very genteel looking man came up to the house, bowed, and followed them in. After some conversation, the gentleman began to wonder that his aunt did not return from church, and to suppose that the sermon must be longer than ordinary. Presently afterwards, however, the lady was heard at the door, and the gentleman instantly, with great glee, proposed a scheme to frighten the old lady, his relation: I will slip, said he, into the next room with the silver tea-kettle and lamp, so that as soon as she calls for them, to make tea, she may conclude they are stolen. This was no sooner said than done, and our dextrous hero, covering his prize with his hat, and hiding himself till the old lady was past, bade the maid let him out, and told her he should be back presently. Compliments being past, the bell was rung, and tea ordered: this set the visitors a tittering, and the old lady a won­dering, but she presently found out the cause; the maid could find neither kettle nor lamp, and the ladies in the parlour were so full of the joke, that they burst out into a loud laugh. As soon as their mirth would permit, the matter was explained, the old lady's nephew mentioned, and the plot unra­velled: but the catastrophe was not happy; for the tea-kettle and the nephew, as you may suppose, never made their appearance in that house again. But, [Page 86] my children, as it is necessary we should not im­mediately believe every thing we hear, neither should we doubt of every thing which we cannot at first comprehend. The story of Chahabeddin, though a mere fable, is intended to correct such extreme In­credulity.

INCREDULITY: Or the Story of CHEC CHAHABEDDIN.

THE Sultan of Egypt having summoned all the learned men of his kingdom to meet on a certain day in his palace, there arose a dispute among them. It is said that the angel Gabriel, having one night taken Mahomet out of his bed, shewed him what­ever is in the seven heavens, in paradise and in hell; and that the same great prophet, after having had fourscore and ten thousand conferences with the Deity, was brought back again into his bed by the same angel. Some of the doctors have advanced, that all this was done in so short a space of time, that Mahomet at his return found his bed still warm; and that he took up a pot of water, which was not yet run out, though the pot had been thrown down the very moment that the angel Gabriel carried Mahomet out of his chamber.

The Sultan, who presided in this assembly, main­tained that this was impossible: You teach, says he, that there are seven heavens; between each of which [Page 87] there is a distance no less than a man can well tra­vel in five hundred years; and that each heaven is as thick as it is distant from the next to it: how then is it possible, that Mahomet, after having pass­ed through all these heavens, and after having had fourscore and ten thousand conferences, should at his return find his bed still warm; and the pot thrown down, with the water not spilt? Who can be cre­dulous enough to believe so ridiculous a fable? Know you not that if a pot full of water is thrown down, you will find no water in it? The literati an­swered, that this indeed could not naturally be; but all things were possible to the Divine Power. The Sultan of Egypt, who was obstinate, and had made it a maxim never to believe any thing contrary to reason, gave no credit to the miracle; and the learn­ed broke up their assembly.

This dispute made a great noise in Egypt; and the news of it came to the ears of Chec Chaha­beddin, who, for reasons not assigned in the history, could not be present at the assembly: however, he went to the Sultan's palace in the heat of the day. The Sultan, informed of the Doctor's being come, carried him into a state chamber, and spoke to him in this manner: You need not have given yourself the trouble of coming hither; it had been enough to have sent one of your servants; for we should have granted him any thing in your name: Sir, an­swered the Doctor, I am come in hopes of having a moment's conversation with your majesty. The [Page 88] Sultan, who knew that this Chec was noted for be­having * haughtily in the presence of Princes, shewed him great civilities, and made abundance of com­pliments.

The room they were in had four windows, on each side one: the Doctor desired the King to or­der one of them to be shut. This being done, they continued for some time in conversation; after which the Doctor desired that one of the windows, which had the prospect of a mountain called Kzeldaghi, or the Red Mountain, might be opened, and then bid the King look out. The Sultan put his head to the window, and saw on the mountain and in the plain a body of horse, more in number than the stars of heaven, armed with bucklers and coats of mail, with their swords drawn, advancing full speed towards the palace. The Prince changed colour, and in great dismay cried out, Heaven! what dread­ful army is this, coming to attack my palace? Be not afraid, Sir, says the Doctor, there's nothing in it. Saying this he shut the window, and opening it again the next moment, the King looked out, but saw not a single person on the mountain, or in the plain.

Another of the windows gave a prospect of the city, and the Doctor opened that. The Sultan saw the city of Cairo on fire, and the flames ascending [Page 89] even to the middle region of the air. What dread­ful burning is that? exclaimed the King. See my city, my fine city of Cairo, reduced to ashes! Fear not, Sir, said the Chec, there is nothing in it. At the same time he shut the window, and opened it again, when the King saw no more of the flames.

The Doctor opened the third window; out of which the Sultan perceived the Nile overflowing its banks, and its waves rolling with fury to drown his palace. The King, notwithstanding what he had experienced, was terrified at this new prodigy. Alas! cried he, all is lost; we are now undone indeed. This dreadful inundation will bear away my palace, and drown me and my people! Fear not, Sir, said the Doctor, there's nothing in it. The Chec had no sooner shut and opened the win­dow again, than the Nile appeared pursuing its course as usual.

He then opened the fourth window: the other wonders had not more terrified than this delighted the King. His eyes, that were accustomed to see nothing at this window but a barren waste, were agreeably surprized to behold vineyards and gardens, hung with the most delicious fruits; rivulets mur­muring as they glided; whose banks were adorned with roses, narcissus' and hyacinths, at once pleas­ing to the sight, and fragrant to the smell; an in­finite number of turtles and nightingales, straining their little throats with their sweet and mournful songs. The King, charmed with the wonders [Page 90] which now offered themselves to his sight, believed he beheld the garden of * Eram. What a change is this! cried he, in the excess of his admiration: O beautiful garden! charming abode!—Be not so transported, said the Chec, there is nothing in it. The Doctor shut the window, then opened it again; and the Sultan, instead of these delightful phantoms, saw nothing but the desart.

Sir, said the Chec, I have shewn you many won­ders, but all this is nothing in comparison of the astonishing prodigy, of which I will make your ma­jesty a witness. Give your commands for a tub full of water to be brought hither.—The King ordered it to be done. The tub was brought into the cham­ber. Be pleased, said the Doctor, to suffer your­self to be stripped, and let a towel be girt about your loins. The King consented to have his cloaths taken off; and when the towel was girt about him, Sir, said the Chec, plunge your head into the wa­ter, and draw it out again.

The King plunged, and in an instant found him­self at the foot of a mountain on the sea-shore. This prodigy astonished him more than the others: Ah Doctor, cried he, in a transport of rage, perfi­dious Doctor, that hast thus cruelly deceived me! If ever I return into Egypt, from whence thou hast forced me by thy black and detestable art, I swear I will revenge myself of thee. O mayest thou mi­serably [Page 91] perish! He continued his imprecations against the Chec; but, reflecting that his menaces and com­plaints would nothing avail him, he took courage, and went to some men whom he saw cutting wood on the mountain, resolved not to discover to them who he was. For, thought he, if I tell them I am a King, they will not believe me; they will take me for an impostor or a madman.

The wood-cutters asked him who he was: Good people, answered he, I am a merchant. My ship bulged on a rock, and was dashed to pieces. I have had the good fortune to save myself on a plank. You see the condition I am in, which ought to excite your pity. They were concerned for his misfor­tune, but the poverty of their circumstances would not allow them to grant him any relief. However, one of them gave him an old gown, and another an old pair of shoes; and when they had put him in this condition, they conducted him into their city, that was situate behind the mountain; where they no sooner arrived, than they took leave of him, and, abandoning him to Providence, went away, each to his own home.

The Sultan was left alone; and though men take delight in new objects, he was too much taken up with the thoughts of his adventure, to give attention to any thing he saw: he walked up and down the streets. He was weary, and, looking for a place to lie down and rest himself, stopped before the house of an old farrier, who, judging by his looks that he [Page 92] was fatigued, desired him to come in. The King did so, and sate himself down on a bench that was near the door. Young man, said the old farrier, may I ask you what profession you follow, and what has brought you hither. The Sultan gave him the same answer he had given to the wood-cutters: I met, added he, with some good people, who were cutting wood on the mountain; and having told them my misfortune, they were so kind as to give me this old gown, and these cobbled shoes. I am glad, said the farrier, that you escaped being drown­ed: comfort yourself for the loss of your goods: you are young, and will not perhaps be unhappy in this city, where our laws and customs are very favour­able to strangers, that come to settle among us. Do not you intend to do so? I desire nothing bet­ter, answered the Sultan, provided I could have any prospect of retrieving my affairs. Well then, re­plied the old man, follow the advice I am about to give you. Go this moment to the public baths of the women: set yourself down at the gate, and ask each lady that comes out, if she has a husband: she that shall answer you, No, must be your wife according to the custom of this country.

The Sultan, being determined to follow this ad­vice, went to the gate of the baths. It was not long ere he saw a lady of exquisite beauty. Ah! how happy should I be, thought he to himself, if this lovely person be not married! were she but mine, I could forget my misfortunes. He stopped [Page 93] her and said, Fair lady, have you a husband? She answered, Yes. I am sorry for it, replied the King: you would have made a fit wife for me. The lady went her way, and soon after came another, fright­fully ugly: the Sultan shuddered at sight of her: What a piece of deformity is this! said he: I had rather be starved to death, than live with such a crea­ture: I will let her pass. The old farrier, however, bid me ask the question of every lady. In all ap­pearance the custom is so, and I must submit: how do I know but she has a husband: some unfortunate stranger, whose ill destiny has brought him hither, as mine has me, may perhaps have married her. In short, the King resolved to ask the question. She answered, Yes.

Next came out a third, as ugly as the other. O heavens! said the King, this is more horrible than the last: no matter; since I have begun, I must go through with it. If this have a husband, I must own there are men more to be pitied than myself. As she was passing him, he addressed her, and trem­bling, said, Fair lady, are you married? Yes, young man, answered she, without stopping. I am glad of it, replied the Sultan. I bless my stars, conti­nued he, that I am free of these two women. But it is not yet time to rejoice: all the ladies are not come out of the baths; nor have I yet seen her that is destined for me. Perhaps I shall get nothing by the change.

[Page 94]A fourth appeared, who surpassed in beauty the first, that he thought so charming: What differ­ence, cried he; there is not so much disparity be­tween day and night, as between this fine woman and the two last! Are angels and devils to be seen in the same place? He advanced to her with eager­ness. Lady, said he, have you a husband? She an­swered, No; looking on him with as much disdain as attention; then went away, leaving him in deep surprize. What am I to think of this, says he: the old farrier has certainly jeered me. If, accord­ing to the laws of this country, I am to marry this lady, why did she leave me so rudely? Why put she on that haughty and disdainful air? She viewed me from head to foot; and I saw in her looks the marks of contempt and scorn. The truth is, she is not much in the wrong. In justice I cannot blame her. This threadbare gown, full of holes, is not over proper to engage a lady's heart. I forgive her for thinking she may chance to mend herself.

While thus reflecting, a slave accosted him: Sir, said he, I am sent to find a stranger in tatters; and, by your air, methinks it should be you. If you please to give yourself the trouble of following me, I will lead you to a place, where you are expected with great impatience. The Sultan followed the slave, who led him to a great house, and shewed him into an apartment elegantly furnished. He bid him wait. The Sultan staid full two hours without see­ing [Page 95] a soul but the slave, who every now and then came and desired him not to be impatient.

At length came in four ladies, who accompanied another, glittering in jewels, but yet more resplen­dent in beauty. The Sultan cast his eyes upon her, and recollected her to be the last lady that he had seen coming out of the bath. She drew near him: Forgive me, Sir, said she, that I have made you wait. I was loth to appear in my undress be­fore my lord and master. You are in your own house, all you see here belongs to you: you are my husband: command me what you please, I am ready to obey. Madam, answered the Sultan, not a mo­ment ago I complained of my destiny, but now I am the most happy of men. But since I am your husband, why did you just now look so disdainfully upon me? You were shocked, perhaps, at the sight of me; and, to confess the truth, I could not much blame you. Sir, replied the lady, I could not do other­wise; the women of this city are obliged to carry themselves haughtily in public: it is the custom. Well, said the King, since I am master here, in or­der to exercise my little sovereignty, let somebody bring me a taylor and a shoemaker: I am ashamed to be seen in your presence in this tattered gown, and these cobbled shoes, which ill suit with the rank I have hitherto held in the world. I have taken care of that already, replied the lady: I have sent a slave to a Jew, who sells cloaths ready made, and who will furnish you at once with all you want: [Page 96] mean while let us take some refreshment. In say­ing this, she led him to a table covered with all sorts of fruits and sweat-meats. While they were eat­ing, the four attendant ladies, who stood behind, sung songs, and played on several instruments; their mistress took a lute, and accompanying the music with her voice, charmed the Sultan.

The concert was interrupted by the Jew trades­man, with bundles of cloaths of different sorts. They made choice of a white sattin vest, flowered with gold, and a gown of purple. The lady admired the King; was very well satisfied to have found such a husband; and he well pleased to have met with so beautiful a wife.

He had lived seven years with this lady, by whom he had several sons and daughters. But both of them taking delight in expensive life, they outrun the lady's estate, were obliged to put away their waiting ladies and slaves, and to sell their furniture for subsistence. The Sultan's wife, seeing herself reduced to want, told her husband; "As long as my estate lasted, you never spared it: it behoves you now to think of some way or other to maintain your little family."

These words struck the King, who went to the old farrier to ask his advice. O my father, says he, I am now in a worse condition, than when I came first to this city: I have a wife and children, and nothing for their subsistence. Young man, replied the aged farrier, were you not brought up to trade? [Page 97] The Sultan answered, No. The farrier put his hand in his pocket, and giving him two * Aqtchas, bid him immediately buy himself some Ypes, and wait in the place where the porters plied. The Sultan bought them, and went to ply among the porters.

Scarce was he arrived, when a man asked him if he would carry a burthen? I am here for that pur­pose, answered the Sultan. The man loaded him with a great sack, which the King had much ado to carry, and the cords wrung the skin off his shoul­ders. He received his pay of one Aqtcha, and car­ried it home. His wife, seeing no more money, told him, that if he earned not ten times as much every day, his family must starve.

The next morning, overwhelmed with grief, in­stead of plying among the porters, he walked to the sea-side, reflecting on his miserable condition. There he looked very earnestly on the place, and, re­calling to mind his strange and fatal adventure, he sunk into tears. The ceremony of Ablution being indispensible before prayers, he plunged himself into the sea; and raising his head out of the water, (what astonishment!) he found himself again in his own palace, in the middle of the tub, and surrounded by all his officers. O barbarous Doctor, cried he, [Page 98] perceiving the Chec upon the very spot on which he had left him, dost thou not dread that God will pu­nish thee, for having played this trick with thy Sul­tan and thy master? Sir, said the Chec, why is your majesty angry with me? You but this moment plunged your head into this water. I tell you no­thing but the truth: if you do not believe me, ask your officers, who were eye-witnesses of it. The Sultan gave no credit to them. It is full seven years, said he, that this cursed Doctor has detained me in a foreign country by the force of his enchantments; I married, and had children; but it is not of this I complain so much, as of my being a porter. Oh villainous Chec! couldst thou be so cruel as to make me carry Ypes: Sir, replied the Doctor, when you came into this apartment, did not you leave the beautiful Sultaness, Zeineb, in the pangs of child-birth? Yes, said the Sultan. Lo! said Chahabed­din, here comes an officer to salute thee a father, but to inform thee likewise that the Prophet has pu­nished thy infidelity, Zeinib is dead. As the Chec finished this sentence, the room shook with thun­der, the learned Chahabeddin disappeared, and left the Sultan to lament his charming Zeneib, and his want of faith.

*
The contemplative cabalistical Doctors of the East are so proud, that they claim respect from their Kings.
*
The name of the Terrest [...]ial Paradise, according to the Turks.
*
Aqtcha is a coin of the value of a penny.
Ypes are cords that porters use instead of a knot.
The Mahometans wash their bodies before they say their prayers.

DIALOGUE XIV.

MR. EGERTON.

THE subject which I have selected for this day's reading is of so much importance to your present and future conduct, that I must intreat you all to listen with more than ordinary attention.

Truth is the first duty of man, the greatest of moral virtues, and the strongest bond of social af­fection. Whoever possesses truth must, of necessity, be virtuous; for he will possess that permanent and un­shaken veracity which will not admit the least equi­vocation, or mental reservation, that steady sincerity which will rather submit to the shame of an indiscreet, or even the punishment of a wrong action, than the greatest of all disgrace, the meanest of all vices, lying. It is easy to conceive that a man who reso­lutely persists in being sincere in telling the exact truth, and the whole truth, though, by such con­duct, he must at some times publish his own weak­ness, will become exceedingly circumspect and watch­ful over himself. Shame is a very powerful and severe sensation, and few would be hardy enough to venture on a wrong action with a certainty of its becoming public. A determined adherence to truth will, therefore, prevent both vice and folly, and whoever can teach sincerity, will, at the same time, teach many other virtues.

[Page 100] Strong minds alone are capable of that inflexible veracity of which I speak; and wherever this is found, we need not hesitate to pronounce the pos­sessor to be among the first of men. Observe there­fore, children, whosoever of you gives me the most repeated proofs of plain, full, and unequivocal since­rity, will, at the same time, give me the most un­doubted assurance of superior capacity, and become most honoured, most respected, and most beloved.

The fidelity and truth of the philosopher Xeno­crates were such, that the Athenians, when he gave evidence, would not suffer him to be sworn; his word alone was sufficient. This, my children, is true, substantial, and everlasting fame.

When the Duke of Ossura was at Barcelona, he went on board one of the gallies, and having the privilege of releasing any of the prisoners which had been sent there for crimes and misdemeanors, he began to question them, in order to discover who most deserved his pity. All were anxious to excuse themselves, by attributing their punishment to the malice of their enemies, or the injustice of the ma­gistrates, excepting one man, who, when the Duke asked what was the reason of his being there, re­plied, "I was sent here, Sir, very deservedly; I committed a robbery upon the highway near Sara­gossa. It is true I was not only starving myself, but had a wife and family in the same condition. How­ever, I was guilty of the fact, and deserve my pu­nishment." "Why, hey-day! said the Duke; [Page 101] here's an impudent fellow indeed! How dare you intrude into the society of such honest worthy men? Here, knock off this fellow's irons. Get away, you rascal; and, do you hear, never more let me find you in such innocent company." "No, God bless your Grace," said the poor fellow; "that I will be answerable you never shall."

I quote these particulars to exemplify this great point, videlicet, that truth is not only virtuous but politic. The Orientals had a law, that whoever was three times convicted of speaking falsely, was condemned, under pain of death, never to speak again; but continue in silence and reproach during life: so utterly did they detest falsehood, and so con­vinced were they of its pernicious consequences. And believe me, my children, though lyars are per­mitted the use of their tongues, their punishment is little inferior among us; for whoever is three times detected in lying by any person of veracity, will never be credited by that person again. Listen, children, to the story of Saddyq, and learn wisdom.

TRUTH: Or the Story of SADDYQ.

TOGALTIMUR-CAN, King of Tartary, was one day told that there was, in his dominions, a man who was so great an enemy to lying that he always told truth. The King had a mind to have [Page 102] him near his person, and made him Master of the Horse. A courtier of so extraordinary a character soon found enemies, who watched all opportunities to ruin him: but the King, who was not easily to be imposed on, and who trusted to his own judge­ment, made trial of his Master of the Horse on se­veral occasions, and having always found him frank and sincere, gave him the surname of Saddyq, or the Teller of Truth.

Of all Saddyq's enemies, the Visier Tangribirdi was the most inveterately bent on his ruin. He em­ployed all sorts of stratagems to disgrace him in the mind of Togaltimur: but not being able to compass his design, he disclosed one day to his daughter Hos­chendan the uneasiness it gave him to be still disap­pointed. How unfortunate am I! said he to her: I have been the cause of the disgrace of a thousand old courtiers; yet I cannot destroy this man, who, though but newly settled at court, triumphs over all my efforts to ruin his fortune. Hoschendan, who equalled her father in malice, instead of exhorting him no longer to oppose the good fortune of Saddyq, said to him, My dear father, cease to afflict your­self: if you are absolutely determined to bring Saddyq into the King's disfavour, leave the care of it to my management. Ah! replied the visier, what method will you take to compass it? Ask me not that, Sir, said she, give me leave only to go to the Master of the Horse, and I promise you I will bring him to a necessity of telling a lie to the King. Do whatever [Page 103] you will, daughter, said the visier, I give you free leave. Provided you prove as good as your word, no matter what it costs.

Hoschendan was wholly intent to prepare herself for the execution of the project she had formed. She cloathed herself in her richest apparel, and adorned herself with all her jewels. In short, after having added to her natural beauty all the advantages that art could give, she went from her father's one night, attended by some slaves, who convoyed her safely to Saddyq's house. When she was arrived, she sent back her slaves, knocked at the door, and told the servant that she desired to speak with Saddyq about an affair of very great importance. They conducted her into his apartment. She found him sitting on a sopha, approached him, threw off the veil that co­vered her face, and sat down on the same sopha, without saying one single word.

Saddyq who had never seen, not even in a dream, so beautiful a person, was struck to the heart, and became motionless. The lady, whose design was to inspire him with love, spared not the means to ac­complish it. She caressed him with a thousand dalliances; and said, O Saddyq, be not surprised that a woman who loves you, thus seeks for you in pri­vate. Grant me a single favour.—Soul of my soul! cried out the Master of the Horse, you need only name it. What can I refuse to these powerful charms, of which I am so enamoured? Command your slave—tell him what you wish. I have a mind, [Page 104] replied Hoschendan, with a longing desire to eat some horse-flesh*. Kill me immediately the fattest of all the King's horses: take out the heart and the liver, get them roasted, and let us eat them together. Charming lady, answered Saddyq, rather ask me my life: I have a respect for every thing that belongs to the King my master. Let us put off this frolick till to-morrow: I will then buy a horse as fat as a bacon-hog, and we will regale ourselves like Princes. No, no, replied Hoschendan, I must eat of one of the King's horses: it is a fancy I have taken, and you must gratify it. I cannot comply with your request, said Saddyq: I love the King my master too well to give him the least uneasiness. Should I prove so weak as to yield to your request, I am certain he would not fail to punish me. You need not fear that, said Hoschendan; should the King ask you what was become of the horse, say, that having found him sick, and past all hope of recovery, you thought it best to kill him, lest he should have in­fected the other horses with his disease. The King, who by way of excellence has given you the surname of Saddyq, will take your word for it, and even com­mend your precaution.

The Master of the Horse began to waver—What shall I do? said he to himself. On the one hand, my respect for the King, and the fear of punishment, keep me in awe: on the other, the charms of this [Page 105] heavenly face allure me. Hoschendan, perceiving the perplexity he was in, renewed her attacks so forcibly that he condescended at length to her re­quest. They went together to the King's stables. O my Prince! said Hoschendan to Saddyq, since you grant me the favour, grant it to my wish; pray cut the throat of this black horse, which stands here apart from the rest. O my Queen! my Sultaness! cried the Master of the Horse, you know not what you ask. You put my love to too severe a trial. This black horse is of all others that which the King loves best. It is impossible for me to com­ply with your desire. Pitch upon any one of the rest, and his throat shall be cut instantly. This is all that I can do for you; and, indeed, all that you ought to expect. But the lady was not to be re­fused: on the contrary, throwing herself at his feet, O my Prince! said she, my dear Master of the Horse, I conjure you not to refuse my suit. I know well that the proof of tenderness, which I ask of you, clashes in some measure with your duty: but women, you know, are whimsical and caprici­ous; whatever they ardently desire, they are obsti­nate to obtain: comply therefore, and satisfy my humour. I will for ever love you, and hold you dearer than my life.

Her words were accompanied with so many marks of tenderness, and such transports, that the Master of the Horse could resist no longer. He drew his knife, and cut the black horse's throat instantly. [Page 106] Then taking out the heart and liver, they were roasted, and ate in the bed-chamber. In the morning the lady took leave of the Master of the Horse, returned home to her father, and told him all that had passed. The visier was so overjoyed at it, that he had no time to think how dear it had cost his daughter to play the part she had acted; but went directly to the palace, and told the King the adven­ture. He took care, however, not to say that Hos­chendan was the lady in question, or that it was to satisfy his hatred and envy that his daughter had dared to tempt the integrity of Saddyq.

While the visier Tangribirdi was making this re­cital to the King, with all the malice of a stanch courtier, who wished ruin to his enemy, the Master of the Horse had come to himself, and made most bitter reflections on what he had done. How void of sense are men, said he, to give themselves up to their passions! I should have done much better to have sent away the lady with a flat denial, than to have pleased her in killing a horse that was the delight of the King my master. I should not then have been agitated with all the cruel thoughts which now disturb my quiet. What shall I answer to the King when he asks me for his horse? I, who hitherto have made it a law to myself ever to tell truth, shall I fly to falsehood for shelter, and shall I dare to be found a liar in the presence of my King? This would be adding a new crime to that I have com­mitted. On the other hand, should I make a true [Page 107] confession, my sincerity must cost me my life: what then must I determine to do? To lie? Well, be it so. Let me suppose that I am at court: let me sup­pose this cap (taking it off his head, and laying it on the floor) to be Togaltimur: let me see if I can have the confidence to insist upon a lie in the face of the King. Entering into his presence, I salute him. Saddyq, says he, let my black horse be got ready, I mean to ride to-day.—Sir, an accident has befallen him: yesterday in the evening he would eat nothing we could offer him, and he died at midnight; nor can I imagine the occasion of his death. How! my black horse, that carried me so well but yesterday—is he dead? Why must it be him rather than so many others that are in the same stable? What story is this thou tellest me? Be gone; thou art a liar. Thou hast either fold my horse, or else thou hast killed him in some freak. Think not to escape my vengeance. Thou shalt be punished according to thy deserts. One of you stab that villain to the heart this mo­ment;—hack him in pieces.

Togaltimur, pursued Saddyq, will, no doubt, speak to me in this manner; and such will be the reward of the first lie I ever told in my life. Now let me consider, if, by telling the truth, I shall fare any better. Saddyq, let my black horse be got ready: I will ride abroad.—O King! you see your servant in the deepest affliction. There came to my house last night a lady, who asked me to have the heart and liver of that horse, and I had no power to refuse [Page 108] her. What! could you kill my fine horse to gain a lady's favour? One of you go for the executioner; he shall do his office before my face.

Behold, said the Master of the Horse, what re­ception I am to expect: whether I lie, or whether I tell truth, I am sure to lose my life. Wretch that I am! Cursed be the object whose charms have thrown me into this perplexity. While he was busied with these dismal thoughts, came one to tell him the King would speak with him. He instantly obeyed the order, and found there the visier his enemy.

Master of the Horse, says the King, I intend to hunt to-day: saddle me the black horse. Struck with a mortal dread, he answered in confusion—Sir, there happened last night a misfortune to your ser­vant; if your Majesty commands me, I will tell it you. Tell it, replied the King. Last night, said the Master of the Horse, as I was sitting in my chamber, there came to me a lady in a veil. She sat herself down by me on a sopha, unveiled, and shewed me a neck and face of ravishing beauty: she won my affection; and prevailed on me to promise her the heart and liver of your black horse. I answered without hesitation, that I could not consent to kill a horse that your Majesty was so fond of. But the lady threw herself at my feet, and besought me in terms so moving, that I had no power to resist her importunity. This, Sir, is an ingenuous recital of my adventure. I confess my crime, and am so far from desiring to escape the [Page 109] punishment I deserve, by telling a lie, that I come of my own accord to submit to it.—There, Sove­reign, is the sabre,—here is my head.

The King turned towards the visier, and asked him in what manner he thought it best to deal with Saddyq. Sir, answered the visier, overjoyed to be consulted in this affair, I am of opinion, that he ought to be burnt in a slow fire. A man, who has dared to sacrifice to his pleasure a horse that you were fond of, is unworthy of mercy.—I am not of your opinion, visier, replied Togaltimur: I think it more reasonable to pardon a first fault, than to pu­nish it.—Then addressing his discourse to the Master of the Horse, said, O Saddyq! I am astonished at thy sincerity, and excuse thy weakness. Had I been in thy place, I might not only have given my black horse, but all the horses in my stables. The allure­ments were too mighty to be resisted: no man could have been safe against them. I forgive thee the death of my horse; and take it so well of thee, that thou hast told me the truth on this occasion, that I order a robe of honour to be brought for thee immediately.

When the visier Tangribirdi saw that the Master of the Horse was rewarded, instead of being pu­nished, he was seised with a melancholy, that threw him into an illness, of which he died in a few days, and the fortunate Saddyq was made choice of to succeed him in his post of Visier.

*
Horse-flesh is a great dainty among the Tartars; so likewise is the milk of mares.
NANCY.
[Page 110]

Upon my word I began to tremble for poor Saddy (que) I am quite happy that he did not tell a lie.

EUSTACE.

I never could be thoroughly persuaded that he would sister, though I own I was once almost in doubt.

CHARLES.

Well, I hope I shall never be put to such a severe trial.

MR. EGERTON.

Rather hope, Charles, that you shall obtain suf­ficient fortitude to support such a trial.

MRS. EGERTON.

The tale you have just heard, my dears, points out to you both the magnanimity and the advantages of speaking truth. But you must look further; you must not only avoid inventing direct lies, but equivo­cal ones likewise. They are equally disgraceful, equally guilty, and oftentimes equally fatal in their consequences. These you must particularly guard against. Remember, though nobody should detect you, though you should pass with impunity in the eyes of others, yet if you can reproach yourselves [Page 111] with the least deviation from veracity, you ought to be ashamed of your conduct, to shrink from the re­collection of your weakness, and to take the most ef­fectual and positive method of preventing it in future. Remember too, it is very possible for you to be guilty of lying without speaking a word.

MR. EGERTON.

I recollect reading an account of the behaviour of Colonel Edmonds, who served in the Dutch wars at Utrecht, which will teach you how you ought to act on the like occasion. As he was one day stand­ing among his brother officers, one of his country­men who had just arrived from Scotland, and who wanted to insinuate himself into the Colonel's favour, came up to him, saluted him, and delivered pretend­ed messages from my Lord his father, from the Earl his cousin, and various others of his relations, all of whom, he said were well. "Gentlemen, said the Colonel, turning to his friends, do not believe that fellow; my father is a poor baker in Edinburgh, and works hard for his livelihood. I am neither related to lord or knight. He has made an impudent at­tack upon my vanity, and has wanted to engage me tacitly to become an accomplice in his falsehoods, for which contemptible trick, every gentleman who has heard him, must, I am sure, despise him."

I can never repeat too often to you that the plain truth is best. When some young men were brought before Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, and accused of [Page 112] having libelled him, Pyrrhus asked them, "Is it true, young men? did you say such things?"—"We did, Sir, replied one of the youths; and I am afraid we should, at that time, have said many more if we had had more wine." No denial of the fact, no evasive answers could have pleaded so effectually as the simple truth. Pyrrhus admired the sincerity, was sensible of the force of the defence, and readily pardoned the error of the offenders.

We will now read the history of Lady Forrest, which is a melancholy but strong instance of the danger of equivocation.

EQUIVOCATION. The History of Lady FORREST, &c.

CHARLOTTE and Maria were educated to­gether at an eminent boarding-school near London: there was little difference in their age, and their personal accomplishments were equal: but though their families were of the same rank, yet as Char­lotte was an only child, she was considerably supe­rior in fortune.

Soon after they were taken home, Charlotte was addressed by Captain Freeman, who, besides his com­mission in the guards, had a small paternal estate: but as her friends hoped for a more advantageous match, the Captain was desired to forbear his visits, and the lady to think of him no more. After some [Page 113] fruitless struggles they acquiesced; but the discon­tent of both were so apparent, that it was thought expedient to remove Miss into the country. She was sent to her aunt, the Lady Meadows, who with her daughter lived retired at the family seat, more than one hundred miles distant from the metropolis. After she had repined in this dreary solitude from April to August, she was surprised with a visit from her father, who brought with him Sir James Forrest, a young gentleman who had just succeeded to a baronet's title and a very large estate in the same county. Sir James had good nature and good sense, an agreeable person and an easy address: Miss was insensibly pleased with his company; her vanity, if not her love, had a new object; a desire to be de­livered from a state of dependance and obscurity had almost absorbed all the rest: and it is no wonder that this desire was gratified, when scarce any other was felt; or that in compliance with the united solicita­tions of her friends, and her lover, she suffered her­self within a few weeks to become a lady and a wife. They continued in the country till the beginning of October, and then came up to London, having pre­vailed upon her aunt to accompany them, that Miss Meadows, with whom the bride had contracted an intimate friendship, might be gratified with the di­versions of the town during the winter.

Captain Freeman, when he heard that Miss Char­lotte was married, immediately made proposals of marriage to Maria, with whom he became acquaint­ed [Page 114] during his visits to her friend, and soon after mar­ried her.

The friendship of the two young ladies seemed to be rather increased than diminished by their mar­riage; they were always of the same party both in the private and public diversions of the season, and visited each other without the formalities of messages and dress.

But neither Sir James nor Mrs. Freeman could re­flect without uneasiness upon the frequent inter­views which familiarity and confidence had pro­duced between a lover and his mistress, whom force only had divided; and though of these interviews they were themselves witnesses, yet Sir James in­sensibly became jealous of his lady, and Mrs. Free­man of her husband.

It happened in the May following, that Sir James went about ten miles out of town to be present at an election of a member of parliament for the county, and was not expected to return till the next day. In the evening his lady took a chair and visited Mrs. Freemen: the rest of the company went away early, the Captain was upon guard, Sir James was out of town, and the ladies after supper sat down to piquet, and continued the game without once reflecting upon the hour till three in the morning. Lady Forrest would then have gone home; but Mrs. Freeman, perhaps chiefly to conceal a contrary de­sire, importuned her to stay till the Captain came [Page 115] in, and at length, with some reluctance, she con­sented.

About five the Captain came home, and Lady Forrest immediately sent out for a chair: a chair, as it hap­pened, could not be procured; but a hackney coach being brought in its stead, the Captain insisted upon waiting on her ladyship home. This she refused with some emotion; it is probable that she still re­garded the Captain with less indifference than she wished, and was therefore more sensible of the im­propriety of his offer: but her reasons for rejecting it, however forcible, being such as she could not al­ledge, he persisted, and her resolution was over­borne. By this importunate complaisance the Cap­tain had not only thrown Lady Forrest into confu­sion, but displeased his wife: she could not, how­ever, without unpoliteness oppose it; and left her uneasiness should be discovered, she affected a neg­ligence which in some degree revenged it: she de­sired that when he came back he would not disturb her, for that she should go directly to bed; and ad­ded with a kind of drowsy insensibliity, "I am more than half asleep already."

Lady Forrest and the Captain were to go from the Haymarket to Grosvenor-square. It was about half an hour after five when they got into the coach; the morning was remarkably fine, the late contest had shaken off all disposition to sleep, and Lady For­rest could not help saying, that she had much rather take a walk into the Park than go home to bed. The [Page 116] Captain zealously expressed the same sentiment, and proposed that the coach should set them down at St. James's Gate. The lady, however, had nearly the same objections against being seen in the Mall without any other company than the Captain, than she had against its being known that they were alone together in a hackney coach: she, therefore, to ex­tricate herself from this second difficulty, proposed that they should call at her father's in Bond-street, and take her cousin Meadows, whom she knew to be an early riser, with them. This project was im­mediately put in execution; but Lady Forrest found her cousin indisposed with a cold. When she had communicated the design of this early visit, Miss Meadows intreated her to give up her walk in the Park, to stay till the family rose, and go home after breakfast: "No, replied Lady Forrest, I am de­termined upon a walk; but as I must first get rid of Captain Freeman, I will send down word that I will take your advice." A servant was accordingly dispatched to acquaint the Captain, who was waiting below, that Miss Meadows was indisposed, and had engaged Lady Forrest to breakfast.

The Captain discharged the coach; but being piqued at the behaviour of his wife, and feeling that flow of spirits which usually returns with the morn­ing even to those who have not slept in the night, he had no desire to go home, and therefore resolved to enjoy the fine morning in the Park alone.

[Page 117]Lady Forrest not doubting but that the Captain would immediately return home, congratulated her­self upon her deliverance; but at the same time, to indulge her desire of a walk, followed him into the Park.

The Captain had reached the top of the Mall, and turning back, met her before she had advanced two hundred yards beyond the palace. The moment she perceived him, the remembrance of her message, the motives that produced it, the detection of its false­hood, and discovery of its design, her disappoint­ment and consciousness of that very situation which she had so much reason to avoid, all concurred to cover her with confusion which it was impossible for her to hide: pride and good-breeding were, how­ever, still predominant over truth and prudence; she was still zealous to remove from the Captain's mind any suspicion of a design to shun him, and there­fore with an effort perhaps equal to that of a hero who smiles upon the rack, she affected an air of gaiety, said she was glad to see him, and as an ex­cuse for her message and her conduct, prattled something about the fickleness of woman's mind, and concluded with observing that she changed her's too often ever to be mad. By this conduct a retreat was rendered impossible, and they walked together till between eight and nine: but the clouds having insensibly gathered, and a sudden shower falling just as they reached Spring-gardens, they went out in­stead [Page 118] of going back; and the Captain having put the lady into a chair, took his leave.

It happened that Sir James, contrary to his first purpose, had returned from his journey at night. He learnt from the servants that his lady was gone to Captain Freeman's, and was secretly displeased that she had made this visit when he was absent; an in­cident which, however trifling in itself, was by the magic of jealousy, swelled into importance: yet upon recollection, he reproved himself for this displeasure, since the presence of the Captain's lady would suf­ficiently secure the honour of his own. While he was struggling with these suspicions, they increased both in number and strength, in proportion as the night wore away. At one he went to bed; but he passed the night in agonies of terror and resentment, doubting whether the absence of his lady was the effect of accident or design, listening to every noise, and bewildering himself in a multitude of extrava­gant suppositions. He rose again at break of day; and after several hours of suspence and irresolution, whether to wait the issue, or go out for intelligence, the restlessness of curiosity prevailed, and about eight he set out for Captain Freeman's; but left word with his servants, that he was gone to a neighbour­ing coffee-house.

Mrs. Freeman, whose affected indifference and dissimulation of a design to go immediately to bed, contributed to prevent the Captain's return had, during his absence, suffered inexpressible disquiet: [Page 119] she had, indeed, neither intention to go to bed, nor inclination to sleep; she walked backward and for­ward in her chamber, distracted with jealousy and suspense, till she was informed that Sir James was below, and desired to see her. When she came down, he discovered that she had been in tears; his fear was now more alarmed than his jealousy, and he concluded that some fatal accident had befallen his wife; but he soon learnt that she and the Cap­tain had gone from thence at five in the morning, and that he was not yet returned. Mrs. Freeman, by Sir James's enquiry, knew that the lady had not been at home: her suspicions, therefore, were con­firmed; and in her jealousy, which to prevent a duel she laboured to conceal, Sir James found new cause for his own. He determined, however, to wait with as much decency as possible, till the Captain came in; and perhaps two persons were never more em­barrassed by the presence of each other. While breakfast was getting ready, Dr. Tattle came to pay Mrs. Freeman a morning visit; and to the unspeak­able grief of both the lady and her guest, was imme­diately admitted. Doctor Tattle is one of those male gossips who, in common opinion, are the most diverting company in the world. The Doctor saw that Mrs. Freeman was low spirited, and made se­veral efforts to divert her, but without success: at last he declared, with an air of ironical importance, that he could tell her such news as would make her look grave for something; "The Captain, says he, [Page 120] has just huddled a lady into a chair at the door of a bagnio, near Spring-gardens." He soon perceived that this speech was received with emotions very dif­ferent from those he intended to produce; and there­fore added, "that she need not, however, be jealous; for notwithstanding the manner in which he had re­lated the incident, the lady was certainly a woman of character, as he instantly discovered by her mein and appearance:" this particular confirmed the suspi­cion it was intended to remove; and the Doctor finding that he was not so good company as usual, took his leave, but was met at the door by the Captain, who brought him back. His presence, however insignificant, imposed some restraint upon the rest of the company; and Sir James, with as good an appearance of jocularity as he could assume, asked the Captain "What he had done with his wife?" The Captain, with some irresolution, re­plied, that "he had left her early in the morning at her father's; and that having made a point of waiting on her home, she sent word down that her cousin Meadows was indisposed, and had engaged her to breakfast." The Captain, who knew nothing of the anecdote that had been communicated by the Doctor, judged by appearances that it was prudent thus indirectly to lie, by concealing the truth both from Sir James and his wife: he supposed, indeed, that Sir James would immediately enquire after his wife, at her father's, and learn that she did not stay there to breakfast; but as it would not follow that [Page 121] they had been together, he left her to account for her absence as she should think fit, taking for granted that what he had concealed she would also conceal for the same reasons; or if she should not, as he had affirmed nothing contrary to truth, he might pretend to have concealed it in jest. Sir James, as soon as he had received this intelligence, took his leave with some appearance of satisfaction, and was followed by the Doctor.

As soon as Mrs. Freeman and the Captain were alone, she questioned him with great earnest­ness about the lady whom he had been seen to put into a chair. When he had heard that this in­cident had been related in the presence of Sir James, he was greatly alarmed lest Lady Forrest should in­crease his suspicions, by attempting to conceal that which, by a series of enquiry to which he was now stimulated, he would probably discover: he con­demned this conduct in himself, and as the most effectual means at once to quiet the mind of his wife, and obtain her assistance, he told her all that had happened, and his apprehension of the conse­quences: he also urged her to go directly to Miss Meadows, by whom his account would be con­firmed, and from whom she might learn farther intel­ligence of Sir James; and to find some way to ac­quaint Lady Forrest with her danger, and admonish her to conceal nothing.

Mrs. Freeman was convinced of the Captain's sincerity, not only by the advice which he urged her [Page 122] to give to Lady Forrest, but by the consistency of the story and the manner in which he was affected. Her jealousy was changed into pity for her friend, and apprehension for her husband. She hasted to Miss Meadows, and learnt that Sir James had en­quired of the servant for his lady, and was told that she had been there early with Captain Freeman, but went away soon after him: she related to Miss Meadows all that had happened, and thinking it at least possible that Sir James might not go directly home, she wrote the following letter to his lady:

My dear Lady Forrest,

I am in the utmost distress for you. Sir James has suspicions which truth only can remove, and of which my indiscretion is the cause. If I had not concealed my desire of the Captain's return, your design to disengage yourself from him, which I learn from Miss Meadows, would have been ef­fected. Sir James breakfasted with me in the Hay-market; and has since called at your father's, from whence I write: he knows that your stay here was short, and has reason to believe the Captain put you into a chair some hours afterwards at Spring-gardens. I hope therefore, my dear lady, that this will reach your hands time enough to prevent your concealing any thing. It would have been better if Sir James had known nothing, for then you would not have been suspected; but now he must know [Page 123] all, or you cannot be justified. Forgive the free­dom with which I write, and believe me most af­fectionately

Your's, MARIA FREEMAN.

P. S. I have ordered the bearer to say he came from Mrs. Fashion the milliner.

This letter was given to a chairman, and he was ordered to say he brought it from the milliner's; because if it should be known to come from Mrs. Freeman, and should fall by accident into Sir James's hands, his curiosity might prompt him to read it, and his jealousy to question the lady without communi­cating the contents.

Sir James being convinced that his lady and the Captain had passed the morning at a bagnio, by the answer which he received at her father's, went di­rectly home. His lady was just arrived before him, and had not recovered from the confusion and dread which seized her when she heard that Sir James came to town the night before, and at the same instant anticipated the consequences of her own indiscretion. She was told he was then at the coffee-house, and in a few minutes was thrown into an universal tremor upon hearing him knock at the door. He perceived her distress not with compassion but rage, because he believed it to proceed from the consciousness of guilt: he turned pale, and his lips quivered; but he so far restrained his passion as to ask her, without [Page 124] invective, "where, and how she had passed the night?" She replied, "at Captain Freeman's; that the Captain was upon guard, that she sat up with his lady till he came in, and then insisting to see her home, she would suffer the coach to go no farther than her father's, where he left her early in the morning:" she had not fortitude to relate the sequel, but stopped with some appearance of irresolution and terror. Sir James then asked, "if she came directly from her father's home." This question, and the manner in which it was asked, increased her confu­sion: to appear to have stopped short in her narra­tive, she thought would be an implication of guilt, as it would betray a desire of concealment: but the past could not be recalled, and she was impelled by equivocation to falsehood, from which, however, she would have been kept back by fear, if Sir James had not deceived her into a belief that he had been no farther than the neighbourhood. After these tumultuous reflections which passed in a moment, she ventured to affirm, that "she staid with Miss Mea­dows till eight, and then came home:" but she uttered this falsehood with such marks of guilt and shame, which she had indeed no otherwise than by this falsehood incurred or deserved, that Sir James no more doubted her infidelity than her existence. As her story was the same with the Captain's, and as one had concealed the truth, and the other denied it, he con­cluded there was a confederacy between them; and determining first to bring the Captain to account, he [Page 125] turned from her abruptly, and immediately left the house.

At the door he met the chairman who had been dispatched by Mrs. Freeman to his lady; and fierce­ly interrogating him what was his business, the man produced the letter, and saying, as he had been or­dered, that he had brought it from Mrs. Fashion, Sir James snatched it from him, and muttering some expressions of contempt and resentment, thrust it into his pocket.

It happened that Sir James did not find the Cap­tain at home; he, therefore, left a billet, in which he requested to see him at a neighbouring tavern, and added, that he had put on his sword.

In the mean time, his lady, dreading a discovery of the falsehood which she had asserted, dispatched a billet to Captain Freeman; in which she conjured him, as a man of honour, for particular reasons, not to own to Sir James, or any other person, that he had seen her after he had left her at her father's: she also wrote to her cousin Meadows, intreating, that if she was questioned by Sir James, he might be told that she staid with her till eight o'clock, an hour at which only herself and the servants were up.

The billet to Miss Meadows came soon after the chairman had returned with an account of what had happened to the letter; and Mrs. Freeman was just gone in great haste to relate the accident to the Cap­tain, as it was of importance that he should know it before his next interview with Sir James: but the [Page 126] Captain had been at home before her, and had re­ceived both Sir James's billet and that of his lady. He went immediately to the tavern, and, in­quiring for Sir James Forrest, was shewn into a a back room one pair of stairs: Sir James received his salutation without reply, and instantly bolted the door. His jealousy was complicated with that in­dignation and contempt, which a sense of injury from a person of inferior rank, never fails to produce; he, therefore, demanded of the Captain, in a haughty tone, "Whether he had not that morning been in company with his wife, after he had left her at her father's?" The Captain, who was incensed at Sir James's manner, and deemed himself engaged in honour to keep the lady's secret, answered, that "from what he had said in the morning, no man had a right to suppose he had seen the lady afterwards; that to insinuate the contrary, was obliquely to charge him with a falsehood; that he was bound to answer no such questions, till they were properly ex­plained; and that as a gentleman, he was prepared to vindicate his honour." Sir James justly deemed this reply an equivocation and an insult; and being no longer able to restrain his rage, he cursed the Captain as a liar and a scoundrel, and at the same time striking him a violent blow with his fist, drew his sword, and put himself in a posture of defence. Whatever design the Captain might have had to bring his friend to temper, and reconcile him to his wife, when he first entered the room, he was now [Page 127] equally enraged, and indeed had suffered equal in­dignity; he, therefore, drew at the same instant, and after a few desperate passes on both sides, he received a wound in his breast, and reeling back­ward a few paces, fell down.

The noise had brought many people to the door of the room, and it was forced open just as the Captain received his wound: Sir James was secured, and a messenger was dispatched for a surgeon. In the mean time the Captain perceived himself to be dy­ing; and whatever might before have been his opi­nion of right and wrong, and honour and shame, he now thought all dissimulation criminal, and that his murderer had a right to that truth which he thought it meritorious to deny him when he was his friend; he, therefore, earnestly desired to speak a few words to him in private. This request was immediately granted; the persons who had rushed in withdrew, contenting themselves to keep guard at the door; and the Captain, beckoning Sir James to kneel down by him, then told him, that however his lady might have been surprized or betrayed by pride or fear into dissimulation or falsehood, she was innocent of the crime which he supposed her solicitous to conceal. He then briefly related all the events as they had happened; and at last, grasping his hand, urged him to escape from the window, that he might be a friend to his widow and to his child, if its birth should not be prevented by the death of its father. Sir James yielded to the force of this motive, and escaped as [Page 128] the Captain had directed. In his way to Dover he read the letter which he had taken from the chair­man, and the next post inclosed it in the following to his lady.

My dear Charlotte,

I am the most wretched of all men; but I do not upbraid you as the cause: would to God that I were not more guilty than you! We are the mar­tyrs of dissimulation. By dissimulation dear Cap­tain Freeman was induced to waste those hours with you, which he would otherwise have enjoyed with the poor unhappy dissembler his wife. Trusting in the success of dissimulation, you was tempted to venture into the Park, where you met him whom you wished to shun. By detecting dissimulation in the Captain, my suspicions were increased; and by dissimulation and falsehood you confirmed them. But your dissimulation and falsehood were the effects of mine; your's were ineffectual, mine succeeded: for I left word that I was gone no farther than the coffee-house, that you might not suspect I had learn­ed too much to be deceived. By the success of a lie put into the mouth of a chairman, I was pre­vented from reading a letter which at last would have undeceived me; and by persisting in dissimula­tion, the Captain has made his friend a fugitive, and his wife a widow. Thus does insincerity terminate in misery and confusion, whether, in its immediate purpose, it succeed, or be disappointed. O my dear [Page 129] Charlotte! if ever we meet again,—to meet again in happiness is impossible—if ever we meet again, let us resolve to be sincere: to be sincere is to be wife, innocent, and safe. We venture to commit faults which shame or fear would prevent, if we did not hope to conceal them by a lie. But in the labyrinth of falsehood, men meet those evils which they seek to avoid.—As in the strait path of truth alone they can see before them, in the strait path of truth alone they can pursue felicity with success. Adieu! I am—dreadful!—I can subscribe nothing that does not reproach and torment me—Adieu!

Within a few weeks after the receipt of this let­ter, the unhappy lady heard that her husband was cast away in his passage to France.

DIALOGUE XV.

MR. EGERTON.

YESTERDAY you beheld me very anxious to convince you of the absolute necessity of a strict adherence to truth. I cannot, perhaps, better continue to effect this, than by shewing you the importance of accustoming yourselves to silence, when [Page 130] upon the affairs of others. This will insensibly give you habits of secresy, and teach you to avoid de­traction, two very essential duties of society. We will begin with the first. To shew you how highly the wisest of men have always reverenced those who were careful not to betray the secrets with which they were entrusted, I will remind you of the be­haviour of Papyrius, and the honour conferred on him in consequence of it, by that august assembly, the Senate of antient Rome.

It was once the custom for the senators to take their sons with them to the senate-house, and among these did Papyrius Praetestatus follow his father. One day when an affair of great consequence had been in debate, and deferred till the morrow, a par­ticular charge was given to all not to mention it abroad. The mother of the boy, Papyrius when he came home, asked him what the senators had been doing that day; to which he replied, it was a secret that must not be disclosed. This answer, instead of giving satisfaction, as it ought to have done, only enflamed her curiosity; and, when entreaties had no effect, made her proceed to violence, in or­der to extort the secret. Papyrius, who was quite young, finding it impossible to prevail, told her at last, that he might avoid disclosing the secrets of the senate, "it had been debated, whether it would be most advantageous for one man to have two wives, or for one woman to have two husbands." The mother upon this immediately quits Papyrius, and [Page 131] running about among her female acquaintance, who were as weak as herself, persuades them to accom­pany her the next day to the senate. The senators, hearing the uproar, enquired what was the matter? Upon which Papyrius stood up, and told them in what manner he had been obliged to act. The fa­thers were all so much surprized and pleased with the invention, the resolution, and the secresy of the boy, that they returned him public thanks; but in­stantly made a decree, that the sons of senators should not in future be admitted to hear their deli­berations, Papyrius alone excepted.

Papyrius you see, children, notwithstanding his youth, had a just sense of the dignity and import­ance of the trust which had been placed in him by the senators. The person whose story we will now read, had neither his prudence nor his fortitude.

SECRESY: Or the ENRAGED LOVER.

A YOUNG gentleman, descended of a good family, but whose estate was very much encumber­ed by the mismanagement of his parents, was on the point of retrieving his fortune by a marriage with a lady, who, besides eight thousand pounds in her own possession, was the only child of one of the most wealthy merchants in Bristol.

The courtship between them had been kept ex­tremely secret;—the lady had made no one her con­fidante [Page 132] in the affair;—the gentleman had observed the same caution, till, a few days before that which she had appointed for the completion of their mu­tual wishes, he imparted the secret of his approach­ing happiness to a friend, from whom before he had never concealed any thing.

This person had a wife whom he extremely loved, and whose integrity he doubted not. He knew she wished well to his friend, and that she would rejoice to hear of the good fortune he was so near enjoying, therefore communicated the secret to her almost as soon as he was informed of it himself; but charged her at the same time to make no mention of it, which she faithfully promised.

It proved, however, that her mind had no such retentive quality as her fond husband imagined. A young lady of her acquaintance happening to visit her that same day, and some discourse on the ill situation of the intended bridegroom's affairs com­ing on the tapis, the wife could not forbear crying out,—'Well, well, we shall soon see him redeem all.'—'As how!' demanded the other.—'By a marriage with some great fortune,' replied she.— 'Marriage!' resumed the young lady,—'It must then be with some worn out virgin of fourscore at her last prayers.'—'Not so, I can assure you,' said the wife, 'but a blooming young creature of scarce eighteen, with a fortune of eight thousand pounds in her own hands, and heiress to one of the first merchants of Bristol.'—'You amaze me,' returned [Page 133] the other,—'Pray who is she?'—'You must ex­cuse me for that, my dear,' answered she, 'I am enjoined secresy; but I can tell you, the wedding will be celebrated in a few days, and then all will come out. In the mean time you may have leave to guess.'

After what she had said, the other could not be much at a loss to discover the person spoken of.— 'You certainly must mean Miss ****. The de­scription you give corresponds with no other wo­man in this town.'—'You are perfectly right,' re­plied she; 'but be sure you tell nobody.'

Little did this unhappy wife imagine, to whom she had blabbed so dangerous a secret. This lady had been courted by the gentleman in question, but, her fortune not agreeing with his circumstances, the match did not succeed. She had loved him, and her resentment for his not resolving to suffer every thing for her sake, was adequate to the tenderness she had before had for him; and the opportunity now given her for rendering him as unhappy as he had made her, filled her with an ill-natured satisfaction.

She no sooner got home, than she wrote an ano­nymous letter to the father of her rival, acquainting him with the whole story of his daughter's intended marriage.—The old gentleman was equally surpriz­ed and enraged; he searched his daughter's cabinet, and found letters which confirmed the truth of the advice he had received. He immediately locked the young lady into her chamber, suffering no one [Page 134] to come near her, but an aunt, who was as inflexi­ble to compassion for the woes of love, as a Spa­nish Duenna. On the third day, which was agreed upon by the lovers for the celebration of their nup­tials, he sent her to a place, where it was pretty certain she could hold no correspondence unknown to him.

Some hours before her departure, she found means to write to her lover.—The contents of the letter were these:

The day, which I thought should have given me to you, tears me from you for ever;—the com­munication between us, by some means, is disco­vered to my father, and I am to be sent to banish­ment; but to what part, or whether out of the kingdom, am not able to inform you;—I only find, by the preparations making, that I am going a long journey.—I am carefully watched, and have just time to bid you eternally farewel, and that you must now give over all expectations of my ever being your's

P. S. As I find the discovery of our loves has been made to my father by a letter from an un­known hand, I wish the misfortune may not be owing to yourself, in having trusted some person unworthy of the secret, since it has never escaped my lips, even to the faithful servant who brings you this, and will inform you of all my sufferings for these three cruel days.—Once more adieu,—I shall always wish you happy.

[Page 135]The poor lady had but just time to instruct her maid what she should say on the delivery of this letter, when, though it was no more than four o'clock in the morning, she was called down stairs, and, accompanied by her aunt, hurried into a coach, and carried,—no one in the family knew whither.

The maid about six executed her commission. The distraction of the lover, on hearing the ac­count, and reading the letter, may more easily be conceived than described;—he knew he had made but one confident, and therefore it must have been that confident, by whom he was betrayed. He flew directly to his house, roused him from his bed, and cried out with a voice scarce intelligible through rage and despair,—'You have undone me;—I be­lieved you my friend, and a man of honour;—you have basely wronged my credulity, and are a scoun­drel and a villain!'

The other, knowing this was the day agreed on for the marriage, had imagined that he had been called upon to be witness of it; but was now so much surprized, that he had no power to make the least reply. The lover threw down the letter he had just received from Miss ****, and went on,—'Read that, and, if you can borrow effrontery enough from hell, deny your perfidy, your base abuse of friend­ship!'

The gentleman looked at the letter in the utmost consternation, was extremely sorry for the accident, [Page 136] but certain it had not happened through his fault; adding, that he had never mentioned the affair to a single soul but his wife, whose fidelity he could depend upon.

If anything could have added to the lover's fury, it must have been the acknowledgment made by the other, of having told the secret to his wife. 'You have ruined all the hopes I had on earth,' pursued the lover, 'your blood is the only atonement you can make!'—With these words he drew his sword,— the other did the same,—they exchanged several thrusts;—the clash of their weapons presently brought the servants into the room, but not time enough to prevent both the antagonists from being wounded.

The wife, on this dreadful alarm, jumped out of bed, and, with only a loose night-gown about her, came running in, crying,—'What has occasioned this shocking scene!'—'I hope,' replied her hus­band, 'that you yourself have not occasioned it;— and that you never mentioned what I told you in relation to this gentleman's courtship with Miss ****?'—'Oh Heavens!' returned she, 'is it on this score that you fight?'—'Answer not one question with another,' resumed he fiercely, 'but speak the truth at once.'

She then confessed, that, in chatting with Miss L—, she had unwarily dropped some hints in re­gard to that affair, and that the other had guessed the rest. 'It is mighty well,' said the despairing [Page 137] lover; 'the discovery is made, and I am no longer to seek for the author of that cruel letter, which has undone me;—I know the resentment Miss L— has to me, and must own, you could not have taken more effectual measures to compleat my ruin.'

The husband, who felt more smart from his wife's confession, than from the wounds he had received, was beginning to reproach her in the most bitter terms, when he was interrupted by the entrance of a surgeon, who had been sent for by the servants, to whom turning, he said,—'You see here, Sir, two persons who have need of your help;—but I desire you will first examine the condition of my friend.'— This complaisance the other was far from returning, —he would not suffer himself to be touched, saying, he would receive no assistance in a house, the owners of which had so basely betrayed him;—and with these words flew down stairs, bleeding as he was.

Fortunately, however, neither of their wounds proved mortal, nor even dangerous, and both were soon cured; but the friendship between them was never again cemented, though the husband, con­scious of having been the aggressor, frequently en­deavoured it. This disunion with a person whom he truly valued, made the folly, which occasioned it, appear in its worst colours; and, though he conti­nued to live with his wife, he never could bring himself either to love or even to behave towards her as before this accident.

[Page 138]As for the lover, having sought his mistress in every place he could think of, without being able to get any intelligence of her abode, he retired to the southern parts of France, in order to retrieve his affairs, by living cheap. The young lady, as it was afterwards known, had been carried into Wales, where labouring under the weight of her father's displea­sure, the disappointment of her love, and the depri­vation of all those satisfactions her youth had been accustomed to, she fell into a languishing disorder, which soon took her from the world.

NANCY.

To be able to keep a secret, Sir, is certainly a very necessary duty; but, I observe, that the want of secresy is always attributed to the poor women.

MR. EGERTON.

You mistake, my dear; in the instance before us the men were weaker than the women. The young lady kept her own secret; and had either her lover, or his friend, had the same discretion, they might have been happy.

NANCY.

Would not you have a husband, Sir, freely com­municate his thoughts to a wife?

MR. EGERTON.

By no means, if these thoughts are concerning others; he has no right so to do. Metellus, a very [Page 139] wise man, said, that if he thought his shirt was privy to his designs, he would tear it off, and burn it.

MRS. EGERTON.

Indeed, that wife must very ill understand her duty, who makes improper enquiries; and she must be exceedingly weak, should she think herself ne­glected, because such enquiries meet a repulse from her husband.

MR. EGERTON.

We will now proceed to another consequence of not keeping a guard upon the tongue, Detraction. I need not take much trouble to convince you of the meanness of this folly, which, if once indulged, de­generates into detestable vice. But though you may perceive its ill effects, and behold it with con­tempt in others, if you be not very careful, you may easily fall into it yourselves. There is no weak­ness more common, nor more catching, than De­traction; yet there is not any one more universally decried. However, there is no making you avoid this odious practice by maxims alone; if you have not a mind superior to detraction, you will infallibly become detractors; and if you have, nothing but a long experience can give you the power to remain totally innocent in this respect. But remember, that there is no ill quality which more effectually lowers the character of the possessor, or which more cer­tainly turns to his own disadvantage. Let us attend to the following Fable:

[Page 140]

The HERDSMAN. A FABLE.

A certain herdsman verified the maxim that 'every man may acquire a character in his station.' His reputation, which was the result of honesty and plain sense, made him considerable in his village. All men confided in his word. Matters of property in dispute were deposited in his hands, till the cause was decided. His benevolence of temper disposed him always to reconcile animosities, and his strength of understanding qualified him for a right decision, whenever his neighbours appointed him arbitrator.

As a clear sky gradually dispels black clouds, and enlightens the whole hemisphere; so the report of a good name extends to remote parts, and is univer­sally well received. The King, who at that time ruled over the country, was a mild and judicious Prince. He dispensed his favours impartially to men of merit. He sent for the herdsman, tried his honesty at one time, and his understanding at ano­ther; and, as the latter improved, he raised him from one employment to another, till our herdsman arrived, without artifice or ambition, as it were with the wings of a gentle breeze, to the highest pitch of fortune; and had such weight and authority, that no resolution of consequence was taken, with­out previously consulting him. Good counsel is the compass, by which a Prince steers his course. Whilst he follows that, all his measures succeed; which was the case here. The King was in no [Page 141] danger, for he was beloved. The people rested in peace, for the labourer was secure of his pay. In­nocence was free from anxiety, for she could rely upon protection. Vice only trembled, for she was prosecuted; and envy sat watching and disturbed by her side, for virtue was crowned by fortune.

It happened, during this general tranquillity, that an aged man, who had formerly an intimacy with the herdsman, returned home after a distant journey. His first inclination was to see the court, in order to worship that sun which diffused so fruit­ful a warmth over all the country. He was not a little surprized to see the herdsman exalted to the King's right hand; while the herdsman, whose mind continued invariably the same, rejoiced, in the midst of his grandeur, at the arrival of his friend.

In the evening, when they were retired to private conversation, the old experienced man thought him­self obliged to admonish his friend. "You are now, said he, in the slippery road of honour, and resemble the blind man, who in searching for the staff he had lost, among stones and bushes, picked up a serpent stiff with cold. A prudent traveller, who was pass­ing by, advised him to throw it away; but the un­happy blind man rejected his counsel, and thought himself happy in a safe support; till the serpent was refreshed, and bit him mortally. Your own good sense, continued he, will enable you to make the application."

[Page 142]The herdsman was somewhat affected by the story, but being conscious of no evil himself, and not ap­prehensive of any design against him, persevered in the faithful and diligent discharge of the duties of his office. He might have continued in the same to the day of his death, had not the artful practices of the envious, after several far-fetched attempts, at last succeeded to render him suspected by the King. Their first pretence was, that the herdsman had built himself a sumptuous house, by extorting money from the poor, and gratifications from the rich. The King was determined to believe no eyes but his own, in a matter which concerned the reputa­tion of an honest man. He made a visit to the herdsman, and surveyed his dwelling, but found neither the building, nor the decorations, nor the furniture unequal to his station, nor the expence greater than consisted with the liberal rewards him­self had conferred upon him. The herdsman was therefore commended for not disgracing his rank, and for administering to the laborious part of man­kind that support, which they have a right to expect from men of power and fortune. The King sum­moned the envious accusers, and remonstrated to them on the falsity of their charge. They invented another falsehood to excuse the former; for no ini­quity is so fruitful as this; one deceit begets another, unless the first be stifled in its birth. "It is very true, Sir, said they, he is cautious of exposing his treasures to public view; but there is a chest by his [Page 143] bed-side, filled with gold and jewels; which con­tain more property than all your subjects pos­sess." The King, being a lover of truth, repaired once more to the herdsman's dwelling. He found the chest, and commanded him to open it; the herdsman begged to be excused, assuring him that it contained nothing worthy of any one's curio­sity; but the King's suspicions were heightened by the earnestness with which he declined the order. The chest was opened, and what can you imagine were the contents? No more than a plain herds­man's coat, and a staff stripped of its bark. The herdsman, upon this, deposited his fine cloaths in the chest, and, recollecting his friend's fable of the blind man and the serpent, put on his former dress, walked to his native home, and could not be pre­vailed with, by the intreaties or promises of the King, to depart from his resolution of finishing his days in the cottage where he had drawn his first breath.

MR. EGERTON.

In this fable you may perceive detraction was the child of envy; and so will it ever be. A lesson which you may learn from the story of Dorantes.

DETRACTION: Or the Story of DORANTES.

A certain gentleman whose real name I shall conceal under that of Dorantes, was married to a [Page 144] young lady of equal birth and fortune, and who, without being a celebrated beauty, was perfectly agreeable. He behaved with great tenderness to­wards her,—she was passionately fond of him;—no couple could live more happily together, till an un­lucky propensity, to which women are too prone, dissolved the cement of their union, and made both as wretched as before they had been blessed.

The wife of Dorantes was extremely intimate with a young widow, to whom I shall give the name of Clara;—they were acquainted in their childhood, and the change of their conditions afterwards had made no alteration in the sentiments of either. Sel­dom two days passed, without their seeing each other; and, as Dorantes staid pretty much at home, he was very glad of a third person to make up a party for ombre.

Clara was very handsome,—had a regular set of features,—fine hair,—fine teeth;—and, above all, a remarkably delicate complexion.—Dorantes had se­veral times, occasionally, mentioned those perfections in her to his wife; which, though, as will appear by the sequel, they not a little displeased her, she seemed not to take notice of, till one day, as they were talking together on the beauty of some ladies of their acquaintance, he said,—"Well, I see none that are half so agreeable as your friend Clara."— "Clara looks very well altogether, replied she gravely; but it costs her a great deal of pains to do so."—"What pains," cried he.—"Why, to tell [Page 145] you the truth, resumed she, all those things you ad­mire in her are nothing but mere art;—she has seven or eight false teeth, to my knowledge;—then, as to her hair it is naturally inclined to red; but she dyes it with a certain water, which turns it to that fine black it now appears; and, for her complexion, she uses both white and red; besides, she always sleeps in a night-mask, to repel pimples."—"Im­possible, my dear!" resumed he, "I have eyes as well as you, and can easily distinguish between what is natural and what is artificial."

"You men are often deceived in these things, answered she; if you were to see her in a morning, you would be convinced of the truth of what I tell you, and a great deal more; but I love Clara, and would not, for the world, say what I have done to any one, except yourself."—"You are in the right, said he with some ill humour; for no-body would believe you, if you did."

"I am sorry, then, I ever mentioned it to you said she a little haughtily."—"It might have been better you had not, replied he sternly;—because it gives me no very favourable idea, either of your ge­nerosity or your sincerity; and but confirms what I have often heard of your sex;—that no one wo­man ever spoke well of the beauty of another."— With these words, he snatched up his hat, and went directly out of the house.

The wife, who had never before been spoken to in this sharp manner by her husband, now, doubtless, [Page 146] repented of what she had said; but the words were gone out of her mouth,—she could not call them back; and pride and shame would not suffer her to confess she had been guilty of uttering a falsity.— From this time forward, she perceived a visible decay in that tenderness and respect with which she had been treated by Dorantes, and began to hate the innocent Clara for a misfortune which she had in­tirely brought upon herself; she behaved to her with great coldness, and, at length, ordered her servants to say she was not at home, whenever she came. The fair widow, on this, discontinued her visits; and, as she knew she had done nothing to deserve the usage she received, thought it beneath her to inquire into the cause.

From what small beginnings do, sometimes, the greatest feuds and discontents arise!—Dorantes, finding that Clara did not come to the house as usual, doubted not but that his wife had either per­sonally affronted her, or spoke of her, to others, in the same manner she had done to him; and, reflect­ing deeply on the injustice of the thing, could not keep himself from entertaining a secret contempt, mixed with indignation, for the author.

Chance contributed to heighten in him this ill humour towards his wife:—he met Clara one day by accident, and, accosting her with his accustomed politeness, asked the reason why his wife had been so long deprived of her agreeable company.—To which she very gravely replied:—That she had made [Page 147] several visits, none of which being returned, she could not flatter herself that her company was any longer acceptable. "Oh, madam, said he, I beg you will not so far wrong your own merits, or our just sense of them, as to harbour such a thought. I am extremely sorry for my wife's remissness; but I suppose she depended on the intimacy between you for an excuse. I hope you will have good-nature enough to forgive it, and convince us, that you do so, by letting us see you soon."—"Sir, answered she, when your lady thinks fit to let me know that she will be at home, I shall wait on her."—She concluded with a curtsey, and turned so hastily away, that he had no opportunity of adding any thing further.

On his return home, he repeated what had passed to his wife; and added, that, as he found there was no pretence for breaking off the acquaintance, he would have her send an invitation to her. Her complexion grew red as scarlet on the first mention of Clara's name; and, when he had given over speaking,—"I do not understand what she means, said she, by giving herself these airs; I never forbad her my house, and, if she thinks fit to stay away, I have no reason to intreat her presence; yet, since I find it will so much oblige you, I shall send to her." —"Oblige me!" cried he in an angry tone.— "Yes! since you interest yourself so far in this affair." This put him beyond all patience. He told her, that she behaved very ill; that she disco­vered [Page 148] a mean disposition; and that, if she persisted in it, she would render herself unworthy either of love or respect.

"I see, cried she, that I have forfeited both with you; but it is not to my disposition, it is to Clara's more prevailing charms, that I am indebted for so great a misfortune.—Ungrateful, inconstant man! Is this the return for all the tender affection I have had for you?"

Men can ill bear reproaches, especially when in­nocent of the cause, as Dorantes really was.—He replied in the most bitter terms, which, she being unable either to endure or retort, half-suffocated her with rage. She flew into the garden, and, throwing herself upon a green bank at the further end, there gave a loose to her tears and com­plainings.

One of the maids, happening to be at a window, saw where she lay, and had the discretion to run hastily down and remind her, that, some rain having lately fallen, the dampness of the earth might en­danger her health. The poor lady was as cold as marble; though the inward agitations she was in, hindered her from feeling any exterior inconvenience. She rose, however, and went into her chamber, but fell into such violent agitations, as obliged her to go to bed, where she continued very ill the whole night.

Dorantes came home very late, and, being told that his wife was indisposed, slept in another cham­ber. [Page 149] On hearing, in the morning, that she was much worse, he sent immediately for a physician, who attended the family.

He found her in a fever, and delirious; all that could be done for her was in vain; her distemper every hour increased, and, in two days, her life was despaired of. On the third, she seemed, to all appear­ance, better; the violence of her fever abated, and her senses were perfectly restored. Alas! the cruel disease had left the outward frame only to prey with greater force upon the nobler parts.—Death had now seized her, she was sensible of it, and asked if Dorantes was at home. Being told he had lately left her chamber, she desired he would come in again; which he presently did.

He had no sooner seated himself on her bedside, than she made a sign to those who were in the room to withdraw; and then, taking hold of his hand, said to him:—"My dear Dorantes, I feel I am no longer for this world, but cannot leave it without confessing, that I have been guilty of the greatest injustice to Clara. Yet was it not malice that made me so: I endeavoured to make her odious in your eyes, only because I feared she had appeared too amiable. It was a fault indeed, but it was the fault of love;—as such, forgive it."—"It was a weak­ness, answered he, which I was sorry to observe in you; for, upon my honour, I never had a thought of Clara, or any other woman, to the prejudice of that affection I have vowed to you."—"How kind [Page 150] is this assurance! cried she, it gives me pleasure, even in death."—"Talk not of death! interrupted he, tenderly embracing her; live, oh live, and be as happy as a husband's love can make you!"— "It is too late," said she;—and, that instant, fall­ing into strong convulsions, sunk under them.

DIALOGUE XVI.

MR. EGERTON.

IN the commerce of life, there is a mutual con­fidence requisite, my children, between man and man. To be too credulous is a weakness, but to be too suspicious is fordid and contemptible. If we have proved a person's fidelity in a single instance, it would be mean and unjust ever to suspect him, unless he obliges us to it; but if after a long intercourse no cause of distrust arises, but many of punctuality and sincerity, to doubt is then to deserve treachery. When the Emperor Trajan was told that his most dear friend Surra had formed a conspiracy against his life, he went the same evening, uninvited, at­tended only by two friends, and supped with him; was shaved by his barber, and consulted his physi­cian. [Page 151] When he returned, he was again cautioned. Trajan smiled, and told them they did not know the man;—he did:—to prove that he did, he had actually put himself in Surra's power, and returned, as he knew he should, safe and unhurt. Thus, instead of meanly suspecting the man whose love and friend­ship he had had so many proofs of, he shortly after made him Tribune; and when, according to custom, he delivered the naked sword, he said, "I give you this, my friend, to defend me, if I rule well; if not, to dispatch me."

But it is not every person in whom you must place such absolute confidence: few only are worthy of the sacred name of Friend, and those few cannot be respected too highly, cannot be cherished too inti­mately. Once well assured of a friendship like this, no doubt should be made of its capability to do or suffer all things. That friend, who makes a diffi­culty even of death itself in the cause of honourable friendship, is unworthy the name.

Eudamidas, Aretaeus, and Charixenus, were friends; the two latter were rich, the former ex­ceedingly poor. Eudamidas died, and left the fol­lowing will: "To Aretaeus I bequeath my mother, to be kept and fostered in her old age. My daughter to Charixenus, to be married, with a dowry as great as he can afford. But if, in the mean time, death should happen to either of these men, my will is, that the survivor shall perform what the other should have done, had he lived." The poverty of the tes­tator [Page 152] was known, the duties of friendship were but little understood, and those who heard the will of Eudamidas departed, laughing at the legacies which Aretaeus and Charixenus were to receive. But those to whom the bequests were made, had different sensations; they came, acknowledged, and ratified the will. Charixenus died within five days, and Aretaeus, who had taken the mother of Eudamidas, immediately sent for the daughter likewise, educated her, bestowed her in marriage, and of the five ta­lents which his estate amounted to, gave two to her, and two to his own daughter, and had their nuptials both celebrated in one day.

Such are the duties and privileges of friendship, such are the obligations you enter into, when you say to any one, I AM YOUR FRIEND.—If, therefore, you should ever rashly make such a profession, and find yourselves unequal to the character, instantly recede; it is more honourable than to deceive: go and say to whoever your pretensions may have im­posed upon, "I release you from your obligations, and must intreat the same of you: I feel my weak­ness, and am sorry to find myself unworthy to be a friend."

EUSTACE.

I think, Sir, I could rather suffer death than be­tray my friend.

MR. EGERTON.
[Page 153]

I should have a very indifferent opinion of you, Eustace, if at your age you did not think so: however, you know I think very highly of you. We have declared a friendship for each other, and I can give you no greater proof of my esteem. As we are both under an obligation of openness and sincerity, of having no reserved pleasures, no par­tialities of which the other is ignorant, I am not afraid that you will form any improper friendships, because I am certain you would first consult me, as I always consult you, when there is any thing on my mind in which either of us is interested.

EUSTACE.

I am sensible, Sir, of the honour you do me, and have often felt the benefit of so near and dear a friend. I should, indeed, be unworthy, if I concealed the least thought from you.

MR. EGERTON.

I am satisfied, my Eustace, of your sincerity, and the generous confidence you repose in me. I shall now be obliged to you, if you will read this Arabian anecdote.—It is the picture, children, of men worthy to be friends.

[Page 154]

FRIENDSHIP: An ARABIAN ANECDOTE.

ALI-IBN-ABBAS, favourite of the Caliph Mamoun*, and lieutenant of the police in the reign of this prince, relates, in these terms, a story that happened to himself. "I was one evening with the caliph, when a man, bound hand and foot, was brought in. Mamoun ordered me to keep a watch­ful eye over the prisoner, and to bring him the next day. The caliph seemed greatly irritated; and the [Page 155] fear of exposing myself to his resentment induced me to confine the prisoner in my haram, as the most secure place in my house.

"I asked him what country he was of. He said, Damascus; and that his habitation was in the quar­ter of the great mosque. May heaven, cried I, shower down the choicest of its blessings upon the city of Damascus, and particularly upon the quar­ter where you resided! He was solicitous to know the motive that so much interested me for that dis­trict. It is, said I, that I owe my life to a man that lived there.

"Those words excited his curiosity, and he con­jured me to gratify it. It is many years since, con­tinued I, that the caliph, dissatisfied with the vice­roy of Damascus, deposed him. I accompanied the person whom the prince had appointed his successor; and at the instant we were taking possession of the governor's palace, a quarrel broke out between the new and the old governor; the latter had posted soldiers, who assaulted us: I escaped out of a win­dow, and, finding myself pursued by other assassins, took shelter in your quarter. I observed a palace open, and seeing the master at the door, supplicated him to save my life. He immediately conducted me into the apartment of his women, where I conti­nued a month in peace and plenty.

"My host came one day to inform me, that a caravan was setting out for Bagdad; and that, if I wished to return to my own home, I could not avail [Page 156] myself of a more favourable opportunity. Shame held my tongue; and I had not courage to confess my poverty; I had no money, and, for want of that, should be forced to follow the caravan on foot. But how great was my surprize, when, on the day of de­parture, a very fine horse was brought me, also a mule loaded with all sorts of provisions, and a black slave to attend me on the road! My generous host present­ed me at the same time with a purse of gold, and con­ducted me himself to the caravan, where he recom­mended me to several of the travellers, who were his friends. These are the kindnesses I received in your city, and that render it so dear to me: all my concern is, that I have not hitherto been able to discover my generous benefactor. I should die con­tent, could I find an opportunity of testifying my gratitude.

"Your wishes are accomplished, cried my pri­soner in a transport, I am he that received you in my palace. Do you not remember me? The time that had elapsed since that event, and the grief into which he was sunk, had greatly altered his face: but, on a more close examination of his fea­tures, I easily recollected him; and some circum­stances he brought to my mind, left me not the least room to doubt but that the prisoner, who was then in danger of losing his life, was the very person who had so generously saved mine. I embraced him with tears in my eyes, took off his chains, and asked him by what fatality he had incurred the caliph's displea­sure. [Page 157] Some contemptible enemies, he replied, have found means to asperse me unjustly to Mamoun: I was hurried away from Damascus, and cruelly de­nied even the consolation of embracing my wife and children: I know not what fate attends me; but as I have reason to apprehend my death is determined, I request you to acquaint them with my misfortunes.

"No, said I to him, you shall not die; I dare give you this assurance; you shall be restored to your family; be at liberty from this moment. I presently provided some pieces of the richest gold stuffs of Bagdad, and begged him to present them to his wife: depart immediately, added I, present­ing him with a purse of a thousand sequins; haste to rejoin those precious pledges of your affection which you left at Damascus; let the caliph's in­dignation fall on me; I dread it not, if I am happy enough to preserve you.

"What a proposal do you make me! answered my prisoner; and can you think me capable of ac­cepting it? What! shall I, to avoid death, sacrifice that same life now, which I formerly saved? Endea­vour to convince the caliph of my innocence: this is the only proof I will admit of your gratitude: if you cannot undeceive him, I will go myself and offer him my head: let him dispose of my life at his plea­sure, provided your's be safe. I again entreated him to escape, but he continued inflexible.

"I did not fail to present myself the next morn­ing before Mamoun. The prince was dressed in a [Page 158] crimson coloured mantle, the symbol of his anger. As soon as he saw me, he enquired where my pri­soner was? and at the same instant ordered the executioner to attend. My lord, says I, throwing myself at his feet, something very extraordinary has happened with regard to the person you yesterday committed to my custody. Will your majesty per­mit me to explain it? These words threw him into a passion. I swear, cried he, by the soul of my an­cestors, that thy head shall pay for the prisoner, if thou hast suffered him to escape. Both my life and his are at your majesty's disposal: vouchsafe to hear me. Speak, said he. I then related to the prince, in what manner that man had saved my life at Da­mascus; that, desirous to discharge the obligation I lay under to him, I had offered him his liberty; but that he had refused it, from the fear of exposing me to death. My lord, added I, he is not guilty; a man of such generous sentiments cannot be so. Some base detractors have calumniated him to you; and he is become the unfortunate victim of their ha­tred and envy. The caliph appeared affected, and having naturally a greatness of soul, could not help admiring the conduct of my friend. I pardon him, said Mamoun, on thy account: go, carry him this good news, and bring him to me. I threw myself at the prince's feet, kissed them, and made my ac­knowledgments in the strongest terms my gratitude could suggest: I then conducted my prisoner into the caliph's presence. The monarch ordered him to be [Page 159] clothed with a robe of honour, presented him with ten horses, ten mules, and ten camels, out of his own stables; to all which favours he added a purse of ten thousand sequins for the expences of his journey, and gave him a letter of recommendation to the go­vernor of Damascus."

*
Mamoun, son of the Caliph Aroun-Alrachid. His name is famous all over the East; and he is reckoned the greatest prince of the Abbaffidies family. He reigned twenty-eight years and eight months. He was a great warrior, of a sweet disposition, and liberal to excess; but what most immortalized him, was his love of learn­ing. He was himself deeply versed in every science, but more espe­cially in philosophy and astronomy. This is the prince that caused the most valuable books to be translated from the Greeks, their first masters.—The Mahometan doctors have reproached him with in­troducing philosophy, and the other speculative sciences, into Ma­hometanism; for the Arabians of his days were not accustomed to read any other books but what related to their own religion. This prince shewed equal favour to every man of knowledge, let his reli­gion be what it would.—The question about the creation, or eter­nity, of the Alcoran, was started in his time, and occasioned much effusion of blood. He, with the smallest number of doctors, held it to be created. But the other doctors insisted, that the Alcoran being the word proceeding from God, was eternal like himself: this sentiment is embraced by the present Mahometans, who consider all that deny that doctrine as infidels.
MRS. EGERTON.

To shew you, that I entirely approve and admire the sentiments of your father on the duties of Friend­ship, and the liberal principles by which it is ac­tuated, I will read you the little history of two French peasants. I hope when you have heard it, you will admire and imitate the disinterested, gene­rous Colin, while you avoid and pity the conduct of the simple, misled Jeanot.

FRIENDSHIP AND FORGIVENESS: Or JEANOT and COLIN.

MANY persons worthy of credit have seen Jeanot and Colin at school, at the town of Issoir, in Auvergne, a place celebrated through the whole world for its college and its kettles. Jeanot was the son of a horse-dealer of high renown, and Colin derived his birth from an able husbandman, who cultivated a neighbouring farm, and who, after he had paid the taxes, was not superabundantly rich at the year's end.

[Page 160]Jeanot and Colin were comely lads for Au­vergnese, and had a great friendship for each other; they had their little schemes and their tête-à-têtes, upon which they reflected with pleasure, even when in other company.

The time of their being at school was nearly ex­pired, when a taylor brought Jeanot a suit of figured velvet, with a letter directed to Monsieur de la Jeanotiere. Colin admired the cloaths without envy, but Jeanot assumed an air of superiority, which grieved him to the heart. From this moment Jea­not threw aside his book, was continually gazing in the looking-glass, and seemed to despise the world.

Some time after a valet came post with another letter directed to Monsieur le Marquis de la Jano­tiere, which contained an order from Monsieur his father for his coming to Paris. Jeanot, as he got into the chaise, took Colin by the hand, and gave him a smile of protection with the air of a great man. Colin, touched with a sense of his own in­feriority, melted into tears; and Jeanot drove away in all the glory of his new dignity.

Those readers who love to comprehend every thing as they go on, should be informed, that Jea­not, the father, had suddenly acquired an immense fortune. If it should be asked how immense for­tunes are acquired, the answer is ready, by being fortunate. Monsieur Jeanot was a likely fellow, and madame was by no means without her charms. It happened that, whilst she was still in her bloom, [Page 161] they were brought to Paris by a law-suit, which to­tally ruined them; but Fortune, who delights in the capricious abasement and exaltation of mankind, just then threw them in the way of a commissary, who had contracted to furnish the military hospi­tals during the war. This commissary was a man of talents, and could boast of having killed more soldiers in one year, than gun-powder had killed in ten. The wife of this extraordinary person was smitten with Jeanot, whilst he himself was smitten with Jeanot's wife. Jeanot soon came in for a share of the contract. When once a man gets into the middle of the stream, the tide will carry him along; thus Commissaries and Contractors get im­mense wealth without trouble. Such was the good fortune of Jeanot the father, who became imme­diately Monsieur de la Janotiere; and soon after having bought a marquisate, which at once enno­bled him and his children, he sent for the marquis his son from school, that he might place him among the beau-monde of Paris.

Colin, who remembered his old school-fellow with a tender sensibility, wrote him a few lines of congratulation: the new Marquis sent no answer, and Colin fell sick with grief.

In the mean time the father and mother procured a tutor for their son; this tutor was a man of a genteel appearance, but who knew little, and con­sequently could teach little. The father was desi­rous the son should learn Latin; the mother op­posed [Page 162] it. After much debate, it was agreed that the question should be referred to a certain cele­brated author. "Sir," said the master of the house, "as you are a Latin scholar, and a man of the world"—"I a Latin scholar!" says the bel esprit, "I don't know a word of the language; and so much the better for me; those people certainly speak their own language best, whose attention is not divided among several. Consider only the la­dies, how much more pleasing is their wit than ours! their letters are written with infinitely more elegance; and this superiority is entirely owing to their not having learned Latin."

"Very well," says madame, "am I not then in the right? I would have my son a man of wit; I would have him make a figure in the world, and you see plainly that if he learn Latin he will be undone. Are operas and plays, I'd fain know, per­formed in Latin? Do the lawyers speak Latin at the bar? or do young gentlemen make love in Latin?"

Monsieur de la Janotiere being wholly unable to resist this amazing force of argument, immediately passed sentence, and it was concluded that the young Marquis should not lose his time in getting ac­quainted with Cicero, Horace, and Virgil.

But then what shall he learn? for, certainly, he must learn something. May he not be taught a little geography?—"Of what service will that be," says the tutor? "When the Marquis shall think [Page 163] proper to visit his estates, do you think the postilions will not know the road? take my word for it, they are in no danger of losing their way. A man of fashion can travel very well without a quadrant, and go with great conveniency from Paris to Au­vergne, without knowing what latitude he is in."

"You are certainly right," says the father; "but I have heard something of a fine science, which, I think, they call Astronomy."—"'Tis pity," says the tutor, "you ever heard of it all; what occasion is there for people in this world to regulate their motions by the stars? Is it fit that a young Mar­quis should be fatigued to death by the calculation of an eclipse, when he may find the time exactly by consulting an almanack; which will also ac­quaint him with all the moveable feasts, the age of the moon, and the age of every sovereign prince in Europe."

Madame entirely agreed; the Marquis her son was overjoyed, and the father was in suspence. "What then, says he, must my son learn?" "To be amiable," replied the friend they had consulted, "if he knows the art of pleasing, he knows all that is worth knowing; and this art he cannot fail of learning under his mother's eye, though neither she nor you should give yourselves the least trouble about it."

Madame was delighted with this compliment, and embraced the dunce who had paid it. "Ah! Sir, said she, it is easy to discover that you are wiser than [Page 164] the world; my son will be wholly indebted to you for his education. But, perhaps, after all, it would not be amiss for him to know a little of History."— Alas, madam, replied the oracle, what good can that do him? Certainly, no history is either useful or pleasing but that of the day. All ancient history, as a certain author has justly observed, is nothing more than fable artfully put together; and as for modern history, it is a chaos impossible to be re­duced to order. Of what importance is it to your son, that Charlemagne instituted the twelve peers of France? And that his son had an impediment in his speech? And never was observation more just, than that the young mind is too often buried under a load of useless learning, by which its native powers are first restrained, and then destroyed; but of all that is absurd among what are called the sciences, the most absurd is Geometry. The objects of Geometry are surfaces, lines, and points, which have no existence in nature; and a hundred curve lines are fancied Between a circle and a strait line that touches it, though in reality there is not room for a straw. In short, Geometry is no better than a dull joke.

Though Monsieur and Madame scarce understood one word of this ingenious argument against Geo­metry, it made a great impression, and they declared themselves entirely of the tutor's mind.

A noble Lord, continued the Tutor, like Mon­sieur le Marquis, ought not to puzzle his brain with vain speculation. Should he have occasion for the [Page 165] most sublime part of this science, to lay down a plan of his estates, he may have them surveyed for a little money; would he trace his nobility back to the re­motest ages, he may, without difficulty, find a Be­nedictine monk that will do it. The same may be said of all the arts. A young Lord of illustrious birth is neither a painter, a musician, an architect, nor a statuary; but he makes all these arts flourish by his munificence; and it is certainly better to pa­tronize than practise them. It is enough for the Marquis to have taste; it is the duty of artists to exert their skill for his pleasure and advantage; it has been well said that persons of quality, I mean those who are very rich, know all things without learning any; their taste enables them to judge of every thing for which they can pay.

You have observed, madam, says he, that the great purpose of life is to please; but will any man pretend that this purpose can be answered by the sciences? Who is there that would think of men­tioning Geometry in good company? Would any body ask a gentleman what star rose in a morning with the sun?—Certainly not, replied the Mar­chioness, whose charms had introduced her to the beau monde; and it is by no means fit that my son should cramp his genius by the study of all this trumpery. But what is it that we shall teach him? For certainly, as his father has observed, a young gentleman ought to be qualified to shine upon occa­sion. I remember to have heard an Abbé say, that [Page 166] there was one science extremely agreeable and genteel; I cannot recollect the name of it, but it began with a B. With a B, madam? says the ge­nius, it could not be Botany!—No, replied the lady, it was not botany, yet it ended something like that too. O! I know what it was, says he, it was Blasonry; but I assure you it is by no means the mode. At present, the study of heraldry would be infinite, for there is not a barber that has not his coat of arms; and when a thing becomes common, you know people of fashion should always disregard it.—Upon the whole, this sagacious and illustrious society having fairly discussed all the sciences, it was determined that Monsieur le Marquis de la Janotiere should learn to dance.

Nature, however, which indeed does every thing, had given this flower of nobility a talent which very soon displayed itself with astonishing success. This happy talent was that of singing a good song, the graces of youth, joined to so superior an endowment, drew attention, and he was a favourite among the ladies. Having his head full of songs, he formed new ones out of old, and was continually repeating them; but as his verses had commonly a foot too little, or too much, he was at the expence of having them cor­rected; and he at last got into the literary annals of the time.

The Marchioness considering herself as the pa­troness of wit, gave suppers to the wits of the town; the young man's head was turned; he acquired the [Page 167] art of speaking without knowing what he would say, and by habit became perfect in being fit for nothing.

When his father found him thus amazingly elo­quent, he very much regretted that he had not taught him Latin, as he then might have purchased for him a considerable department in the law. His mother, who looked still higher, undertook to get him a regiment, and in the mean time the young gentle­man himself thought fit to make love.

Love sometimes costs more than a regiment; his expences were very great; and his parents run out their fortune by living like people of the first qua­lity.

But as the state of their finances was known only to themselves, a young widow of great rank, but small fortune, supposing them to be very opulent, resolved to secure their riches, by making the young Marquis her husband.

She accordingly threw out a lure, and brought him to her house; she convinced him that he was by no means indifferent to her; led him on by de­grees; and at length so fascinated him by her wiles and her charms, that the conquest was compleat. At the same time she gave him so many commenda­tions, and so much good advice, that the father and mother considered her as the best friend they had in the world.

An old lady in the neighbourhood proposed the marriage on the part of the widow▪ and the father [Page 168] and mother, dazzled with the splendor of such an alliance, accepted the proposition with joy.

He was kneeling one morning at the feet of the dear angel, when a servant of the Marchioness his mother arrived in great haste, and with looks as wild as if he had seen an apparition: I am come, says he, with news very different from what you think of; the Sheriff's officers are in possession of my Lord's house, they have seized his goods, talk of securing his person, and, as I have not a moment to lose, I am going to secure my wages.

Don't be in such a hurry, says the Marquis, let us see a little into this affair.—Do, says the widow, run this instant, and punish the wretches for their insolence.

He hasted, and found that his father was already carried to prison, and the servants were gone off, each having carried away what he could lay his hands upon. He saw his mother totally deserted, without succour and without comfort, drowned in tears, with nothing left but the remembrance of her fortune, her beauty, her follies, and her faults.

After her son had wept with her till the tumult of his mind a little subsided, and he was able to speak, he endeavoured to alleviate her distress by a reflection that had soothed his own. Do not let us despair, says he, the widow whom I was about to marry, is yet more generous than rich; I will answer for all that is in her power; I'll fly to her this moment, and bring her hither.

[Page 169]He flew to his mistress, and sound her tete-a-tete with a handsome young officer.—What is it you, Monsieur de la Janotiere?—says she—what in the name of wonder have you to do here? How could you think of leaving your poor mother? Go back to her, for heaven's sake, and tell her how sorry I am for her misfortune. I always wished her well; and as my woman is going away, I shall not think of another till I have given her the refusal or the place.—My good lad, said the officer, you seem to be well made; if you will enter Into my corps, I will enlist you upon good terms.

The Marquis, struck speechless with rage and in­dignation, burst away without reply, to his old tutor, to pour his sorrows into his bosom, and derive com­fort from his advice. The tutor proposed that he should undertake the education of children. Alas, says the Marquis, I know nothing — you have taught me nothing—and that has been the source of all my misfortunes.—Write novels, says another; it is an excellent expedient to get money.

Sunk deeper in despair than ever, his last resource was to a monk who had been his mother's confessor. The Monk ran to him in a rapture of surprize and joy; Monsieur le Marquis! what do you do here on foot? where is your coach? The unhappy youth replied by giving him an account of the ruin of his family. The Monk became grave, indifferent, and important: my son, said he, we may now see plainly what heaven intended for you; riches serve only to [Page 170] corrupt the heart: heaven has therefore reduced you to beggary; my son, adieu! a lady of fashion is now waiting for me at court.

The poor Marquis, as he stood ruminating in the street, stupified with misfortune, saw a kind of cover­ed carriage coming rumbling along, followed by wag­gons heavily laden. In this vehicle sat a young man, coarsely clad, with a fresh coloured girl by his side. Bless my soul, says he, surely this is Jeanot! The Marquis started, looked up, and the driver instantly stopped. Yes, by my faith, said he, it is even Jeanot himself; and instantly caught him in his arms. Jeanot was covered with confusion and tears. You have forsaken me, says Colin, but I am determined to love you for all that. Jeanot told him a part of his history. Come home with me, said Colin, you shall tell the rest at your leisure; salute my little wife; this is she; let us make haste to dinner.

Pray, says Jeanot, what is all this baggage; does it belong to you? Yes, says Colin, to me and my wife, we are just come out of the country; I am at the head of a great manufactory; I married the daughter of a man who had acquired very consider­able substance; we work hard, providence has blessed our endeavours, we continue to get forward in the world, are happy in ourselves, and have it in our power to assist our friend Jeanot. Be a Marquis no longer; all the great folks in the world are not worth one true friend: you shall live with me in the country, you shall learn my trade, and be my part­ner, [Page 117] and we will live chearfully in the obscure but happy retreat where we were born.

Jeanot heard this proposal with sensations not to be described; his heart was divided between grief and joy, tenderness and shame; and, turning to Colin, he said, in a low voice, "when all my gay friends have deserted me, Colin, whom I injuriously neglected, has afforded me that comfort which I did not deserve."

What a lecture is this for those who are entering into life? The virtue of Colin, called out that virtue which lay hidden in the breast of Jeanot, and which all his habits of folly and dissipation had not destroyed. He felt a secret repugnance to desert his father and mother. We will take care of them, says Colin. Jeanot at length married Colin's sister, who made him happy; and Jeanot the father, and Jeanot the mother, and Jeanot the son, were made sensible that happiness is not to be found in vanity.

DIALOGUE XVII.

MR. EGERTON.

A CERTAIN honest peasant was possessed of a fine watchful house-dog; a friend to his ser­vants, no enemy to his guests, and the terror of thieves. His fidelity was so well known in the neigh­bourhood, [Page 172] that, after a few successless attempts, not a single rogue had, for many years, dared to come within the sphere of this excellent centinel.

One evening, as the good man and his wife sat round the fire, talking of their oeconomy, "I have been thinking, wife, says the farmer, that this great dog of our's is an useless expence to us: he takes a deal of keeping, his collars and chains cost money, we shall soon be obliged to build him a new kennel, our brooms are worn out in keeping him clean, beside many a truss of straw that serves for his bed; and all this in a place where, for many years past, we have neither heard of murder nor theft." "I have long thought of the same thing, replied the wife; our girls have other business than to wait on an idle creature; besides, here is my little favourite can bark as loud as the largest mastiff."

Sentence was quickly passed, and the faithful cen­tinel was put to death; but he was scarce covered with earth, before a band of thieves were gathered to consult on the best means to execute their design. Night came on; they broke into the house, and while the pampered favourite slept upon his cushion, rob­bed the farmer of all his money and furniture.

I have no doubt, my children, you all understand the moral of this fable, and that you think the peasant and his wife deserved their punishment. Ingratitude is a vice which, like lying, every body is ashamed of, and yet almost every body practises. The fact is, people deceive themselves in summing up the [Page 173] account of reciprocal obligation; they omit so many particulars which they ought punctually to remem­ber, and insert so many which it becomes them to forget, that the ballance is but too generally er­roneous. It is our duty to be equally exact in debts of gratitude as in those of trade; nay more so, for an omission of pecuniary commerce may some­times be honourably accommodated, but the sin of ingratitude can never be expiated.

Philip of Macedon sent one of his courtiers on a voyage to transact an affair of some consequence, but a storm coming on, the courtier was ship­wrecked, and must indubitably have perished, had it not been for the hospitality of a peasant who lived on the sea-shore, and who ventured his own life in a small boat, to preserve that of a distressed stranger. By this peasant the courtier was taken up, brought to his own house, recovered, and treated with the utmost humanity; and after staying with him a month, kindly dismissed and furnished with money to bear his expences. At his return, the King was made acquainted with the peril he had been in, and the distress he had undergone, but not with the benefits he had received. Philip, moved with the story, told him he would remember his fidelity, and the dangers he had suffered for his sake. The courtier taking advantage of the King's promise, told him he had observed a beautiful little farm on the sea-coast, that exactly suited his taste, on the very spot where he had been wrecked, and besought him to bestow it on him [Page 174] as a monument of his escape, and his Majesty's bounty. Accordingly Philip wrote to Pausanias, the governor of the province, to put him in possession of the desired farm. The poor peasant, who had so generously saved the life of this wretch, being rob­bed of his right, and stung with the ingratitude of of the act, immediately made a journey to the court of Philip, applied himself to the King, and related his story. Philip amazed and enraged at the ingra­titude of his villainous courtier, had him seized in­stantly, and marked him in the forehead with these words, The UNGRATEFUL GUEST, and restored the farm to its proper owner.

MISS FORRESTER.

This courtier was a very wicked man, Sir.

MR. EGERTON.

Very true, my dear Miss Forrester, but ingrati­tude is always wickedness.

MR. FORRESTER.

If I had been King Philip, I would have taken off his head, he should never have been ship-wrecked again.

MRS. EGERTON.

In my opinion, Sir, his punishment was far more severe as it was. But come, let us listen to the story of the Dervise and Abdallah.

[Page 175]

INGRATITUDE, Or the CANDLESTICK.

A Dervise, venerable by his age, fell ill in the house of a woman who had been long a widow, and lived in extreme poverty in the suburbs of Balsora. He was so touched with the assiduity and zeal with which she had assisted him, that at his departure he said, "I have remarked that you have wherewith to subsist alone, but that you have not sufficient to share with your only son, the young Abdallah. If you will trust him to me, I will endeavour to ac­knowledge, in his person, the obligations I am under for your great care of me." The widow received his proposal with joy; and the Dervise departed with the young man, informing her, that they should perform a journey which would last near two years. They travelled; the Dervise kept him in affluence, gave him excellent instructions, cured him of a dan­gerous disease with which he had been attacked; in fine, he took the same care of him, as if he had been his own son. Abdallah, a hundred times testified his gratitude for all his bounties; but the old man always answered, "my son, it is by actions that gratitude is proved; we shall see in proper time and place, whether you are as grateful as you profess to be."

One day, in a solitary place, the Dervise said to Abdallah, "My son, we are now at the end of our [Page 176] journey; I shall employ my prayers to obtain from heaven, that the earth may open and make an en­trance wide enough to permit thee to descend into a place, where thou wilt find one of the greatest treasures that the earth incloses in her bowels. Hast thou courage to descend into this subterraneous cave?" Abdallah declared he might depend upon his obedience and zeal. The Dervise then lighted a small fire, into which he cast a persume; then read and prayed for some moments, when the earth opened:—"Thou mayest now enter, my dear Ab­dallah. Remember, said the Dervise, that it is in thy power to do me a great service, and that this is, perhaps, the only opportunity thou canst ever have of testifying thy gratitude. Be not dazzled by the riches thou wilt find there; but think only of seizing upon an iron candlestick with twelve branches, which thou wilt find close to a door, and which is absolutely necessary to me; bring it up to me im­mediately." Abdallah promised, and descended boldly into the cave. But forgetting what had been expressly recommended to him, whilst he was filling his vest and his bosom with gold and jewels, the open­ing by which he entered, closed. He had, how­ever, presence of mind enough to seize upon the iron candlestick, and though his situation was very terrible, he did not abandon himself to despair, but reflected in what manner he should get out of a place which might become his grave. Apprehending that the cave had closed because he had not followed the [Page 177] order of the Dervise, he recalled to memory the care and goodness he had been loaded with, re­proached himself with his ingratitude, and finished his meditation by humbling himself in prayer. At length, after much inquietude and pain, he was for­tunate enough to find a narrow passage which di­rected him out; though it was not till he had per­severed for a considerable way, that he perceived a small opening covered with briars and thorns, through which he returned to the light of the sun. He looked on all sides to discover the Dervise, but in vain. He wished to deliver him the iron candlestick, and formed a design of quitting him, being rich enough with what he had taken out of the cavern, to live in affluence without his assistance.

Not perceiving the Dervise, nor remembering any of the places through which he had passed, he went on as fortune seemed to direct, and was soon extremely astonished to find himself opposite to his mother's house, from which he imagined he was at a great distance. She immediately enquired after the holy Dervise. Abdallah told her frankly what had hap­pened to him, and the danger he had ran to satisfy his ambitious desires, He afterwards produced to her the riches with which he was loaded. His mother concluded, upon the sight of them, that the Dervise designed only to make trial of his courage and obedience; and that they had a right to the happiness which fortune had poured upon them. Doubtless, added she, such was the intention of the [Page 178] holy Dervise. Whilst, with avidity, they con­templated upon these treasures, whilst dazzled with their lustre, and forming a thousand projects, they va­nished from before their eyes. Then it was that Abdallah most sincerely reproached himself with in­gratitude and disobedience; and, observing that the iron candlestick had resisted the enchantment, or rather that the punishment is just which those deserve who do not execute what they promise, he said, prostrating himself,—"What I deserve has happened to me; I have lost what I had designed to keep, and the candlestick which I intended to deliver up, re­mains with me: it is a proof, that this rightly be­longs to him, and that the rest was unjustly acquired." He finished with these words, and placed the candle­stick in the midst of their little house.

When night came on, without reflecting upon it, he placed a light in this candlestick. Immediately they saw a Dervise, who turned round for an hour, and disappeared, after having thrown them an asper*. This candlestick had twelve branches: Abdallah, who had been now meditating all day upon what he had seen in the night, was willing to know what would happen the next night, if he should put a light into each branch; he did so, and twelve dervises appeared at the instant. These turned round also for an hour, and each of them threw an asper, as they disappeared. He repeated every night the same ceremony; which had always [Page 179] the same success; but he never could make it suc­ceed more than once in twenty-four hours. So trifling a sum was enough for subsistence: there was a time when they would not have desired more to be made happy; but it was not considerable enough to change their fortune.—It is dangerous for the ima­gination to be fixed upon the idea of riches. The sight of what he flattered himself he should possess, and the projects he had formed, had left such pro­found traces in his mind, as nothing could efface. Reflecting on the small advantage he drew from the candlestick, he resolved to carry it back to the Der­vise, in hopes that he might obtain of him the trea­sure he had seen, or at least recover the riches which had vanished, by restoring to him what he had testi­fied so earnest a desire for. Remembering his name, and that of the city where he inhabited, he departed immediately for Magrebi, carrying with him the candlestick; taking care to light it every night, as by that means he was furnished with necessaries on the road, without being obliged to implore the com­passion of the faithful. When he arrived at Magrebi, his first care was to enquire at what house, or in what convent Abounadar lodged. Every body was able to tell him his habitation. He repaired thither directly, and found fifty porters at his gate, each with a golden-headed staff in his hands. The court of his palace was filled with domestics and slaves; in fine, no residence of a Prince could expose to view greater magnificence. Abdallah, struck with [Page 180] astonishment and admiration, feared to proceed. Certainly, thought he, I either explained myself wrong, or those to whom I addressed myself de­signed to make a jest of me, because I am a stranger. This the habitation of a Dervise! It is that of a King! In this embarrassment a person approached him, and said, Abdallah, thou art welcome; my master, Abounadar, has long expected thee. He was then conducted to a magnificent pavilion, where the Dervise was seated. Abdallah, struck with the splendor which he beheld on all sides, would have prostrated himself at his feet, but Abounadar pre­vented him; and, when he would have made a merit of restoring the candlestick, "Thou art ungrateful, said he; dost thou imagine that I am to be imposed on? I am not ignorant of thy thoughts. Hadst thou known the value of this candlestick, never wouldst thou have brought it to me! I shall make thee sensible of its true use." Immediately he placed a light in each of its branches; and when the twelve dervises had turned round for some time, gave each of them a touch with a cane, and in a moment they were converted into twelve heaps of sequins*, dia­monds, and other precious stones. "This, said he, is the proper use to be made of this marvellous candlestick. As to me, I never desired it, but as a curiosity in my cabinet; as a talisman composed by a Sage whom I revere; and I am pleased to expose it sometimes to those who come to visit me. To prove [Page 181] to thee that curiosity was the motive of my search for it, here are the keys of my magazines, open them, and judge of my treasures; tell me if the most insatiable miser would not be satisfied with them." Abdallah obeyed him; he examined twelve magazines of great extent, and they produced new desires. The regret of having restored the candle­stick, without finding out the use of it, pierced the heart of Abdallah. Abounadar seemed not to per­ceive it; loaded him with caresses, kept him some days in his house, and commanded that he should be treated as himself. At the eve of the day which he had fixed for his departure, he said to him, "Ab­dallah, my son, I believe, by what has happened to thee, thou art cured of the frightful vice of in­gratitude; however, I owe thee a mark of my af­fection, for having undertaken so long a journey, with a view of bringing me what I desired; thou mayest depart, I shall detain thee no longer. To­morrow, at the gate of my palace, thou shalt find one of my horses to carry thee; I make thee a pre­sent of it, as well as of a slave who shall conduct thee home; and two camels loaded with such gold and jewels, as thou shalt chuse for thyself out of my treasures." Abdallah answered with all that an avaritious heart could express, when its passion was satisfied; and retired to rest till the morning arrived, which was fixed for his departure.

During the night he was still agitated, without being able to think of any thing but the candlestick, [Page 182] and what it had produced. "I had it, said he, long in my power; Abounadar, without me, had never been the possessor of it. What risks did I not run in the subterraneous vault? Why does he now possess this treasure of treasures? Because I had the probity, or rather the folly, to bring it back to him. He profits by my labours, and the danger I have in­curred in so long a journey. And what does he give me in return? Two camels loaded with gold and jewels; in one moment the candlestick will furnish him with ten times as much. It is Abou­nadar who is ungrateful: What injury shall I do him in taking away this candlestick? None certainly; he is rich: and what are my possessions?" Such ideas determined him, at length, to make every possible attempt to seize upon the candlestick. It was not difficult, for Abounadar had trusted him with the keys of his magazines. He knew where the candlestick was placed. He seized upon it, hid it in the bottom of one of the sacks, which he filled with the gold and other treasure he was allowed to take, and secured that, as well as the rest, upon one of his camels. He had no other anxiety now than for his departure; and after having hastily bid adieu to the generous Abounadar, delivered him his keys, and departed with the horse, the slave, and the two camels.

When he was at some distance from Balsora, he sold his slave, resolving not to retain the witness of his former poverty, nor of the source of his present [Page 183] riches. He bought another, and arrived without obstacle at his mother's. His first care was to place the lading of his camels and the candlestick in the most private room of the house; and, in the impa­tience to feed his eyes with such opulence, he placed lights immediately in the candlestick: the twelve dervises appearing, he struck each of them with a cane with all his strength, lest he should be failing in the laws of the talisman: but he had not remarked, that Abounadar, when he struck them, had the cane in his left-hand. Abdallah, by a natural motion, made use of his right hand; and the dervises, instead of becoming heaps of riches, immediately drew each from beneath his robes a formidable club, with which they struck him repeatedly, and leaving him half dead, disappeared with all his treasure, camels, horse, slave, and the candlestick.

Thus was Abdallah punished for unreasonable ambition, which perhaps might have been pardon­able, if it had not been accompanied by an ingra­titude as wicked as it was audacious.

*
A small silver coin.
*
A Turkish gold coin.
FANNY.

Lord, Mamma, what a foolish man that Abdallah was! but it is a very pretty story though.

MRS. EGERTON.

Yes, my dear, and I have another very pretty story for you, as you shall hear. It is of a Turk, who was as remarkable for his generous gratitude, [Page 184] as the persons whose history you have heard were for the contrary.

GRATITUDE: Or the Story of PIETRO CORNARO, and the grateful TURK.

SIGNIOR Pietro Cornaro, an accomplished young gentleman of an ancient family, and of con­siderable fortune in the city of Ferrara in Italy, was induced to travel through the provinces of his cele­brated country, that he might satisfy curiosity, and enrich his mind with such acquirements, as would distinguish him, and his acquisitions, from persons less qualified and less ambitious of true renown. He arrived at Leghorn, and took up lodgings at an inn. Happening to be placed in an apartment that opened to the public street, he would often walk about his room, and by looking frequently upon the street, divert himself agreeably with curious observations on whatever passed before him. It is a custom of this town to give leave to the Turks, who serve them as slaves, to ply as porters, or betake them­selves to any other drudgery, obliging them to pay their masters a certain proportion of what they earn, and permitting them to keep the overplus for their own necessities. Directly opposite to Cornaro's chamber was a bench, on which he often observed a Turkish slave, thoughtful and dejected, leaning pen­sively his head upon his hand, and dropping now and [Page 185] then a silent tear, which he endeavoured secretly to wipe away with his knot of ropes, the wretched badge of his unfortunate employment. The frequent re­petition of this mournful practice struck the com­passionate Italian; who, earnestly desirous to become acquainted with the reason of his sorrow, sent at last a messenger to bring him to his apartment; and proceeded to demand the manner of his being taken, and how long he had continued in a state of slavery. With wringing hands and elevated eyes, which seemed to blame his stars for his unpitied misery, the disconsolate Mahometan began his tale; and watered his complaints with showers of tears. "I am, says he, an honest Mussulman, neither the friend of war or rapine, but become a prey to both. In an unlucky visit made to see an aged father, then in health and peace at Cyprus, now perhaps laid cold and breathless, was I taken by the Christians, made a slave, and reduced to what you now behold."

These sad complaints were followed by a sincere and full account of every accident which had con­curred to reduce him to this slavery. He informed his kind enquirer, that he had sorrowfully spent four tedious years in that condition, and had left three wives, two sons, now men, and nine small children, to deplore his loss; who were wholly destitute of the means whereby to know his present condition. The pitying breast of Signior Pietro, framed for tender and compassionate emotions, melted generously with sympathetic distress, to find the wretched and forlorn [Page 186] situation of this complaining Mussulman; and after asking his name, and other questions, gave him mo­ney, and dismissed him, bidding him hope for succour.

The disconsolate Turk returned to the unwelcome practice of his daily labours. The benevolent Pietro seriously reflecting on this unfortunate man's sorrow, and considering that the will of Providence, or some unsuspected turn of fortune, might one day make the case his own, might teach him, by the bitter proof of sad experience, how to pity others' miseries, resolved to do a noble act of Christian charity; and making interest with the governor, found means to get the Turk released, for the ransom of about one hundred and forty-five ducats. Never could more welcome and surprising news rejoice the gladdened heart of a human sufferer, than that which brought the hap­py Turk the news of his delivery. With rapid transports of ungoverned joy, he fell upon his knees, embraced the feet of his adored redeemer, and with numerous vows of heart-felt gratitude, entreated Signior Pietro to inform him how he might return, twofold, that friendly sum, which had so effectually purchased his liberty. The generous Italian told him he expected no return; yet if his soul was no­ble, and would urge him to be grateful, he asked only the solemn promise, that he would, when ar­rived in Turkey, redeem from slavery some Chris­tian, whom he might think deserving of it, and send him back, to visit once again his native coun­try. The redeemed Turk, supplied with cloaths [Page 187] and all things necessary, embarked on board an English vessel bound for Asia, and returned to his habitation. About three months after the Maho­metan's departure from Leghorn, Signior Pietro, having been the greatest part of that time at Ve­nice, became enamoured of a beautiful young lady, called Maria Margarita Delfino, who had for several years resided in that town, under the care of a sub­stantial merchant, youngest brother to her father, who with her sisters, and the major part of her re­lations, lived at Malta. Nothing could persuade the amorous Italian from a violent expression of his growing passion; he solicited her uncle with inces­sant importunities, and at last engaged him to per­mit him to address her upon this condition, that he should accompany his niece and him to Malta, there to obtain her father's approbation of his person and condition. This was promised, and he continued four months, daily visiting the object of his affection, till he gained entirely her consent to marry him, when she should be authorised by her father's or­ders. They embarked on board a vessel bound for Malta, and belonging to that island, which they were almost arrived in sight of, when a Turkish galley met them, made undistinguished prize of all her cargo, and consigning Signior Pietro, with his mistress and her uncle to slavery, landed them at Smyrna, together with the valuable prize in which they were taken. I forgot to mention, that the three companions in this miserable state had changed [Page 188] their cloaths for coarse and rougher habits, when they saw the danger they were falling into; that, being so disguised, they might expect a ransom at a smaller charge, than otherwise would serve; so that being taken with the common people, they were like them, in chains, conducted to the public market, where slaves are bought and sold as sheep or oxen. Signior Pietro and the young lady's uncle were tied together, and placed, with many more, to wait the purchase of the highest bidder. Opposite to them the poor unhappy lady stood, half dead with fear and anguish, with a numerous crowd of Christian women, young and old, expecting every moment to be bought, and torn away from any hopes of ever seeing her lover and relations. At last a young and graceful Turk came up to the dis­consolate Maria, and bargaining immediately with the proper officer, paid the money; then throw­ing over her a veil he had brought on purpose, took her from the rest, and carried her away with an uncommon satisfaction. Many a complaining look did the despairing lady give her friends, who answered her with all the mournful marks of silent lamentation, and were now (especially the lover) so confounded with their misery, that they stood like statues, looking stedfastly on the ground, tak­ing little notice of the many purchasers, who walked about from place to place to view the per­sons of the wretched captives.

[Page 189]While they stood thus fixed in contemplation on the transitory blessings of this mortal life, there came a Turk from stall to stall, enquiring earnest­ly of every officer what quality and country their slaves were of; and examining particularly the slaves themselves, he at last came to Signior Pietro, who hanging down his head, the Turk stooped forward to look upon his face; a courtesy not often practised by those barbarous people, who, when a slave refuses to hold up his face, will gene­rally take them roughly by the chin, as when a jockey looks into a horse's mouth. The Turk no sooner saw the face, but starting back in great sur­prise, he raised his arms and eyes towards heaven, and transported at the strange discovery, cried out aloud, "I thank thee, holy prophet, thou hast guided well my lucky footsteps." The grieved Italian looking up at this surprising exclamation, saw before his eyes the very man whom, in Leghorn, he had so kindly freed from slavery. No pen can describe the raptures he conceived at this happy meeting; swift embraces followed their surprise, and when the wonder of the Turk gave him leave to speak again, he thus addressed himself to Signior Pietro: "I promised thee, said he, thou best of Christians, that I would certainly redeem from servitude such slave as I should judge should more than any else de­serve that blessing; and now, thanks to Mahomet! in thee have I discovered him." Instantly he or­dered the officer who guarded him to send some [Page 190] person for his ransom, and to conduct him directly to his own house. The overjoyed Italian heard with pleasure the return of his gratitude; but told him, "If he would be doubly kind, he might redeem his friend who suffered with him, and they would find some speedy means to reimburse his charges." The proposition was embraced as soon as offered, and a person being sent to take the money, received immediately the ransom he demanded, and return­ing to market, left the gentlemen to the care of their redeemer. The Turk's two sons, when told of the accident by which their father met the man to whom he owed his liberty, expressed sincere and grateful joy, and bid them welcome with inexpressible civi­lity. After having heard the manner of their being taken, and their sorrowful complaint for the loss of an unhappy virgin, whom they so ardently loved, the eldest of the two sons cried out with earnestness, "Now, by the religion of our holy prophet, and his people, my father's house contains this very virgin!" He proceeded to inform them, that he had bought that morning a young Christian slave, to wait upon his mother and his father's other wives; that she had given the same account as they had done of the particulars of her captivity; that she was then above, among the women, and he would, for satisfaction, fetch her down that very moment. It is easy to imagine the disorder of their bosoms, possessed alternately by hope and fear, till doubt gave way to certainty, and [Page 191] they beheld the person they had so lately lost, con­ducted to their arms by him to whom the laws of Turkey gave her as a lawful purchase.

They staid a week with their landlord, who would not rest till he had ransomed two men servants, and a maid who waited on the lady: these, together with as many of the goods and cloaths as he could purchase from the Turk who took them, he bestow­ed again on their lawful owners, gave them a con­siderable sum of money, and contrived to get them a passage on board a vessel of Mars [...]iller, then bound to Malta. Signior Pietro, the young lady, and her uncle, frequently endeavoured to oblige this ho­nest Turk to take their bills, or find some other method to secure his money, but he persisted in a positive refusal of all their proffers, telling Signior Pietro the debt was paid before it was contracted; and would often lay his hand devoutly on his bosom, and with a zealous sigh repeat this proverb, "The God of Heaven has given us plenty, that we may give Him what need requires." When they ar­rived at Malta, Signior Pietro soon obtained the consent of the young lady's father, and their nup­tials were quickly after celebrated.

DIALOGUE XVIII.

MRS. EGERTON.

YOU remember, my dear Fanny, that you and your sister had a little argument this morning, at breakfast, concerning what children are hap­piest and best, those who are indulged in every thing they desire, or those who are kept in awe, and obliged to obey. Your sister, who is older, and consequently has more knowledge than you, told you, that it would, perhaps, be better for a child to suffer under a tyrannical parent, than be permitted to proceed in irregularities and pettish humours, which children, if they were not taught otherwise, would all do. Now, you shall hear the history of Charlotte and Maria Woodland.

INDULGENCE: Or the TWO SISTERS.

IT is a remark made by almost every one, that it is the unhappiness of human nature never to be satisfied. Philosophers say this propensity is the spring of action, therefore necessary. They add, likewise, that there is not that disproportion in the happiness of rich and poor, wise and foolish, &c. &c. as is generally imagined: nay, many have been [Page 193] bold enough to assert, that content is more fre­quently found with poverty and folly, than with their opposites. It is not our purpose to enquire, by a dry investigation of the subject, into the truth or falsehood of these opinions, but to leave the reader to make what applications he pleases from the following tale; wherein, if we are not mistaken, he will perceive the bad effects of false education built upon false hopes, and the necessity of enuring the youthful mind, even from the cradle, to crosses. —Would not any man laugh to see a petit maitre attempting to carry the side of an ox, like a porter? How then can we expect a weak enervated mind to support those worst of loads, poverty and con­tempt?

Mr. and Mrs. Woodland, the parents of our he­roines, were once servants in the same family, which being a nobleman's, where they continually beheld the utmost luxury, and what is called politeness and good breeding, they soon acquired a sufficient de­gree of contempt for their origin, and their former acquaintance. Having saved some money, they married, quitted their service, and betook them­selves to business. Here Mrs. Woodland, who, of the two, had the most violent ideas of gentility, in­sisted upon going into a genteel business, where they might have customers that understood good man­ners, and would pay a proper respect to people that knew how to bemean themselves; for, said she, I can never condescend to stand behind a counter [Page 194] curtseying and serving out farthing candles and half­penny-worths of tobacco to every dirty wretch that comes in. Accordingly they opened a lace-shop, which being well situated, answered their expecta­tions to the utmost.

Charlotte Woodland was their first child, and the only one they had in eight years after their marriage.—Every expence was run into for the dress and education of this girl. She was pretty, and her parents thought her a cherub. She had a ready tongue, and they were continually repeating her smart sayings and witty answers. She learnt an oath from her father, and vulgarity from her mother, before she was three years old; and her exploits were told and retold to every one that visited her mamma.

As they were mutually resolved that their daughter should not labour under that want of polite educa­tion, which they had frequent occasion to lament in themselves, they sent her at six years old to a boarding-school, where she pickt up French phrases without knowing any thing of the language, and run over the keys of a harpsichord without time, tune, or sentiment. She, however, could draw patterns for her aprons and ruffles, acquired every new stitch with alacrity, and danced with more ease than the generality of her school-fellows; she was vain as well as handsome, and therefore bent all her thoughts upon the means of decorating her person.

[Page 195]Her parents, for the first eight or ten years of her life, had very great success in trade; enough, had they been prudent, to have made what is usually called a pretty fortune. It was a pity that they had conceived so violent a contempt for every thing that was low and vulgar. Mrs. Woodland could not exist without subscribing to the Opera, Pantheon, &c. &c. because every body did so. She hated hor­rid English cottons, and filthy Spital-field tabbies: India chintz and French lustrings were so elegant! She was ready to faint at the idea of Buckingham­shire lace; crown quadrille gave her the vapours; and being black-balled at the Coterie, threw her into hysterics for six weeks.

Mr. Woodland, though at first very attentive to business, soon fell into the mode of keeping his horse and his mistress, and in time became acquainted with the box and dice.

Laboured descriptions are disgusting; the read­er's imagination will easily suggest to him the ef­fects of this mutually foolish conduct. Mr. Wood­land, in the thirteenth year after he began business, became a bankrupt. Every one was amazed: the reputation of the shop, and the appearance he had so long supported, had deceived the world.

Happy for their second daughter, was this afflic­tion. Affected manners, the epithets of adulation, and the proud airs of imagined consequence, had not yet vitiated the tender mind of Maria; who obtained an advantage in the death of her mo­ther. [Page 196] Parents with bad habits and ill regulated pas­sions, are a misfortune rather than a blessing to those who, by observing, learn to imitate them. Maria was peculiarly fortunate. A widow lady with a small income, and without children or relations, whom chance had made acquainted with the fa­mily, observed the natural sweetness of Maria's temper, and the acuteness of her understanding, and took a fancy to her. This lady was the reverse of Mrs. Woodland; elegance and affability had ba­nished pride and affectation. She had studied in the schools of adversity, and had learnt the heavenly lessons of humility and humanity.—Reader—if ever thou shouldst have children, God send them such an instructor.

Be not anxious to hear trifling incidents. Be­hold Maria in the nineteenth year of her age, with manners that might charm wisdom herself, beauty sufficient to astonish a Reynolds, and married to a husband such as thou wouldst wish, hadst thou an angel for thy child. Surely when a pair like this are companions, the road of matrimony is paved with pleasures. If thy wishes outrun thy wants, if thy temper is pettish, and thy heart proud, if thou halt not the art of making thyself beloved, think of Clermont and Maria with a sigh, and endeavour to reform.

Different was the destiny of the unfortunate Char­lotte. Used to the flattery of inferiors, the sword of neglect wounded sorely the pride of fallen supe­riority. [Page 197] Her father, unable to place her to advan­tage in the world, or maintain her in the school, took her home. He now soon discovered the bad effects of the present false mode of education. Hardly able to provide the most scanty pittance, his daughter became a burthen instead of an assistant. Ill qualified for domestic duties, the uncleanliness of the temple proclaimed the indolence of the priestess. —Oh ye foolish parents, why will you take so much pains to teach your children such affected antics! Why will you encourage them to curl the nose at the sight of an unwashed saucepan, or to shiver at the touch of cold water! Must the happiness of life be sacrificed to the whiteness of the hand? or why should the making a pie banish them from the society of the rational? Make them glass cages at once, and say to unpolished industry, "Behold what thou shouldst be!"

But how should the scholars be wise or virtuous, when the teachers, generally speaking, are foolish and vicious?

Charlotte was unhappy at the change of her situa­tion, and enjoyed only those moments when she had leisure to hang some of that finery upon her, which former opulence had provided. Girls are in this age more frequently undone by false pride, than easy be­lief, and are in greater danger from the supercilious airs of a mother, than the protestations of a lover. Vanity is almost universally the predominant passion of youth. This was the rock on which Charlotte [Page 198] struck; nor need we be surprised, when we consider the tempest which former flattery and present indi­gence had raised to overset so weak a vessel.

Among the acquaintance of her father's fortunate days, was Mr. Benfield, a man of property, and married. His principles varied with his passions, which reigned too absolutely; for though he made frequent professions of, and had great inclinations to virtue, yet were they the masters of his reason, when­ever they had a share in the conflict. He had been several times with Mr. Woodland, to visit his daughter while at the boarding-school, and thought her very handsome; nay, had often told her so, and was therefore one of her greatest favourites. When misfortune had overwhelmed her father, the idea of obtaining her for a mistress being not entirely im­probable, laid fast hold upon his imagination. His daily visits were construed by the father into acts of the sincerest friendship. He assisted Woodland with his purse, and that corroborated the testimony. His toying with Charlotte was thought to be the effect of former freedoms while she was a child, and con­sidered rather as a condescension than a design. In short, he was continually spoken of by the father, as the only virtuous man he had ever known, and and who alone knew how to distinguish merit in distress.

Men, even of moderate abilities, whose minds are intent upon the accomplishment of so favourable a project, can find plausible arguments to deceive and [Page 199] mislead girls; who have had less trifling educations than was the lot of Charlotte. Benfield would often seat her upon his lap, kiss her hand in rapture, some­times snatch one from her lips, tell her of her beauty, call her divine, then with a sigh say how happy he should have been, had heaven blest him with such a wife. Liberties which at first are alarming to vir­tue, by repetition become familiar, and the lover who first touches the mole upon his mistress's neck, and afterwards begs permission to kiss it, might not be long, perhaps, before he would take the same freedom with the one upon her knee.

When the passions are warm, the mind is weak. Arguments, which to an unbiassed spectator imme­diately discover their own futility, appear with all the force of truth, when they endeavour to prove what we most earnestly wish could be proved. Char­lotte listened with avidity, while Benfield talked to her of a state of nature, and of the inefficacy of mar­riage to bind affections, as well as the unreason­ableness of it in constraining those to cohabit, who were always unhappy in each other's company. She began to think that a noble maxim, which says, "they only are truly married, who love each other, and live together without being obliged to do so." She paid particular attention to Benfield, when he told her it was far better for her to live without the cere­mony of marriage, with one who passionately loved her, and would maintain her, not only above want, but in affluence, than to be tied to another [Page 200] who might not have sense to discover her merit, riches to keep her from indigence, not love sufficient to use her with humanity.

The rude man is by no means so dangerous to virtue as the plausible. Benfield prevailed, and Charlotte was seduced. He stole her from her fa­ther, placed her in lodgings, and treated her at first with all the enthusiasm of love. She, unhappy girl, unacquainted with the caprice and mutability of passion, imagined that the little endearments were never to abate. She felt not her own growing indifference, but was quick at the discovery of her lover's. Neglect produces bickerings; disgust ha­tred;—separation ensues.

Keeper succeeded keeper, till vice became fami­liar. But why should I torture the reader with re­lations which make the imagination gloomy? Can the depraved life of a miserable prostitute afford sa­tisfaction either to the hearer or the relater? Such did the poor unfortunate Charlotte sink into. Who that has the feelings of a man can stray through the streets of this city, and see such numberless young creatures, whose beautiful features are deformed by the practice of sin and the want of shame, and not feel the blood cold at his heart. Who then that is worthy to be called a man, would endeavour to en­crease the number of these, who, of all the miserable, are the most miserable!

Gentle reader, let me have power over thy ima­gination for a moment! Trace with me the un­happy [Page 201] Charlotte through those sinks of sin, the bagnio and the brothel: cloathed by an infamous unfeeling wretch, who receives the hire of her prostitution: abandoned when corroding disease hath stolen the sleekness of her skin, and the mar­row of her bones! Behold the anguish of guilt prey­ing upon her mind, and the inclemencies of the sky upon her body! If thou art a female, tremble and avoid;—if a man, pity the sufferer, and detest seduc­tion!

In the situation I have described, was Charlotte found at midnight, freezing upon a step, by the master of the family, who happened to be detained till that late hour. He was not a man of marble; and he enquired with eagerness and pity, if she had no place to go to that could, in some measure, screen her from the miseries she was thus exposed to. She faintly replied, no! but that she believed she should not long need assistance from hard-hearted man, for that if her feelings informed her right, she was dying. He knocked with precipitation at the door, and was asked by a voice, sweet as melody, and mild as pity, "Is it you, my love?" His affirmation gained him instant admittance. He took the light, rang the bell for his servants, and, with the help of his wife, assisted Charlotte into the house. "Here is a poor wretch, my dear, whom I found starving at the door, who tells me she believes she is dying."—"God help her—she shall not die in the street," answered she with her eyes glistening—"Let us set her to­wards [Page 202] the fire, my love, and give her a cordial that may revive her spirits—good God!" continued she, "I think I should know that face—surely it is not"—"Who, Maria? do not alarm yourself, my love:"—"You are right," answered Charlotte, "it is the wicked, the unfortunate Charlotte Woodland, your sister—come in her last moments to shew her own guilt and sufferings, and to admire your mercy and your virtues. Oh! pity her—For­give her if you can!"

Merciful God! exclaimed Maria—and sunk into the arms of her husband.

FANNY.

Oh, poor Charlotte! But mamma, I shall never be like her.

MRS. EGERTON.

No, my dear, God forbid you ever should: you have been differently educated.

MR. EGERTON.

I have often told you, my dears, and I cannot too often repeat it, that you will have no excuse if you should not behave well, because no means have been neglected to instruct you. The sins of Charlotte [Page 203] may find forgiveness from the follies of her parents. Judge for yourselves whether you can make the same apology. By saying this I do not mean to court your applause; we have done nothing more than our duty. The duties of a parent are so nume­rous, and demand such an unremitting attention, that, indeed, I never can hope to fulfil them per­fectly. However, my children, I hope we have omitted none of the great essentials, none that can sanctify the plea of ignorance for crimes, or for capital errors. In proportion as you have been made ac­quainted with right and wrong, so will it be ex­pected that you should act; according to the adage—"Where much is given much is required."

Many neglect their duty only because they do not know it; that, my children, we will endeavour shall not be the case with any of you. Polemo was one of the most abandoned youths of Athens: he seemed to delight not only in vice, but its infamy likewise. As he was returning one morning after sun-rise from a nocturnal revel, he saw the gate of Xeno­crates, the philosopher, standing open, in whose school there were then assembled a number of grave and learned men. Shameless, and full of wine, smeared with ointments, a garland on his head, and cloathed in loose and indecent robes, he rudely en­tered the assembly with an air of ridiculous gravity; sat himself down, and began purposely to offend them with his drunken follies. All present were irritated at his behaviour, Xenocrates alone excepted. He [Page 204] with the same undisturbed and serene dignity left the subject he was speaking upon, and began to dis­course on temperance and modesty in so animated and forcible a tone, that Polemo, struck with a sense of the absurdity and indecency of his own conduct, and ashamed of his affected festivity, cast the crown from his brows, drew his arms beneath his cloak, and assumed a deportment suitable to the humiliating circumstances of his situation. He afterwards be­came one of the most celebrated philosophers of that age. From this we may safely infer, he would never have been guilty of such disgraceful impro­prieties, had he before been better taught.

I am now going to recommend a duty intimately connected with what we have been reading and say­ing; which is Industry. It is the unhappiness of wealthy people to imagine, at least much too often, that they have no other avocations in this world, but the pursuit of pleasure and the decoration of their persons, both of which, when carried to the least excess, become criminal. I would have you under­stand, my children, that though you are born to fortunes, you are not born to indolence. It is the duty of the rich at least to be active; not to men­tion, that to be idle is to be unhappy. Listen to she following allegory.

AS Industry was going abroad early to his labour, and climbing, with great patience, a lofty mountain over which he was obliged to pass, he espied on the [Page 205] summit a beautiful nymph employed in searching for uncommon flowers, and often viewing with great attention the wide extended scenes that were stretched around her. Her eyes were piercing as the beams of the evening star, with a certain twink­ling wantonness in them that heightened the resem­blance. Her features were irregular, yet not less pleasing than those of a more perfect beauty. She had a most agreeable wildness in her air, her dress, her countenance; and something so speakably inqui­sitive in the latter, that almost every feature seemed to ask a question. Upon the approach of Industry she fell into immediate discourse with him, and asked him, almost in the same breath, who he was, where he lived, whither he was going, and what there was in the neighbourhood worth seeing. In­dustry, ever accustomed to make the best of his time, answered the last question first. He told her that there was nothing so well worth seeing as a beautiful pleasure-house in the adjacent wood, and offered to conduct her to it. The nymph, whose name was Curiosity, eagerly followed him, and by the number­less questions she put to him as they passed, disco­vered an insatiable thirst after knowledge. Industry, who liked the humour of the nymph, failed not to make every possible advantage of this; and though she found herself deceived in some points, when she arrived at the wood, yet she was gratified in so many others, that she could not help loving her deceiver, and yielding to every proposal of his that might tend [Page 206] to her information. In consequence of this conver­sation, Curiosity, in due time, brought forth a son, who, by order from the Sylvan Deities, was named Travel. He was favoured by all the gods, and in his youth was frequently instructed by them in visions. As he grew up he discovered in his temper his mo­ther's thirst of knowledge, and his father's activity; he never staid longer in any place than, bee-like, to collect the sweets that he found there. Pleasure and Wisdom were his companions, and his attendants were Plenty and Variety. By observing the manners and customs of various nations, he became polite and unprejudiced; and by comparing their laws, and various modes of worship and government, he learned to be just and politic, and to serve the gods acceptably. In a large city, where much was to be seen, he had recourse for accommodations to the house of a gentleman who was known to take a plea­sure in entertaining travellers. The name of this person was Idleness. He was a corpulent good-natured man. If he had but provision for the day, and a companion to laugh away the hours, which were otherwise tedious to him, he was contented. He never interfered in the interest of others, nor felt the emotions either of friendship or enmity. He would not, on any account, go two furlongs from his own door, but used to say, pleasure and trouble were such inveterate enemies, that they could not possibly meet upon the same occasion; he was much entertained with the conversation of Travel, and con­ceiving [Page 207] a design to dissuade him from rambling any more, that he might keep him with him, "My friend, said Idleness, I am amazed at your strange disposition. Who, like you, would for ever wander about, in search of pleasure, and not stand still a moment to enjoy it? Why will you expose yourself to perpetual dangers, and needless difficulties, and undergo abroad a thousand inconveniencies which you would never meet with at home? Why should you, who are a free man, submit to the arbitrary government of a sea captain; more boisterous than the element on which he commands: or to the no less absolute sway of an itinerant coachman?" "Truce with your queries, said Travel, till I have proposed an equal number; and then, if you please, we will balance the account. How can you waste your time, and impair your health by refusing to give your body and mind that due exercise nature so loudly calls for? How can you confine that arduous curiosity, which was implanted in the soul to urge you on to unbounded knowledge, within the narrow limits of a single city or province? Are you really so destitute of courage as to be over-awed by visi­onary dangers and trivial inconveniencies?" Here ended the dispute; Idleness would not be at the pains to urge further arguments, nor, if he had, would Travel have staid to hear them.

MR. EGERTON.

I will continue the subject, by reading you a little essay, which I once wrote in answer to a friend of [Page 208] mine, who seemed to be of opinion, that it was ra­tional, and almost virtuous, for men to be idle till they could have their property wholly to themselves: that is, he looked upon the taxes paid to civil and ecclesiastical establishments not only to be enormous, but shamefully misapplied. Though this assertion has too many glaring and notorious facts in its sup­port to leave any room for controversy on that head, yet I never could think my friend's inference a just one. What I have said was, however, but a slight and hasty sketch, and will be more suitable as a lesson to my children, than an answer to the argu­ments of my friend. The best part of it is the fable with which it concludes, and from which I would have you draw the moral which is intended, namely, that the application of industry should be to great and proper objects, otherwise it becomes either tri­vial, ridiculous, or criminal.

INDUSTRY: An ESSAY.

The general importance of industry to society is a thing so self-evident, that it stands in need of no ar­guments to convince mankind of its truth. Indivi­duals are neither happy in themselves, nor useful to others, till they are industrious. Idleness resembles an excrescence painful in itself, and disgusting to the beholders; and which the possessor wishes to cut away, but wants resolution. Some men, like bene­volent philosophers, and true friends to the rights of [Page 209] mankind, wish for absolute freedom, that men may be encouraged to industry by having their property sole, and undivided, to their own use; that they may not be shackled by the degrading recollection of de­pendence, nor deterred by the rapacity of power; that is, by those men who formally seize upon, and lawfully rob you of, a certain part of your property, which they appropriate, too frequently, to the most destructive purposes: namely, to that of enslaving you still farther.

That there are wicked governments, nay, that there are no good governments, and that there are wicked men in the best of governments, may readily be admitted. That a society formed upon the liberal principles these philosophers so justly admire, would be the only rational one among equals is likewise granted: but the fact is, men are not equal, and this inequality precludes the possibility of absolute freedom. The cunning man outwits the simple, the strong subdues the weak; the man whose pas­sions are inordinate, wilfully enslaves himself to him who can gratify them, and he who has had the mis­fortune to have had a foolish, or a weak father, be­comes, unhappily, the inheritor of slavery. This slavery, however, is only partial: in the very worst of governments, the motives to industry are suffi­ciently powerful and beneficial to incite men to action. Englishmen, in particular, have, upon com­parison, great reason to bless that chance which placed them on this spot rather than the generality of [Page 210] others; rather, perhaps, than any other upon earth. Property is, here, so far secured, that no depreda­tions can be committed, but authorized and legal ones: and, though it must be confessed that these are numerous, yet the aggregate is not sufficient, by any means, to damp the spirit of industry. No titled villain lays his rapacious talons on the widow's mite; no tyrant fastens his disgraceful badge upon her offspring; no ferocious Boyar or Vaivod enu­merates the husbandman among the other animals that graze upon what he unjustly calls his land. We are protected, not only from the ravages of indivi­duals, but from the ravages of nations; and the exactions we suffer make our part of the contribu­tion to the general expence. That these contri­butions are continually perverted cannot be denied; but, till we can find men who do not love themselves better than the rest of mankind, this must ever be the case. I do not mean to insinuate, that we should rest contented under imposition, however sanctified by the hoary head of custom, or enforced by the iron hand of law: no, let us emancipate our­selves by every worthy means, let us cast off every disgraceful, galling chain; let us beware that it does not become heavier, and more galling; but, it is the persevering effort of industry only that can effect this: and, as passions, affections, and weak­nesses, prevent us from any thing like perfection, do not let us torment ourselves, and slacken our la­bours, by meditating on, and hoping for, ideal bles­sings, [Page 211] which the nature and inequality of man forbid to be realized. I speak as I think, as I feel, but with every deference and respect to the arguments of those who hold contrary opinions.

Let us amuse ourselves, for a moment, by ima­gining the poetical origin, and actions of industry.

In the early ages of the world, before men multi­plied and spread over the face of the earth, and, by their irregularities, banished the beneficent Deities from their society, the Sylvan God of the Oaks, called Perseverance, became in love with Agility, the nymph of the rocks; and though he was neither young, beautiful, or beloved, yet, by his incessant importunities, he at length prevailed. The nymphs of ancient, as well as modern times, have often yielded to importunity. The child Industry was the offspring of this amour. He was the beloved of his parents, for he partook of those qualities for which each was the most esteemed. He was strong and active, with an ugly countenance, and broad hands; he was not very tall, but his body was well proportioned, and his large limbs proclaimed dura­tion. The sports of his infancy were peculiar. He sometimes amused himself with inventing instru­ments of housewifery and agriculture, and for other useful and domestic purposes; and, it is said, his mother one day surprized him when he had just finished the first rude sketch of a spinning-wheel, and was diverting himself with turning it round, and observing its effects. The loom, likewise, is said [Page 212] to have been one of the early efforts of his imagination; and which procured him everlasting honour and praise among men. He presently became a constant and studious observer of cause and effect; and made re­gisters of his observations, at first, by notching the trees, afterwards by hieroglyphics, and, last of all, by various and amazingly intricate combinations of characters, which yet, by his excessive assiduity, be­came tolerably simple, and quite intelligible. This, however, was the effect of incessant and undescriba­ble labour; for it is said by some, that, till he came among men, and instructed them, they had no re­gular method of conveying their ideas; that they had no language, but gabbled a few inarticulate and unintelligible sounds, expressive of rage and fear, and some of the stronger passions, from which he produced his system. Long, however, before this, he discovered, by his penetration, the metals that lay hid and buried in the bowels of the earth; and that had lain there from time immemorial. He brought forth iron from a stone, and made of it the axe, the hoe, the saw, and a thousand curious and useful implements. He observed the swine, that used to root up the ground for the acorn, the pignut, and other delicacies: he saw the green verdure follow their tracks, and the young blade shoot where they had soiled: from whence he learned the use of the plough and the manure. Nothing was too vile to escape his attention, nor was any thing too in­comprehensible to elude his enquiries. He presently [Page 213] became so renowned, by the beneficial effects of his researches and labours, that he was deified, placed with the gods, and worshipped under various symbols by the sons of men. In the mean time his la­bours overspread the face of the earth: he not only built habitations for men, defended them from wild beasts, took care of their seed time and harvest, and taught them the common arts of life, but he, also, instructed them in the occult properties of nature. He shewed them to heal their wounds by the green herb, to exterminate poison, and to calculate the course of the stars. For their pleasure and conve­nience he built cities, palaces, and temples. Mau­soleums, pyramids, and towers, rose from the hard entrails of the rock. Mountains were levelled, ri­vers obeyed the course of his directing arm, and castles floated upon the great waters, and defied their fury.

Happy had it been for men, had he been as pru­dent in his amours as his father; but, alas! he be­came enamoured with that prostitute Luxury. Fas­cinated by her seducing charms, and led astray by her specious sophisms, his labours have degenerated, have become destructive, and, instead of his former stupendous works, he is, at present, a Man-mil­liner, stains tooth-picks, weaves gauze ribbands, and metamorphoses second-hand sarsnet, and twice-died Persian, into artificial flowers.

DIALOGUE XIX.

MR. EGERTON.

THE subject of yesterday, my children, is so consequential to happiness, that I cannot avoid renewing it, in order to point out some more of its duties and advantages, and impress them still stronger on your memories. Perseverance is the leading characteristic of industry. By perseverance, men of moderate parts have accomplished what had be­fore been deemed impossible. Listen to the ra­pidity, the astonishingly precise agreement of ideas, in a band of musicians; look at the exact and me­chanical precision with which one man at the head of an army regulates the actions of ten, twenty, or of a hundred thousand, and you will be convinced of the powers of perseverance.

A country gentleman had an estate of two hundred a year, which he kept in his own hands till he found himself so much in debt, that he was obliged to sell one half to satisfy his creditors, and lett the remainder to a farmer for one-and-twenty years. Before the expiration of his lease, the farmer asked the gentle­man, when he came one day to pay his rent, whether he would sell the land he occupied? Why; will you buy it? said the gentleman;—if you will part with it, [Page 215] and we can agree, replied the farmer. That is ex­ceedingly strange, said the gentleman. Pray tell me how it happens that I could not live upon twice as much land, for which I paid no rent, and that you, after regularly paying me a hundred a year for the half, are able, in a few years, to purchase it? The reason is plain, answered the farmer; you sat still, and said go; I got up, and said come; you laid in bed, and enjoyed your ease; I rose in the morning, and minded my business.

Hear another anecdote, more singular, but of the same nature. When collection was making to build the hospital of Bedlam, those who were employed to gather the money, came to a small house, the door of which was half open; from the entry they over­heard an old man scolding his servant maid, who, having made use of a match to kindle the fire, had afterwards indiscreetly thrown it away, without re­flecting that the match, having still the sulphur at the other end might be of further service. After diverting themselves awhile with listening to the dispute, they knocked, and presented themselves before the old gentleman. As soon as they told him the cause of their visit, he went into a closet, from whence he brought four hundred guineas, and reckoning the money in their presence, put it into their bag. The collectors being astonished at this generosity, which they little expected, could not help testifying their surprise, and told the old fellow what they had heard. "Gentleman, said he, your sur­prise [Page 216] is occasioned by a thing of very little conse­quence; I keep house, and save or spend money my own way, the one furnishes me with the means of doing the other, and both equally gratify my incli­nations. With regard to benefactions and dona­tions, always expect most from prudent people who keep their accounts."

Few things truly great or good, my children, can be performed but by a persevering industry. Noble minds, with such assistance, are makers of their own fortune. There is scarcely any knowledge, any art, or any dignity unattainable to those who possess understanding, industry and perseverance. An at­tention to little things, with a capability of great ones, are the leading features of the character I de­scribe. When Sir Walter Raleigh first came to London to seek his fortune, he was poor and un­known, yet well-dressed, carrying all his riches upon his back; for his hopes and views were com­prehensive. Happening one day to see Queen Eli­zabeth walking till she came to a dirty place, at which she seemed to make some scruple of stepping over, he immediately pulled off his new plush cloak, and spread it for her to tread on. The gallantry of this action, and the obliging unembarassed air with which it was performed, were a certain introduc­tion to the court of Elizabeth. When he first began to be noticed, he wrote upon a glass window, in the eye of the Queen:— [Page 217]Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall.’

Elizabeth observing it, wrote underneath, ‘If thy heart fail thee, do not climb at all.’

Sir Walter was not really afraid, this was only an artifice. Every body knows how great a man he afterwards became.

When the Spartans had treacherously seized on the castle called Cadmaea, and by that means en­slaved the Thebans, Archias, one of the governors in the Spartan interest, was sitting at a feast. He re­ceived letters which he was desired to open and read immediately, for they contained information of the greatest importance; but Archias being full of mirth, and heated with wine, threw them by, and said, laughing, "business to-morrow." This negligence cost him his life, for that very evening Pelopidas, Charon, and others, having formed a resolution to free their country, slew him, and many more, who were in the Spartan interest, which scarcely could have happened had Archias read the letters, they being sent purposely to inform him of his dan­ger. "Business to-morrow" became ever after a satirical proverb in Greece.

I tell you these anecdotes, my children, to shew you the consequences of negligence, and the benefits arising from perseverance, vigilance, and industry; [Page 218] and I cannot better instruct you to what purposes these great and necessary properties ought to be ap­plied, than by referring you to the fable of Mirza.

SOCIAL DUTY, Or MIRZA.

MR. EGERTON.

IT pleased the mighty sovereign Abbas Carascan, from whom the Kings of the earth derive honour and dominion, to set Mirza his servant over the province of Tauris. In the hand of Mirza, the ba­lance of distribution was suspended with impartiality; and under his administration the weak were pro­tected, the learned received honour, and the diligent became rich: Mirza, therefore, was beheld by every eye with complacency, and every tongue pronounced blessings upon his head. But it was observed that he derived no joys from the benefits which he diffused; he became pensive and melancholy; he spent his lei­sure in solitude; in his palace he sat motionless upon a sopha; and when he went out, his walk was slow, and his eyes were fixed upon the ground: he applied to the business of state with reluctance; and resolved to relinquish the toils of government, of which he could no longer enjoy the reward.

He therefore obtained permission to approach the throne of his sovereign; and being asked what was [Page 219] his request, he made this reply, "May the Lord of the world forgive the slave whom he has honoured, if Mirza presume again to lay the bounty of Abbas at his feet. Thou hast given me the dominions of a country, fruitful as the gardens of Damascus: and of a city, glorious above all others, except that only which reflects the splendor of thy presence. But the longest life is a period scarce sufficient to prepare for death. All other business is vain and trivial, as the toil of emmets in the path of the traveller, under whose foot they perish for ever; and all enjoyment is unsubstantial and evanescent, as the colours of the bow that appear in the interval of a storm. Suffer me, therefore, to prepare for the approach of eterni­ty; let me give up my soul to meditation; let soli­tude and silence acquaint me with the mysteries of devotion; let me forget the world, and by the world be forgotten, till the moment arrives in which the veil of eternity shall fall, and I be found at the bar of the Almighty."—Mirza then bowed himself to the earth, and stood silent.

By the command of Abbas it is recorded, that at these words he trembled upon that throne, at the foot­stool of which the world pays homage: he looked round upon his nobles, but every countenance was pale, and every eye was upon the earth. No man opened his mouth; and the King first broke silence after it had continued near an hour.

"Mirza! terror and doubt are come upon me: I am alarmed, as a man who suddenly perceives that [Page 220] he is near the brink of a precipice, and is urged forward by an irresistible force; but yet I know not whether my danger is a reality or a dream.—I am as thou art, a reptile on the earth; my life is a mo­ment; and eternity, in which days, and years, and ages are nothing, eternity is before me, for which I also should prepare: but by whom then must the faithful be governed? By those only who have no fear of judgment? By those alone whose life is brutal, because like brutes, they do not consider that they shall die? Or who, indeed, are the faithful? Are the busy multitudes that crowd the city, in a state of perdition? And is the cell of the dervise alone the gate of paradise? To all, the life of a dervise is not possible: to all therefore it cannot be a duty. De­part to the house which has in the city been prepared for thy residence; I will meditate the reason of thy request; and may he who illuminates the mind of the humble, enable me to determine with wisdom!"

Mirza departed; and on the third day, having re­ceived no commands, he again requested an audi­ence, and it was granted. When he entered the royal presence, his countenance appeared more chear­ful; he drew a letter from his bosom, and having kissed it, he presented it with his right-hand.

"My Lord, says he, I have learned by this letter, which I received from Cosrou the Iman, who now stands before thee, in what manner life may be best improved. I am enabled to look back with pleasure, and forward with hope; and I shall now rejoice still [Page 221] to be the shadow of thy power at Tauris, and to keep those honours which I so lately wished to re­sign."—The King, who had listened to Mirza with a mixture of surprise and curiosity, immediately gave the letter to Cosrou, and commanded that it should be read. The eyes of the court were at once turned on the hoary sage, whose countenance was suffused with an honest blush; and it was not without some hesitation that he read these words:

"To Mirza, whom the wisdom of Abbas our mighty Lord has honoured with dominion, be ever­lasting health! When I heard thy purpose to with­draw the blessings of thy government from the thou­sands of Tauris, my heart was wounded with the ar­row of affliction, and my eyes became dim with sorrow. But who shall speak before the King, when he is troubled? and who shall boast of knowledge, when he is distressed by doubt? To thee I will relate the events of my youth, which thou hast renewed before me; and those truths which they taught me, may the prophet multiply to thee.

"Under the instruction of the physician Aluazer, I obtained an early knowledge of his art. To those who were smitten with diseases, I could administer plants, which the sun had impregnated with the spirits of health. But the scenes of pain, languor, and mortality, which were perpetually rising before me, made me often tremble for myself. I saw the grave open at my feet: I determined, therefore, to contemplate only the regions beyond it, and to de­spise [Page 222] every acquisition that I could not keep. I con­ceived an opinion, that as there was no merit but in voluntary poverty, and silent meditation, those who desired money were not proper objects of bounty; therefore money was despised. I buried mine in the earth; and renouncing society, I wan­dered into a wild and sequestered part of the coun­try; my dwelling was a cave, by the side of a hill; I drank the running water from the spring, and eat such fruits and herbs as I could find. To increase the austerity of my life, I frequently watched all night, sitting at the entrance of the cave with my face to the east, resigning myself to the secret in­fluences of the prophet, and expecting illuminations from above. One morning, after my nocturnal vigil, just as I perceived the horizon glow at the ap­proach of the sun, the power of sleep became irre­sistible, and I sunk under it. I imagined myself still sitting at the entrance of my cell; that the dawn in­creased; and that as I looked earnestly for the first beam of day, a dark spot appeared to intercept it. I perceived that it was in motion; it increased in size as it drew near, and at length I discovered it to be an eagle. I still kept my eye steadfastly upon it, and saw it alight at a small distance, where I now descried a fox, whose fore-legs appeared to be broken. Before this fox the eagle laid part of a kid, which it had brought in its talons, and then disappeared. When I awaked I laid my fore-head upon the ground, and blessed the prophet for the instruction of the morning. [Page 223] I reviewed my dream, and said thus to myself, "Cosrou, thou hast done well to renounce the tu­mult, the business, and the vanities of life; but thou hast as yet only done it in part; thou art still every day busied in the search of food, thy mind is not wholly at rest, neither is thy trust in Providence complete. What art thou taught by this vision? If thou hast seen an eagle commissioned by heaven to feed a fox that is lame, shall not the hand of heaven also supply thee with food, when that which prevents thee from procuring it to thyself, is not necessity, but devotion? I was now so confident of a mira­culous supply, that I neglected to walk out for my repast, which, after the first day, I expected with an impatience that left me little power of attending to any other object: this impatience, however, I la­boured to suppress, and persisted in my resolution; but my eyes at length began to fail me, and my knees smote each other; I threw myself backward, and hoped my weakness would soon increase to insensibi­lity. But I was suddenly roused by the voice of an invisible being, who pronounced these words:— "Cosrou, I am the angel who, by the command of the Almighty, have registered the thoughts of thy heart, which I am now commissioned to reprove. While thou wast attempting to become wise above that which is revealed, thy folly perverted the in­structions which was vouchsafed thee. Art thou disabled as the fox? Hast thou not rather the powers of the eagle? Arise, let the eagle be the object of [Page 224] thy emulation. To pain and sickness be thou again the messenger of ease and health. Virtue is not rest but action. If thou dost good to man, as an evi­dence of thy love to God, thy virtue will be exalted from moral to divine; and that happiness which is the pledge of paradise, will be thy reward upon earth."

"At these words I was not less astonished than if a mountain had been overturned at my feet. I humbled myself in the dust; I returned to the city; I dug up my treasure; I was liberal, yet I became rich. My skill in restoring health to the body, gave me frequent opportunities of curing the diseases of the soul. I put on the sacred vestments; I grew eminent beyond my merit; and it was the pleasure of the King that I should stand before him. Now, therefore, be not offended; I boast of no knowledge that I have not received: as the sands of the desart drink up the drops of rain and the dew of the morning, so do I also, who am but dust, imbibe the instructions of the prophet. Believe then that it is he who tells thee, all knowledge is prophane which ter­minates in thyself; and by a life wasted in specula­tion, little even of this can be gained. When the gates of paradise are thrown open before thee, thy mind shall be irradiated in a moment; here thou canst little more than pile error upon error; there thou shalt build truth upon truth. Wait therefore for the glorious vision; and in the mean time emu­late the eagle. Much is in thy power; and, there­fore, [Page 225] much is expected of thee. Though the Al­mighty alone can give virtue, yet, as a Prince, thou mayest stimulate those to beneficence, who act from no higher motive than immediate interest. Thou canst not produce the principle, but mayest enforce the practice. The relief of the poor is equal, whether they receive it from ostentation or charity; and the effect of example is the same, whether it be intended to obtain the favour of God, or man. Let thy virtue be thus diffused; and if thou believest with reverence, thou shalt be accepted above. Fare­well. May the smile of him who resides in the heaven of heavens, be upon thee! And against thy name in the volume of his will, may happiness be written!"

The King, whose doubts, like those of Mirza, were now removed, looked up with a smile that communicated the joy of his mind. He dismissed the Prince to his government; and commanded these events to be recorded, to the end that posterity may know, "That no life is pleasing to God, but that which is useful to mankind!"

MR. EGERTON.

The active spirit of industry, when properly exerted, is replete with every social virtue; yet even this necessary, this great quality, when perverted, becomes the scourge of humanity.

The Sultan Mahmoud was ambitious of fame, and intent on actions which he deemed worthy of princes; [Page 226] that is, of conquering kingdoms, wasting provinces, and exterminating mankind with fire and sword. He had a Visier, who was a man renowned for his sagacity. This Visier was said to be well-skilled in the language of birds and beasts. As he was one day conversing with Mahmoud, they saw two owls; pray, said the Sultan to the Visier, what is the present subject of conversation between those owls? Commander of the Faithful, answered the Visier, thy servant would gladly interpret their discourse, but he is fearful of the frowns of ma­jesty, which are dreadful even as the sword of the angel of death. By the beard of Mahomet, said the Sultan, no harm shall happen to thee; inform me of what they are speaking. They are speaking, said the Visier, concerning the marriage of their chil­dren. The one says, he will not suffer his son to marry the daughter of the other, but on condition of his giving her fifty ruined villages for her portion. This has been very readily agreed to, "blessed, say they, be the sword of Mahmoud, and may his days be multiplied, for while he reigns, we shall never want ruined villages." Mahmoud, says the fabulist, was wise, and saw his error; neither did he any more slay men, destroy their cities, and disturb the peace of nations.

MRS. EGERTON to MR. EGERTON.

When, my dear, you were speaking concerning perseverance, you reminded me of an account [Page 227] which I saw some time since, of a German shepherd, who, under the most discouraging impediments, taught himself the rudiments of philosophy and ab­struse science. Here it is, do you read it, Charles, it will shew you what this aforesaid perseverance and industry enabled him to perform without teachers; and will hint to you, my children, how much you may do with the same application, and the assistance you continually receive.

PERSEVERANCE: Or the HISTORY of Professor DU VAL.

M. DU VAL, professor of history and geogra­phy in the academy of Luneville, is the son of a pea­sant, and born in Burgundy, but came into Lorrain when a child, and was employed as a shepherd's boy, at a village near Nancy. His thirst after knowledge appeared in his very childhood, and, having no other means of gratifying it, he made a collection of snakes, frogs, &c. amused himself with examining these creatures, and was continually asking the neigh­bouring peasants why those animals were formed in such a particular manner? but the answers he re­ceived were generally such, as left him less satisfied than he was before. He once happened to see, in the hand of a country boy, Aesop's Fables with cuts, which made him still more desirous of learning than before. He could not read; and the boy, [Page 228] who was capable of gratifying his curiosity, was seldom in a humour to explain the animals, &c. represented in the cuts. In this distress, he deter­mined to make himself master of the introduction to knowledge, however great the difficulties that attended it might prove. Accordingly he saved whatever money he could get, and gave it to other boys who were older than himself, for teaching him to read. Having, with incredible diligence, attained his end, he happened to meet with an almanack, in which the twelve signs of the zodiac were delineated. These he looked for so constantly, and with such at­tention, in the heavens, that at last he imagined that he actually traced such figures there; and though he was mistaken in this and several other particulars, yet many of his observations were such as few others are found capable of, even after receiving regular instructions.

As he once passed by a print-shop at Nancy, he observed in the window a map of the world. This opened a field for new speculations; and, having purchased it, he employed many hours every day in perusing it. At first he took the degrees on the equator for French leagues; but upon considering that, in coming from Burgundy to Lorrain, he had travelled many such leagues, though on his map that distance seemed to take up a very little spot, he was convinced of the impossibility of his first conjecture. But it must have been with incredible labour, and at the same time is a signal proof of his extraordinary [Page 229] genius, that he acquired a thorough knowledge of these and many other signatures on the several maps; which, as often as his purse could afford it, he after­wards procured.

His inclination for silence and retirement, made him weary of living among the noisy peasant boys; and induced him to visit some hermits who had their cells in a wood, about half a league from Luneville. He undertook to wait on them, and to tend six or eight cows which they kept. These hermits were, how­ever, grossly ignorant; but Du Val had an opportu­nity of reading several books he found in their cells, and of getting many difficulties, that occurred to him, solved by persons who came to visit them. All the money he could scrape together in his mean circumstances, was laid out in books and maps; and observing, on some of the latter, the arms of several princes, as griffins, spread eagles, lions with two tails, and other monsters, he enquired of a foreigner, whether there were any such creatures in the world? being informed that these figures belonged to a parti­cular science called heraldry, he minuted down this word, before unknown to him, and hurrying with all speed to Nancy, bought a book of heraldry, and by that book, without any other help, he became master of the fundamental principles of that science.

In this course of life Du Val continued till he ar­rived at his one-and-twentieth year, when, in the autumn of 1717, he was discovered watching his charge in the wood, and sitting under a tree with [Page 230] his maps and books about him, by Baron Psutchner. This gentleman was then governor to the young Prince of Lorrain, who happened to hunt that way. The Baron thought a herdsman, with sun-burnt lank hair, dressed in a coarse linen frock, with a heap of maps about him, so extraordinary a sight, that he informed the Prince of it, who immediately rode towards the place, and put several questions to Du Val about his way of living. Du Val shewed by his answers, that he was already master of the grounds of several sciences. Upon which the Prince offered to take him into his service, and told him that he should go to court. Du Val, who had read in some books of morality, that the air of a court was infectious to virtue; and had also ob­served when he had been at Nancy, that the lacqueys of great men were a riotous, debauched, quarrel­some sort of people, frankly answered, "That he chose rather to look after his herd, and continue to lead a quiet life in the wood, with which he was thoroughly satisfied, than to wait on the Prince; but added, that if his highness would give him an opportunity of reading curious books, and of making himself master of more learning and know­ledge, he was ready to follow him or any body else." The Prince was highly pleased with his answer; and, when he returned to court, prevailed on the Duke his father, to send this extraordinary herdsman to the Jesuits College at Pont-a-Mousson. When be had finished his studies at that seat of learning, [Page 231] the Duke permittted him to take a journey into France for his further improvement; and, soon after his return, gave him a professorship in the academy of Luneville, with a pension of 700 livres a year, also made him his own librarian, which is worth 1000 livres a year more, besides a handsome apart­ment.

He is of a most engaging modesty and polite­ness, and, far from being ashamed of his former low condition, takes a pleasure in relating the suc­cessive and gradual rise of new ideas in his mind, and the pleasing tranquillity and uninterrupted con­tent he enjoyed in a situation, in all appearance, mean and despicable. He still keeps an apartment in the hermitage, from whence the Duke raised him to his present condition; and, to perpetuate his memory of the transaction, has had his picture drawn, in which he is represented just as he was, when dis­covered by Baron Psutchner, under a tree, with a landscape of the place, and the Prince talking to him; this piece he has obtained leave to hang up in the Duke's library.

NANCY.

Here is a humourous essay, mamma, which Miss Forrester has pointed out to me, that I think will divert us, if you will please to hear it. We could not tell whether the writer meant to teach any par­ticular duty; however, I dare say, my father will draw instruction as well as amusement from it, and shew us its moral intention.

MRS. EGERTON.
[Page 232]

Well, my dear, pray let us hear it.

HEALTH: Or the VICAR.

GOING to visit an old friend at his country seat last week, I found him at backgammon with the Vicar of the parish. My friend received me with the heartiest welcome, and introduced the Doc­tor to my acquaintance. This gentleman, who seemed to be about fifty, and of a florid and healthy constitution, surveyed me all over with great atten­tion, and, after a slight nod of the head, sat himself down without opening his mouth. I was a little hurt at the supercilious behaviour of this divine; which my friend observing told me very pleasantly, that I was rather too old to be intitled to the Doc­tor's complaisance; for that he seldom bestowed it, but upon the young and vigorous: But, says he, you shall know him better soon, and you will find him altogether as odd a character, as he is a worthy one. The Doctor made no reply to this raillery, but con­tinued some time with his eyes fixed upon me, and at last, shaking his head, and turning to my friend, asked if he would play out the other hit. My friend excused himself from engaging any more that even­ing, and ordered a bottle of wine, with pipes and tobacco, to be set on the table. The Vicar filled [Page 233] his pipe, and drank very cordially to my friend, still eyeing me with a seeming dislike, and neither drink­ing my health, nor speaking a single word to me. As I have long accustomed myself to drink nothing but water, I called for a bottle of it, and drank glass for glass with them; which upon the Doctor's observing, he shook his head at my friend, and, in a whisper loud enough for me to hear, said, 'Poor man, it is all over with him, I see.' My friend smiled, and answered, in the same audible whisper, 'No, no, Doctor, he intends to live as long as either of us.' He then addressed himself to me on the occurrences of the town, and engaged me in a very chearful conversation, which lasted till I with­drew to rest; at which time the Doctor rose from his chair, drank a bumper to my health, and, giving me a hearty shake by the hand, told me I was a very jolly old gentleman, and that he wished to be better acquainted with me, during my stay in the country.

I rose early in the morning, and found the Doctor in the breakfasting room. He saluted me with great civility, and told me he had left his bed and home sooner than usual, to have the pleasure of taking a walk with me. 'Your friend, says he, is but lately recovered from an attack of the gout, and will hardly be stirring, till we have gone over his improvements.' I accepted the proposal, and we walked through a very elegant garden into the most beautiful fields that can be imagined; which as I stopped to admire, the Doctor began thus: 'These are, indeed, very [Page 234] delightful grounds; and I wish, with all my heart, that the owner of them was less troubled with the gout, that I might hold him in more respect.'— 'Respect! Doctor,' said I, interrupting him, 'Does a painful distemper, acquired by no act of intem­perance, lessen your respect?' 'It does indeed, and I wish, in this instance, I could help it; for I am under many obligations to your friend. There is another very worthy gentleman in the neighbour­hood, who presented me to this vicarage; he has the misfortune to labour under an inveterate scurvy, which, by subjecting him to continual head-achs, must, of course, shorten his days; and so I never go near him.'

I was going to interrupt the Doctor again, when a coach and six drove by us along the road, and in it a gentleman, who let down the glass, and made the Doctor a very respectful bow; which instead of returning, he looked off with a stately air, and took no notice of him. This instance of his beha­viour, together with the conversation that had pass­ed between us, raised my curiosity to a very high degree, and set me upon asking him who the gen­tleman was. 'Sir,' says he, 'that unfortunate ob­ject is a man of eight thousand a year estate; and, from that consideration, he expects the return of a bow from every man he meets. But I, who know him, know also that [...] dying of an asthma; and as (blessed be God for it) I am in perfect health, I do not chuse to put myself on a level with such a [Page 235] person. Health is the only valuable thing on earth; and, while I am in possession of that, I look upon myself as a much greater man than he. With all his fortune, he would rejoice to be the poor Vicar of ***, with my constitution. I pull off my hat to no such persons. Believe me, he has not many months to live.

I made no reply to this conversation of the Vicar, and he went on thus: 'You are an old man, Sir, and, I believe, were a little fatigued with your journey last night, which I mistook for infirm health, and therefore was wanting in the civilities that I should otherwise have shewn you; but your conversation afterwards proved you to be a very hearty man, and I saw you resolved to continue so by your tempe­rance; for which I honour you, and, as I told you then, shall be glad of your acquaintance. It is true, you are old, and therefore my inferior; but you are healthy and temperate, and not beneath the notice of much younger men.'

In this manner we talked on, till we came to a hedge, where some labouring men were repairing the sences. My companion accosted them with the utmost complaisance and good nature: 'Ay,' says he, turning to me, 'these are men worth mixing with. You see their riches in their looks. Have you any of your lords in town that have such pos­sessions? I know none of these lords,' says he, 'my­self, but I am told they are all so sickly and diseased, that a man in health would scorn to pull off his hat [Page 236] to them.' He then entered into a familiar con­versation with the men, and, after throwing them six-pence to drink, passed on.

There now overtook us in the lane a company of sportsmen, setting out for the chace. Most of them saluted the Doctor, as they passed; but he took no notice of any of them, except one, whom he shook hands with over the hedge, and told him he intended taking a dinner with him the next day. 'That gentleman, says he, is worth as much health as any man in England; he hunts only by way of exercise, and never takes a leap where there is the least dan­ger. But, as for the rest, they are flying over every hedge and gate in their way, and, if they escape broken necks in the morning, they are destroying themselves more effectually by intemperance in the evening. No, no, these are no companions for me; I hope, with the blessing of Heaven, to outlive a score of them.'

We came, soon after, to a little neat house upon the road, where, the Doctor told me, lived a very agreeable widow lady, to whom he had formerly paid his addresses. 'She had at that time,' says he,' as large a fortune of health, as any woman in the county; but she has since mortgaged it to the apothecary for slops, and I have taken my leave of her. She was determined to be a widow, and so married an officer, who got his head knocked off at Fontenoy. These are a sort of men that I make no acquaintance with; they hold their lives on too precarious a tenure.' [Page 237] 'But they are useful members of society,' said I, 'and command our esteem.' 'That may be, Sir,' returned the Doctor, 'and so are the miners in our coal pits, who are every hour in danger of being buried alive. But there is a subordination of de­gree, which ought strictly to be observed; and a man in ill health, or of a dangerous profession, should not think himself on a level with people of sound constitutions and less hazardous employments.'

I was determined to interrupt the Doctor no more; and he went on thus: 'You may possibly think me an odd kind of a man; but I am no enemy to people of bad constitutions, nor ever withhold my bounty from them, when their necessities demand it; but, though I am doing them all the services in my pow­er, I cannot consent to lower myself so far as to make them my companions. It is more in the power of the physician to confer rank, than the King; for the gifts of fortune are nothing; health is the only riches that a man ought to set a value on; and, without it, all men are poor, let their estates be what they will. If I differ from the common opinion in this particular, I do also in another. The tradesman or mechanic, who has acquired an estate by his industry, is seldom reckoned a gentleman; but it was always my sentiment, that a man, who makes his own constitution, has more merit in him, than he that was born with it; the one is the work of chance, the other of design; and it is for this reason that I am seen so often with your friend; for, [Page 238] though the gout is generally an impoverishing dis­temper, yet temperance and regularity may in time subdue it; whereas the gentleman, who drove by us with his six horses, has an incurable asthma, which renders him, with his large estate, as poor as the beggar who is dying under a hedge. The more you think of these things, the more you will be of my opinion. A poor man in health is a companion for a king; but a lord without it is a poor man indeed: And why should he expect the homage of other peo­ple, when the very meanest of his domestics would refuse to change places with him.'

My companion was stopped short in his harangue by our arrival at my friend's house. We found him in good health and spirits, which greatly heightened the Vicar's complaisance; and, as I took care to conceal from him the complaints and infirmities of old age, I passed a very agreeable week, and was so much in his good graces, that, at my departure, he presented me with Dr. Turlington's balsam, and a paper of Dr. James's powder: 'There,' says he, 'they may rob you of your money, if they please; but, for bruises and fevers, you may set them at de­fiance.'

On my return home, I made many serious re­flections on this whimsical character; and, in the end, could not help wishing, that, under certain li­mitations, the sentiments of the Vicar were a little more in fashion. Health is certainly the riches of life; and, if men were to derive their rank from that [Page 239] alone, it would, in all probability, make them more careful to preserve it. Society might be benefited by it in another respect, as it would tend to keep complaining people at home, who are the perpetual disturbers of all companies abroad.

MR. EGERTON.

Notwithstanding the whimsical turn which is given to this gentleman, I think his mode of esti­mating riches is exceedingly just. With respect to what is called wealth, every person must feel how inferior that is to a sound and good constitution; and even great virtues and abilities, without health, are useless to society. The moral, therefore, is strong and obvious, namely, that it is a duty we owe to society, to be careful of our health.

We are obliged to Miss Forrester for pointing out to us so ingenious and useful an essay.

DIALOGUE XX.

MR. EGERTON.

YOU know, my children, we are preparing to leave the peaceful retirement of the country, a little while, for town; there to see, and be seen; [Page 240] there to remark the busy pursuits of men, in their chace after pleasure, wealth, fame, titles, or whatever else seems to them most desirable. When we are there, I shall endeavour, as I have before done, to turn these living lessons to your advantage; but as the present is the last conversation we shall enjoy in this place till our return, I will speak to you upon the subject which appears most immediately useful; I mean Decorum, and the guarded manner in which young people, who are not sufficiently aware of what are, and what are not improprieties, ought to behave.

Levity, though it sometimes is productive of gaiety, and the agreeably sallies which are so enli­vening to conversation, has frequently, likewise, in­curred the most poignant distress, and involved its possessors in irretrievable misery and misfortune. There are two sorts of levity equally to be avoided; a levity of tongue, and a levity of conduct: to in­dulge in either is dangerous, for they are equally difficult to subdue, when once habit has made them familiar. The loquacious barber of Athens is a strong instance of this truth.

A barber who kept a shop at the extremity of the city of Athens, was the first who heard of the defeat of the Athenians, in Sicily, from a slave who had fled from the field of battle. This barber, impa­tient to be the man who should first divulge the news, instantly left his shop, and ran into the city, telling every body what he had heard. These disagreeable [Page 241] tidings presently occasioned a great tumult, and the people flocking to the market-place, surrounded the barber, and demanded how he came to the know­ledge of this defeat; to which he could give no satis­factory answer, nor produce the least shadow of proof in support of his assertion, he having, in his eagerness to be the first narrator, forgot even so much as to enquire the name of the slave who had told him. This exasperated the people, who were very willing to believe the whole to be a lye of the barber's own invention, and, in their anger, they hurried him away, and stretched him upon the rack for an incendiary. In the mean time, however, a con­firmation of the account arrived, and the people, eager to hear the particulars, ran and forgot the poor barber, leaving him upon the wheel; where he remained till the evening, when, at last, somebody recollecting him, he was taken down. No sooner was he released, than, instead of thinking about the pain he had suffered, or the cure of his hurts, he began to enquire the particulars of the battle, how many were prisoners, how many had escaped, whe­ther the General was killed, and in what manner he died.

FANNY.

Dear papa, I have often heard how curious the women are! but do you think women are as fond of news, and tattling, as this barber?

MR. EGERTON.
[Page 242]

Well bred and prudent women never are, my dear. But there are many men beside the barber of Athens, who have been greatly injured by the incon­tinence and levity of their tongues. You may learn this from the following history, which a certain young gentleman has given the world of his own impru­dence.

YOUTHFUL LEVITY: Or the Necessity of knowing your COMPANY.

TO be courteous to all, but familiar with few, is a maxim which I once despised, as originally pro­ceeding from a mean and contracted mind, the frigid caution of weakness and timidity. A tame and in­discriminate civility I imputed to a dread of the con­tempt or the petulance of others, to fears from which the wit and the gentleman are exempted by a con­sciousness of their own dignity, by their power to repress insolence, and silence ridicule; and a general shyness and reserve I considered as the reproach of our country, as the effect of an illiberal education, by which neither a polite address, an easy confidence, or a general acquaintance with public life, is to be acquired. This opinion, which continued to flatter the levity and pride that produced it, was strength­ened by the example of those whose manner, in the diffidence of youth, I wished to imitate, who entered [Page 243] a mixed company with an air of ferene familiarity, accosted every man like an old acquaintance, and thought only of making sport for the rest of any with whom their caprice should happen to be of­fended, without regard to their age, character, or condition.

But I now wish, that I had regulated my con­duct by the maxim which I despised, for I should then have escaped a misfortune which I can never retrieve; and the sense of which I am now endea­vouring to suspend, by relating it to you as a lesson to others, and considering my loss of happiness as an acquisition of wisdom.

While I was in France with a travelling tutor, I received a letter which acquainted me, that my father, who had been long declining, was dead; and that it was necessary I should immediately return to England, to take possession of his estate, which was not inconsiderable, though there were mort­gages upon it to near half its value.

When I arrived, I found a letter which the old gentleman had written and directed to me with his own hand. It contained some general rules for my conduct, and some animadversions upon his own: he took notice of the incumbrance under which he left me the paternal inheritance, which had descended through many generations, and expressed the most earnest desire, that it might yet be transmitted intire to posterity: with this view, he said, he had nego­tiated a marriage between me and the only daughter [Page 244] of his old friend, Sir George Homestead of the North, an amiable young lady, whose alliance would be an honour to my family, and whose for­tune would much more than redeem my estate.

He had given the knight a faithful account of his affairs; who, after having taken some time to con­sider the proposal and consult his friends, con­sented to the match, upon condition that his daughter and I should prove agreeable to each other, and my behaviour should confirm the character which had been given of me. My father added, that he hoped to have lived till this alliance had taken place; but as Providence had otherwise determined, he intreated, as his last request, that as soon as my affairs should be settled and decency would permit, I would make Sir George a visit, and neglect nothing to accom­plish his purpose.

I was touched with the zeal and tenderness of parental affection which was then directing me to happiness, after the heart that felt it had ceased to beat, and the hand that expressed it was moulder­ing in the dust. I had seen the lady, not indeed since we were children; but I remembered that her person was agreeable, and her temper sweet: I did not, therefore, hesitate a moment, whether my fa­ther's injunction should be obeyed. I proceeded to settle his affairs; I took an account of his debts and credits, visited the tenants, recovered my usual gaiety, and at the end of about nine months set out for Sir George's seat in the North; having before opened [Page 245] an epistolary correspondence, and expressed my im­patience to possess the happiness which my father had so kindly secured.

I was better pleased to be well mounted, than to loll in a chariot, or be jumbled in a post-chaise; and I knew that Sir George was an old sportsman, a plain hearty blade, who would like me better in a pair of buckskin breeches on the back of a good hunter, than in a trimmed suit and a gaudy equi­page: I, therefore, set out on horseback with only one servant, and reached Stilton the first night.

In the morning, as I was mounting, a gentle­man, who had just got on horseback before me, ordered his servant to make enquiry concerning the road, which I happened to overhear, and told him with great familiarity, that I was going the same way, and if he pleased we would travel together: to this he consented, with as much frankness, and as little ceremony; and I set forward, greatly delighted that chance had afforded me a companion.

We immediately entered into conversation, and I soon found that he had been abroad: we extolled the roads and the policy of France, the cities, the palaces, and the villas; entered into a critical exa­mination of the most celebrated seats in England, the peculiarities of the building and situation, cross­ways, market-towns, the imposition of innkeepers, and the sports of the field; topics by which we mutu­ally recommended ourselves to each other, as we had both opportunities to discover equal knowledge, and [Page 246] to display truth with such evidence as prevented di­versity of opinion.

After we had rode about two hours, we overtook another gentleman, whom we accosted with the same familiarity that we had used to each other; we asked him how far he was going and which way, at what rate he travelled, where he put up, and many other questions of the same kind. The gentleman, who appeared to be near fifty, received our address with great coolness, returned short and indirect an­swers to our enquiries, and, often looking with great attention on us both, sometimes put forward that he might get before us, and sometimes checked his horse that he might remain behind. But we were resolved to disappoint him; and, finding that his reserve increased, and he was visibly displeased, we winked at each other, and determined the old put should afford us some sport. After we had rode together upon very ill terms more than half an hour, my companion with an air of ceremonious gravity asked him, if he knew any house upon the road where he might be accommodated with an agreeable girl. The gentleman, who was, I believe, afraid of giving us a pretence to quarrel, did not resent this insult any otherwise than by making no reply. I then began to talk to my companion as if we had been old acquaintances, reminding him that the gen­tleman extremely resembled a person whom we had once seen coming out of a bagnio with a certain old acquaintance of ours; and, indeed, that his present [Page 247] reserve made me suspect him to be the same; but that as we were willing to forget the affair, we hoped he would be so too, and that we should have the pleasure of dining together at the next inn. The gentleman was still silent; but as his perplexity and resentment visibly increased, he proportionably in­creased our entertainment, which did not, however, last long, for he suddenly turned down a lane; upon which we set up a horse laugh that continued till he was out of hearing, and then pursuing our journey, we talked of the adventure, which afforded us conversation and merriment for the rest of the day.

The next morning we parted, and in the evening I arrived at Homestead Hall. The old knight re­ceived me with great affection, and immediately in­troduced me to his daughter, whom I now thought the finest woman I had ever seen. I could easily dis­cover, that I was not welcome to her merely upon her father's recommendation, and I enjoyed by an­ticipation the felicity which I considered as within my reach. But the pleasing scene, in which I had suffered my imagination to wander, suddenly disap­peared as by the power of enchantment. Without any visible motive, the behaviour of the whole family was changed, my assiduities to the lady were re­pressed, she was never to be found alone, the knight treated me with a cold civility, I was no longer a party in their visits, nor was I willingly attended even by the servants. I made many attempts to dis­cover [Page 248] the cause of this misfortune, but without suc­cess; and one morning, when I had drawn Sir George into the garden by himself, and was about to urge him upon the subject, he prevented me by say­ing, that his promise to my father, for whom he had the highest regard, as I well knew, was conditional; that he had always resolved to leave his daughter a free choice, and that she had requested him to ac­quaint me, that her affections were otherwise en­gaged, and to entreat that I would, therefore, dis­continue my addresses. My surprize and concern at this declaration, were such as left me no power to reply; and I saw Sir George turn from me and go into the house, without making any attempt to stop him, or to obtain a further explanation. After­wards, indeed, I frequently expostulated, entreated, and complained; but, perceiving that all was inef­fectual, I took my leave, and determined that I would still solicit by letter; for the lady had taken such possession of my heart, that I would joyfully have married her, though I had been sure that her father would immediately have left all his fortune to a stranger.

I meditated on my epistolary project all the way to London, and before I had been three days in town I wrote a long letter to Sir George, in which I con­jured him, in the strongest terms, to account for the change in his behaviour; and insisted, that, on this occasion, to conceal the truth, was in the highest [Page 249] degree dishonourable to himself, and injurious to me.

To this letter, after about ten days, I received the following answer:

SIR,

It is with great reluctance that I reveal the mo­tives of my conduct, because they are much to your disadvantage. The inclosed is a letter which I re­ceived from a worthy gentleman in this county, and contains a full answer to your enquiries, which I had rather you should receive in any hand than in mine.

I am your humble servant, GEO. HOMESTEAD.

I immediately opened the paper inclosed, in which, with the utmost impatience, I read as follows:

SIR,

I saw a person with your family yesterday at the races, to whom, as I was soon after informed, you intend to give your daughter. Upon this occasion, it is my indispensible duty to acquaint you, that if his character is to be determined by his company, he will inevitably entail diseases and beggary upon his posterity, whatever be the merit of his wife, or the affluence of his fortune. He overtook me on the road from London a few weeks ago, in company with a wretch, who by their discourse appeared to [Page 250] be his old and familiar acquaintance, and whom I well remember to have been brought before my friend Justice Worthy, when I was accidentally at his house, as the keeper of a brothel in Covent Garden. He has since won a considerable sum with false dice at the masquerade, for which he was obliged to leave the kingdom, and is still liable to a prosecu­tion. Be assured that I have perfect knowledge of both; for some incidents, which it is not necessary to mention, kept me near them so long on the road, that it is impossible I should be mistaken.

I am, Sir, your's, &c. JAMES TRUEMAN.

The moment I had read this letter, the riddle was solved. I knew Mr. Trueman to be the gentleman, whom I had concurred with a stranger, picked up by accident, to insult without provocation on the road. I was in a moment covered with confusion; and though I was alone, could not help hiding my face with my hands. I abhorred my folly, which appeared yet more enormous every time it was re­viewed.

I courted the society of a stranger, and a stranger I persecuted with insult: thus I associated with in­famy, and thus my associate became known. I hoped, however, to convince Sir George, that I had no knowledge of the wretch whose infamy I had shared, except that which I acquired from the letter of his friend. But before I had taken proper mea­sures [Page 251] for my justification, I had the mortification to hear, that the lady was married to a neighbouring gentleman, who had long made his addresses, and whom Sir George had before rejected in the ardor of his friendship for my father.

How narrow is the path of rectitude, and how much may be lost by the slightest deviation!

MR. EGERTON.

You see, my children, how cautious you ought to be in your behaviour, and how circumspect in your choice of companions.

MRS. EGERTON.

The story of Flavilla upon this subject, is a tra­gical, and a just picture of the dreadful effects which the want of strict regard to propriety and appearances may produce; and to which, my chil­dren, I intreat you to listen with more than com­mon attention.

LEVITY OF CONDUCT: Or the Story of FLAVILLA.

FLAVILLA, just as she had entered her four­teenth year, was left an orphan to the care of her mother, in such circumstances as disappointed all the hopes which her education had encouraged. Her father, who lived in great elegance upon the salary of a place at court, died suddenly without having [Page 252] made any provision for his family, except an annuity of one hundred pounds, which he had purchased for his wife with part of her marriage portion; nor was he possessed of any property, except the furniture of a large house in one of the new squares, an equipage, a few jewels, and some plate.

The greater part of the furniture and the equipage were sold to pay his debts; the jewels, which were not of great value, and some useful pieces of the plate, were reserved; and Flavilla removed with her mother into lodgings.

But notwithstanding this change in their circum­stances, they did not immediately lose their rank. They were still visited by a numerous and polite acquaintance; and though some gratified their pride by assuming an appearance of pity, and rather in­sulted than alleviated their distress by the whine of condolence, and a minute comparison of what they had lost with what they possessed; yet from others they were continually receiving presents, which still enabled them to live with genteel frugality; they were still considered as people of fashion, and treated by those of a lower class with distinct respect.

Flavilla thus continued to move in a sphere to which she had no claim; she was remarkably tall for her age, and was celebrated not only for her beauty but her wit: these qualifications she considered, not only as securing whatever she enjoyed by the favour of others, but as a pledge of possessing them in her own right by an advantageous marriage.

[Page 253]There was a fashionable levity in her carriage and discourse, which her mother, who knew the danger of her situation, laboured to restrain, sometimes with anger, and sometimes with tears, but always with­out success. Flavilla was ever ready to answer, that she neither did or said any thing of which she had reason to be ashamed; and therefore did not know why she should be restrained, except in mere cour­tesy to envy, which it was an honour to provoke; or to slander, which it was a disgrace to fear. In pro­portion as Flavilla was more flattered and caressed, the influence of her mother became less; and though she always treated her with respect from a point of good breeding, yet she secretly despised her maxims, and applauded her own conduct.

Flavilla at eighteen was a celebrated toast; and among other gay visitants who frequented her tea-table, was Clodio, a young Baronet, who had just taken possession of his title and estate. There were many particulars in Clodio's behaviour, which en­couraged Flavilla to hope that she should obtain him for a husband; but she suffered his assiduities with such apparent pleasure, and his familiarities with so little reserve, that he soon ventured to disclose his intention, and make her, what he thought, a very genteel proposal of another kind: but whatever were the artifices with which it was introduced, or the terms in which it was made, Flavilla rejected it with the utmost indignation and disdain. Clodio, who, notwithstanding his youth, had long known and [Page 254] often practised the arts of seduction, gave way to the storm, threw himself at her feet, imputed his offence to the phrenzy of his passion, flattered her pride by the most abject submission and extravagant praise, in­treated her pardon, aggravated his crime, but made no mention of atonement by marriage. This parti­cular, which Flavilla did not fail to remark, ought to have determined her to admit him no more: but her vanity and her ambition were still predominant, she still hoped to succeed in her project. Clodio's offence was tacitly forgiven, his visits were per­mitted, his familiarities were again suffered, and his hopes revived. He had long entertained an opinion that she loved him, in which, however, it is pro­bable, that his own vanity and her indiscretion con­curred to deceive him; but this opinion, though it implied the strongest obligation to treat her with generosity and tenderness, only determined him again to attempt her ruin, as it encouraged him with a probability of success. Having therefore resolved to obtain her as a mistress, or at once to give her up, he thought he had little more to do, than to con­vince her that he had taken such a resolution; justi­fying it by some plausible sophistry, and to give her some time to deliberate upon a final determination. With this view he went a short journey into the country; having put a letter into her hand at part­ing, in which he acquainted her, "That he had often reflected, with inexpressible regret, upon her resentment of his conduct in a late instance; but [Page 255] that the delicacy and the ardour of his affection were insuperable obstacles to his marriage: that where there was no liberty, there could be no happiness: that he should become indifferent to the endearments of love, when they could no longer be distinguished from the officiousness of duty: that while they were happy in the possession of each other, it would be absurd to suppose they would part; and if this hap­piness should cease, it would not only ensure but aggravate their misery to be inseparably united: that this event was less probable, in proportion as their cohabitation was voluntary; but that he would make such provision for her upon the contingency, as a wife would expect upon his death."

Flavilla had too much understanding, as well as virtue, to deliberate a moment upon this proposal. She gave immediate orders that Clodio should be ad­mitted no more. But his letter was a temptation to gratify her vanity, which she could not resist; she shewed it first to her mother, and then to the whole circle of her female acquaintance, with all the ex­ultation of a hero who exposes a vanquished enemy at the wheels of his chariot in a triumph; she con­sidered it as an indisputable evidence of her virtue, as a reproof to all who had dared to censure the levity of her conduct, and a licence to continue it without apology or restraint.

It happened that Flavilla, soon after this acci­dent, was seen in one of the boxes at the play-house, by Mercator, a young gentleman who had just re­turned [Page 256] from his first voyage, as captain of a large ship in the Levant trade, which had been purchased for him by his father, whose fortune enabled him to make a genteel provision for five sons, of whom Mercator was the youngest, and who expected to share his estate, which was personal, in equal pro­portions at his death.

Mercator was captivated with her beauty, but discouraged by the splendor of her appearance, and the rank of her company. He was urged, rather by curiosity than hope, to enquire who she was; and he gained such a knowledge of her circum­stances, as relieved him from despair.

As he knew not how to get admission to her com­pany, and had no design upon her virtue, he wrote in the first ardour of his passion to her mother; giv­ing a faithful account of his fortune and dependence, and entreating that he might be permitted to visit Flavilla as a candidate for her affection. The lady, after having made some enquiries, by which the ac­count that Mercator had given her was confirmed, sent him an invitation, and received his first visit alone. She told him, that as Flavilla had no for­tune, and as a considerable part of his own was de­pendent upon his father's will, he ought, therefore, to obtain his consent, before any other step was taken. To this counsel, so salutary, Mercator was hesitating what to reply, when Flavilla came in, an accident which he was now only solicitous to improve. Fla­villa was not displeased either with his person or his [Page 257] address. The frankness and gaiety of her disposition soon made him forget that he was a stranger. A conversation commenced, during which they became yet more pleased with each other; and having thus surmounted the difficulty of a first visit, he thought no more of the mother, as he believed her auspices were not necessary to his success.

His visits were often repeated, and he became every hour more impatient of delay. A thought of his father would now and then, indeed, intervene; but being determined to gratify his wishes at all events, he concluded with a sagacity almost universal on these occasions, that of two evils, to marry without his consent, was less than to marry against it; and one evening, after the lovers had spent the after­noon by themselves, they went out in a kind of fro­lic, which Mercator had proposed in the vehemence of his passion, and to which Flavilla had consented in the giddiness of her indiscretion, and were mar­ried at May-Fair chapel.

In the first interval of recollection after this pre­cipitate step, Mercator considered, that he ought to be the first to acquaint his father of the new alli­ance which had been made in his family: but as he had not fortitude enough to do it in person, he ex­pressed it in the best terms he could conceive by a letter; and requested that he might be permitted to present his wife for the parental benediction, which alone was wanting to complete his felicity.

[Page 258]The old gentleman, whose character I cannot better express than in the fashionable phrase which has been contrived to palliate false principles and dissolute manners, had been a gay man, and was well acquainted with the town. He had often heard Flavilla toasted by rakes of quality, and had often seen her at public places. Her beauty and her de­pendence, the gaiety of her dress, the multitude of her admirers, the levity of her conduct, and all the circumstances of her situation, had concurred to render her character suspected; and he was disposed to judge of it with yet less charity, when, as she had offended him by marrying his son, whom he considered as disgraced and impoverished, and whose misfortune, as it was irretrievable, he resolved not to alleviate, but increase: a resolution by which fathers, who have foolish and disobedient sons, usually display their own kindness and wisdom. As soon as he read Mercator's letter, he execrated him for a fool, who had been gulled by the artifices of a loose woman, to screen her from public infamy, by fathering her children, and securing her from a prison by appro­priating her debts. In his answer, which he wrote only to gratify his resentment, he told him, that "if he had taken Flavilla into keeping, he would have overlooked it; and if her extravagance had distressed him, he would have satisfied his creditors; but that his marriage was not to be forgiven; that he should never have a shilling of his money; and that he was determined to see him no more."

[Page 259]Mercator, who was more provoked by this out­rage than grieved at his loss, disdained to reply; and believing that he had now most reason to be of­fended, could not be persuaded to solicit a reconci­liation.

He hired a genteel apartment for his wife of an upholsterer, who, with a view to let lodgings, had taken and furnished a large house, near Leicester-fields; and in about two months, he left her, and made another voyage.

He had received visits of congratulation from her numerous acquaintance, and had returned them as a pledge of his desire that they should be repeated. But a remembrance of the gay multitude, which, while he was at home, had flattered his vanity, as soon as he was absent, alarmed his suspicions. He had, indeed, no particular cause of jealousy; but his anxiety arose merely from a sense of the temptations to which she was exposed, and the impossibility of his superintending her conduct.

In the mean time Flavilla continued to flutter round the same giddy circle in which she had shone so long; the number of her visitants rather increased than diminished; the gentlemen attended with yet greater assiduity; and she continued to encourage their civilities by the same indiscreet familiarity: She was one night at the masquerade, another night at an opera; sometimes at a route; sometimes ram­bling in parties of pleasure in short excursions from [Page 260] town; she came home at midnight, in the morning, and sometimes she was absent several nights together.

This conduct was the cause of much speculation and uneasiness to the good man and woman of the house. At first they suspected that Flavilla was no better than a woman of pleasure; and that the person who had hired the lodgings for her as his wife, and had disappeared upon pretence of a voyage to sea, had been employed to impose upon them, by con­cealing her character, in order to obtain such accom­modations for her as she could not so easily have procured had it been known: But as these suspicions made them watchful and inquisitive, they soon dis­covered, that many ladies by whom she was visited, were of good character and fashion. Her conduct, however, supposing her to be a wife, was still inex­cusable, and still endangered their credit and subsist­ence: hints were often dropped by the neighbours to the disadvantage of her character; and an elderly maiden lady, who lodged in the second floor, had given warning: the family was disturbed at all hours in the night, and the door was crouded all day with messengers and visitants to Flavilla.

One day, therefore, the mistress of the house took an opportunity to remonstrate, though in the most distant and respectful terms, and with the utmost diffidence and caution. She told Flavilla, "That she was a fine young lady, that her husband was abroad, that she kept a great deal of company, and that the world was censorious: she wished that less [Page 261] occasion for scandal was given; and hoped to be excused the liberty she had taken. Flavilla might be ruined by those slanders which could have no influ­ence upon the great, and which, therefore, the great were not solicitous to avoid."

This address, however ambiguous, and however gentle, was easily understood, and fiercely resented. Flavilla, proud of her virtue, and impatient of con­troul, would have despised the counsel of a philoso­pher, if it had implied an impeachment of her con­duct: before a person so much her inferior, there­fore, she was under no restraint; she answered with a mixture of contempt and indignation, "That those only who did not know her, would dare to take any liberty with her character; and warned her to pro­pagate no scandalous report at her peril." Flavilla immediately rose from her seat, and the mistress of the house departed without reply, though she was scarce less offended than her lodger, and from that moment she determined, when Mercator returned, to give warning.

Mercator's voyage was prosperous, and, after an absence of about ten months, he came back. The woman, to whom her husband had left the whole ma­nagement of the lodgings, and who persisted in her purpose, soon found an opportunity to put it in exe­cution. Mercator, as his part of the contract had been punctually fulfilled, thought he had some cause to be offended, and insisted to know her reasons for compelling him to leave her house. These she was [Page 262] very unwilling to give; and as he perceived that she evaded his question, he became more solicitous to obtain an answer. After much hesitation, which, perhaps, had a worse effect than any tale which ma­lice could have invented, she told him, that "The lady kept a great deal of company, and often staid out very late; that she had always been used to quiet and regularity; and was determined to let her apart­ment to some person in a more private station."

At this account Mercator changed countenance; for he inferred from it just as much more than truth as he believed it to be less. After some moments of suspence, he conjured her to conceal nothing from him, with an emotion which convinced her that she had already said too much. She then assured him, "That he had no reason to be alarmed; for that she had no exception to his lady, but those gaieties which her station and the fashion sufficiently autho­rized." Mercator's suspicions, however, were not wholly removed; and he began to think he had found a confidante whom it would be his interest to trust: he, therefore, in the weakness of jealousy, confessed, that, "He had some doubts concerning his wife, which it was of the utmost importance to his honour, and his peace to have resolved: he en­treated her that he might continue in the apart­ment another year; that, as he should again leave the kingdom in a short time, she would suffer no in­cident, which might confirm either his hopes or his fears, to escape her notice in his absence; and that [Page 263] at his return she would give him such an account as would at least deliver him from the torment of sus­pence, and determine his future conduct."

Mercator, however, concealed his suspicions from his wife; and, indeed, in her presence they were forgotten. Her manner of life he began seriously to disapprove; but being well acquainted with her temper, in which great sweetness was blended with a high spirit, he would not embitter the pleasure of a short stay by altercation, chiding, and tears: but when her mind was melted into tenderness at his de­parture, he clasped her in an extacy of fondness to his bosom, and intreated her to behave with reserve and circumspection; "Because," said he, "I know that my father keeps a watchful eye upon your con­duct, which may, therefore, confirm or remove his displeasure, and either intercept or bestow such an increase of our fortune as will prevent the pangs of separation, which must otherwise so often return, and in a short time unite us to part no more." To this caution she had then no power to reply; and they parted with mutual protestations of unal­terable love.

Flavilla, soon after she was thus left in a sort of widowhood a second time, found herself pregnant; and within somewhat less than eight months after Mercator's return from his first voyage, she hap­pened to stumble as she was going up stairs, and being immediately taken ill, was brought to bed be­fore the next morning.

[Page 264]It was now necessary that the vigils of whist and the tumults of balls and visits should, for a while, be suspended; and in this interval of languor and retirement Flavilla first became thoughtful. She often reflected upon Mercator's caution when they last parted, which had made an indelible impression upon her mind, though it had produced no alteration in her conduct: notwithstanding the manner in which it was expressed, and the reason upon which it was founded, she began to fear that it might have been secretly prompted by jealousy.—The birth, therefore, of her first child in his absence, at a time so premature, was an accident which greatly alarm­ed her: but there was yet another, for which it was still less in her power to account, and which, there­fore, alarmed her still more.

It happened that some civilities which she receiv­ed from a lady who sat next her at an opera, and whom she had never seen before, introduced a con­versation which so much delighted her, that she gave her a pressing invitation to visit her: this in­vitation was accepted, and in a few days the visit was paid. Flavilla was not less pleased at the second interview, than she had been at the first; and with­out making any other enquiry concerning the lady than where she lived, took the first opportunity to wait upon her. The apartment in which she was received was the ground floor of an elegant house, at a small distance from St. James's palace. It hap­pened that Flavilla was placed near the window; [Page 265] and a party of the horse-guards riding through the streets, she expected to see some of the royal family, and hastily threw up the sash. A gentleman who was passing by at the same instant, turned about at the noise of the window, and Flavilla no sooner saw his face than she knew him to be the father of Mer­cator. After looking first steadfastly at her, and then glancing his eye at the lady whom she was visiting, he affected a contemptuous sneer, and went on. Flavilla, who had been thrown into some confusion, by the sudden and unexpected sight of a person, who, she knew, considered her as the disgrace of his fa­mily, and the ruin of his child, now changed coun­tenance, and hastily retired to another part of the room: she was touched both with grief and anger at this silent insult, of which, however, she did not then suspect the cause. It is, indeed, probable, that the father of Mercator would no where have looked upon her with complacency; but as soon as he saw her companion, he recollected that she was the fa­vourite mistress of an old courtier, and that this was the house in which he kept her in great splendor. It happened that Flavilla, soon after this accident, discovered the character of her new acquaintance; and never remembered by whom she had been seen in her company, without the utmost regret and ap­prehension.

She now resolved to move in a less circle, and with more circumspection. In the mean time her little boy grew very fast; and it could no longer be [Page 266] known by his appearance, that he had been born too soon. His mother frequently gazed on him with overflowing eyes; and though her pleasures were now become domestic, yet she feared lest that which had produced, should destroy them. After much de­liberation, she determined that she would conceal the child's age from its father; believing it prudent to pre­vent a suspicion, which, however ill founded, it might be difficult to remove, as her justification would de­pend wholly upon the testimony of her dependents; and her mother's and her own would necessarily be­come doubtful, when every one would have reason to conclude, that it would still have been the same, supposing the contrary to have been true.

Such was the state of Flavilla's mind, and her little boy was six months old, when Mercator re­turned. She received him with joy indeed, but it was mixed with a visible confusion; their meeting was more tender, but on her part less chearful; she smiled with inexpressible complacency, but at the same time the tears gushed from her eyes, and she was seized with an universal tremor. Mercator caught the infection; and caressed first his Flavilla, and then his boy, with an excess of fondness and delight that before he had never expressed. The sight of the child made him more than ever wish a reconciliation with his father; and having heard, on his first landing, that he was dangerously ill, he determined to attempt, immediately, to see him; promising that he would return to supper. He had, [Page 267] in the midst of his caresses, more than once enquired the age of his son, but the question had been always evaded; of which, however, he took no notice, nor did it produce any suspicion.

He was now hasting to enquire after his father; but as he passed through the hall, he was officiously laid hold of by his landlady. He was not much dis­posed to enquire how she had fulfilled his charge; but perceiving by her looks that she had something to communicate, which, at least in her own opinion, was of importance, he suffered her to take him into her parlour. She immediately shut the door, and reminded him, that she had undertaken an office with reluctance, which he had pressed upon her; and that she had done nothing in it to which he had not bound her by a promise; that she was extremely sorry to communicate her discoveries; but that he was a worthy gentleman, and, indeed, ought to know them. She then told him, "That the child was born within less than eight months after his last re­turn from abroad; that it was said to have come be­fore its time, but that having pressed to see it, she was refused." This, indeed, was true, and con­firmed the good woman in her suspicion; for Fla­villa, who had still resented the freedom which she had taken in her remonstrance, had kept her at a great distance; and the servants, to gratify their mistress, treated her with the utmost insolence and contempt.

At this relation Mercator turned pale. He now recollected that his question concerning the child's [Page 266] [...] [Page 267] [...] [Page 268] birth had been evaded: and concluded, that he had been shedding tears of tenderness and joy over a faithless wife, and an illegitimate child, who had robbed him of his patrimony, his honour and his peace. He started up with the furious wildness of sudden phrenzy; but she, with great difficulty, pre­vailed upon him not to leave the room. He sat down and remained some time motionless, with his eyes fixed on the ground, and his hands locked in each other. In proportion as he believed his wife to be guilty, his tenderness for his father revived: and he resolved, with yet greater zeal, to prosecute his purpose of immediately attempting a reconciliation.

In this state of confusion and distress, he went to the house, where he learned that his father had died early in the morning, and that his relations were then assembled to read his will. Fulvius, a brother of Mercator's mother, with whom he had always been a favourite, happening to pass from one room to another, heard his voice. He accosted him with great ardour of friendship; and soothing him with expressions of condolence and affection, insisted to introduce him to the company. Mercator tacitly consented; he was received at least with civility by his brother, and sitting down among them, the will was read. He seemed to listen like the rest; but was, indeed, musing over the story which he had just heard, and lost in the speculation of his own wretchedness. He awakened as from a dream, when the voice of the person who had been reading was suspended; and finding that he could no longer con­tain [Page 269] himself, he started up, and would have left the company.

Of the will which had been read before him, he knew nothing; but his uncle believing that he was moved with grief and resentment at the manner in which he had been mentioned in it, and the bequest only of a shilling, took him into another room; and, to apologize for his father's unkindness, told him, "that the resentment which he expressed at his mar­riage, was every day increased by the conduct of his wife, whose character was now become infamous, for that she had been seen at the lodgings of a cer­tain woman of bad character, with whom she ap­peared to be well acquainted." This account threw Mercator into another agony; from which he was, however, at length recovered by his uncle, who, as the only expedient by which he could retrieve his misfortune, and sooth his distress, proposed that he should no more return to his lodgings, but go home with him; that he would himself take such measures with his wife, as would scarce fail of inducing her to accept a separate maintenance, to assume another name, and trouble him no more. Mercator, in the bitterness of his affliction, consented to his proposal, and they went away together.

Mercator, in the mean time, was expected by Flavilla with the most tender impatience. She had put her little boy to bed, and decorated a small room in which they had used to sup, and which she had shut up in his absence; she counted the moments as they passed, and listened to every carriage and every [Page 270] step that she heard. Supper was now ready: her impatience was increased; terror was at length mingled with regret, and her fondness was only busied to afflict her; she wished, she feared, she ac­cused, she apologized, and she wept. In the height of these eager expectations and this tender distress, she received a billet which Mercator had been per­suaded by his uncle to write, in which he upbraided her in the strongest terms, with abusing his confi­dence; "of this, he said, he had now obtained suf­ficient proof to do justice to himself, and was deter­mined to see her no more."

To those whose hearts have not already acquainted them with the agony which seized Flavilla upon the sight of this billet, all attempts to describe it would be not only ineffectual but absurd. Having passed the night without sleep, and the next day without food, disappointed in every attempt to discover what was become of Mercator, and doubting, if she were to find him, whether it would be possible to convince him of her innocence; this violent agita­tion of her mind, produced a slow fever, which, before she considered it as a disease, she communi­cated to the child while she cherished it at her bosom, and wept over it, as an orphan whose life she was sustaining with her own.

After Mercator had been absent about ten days, his uncle, who persuaded him to accompany some friends to a country seat, at the distance of near sixty miles, went to his lodgings in order to dis­charge the rent, and try what terms he could make [Page 271] with Flavilla, whom he hoped to intimidate with threats of a divorce; but when he came, he found Flavilla sinking very fast under her disease, and the child dead. The woman of the house, into whose hands she had just put her watch, and some ornaments as a security for her rent, was so touched with her distress, and so firmly persuaded of her in­nocence by the manner in which she had addressed her, and the calm solemnity with which she absolved those by whom she had been traduced, that as soon as she had discovered Fulvius's business, she threw her­self on her knees, and intreated, that if he knew where Mercator was to be found, he would urge him to return, that, if possible, the life of Flavilla might be preserved, and the happiness of both be restored by her justification. Fulvius, who still suspected appearances, or at least was in doubt of the cause that had produced them, would not dis­cover his nephew; but after much entreaty and ex­postulation, at last engaged upon his honour for the conveyance of a letter. The woman as soon as she obtained his promise, ran up and communicated it to Flavilla; who, when she had recovered from the surprize and tumult which it occasioned, was supported in her bed, and in about half an hour, after many efforts, and many intervals, wrote a short billet, which was sealed and put into the hands of Fulvius.

Fulvius immediately inclosed and dispatched it by the post, resolving that in a question so doubtful and of such importance, he would no further inter­pose. [Page 272] Mercator, who the moment he cast his eye upon the letter, knew both the hand and seal; after pausing a few moments in suspence, at length tore it, open, and read these words:

"Such has been my folly, that, perhaps, I should not be acquitted of guilt in any circumstances, but those in which I write. I do not, therefore, but for your sake, wish them otherwise than they are. The dear infant, whose birth has undone me, now lies dead at my side, a victim to My indiscretion and Your resentment. I am scarce able to guide my pen. But I most earnestly intreat to see you, that you may at least have the satisfaction to hear me attest my in­nocence with the last sigh, and seal our reconciliation on my lips, while they are yet sensible of the im­pression."

Mercator, whom an earthquake would less have affected than this letter, felt all his sensibility revive in a moment, and reflected with unalterable anguish upon the rashness of his resentment. At the thought of his distance from London, he started as at a dag­ger in his heart: he lifted up his eyes to heaven, with a look that expressed at once an accusation of himself, and a petition for her; and then rushing out of the house, without taking leave, or ordering a servant to attend him, he took post-horses at a neighbouring inn, and in less than six hours was in Leicester-fields. But notwithstanding his speed, he arrived too late; Flavilla had suffered the last agony, and her eyes could behold him no more. Grief and disappointment, remorse and despair now totally sub­verted [Page 273] his reason. It became necessary to remove him by force from the body; and, after a confinement of two years, he died distracted.

May every woman on whose memory compassion shall record these events, tremble to assume the le­vity of Flavilla; perhaps, it is not in the power of any man, in Mercator's circumstances, to be less jealous than Mercator.

MR. EGERTON.

This, my children, is a melancholy relation, and has affected you. Reflect on the lesson it teaches, and be more prudent than Flavilla. For the present, we will give some relief to this picture, by reading a very ingenious letter: it is the spirit of levity, dis­played in amiable and lovely colours, and reflects great honour on the heart and head of the lady who wrote it.

AMIABLE LEVITY: A LETTER from the late Miss TALBOT, To a new-born child *.

YOU are heartily welcome, my dear little cousin, into this unquiet world; long may you continue in it, in all the happiness it can give; and bestow enough on all your friends, to answer fully the im­patience with which you have been expected. May you grow up to have every accomplishment, that [Page 274] your good friend the * bishop of Derry can already imagine in you; and in the mean time, may you have a nurse with a tuneable voice, that may not talk an immoderate deal of nonsense to you.

You are, at present, my dear, in a very philoso­phical disposition; the gaieties and follies of life have no attraction for you: its sorrows you kindly com­miserate; but, however, do not suffer them to dis­turb your slumbers; and find charms in nothing but harmony and repose. You have as yet contracted no partialities, are entirely ignorant of party distinctions, and look with a perfect indifference on all human splendor. You have an absolute dislike to the va­nities of dress; and are likely for many months to observe the Bishop of Bristol's first rule of conver­sation, silence; though tempted to transgress it by the novelty and strangeness of all the objects round you. As you advance farther in life, this philoso­phical temper will, by degrees, wear off: the first object of your admiration will probably be a candle; and thence, (as we all of us do) you will contract a taste for the gaudy and the glaring, without making one moral reflection upon the danger of such false admiration, as leads people, many a time, to burn their fingers. You will then begin to shew great partiality for some very good aunts, who will contri­bute all they can towards spoiling you; but you will be equally fond of an excellent mamma, who [Page 275] will teach you, by her example, all sorts of good qualities; only let me warn you of one thing, my dear, and that is, do not learn of her to have such an immoderate love of home; for it is quite contrary to all the privileges of this polite age; nor to give up so entirely all those pretty graces of whim, flutter, and affectation, which so many charitable poets have declared to be the prerogative of our sex: ah! my poor cousin, to what purpose will you boast this pre­rogative, when your nurse tells you, with a pious care, to sow the seeds of jealousy and emulation as early as possible, that you have a fine little brother come to put your nose out of joint. There will be nothing to be done then, I believe, but to be mighty good, and prove what, believe me, admits of very little dispute, (though it has occasioned abundance) that we girls, however people give themselves airs of being disappointed, are by no means to be de­spised: let the men unenvied shine in public, it is we must make their homes delightful to them; and, if they provoke us, no less uncomfortable. I do not expect you my dear, to answer this letter yet-a-while; but, as I dare say, you have the greatest interest with your papa, will beg you to prevail upon him, that we may know by a line, (before his time is engrossed by another secret committee) that you and your mamma are well. In the mean time I will only assure you, that all here rejoice in your existence ex­tremely: and that I am,

My very young correspondent, most affectionately your's, C. T.
*
A grand daughter of Lord Chancellor Talbot.
*
Dr. Rundle.
Dr. Secker; afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury; with whom Miss Talbot lived.
MR. EGERTON.
[Page 276]

I have now, my dear children, only a few words to add. We are going, for a little while, from a happy retirement, where truth and peace and inno­cence delight to dwell, into the regions of pleasure, folly, and ambition. Let not your eyes be daz­zled with false glare, nor your hearts tempted with imaginary delights. Drink not too deep at the fascinating fountain of pleasure, left you should either be inebriated or surfeited. It is true, your present danger is not very great; you will have faithful and interested directors, whose care and cau­tion will counterbalance the impetuous sallies of youthful imagination; but beware of contracting a love for fancied pleasures, which you will behold so many pursuing with thoughtless impetuosity, and who stop not in their career, till suddendly impeded by poverty, disease, or unsuspected ruin. Remember the serene, the chearful joys you have so often been partakers of in this place, and let not your passions hurry you away from the calm and permanent con­tent, which reason and reflection never fail to give. When you go into public, be willing to be pleased, but not infatuated. In short, my children, remem­ber the examples you have so often read of in this happy room: think on the inevitable consequences of good and bad, of wise and foolish conduct: forget not how deeply interested are the mother who has done and suffered so much for you, and the father whose labours have been unceasing to make you truly vir­tuous and beneficent members of society—forget not, [Page 277] I say, my dear, dear children, how much it is in your power to heap blessings or curses, to render happy or miserable, parents, of whose dear and tender affection you have had so many and such indisputable proofs. You will yourselves, I hope, hereafter, be­come happy parents; you will then know the force of parental anxieties, and parental joys. I cannot describe them; endeavour to imagine what they are from the following story.

PARENTAL FEELINGS: Or the ABENAKEE INDIAN.

DURING the last war in America, a band of savages having surprised and defeated a party of the English, such of those who were not actually killed on the spot, had very little chance of getting away from enemies who were much quicker of foot than they, and who, pursuing them with unrelenting fury, used those whom they overtook with a barbarity, even in those countries, almost without example.

A young English officer, pressed by two savages who were making at him with uplifted hatchets, without the least hope of escaping death, thought of nothing but selling his life as dear as he could. At the instant, an old savage, armed with his bow, drew near him, in order to pierce him with the arrow; when taking aim at him, all on a sudden drops his point, and runs to throw himself between the young Englishman and the two Barbarians, who were going to massacre him. These drew back out of respect to the motions of the old man, who, with [Page 278] signs of peace, took the officer by the hand, after removing his apprehensions by friendly gestures, and carried him home with him to his hut. There he treated him with humanity and gentleness, more like his companion than his slave. He taught him the Abenakee language, and the coarse arts in use among those people, and they lived well satisfied with each other. One only point of the old man's deport­ment gave the young officer uneasiness; he fre­quently observed the savage fixing his eyes upon him, and, after looking long and steadfastly at him, shed­ding tears.

On the return of spring, the Abenakees took the field again, and proceeded in quest of the English.

The old man, who had still vigour enough to bear the fatigues of war, went along with his coun­trymen; not forgetting to take his prisoner with him. They made a march of above two hundred leagues, through the trackless wilds and forests of that country, till at length they came within view of a plain in which they discovered an English camp. This the old man shewed to his young companion, at the same time attentively eyeing him, and mark­ing his countenance; "There (says he) are thy brothers waiting to give us battle. What sayest thou? I preserved thee from death. I have taught thee to build canoes; to make bows and arrows; to catch the deer of the forest; to wield the hatchet; and our whole art of war. What wast thou when I took thee home to my dwelling? Thy hands were as the hands of a mere child, they could serve thee [Page 279] but little for thy defence, and yet less for providing thee means of sustenance. Thy soul was in the dark: thou wert a stranger to all necessary know­ledge. To me thou owest life—the means of life— every thing. Couldst thou then be ungrateful enough to go over to join thy countrymen, and to lift the hatchet against us?"

The young Englishman answered, that he could not but feel a just repugnance to carrying arms against those of his own nation, but that he would never turn them against the Abenakees, whom, so long as he should live, he would consider as his brothers.

At this the dejected savage hung his head, and lifting up his hands covered his face with them, in a deep meditation. After remaining some time in this attitude, he looked earnestly at the English officer, and said to him with a mixture of grief and tenderness, "Hast thou a father?"—"He was alive, answered the young man, when I left my country."—"Oh, unhappy man!" said the savage. —After a moment's pause, adding, "Dost thou not know that I too was once a father?—Alas! I am no longer one. No: I am no longer a father! I saw my son fall. He fought by my side: I saw him die like a man, covered with wounds as he fell! But I revenged him."

He pronounced these words with the most pathetic emphasis, and shuddered; his breast heaved with pain, and he was choaked with inward groans, which he endeavoured to stifle. His eyes looked wild, but [Page 280] no tear fell. By degrees the violence of his agita­tions ceased, and he grew calm. Turning towards the east, he pointed to the rising sun, and said, "Seest thou yon beauteous luminary, that sun in all its splendor? Does the sight of it afford thee plea­sure?"—"Undoubtedly, answered the officer, who can behold so fine a sky without delight?"—"And yet to me, said the savage, it no longer affords any!" Then casting his eye on a bush in full flower, "See! said he, young man, doth not that gay appearance of flowers give thee a sort of joy to look at?" "It does," replied the officer. "And yet, said the old man, it delighteth not me!" adding, with impetu­osity, "depart—haste,—fly to yon camp of thy friends. Get thee home to thy Father, that he may still behold with pleasure the rising of the sun, and the flowers of the spring."

THE END.

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