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´╗┐Title: Vice in its Proper Shape - Or, The Wonderful and Melancholy Transformation of Several - Naughty Masters and Misses Into Those Contemptible Animals - Which They Most Resemble In Disposition.
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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[Illustration: FRONTISPIECE.]



VICE
IN ITS
PROPER SHAPE;
OR, THE
Wonderful and Melancholy
TRANSFORMATION
OF SEVERAL
NAUGHTY MASTERS AND MISSES
INTO THOSE
Contemptible ANIMALS which they most
resemble in Disposition.


Printed for the Benefit of all GOOD BOYS
and GIRLS.



THE FIRST _WORCESTER_ EDITION.

PRINTED at WORCESTER, _Massachusetts_,
BY ISAIAH THOMAS,
Sold at his BOOKSTORE, and by THOMAS
and ANDREWS in BOSTON.

MDCCLXXXIX.



INTRODUCTION.


It was the opinion of the wise _Pythagoras_, and of some other
philosophers, that the souls of men, women, and children, after their
death, are sent into other human bodies, and sometimes into those of
beasts and birds, or even insects; and that they hereby change their
residence either to their advantage or disadvantage, according to their
good or ill behaviour in their preceding state of existence. This
singular opinion still prevails in some part of the Eastindies; and
that to such a degree that they make it criminal to put any animal to
death: "For how do you know, say they, but in killing a sheep, a bird,
or a fish, you murder your father, or your brother, or some other
deceased friend or relation, whose soul may inhabit the body of the
animal you so wantonly destroy?" An officer in the service of the
Eastindia Company, and a particular friend of mine, had like to have
lost his life by not paying a proper deference to this whimsical
notion; for being some time in that part of the country, and happening
to shoot a heron, he was immediately arrested and prosecuted for it by
one of the natives. The man insisted that the heron was inhabited by
the soul of his father; and supported his point so much to the
satisfaction of the court, that had it not been for the friendly
assistance of a Jew, who appeared as the captain's advocate, he would
certainly have been condemned. The Jew, allowed that what the plaintiff
had asserted was strictly true, but pleaded in behalf of his client,
that the soul of his, the said client's grandmother, resided in the
body of a fish, which the said client had often seen and knew perfectly
well; and that at the time when the heron was killed, the said heron
was going to dart upon the said fish to devour it; so that the said
client being strongly moved thereunto by his natural affection,
instantly shot the said heron purely to save the life of his
grandmother. This plea was admitted, and the captain was immediately
discharged by order of the court. It is well for the reader that the
captain escaped as he did: for if he had been hanged for murdering the
heron, it is more than probable that it would have been out of his
power to have returned to England with that curious little treatise
which I have now taken the pains to translate into English for the
amusement of the little masters and misses of Great Britain.

It contains a diverting account of several naughty boys and girls, who,
after their death (which was generally owing to their own folly) were
degraded into such animals as they most resembled when alive. I cannot
pretend to say who was the author; for his modesty was so great, that
he has not inserted his name in the title page.

The captain tells me, it is the opinion of some of the Indian criticks,
that he was an academy-keeper, who wrote for the instruction of his
scholars; and of others, that he was a fond father who wrote for the
entertainment of his children; but as it is very possible that both of
them may be mistaken, I shall not presume to decide which of them have
been so fortunate as to discover the truth in a matter of such evident
importance.

I have only to observe, that as long proper names (such as those of the
Indians) would have been too crabbed for most of my little readers, I
have put myself to the amazing trouble of substituting English names in
their room, which are expressive of the characters of the persons to
whom they are applied. After humbly begging the author's pardon, for
taking this liberty with his ingenious performance, I must desire all
the masters and misses who read my translation of it, to be extremely
careful to avoid all the crimes and follies which it was intended to
correct; otherwise, if my friend the captain (who will probably hear of
their ill behaviour) should happen to speak of it, when he makes
another voyage to India, and it should by any means reach the ear of my
author, we may perhaps have a second volume, containing a mortifying
account of the surprising and lamentable transmigrations of some of the
naughty boys and girls in England.



CHAP. I.

_Of the wonderful Transmigration of_ Jack Idle _into the body of an
ass_.


One morning after breakfast I took a walk into the fields with my seven
dear children; which I did, not only for the benefit of their health,
but as a reward for their good behaviour. They always obey me and their
affectionate mother with the utmost cheerfulness; and I, in return, am
always ready to indulge them as far as my duty and their interest will
permit. When we had travelled about three miles from the city, where
Divine Providence has fixed our abode, we came to a range of little
tenements, or I should rather have called them sheds, over the midst of
which (and it was likewise the largest) was fixed a board, on which was
written in lofty capitals WAL*KINBEHOL*DANDLE*ARN,[1] which signifies,
_Walk in_, _behold_, _and learn_. While I was musing upon this strange
inscription, and wondering what curiosities there could be in such
contemptible little huts, the door of the middlemost was suddenly
opened by a Bramin, who with the greatest politeness and affability,
desired us to walk in, assuring me, that notwithstanding the mean
appearance of his little tenements, there were several things to be
seen in them, which might contribute to the entertainment and
instruction of my pretty fellow travellers. "I am, said he, as you may
perceive by my habit, a Bramin, and my name is _Wiseman_. All the time
I can spare from the worship of my Maker, and the contemplation of that
astonishing wisdom and beneficence which he has displayed in his works
of creation and providence, I cheerfully devote to the service of my
fellow mortals, and particularly of the younger and unexperienced part
of them. The most valuable service I can render them is to conduct them
into the paths of virtue and discretion. For this purpose, having been
gifted with the faculty of distinguishing those animals which are now
animated by the souls of such human beings as formerly degraded
themselves to a level with the unthinking brutes, I have taken the
pains to provide a collection of beasts, birds, &c. most of which are
inhabited by the souls of some naughty masters or misses, who died in
the neighbourhood, and it is possible were not unknown to your little
companions. It was a proverb among the ancient Bramins, that _Example
is more powerful than precept_, and it is the common language of
mankind to this day, _I understand what I hear, but I believe what I
see_. It would not be amiss therefore, if you were to accompany the
young gentlemen and ladies into my little appartments, that they may be
eye witnesses to the mortifying consequences of an ill spent and
vicious life, even to those who have not arrived at the age of
manhood."

      [1] The captain informs that this inscription is in the language
      of the ancient _Bramins_.

We accepted the offer with the utmost gratitude, and eagerly inquired
what we had to pay for admittance. But the good Bramin assured us, that
he never made a traffick of the little wisdom he had to communicate,
and that the most acceptable recompense we could make him, was, to
bestow what we could prudently spare upon such real objects of charity
as might afterwards fall in our way:--"For mercy and benevolence, said
he, are the darling attributes of heaven, and those who are most
distinguished for the practice of them, bear the nearest resemblance to
their Maker, and will therefore receive the largest portion of his
favour both in this world, and in that which is to come."

The first room we were conducted into was the habitation of a little
ass, who, as soon as we entered the place, began to bray, and kick up
his heels, at a most violent rate; but, upon the appearance of Mr.
Wiseman (which I have before observed was the Bramin's name) he thought
proper to compose himself, and stood as quiet as a lamb.--"This
stubborn little beast said our kind conductor, is now animated by the
soul of the late master _Idle_. In his life-time he possessed all the
bad properties of the animal you see before you; so that, to speak the
truth, he now appears in his proper shape. His rough coat of hair is a
very suitable emblem of the ruggedness of his disposition; and his long
and clumsy ears not only denotes his stupidity, but, as they afford a
very secure and convenient hold to any one who has occasion to catch
him when he runs loose in the fields, they sufficiently intimate that
he was always open to the ill advice of his play-fellows. If the
meanest and most dirty boy in the neighbourhood was in want of a
companion, or rather a tool, to assist him in his mischievous pranks,
he had nothing to do but to make his application to _Jack Idle_; for
foolish Jack (as they truly called him) was at the beck of every
mischievous rogue; and when the mischief was done, he was always left,
like a stupid ass as he was, to bear the burden of it. His father had
money; and Jack's great pride was to be complimented by his raggamuffin
companions as the cook of the game. Once (I remember it perfectly well)
three bargemen's boys having a violent inclination to plunder a pippin
tree, which was the property of farmer _Crusty_, they gave master Jacky
such a tempting account of the wish'd for prize, and held forth so
liberally in praise of his courage and ingenuity, that they prevailed
upon him to be not only a party, but the commander in chief in this
hopeful enterprize. But, as such adventures generally terminate in the
most mortifying disappointment, the young plunderers were discovered by
the farmer before they had gathered half their booty. The three
tarpaulins being at the bottom of the tree made their escape without
much difficulty; but Jack, who, to support the dignity of his new
command, had ascended almost to the top, was unfortunately taken
prisoner. The consequence was, that his father (who had to deal with a
wretch who was as crusty by nature as he was by name) after being
obliged to pay ten times the value of the fruit, conducted his son to
Mr. _Sharp_, the gentleman who had the trouble of his education, from
whom he received a severe flogging in the presence of all his school
fellows, as a very suitable reward of his stupid ambition. From this
account of him you will naturally conclude that he was no great friend
to learning; and, indeed, so remarkable was his aversion to the useful
arts of reading and writing, that his greatest improvement amounted
only to an indifferent knowledge of the alphabet, and the poor
accomplishment of being just able to scrawl his own name in characters
which were scarcely legible. He was equally distinguished for his speed
and fidelity when his parents sent him on an errand; for he could
hardly make shift to saunter a mile in an hour, and when he arrived at
the place of his destination, he usually forgot three fourths of his
message, and endeavoured to supply the defect by some blundering tale
of his own invention. He was once dispatched by his father, in great
haste, to a gentleman who lived not a quarter of a mile off, to request
the favour of his company, in half an hour's time, to settle matters
with a grazer, of whom they had purchased several head of cattle; when
Jack arrived at the gentleman's house, which he actually did in the
short space of an hour and a half, he rubbed his eyes, and scratched
his head, and informed him that his father wanted him sadly, and that
he must come directly to speak with the _brazier_, who, he said, had
waited for him above two hours. It was very happy for his parents
(whether they thought so or not) that Jack's sudden exit out of the
world, in the thirteenth year of his age, effectually prevented him
from bringing any material disgrace upon his family; which he certainly
would have done, if he had lived to be his own master. The occasion of
his death was as follows:--One morning, instead of making the best of
his way to school, (which he was constantly ordered to do) happening
very luckily to be overtaken by _Tom Sharper_, and _Dick Lackwit_, they
prudently agreed to avoid the intolerable drudgery of the hornbook, by
playing truant and indulging themselves in the profitable diversions of
sitting all day on the bank of a lonesome brook to fish for minows;
they had pretty good sport, as they called it, for the first hour; but
then Mr. _Sharper's_ line happening to be entangled among some large
weeds, from which he could not disengage it as he stood upon the brink;
and as he was naturally too great an adept in the science of self
preservation, to expose himself to danger, when he could persuade
another to supply his place; he requested the favour of master _Idle_
to ascend a sloping tree which stood upon the bank, and from thence to
descend gradually upon a hanging branch, the small end of which almost
touched his line. Poor Jack was somewhat unwilling to venture upon the
experiment; but a little more persuasion, which was supported by a few
surly menaces, soon vanquished every objection. He accordingly ascended
the tree; but when he attempted to seat himself upon the hanging branch
the small twigs, upon which he stupidly fastened his hold for that
purpose, suddenly gave way, and down he plunged into the middle of the
brook, where, after many eager and ineffectual struggles to recover the
bank, he sunk to the bottom, and rose no more. The last words he spoke
were, _Oh! my dear father! my dear mother! I wish I had_--He meant I
suppose, that he wished he had followed their good advice; but the
water, which ran very fast into his mouth, suddenly stopped his speech,
and nothing more was heard but a faint bubbling in his throat, and two
or three desperate plunges at the bottom of the water, to preserve that
life which fell a melancholy sacrifice to his own folly and
disobedience!--One would think that such a shocking catastrophe would
be sufficient to subdue ten times the stubbornness and stupidity for
which master _Idle_ was so remarkable: But as we are too apt to forget
the eager promises, and laugh at the self condemning reflections, which
we have made in the hour of distress, I need not mention it as a
prodigy, that the soul by which this little beast is animated, is still
infected with the same vicious disposition, which disgraced and
punished it, when it occupied the body of _Jack Idle_."

To convince us of the truth of what he said, the good Bramin addressed
himself to the ass before us, and assured him that if he was sincerely
inclined to behave as he ought to do, and forsake the follies he had
been guilty of in his former state of existence, he should again have
the honour to ascend to the rank of human beings. But the stubborn
little animal (who perfectly understood what he said) first leered at
him with the most stupid resentment in the world, and then fell a
braying and kicking with greater violence than when we first entered
the room. "Soho! said Mr. Wiseman, is that your manners, my boy;"--and
then giving him two or three hearty strokes, "well, well, said he, if
this is all the return I am to have for my generous care of you, I will
certainly sell you to the first sandman I see, who will bestow upon you
plenty of drubbing, plenty of fasting, and (what you will relish the
worst of all) a never failing plenty of work."



CHAP. II.

_An Account of the surprizing Transmigration of Master_ ANTHONY
GREEDYGUTS, _into the Body of a Pig_.


The next room into which we were conducted, contained a fat little pig,
who, as soon as we had entered the door, began to cry _a week_, _a
week_, _a week_, in such a squeaking tone as grated our ears in the
most disagreeable manner: but as soon as Mr. _Wiseman_ produced his
wand, he lowered his pipes to a few sulky grunts, and then became as
still as a mouse.--"This young pig, said the venerable Bramin, is now
animated by the soul of the late master _Greedyguts_, who died about
two months ago, and has left a number of relations behind him in almost
every town you can mention. Poor foolish youth, if he had been less
fond of his belly, and more attentive to his book, and to the good
advice of his parents, his soul would not have been confined as it now
is, in the body of that nasty, greedy, and noisy little animal which
you see before you. But, to represent his character in its proper
colours, he was always a hoggish little fellow, and disdained every
other sort of labour but that of lifting his hand to his mouth. He
loved eating much better than reading; and would prefer a tart, a
custard, a plumcake, or even a slice of gingerbread, or an apple, to
the prettiest, and most useful little book you could present him with;
so that if his parents had purchased a hundred books for him, one after
the other, he would have readily parted with them to the first crafty
boy he met with, who had any trash to spare by way of exchange. It
cannot therefore be considered as a miracle, notwithstanding the
extraordinary care and expense which his friends bestowed upon his
education, that he always continued a blockhead, and was such a perfect
dunce at eleven years of age, that instead of being able to read and
write as a young gentleman ought to do, he could scarcely tell his
letters. He was equally remarkable for his selfishness; for if he had
twenty cheesecakes in his box, or his pockets full of oranges and
apples, he would sooner have given a tooth out of his head than have
parted with one of them, even to his own brother or sister. The
consequence was (and indeed what else could have been expected) that he
was despised and hated by all his play fellows, and distinguished by
the mortifying title of _Tony Pig_; an animal which he perfectly
resembled in his nastiness as well as greediness. For if he was dressed
in the morning as clean as hands could make him, he would, by running
into puddles and kennels, and rolling upon the ground, become as black
as a chimney sweeper before noon; and I sincerely believe that he
thought it as great a punishment to have his hair combed, or to wash
his hands and face, as to be whipped; for he would cry and struggle as
much to avoid the one as to escape the other. But, to ease his parents
of their heavy apprehensions upon his account, and to rid the world of
such a plague and disgrace, as he certainly would have been, if he had
lived to years of maturity, kind death was pleased to dispatch him in
the twelfth year of his age, by the help of a dozen penny custards,
which he greedily conveyed down his throat at one meal, and thereby
gorged his stomach, and threw himself into a mortal fever. After his
exit, his soul, as I have already informed you, was hurried into the
body of this little pig; a station which perfectly corresponds with his
disposition. Nay, so great is his stubbornness (which is another
hateful quality in which he resembled the animal before you) that his
punishment has not made the least alteration in his temper; for, if we
were to get his soul replaced into a human body, upon his promise of
immediate amendment, he will not submit even to make such a promise. To
convince you that I have not misrepresented his character, I'll try the
experiment immediately." Accordingly, the good Bramin asked him before
us all, if, upon the condition above-mentioned, he would leave off his
greedy and selfish behaviour. To this he condescended, though with a
visible reluctance, to grunt, _aye, aye_. "But how long will it be,
said Mr. Wiseman, before you perform your promise?" _A week, a week, a
week_, cried the pig. "And how long will it be before you lay aside
your nastiness, and maintain such a cleanly and decent appearance as
becomes a gentleman?" _A week, a week_, said the dirty creature. "And
how long will it be before you respect the good advice of your parents,
and prefer the improvement of your understanding to the gratification
of your appetite?" _A week, a week, a week_, replied the stubborn
little animal. "In short, said the worthy Bramin, if I were to repeat
the same questions to him a month, or even a year hence, I should not
prevail upon him to say _now_; but his constant answer would be, _a
week, a week, a week_. I believe, therefore, that instead of reforming
him (which is an event that would afford me the most sensible pleasure)
we shall at last be forced to roast and eat him; for, as long as he
continues in his present way of thinking, it is very certain that his
existence can be of no service either to himself, or any one else."
Thus, then, said he, I have troubled you with a particular account of
this stupid little pig; and I sincerely hope that the story will
prevail upon my young visitors to be cleanly in their appearance,
temperate in their diet, and kind and obliging to every body; for
whosoever pursues a contrary behaviour, is in reality a _hog_, though
he bears the name of a gentleman.



CHAP. III.

_The Transmigration of Miss_ DOROTHY CHATTERFAST _into the Body of a
Magpie._


In one corner of the room where poor _Tony Pig_ was confined, hung a
large cage, which was the prison of a pert young magpie. As soon as my
son _Jacky_ who was the youngest of the company, and remarkably fond of
birds, had saluted her by the well known appellation of _mag, poor
mag_; she wagged her tail with surprising agility, and began to chatter
in such an elevated tone, and with such a rapid pronunciation, that I
was heartily glad when the kind Bramin commanded silence. "The body of
this party coloured, loquacious bird, said he, is the involuntary
residence of the late Miss Dorothy Chatterfast; who was a most
notorious little gossip, and belonged to a family which is as numerous
as that of the _Greedyguts_. To do her justice, she was a handsome
little girl, and as brisk and notable as any young miss in her
neighbourhood. But to her own misfortune, and the unspeakable vexation
of most persons who came within the sphere of her observation, her
little tongue was as active as her hands. She learned to talk very
early, and so speedy was her improvement in the art of prattling, that,
before she was three years old, she could lisp out a tale in very
intelligible language. Her parents were so unwise as to encourage her
in this mischievous kind of ingenuity, not only from the pleasure they
took in hearing how fast she learned to speak, but because they
considered it as an infallible token that she would, in time, prove an
excellent wit and a notable manager. It is not, therefore, to be
wondered at, that she took a great deal of notice of every thing which
passed in the family, and particularly in the kitchen. If any of the
servants accidentally broke a teacup, or saucer, a glass, &c. or
received an unexpected visit from some of their acquaintance, or
relations, when her parents happened to be absent from home; she never
failed to inform them of it, the first opportunity, with many
aggravating circumstances of her own invention; for which they
generally complimented her, by way of reward, with the flattering
titles of _a good child_, _a sweet little dear_, and _a careful little
girl_. By this officious impertinence she frequently got the servants
reprimanded, and sometimes dismissed; so that by degrees they all began
to fear and hate her. She was equally attentive to every trifle which
happened at the school, where she was daily sent to learn the art of
reading, and the use of her needle; for the moment she came home, and
before she had well entered the parlour door, and made her courtesy,
her little tongue began to rattle like a mill clack."--"Mamma, said
she, Tommy Careless was flogged for tearing his book, Jackey Fidget
because he was a naughty boy and would not sit still, Polly
Giddybrains, for losing her needle and thread paper, and, Lord bless
me! my ma'am was so cross, that she was going to put the nasty fool's
cap on _my_ head, only for miscalling the first word in my
lesson."--"In short she was such a notorious telltale, that she was
soon dignified by her school fellows with the honourable appellation of
_Dolly Cagmag_. As she advanced in years, the habit grew upon her; and
when she was old enough to be introduced into company, and go a
visiting, she carried on the same mischievous and despicable trade
abroad, in which she had met with such encouragement at home. Whatever
she saw or heard in one place, she would be sure to report it in
another; so that all the masters and misses who had the mortification
to fall into her company, considered themselves as under the malicious
inspection of a meddlesome spy; which they had the more reason to do,
because she seldom failed to embellish her informations with the
recital of several unfavourable circumstances of her own invention."
"Indeed, Mr. Wiseman, said Betsey, my youngest daughter, what you have
told us is exactly true; for I have been in company with Miss
Chatterfast several times, and I remember once in particular that when
Master _Sprightly_, who was a merry young spark, had stolen a kiss from
Miss _Patty Sweetlips_, though the poor young lady blushed as red as
scarlet, and seemed to be greatly displeased at the freedom which had
been taken with her, Miss Chatterfast was so mischievous as to
represent her to all her acquaintance as a bold little hussey, who
loved to be kissed by the young gentlemen. When poor innocent Patty was
informed of the character which had been so unjustly fixed upon her,
she was ashamed to stir out of doors, and laid it so much to heart I
thought she would have cried her eyes out." "This was very unkind
indeed, replied the good Bramin; and yet, I sincerely believe that all
the mischief her tongue was guilty of, was more owing to her vanity and
that talkative humour in which she had always been encouraged from her
infancy, than to any real malice in her heart. She had been long
accustomed to speak without thinking, and naturally imagined that her
impertinent loquacity would be as much admired and applauded by other
people as by her thoughtless parents. I have the satisfaction, however,
to observe that you are perfectly sensible of her mistake, though she
had not the good fortune to be so herself. If she had lived much
longer, it is very probable that the many slights and affronts she must
necessarily have met with, would have opened her eyes: For those who by
their impertinent censures set the whole world at defiance, may
reasonably expect to find an enemy in every house they enter. But her
meddlesome, inquisitive disposition proved to be the accidental means
of shortening her days, before she had experience enough to correct it:
for, one evening, Mr. _Kindly_, a wealthy merchant, indulged all the
young masters and misses in the neighbourhood with a splendid ball at
his own house: Miss _Chatterfast_, though she had at that time a severe
cold upon her, was so desirous of embracing such a favourable
opportunity of making her remarks upon the behaviour and different
dresses of the company, and thereby furnishing herself with an ample
stock for conversation, that she could not be prevailed upon by her too
indulgent parents to spend the evening at home. The consequence was
such as might naturally have been expected. By first over heating
herself at the ball, and afterwards exposing herself to the night air
in her return home, her cold, (which was bad enough before) suddenly
increased into a violent fever which hurried her to the grave in the
short space of five or six days. Though her untimely death excited the
transient pity of most of her acquaintance, very few of them, I
believe, were really sorry to part with her. But notwithstanding that
violent propensity to exercise her tongue, which she too frequently
indulged to the vexation of her neighbours, she had a large fund of
good nature at the bottom; so that I am in hopes that she will soon be
restored to the rank of human beings, and have an opportunity of
employing her speaking faculties with greater discretion and in a more
agreeable manner than she did before. Her former loquacity (as I have
already observed) was almost entirely owing to that vanity and want of
thought, in which she had been too much encouraged by the simple
fondness of her parents; but the low station in which she now appears,
will probably teach her to be more humble and considerate, and of
consequence to check that talkative humour which in her past lifetime
formed the most remarkable part of her character." Poor mag (who, I
suppose, understood every word the Bramin said) wagged her tail a
little, as we left the room, but did not think proper to utter a single
chatter.



CHAP. IV.

_The Transmigration of Master_ STEPHEN CHURL _into the Body of a little
Cur._


In the next apartment we entered, we saw a little snarling cur, who
immediately saluted us with a surly grin, and barked and yelped as if
he would have torn the house down. He was indeed very securely chained
to a small kennel; but my daughter Betsey happening to venture too near
him, he snapped at her and tore her apron. "Take care, miss, said Mr.
Wiseman, and keep out of his reach; for though he is but a cur, he is
very mischievous. His body is the contemptible residence of the soul of
the late Master _Churl_. Poor miserable youth! he was a wrangler from
his infancy; and his litigious temper gave him as just a title to the
name of _Churl_ as his birth. Even when he was a child in arms, he was
such a peevish and noisy little brat, that his mamma could not find a
woman who would undertake the trouble of nursing him; and as soon as he
was able to speak and run alone, he began to wrangle with his brothers
and sisters, upon the most trifling occasions, and seldom forgot to
support his argument by exerting his little hands and heels with the
most malicious activity; so that to mortify his pride, and give a check
to his ill nature, they bestowed upon him the disgraceful title of
young _Kick and Cuff_. Poor Stephen, however bid defiance to all their
ridicule, and was so far from being reclaimed by it, that his
turbulence increased in proportion to his strength and stature. He was
afterwards as quarrelsome at school as he had been at home; and in
every party at taw, or trap ball, or any other innocent diversion in
which he happened to be engaged, he was always remarkable for
disturbing the game by his frivolous disputes: Nay, when he was only a
looker on, he would betray his wrangling impertinent temper, by calling
out, such a one does not play fairly; such a one counts too many; and
such a one goes in before his turn. The usual reward he received for
his trouble was, a handsome drubbing, sometimes from his master, but
more frequently from his school fellows. He was equally notorious for
his great forwardness to give a challenge, upon the slightest
provocation, and very often from mere wantonness; and sometimes he
would very unfairly begin an engagement without giving any previous
notice, that he might make sure of the first blow. But his strength and
skill being unequal to his pretensions, the many mortifying defeats he
received, soon taught him the despicable cunning of assaulting none but
those, who, he believed, were either too weak to contend with him, or
too cowardly to stand in their own defence. The speedy consequence of
such a dirty conduct was, that the bigger boys despised and laughed at
him, and those who were less than himself, carefully shunned his
company; so that at last poor wrangling Stephen, for want of
play-fellows, had no other diversion left for him, but to take a
solitary ramble through the fields. His parents being informed of the
disagreeable situation into which he had brought himself, and what a
shy reception he met with from all the boys in the neighbourhood,
thought it adviseable, after giving him a strict caution to behave in a
more peaceable manner for the future, to remove him to a genteel
boarding school, at a distance from home. If he had thought proper to
follow their advice, and make a diligent use of the excellent
instructions he received from his new teachers, he might afterwards
have cut a shining figure in the world; but, as what is bred in the
bone, seldom gets out of the flesh, so it fared with _Stephen Churl_.
Though he was a little reserved at first, as being entirely among
strangers, a short acquaintance with them made him very familiar--the
affability and good nature with which they listened to every thing he
said, soon encouraged him to be pert; and from pertness he proceeded to
open rudeness and ill manners--until at last happening to be very
mildly reprimanded by one of the young gentlemen, whose tenderness he
misconstrued into cowardice, he commenced hostilities, as usual, by
giving him an unexpected blow on the face. But his antagonist being
possessed of as much spirit as politeness, returned the compliment in
an instant; and conducted the engagement on his side with such vigour
and activity, that our hero soon retired from the field of battle
heartily drubbed, to make his complaint to the master, who, after a
minute inquiry into all the circumstances of the fray, thought proper
to reward him for the unnecessary trouble he had given himself, with
the severest flogging he had ever received in his life time. Thus
mortified and disgraced, the unfortunate _Stephen_ resolved upon an
elopement; but, being ashamed to return to his parents, he rambled
through the fields and woods, and scrambled over hedges and ditches,
until at length having torn his clothes to rags, and being almost ready
to perish with hunger, he eagerly listed himself into a gang of
gypsies, and supped very heartily upon the remains of a roasted cat.
The intolerable hardships he suffered, and the coarse fare he was
obliged to put up with in this new situation, together with the
frequent bangs and thumps which he received from the younger part of
his strolling comrades, who were as quarrelsome and mischievous as
himself, but abundantly more robust, soon broke his heart; so that he
died in a barn, and was buried, like a beggar, at the expense of a
little country parish." While the Bramin was concluding the history of
Master _Churl_, my son _Jackey_, whose temper was rather too fiery,
looked very sheepish; which his sister _Betsey_ observing, and easily
guessing the cause of it, she desired him with a good natured smile,
when we were leaving the room, to think on poor _Stephen_, and be sure
to take warning.



CHAP. V.

_The comical and mortifying Transmigration of little Monsieur_ FRIBBLE
_into the Body of a Monkey._


After we had taken our leave of Master _Churl_, we were conducted into
the apartment of Mr. _Pug_, a chattering young monkey, who, as soon as
he saw us whipt his little hat under his arm in a crack, and seating
himself upon his backside, welcomed each of us into the room by several
ceremonious nods, which were intended to supply the place of a bow, and
were accompanied by such a noisy affected grin, that it was impossible
for us to forbear laughing--"This contemptible animal, said Mr.
_Wiseman_, is inhabited by the little soul of the late Master _Billy
Fribble_, a young gentleman of French extraction, whose friends came
and settled in the country about fifty years ago. His play fellows
dignified him with the humorous title of _the little Monsieur_, not so
much on account of his diminutive stature, as for that trifling and
finical behaviour which distinguishes the least respectable, though, by
many thoughtless persons, the most admired part of the French nation.
As neither his bodily nor mental faculties were very vigorous, his
childhood was remarkable only for a certain effeminate vivacity, which
continually displayed itself in such a noisy and insignificant
prattling, as was very tiresome and disagreeable to every body in the
house. When he grew older, he added to his former loquacity the most
passionate fondness for fine clothes; so that in the twelfth year of
his age, he became as complete a top as ever eyes beheld. He wore upon
his head a macaroni hat about the size of a small tea saucer; his coat,
which scarcely had any skirts to it, was of the most glaring colour he
could fix upon; and his hair, which was plaistered over with powder and
pomatum, was tied behind in a large club, which hung swagging upon his
shoulders like a soldier's knapsack. Thus elegantly dressed, he
strutted along the streets with a large stick in his hand about a foot
taller than himself, and a small cutteau de chasse by his side, which
he could handle with as much dexterity as his pen; an instrument in the
use of which he had made such a contemptible proficiency, that it
required as much acuteness to discover the meaning of his aukward
scrawl, as to explain the hieroglyphick characters of the ancient
Egyptians. What still increased the obscurity of every thing which
Monsieur _Fribble_ undertook the trouble of penning, was that,
excepting when he wrote his own name, he had a method of spelling which
was peculiar to himself. He was equally famous for his skill in the
useful science of numbers; for though, during the space of seven or
eight years, he devoted to it a considerable part of that lingering
time which he was forced to spare from his private diversions in school
hours, the sum total of his improvement was, that he was scarcely
capable of casting up the contents of a shoemaker's little bill. His
highest ambition was, in the first place, to furnish himself with a
large collection of complimentary phrases, which he had seldom
discretion enough to apply with any tolerable propriety; and, in the
next, to complete himself in the polite art of dancing, in which he so
far succeeded as to be able to skip about with the most regular
agility, though he never had a sufficient share of good sense to be
able to dance with gracefulness. Thus accomplished, he excited the
admiration of every silly coquette, and the envy of every fluttering
coxcomb; but by all young gentlemen and ladies of understanding he was
heartily despised as a mere civilized monkey. He performed every thing
by imitation; and he imitated nothing (unless he was forcibly compelled
to it) by which a rational being may be distinguished from a brute
animal. But the species of imitation in which he most delighted, was
that which, in the vulgar style, is called _mocking_; for he was not
possessed of a sufficient stock of ingenuity to be (what he very
frequently attempted to be) a clever mimick. If any of his schoolmates
happened to be afflicted with an impediment in their speech, an
accidental lameness, or the like; he had the mean barbarity to
endeavour to aggravate the misfortune by a coarse imitation, which
generally turned the whole ridicule upon himself. He once had the
impudence to practise his mockery upon a worthy gentlemen in the
neighbourhood, who was so unfortunate as to be unable to speak without
stuttering. The gentleman happening to pass by Mr. _Fribble's_ door, at
which our little monsieur was then standing with a magpie in his hand."
"_Bi-bi-bill_, said the good man (after inquiring very civilly how he
did) has that pretty ma-ma-mag learned to ta-ta-talk?" "Ye-ye-yes,
replied the saucy fop, be-be-better than you do, or else I would wring
his head off." "This rude and impertinent answer, which at first
excited the laughter of some of the by-standers, soon gave them a very
mean opinion of him, and he was afterwards despised by every sensible
person, as a mischievous, unthinking coxcomb. What aggravated his
punishment was, that he had so frequently indulged himself in the
ungenerous and silly practice of mocking the imperfect pronunciation of
others, that at last he himself contracted such a habit of stuttering
as he could never leave off. This gave such a poor recommendation to
the nonsensical things he was continually saying, that he became the
object of ten times the ridicule which he had endeavoured to inflict
upon those who had a _natural_ impediment. What was pitied in them as a
misfortune, was despised in him as an ill-acquired and consequently a
vicious imperfection; and therefore every one was willing to increase
the mortifying smart of it, and keep alive the conscious shame he felt
of wearing a fool's cap which was entirely of his own making. This
vexatious, and in some degree, vindictive ridicule to which he was
daily exposed, and which, in time, he might have softened and disarmed
by an humble and penitent deportment, gave such an insupportable wound
to his foolish pride, that he soon absconded from company, and died of
a broken heart. That his soul might afterwards occupy such a station as
would be most suitable to his character, it was sentenced to inhabit
the body of that finical, grinning, and mischievous little mimick with
four legs, which you now behold before you." As soon as the Bramin had
finished his story, poor _pug_ (who seemed to retain all the little
pride of Monsieur _Fribble_) grinned, chattered, and skipped about with
a ridiculous resentment which was mingled with evident marks of fear;
until at last, having agitated himself into a perfect passion, he made
a hasty spring at his keeper, which, to his own abashment, and the
laughter of my young companions, was as suddenly checked by a small
chain that secured him to the floor.



CHAP. VI.

_The dismal Transmigration of Master_ TOMMY FILCH _into the Body of a
Wolf._


As soon as we had lifted up the latch to enter into the next apartment,
we were immediately alarmed by a horrid howling; which upon opening the
door we discovered to be the savage musick of a lusty young wolf, who
looked as fierce as if he would have torn every one of us to pieces.
But a strong chain confined his fury to one corner of the room; so that
we could venture pretty near him without any danger of feeling the
strength of his jaws. "This plundering and voracious animal, said the
Bramin, who has been accustomed to gratify his appetite at the expense
of all the farmers in the neighbourhood, is inhabited by the soul of
the late Master _Filch_, who, as you will find by the sequel of the
story, is now placed in a station which is perfectly suitable to his
character. His very infancy was disgraced by a natural propensity to
fraud and rapine; for as soon as he could talk plain enough to be
understood, the chief employment of his tongue was to tell as many
stories as his little head was capable of inventing; and that his hands
might come in for their share of mischief, he never failed to make a
property of all the sugar, fruit, tarts, &c. which the carelessness of
the servants had left within his reach. If his parents had been wise
enough to chastise him for his little roguery, they might have nipped
it in the bud; but they were so imprudently fond, that they not only
neglected to administer the discipline of the rod, but made his
falsehood and pilferings the constant subject of their merriment. They
considered his faults as trivial, because they were the faults of a
child; not reflecting that if the seeds of vice are suffered to grow,
they will in a shorter time than is commonly imagined, take such deep
root in the heart, that it will be scarcely possible to eradicate them.
Experience, however, soon undeceived them; for when little _Filch_ was
eight or nine years old, though he had plenty of fruit at home, they
had the mortification to be informed that he was making daily
incursions into every poor man's garden in the neighbourhood. The
consequence of these repeated complaints was sometimes a severe
reprimand, and sometimes as severe a flogging; but neither the one nor
the other were able to produce a reformation, though it is very
probable, that if they had been applied in time, they might have been
applied to better purpose. From robbing orchards he soon proceeded to
the raising private contributions on his school fellows. Sometimes he
defrauded them at play: sometimes he picked their pockets; and very
frequently he stole their books, or money, out of their desks and
boxes: and, as it is the study of every wicked boy to maintain the
appearance of honesty as long as he is able, as soon as the robbery was
discovered he was the first person to exclaim against it, which he did
in the bitterest terms, and to prevent a long and circumstantial
inquiry after the author of it (which he suspected would not terminate
in his favour) he impudently pretended to have been an eye witness of
the fact, and then boldly charged it upon one or another of his school
mates, who he knew had neither skill nor spirit enough to contradict
his evidence in a satisfactory manner. By this means the bashful
innocent was frequently punished instead of the guilty. But as bad boys
are seldom able to conceal their faults long from the eye of justice,
young _Filch_ was soon detected in his wickedness, and being considered
as a dangerous person, whose bad example might have a pernicious effect
upon his play fellows, he was first corrected with all the severity he
deserved, and then sent home to his parents. In this disgraceful manner
he was dismissed from every school in the country, 'till at last,
though he was only thirteen years old, there was not a single academy
into which he could be admitted upon any terms whatever. But this was
not the worst effect of the ill character he had acquired: for as no
one is willing to introduce a lad of bad reputation into his house,
there was not a tradesman of any credit to be found who would venture
to take him as an apprentice, though a large premium was offered for
that purpose. His parents, therefore, were under the disagreeable
necessity of keeping him at home; but having little or nothing for him
to do, he soon fell into bad company, who in as short a time gave him a
perfect relish for the scandalous and expensive amusement of gaming and
tippling. His finances, though sufficiently plentiful for a youth of
his age, were by these destructive means so much encumbered with little
debts, that to maintain a worthless credit among his worthless
companions, he formed the wicked resolution of taking money from his
father and mother without their knowledge. The success of his first
attempt (in which he was not discovered, because he was not suspected
to be capable of so much baseness) encouraged him to a second; and the
success of his second attempt encouraged him to greater extravagances
and more expensive risk than he had ventured upon before. But his
wickedness, which in the former instances had been wrongfully charged
upon the servants of the family, being at last detected, and his
parents taking him very severely to task on account of such an
abandoned and depraved conduct, he left them in a fit of anger and
remorse, and became a thoughtless and unhappy wanderer; in this
situation falling one evening into a company whose mirth and gaiety
greatly delighted him, and whose genteel appearance led him to suppose
they were gentlemen, though in reality they were no other than
highwaymen, he was prevailed on in an unguarded moment, when heated
with liquor, to make an incursion with this infamous banditti, and
actually stopped a gentleman and demanded his money; fortunately,
however for this unhappy youth, the gentleman was an old school fellow,
and making himself known to him, with much intreaty prevailed on him
immediately to leave the company of those desperate adventurers, and
totally to abandon a mode of life so shockingly wicked in itself, and
so dreadfully fatal in its consequences.

"But from the idle and dissipated manner in which he had spent his
time, he had contracted an unconquerable habit of indolence, and a
rooted aversion to business; in this frame of mind, the army became his
last resource, into which he entered as a common soldier, but after a
short time his itch for pilfering returning, he could not refrain from
making free with some money with which he was intrusted by his officer;
being detected, he was punished with that rigorous severity with which
thefts in the army usually are, and being afterwards thrown into the
Savoy prison, to prevent a repetition of his crime, he died there in a
few days of his wounds in the utmost misery. When the Bramin had
finished this melancholy tale, the poor wolf, as if he was conscious
how nearly it concerned him, heightened the horrour with which it had
filled us by such a mournful and terrifying howl, as made us heartily
glad to quit the room."



CHAP. VII.

_Of the wonderful Transmigration of Master_ RICHARD RUSTICK _into the
Body of a Bear._


In the next apartment into which Mr. _Wiseman_ conducted us, we saw the
cub of a bear, who lay upon the floor to which he was chained, without
having the good manners to rise when we entered; but when the Bramin
applied his wand to young Bruin's buttocks, he heaved up his shaggy
hide with a kind of lazy resentment, and saluted us with a reluctant
grin and a savage growl, which plainly intimated that he did not think
himself much beholden to us for our company. "This young brute, said
our conductor, is animated by the soul of the late matter _Rustick_, of
clownish memory. His father was a gentleman of rank and fortune, and
greatly beloved and respected by all his acquaintance; and if his son
Richard had possessed the same virtues and accomplishments, he might
afterwards have enjoyed his title and estate with equal comfort and
reputation. But as merit does not go by inheritance, like house and
land, young _Rustick's_ character was entirely the reverse of his
father's. He was of an awkward clumsy make; and the heaviness of his
disposition, and the coarseness of his manners perfectly corresponded
with the shape of his body. Though he was sent to school very early,
and put under the care of the best instructors which the country
afforded, he was a considerable time before he could tell his letters,
and much longer before he could read with tolerable accuracy: and even
then he pronounced every thing with such a clownish accent and such a
drawling tone, that any stranger would have taken him for a young
country bumkin, who had been used to follow the plow tail, and not for
the son and heir of a wealthy gentleman. He was equally eminent for his
neatness and dexterity in the art of penmanship; for, even when he was
twelve years old, if you had seen the letter which he then sent to his
mamma without the knowledge of his master, it was wrote so crooked
(i.e. not from side to side as it ought to have been, but from corner
to corner) and the strokes were all so coarse and uneven, and the whole
of the letter so awkwardly spelt, and so unmercifully blotted and
bedawbed, that you would have thought it had been the elegant epistle
of _Tony Clodhopper_ to his grandmother _Goody Linsey Woolsey_. As for
his mamma, poor gentlewoman! when she first opened it, she thought it
had been sent to her by some impudent shoe black or chimney sweeper;
but when she had directed her eyes to the bottom and read (though not,
I assure you, without the greatest difficulty)--"_from yr, loven ind
respactfle sun, Rickard Rostick_" she was so much oppressed with shame
and vexation, that she tore the letter into a thousand pieces, and was
ready to burst into tears. He was alike remarkable for the politeness
of his manners, and his agreeable address; for he had such a
treacherous memory, though he had been frequently reminded of the
propriety and indeed the necessity of observing those little punctilios
of good behaviour, that he seldom remembered when any company entered
the room in which he happened to be sitting, either to rise from his
chair or take off his hat; and when he was told of it either by his
parents or his master, he would bounce up, and snatch of his hat in
such an awkward hurry, grinning and leering the whole time, that you
would have thought he had just started from a dream; and even then he
would generally forget to finish the rude ceremony by making one of his
ducking bows. It is true, indeed, he had been under the hands of a
dancing master; but notwithstanding the utmost care and assiduity of
his teacher, who was esteemed a very excellent one; he was never able
to perform a whit better than he does in his present shape. In short,
you might as well have kept a hog in training for Newmarket races, or
an ox for his majesty to ride upon at a grand review, as have attempted
to initiate master _Dicky Rustick_ in the elements of politeness and
good breeding. With such a delicate disposition, and such amiable
talents, you will readily perceive that he must have been a most
agreeable play fellow. His favorite diversion was that which has been
distinguished by the vulgar, by the well known name of _Pully Hawly_,
in which he so much excelled that whenever he was invited by the young
gentlemen and ladies in the neighbourhood to play with them, he
generally rewarded their civility by tearing their coats or pulling
their clothes off their backs before he returned home; so that at last
they bestowed upon him, by general consent, the honourable title of
_'Squire Bruin_. It must, however, be acknowledged that he was a youth
of such impartial justice, that he shewed as little favour to his own
clothes as to those of _other_ people; for what with climbing up old
trees, and rambling over hedges and ditches, to seek for birds nests,
he commonly appeared by dinner time, how well soever he had been
dressed in the morning, in as ragged a coat as he wears at present. It
must also be remarked, that if the young gentlemen and ladies soon grew
weary, as indeed they did, of such a rough play fellow, he, in _his_
turn, was as willing to leave _their_ company, as they were to be rid
of _his_; for his chief delight was to associate with such vulgar boys
and girls as were of the same rugged disposition as himself. With these
he could pull and hawl and romp and tear as long as he pleased; and the
more active he became in this raggamuffin species of diversion, the
more they relished his company. But, upon occasion, he could fight as
well as play: I mean when he either was provoked to it by his equals,
or tempted to it by the hopes of defrauding of their little property
those who he knew had neither strength enough nor courage to resist
him. But whatever was his motive either for _beginning_ or suffering
himself to be _drawn_ into an engagement, he was very far from
confining himself to any rules of honour, or to the established laws of
war; for instead of boxing fairly, he would kick, pull hair, bite, and
scratch most unmercifully, and never fail to take every advantage of
his antagonist after he had brought him to the ground. For these
reasons he was soon dignified with the nick name of _Dick Bear_, even
by the vulgar boys in the streets; and most of them afterwards took
care never to engage with him unless when there were several other boys
present to see fair play. One would think that such a rough hewn and
slovenly mortal as we have been describing would have had little regard
for any delicacies in the eating way. But whoever draws such a
conclusion in favour of our hero, _Dicky Rustick_, is greatly mistaken;
for I can assure you that he had as nice and dainty a tooth as any lady
in the land. Though his father always kept a handsome table, it
afforded scarcely any thing which was good enough for the palate of
Master _Richard_. Nothing would go down with him but tarts, custards,
and the most costly cakes and puddings; for as to good roast and boiled
meat and plain and wholesome pies or dumplings, he would turn up his
nose at them as if they were fit only for vagabonds and beggars. Nay,
even to this very hour, and in his present clumsy shape, he is almost
as dainty as ever; for he is remarkably fond of honey, and if permitted
would often expose his shaggy head and his eyes to the resentment of
the bees, by disturbing their hives to rob them of their delicious
store. It was his fondness for niceties of every kind which shortened
his days, and eased his parents of their apprehensions for a son who,
if he had lived, would have been a continual plague and disgrace to
them; for on the day when he entered into the fourteenth year of his
age, being indulged rather more than common, he devoured such a
quantity of the richest tarts, that his stomach could not digest them;
so that he soon fell into a violent fever, which in a few days hurried
his unworthy soul out of the body of a young country 'squire (for such
he would have been) into the carcass of this hairy and awkward young
monster which now stands before you. He so well understands what I have
been saying, and is so much vexed at the character I have given of him,
which he knows to be a very just one, that if you will promise to quit
the room and leave him to himself he will pleasure you with one of his
best dances before you go."--Accordingly after thanking the Bramin for
the account he had given us, we all promised to leave Mr. _Bruin_ to
his own meditation; upon which, after taking two or three sulkey
rounds, the young savage reared himself upon his buttocks, and shuffled
a saraband which lasted a few minutes. When he had finished his dance
he swaggered down again upon his fore paws, and by a sullen growl
seemed to claim the performance of our promise, an indulgence which we
very readily granted him.



CHAP. VIII.

_Of the astonishing Transmigration of Miss_ ABIGAIL EVILTONGUE _into
the Body of a Serpent._


In the next apartment we saw a large wire cage, in which the Bramin
told us he had a bird which was something different from the common
ones; and so indeed it was, for upon my eldest daughter's going near to
see it, she was startled by a large serpent which darted itself against
the wires, and hissed and sissed as if it would have stung us all to
death in an instant. It was however, a very beautiful creature of the
kind, and as the sun then shone very bright, the golden and silver
streaks upon its azure skin made a very splendid appearance. My
youngest son wanting to go and stroke it;--"No, my pretty boy, said the
good Bramin; if you have any value for yourself, you will always keep
out of the reach of such creatures as these, and of all such who
resemble the young lady by whose soul this serpent is animated. I say
_young lady_, because the serpent before you is indeed animated by the
soul of the late Miss _Abigail Eviltongue_. The family of the
_Eviltongue_, (I dare say you have heard of them) is extremely
numerous; for there are some, and indeed too many of them, in every
town, and, I believe in every village in the country. Miss _Abigail_,
the young lady I am speaking of, had as just a title to the name, and
supported the character of her family with as much exactness as any one
amongst them; for her tongue was remarkably active, and spared the
reputation neither of friend nor foe. She was, it is true, a very
handsome girl, and the charms of her person would have procured her
many admirers if they had not been disgraced by her natural propensity
to slander and defamation. In her very infancy, as soon as she could
speak to be understood, she began with telling fibs of the servants,
and very frequently of her brothers and sisters; for which, you may be
certain, they all despised her very heartily. But as she was too much
encouraged in this hateful practice by her parents, instead of being
severely flogged for it, as she ought to have been, she set the frowns
and sneers of the others at open defiance; and the more they resented
her little malice the more eager she was to gratify it by loading them
with all the falsehoods she was capable of inventing. In proportion as
she grew older, this mischievous habit increased upon her; and when she
was big enough to go a visiting, she indulged it abroad with as much
freedom as she had been used to do at home; so that, in a short time,
there was scarcely a young miss or master in the neighbourhood whose
character she had not attempted to injure. What made her slanders the
more odious was, that she generally vented them under a pretence of the
greatest friendship and respect for the persons to whom she related
them, and with great seeming pity for those whose reputation they were
intended to destroy. She had likewise the malicious cunning to say many
trifling things in praise of the objects of her censure; that by thus
assuming an appearance of the strictest impartiality, and of the
sincerest good nature, she might more easily gain credit to the bad
things she said afterwards. By such artifices as these she frequently
succeeded with the innocent and the unwary, and set one acquaintance
and even one friend against another, without any sort of advantage to
herself but the mere pleasure of making mischief. Another trick which
she often employed for that purpose, was to examine into a young
gentleman or lady's constitutional foibles (for we all have some) and
when she had discovered these, to go immediately to the person and tell
him or her, that master or miss _such a one_ had publickly ridiculed
him for those very failings; by these means she was almost certain to
be believed without any farther inquiry; for every one, even upon the
slightest hint, will readily suspect that those things have been said
of him, which he most wishes to be concealed, because he is conscious
they are _really_ true; he will seldom trouble himself to inquire into
the veracity of the tale bearer, lest he should be reduced to the
necessity of defending himself on his weakest side. For a similar
reason, when Miss _Abigail_ had a mind to flatter any person (which she
frequently would, to answer the purposes of her malice) she always
commended him for those particular good qualities, or accomplishments
which she knew he most valued himself for, or chiefly wished to have
the credit of; because she was sensible that by this method she
effectually retained his own vanity as her advocate for whatever she
said afterwards. Nay, I have been informed by one who knew her
perfectly well, that, young as she was, she sometimes carried her
artifice so far as to begin a dispute with the person she intended to
deceive, and after a little sharp altercation _pro and con_ to flatter
his vanity by gradually giving up the argument, and at last yielding
him a victory, which gave him the more pleasure, because he thought it
to be entirely owing to the invincible strength of his judgment. But
she had another fault, which, if possible, was still more odious, than
any of those already mentioned--viz. to revile and backbite those from
whom she had received the greatest favours; for as she was too proud to
own herself to be under obligations to any person, so to prevent others
from taking notice of them, as she imagined to her disadvantage, she
would represent every obligation she had received from her friends to
be either of the most trifling consequence, or to have been bestowed
from selfish and despicable motives. Such was the temper and behaviour
of Miss _Abigail_, who was a wretched complication of malice, low
cunning and ingratitude: It is therefore no wonder that every person of
sense and character was careful to avoid her company, and that she was
detested by many, and despised even by those who wished her well. In
short, the general contempt to which she had exposed herself, and the
severe mortifications she met with from time to time, gave such killing
wounds to her pride, that after pining and wasting away with shame and
vexation for the space of several months, she at last broke her heart
and gave up the ghost, in the seventeenth year of her age. After her
death her contemptible soul was immediately hurried into the body of
this venomous serpent, where it still retains its former malice and
cunning."--When the Bramin had finished his story, the serpent, as if
she understood and resented what had been said, writhed about and
hissed at him as if she could have stung his eyes out.

We afterwards visited several other apartments, and saw a young tyger,
a fox, a badger, &c. each of which was animated by the soul of some
naughty child, who very nearly resembled him in temper. But as I have
perhaps, already carried my treatise to such a length as will tire the
eyes and the patience of my little readers, it is proper to bring it to
a conclusion. I will, therefore, take my leave of them for the present,
with observing that in one of the rooms we visited, we saw a pretty
little parrot, in a gilt cage, who was perpetually talking, but did not
understand the meaning of one single word he said. "This noisy bird,
said the good Bramin, is inhabited by the soul of the late master
_Gabble_, who was remarkable for two faults. He always spoke without
thinking, and read a great deal with so little attention, that he made
no farther improvement in knowledge than if he had never read at all.
He devoured every thing, but digested nothing." If any of my readers
happen to be of the same disposition, they may survey the gilt covers
of this little treatise with as much advantage as they will peruse the
contents of it.


FINIS.





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