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Title: The Blossoms of Morality - Intended for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Ladies and Gentlemen
Author: Johnson, Richard, 1755-1827
Language: English
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    THE
    BLOSSOMS OF MORALITY;

    INTENDED FOR THE
    AMUSEMENT AND INSTRUCTION
    OF
    Young Ladies and Gentlemen.

    BY THE EDITOR OF
    THE LOOKING-GLASS FOR THE MIND.

    WITH FORTY-SEVEN CUTS, DESIGNED AND ENGRAVED
    BY

    [Illustration: I. Bewick]


    _THE FOURTH EDITION._

    LONDON:

    Printed by J. Swan, 76, Fleet Street,
    FOR J. HARRIS; SCATCHERD AND LETTERMAN; B. CROSBY AND CO.
    DARTON AND HARVEY; LACKINGTON, ALLEN, AND CO.
    J. WALKER; AND VERNOR AND HOOD.

    1806.



PREFACE.


The very flattering encouragement the Public have been pleased to give
"The Looking-glass for the Mind, or Intellectual Mirror," has invited
the Editor of that work to intrude once more on their indulgence. As
a general preceptor, he wishes to be useful to the rising generation,
and with that view recommends to their serious perusal "The Blossoms of
Morality."

The Looking-glass is a _very free_ translation of some of the most
interesting tales of Mons. Berquin, and other foreign writers, whose
works in the juvenile line undoubtedly merit the highest encomiums,
and claim the most extensive patronage of their fellow-citizens. It
certainly must be allowed, that great merit is due to those foreign
celebrated writers, who, after studying the higher branches of
literature, instead of attempting to acquire honour and fame by
delivering lectures on the abstruse sciences, have condescended to
humble themselves to the plain language of youth, in order to teach
them wisdom, virtue, and morality.

With respect to the present work, though we have not so largely
borrowed from foreign writers, yet we have endeavoured to supply that
deficiency by the introduction of original matter. The juvenile mind
very early begins to enlarge and expand, and is capable of reflection
much sooner than we are generally apt to imagine.

From these considerations, we have carried our ideas in this volume one
step higher than in the last: and, though we have given many tales that
may contribute to amuse the youthful mind, yet we have occasionally
introduced subjects which, we hope, will not fail to exercise their
judgment, improve their morals, and give them some knowledge of the
world.

For instance: in the History of Ernestus and Fragilis, which is the
first, and one of the original pieces inserted in this volume, the
youthful reader is led to reflect on the instability of all human
affairs; he is taught to be neither insolent in prosperity nor mean in
adversity; but is shown how necessary it is to preserve an equality of
temper through all the varying stages of fortune. He is also shown,
how dangerous are the indulgences of parents, who suffer children to
give themselves up to indolence and luxury, which generally, as in this
history, terminate in a manner fatal to all the parties concerned.

May these Blossoms of Morality, in due time, ripen to maturity, and
produce fruit that may be pleasing to the youthful taste, tend to
correct the passions, invigorate the mental faculties, and confirm in
their hearts true and solid sentiments of virtue, wisdom, and glory.



CONTENTS.


    _Ernestus and Fragilis_                                   Page 7

    _Juvenile Tyranny conquered_                                  19

    _The Book of Nature_                                          28

    _The unexpected Reformation_                                  39

    _The Recompence of Virtue_                                    49

    _The Pleasures of Contentment_                                58

    _The happy Effects of Sunday Schools on the Morals of the
        rising Generation_                                        68

    _The Happy Villager_                                          76

    _The Indolent Beauty_                                         86

    _An Oriental Tale_                                            98

    _Generosity rewarded_                                        104

    _An Evening Vision_                                          109

    _The Anxieties of Royalty_                                   113

    _The generous Punishment_                                    124

    _Female Courage properly considered_                         134

    _The beautiful Statue_                                       141

    _Dorcas and Amarillis_                                       156

    _The Conversation_                                           170

    _Edwin and Matilda_                                          188

    _The pious Hermit_                                           197

    _The Caprice of Fortune_                                     207

    _The melancholy Effects of Pride_                            216

    _The Nettle and the Rose_                                    224



[Illustration]

_Ernestus and Fragilis._


The faint glimmerings of the pale-faced moon on the troubled billows
of the ocean are not so fleeting and inconstant as the fortune and
condition of human life. We one day bask in the sunshine of prosperity,
and the next, too often, roll in anguish on the thorny bed of adversity
and affliction. To be neither too fond of prosperity, nor too much
afraid of adversity, is one of the most useful lessons we have to learn
and practise in the extensive commerce of this world. Happy is the
youth whose parents are guided by these principles, who govern their
children as good princes should their subjects, neither to load them
with the chains of tyranny, nor suffer them to run into the excesses
of dissipation and licentiousness. The following History of Ernestus
and Fragilis is founded upon these general principles.

Ernestus and Fragilis were both the children of Fortune, but rocked
in two different cradles. Philosophy and Prudence were the nurses
of the first, and Vanity and Folly lulled the second to his repose.
Ernestus was early used to experience the various changes of the air,
and accustomed to a regular diet; while Fragilis was treated in a very
different manner, being kept in a room where, it was supposed, no rude
wind could intrude itself; and hurtful delicacies were given him, under
the idle notion, that strength is to be acquired in proportion to the
dainties and excesses of our meals.

Hence it is no wonder if, after a few years had strengthened their
limbs and mental faculties, that there appeared an indisputable
difference between the two youths.

Ernestus was all life and gaiety, and soon showed a propensity to be
at the head of all kinds of mischief. Though this disposition often
got him into disgrace with his parents, yet he always showed much
contrition and sorrow when he really found he had injured any one, and
seldom slept after the commission of a boyish crime till he had made
ample amends to the party injured.

Fragilis had very different passions, and very contrary notions of
things. Being accustomed to be indulged with whatever he cried for,
his ideas soon wandered from real to imaginary wants, and as these
could not possibly be gratified, he naturally became peevish, fretful,
and ill-natured. Whenever the mind is affected, the body must partake
of the shock it occasions. Fragilis was weak, rickety, and feeble; and
the remedies they applied to relieve him only contributed to increase
the evil.

As the two little heroes of my history lived in the same neighbourhood,
and their parents were nearly equal in point of fortune, they
consequently became intimate companions, and frequently visited each
other. It was easily to be discovered which of these two children would
one day figure most on the busy stage of the world. Ernestus and his
lady with pleasure beheld in their little son an ample share of spirit
and activity, kindness and affability, resolution and integrity. The
parents of Fragilis, however, had not the same pleasing prospect in
their favourite and darling; for he was of a dull and gloomy turn,
seldom contented with any thing, perpetually wrangling with every one
about him, and constantly pining after those things which he knew were
not to be procured.

Ernestus made a rapid progress in his literary pursuits, under the
tuition of his masters; for his application to his books was equal to
the genius nature had bestowed on him. On the other hand, Fragilis
advanced very slowly in the paths of science; for his genius had been
spoiled by the pernicious indulgences of his parents in his infant
years, and he had been suffered to acquire a habit of indolence, which
made the least labour of body or of mind tiresome and disgustful.

These circumstances, however, did not seem to interrupt the rising
friendship between these two youths, their connections growing stronger
as they ripened in years. They were joint proprietors in their kites,
their tops, their marbles, and their dumps; though Ernestus was
generally the manufacturer of the first and last articles. Indeed, the
kites made by Fragilis were always too heavy, and not equally balanced
on both sides; consequently they were difficult to be raised into the
air, and when there, they had a wavering and unsteady motion; whereas,
those made by Ernestus were light and elegant, darted into the air like
an eagle, and remained there as steady as a hawk resting on its wings;
his dumps had the elegance of medals; and his tops and marbles were so
judiciously chosen as to claim the admiration of all the neighbouring
youths.

The time at length arrived, when it is usual for parents to begin
to think of sending their children from home, to engage in the busy
commerce of the world, and to learn how to provide for themselves. The
feathered inhabitants of the woods and groves give up every pleasure to
that of rearing their little brood; but, as soon as they have acquired
a proper degree of maturity, they then drive them from their nests, to
form new connections, and to shift for themselves. Man, more helpless
than birds, requires the assistance of the parental hand, for some
years, to rear and cherish him; nor do their cares and anxieties for
him cease till life is no more.

Though Ernestus loved his parents with all the affections of a dutiful
child, yet he could not help rejoicing at the idea of embarking in
the bustle of the world, and making a figure as a man. On the other
hand, Fragilis could not prevail on himself to quit the apron-string
of his mother, and engage in the rude clamour of a commercial life, in
which so much attention, thought, and industry, are required. Neither
could his parents part with their darling, whose constitution they had
spoiled, and rendered unfit for business. Ernestus, in a short time
after, by his own desire, was placed as a clerk in a merchant's house
in London; while Fragilis continued with his parents, to squander away
his time in destructive scenes of indolence and luxury.

Five years had glided away as it were imperceptibly, when Ernestus
found himself disengaged from the ties of his clerkship. His person was
by this time arrived at the state of manhood, his figure was graceful
and genteel, and his mind was improved from the polite companies he
had engaged in at his leisure hours. As business had ever been the
first object of his attention, and as he had thereby made himself of no
small consequence to his late master, the latter, to connect him more
closely with his interests, offered Ernestus his daughter in marriage,
and a considerable share in the trade of the house. Such a flattering
offer could not admit of a moment's hesitation, especially as a secret
passion had long mutually glowed in the bosom of each party. They were
married, and they were happy.

Soon after this period, a most dreadful inundation happened on the
sea-coast, on the very spot where the houses and lands of the parents
of Ernestus and Fragilis were situated. Dreadful indeed it was, for it
not only washed down their houses, but drowned some hundreds of cattle,
and left that as a part of the briny ocean, which, but a few hours
before, was beautiful meadows and gardens, adorned with every thing
pleasing to regale the appetite, or please the eye.

Deplorable indeed was now the situation of those two families:
their houses washed away, their cattle destroyed, and all their
fruitful lands, on the produce of which their fortunes depended, were
irrecoverably lost, and become of no value. Surely, to support such a
situation with any tolerable degree of tranquility of mind, requires
more courage and philosophy than generally fall to the lot of imperfect
mortals!

After the first transports of terror and affright were a little
abated, and calm reason and reflection succeeded the sad emotions of
horror and despair, the old Ernestus thus addressed the fair partner of
his misfortunes:--

"My dearest Emelia," for that was the name of his amiable lady, "in the
midst of this terrible misfortune, we have the happiness to reflect,
that what has befallen us is not derived from any fault of our own,
but by the pleasure of Him who gave us every thing, and who has a just
right to take what he pleases from us. Though he has taken from us our
house and lands, he has still graciously left us our beloved son, who
will not fail to console us in our misery, and who will perhaps help us
in our distresses. Though we are deprived of our fortune, we have the
pleasing consolation to reflect, that, by bringing him up in the school
of Prudence and Industry, we have secured him from sinking under the
wreck of our present calamity. Nothing can more contribute to soften
the calamities of good parents, than to reflect that their children are
not exposed to partake of their miseries."

The heart of this amiable spouse was, for some time, too full of grief
for the misfortune she felt, to give any immediate reply: but, at last,
recovering her usual spirits and sensibility, she withdrew her head
from the bosom of her generous husband, on which it had been for some
time tenderly reclined.

"Ah! my beloved partner of happiness and misery," said she, "why
am I thus sorrowful and wretched? why do I thus fly in the face of
Providence, for depriving us only of the baubles of life? Have I not
still left an amiable and tender husband, and a dutiful and beloved
son. These are treasures which I still possess--treasures infinitely
beyond those I have lost--treasures that will support me in the stormy
hour of adversity, and enable me to make a mockery and derision of
every thing that the cruel hand of fabled Fortune can inflict."

She then caught her husband in her arms, and there fainted, rather
through excess of joy than grief. Virtuous minds, however they may
be distressed for a moment, by unforeseen accidents, soon find an
inexpressible consolation in the integrity of their hearts.

Such was the character of Ernestus and his lady, that this dreadful
calamity was no sooner known, than all the neighbouring gentry flocked
round them, and seemed to contend with each other for the honour of
assisting such distinguished characters. What is the empty parade of
riches acquired by fraud, rapine, and plunder, when compared to the
heartfelt satisfaction which virtue in distress must have here felt?

It may reasonably be supposed, that it was not long before this
dreadful calamity of these amiable parents reached the ears of young
Ernestus. A youth, brought up in the wilds of modern extravagance,
would have exclaimed, perhaps in bitter terms, on being thus suddenly
deprived of a fine patrimonial estate; he would, probably, have even
arraigned the severe hand of Providence, and have dared to utter
impieties against his omnipotent Maker!

Such was not the conduct of Ernestus. His parents had taken care to
give him, not a flighty and frothy, but a rational and manly education,
the foundation of which was honour, probity, and virtue; not folly,
luxury, and vanity. It is a just proverb, that the first seasoning
sticks longest by the vessel, and that those who have been accustomed,
in their early days, to tread the paths of Prudence, will seldom, when
they grow up, run into those of Folly.

Ernestus received the news of this terrible calamity, just as he and
his lady returned from a party of pleasure. It is too often found, that
after pleasure comes pain, and never was it more truly verified than
in this instance; with this exception, that here the one was not the
consequence of the other.

He tenderly embraced his lady, took leave of her for the present, and
instantly set out for the fatal scene of ruin, to assist, console,
and comfort, his unfortunate parents. What passed between them in the
first moments of their meeting, afforded such a scene of tenderness
and affection, as exceeds the possibility of description to reach: the
feelings of the heart, in such a situation, exceed every thing the most
lively imagination can fabricate.

Ernestus found his dear parents had taken shelter in the house of an
old gentleman, who lived in the neighbourhood, who was immensely rich,
and had neither children nor relations living. Here they enjoyed all
the consolation and comfort their generous hearts could wish for;
nor was the young Ernestus suffered to contribute his mite to their
aid. "It is enough," said the old gentleman of the house, "that you
have lost your patrimony; but I have riches sufficient, and have no
near relation to succeed me. How can I dispose of it better than in
cherishing the distressed, and in taking virtue by the hand to raise it
above the wrecks of fortune?"

In a little time after, this worthy old gentleman paid the debt of
nature, and left the bulk of his fortune to the parents of Ernestus;
who, by this act of generosity, were become as opulent as ever, and
consequently resumed their former figure in the world. The fortune
of young Ernestus was every day increasing, from his great success
in commerce, till he at length found himself master of a sufficient
independency, when he quitted trade; and he and his lady retired to the
country, where they passed their days under the same roof with their
parents, happy in themselves, and diffusing happiness to all who lived
within the circle of their knowledge.

We could wish here to drop the curtain, and leave the mind filled with
those pleasing ideas, which the good fortune of the family of Ernestus
must raise in the bosoms of the generous and humane--but we must return
to the unhappy family of Fragilis.

Young Fragilis, owing to the mistaken manner in which he was brought
up, was feeble and enervated at that age, in which youths generally
grow strong and robust. Hence it happened, from the sudden inundation
of the waters, that it was with great difficulty he could save his
life. However, though he escaped the fury of the unrelenting waves,
he caught such a cold, that a fever ensued, which, heightened by the
fright he had received, proved too much for his weakly constitution to
support, and put a period to his existence in a few days.

Trying indeed was the situation of Mr. Fragilis and his lady: in one
day, deprived of all their wealth and possessions, and in a few days
afterwards of their only son, whom they loved to excess, whom they
ruined by false indulgences, and by whom they were reproached for
their mistaken conduct in his dying moments. To be reproached by the
only object they loved in this world, as being in some distant degree
instrumental to his death, was too cutting a consideration for them to
bear. They felt the wound effectually, it festered in their hearts, and
they soon followed their son to his untimely tomb.

Reflect, ye too tender and indulgent parents, how dangerous it is
to rear your children in the lap of Luxury and Indolence, since you
thereby make them unfit members of the community, frequently a heavy
load to themselves, and always a source of anxiety and fear to their
mistaken parents. Without health, strength, and vigour, life is but a
burthen; why should then so many parents take such trouble to deprive
their children of the three principal blessings of this life, which,
when once lost, are never known to return?

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_Juvenile Tyranny conquered._


Mr. Wilson, his lady, and little family, left the noise and bustle
of the city, to pass the more agreeable half of the year amidst the
delights of rural scenes and prospects. Mr. Wilson, to a refined
education, had added much knowledge and experience in the commerce
of the polite world. His lady, though an amiable and sensible woman,
had, in the education of her children, given rather too much into the
fashionable errors of the metropolis.

As soon as they were properly settled in their rural retirement, Mr.
Wilson thus addressed his lady: "I flatter myself, my dear, that you
will now leave me at liberty to manage our two children, in the manner
that shall appear to me most proper; for I wish to eradicate those
seeds of pride, obstinacy, and perversity, which the little circle of
their acquaintance in London has sown in their minds, and to which the
corrupted manners of the city have given deep root."

Mrs. Wilson seemed a little angry at this introduction, and wished to
know what were those defects he imagined to have discovered in the
minds of her two little ones: she entreated him not to conceal them
from her, as it was equally her duty to assist in every thing where the
happiness of their children was concerned.

"I do not wish, my dear," replied Mr. Wilson, "to complain of your
conduct as a wife; but I think you are too fond and indulgent as a
mother, you encourage them too much in the pride of dress, and fill
their minds with the love of those things, which, so far from being
of any use to them, may in time be productive of the worst of evils.
Children, who are taught to value themselves only on their dress, or in
proportion as they expect a superiority of fortune to others, will with
difficulty consent to be governed by the rigid rules of prudence, or
submit with cheerfulness to those laborious studies, from which alone
true greatness is derived."

Mrs. Wilson laughed at the oddities of her husband, as she called them,
and represented him as one born in the beginning of the last century.
She considered it as an indispensable duty to educate her children in
conformity to the manners of the times, and the modes of education
almost universally adopted in the fashionable world.

Mr. Wilson, however, was of a very different opinion, and considered
nothing so dangerous to the morals of his children, as to suffer them
to be brought up in the modern school of extravagance and pride. He
owned it was a privilege which most wives claimed, of being permitted
to spoil their daughters in their own way; and if, out of complaisance,
he gave up that point, he hoped he should be permitted to educate his
son as he thought proper.

The first thing he should endeavour to break him of, he said, should
be his pride, which induced him to despise every one who was not
dressed like himself, or whom he otherwise thought beneath him. Mr.
Wilson considered it as very pernicious, to suffer children to value
themselves merely on account of their dress or fortune.

Mrs. Wilson, however, could not be convinced of the truth of these
arguments. "I suppose," said she, "you would have him brought up like
a ploughman, or as if he were born to nothing greater than little
Jackson, the son of the gardener, who lives at the bottom of your
grounds."

The conversation now began to grow serious, and the gentleman could
not help saying, he most heartily wished that his son, born as he
was to an ample fortune, possessed all the good qualities which were
conspicuous in that _poor_ boy. He very judiciously observed, that
what the world generally calls a _polite_ education, often falls short
of producing those happy effects, which Nature sometimes bestows on
uncultivated minds. Children of humble birth are often despised, merely
on account of their poverty, without considering, whether Nature may
not have done more for them than for the children of Fortune. "Happy
should I think myself," said he, "if my son and heir possessed half
the civility and condescension which are so much taken notice of and
admired in that little fellow you seem inconsiderately to despise."

Mrs. Wilson, though a little disconcerted by these observations,
seemed by no means inclined to give up the argument. "Did I not know
otherwise," said the lady, "I should suspect you of being prejudiced
against every thing the world considers as polite, in favour of poverty
and rusticity. With all your boasted qualifications of this little
Jackson, what would you say, should I clearly prove to you, that he
possesses secret faults, such as may be hurtful to your son; that he is
guilty of robbing yours and every orchard in the neighbourhood? that he
gluttonizes on the fruits of his robberies in private? and that, though
he is so very complaisant with the children of Fortune in the presence
of their parents, he is a tyrant over the little ones in private?"

Mr. Wilson observed, that if his lady could prove little Jackson to be
guilty of one half of the crimes she had laid to his charge, he would
instantly order, that he should never more be suffered to enter his
house.

The lady then proposed to make a fair and candid experiment of this
matter. "I will," said she, "order a little feast for our son and
daughter, and young Jackson shall be one of the party. We will find an
opportunity to conceal ourselves, when we shall hear every thing that
passes. From thence we shall have an opportunity of judging whether you
or I be right."

The proposal was so just and reasonable, that both parties instantly
agreed to it. Some fruit and other things were immediately ordered to
be brought into the parlour, and Miss and Master Wilson were sent for,
as well as little Jackson. As soon as the latter entered, the little
lady and her brother complained of the strong smell of dung he brought
with him; and, though he was very clean and decent, they were afraid of
his coming too near them, lest he should spoil their fine clothes.

Though Mr. Wilson did not approve of this kind of behaviour in his
children, he took no notice of it at present, but desired that they
would be all happy together, while he and his lady took a walk into
the garden. They then left the room, but softly entered it at another
door, before which a screen was designedly placed, by which means they
plainly overheard every thing that passed among the young folks.

The first thing they heard, was their little daughter calling to her
brother to come and sit by her; at the same time telling young Jackson
he must stand, and think himself happy that he was, at any rate,
permitted to remain in their company. The little fellow seemed no ways
displeased at this treatment, but told them he was not at all tired,
and was very happy to be with them in any situation.

Master Wilson and his sister then divided the fruit into three parcels,
as though they intended one of them for young Jackson; but, as soon
as they had eat up their own shares, they began upon that intended
for him, and eat it all up without giving him a taste, and even made
ridicule of him all the time. They told him they would give him the
parings of the apples, which were as much as such a poor creature as
he could expect, and that he ought to think himself happy he could be
indulged with them.

Young Jackson told them he was not hungry, and he hoped they would not
deny themselves any thing on his account. They promised him they would
not, and then set up a loud laugh; all which Jackson bore without
uttering the least word of complaint.

At last, Miss Wilson and her brother having eaten up all the fruit,
without permitting poor Jackson to taste a bit of it, they ordered him
to go into the garden, and steal them some apples, promising, if he
behaved well, to give him one for his obedience.

"I cannot think of doing any such thing," replied Jackson. "You indeed
forced me twice to do so, and then went and told the gardener that I
stole them for myself, though you very well know I did not eat a morsel
of them."

"Poor thing!" said the young gentlefolks in derision, "and did they
serve you so? Well, we insist on your going and doing the same now, or,
look you, that cane in the corner shall be laid across your shoulders.
We will teach you, that it is the duty of you beggars to obey us
gentlefolks."

Jackson still persisting in his refusal to be again guilty of any thing
of the kind, Master Wilson took up the cane, and gave poor Jackson two
or three blows with it, as hard as he could, while Miss Wilson stood
looking on, encouraging her brother, telling Jackson at the same time,
that if he complained of being beaten to their papa, they would again
accuse him of stealing fruit, and that their words would be sooner
believed than his.

Poor Jackson replied, that he would rather be beaten all day than do
so dishonest a thing as they desired him. He observed to them, that
this was not the first by many times that he had been beaten by them
unjustly and wantonly, and he did not suppose this would be the last.
However, he said he should put up with it, without complaining to any
one.

Mr. Wilson and his lady could not patiently hear any more, but
instantly came from behind the screen.--"Sweet children, indeed!" said
Mrs. Wilson. "We have, behind that screen, unseen by you, heard all you
have been saying, and in what manner you have treated that poor little
fellow!" Little Jackson was all in a tremble, and told her, that they
were only at play, and meant no harm. But this would not satisfy the
lady, who was now convinced of the bad conduct of her son and daughter.

"You wicked children," said she to them, with a resolute look and stern
voice, "you have accused this innocent child of gluttony and theft,
while you only are the authors of those abominable crimes. You have not
scrupled to tell me the grossest falsehood, such as God will one day
call you to account for, and severely punish you in the next world,
where it will not be in my power to intercede for you. This moment
ask pardon of that little boy, whom you have so unjustly treated, and
sincerely ask pardon of God, for the wickedness you have been guilty
of!"

Her children were so overcome with shame, confusion, and sorrow, that
they both fell down at their mother's feet, and with tears of sincerity
most humbly begged pardon of God and her, promising never to be again
guilty of such crimes. Little Jackson ran to them, and endeavoured to
lift them up, while the tears stole down his cheeks in abundance. "Do
not be angry with them, madam," said he to the lady, "for we were only
in play; and I am sorry I am come here to breed so much uneasiness.
But, if you are angry with them, let me humbly beg of you to forgive
them."

Mr. Wilson also interfered, and promised, if their mamma would forgive
them this time, to be bound for their better conduct in future. The
lady ordered them instantly to rise, to kiss little Jackson, and
beg his pardon. This they did in so affecting a manner, as gave the
most pleasing satisfaction to both their parents, who were now fully
persuaded, that reason and tenderness will do more with children than
the iron hand of correction.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Book of Nature._


My dear papa, said young Theophilus to his father, I cannot help
pitying those poor little boys, whose parents are not in a condition
to purchase them such a nice gilded library, as that with which you
have supplied me from my good friend's at the corner of St. Paul's
Church-yard. Surely such unhappy boys must be very ignorant all their
lives; for what can they learn without books?

I agree with you, replied his father, that you are happy in having
so large a collection of books, and I am no less happy in seeing
you make so good a use of them.--There is, however, my dear child,
another book, called _The Book of Nature_, which is constantly open
to the inspection of every one, and intelligible even to those of the
tenderest years. To study that book, nothing more is required, than to
be attentive to the surrounding objects which Nature presents to our
view, to contemplate them carefully, and to explore and admire their
beauties; but without attempting to search into their hidden causes,
which youths must not think of, till age and experience shall enable
them to dive into physical causes.

I say, my dear Theophilus, that even children are capable of studying
this science; for you have eyes to see, and curiosity sufficient to
induce you to ask questions, and it is natural for human nature to wish
to acquire knowledge.

This study, if it may be so called, so far from being laborious or
tiresome, affords nothing but pleasure and delight. It is a pleasing
recreation, and a delightful amusement.

It is inconceivable how many things children would learn, were we but
careful to improve all the opportunities with which they themselves
supply us. A garden, the fields, a palace, are each a book open to
their view, in which they must be accustomed to read, and to reflect
thereon. Nothing is more common among us than the use of bread and
linen; and yet how few children are taught to know the preparation of
either! through how many shapes and hands wheat and hemp must pass
before they are made into bread and linen!

A few examples will serve to show, how far we ought to study nature in
every thing that presents itself to our view, and therein trace out the
handy-works of the great Creator.

The first preacher that proclaimed the glory of the supreme God was the
sky, where the sun, moon, and stars shine with such amazing splendour;
and that book, written in characters of light, is sufficient to render
all inexcusable who do not read and contemplate it. The Divine Wisdom
is not less admirable in its more humble productions of what the earth
brings forth, and these we can survey with more ease, since the eye is
not dazzled by them.

Let us begin with plants. What appears to us mean and despicable, often
affords wherewith to astonish the sublimest minds. Not a single leaf is
neglected by Nature; order and symmetry are obvious in every part of
it, and yet with so great a variety of pinking ornaments and beauties,
that none of them are exactly like the others.

What is not discoverable by the help of microscopes in the smallest
seeds! and with what unaccountable virtues and efficacies has it not
pleased God to endow them! Nothing can more demand our admiration, than
the choice which our great Creator has made of the general colour that
beautifies all plants. Had he dyed the fields in white or scarlet,
we should not have been able to bear either the brightness or the
harshness of them. If he had darkened them with more dusky colours, we
should have taken little delight in so sad and melancholy a prospect.

A pleasant verdure keeps a medium between these two extremes, and it
has such an affinity with the frame of the eye, that it is diverted,
not strained by it, and sustained and nourished, rather than wasted.
What we considered at first but as one colour, is found to afford an
astonishing diversity of shades: it is green every where, but it is in
no two instances the same. Not one plant is coloured like another, and
that surprising variety, which no art can imitate, is again diversified
in each plant, which is, in its origin, its progress, and maturity, of
a different sort of green.

Should my fancy waft me into some enamelled meadow, or into some garden
in high cultivation, what an enamel, what variety of colours, what
richness, are there conspicuous! What harmony, what sweetness in their
mixture, and the shadowings that temper them! What a picture, and by
what a master! But let us turn aside from this general view, to the
contemplation of some particular flower, and pick up at random the
first that offers to our hand, without troubling ourselves with the
choice.

It is just blown, and has still all its freshness and brightness. Can
the art of man produce any thing similar to this? No silk can be so
soft, so thin, and of so fine a texture. Even Solomon's purple, when
contrasted with the flowers of the fields, is coarse beyond comparison.

From the beauties of the meadows and gardens, which we have just been
surveying, let us take a view of the fruitful orchard, filled with all
sorts of fruits, which succeed each other, according to the varying
seasons.

View one of those trees bowing its branches down to the ground,
and bent under the weight of its excellent fruit, whose colour and
smell declare the taste. The quantity, as well as the quality, is
astonishing. Methinks that tree says to me, by the glory it displays
to my eyes, "Learn of me what is the goodness and magnificence of that
God, who has made me for you. It is neither for him, nor for myself
that I am so rich: he has need of nothing, and I cannot use what he has
given me. Bless him, and unload me. Give him thanks; and since he has
made me the instrument of your delight, be you that of my gratitude."

The same invitations catch me on all sides, and, as I walk on, I
discover new subjects of praise and adoration. Here the fruit is
concealed within the shell; there the fruit is without, and the kernel
within: the delicate pulp without shines in the most brilliant colours.
This fruit sprung out of a blossom, as almost all do; but this other,
so delicious, was not preceded by the blossom, and it shoots out of
the very bark of the fig-tree. The one begins the summer, the other
finishes it. If this be not soon gathered, it will fall down and
wither; if you do not wait for that, it will not be properly ripened.
This keeps long, that decays swiftly; the one refreshes, the other
nourishes.

Among the fruit-trees, some bear fruit in two seasons of the year,
and others unite together spring, summer, and autumn, bearing at the
same time the blossom and green and ripe fruit; to convince us of the
sovereign liberality of the Creator, who, in diversifying the laws of
nature, shows that he is the master of it, and can at all times, and
with all things, do equally what he pleases.

It is observable, that weak trees, or those of an indifferent pith, are
those that bear the most exquisite fruits; and the higher they grow,
the less rich is their productions. Other trees, which bear nothing but
leaves, or bitter and very small fruit, are nevertheless useful for the
important purposes of building and navigation.

If we had not seen trees of the height and bigness of those that are
in forests, we could not believe that some drops of rain falling from
heaven were capable to nourish them; for they stand in need of moisture
not only in great plenty, but also such as is full of spirits and
salts of all kinds, to give the root, the trunk, and branches, the
strength and vigour we admire in them. It is even remarkable, that the
more neglected these trees are, the handsomer they grow; and that if
men applied themselves to cultivate them, as they do the small trees
of their gardens, they would do them more harm than service. You,
therefore, O Author of all things! thus establish this indisputable
proof, that it is you alone who have made them; and you teach man to
know, that his cares and industry are useless to you. If indeed you
require his attention to some shrubs, it is but to employ him, and warn
him of his own weakness, in trusting weak things only to his care.

Let us now turn to the scaly inhabitants of the water, and what a
number and variety of fishes are there formed!

At the first sight of these creatures they appear only to have a head
and tail, having neither feet nor arms. Even their head has no free
motion; and were I to attend their figure only, I should think them
deprived of every thing necessary for the preservation of their lives.
But, few as their exterior organs are, they are more nimble, swift,
artful, and cunning, than if they had many hands and feet; and the use
they make of their tail and fins shoot them forward like arrows, and
seem to make them fly.

How comes it to pass, that in the midst of waters, so much impregnated
with salt that I cannot bear a drop of them in my mouth, fishes live
and sport, and enjoy health and strength? How, in the midst of salt do
they preserve a flesh that has not the least taste of it?

It is wonderful when we reflect, how the best of the scaly tribe, and
those most fit for the use of man, swarm upon our shores, and offer
themselves, as it were, to our service; while many others, of less
value to him, keep at a greater distance, and sport in the deep waters
of the ocean.

Some there are that keep in their hiding places unknown to men, whilst
they are propagating and growing to a certain size, such as salmon,
mackerel, cod, and many others. They come in shoals, at an appointed
time, to invite the fishermen, and throw themselves, as it were, of
their own accord, into their nets and snares.

We see several sorts of these scaly animals, and those of the best kind
get into the mouths of rivers, and come up to their fountain head, to
communicate the benefits of the sea to those who are distant from it.
The hand that directs them, with so much care and bounty for man, is at
all times, and every where to be seen; but the ingratitude of man, and
the capricious wanderings of his heart, often make him forgetful of the
greatest bounties.

From the scaly inhabitants of the water, let us turn our attention to
the feathered animals of the air. In several dumb creatures we see
an imitation of reason which is truly astonishing; but it no where
appears in a stronger degree, than in the industry and sagacity of
birds in making their nests.

In the first place, what master has taught them that they had need of
any? Who has taken care to forewarn them to get them ready in time,
and not to be prevented by necessity? Who has told them how they must
be contrived? What mathematician has given them such regular plans for
that purpose? What architect has directed them to chuse a firm place,
and to build upon a solid foundation? What tender mother has advised
them to line the bottom of them with materials so soft and nice as down
and cotton? and when these are wanting, who suggested to them that
ingenious charity, which urges them to pluck from their breast with
their bill, as much down as is requisite to prepare a convenient cradle
for their young ones?

In the second place, what wisdom has traced out to each kind a
particular way of making their nest, where the same precautions are
kept, but in a thousand different ways? Who has commanded the swallow,
the most industrious of all birds, to come near man, and chuse his
house to build her habitation, immediately in his view, without fearing
to have him for a witness, but on the contrary, seeming to invite him
to survey her works? She does not imitate other birds, who build their
nests with hay and small twigs: she uses cement and mortar, and makes
her whole work so solid, as not to be destroyed without some labour.
Her bill is her only instrument; and she has no other means of carrying
her water, than by wetting her breast while she expands her wings.
It is with this dew she sprinkles the mortar, and with this only she
dilutes and moistens her masonry, which she afterwards arranges and
sets in order with her bill.

In the third place, who has made these little feathered animals
sensible, that they are to hatch their eggs by sitting over them? that
both the father and mother must not be absent at the same time from the
nest; and that if one went in quest of food, the other was to wait till
its partner returned? Who has taught them that knowledge of calculating
time, so as to make them able to know precisely the number of days of
this rigorous attendance? Who has told them how to relieve the egg
of the burthen of the young one, perfectly formed therein, by first
breaking the shell at the critical moment, which they never fail to
perform?

Lastly, what lecturer has read lessons to birds, to teach them to
take care of their young, till they have proper strength and agility
to shift for themselves? Who has taught them that wonderful sagacity
and patience, to keep in their mouths either food or water, without
permitting them to pass into their stomachs, and there preserve them
for their young ones, to whom it supplies the place of milk? Who has
made them capable of distinguishing between so many things, of which
some are adapted to one kind, but are pernicious to another; and
between those which are proper for the old ones, but would be hurtful
to their young? We have daily opportunities of seeing the anxities of
mothers for their children, and the tenderness of nurses for the little
ones committed to their charge; but it will admit of a doubt, whether
we see any thing so perfect in the nursing of the human race as we see
among the feathered inhabitants of the air.

It cannot be for birds alone that the Omnipotent Creator has united in
their natures so many miracles, of which they are not sensible. It is
obvious, that his design was to direct our attention to Him, and to
make us sensible of his providence and infinite wisdom; to fill us with
confidence in his goodness. Think of these things, my Theophilus, and
do not fail to read the Book of Nature, from which you will learn to
perceive your own insignificancy, and the omnipotency of him who made
you.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Unexpected Reformation._


Little Marcus was the only child of a wealthy tradesman, who had
acquired an ample fortune by the sweat of his brow, and the reputable
character he had invariably supported in the course of his business.
He had always been an enemy to those little arts which some people
put in practice to deceive those they have dealings with, being fully
persuaded in his own mind, that no fortune could be so pleasing and
grateful as that acquired by integrity and honour.

Being much hurried in his business, both he and his amiable spouse
agreed, that it would be more prudent to send young Marcus into the
country for his education, where he would not be likely to receive
those pernicious examples he would every day see before him in the
metropolis.

After a very nice enquiry, they were satisfied with the account they
received of an academy at the distance of about a hundred miles from
London, for the good management of which they were referred to several
young gentlemen, who had there received their education, and were
universally admired for their learning and prudence.

The master of the academy considered all his pupils as his children;
he was equally attentive to instruct them in the different branches
of science, and to admonish them against those errors which young
people are naturally prone to run into. He endeavoured to excite their
industry by proper encouragement, and, by example, to implant in their
minds the seeds of honour and probity. He had also taken the most
prudent precautions in the choice of those who were to assist him in so
arduous an undertaking.

From so promising a situation, every parent would naturally expect the
most happy consequences; but their son Marcus, whether from too tender
a treatment at home, or not having been properly attended to, had an
unhappy turn of mind, and an utter aversion to every kind of study.
His thoughts were perpetually wandering after childish pastimes, so
that his masters could make him comprehend nothing of the rudiments
of science. The same marks of indolence appeared in the care of his
person; for every part of his dress was generally in disorder; and
though he was well made and handsome, yet his slovenly appearance made
him disgustful to every one.

Let me advise my young readers to be particularly attentive, next to
their studies, to the neatness of their persons; for no character is
more prejudicial to a youth than that of a sloven. But do not let
them mistake me, and suppose that I mean, by neatness in their dress,
foppish and ridiculous apparel.

It may easily be supposed, that these defects in his conduct rendered
him contemptible in the eyes of those children who were at first much
behind him, but soon overtook him, to his inevitable disgrace. His
master was so much ashamed of him, as well on account of his ignorance
as slovenliness, that whenever any visitors came to the school, poor
Marcus was sent out of the way, lest such a figure as he was might
bring disgrace on the academy.

It might reasonably be expected, that so many humiliating circumstances
would have made some impression on his mind; but he continued the same
course of inconsistence, indolence, and dissipation; nor did there
appear the least dawn of hope, that he would ever return into the paths
of industry and prudence.

His master was very uneasy on his account, and knew not how to act:
to keep him at his school, he considered as a robbery on his parents,
and to send him home as a dunce and a blockhead would be a cutting
consideration to his father and mother. He would sometimes say to his
unworthy pupil, "Marcus, what will your father and mother think of me,
when I shall send you home to them, so little improved in learning and
knowledge?" It was, however, in vain to talk to him; for he seldom made
any answer, but generally burst into tears.

Two years had glided away in this miserable manner, without his having
made the least progress in learning, and without showing the least
inclination for study. One evening, however, just as he was going to
bed, he received a letter sealed with black wax, which he opened with
some degree of indifference, and then read as follows:

    "MY DEAR MARCUS,

    "This morning has deprived me of the most affectionate husband,
    and you of the most tender parent. Alas, he is gone, to return
    no more! If there be any thing that can enable me to support
    this dreadful calamity, it is only in what I receive from
    the recollection, that I have left in my son the dear image
    of his father. It is from you only therefore I can look for
    comfort; and I am willing to flatter myself, that I shall
    receive as much pleasure from your conduct as I do from my
    tender affection for you. Should I find myself disappointed
    in my hopes, should you be only like your father in person,
    and not resemble him in his industry, integrity, and virtue,
    sorrow and despair will put a period to my miserable life.
    By the person who brings you this letter, I have sent you a
    miniature picture of your father. Wear it constantly at your
    bosom, and frequently look at it, that it may bring to your
    remembrance, and induce you to imitate, all the purest virtues
    and uncommon endowments of the dear original. I shall leave
    you in your present situation one year longer, by which time
    I hope you will be complete in your education. In the mean
    time, do not let this slip from your memory, that my happiness
    or misery depends on your conduct, industry, and attention to
    your studies. That God may bless you, and give you patience
    cheerfully to tread the rocky paths of science, is my sincere
    wish."

The errors of Marcus were the consequence of bad habits and customs he
had imbibed in his infancy, and not from any natural depravity of the
heart. He had no sooner read this letter than he found every sentiment
of virtue awakening in his bosom. He burst into a flood of tears, and
frequently interrupted by sighs, exclaimed, "O my dear father! my dear
father! have I then lost you for ever?" He earnestly gazed on the
miniature picture of his parent, pressed it to his bosom, while he,
in faultering accents, uttered these words:--"Thou dear author of my
existence, how unworthy am I to be called your son! How shamefully have
I abused your tenderness, in idling that time away for which you have
paid so dearly! But let me hope that reformation will not come too
late."

He passed that night in sorrow and contrition, he bedewed his pillow
with tears, and sleep was a stranger to his troubled mind. If he
happened but to slumber, he suddenly started, imagining he saw the
image of his deceased father standing before him in the dreadful garb
of death, and thus reproaching him: "Ungenerous youth! is this the
manner in which you ought to return my past cares and attention to
your interest?--Thou idle sloven, thou ungenerous son! awaken from
your state of indolence, and properly improve the little time you have
left for the pursuit of science, which you have hitherto so shamefully
neglected; and do not, by an unpardonable inattention to yourself,
shorten the few remaining days of your dear mother's life!"

I hope my youthful readers are well convinced that there are no such
things as ghosts or apparitions, and that they are nothing more than
the effects of a troubled imagination. Such was the ease with Marcus,
who fancied he saw his father on the one hand, reproaching him for what
was past, and his dear mother on the other, exhorting him to better
conduct in future. "What a wretch I am," said he to himself, "to act
in this manner! When my time for leaving this academy shall arrive,
and I must appear before my mother to give proofs of my literary
knowledge, what must be the pangs of her maternal heart, when she
shall find that the child, on whom she had placed all the prospects of
her future felicity, is an ungrateful, ignorant, and unworthy wretch?
She will call on the friendly hand of Death to take her from such an
insupportable scene!"

Poor Marcus thus lay rolling on the thorny bed of trouble and anxiety,
till, at last, totally overcome by grief and despair, he fell asleep.
As soon as he awoke in the morning, on his bended knees he implored
the assistance of the Almighty in the reformation he intended to
make in his conduct. He instantly hastened to his master's chamber,
and there threw himself on his knees before him: "Behold, sir," said
he, "prostrate before you, an ungrateful wretch, who has hitherto
treated, with the most shameful indifference, all the wise lessons you
would have bestowed on him. Yet, unworthy as I may be of your future
instructions, let me implore you, for the sake of my dear mother, whose
life I fear I shall shorten by my unworthy conduct, to extend your
bounty to me once more, and I will endeavour to convince you, by my
future conduct, how much ashamed I am of what is past."

His master raised him up, took him in his arms, and tenderly embracing
him, they shed tears together. "My dear Marcus," said his master to
him, "to be sensible of your errors is half way to reformation. You
have, it is true, squandered away, in the pursuit of trifles, two
years that ought to have been employed in the acquisition of useful
science. You have still one year left, and, as you appear to stand
self-convicted of the imprudence of your past conduct, I would not
wish to drive you to despair; but to encourage you by saying, that, by
proper application, great things may be done, even in the remaining
year. Begin this moment, lose no more time, and may God give you
resolution to proceed suitably to my wishes, and your own interest."

Marcus seized the hand of his master, tenderly kissed it, and then
retired, being totally unable to utter a single word. He instantly ran
to his chamber, there eased his heart in a flood of tears, and then
set about the necessary business. He applied himself so closely to his
books, and made therein so rapid a progress, as astonished his master
and teachers. His companions, who had hitherto treated him with the
utmost contempt, began to love and revere him. Marcus, thus encouraged
by the different treatment he now received, pursued his studies with
the utmost attention and alacrity. He was no longer despised for his
wickedness and perversity, but admired and caressed for the affability
and goodness of his temper. Formerly no severities or entreaties could
make him attend to his studies; but they were now forced to use some
degree of violence to make him partake of necessary recreations.

In this manner his last twelvemonth passed on, and he viewed with
regret the approach of that time when he was to leave school, and
engage in pursuits of a different nature. He was hereafter to study
men, and endeavour to acquire a knowledge of the latent motions of the
human heart, perhaps the most difficult study in the commerce of this
world.

The time allowed him being expired, his mother ordered him up to
London. By the end of the year, the change he had made in his conduct
so operated in his favour, that his departure was regretted by all
his school companions; and, when he took his leave, sorrow visibly
appeared in the countenance of every one. It was a pleasing reflection
to his master, that a youth he had given up as lost, should on a sudden
reform, and, in the circle of one year, make as great a progress in the
sciences as the generality of youths do in three.

The journey afforded Marcus the most pleasing reflections; for he had
now nothing to apprehend from the interrogatories of his mother, with
respect to his education; and though he sincerely lamented the two
years he had lost, yet he could not but feel the effects of the happy
employment of the third.

His schoolmaster had before acquainted his mother of the happy
reformation in her son, and the great improvement he had made since
the death of his father. These considerations, added to the natural
feelings of a mother, made their meeting a scene of the most tender
delights and heartfelt transports.

Marcus lost only a week in paying visits to his relations and friends,
and then applied himself to his father's business with unremitted
assiduity and the most flattering success. In a few years he took an
amiable partner for life, with whom he lived happy and contented. He
was blessed with dutiful children, to whom he would frequently give
this lesson: "My dear children, do not forget, that time once lost is
not to be recalled; and that those hours you trifle away in your early
years, you will severely lament the loss of when you shall have reached
the age of maturity. An old age of ignorance is despicable indeed; for
he who has neglected properly to cultivate his mind in his youth, will
embitter the evening of his life with self-accusations and reproaches.
Happy the youth who, having toiled hard during spring in the garden of
science, sits down in the autumn at leisure to regale on the fruits of
his labour!"



[Illustration]

_The Recompence of Virtue._


The northern confines of France boast of a small spot of ground, where
virtue renders law unnecessary, and procures the inhabitants a state
of peace as pure and unsullied as the air they breathe. In process of
time, this territory fell into the hands of a widow, who merited a much
more valuable patrimony.

Madam Clarisse, for that was the lady's name, joined benevolence of
heart to a cultivated mind and an elevated genius. The place afforded
neither physician nor apothecary; but Madam Clarisse supplied the want
of them by her own knowledge of the medical qualities of different
roots and plants. Her conduct evidently proved how much good a
generous heart is capable of doing, even where Fortune has not been
lavish of her smiles.

This lady had a servant maid, whose name was Maria, and who had seen
twelve revolving suns in her service. Her attachment to her mistress,
her disinterested behaviour, affability, and attention, procured
her the just esteem of all who lived in the neighbourhood. It was a
happiness for this girl, that she had all her life been brought up on
this spot of innocence, and had not been exposed to the corrupting and
pestiferous air of the metropolis.

Madam Clarisse had the highest opinion of the good qualities of Maria,
and had entertained a strong affection for her. Maria, who in her turn
tenderly loved her mistress, and was a little older than her, always
wished that her good lady might be the longer survivor; but Providence
had ordered it otherwise. Madam Clarisse was attacked with a disorder,
which, on its first appearance, was supposed to be of no consequence;
but, by the improper treatment of her physicians, who mistook her
disorder, it at last proved fatal.

The visible approach of death did not disturb the peace and tranquility
of the mind of this virtuous lady: her bosom was fortified with
religious consolations; her heart had never been the receptacle of
evil; and, while every one around her was bewailing her approaching
dissolution, she alone seemed peaceful and tranquil. The salutary
regimen she exactly followed, protracted her death for a little while,
and her courage gave her strength. She was not confined to her bed, but
walked about, and had the village girls around her, whom she instructed
in the principles of religion and virtue.

One delightful morning, in the blooming month of May, she rose very
early, and took a walk in the fields, accompanied by Maria, who never
forsook her. She reached the summit of a verdant hill, from whence the
eye wandered over the most delightful prospects. She sat down on the
enamelled turf, and Maria by her side.

"What a delightful view!" said she. "See, Maria, that verdant meadow,
over which we have so frequently walked! It is not long since, if you
remember, that we there met the good old Genevive, who bent beneath
the load on her back, while she carried in her hand a basket full of
apples: you insisted on taking the load from her, and, in spite of all
her resistance, I seized her basket of apples. Do you not remember what
joy and pleasure every step afforded us, how grateful the good creature
seemed, and what a hearty breakfast we ate in her cottage?

"Look a little to the right, and there you see the willow-walk by the
lake, in which, when we were young, we used so frequently to angle.
How often have we there made ozier baskets, and then filled them with
cowslips and violets! You recollect that cottage in front of us, the
peaceful habitation of Myrtilla, for whom you in two days made up the
wedding clothes I gave her. To the left, see the entrance of the wood,
where I used every holiday to keep my evening school in the summer, for
the instruction of the peasants' children. How happily those moments
glided away, while surrounded by my youthful neighbours! How many sweet
and delightful tales has the lovely Priscilla there told, and how many
enchanting songs did the sweet Miranda there warble forth, while the
feathered songsters seemed to stop their own notes to listen to her
divine warblings! Methinks every thing around me brings back something
pleasing to my reflection, and gives an inexpressible delight to my
present sensations!

"You are sensible, Maria, that there is a school in this village kept
by a poor old woman. Many who attend her school can pay for instruction
without any inconvenience, while there are others, who, for want of
money, are obliged to keep their children at home in ignorance. Had I
any hopes of living a few years longer, I should be much pleased with
the idea, that I should by that time have saved a hundred crowns, which
would have been sufficient to provide education for the children of
those who cannot afford to pay for it; but, since it is the will of God
that such shall not be the case, I submit without repining."

Here Maria turned her head aside, in order to conceal from her lady the
tender tear that stole down her cheeks. Madam Clarisse perceiving the
situation of her amiable servant, "My dear Maria," said she, "why do
you weep? We shall again meet each other to part no more, and for the
present let my serenity console you. I have not a doubt but you will
always have a sure asylum in my house long after I shall have left it.
Had it pleased God, I should have been happy to have it in my power to
make some provision for you; but I cannot; and it is for me to submit."

Lifting up her hands, she exclaimed, "Accept, O gracious God! my most
grateful acknowledgments for having placed me in a situation far from
the temptations and vanities of this world. A stranger to headstrong
passions and delusive pleasures, I have passed my tranquil life on this
retired spot of innocence, secure from the tumultuous pursuits of pride
and vanity, and a perfect stranger to the gnawing pangs of jealousy or
envy. Innocence and peace, and all the tender feelings of friendship
and humanity, have been my constant companions. In that critical
and awful moment, when the remembrance of past actions is not to be
supported by the wicked, my mind enjoys inexpressible serenity and
composure."

Madam Clarisse here stopped short, and her head sunk on the bosom of
Maria; who, looking on the face of her amiable mistress, found it
turned pale, and her eyes closed-never more to be opened!--Thus cracked
the cordage of a virtuous heart;--good night, thou amiable woman; may
choirs of angels sing you to your rest!

Maria was undoubtedly much afflicted at the death of her lady, and her
sorrow on that account, added to the fatigues she had undergone, threw
her into a fever, from which her recovery was for a long time doubtful.
Nature, however, at last conquered her disorder, when she determined
to quit that place, as soon as her strength would permit her. When
she found herself capable of pursuing the journey, she packed up the
little matter she had, and first repaired to the church-yard where her
amiable lady lay buried. Having there paid the tribute of a tear upon
her grave, she instantly set out for Charleville, her native place,
sincerely regretted by the minister and people, who knew not what was
become of her.

Two years had elapsed, and no news was heard of Maria, though every
possible enquiry was made in the neighbourhood. About that time,
however, the minister of the parish received a parcel containing some
money, and the following letter with it:

    "At last, my dear reverend sir, I am enabled to send you the
    hundred crowns which my worthy lady, in her expiring moments,
    so ardently wished to be possessed of, not for her own use,
    but for the emolument of others. Her wishes shall now be
    fulfilled, and the pious work she projected shall be completed.
    Had not this been the all I am possessed of in this world, I
    would have brought it myself. I am too poor to support myself
    among you; but I am happy in my poverty, and feel no anxieties
    but those occasioned by the loss of my dear lady. I beseech
    you to put this money out to interest, and inform the mistress
    of the school that it is for her use. This I hope will enable
    her to take under her care the children of such poor people,
    who cannot afford to pay for their education. If I have any
    favour to ask of Heaven, it is only this, that I may, before I
    am called hence, be enabled to save a little money, in order
    to be in a condition to pay you a visit. Should I live to see
    this school established on the plan my deceased lady wished
    for, I shall then be perfectly happy, and shall quit this world
    without envying those who roll in the gifts of fortune, but
    have not a heart properly to use them.--MARIA."

The curate, who was a man of generous feelings, read this letter with
admiration, and the next day, in the church, communicated the contents
of it to his congregation, who could not refrain from tears on the
relation of so generous an action. According to Maria's request, he
placed the hundred crowns out to interest; and thus, from the produce
of two year's incessant labour of this amiable woman, was a foundation
laid for the education of the poor children of the parish.

The generous Maria, having thus disposed of every thing she was
possessed of, again sat down to work; but not with so much ardour as
before, as she had now only to labour for her own maintenance. About
this time, however, a relation died and left her ten pounds a year,
which to her was a little fortune.

It soon came to the knowledge of Maria, that the curate had read
her letter to his congregation, which gave her no small degree of
uneasiness, as she wished it to remain unknown. However, it soon became
the conversation of every one, and at last reached the place where she
lived.

People of the first character and fortune in Charleville, at which
place she then lived, were anxious to be acquainted with her; and some
of them even went so far as to offer her apartments in their house. But
she preferred her present situation to a life of ease and indolence.

The curate, having occasion soon after to visit Paris, mentioned Maria
in all companies, and related the affecting story of her charity, which
soon became the general subject of conversation in that metropolis, was
publicly related in the Paris Gazette, and from thence copied into most
of the public papers in Europe.

A young prince, who lived with his parents, at Paris, and who was
hardly nine years of age, was so affected, young as he was, with this
generous action of Maria, that he talked of nothing else from morning
till night. "I wish I were a man," said the little prince one morning
in his father's hearing. "And if you were a man," replied the peer,
"what then would you do?"

The young prince threw his arms round his father's neck, and having
obtained a promise that he would grant him what he asked, "I would,"
said he, "give Maria a pension." His father embraced him, applauded the
generosity of his heart, and instantly settled fifty pounds a year on
Maria for life.

We may learn from hence, that virtue often meets with its recompence
in the possession of the good things of this life, besides that
inexpressible delight it receives from the inward feelings of the
heart. Maria received this donation with all becoming gratitude; but
she used it as though she were only the steward of it: she fed the
hungry, she clothed the naked, and diffused through the whole village a
spirit of industry, prudence, and benevolence.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Pleasures of Contentment._


Amidst all the objects of our pursuits in this world, in order to
acquire happiness, Contentment is the first. Without this, all the
parade of grandeur, the possession of the most beautiful villa, and
all the studied delicacies of the table are dull and tasteless. When
contentment has taken up its seat in the bosom, the straw-built hut is
a palace, and the coarsest viands are preferable to the most sumptuous
delicacies. The following history of an eastern vizier will contribute
to support this opinion.

Alibeg, in his youth, had been a very great favourite of the Sultan
Mahmud: he had been the partner of his childish sports, and, as they
grew up, the companion of his more manly amusements. He entrusted him
with all his secrets, and generally followed his advice in most matters
of importance. Mahmud, therefore, out of gratitude, advanced him to the
first office of state in the empire.

Alibeg was a man of a noble and generous heart, and of a complexion
of mind very different from those who generally flock about royalty,
like drones about the hive, only to rob it of its sweets. The inferior
ministers of Mahmud were avaricious, cruel, and oppressive, and
sacrificed the ease and happiness of the people to gratify their own
pleasure, avarice, and ambition. Alibeg was determined, whatever might
be the consequences, to set about a reformation of many shameful abuses.

An attempt of this nature naturally brought upon him the united
opposition of the imans and grandees. They first endeavoured to ruin
Alibeg in the opinion of the sultan, by charging him with those very
crimes, which he was in reality endeavouring to correct; but their
endeavours were for a long time ineffectual. The sultan loved Alibeg,
and well knew that all the accusations against him were false and
groundless.

Men in power, who have no other object in view but the gratification of
their unbounded passions, dread nothing so much as the influence which
wise and virtuous minds sometimes have over good princes. The wicked
courtiers finding they could not prevail on the sultan, by fair means,
to give up his favourite Alibeg, called in to their aid diabolical
rebellion.

The deluded multitude rose against their best friend, whose only wish
was to make them happy, by freeing them from the shameful tyranny in
which the ministers and great men held them. What a pity it is, that
the lower class of people, on whom the prosperity of almost every
nation undoubtedly depends, should be so often blind to their own
interest, as to be persuaded, by artful and designing men, to forge
fetters for themselves!

The sultan, finding he must either give up his empire or his favourite,
consented to the disgrace of Alibeg; but not till the leaders of
the rebellion had sworn, by the holy Prophet, that Alibeg should
be permitted to retire where he pleased, without being insulted or
molested.

Alibeg, thus divested of power and all his property, without a friend
who dared to give him the least assistance, retired to spend the
remainder of his days among the rocks and deserts of the Korasan. Here,
on the borders of a limpid and meandering stream, he erected himself
a little hut; and here, remote from the converse of ambitious and
deceitful man, he passed his time unnoticed by any human being.

He had lived in this solitary retreat, amidst rocks and deserts for
upwards of two years, when the virtuous Mentor discovered his gloomy
abode. This good man, who was the intimate friend of Alibeg, and who
had advised him to attempt the reformation of the state, was thereby
instrumental in the ruin of his friend. However, as soon as Alibeg
was banished by the people, Mentor banished himself, and retired to a
little village at a great distance from the capital.

Mentor sighed for the absence of his friend, and, as he knew he was
retired to the Korasan, he determined to set out in search of him. As
he was walking on, and at about a furlong distant from the abode of
Alibeg, they suddenly met in a winding path. They instantly knew each
other, embraced, and wept. When they had wiped away their tears, and
had got over the first emotions of joy which so sudden and unexpected a
meeting had occasioned, Mentor was astonished to see how much serenity
and composure were visible on the countenance of his friend Alibeg,
whose bosom was the repository of peace and contentment.

"Blessed be the Eternal," said Mentor, "who gives strength to the weak,
and contentment to the unfortunate! He, who had fertile plains at his
command in the environs of the capital, is now contented and happy in a
cottage, among barren rocks and deserts! But Alibeg has brought virtue
with him to these rocks, and he despises the roses that for ever bloom
in the garden of Hiera, the diamonds that harden in the rich mines of
Nishapous, and the silks that rustle in the manufactories of Mezendran.
But tell me, my dear friend, has it taught you to live alone? Is it
possible, that any one can live without the converse of a friend? Such
a life would be the solitude of a tomb!"

While Mentor was thus addressing his friend, they kept walking on; when
they approached the cottage, which Alibeg left that morning before the
sun had given light to the eastern parts of the horizon, their ears
were first assailed with the neighing of a colt that came to meet them.
When the animal approached its master, its motions seemed to express
its satisfaction on seeing him again: it turned about either walking or
prancing before him all the way home.

Presently two beautiful heifers came running towards them from an
adjoining meadow. They moved in a circle round them, then stopped, as
it were, to offer him their milk, and holding out their necks to him
to be yoked; for nature had taught these animals to be grateful to the
hand that fed them.

When they had proceeded a little further, two goats, attended by their
kids, as soon as they caught sight of Alibeg, descended from the rocks,
and expressed their joy on seeing him again by skipping and sporting
round him.

While Mentor was amusing himself with this pleasing scene, his
attention was called aside to observe five or six sheep, which had just
issued from a neighbouring thicket, and were bleating as they ran. They
leaped with joy, and approached to lick their master's hand, who, in
return, made much of them, and showed them, by the manner in which he
received those marks of their gratitude, how much he was satisfied with
their affection for him.

This tender scene engaged much the attention of Mentor, who was still
more surprised when he saw a flock of doves surround Alibeg, some of
which hovered over his head, and others perched on his shoulders.

By this time he had entered the inclosure of his cottage, when a cock
perceiving him, instantly began crowing; and, to complete the concert,
the hens flew from their pursuit of food, and endeavoured, in their
way, to welcome his return.

But all these marks of attachment were not equal to those shown by two
dogs who waited, at the door of the cot, the arrival of Alibeg, their
generous master. Neither of them would stir out to meet him, but kept
to the post he seemed to have assigned them, that of taking care of his
house. However, as soon as he and his friend had entered the cot, they
pawed and jumped round him, played a thousand antics, crouched before
him, and expressed their joy by their agility; they licked their
master's feet, and, when he stretched his hand to pat and stroke them,
they would hardly stay to receive the fond mark of approbation, but,
rushing through the door-way, sprung forward, and made long circuits
over the rocks, and scoured backwards and forwards to express their
joy. When they had tired themselves, they returned and lay down at the
feet of their beloved master.

Mentor seemed lost in astonishment, and was convinced, in his own mind,
that his friend must be happier in this cot, amidst these irrational
beings, if they deserved to be so called, than he could possibly be
among faithless men, in the palaces of Mahmud.

"You here see, my good friend," said Alibeg, "that I know how to
make myself happy, even among the rocks and deserts of Korasan. I
endeavoured to teach men the love of virtue, to inspire the subjects
of Mahmud with the proper notions of liberty, and to shake off that
tyranny they laboured under from the usurpation of the rich and
powerful; but they despised my advice, and drove me from my native
spot, to seek shelter here, where I have found animals of the brute
creation more grateful than men. Thus, you see, my solitude is not a
tomb, and that I here enjoy a kind of sovereignty over those animals,
which is far more grateful, and less dangerous, than the condition of
Mahmud, who reigns over a fickle and inconstant people, who is every
hour deceived by them, and who may perhaps one day drive him from his
throne."

While they were thus conversing together, they heard the sound of a
number of horses' feet on the solid rock. Alibeg was alarmed, and could
not conceive that any band of robbers could inhabit those regions; nor
could he suppose that any civilized beings would come that way in the
pursuit of pleasure.

A few minutes, however, cleared up all his doubts, when he saw about
a hundred horsemen approaching his cot. At the head of these Alibeg
perceived his old friend Sha-abba, who had been the principal cause of
changing Alibeg's sentence, from that of losing his head to perpetual
banishment.

Sha-abba leaped from his horse, and caught Alibeg in his arms. Mentor,
who was a witness to this scene, could not conceive what all this
could mean; but he soon learned, that the people were so wearied out
with the oppressions of the great, which had been carried to a more
enormous height than ever since the banishment of Alibeg, that they
unanimously rose in their defence, and destroyed all the authors of
their oppression; but remained firm in their duty and attachment to the
Sultan Mahmud.

The sultan had sent these horsemen, a hundred in number, with Sha-abba
at their head, in quest of the virtuous Alibeg, whom he was to bring
back with him by force, if entreaty could not prevail, to assume
his former post of vizier. When Alibeg was informed of this, he
wept bitterly, and exclaimed, "After having learned to know in what
happiness and contentment consist, why am I thus to be snatched in
a moment from them, and again compelled to hazard my peace of mind
among men more savage than the rocks and deserts of Korasan? How can I
forsake these faithful companions of my retirement, my dogs, my doves,
and my cattle? No, if I must go, they shall follow me, that I may have
them ready to attend me when Fortune shall again drive me to these
deserts."

Sha-abba and Mentor endeavoured to pacify his mind: the former assured
him, that all his enemies had been killed by the hands of the oppressed
multitude, and the general voice of both the sultan and people was for
the return of Alibeg. By these and such like arguments they prevailed
on Alibeg to return to the capital, and resume his former exalted
employments.

Alibeg mounted his colt, and, after shedding a flood of tears, as a
tributary farewell to the rocks and deserts of Korasan, he proceeded
on his journey; his two faithful dogs by his side, while the doves
fluttered around him, and his kids, sheep, and heifers, followed in the
rear.

When they arrived within a few miles of the metropolis, they were met
by some thousands of the citizens, who seemed at a loss how properly to
express their happiness on the return of their faithful Alibeg, while
shame, for having treated him so unjustly, in some measure diminished
their joy. Mahmud waited for him at the door of his palace; he received
him with open arms; and Alibeg all his life afterwards was equally
esteemed by the sultan and his people. Happy is he who, in every
various station of life, in prosperity or adversity, can maintain the
same equanimity, resolution, and fortitude.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The happy Effects of Sunday Schools on the Morals of the rising
Generation._


Whatever may be said of the increasing luxury and dissipation of
Englishmen, their hearts have not yet lost any part of their ancient
reputation for the feelings of humanity, and they are still ever ready
to provide clothing for the naked, medical assistance for the sick and
lame, and education for the untaught children of the poor.

The great number of hospitals, infirmaries, free-schools, and other
charitable establishments, with which almost every part of this
country abounds, afford an ample display of British benevolence. The
institution of Sunday Schools owes its foundation to the humanity
of the present times, and will be a credit to it in future ages. The
following history of Dorcas and Amarillis may serve as one instance of
the happy effects of Sunday Schools.

In a solitary village, far remote from the metropolis, and not near
to any capital city, lived the parents of Dorcas and Amarillis. The
husband was a shepherd and his wife a shepherdess; but their earnings
were so little, that even with their joint labour they could hardly
procure bread for themselves and their children, and a morsel of meat
once a week was the highest pitch of their luxury, though even that was
of the very coarsest kind.

As soon as Dorcas and Amarillis grew up, the former was sent into the
fields to frighten birds from the grain, and the latter was kept at
home to knit coarse yarn stockings for the use of the family.

Their whole library consisted only of a Testament and a Prayer-book;
but these were so injured by the depredations of time, having passed
from hand to hand for many years, that what was not torn away, was
rendered nearly illegible. However, that was of little consequence,
since neither of them could read, and consequently could have no idea
of writing. The church was at some distance from them, which served as
an excuse to be absent from thence.

Dorcas had neither hat, shirt, shoes, nor stockings; and all the
apparel of poor Amarillis was only a straw hat and a coarse gown
and petticoat.--These considerations alone were sufficient to keep
them from church, admitting they had any inclination to go there. In
course, as Sunday was the only day of rest they had from their labour,
both boys and girls passed it in such tricks and gambols as were most
suitable to their age and taste.

Thus they lived almost in a state of nature, without knowing any thing
of the Supreme Being, or of any of the duties we owe to him. They had
no idea of prayer, further than, "I thank God we have had a fine season
this year, &c." and herein consisted all their devotion. However,
amidst all this ignorance and poverty, Dorcas, his sister, and family,
were all strictly honest, and never, like others in their village,
employed their Sunday in stealing fowls, and other things from their
rich neighbours, which they thought it no crime to do: the only dread
they had of the commission of these robberies, was the fear of being
discovered, and the punishment that would inevitably follow it.

These two children, Dorcas and Amarillis, lived in this state of
ignorance till they were ten or eleven years of age. It had been some
time a custom with Dorcas and his sister, with a black-lead pencil
they had found by chance, to imitate, on the back of a clean white
trencher, all the letters they found in the remains of their Common
Prayer-book, though they knew not the sound, nor combination of the
different letters of the alphabet, in order to form and connect words.

As they were one winter's evening hovering over the fire, Dorcas said
to his sister, "How happy are those young people, who, having parents
that can afford to pay for their education, are taught to read, write,
and cast accounts! and yet how many of those children prefer the most
idle pastimes to the more invaluable improvement of their minds? There
must be something vastly pretty, in being able to read that Testament
and Prayer-book."

"I agree with you, my dear Dorcas," said the blooming Amarillis, "that
there must be something uncommonly delightful, to be able to unriddle
the meaning of all those words we see in that book. What a hardship it
is, that we should be born to spend our days in ignorance, and know
none of the pleasures which learning must undoubtedly bring with it!"

The next morning, the principal person in the village, who owned a
great part of it, came to their hovel, and acquainted the old folks
that they might the next Sunday send their children to church, where
they would be instructed in the principles of the Christian religion,
and be likewise taught to read, without any expence to themselves.

The next Sunday morning, accompanied by other children in the village,
they accordingly repaired to church, where they were all dressed in new
apparel, prepared for them by the voluntary subscriptions of the humane
and generous. Though their clothes were but of coarse materials, yet
Dorcas and Amarillis had never been so fine before; the one thought
herself as elegant as Cleopatra, and the other considered himself as
great as Cæsar.

Besides clothing, such as could read tolerably well had a Bible,
Testament, and Common Prayer given them; while others who could not
read, had only a spelling-book. A schoolmaster was appointed in each
village to instruct the poor children in the evening; and every Sunday
they went regularly to church, to be examined by the parson in public.

It was a pleasing change to behold: instead of noise, riot, and
confusion, every Sunday, from one end of the village to the other,
peace, order, and decorum were every where seen. Instead of having
recourse to mischievous inventions to pass away the time, each was now
seen quietly seated on the enamelled turf, with a book in his hand, and
either reading to himself or to some others.

Among all these youthful students, Dorcas and Amarillis made the most
distinguished figures, and displayed such a genius and attention as
attracted the wonder and amazement of every one. In a few months they
learned to read with some degree of emphasis, and could write a hand
sufficient for any of the common concerns of business.

Such an uncommon display of genius created them many friends, and
they frequently received invitations from the younger branches of
the neighbouring gentry. From these visits they learned a polite and
graceful behaviour, and consequently soon got rid of their awkward
rusticity. As they increased in knowledge, so their minds opened and
expanded; and, though their wishes were at first only to learn to read,
they now sighed after the higher branches of literature.

"What a pleasing thing it must be," said Dorcas one day to his sister,
"to read of what passed in the former ages of the world, and trace out
the tempers and dispositions of the people in those days! What a narrow
span of earth are we confined to, in comparison of what we are told
the world is at large! I should like to read those books which give a
description of the different parts of the earth and seas; what animals
inhabit them, and what curiosities they contain superior to our own."

"I have the same wish," replied Amarillis; "but let us be thankful to
that good God, and to the generosity of our opulent neighbours, by
whose bounty and goodness we were rescued from a state of ignorance and
gloomy despair, have been enabled to read the Sacred Writings, and
imbibe the glorious doctrines of salvation."

This conversation was overheard by a gentleman, who immediately bought
them some small books of history and geography, of which they made so
proper a use, that there were very few young people, within several
miles of them, who were able to converse with them on geographical and
historical subjects.

Within the course of two years, Dorcas and his sister had made great
improvements in the sciences, when it was thought necessary to send
them into the world to provide for themselves, as their parents were
now engaged in a gentleman's family, in a much better situation than
that of a shepherd and shepherdess. Amarillis was taken as a waiting
maid, attendant and companion of a young lady of distinction and
fortune; and Dorcas thought himself happy in being taken as clerk in
the shop of a capital tradesman.

In this situation all parties at present remain, and afford an
unanswerable proof of the utility of Sunday Schools. Had it not been
for that noble institution, Dorcas and Amarillis must have lived and
died in the grossest ignorance, overwhelmed with poverty and despair;
their parents must have lingered out a half-starved life in their
miserable cot, without being able to bequeath any thing to their
children but rags and poverty. What may be the future situation of
Dorcas and Amarillis we cannot say; but we need not search the roll of
fate to know this, that they are bound to pray, as they undoubtedly do,
for the first promoters of Sunday Schools.

Let me advise my youthful readers, whatever their condition in life may
be, to imitate the industry of Dorcas and Amarillis. Let them remember
that, however painful a few years of hard study may be, how pleasing
will be the consequences to them all the rest of their lives, when they
will be possessed of that which nothing but their final dissolution can
take from them!

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Happy Villager._


Mr. Jackson had been an eminent tradesman in the city of London, where
he by trade acquired an independent fortune, and was now retired into
the country to spend the remainder of his days amidst rural retreats,
to enjoy the pleasures of rambling through woods and groves, by the
side of purling and meandering streams, while the harmony of the
feathered songsters would charm the ear, and lull the busy mind into
the most tranquil repose.

The retreat Mr. Jackson had chosen was situated in the county of
Worcester, and near to the place where he drew his first breath. His
house was a well-designed mean between the vast piles raised for
magnificence and those smaller ones in which convenience alone is
considered. The walk from the back of the house led through a wood, by
the side of a delightful stream, which meandered over grass from out of
a deep hollow. A gush of water, which fell into it, gurgled through a
rocky cavity; and in front you looked down on a fine lawn, terminated
with a noble bank of hanging woods.

He would frequently ramble to a great distance from home, to survey
the beauties of the surrounding country. He had already visited every
neighbouring village, and therefore one day strayed farther than usual
in pursuit of new objects. On a sudden he discovered a delightful
valley, the appearance of which seemed to correspond with every thing
descriptive of a rural scene.

It was surrounded on all sides by hills, at the feet of which were
thickly scattered cottages, groves, and gardens, which seemed to be
the abode of rural happiness. The silence of the scene was broken
only by the dashings of a torrent, which, rushing from an eminence,
precipitated, bellowing, into a cavern beneath. Having there vented
its rage in foam, it then divided into a multitude of little rills,
and forming serpentine sweeps, refreshed the meadows and surrounding
gardens with its friendly streams.

However pleased Mr. Jackson was with the natural beauties of the
place, he was no less struck with the neatness and simplicity of the
many cottages that presented themselves to his view, every house having
a garden, an orchard, and some well-cultivated ground about it. Their
only fences were hedges of holly, which afforded a convincing proof of
two things, the fertility of the soil, and the confidence each one had
in his neighbour.

Mr. Jackson was so wholly employed in contemplating this pleasing
scene, that he paid no attention to a storm that was gathering around
him, till the lightning flashed in his face, the thunder rolled over
his head, and the rain began to fall in torrents. He instantly ran
to the nearest farm door, and having there knocked, gained immediate
admittance.

It was an elderly woman that came to the door, and who, though old,
was not decrepid, and appeared to have something venerable in her
countenance. "Come in, sir," said she, "and I will make a fire to dry
you. I am glad our cottage was so near to you; but you would have met
with a kind reception in any of these cottages. There is hardly a house
here which is not kept by some of our children or descendants."

Mr. Jackson had sufficient leisure, while the good woman was lighting
the fire, to survey the apartment. Every thing appeared uncommonly
neat, and it was easy to be seen, from the nature of the furniture,
that necessity had no abode under that roof. The novelty of the whole
scene, and the particular words the good old woman had dropped in
conversation during the lighting of the fire, gave Mr. Jackson a strong
desire to know further particulars.

While he was drying his clothes, he heard a voice in the other room,
asking if the stranger was taken care of, to which the good woman
replied in the affirmative. "I suppose," said Mr. Jackson, "that is
your husband in the next room, whose voice I hear. May I go in and
thank him for his hospitality and kindness!"

"With all my heart, sir," replied the woman, "you will please to step
in, and I believe you will not be dissatisfied with your reception."
Mr. Jackson did so; and there found an old man reclining on a bed, of
which the clothes and furniture were very neat and clean. He had on a
cap, and his snow-white locks hung over his venerable shoulders. His
countenance indicated the goodness and serenity of his heart, and even
Time had here been more sparing of his devastations than is generally
the case.

The appearance of this happy villager had a very great effect upon Mr.
Jackson, who could not look on him without being, in some measure,
prejudiced in his favour. "What is the matter with you?" said he to the
old cottager, "I suppose you are ill, and obliged to keep your bed?"

"God be praised," replied the old man, "that is not the case; though
it cannot be expected, that a person turned of fourscore years of age
should be free from all kinds of complaints. It is not a long time
since I have given up daily labour, which my children obliged me to do;
for they said I had worked long enough for them, and that it was now
time they should work for me in their turns."

Mr. Jackson highly applauded the conduct of his children; and observed
to the old man, that he must have purchased his present repose at the
expence of a great deal of labour; but he wished to know, after having
passed his life in such active scenes, how he could amuse himself at
present.

"My whole life," replied the old man, "has been a constant succession
of labour. There are few men who have carried in more hay, or tied
more sheaves together than I have; but my labour procured me health,
contentment, and happiness. As to time, it never sits heavy on my
hands; and, when my body is at rest, my mind is at work. How can any
person be at a loss for thoughts who has ten children, and fifty
children's children to think for? They every day give me an account of
their affairs and labour, and it is I who put every thing in order.
There is always one constantly upon my hands that must be married, and
matches of that kind are not to be settled in a moment. If those I
have provided for in this way are now in a thriving state, it is to me
they owe their welfare. I have at this time three marriages in hand,
and I hope they will soon be settled to the mutual satisfaction of all
parties."

Mr. Jackson observed, that he must be very happy in so numerous a
family, and asked him how many he had at home with him. "I have at
present only two," replied the old man, "who are my grand-daughters,
for I cannot lodge an army here. It is my lands, and not my house,
that I wish to enlarge. Thank God, I have been able to give each of my
children a tolerable portion; not in gold, but acres, and that without
impoverishing myself. For a mere trifle, I bought a large quantity of
land, which none of my neighbours thought worth meddling with: but I
set about improving it, and gave it to my daughters as so many marriage
portions, which are now, in their improved state, of great value.

"Whenever any of my children were ill, I had skill enough to cure them
by the use of those few plants I am acquainted with, and of their
behaviour to me I never had any reason to complain. I always took care
to set them a good example; for though in my youth I was as wild as
any other, and there could not be a dance in this or any neighbouring
parish but I was sure to be there, yet, as soon as I was married, I
left off those pranks. My wife was fortunately handsome, good, and
sprightly, and that kept me in awe.

"I took my boys into the fields with me as soon as they could walk, and
I presently made them useful in one way or other. I put my youngest son
on the plough, and was pleased to see the others frolic round him; and,
on my return home in the evening, my little girls would divert me with
singing, while they were spinning at their wheel.

"I used to go among my children and grandchildren, to see if every
thing went on properly; but now, since old age has prevented me, they
come and see me. The sermon is no sooner over on a Sunday, than my
daughters and grand-daughters bring their little ones; and it would
please you, sir, to behold me in the midst of twenty women dressed as
for a marriage, and as pretty as angels. There is a family resemblance
in their children, and that charms me."

Mr. Jackson observed, that the other six days of the week must be very
tiresome to him, since he could not have the company of his family to
amuse him. To this the old man replied, "If I be denied this pleasure,
yet I have others to supply its place. I know every inch of ground in
this parish, and am as well acquainted with all who live in it. My
neighbours, therefore, frequently come to ask my opinion on matters
of husbandry, in which they are engaged. I give them my advice with
pleasure; and if they be poor people, I provide them with the seed they
want, and they repay it me the ensuing harvest. Thus am I serviceable
to others, without injuring myself or my family.

"In my endeavours to do good to my neighbours, I am assisted by our
vicar, who is a very good man, and of whom I have, in some degree,
made a bishop, by the weddings, christenings, and tithes with which I
have enriched him. I have even given him some instructions concerning
his business in the pulpit; for the country people, in general, like
example better than precept. The general rule I taught him to lay down
to his congregation was no more than this: _No rest, good neighbours,
to your land; but peace among yourselves._"

Mr. Jackson could not help applauding such principles, and told the
good old villager, that he apprehended he was of more service to the
vicar than he was to the lawyer, if any such professional man lived
near them.

The good old man replied, "We have indeed one lawyer among us, but I
have pretty well spoiled his trade. Had I taken only sixpence every
time I have been consulted, in order to settle disputes, I should at
this time have been a very rich man. In all places, there frequently
will happen disputes of one kind or other, and principally when
the ground of any deceased person is to be parceled out among his
successors.

"On these occasions, they generally come to me for my advice; and if
there be children to be married, I soon settle the affair. If there
be any ground in dispute, and the parties cannot agree about it, they
take me in their little cart, and, being on the spot, I have the ground
surveyed; I then weigh the good and bad qualities of it in my mind, and
endeavour, if I can, to satisfy the different parties.

"When I find the parties are not inclined to agree, the next day I get
them all together here, and I always keep a barrel of good ale on the
run, such as will soften the most obdurate and flinty heart. I give
them a glass or two of it, and in the mean time I tell them, that a
lawsuit would cost ten times more than the ground is worth; that if
they proceed in it, they will lose a great deal of time as well as
money, and ever after be enemies to each other. These arguments and a
few glasses of ale, never fail to make up the matter, and bring about a
perfect reconciliation. It is true, I lose my ale by such a practice;
but then I am amply repaid by the reflection of having done good."

Here the cottager called to his wife, and told her to bring a jug
of their ale. Mr. Jackson drank some of it, and confessed that it
was admirably calculated to make peace among his neighbours in the
village, especially when administered by so able a hand, who knew how
to extract friendship from the very means that often produce strife and
disaffection.

By this time the storm was entirely abated, Nature had put off her
gloomy aspect, and the returning sun began to enliven every thing. Mr.
Jackson took a friendly leave, and promised to see them again in a few
days. On his return home, "Who would not," said he to himself, "prefer
the healthful age of this good cottager, happy in his own esteem and
the love of others, to the vanity of those great men, who make no other
use of their abundance, than to set examples of luxury and dissipation,
who make light of public scorn and hatred, and whom the very grave will
not protect from infamy and execration!"

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Indolent Beauty._


We too often see beauty contaminated by vanity, and a fine genius by
indolence. Bella was the only daughter of a tender and affectionate
mother, whose virtue and discretion were a source of happiness to her
family, and a credit to her sex. Bella, on her arrival at six years of
age, afforded every symptom of a good heart, complaisance, affability,
and a tolerable share of understanding. This was the glaring part of
the picture; for the shade afforded a strange attachment to indolence,
and a disgust to every species of refined education.

Though her mother possessed all the talents necessary for an excellent
instructress, yet she had never before any opportunity of reducing them
to practice, and an only child was not perhaps the most proper object
for her experience in the science of juvenile education. It should
ever be one important point with parents, never to give up a command
they have once laid on their children, but punctually to insist on its
performance. The observation of this rule would frequently save a great
deal of uneasiness to both parents and children.

Her mother could not think of applying even the most tender correction,
and the use of threatenings only added to her own uneasiness. She
hoped, as her daughter grew older, she would become more sensible of
her indolence and inattention to business, and, as she ripened in
years, would proportionably increase in sense and judgment; but the
older the twig grew the less pliant it became, and what might have
been accomplished in its younger state, was by time become almost
impracticable.

Bella, however, when she arrived at eight years of age, showed very
little inclination to make any alteration in her conduct; the little
creature's idleness rather increased than diminished, and she began to
be troublesome even to herself. Her mother now conceived the plan of
putting down on paper, every evening, the value of such things as she
had lost or spoiled in the course of the day, in consequence of her
carelessness and invincible indolence.

Her mother had flattered herself that Bella, when she came to know
the value of money, would act in a more prudent manner; but she read
over the account with the utmost indifference, and considered the sums
there mentioned as too insignificant for her notice and attention.
A pretended head-ache was almost her constant excuse to avoid her
attendance on her masters; and thus, though naturally sincere, she
began to accustom herself to deviate from the truth.

Bella had reached her thirteenth year, without the least appearance
of alteration in her conduct, and the lost and broken account, kept
by her mother, was increased to a large sum. One irregularity, if not
timely checked, brings on others; and thus Bella to indolence soon
added inconsistence. She presently grew tired of every thing; her
harpsichord, which was one week her favourite instrument, was the next
discarded with disgust, to make room for the guitar; and this, in a
short time after, for something else. She had masters to teach her
geography, French, and Italian; writing, accounts, dancing, drawing,
and music. These added to her mother's long catalogue of expences,
contributed but little to her improvement.

It is natural to suppose, that when the follies of youth are not
early corrected, they will, like pernicious weeds, thrive so fast
as to check the growth of every thing that is valuable in the same
soil. Hence it happened, that after three years more had elapsed,
the lovely Bella, instead of growing wiser by age, as her mother had
vainly expected, became more indolent, whimsical, and capricious. All
the money paid to her masters was thrown away, she learned nothing,
and was in fact little more than an _ignorant beauty_: a character I
most sincerely wish is not applicable to any of my fair readers, since
nothing can be more dangerous, pernicious, and derogatory to female
reputation.

At this period of her folly, a young gentleman of fortune and
character, whom I shall call by the name of Honestus, among other
company, visited the parents of Bella. He was struck with her charms,
and immediately conceived some thought of paying his addresses to that
capricious beauty; but, when he learned what was her character, he
declined all thoughts of forming such a connection.

The tender mother did not fail to represent this disappointment to
her daughter, who was then of an age capable to receive remonstrances
of that nature. To her natural disposition for indolence she had now
added pride, the forerunner of all evils to a female mind. Instead
of properly feeling the reproaches of a tender mother, she haughtily
replied, "It is true, I have lost a great deal of time, and have not
improved myself much from the lessons of my masters; but what need
have I of learning, when my parents are so rich, and you yourself
acknowledge I am so pretty?"

As soon as Bella had attained her eighteenth year, she began to think
herself happy in being no longer incommoded with the visits of her
teachers; so, when a young lady arrives at that age, she is supposed
to be accomplished in point of education, and has nothing else to do
but to apply herself to the application of those rules she learned from
her masters. Alas! this was not the case of the lovely Bella: she had
learned nothing but those principles which never fail to be pernicious
to the youthful mind.

That morning, which on its opening appeared to her so delightful and
brilliant, was soon enveloped in dark and heavy clouds. Her mother
entered her chamber with a countenance that convinced Bella something
was amiss. After an awful pause, she thus addressed her daughter:
"My dear child, you are this day eighteen years of age; but I fear
your education is far short of what it now ought to be. I fear the
indulgences I have granted you have made you too vain of yourself, and
have fatally induced you to believe, that you had less occasion for an
education than others. Will beauty make you lovely? separated from the
graces of the mind, it will not so much as please. Are you not always
uneasy in yourself, and constantly dissatisfied with others? Besides,
rich as you imagine your father to be, are you sure that, while we are
now speaking, he is not a ruined and undone man?"

The last words awakened in the bosom of Bella all the alarms which an
unexpected disappointment to ambition is capable of feeling. Her mother
got up, and left the room without saying any thing more.

The apprehensions of Bella on this occasion were but too well founded;
for, in a few days after this conversation, her father stopped payment.
This imprudent gentleman, not contented with a fortune of six thousand
pounds a year, engaged in a very hazardous undertaking, which,
happening to fail, brought on a bankruptcy. He had all his life been
the child of fortune, and therefore made but a poor pupil in the school
of adversity: he took this matter so to heart, that in spite of all the
care and attention of his wife and daughter, he soon bid adieu to the
cares of this world, and fled for repose to the next. He died perfectly
sensible, exhorting those around him, never to give way to the emotions
of avarice and rapacity, since these first brought him to ruin, and
then to his grave.

His wife undoubtedly felt this shock severely, though she supported
it with Christian fortitude. She had a small jointure, which the
creditors could not, nor did they wish to touch. Having performed the
duties of the last funeral rites to her husband, she and her daughter
retired to a private situation in the west of England, where every
necessary article of life was cheaper than in the metropolis.

Bella, however, behaved with all the propriety that could be expected
from a repenting daughter, and made every effort she was capable of to
console her unhappy mother. She would frequently reproach herself with
her past negligence, and reckon up the vast sums of money that had been
squandered away upon her to so little purpose.

Bella had valued herself much on the fortune she supposed herself born
to; but it pleased Providence to deprive her of it. She had, however,
her beauty still left to boast of; but even of this she was soon to be
deprived. Be cautious, my youthful readers, how you place too great
a confidence in the possession of wealth and beauty, since they are
fleeting as the wind, and as unsteady as the vessel on the troubled
billows of the ocean. Fortify your minds with religion and virtue, and
a proper knowledge of the useful sciences; the storms and hurricanes of
Fortune may then attack you, but you will always safely withstand their
rage, and deride their fury.

One evening, while she was bewailing her past neglect, and vowing a
reform for the future, she was seized with a head-ache, and being
otherwise very ill, she went to bed. The next morning a violent fever
seized her, and a physician being sent for, her disorder was declared
to be that which is frequently so fatal to female beauty.

It was one of the most unpromising kind; the doctors could say but
little, and the mother was driven to despair. Day after day, and night
after night, her mother never left her bed-side, but was constantly
with her, in a state of uncertainty, worse than that of death itself.
The afflicted Bella became delirious, the disorder made a rapid
progress, and her eyes were soon excluded from the light.

Though this circumstance is not uncommon in this fatal disorder, and
therefore did not at first create any alarm in her mother, yet at last
it increased to such a dangerous height, that the physicians were
no longer able to dissemble matters, and candidly confessed their
apprehensions, that her daughter would be blind all her life. Judge, if
you can, what must be the feelings of a tender mother on so trying a
calamity!

However, youth got the better of her disorder, very contrary to the
expectation of her mother, the physicians, and every one around her;
she also recovered her sight, but there were left terrible marks on
her face of the devastation it had there made. As soon as she was able
to walk about the room, she looked in the glass, and then exclaimed:
"Ah! what is become of that lovely face, of which the proud Bella so
lately boasted? Has cruel fortune robbed her of all she boasted, of all
she valued herself for but a month ago, her fortune and her beauty? I
am justly punished, and I will patiently submit."

Bella, thus instructed by misfortune, soon conquered her indolence, and
all her former imperfections; a sudden revolution took place, and her
very nature seemed to be reformed. Her mother's conversation now became
delightful to her, and she began to sit down to study with unwearied
attention. Reading, music, and drawing were her daily amusements; and
so great were her improvements therein, that she soon made up for the
time she had before thrown away in the most shameful indolence.

Her beauty was indeed vanished, but the improvements she made in her
mind procured her more friends than she was ever before able to acquire
by the charms of her person. Her shape was still truly elegant, and
her eyes and countenance were still expressive of the vivacity of her
heart. She was no longer expensive in her dress, though she was always
neat and fashionable.--Though her visitors did not look upon her with
that astonishment as formerly, yet they soon became captivated with the
charms of her mind and the politeness of her conversation.

Two years had passed away in this retired situation, when Honestus,
who had long before ceased to think of making a partner of Bella, on
account of her capricious and indolent temper, being on some business
in that quarter, called on the mother and daughter to see them. He
was introduced into a parlour elegantly furnished, and adorned with
pictures. "Is not this," said the lady, "a neat apartment? Every thing
you here see, and these drawings in particular, are the works of my
daughter."

Honestus was much surprised at hearing what he considered as a
tale, and his looks expressed his incredulity. He turned round, and
stedfastly gazing on the face of Bella, was equally astonished at
seeing her so changed. "Is this the lovely creature," said he to
himself, "with whose beauty I was once so much enraptured, and whom I
forsook on account of her pride, vanity, and indolence!"

Out of politeness he entered into conversation with her, and found in
her a most pleasing alteration: before she was a beauty without sense;
now she had lost the charms of her face, but had found those of the
mind, which are infinitely the most to be valued.

Honestus passed day after day in the company of Bella, whose
conversation was so pleasing and attracting, that he began to feel
himself uneasy when she was out of his sight. In order, therefore, that
he might enjoy the pleasure of her company without interruption, he
offered her his hand for life. "You certainly deserve her," said her
mother, "since you refused her in the bloom of her beauty, when her
fortune too afforded the most splendid promises, and now admire her
when they are both for ever vanished."

Though the fortune of Honestus was not very splendid, yet it was
sufficient, with the assistance of his trade, to keep up a genteel
appearance, and to provide decently for a family, should such be the
consequence of their marriage. They soon quitted this rural retreat and
returned to London, where they now live in the enjoyment of all those
pleasures which conjugal love, friendship, and virtue are capable of
producing.

Let my youthful readers reflect on what they have here read, and they
will then become sensible how vain and momentary, how fickle and
inconstant are the possession of riches and beauty. They are like
habitations built on the sands of the ocean, which are perpetually
liable to be swept away by the violence of winds and floods. I mean
not, that fortune and beauty are to be spised, I mean only that they
should be used properly, and that the possessor of them should not
vainly imagine, that they will supply the place of education, industry,
benevolence, charity, and virtue.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_An Oriental Tale._


Time, the devourer of all things, has permitted me to be the spectator
of a long series of events. The colour of my locks is now changed to
that of the swans, which sport in the gardens of the mighty kings
of the earth. Age and experience have taught me to believe, that
the sovereign Disposer of our destinies has given to man a heart
susceptible of virtue, and a soul capable of tasting the pleasures
which arise from doing good. A noble and disinterested action must
somewhere meet with its reward. Listen, O sons of Adam! listen to my
faithful tale.

In one of those delightful valleys which cut the chain of the mountains
in Arabia, for a long time lived a rich pastor. He was happy because
he was contented, and his happiness consisted in doing good. One day,
as he was walking on the enamelled borders of a purling stream, under
the shade of a grove of palm-trees, which extended their verdant
branches even to the heads of the lofty cedars with which the mountain
was crowned, he heard a voice that frequently echoed into the valley
the most piercing cries, and sometimes low murmuring plaints, which
were lost in the noise of the torrent.

The venerable pastor hastened to the place from whence the voice
proceeded, when he saw a young man prostrate on the sand, at the foot
of a rock. His garment was torn, and his hair, in wild confusion,
covered his face, on which were easily to be traced the flowers of
beauty, faded by grief: tears trickled down his cheeks, and his head
was sunk on his bosom: he appeared like the rose which the rude blast
of a storm had leveled to the earth. The pastor was touched at the
sight: he approached the youth, and said to him, "O child of Grief!
hasten to my arms. Let me press to my bosom the offspring of Despair!"

The youth lifted up his head in mournful silence; in astonishment
he fixed his eyes on the pastor; for he supposed no human being was
capable of feeling for his sufferings. The sight of so venerable a
figure inspired him with confidence, and he perceived in his eyes the
tear of pity and the fire of generosity. If to a generous soul it is
pleasure to complain, and unfold the latent secrets of the heart, that
pleasure surely must be heightened when we complain to those who will
not shut their ears to the voice of truth, but will weigh every thing
in the scale of reason, even though those truths may be disagreeable,
and such as they wish to have no existence.

The youth rose up, covered with dust, and, as he flew to the arms of
the pastor, uttered cries which the neighbouring mountains trebly
echoed. "O my father!" said he: "O my father!" when he had a little
recovered himself, after the tender embraces and the wise counsels of
the old man who asked him many questions.

"It is," continued the unfortunate youth, "behind those lofty cedars,
which you behold on those high mountains, it is there dwells Shel-Adar,
the father of Fatima. The abode of my father is not far distant from
thence. Fatima is the most beautiful damsel of all those in the
mountains. I offered my service to Shel-Adar, to conduct one particular
part of his flock, and he granted me my request. The father of Fatima
is rich; mine is poor. I fell in love with Fatima, and she fell in love
with me. Her father perceived it, and I was ordered to retire from the
quarter in which lived every thing that was dear to my heart.

"I besought Shel-Adar, in the most suppliant terms, to permit me to
attend his far-distant flocks, where I could have no opportunity to
speak to the object of my soul. My entreaties were in vain, and I was
ordered instantly to retire. My mother is no more; but I have an aged
father, and two brothers so young, that they can yet hardly reach
the most humble of the palm-tree branches. They have long depended
on me for support; but that support is now at an end. Let me die,
hoary-headed sire, and put an end to my woes!"

The pastor went instantly in search of Shel-Adar, and having found
him, thus addressed him. "A dove from Aleppo took refuge at Damos, and
lived with a dove of that country. The master feared that the dove
from Aleppo would one day entice away his companion, and therefore
caused them to be separated. They would eat no grain but that which
they received when together; they languished; they died. O Shel-Adar!
separate not those who cannot live unless they live together!"

Shel-Adar listened with attention to the words of the pastor; and, when
he found that the flock and the horses he had brought with him were now
given to the bewailing youth, he took Fatima by the hand, and led her
to the arms of her lover. They then retired to the neighbouring grove,
where the nymphs and swains from the mountains assembled around them,
crowned them with garlands, and in circles tripped over the enamelled
grass to the sweet notes of the lute.

The day had passed too swiftly, when the twinkling stars appearing in
the heavens, gave the signal for retiring each to their habitation.
The reverend pastor then withdrew, but not till he had uttered these
words:--

"Listen, ye tender branches, to your parent stock; bend to the lessons
of instruction, and imbibe the maxims of age and experience. As the
pismire creeps not to its labour till fed by its elder, as the young
eagle soars not to the sun but under the shadow of its mother's wings,
so neither doth the child of mortality spring forth to action, unless
the parent hand point out its destined labour. Dangerous are the
desires of pleasure, and mean the pursuits of the sons of the earth.
They stretch out their sinews like the patient mule; they persevere,
with the swiftness of the camel in the desert, in their pursuit of
trifles. As the leopard springs on his prey, so does man rejoice
over his riches, and, like the lion's cub, basks in the sunshine of
slothfulness. On the stream of life float the bodies of the careless
and intemperate, as the carcasses of the dead on the waves of the
Tigris. Wish not to enjoy life longer than you wish to do good."

The worthy pastor then retired, and the moon darted forth her
glimmering lights to illumine the way to his habitation. The amiable
young shepherd and shepherdess, being now left by themselves, "My
adorable Fatima," said the youth, "let us not retire to repose till
we have offered up our most grateful thanks to him, whose throne is
as far above that of earthly princes, as all the waters of the mighty
ocean exceed one single drop falling from the clouds. To him we owe all
the gratification of our wishes, and to him alone we must hereafter
look up as our friend, guardian, and protector. May it be recorded in
after times, that among these mountains once lived the happy Fatima and
Dorillis, whose affections for each other, whose universal benevolence
to all within the narrow sphere of their knowledge, and whose virtues
and piety have left an example worthy the imitation of all who wish and
know how to be happy."

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_Generosity rewarded._


Of all the graces that contribute to adorn the human mind, there are
perhaps none, more estimable than generosity and gratitude. To define
the exact boundary between generosity and profusion, is not perhaps
easy, since every one will explain it by the ideas they have of their
own motives for action; yet how far soever avarice may have deprived
some men of every spark of generosity, yet those very men fail not to
expect it from others, and are sure to complain bitterly of those who
do not display it in all their actions.

Nothing can equal the pleasure arising from the glow of a generous
heart, which is prompted to a noble action solely from the love of
virtue, and who wishes not to make of it a worldly parade. Fame is
often purchased by generous donations, which would never have been
given, had not popular idolatry been the motive; while others, like the
generous man in the following tale, consult only the approbation of
their own honest feelings.

One of the califs of Egypt, being in the field of battle, was
unexpectedly surrounded by a great number of rebels, who were preparing
to give that fatal blow, which would at once have finished his life and
put an end to his mortal career. Fortunately for him an Arab happened
to be near the spot with other soldiers of his party, who, seeing the
situation of the calif, rushed upon the rebels, and soon put them to
flight.

The name of this Arab was Nadir, who had for some months lived a
wandering life in the most retired and unfrequented places, in order
to escape the vengeance of the calif, against whom he had joined the
people in a late insurrection.

This generous conduct of Nadir was so much admired by all the Arabians,
that the sires still tell it their children among their evening tales.
This adventure had the happy effect of perfectly reconciling Nadir to
the calif, who, charmed with the generosity of a man who had saved his
life, at the very instant he might have destroyed it, promised to place
in him an implicit confidence. "But," said the calif, "let me hear how
you have passed your time, during your banishment."

"I have been a wandering fugitive," replied Nadir, "ever since your
family were elevated to the throne of this empire; conscious that the
sword of vengeance was at all times hanging over my head, it became
natural for me to seek security in retirement. I found refuge for some
time in the house of a friend at Basra; but fearing that my stay in
that city might be dangerous, I one night quitted it under the favour
of a disguise, and pursued my journey towards the desert.

"I had escaped the vigilance of the guards, and thought myself out of
all danger, when a man of a suspicious countenance seized my camel's
bridle, and expressed his suspicions that I was the man the calif was
in search of, and for the apprehension of whom a very considerable
reward had been promised.

"I answered, that I was not the man he was in quest of."--"Is not your
name Nadir?" said he. "This disconcerted me, and I could no longer
deny myself to be the object of his pursuit. I put my hand into my
bosom, and pulling out a jewel of some value, 'Receive,' said I, 'this
trifling token of my gratitude, for the important service I hope you
will now do me, in keeping silence, and favouring my escape. Should
fortune again smile on me, I will share my prosperity with you.'

"He took my diamond, and examined it very attentively, 'Before I put
this diamond into my turban, as your gift,' said he, 'I would wish
you to answer me one question honestly. I have heard you have been a
liberal man, and always ready to assist the poor and necessitous; but
did you ever give away one half of your wealth at one time?' I answered
in the negative; and he renewed his questions till he came down to
one-tenth; when I replied, that I believed I had, at one time, given
away more than one-tenth of my whole fortune.

"'If that be the case,' said the man, as soon as I had made him that
reply, 'that you may know there is at least one person in the realm
more bountiful than yourself, I, who am nothing better than a private
soldier, and receive only two dollars per month, return you your jewel,
which must certainly be worth three thousand times that money.' Having
thus said, he threw me back my diamond, and pursued his journey.

"Astonished at so benevolent and generous an action, I rode after him,
and begged him to return. 'Generous friend,' said I to him, 'I would
rather be discovered, and forfeit my head, than be thus vanquished in
point of generosity. Magnanimous stranger, either I must follow you all
day or you must accept this tribute of my gratitude.'

"He then, turning about, said to me, 'Were I to take from you your
diamond, I should consider myself as a robber on the highway, since you
receive no value from it. Let me advise you to lose no time, but set
off for your proposed retreat.' He continued inflexible, and we parted."

The calif knew not which to admire most, the generosity of Nadir or the
soldier. A proclamation was published, ordering the generous soldier to
appear at the calif's court, that he might receive the reward of his
virtues; but all was to no effect, as no one came forward to claim the
glorious reward. However, about a twelvemonth afterwards, when Nadir
attended the calif at a general review, a private soldier received a
blow from his officer, for holding down his head as the calif passed.
This drew the attention of Nadir, who, after looking stedfastly in the
face of the offending soldier, leaped from his horse, and caught him in
his arms. To conclude, this proved to be the man who had so generously
treated Nadir, and had endeavoured to shun the reward of his virtues.
The calif paid him singular honours; and at last raised him to the
highest rank in his army.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_An Evening Vision._


One beautiful, serene, summer evening, after rambling in a grove of
laurels, till the lamp of night arose to illumine the objects around
me, I seated myself on the bank of a meandering river; a weeping
willow spread over me its branches, which bent so humbly as to sweep
the stream. An antique tower, partly in ruins, mantled in ivy, and
surrounded with yew and cypress, was the only building to be seen.

I had been reading a melancholy tale, which in strong colours impressed
itself on my memory, and led me to reflect on the strange pleasure we
sometimes feel in perusing the most tragical adventures. What, said I
to myself, can occasion it? Can the human heart feel any delight in the
misfortunes of others?--Forbid it Heaven!

My eyes were fixed on the surface of the water; the soft beams of Luna
sported on the curling waves, and all nature seemed hushed to repose;
when a gentle slumber stole upon my senses, and methought a being of
angelic form seated herself before me.

A mantle of the palest sapphire hung over her shoulders to the ground,
her flaxen hair fell in waving curls on her lovely neck, and a white
veil, almost transparent, shaded her face. As she lifted it up, she
sighed, and continued for some moments silent. Never did I behold
a countenance so delicate; and, notwithstanding a smile sported on
her coral lips, her lovely blue eyes were surcharged with tears, and
resembled violets dropping with dew. Below her veil she wore a wreath
of amarinths and jessamines. "Wonder not," said she, in accents soft
as the breath of zephyrs, "that a state of woe can please. I am called
_Sensibility_, and have been from my infancy your constant companion.
My sire was _Humanity_, and my mother _Sympathy_, the daughter of
_Tenderness_. I was born in a cavern, overshadowed with myrtles and
orange-trees, at the foot of Parnassus, and consigned to the care of
Melpomene, who fed me with honey from Hybla, and lulled me to rest with
plaintive songs and melancholy music.

"Down on one side of the cavern ran a stream from Helicon, and in the
trees around it the doves and nightingales built their nests. I make
it my sole care to augment the felicity of some favoured mortals, who
nevertheless repine at my influence, and would gladly be under the
dominion of _Apathy_.

"Alas, how inconsiderate! If the rose has thorns, has it not also a
balsamic tincture and ambrosial sweetness? If the woodbine droops,
laden with the dew drops of the morning, when the sun has exhaled them,
will it not be refreshed, and yield richer fragrance? So, if a heart be
touched with a story of distress, it will at the same time experience
a delightful sensation; and, if the tears sometimes flow, say, can you
call it weakness? can you wish to be divested of this genuine test of
_tenderness_, and desire the departure of _Sensibility_? Were I totally
to forsake you, man would become a senseless being, and presently
imbibe the ferocity of the savage inhabitants of the forest."

"Ah no, fair nymph!" said I, "still deign to be my attendant; teach
me to sigh with the unhappy, and with the happy to rejoice. I am now
sensible, that the pleasures which arise from legends of sorrow, owe
their origin to this certain knowledge, that our hearts are not callous
to the finer feelings, but that we have some generous joys, and some
generous cares beyond ourselves."

Scarcely had I pronounced these words, when the loud tolling of the
village bell broke the fetters in which Morpheus had bound me, and
dispelled the airy illusion.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Anxieties of Royalty._


The califs of the East having extended their dominions as far as
the boundaries of Europe, found their iron sceptre too heavy to be
supported with any degree of pleasure or satisfaction. They therefore
appointed what are called emirs; but each of these governors soon
assumed the power of sultans. Not contented with the appearance of
being equal to their master, they frequently arraigned his conduct, and
sometimes dethroned him.

Mahmoud was the most celebrated of all the califs who had kept
their court at Ispahan. He was a patron of the arts and sciences,
and naturally a friend to the blessings of peace. Some of his
predecessors, however, had been of different sentiments, and thought
their happiness and glory consisted only in warlike exploits, in the
desolation of villages, towns, and cities, without regarding the
horrible carnage of human beings, and the miseries to which thousands
of families were thereby reduced. His subjects being thus accustomed
to warlike achievements, being naturally savage, and thinking nothing
but a victorious hero fit to govern them, they rebelled against their
peaceful monarch.

Though Mahmoud wisely preferred peace to war, yet he was by no
means destitute of true courage, and he now found himself under the
disagreeable necessity of taking the field, as the only means of
quelling his rebellious subjects. His arms were every where victorious,
and he returned in triumph to Ispahan, where he hoped to enjoy the
fruits of his victories in peace and tranquility.

In this, however, he was much disappointed; for his rebellious subjects
attributed his successes more to good fortune than wisdom or courage,
and they seemed only to be in want of a chief to lead them to open
rebellion. Selim put himself at the head of these rebels; but, in the
course of two years' contest, Selim lost his head, and Mahmoud returned
in triumph to his capital.

The man, who has long been accustomed to scenes of blood and
slaughter, will naturally become hardened and of savage feelings,
totally the reverse of those of pity, tenderness, and humanity. Almost
every day convinced Mahmoud, that he must part with either his tender
feelings or his throne. He wished to pursue the middle path between
clemency and tyranny; but the rebellious spirit of his subjects by
degrees so hardened his heart, that he at last became the complete
tyrant.

The people soon began to groan under the weight of his iron hand, and
offered up their prayers to the great prophet for a peaceful king, such
as Mahmoud had been. Alas! all their prayers were in vain, for Mahmoud
was young and vigorous, and beloved by his army. He was once loved; he
was now dreaded in every part of the Persian empire.

The calif, after having some time exercised his tyranny with a high
hand, suddenly withdrew from public affairs, and shut himself up in the
recesses of his palace, visible to no one but the emir he had always
trusted. In this unprecedented solitude he passed his time during the
whole course of a moon, and then suddenly appeared again on his throne.
A visible alteration had taken place in his countenance, and, instead
of the ferocity of a tyrant, clemency and mercy seemed seated on his
brow. He was no longer the savage calif, but the father of his country.

Such an unexpected change undoubtedly became the universal topic
of conversation, and various reasons were assigned for his sudden
transformation, but none of their conjectures came near the truth. An
accident, however, brought every thing to light.

Among the wise men of Ispahan was Alicaun, who was one day conversing
with an iman, and several dervises, concerning the change of the
calif's conduct. One of the dervises laid claim to the honour of this
change, having obtained it of Mahomet by fasting and prayer. Another
said, that this great work had been accomplished by a beauty in the
seraglio; but an iman, or priest, was bold enough to contradict them
both, and boasted, that it was by his remonstrances that the calif's
heart was softened. Alicaun being then called upon to give his opinion,
replied, "The lion, weary of the chase, lies down to repose a little:
but let the traveller be upon his guard; perhaps he is only sleeping to
recover his lost strength, that, when he wakes, he may rush forth with
additional fury."

One of the treacherous dervises reported this conversation to the
calif, and, in consequence thereof, Alicaun was ordered to appear
before him.

Alicaun accordingly made his appearance, when the calif, having taken
his seat at the tribunal, thus addressed him: "I have been informed of
the particulars of your late conversation; your having compared me to
the noble lion, can have nothing in it that ought reasonably to offend
me; but tell me sincerely, in which of these lights you considered the
lion; as the generous monarch of the forest, or as the savage tyrant?"

Alicaun bowed down his head to the earth, and replied, "My sovereign,
you have ordered me to speak sincerely: I will obey your orders,
regardless of the consequences that may follow. When I lately took
the liberty to compare you to the lion, I must own I had in my view
the ferocity of that animal. I am sensible I deserve to die:--your
decree will determine, whether you are the monarch of the forest, or
the savage tyrant. Should you be graciously pleased to spare me, it
will turn to your own advantage; because if you condemn me to die, my
accusers will think I spoke truth; but pardon me, and they will be
confounded."

"I forgive you, Alicaun," said the calif; "and I will tell you,
and all present, my motive for doing so. You are not a stranger to
the influence my favourite emir, Abdalla, has over me. Like many
other monarchs, I became jealous of my favourite, on the unbounded
acclamations he received on his return home from a war of no great
consequence. I therefore resolved on putting him to death, but was at a
loss in what manner I should accomplish that purpose.

"To attempt it by open violence would endanger my throne; I therefore
resolved to do it by stratagem. At the bottom of my palace gardens,
you all know, is a tremendous precipice, whose base is washed by the
waters of the Tigris. Hither I resolved to take him, under the idea of
consulting him on some important matters of state, and, when I found
him off his guard, as he could not suspect my intentions, to shove him
headlong over the precipice into the river.

"Thought I in myself, this is the last sun Abdalla shall ever behold;
for, by this time, we had reached the fatal spot; when, on a sudden, by
chance, let me say rather, by the will of Heaven, the ground trembled
beneath my feet, and I perceived part of the rock on which I stood was
parting from the main body. At this critical moment, Abdalla seized me
by the arm, and forcibly pulled me to him, otherwise I should certainly
have fallen down the horrible precipice into the foaming billows
beneath, and thus have met with that fate I designed for another.

"Shame and gratitude for some moments struck me dumb and motionless:
with shame, that a sovereign prince should stoop to such mean
treachery; and with gratitude, that I should owe my life to that man,
who saved mine at the very moment I was plotting his destruction!

"I instantly retired to the most secret chamber in my palace, and
opened my soul in prayer and thanksgiving to the Eternal. In this
dejected situation, I suffered several days and nights to pass away,
bitterly reflecting on my folly, and reproaching myself for sinking so
much beneath the real dignity of royalty. What, said I, is the life of
a sovereign more than that of his meanest subject, since the one is no
more secure from the arrows of death than the other!

"In a little time, by reasoning in this manner, I found all my tyranny
and self-consequence humbled, and I wished in future to be considered
only as a man. As the nights were long and tedious to me, in order to
divert my mind from painful and disagreeable reflections, I resolved to
take my rambles in disguise through the different parts of Ispahan.

"Among these rambles, chance carried me one night into a house of
public entertainment. Here, while drinking the liquor I had ordered, I
listened to the conversation of several parties round me.

"One of these parties consisted of a grave old man, surrounded by
several youths, who seemed to pay the greatest veneration and attention
to the words of the aged sire. I drew nearer to them, and was surprised
to find them talking of the late transaction between me and Abdallah.
The substance of their debates will never be erased from my memory.

"'There was a time,' said the old man, 'when all Persia would have
extolled to the skies the generous action of Abdalla; but I fear, there
is not at present a single voice that will thank him for saving the
life of the calif.'

"One of the youths, who I found was the old man's son, said he
perfectly agreed in what he had mentioned, but advised him at the same
time to be cautious in his observations; 'for,' said he, 'what is more
quick than the ears of a tyrant, or more baneful than the tongue of a
courtier!'

"'I fear not,' said the venerable old man, 'the ears of a tyrant, nor
the tongue of a courtier. The most they can do is to shorten a life
that has already almost finished its career. A man on the verge of
fourscore has little to fear from the terrors of this life. My father,
who has been dead half that time, left behind him in his cellar nine
bottles of wine of a most delicious flavour. Believe me, this is the
only liquor I ever dared to drink in opposition to the laws of Mahomet;
and not even this, but on very particular occasions; nor have I yet
consumed the whole.

"I drank the first two bottles, continued the old man, on the birth of
your eldest brother: two other bottles were dispatched, when the father
of the present calif delivered Persia from the invasion of a tyrant:
and two others when the present tyrant mounted the throne. Believe me,
I shall be happy to live to treat you with the other three bottles,
when Mahmoud shall be called into the next world, to give an account
of his conduct in this. Yet I would much rather wish to drink them with
you, should he reform, cease to be a tyrant, and again become that good
prince he one day was."

"The company could not help smiling at such a declaration; but I was
far from wishing to partake of their mirth. Had the old man, but a few
days before, uttered such words as these, his head would undoubtedly
have been the price of his temerity; but what would then have excited
my revenge, now filled my mind with the deepest reflections. I stole
away for fear of being discovered, and hastened home to my palace,
there to ruminate by myself on this adventure. It is evident, said I to
myself, that I must have been the worst of tyrants, since this good old
man, who drank but two bottles at the birth of his eldest son, wishes
to drink three on the news of my decease. He hopes for such an event to
crown all his wishes, and to complete his victory.

"In this manner my thoughts were agitated, and it was not till some
time afterwards I recollected he said, that he should finish his
bottle with still greater pleasure, should he hear of my reformation.
All my former notions of tyranny and power appeared to vanish before
me, and my heart seemed to receive impressions of a different nature.
To accomplish this work was my motive for being so long hidden from
public view, and from thence has arisen that change in my conduct with
which I see all my good subjects so much astonished and delighted. I
will endeavour to change no more, but to live in the affections of
my people. I leave you now to judge whether the good old man may not
venture to drink his remaining three bottles."

"Those three bottles are already drank," exclaimed a youth, while he
was endeavouring to penetrate through the crowd of courtiers to the
throne. As soon as he got to the calif, he threw himself at his feet,
and again exclaimed, "Commander of the faithful under Mahomet, they are
already drank!"

Mahmoud then ordered him to rise, and asked him who he was that had
thus spoken. The youth replied, "Most gracious sovereign, I am one
of five children, of whom the old man you have just mentioned is the
father. I was one of the party in that conversation, which has made
such a noble and generous impression on your royal heart. As we were
yesterday surrounding him, he thus addressed us: 'I feel nature is
nearly exhausted in me; but I shall now die with pleasure, since I have
lived to see such an unexpected reformation in Mahmoud. Let us drink
the three remaining bottles and be merry.'"

The calif then ordered him to fetch his father, that he might have the
sire and son always near him. The youth then retired, and Mahmoud
dismissed the assembly for the present.

Thus you see, my youthful readers, how easily you are to be led astray
by your passions, when you suffer them to prevail over reason. Learn
early to give law to your passions, or your passions will in time give
law to you, and govern you with a tyrannical power.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Generous Punishment._

Kalan was one of the principal favourites of Mahmoud, of whom we have
said so much in the preceding article. He had chosen him from among
the number of his courtiers, to bestow on him those favours of which
royalty was possessed, and which he merited. He was more beholden to
nature than to art for his education, which would have been sufficient
to make him happy, had it been his lot to live remote from the snares
and artifices of a court.

An open and disinterested heart, instead of procuring him love and
esteem, often carried him to the brink of ruin; for those with whom he
mingled, were artful and treacherous hypocrites, a set of vermin that
infest every court. Though he wished to hate no man, yet he could not
love those who were every day privately seeking his destruction.

These ungenerous attempts were so often repeated, that Kalan, fearing
he should acquire a habit of despising human beings, resolved to retire
from the noise and bustle of a court. He was strengthened in this
resolution by a review of his affairs, which were so much deranged by
his unbounded charity and benevolence, that he found it impossible any
longer to support such expences.

Kalan, before he retired to enjoy a peaceful and tranquil life, left
the following lines engraven on his door:

    "The man who no ingratitude has found,
    Has never trod on courtiers' slipp'ry ground."

The calif, having one day heard these lines repeated, desired to know
who was the author of them. At this time Kalan was supposed to be dead,
and therefore the courtiers had nothing to fear, and no reason to
conceal the name of the author. Those people who had formerly returned
all his favours with ingratitude, now launched into high encomiums
on his merit. In all this there is nothing astonishing. With respect
to the arts and sciences, we see how different is the treatment the
professors of them receive during their lives, and after they are no
more. While living, he could perhaps hardly support his miserable
existence; when dead, sumptuous and costly monuments are erected to his
memory.

Kalan, having accidentally heard how much Mahmoud was pleased with the
inscription on his door, quitted his retreat, and again appeared at
Ispahan, to the astonishment of his friends, and the invidious regret
of the courtiers. The calif received him kindly, and made him ample
amends for all the neglect of his friends. Kalan was put into an office
which enabled him to gratify all his beneficent wishes.

As the nettle and the rose thrive together on the same soil, so was
the bosom of Kalan not without a weed. His too strong attachment to
women sometimes led him astray, and made him unmindful of his duty. The
calif was not ignorant of this fault in Kalan, for the courtiers that
surrounded him took care that this error should not remain concealed.
Mahmoud, though he pitied his weakness, did not esteem him the less on
that account. "True it is," said the calif, "that an unbounded passion
for women is much to be censured; but this folly will in time forsake
him; while ambition, cruelty, and avarice, had any such vices got
possession of him, would grow stronger as he advanced in age."

The calif's courtiers extolled the sublimity of this observation; but
no sooner had he turned his back on them, than they ridiculed such a
paltry idea. How much are courtiers to be pitied, who take so much
pains to render themselves contemptible!

Some little time afterwards, the calif gave Kalan a commission to the
furthest part of Persia, and fixed even the day and hour when he should
expect him back. Kalan immediately set out on his journey, discharged
his duty with the strictest punctuality, and returned a day before
the time allowed. He received the applause due to his diligence, and
was told, that every hour he gained on the stipulated time was of the
utmost service to his country.

Kalan was the more pleased with these marks of the calif's approbation,
as he received it in the presence of many courtiers, who all showed him
the highest marks of applause, while in their hearts they hated and
detested him, and envied the honours paid him by the calif.

The next day, however, one of these courtiers, deputed by the rest,
approached Mahmoud, and, after bowing to the earth, thus addressed
him:--"Most noble and glorious sovereign of the faithful, though I
know not the nature of Kalan's late commission, yet I judge it was of
the highest importance. Pardon then my zeal if, notwithstanding the
transcendent light in which I behold him, I am under the disagreeable
necessity of informing your highness, that he presumed to pass five
days of that time so precious to the state, in the enjoyment of the
pleasures of love."

The calif, astonished at this declaration, told the malevolent
informer, that he hoped he could prove what he had asserted. "Dread
sovereign," answered he, "his own slave will prove to you, that, at
Gauri, nearly a hundred miles from this capital, he loitered in the lap
of pleasure. The daughter of a caravanserist had influence over him
sufficient to induce him to neglect, for five days, the confidence you
had reposed in him, and the most important concerns of the state. If
time should prove that I have accused him falsely, let me be the victim
of your resentment."

Mahmoud thanked him for his vigilant information, which he presumed
could arise from no other motive than his great attachment to his
glory; and he assured him, that he would nicely search into the truth
of what he had informed him. "Neither will I be forgetful," said
the calif, "of the greatness of your soul, which has induced you to
sacrifice to my interest the man, you say, you so much admire and
revere."

The courtier then bowed his head to the earth, and retired, not much
pleased, however, with the last words of the calif, who, he had
from thence reason to believe, was not greatly satisfied with the
accusation, and who might let fall that vengeance on this head, which
he was endeavouring to prepare for another.

Mahmoud presently afterwards sent for Kalan; which being known to the
courtiers, they secretly triumphed in the idea, that the hour was
hastily approaching, in which they hoped to find their revenge and
hatred amply gratified.

As soon as Kalan appeared before the calif, "I will not," said
the latter, "ask you any artful questions, such as may lead you
inadvertently to criminate yourself; and, in the course of this
business I will be your judge and counsellor, and will afford you
every opportunity of clearing yourself of the charge laid against you.
You cannot forget how precious I told you was the time I allowed you
for the completion of your embassy; yet it has been reported to me,
that you stopped five days on the road, to enjoy yourself in the lap
of pleasure, without blushing at the praises you received for that
one day, which I supposed your zeal and attachment to my interest had
procured me. Say, are these things true?"

"My dread sovereign," replied Kalan, "had I a soul mean enough of
having recourse to a falsehood to cover a crime, I should perhaps
answer in the negative; but, sorry I am to say, that the charge is
true. I really did saunter away in idleness five whole days at Gauri.
I was intoxicated; yes, commander of the faithful, I was intoxicated
with a passion that destroyed all my other faculties. I know I have
merited death; but it is not the fear of death that terrifies me, but
the hateful recollection of having displeased my friend and sovereign.
Having completed the business of my embassy, and being arrived, on my
return, at Gauri, wanting horses, and my slave too being harassed with
the journey, I resolved to stop one night, which was the first I had
indulged myself in from the time of my leaving the palace.

"Having taken a little refreshment, and being seated near a window, I
suddenly heard a voice in the adjoining chamber strike forth in such
melodious notes, that nothing could equal it. I listened with eager
attention, and could plainly distinguish they were the lamentations of
love. I was in great doubt to determine which were the more excellent,
the music or the words. As soon as she had finished, I enquired who
she was, and found it was the daughter of my host; that her voice was
not her only merit, since the words were of her own composition, and
besides, she was said to be as lovely as Venus, and as chaste as Diana.

"No wonder if this description excited my desire to see her; and I
begged the caravanserist would gratify my wish. He for some time
objected; but I persisted in my request, and at last, his great respect
for the ambassador of Mahmoud made him yield to my entreaties. The
moment she appeared I was enamoured with her beauty; but, when I heard
her play upon her harp, O powerful love! my embassy, my duty as a
subject, and the punishment to which my delay might expose me, every
thing of this sort was totally forgotten.

"All my thoughts were absorbed at this time in one wish only, that of
being beloved by Zada. I offered my hand in marriage, but during two
days she made many trifling excuses. On the third day she confessed,
that if ever she could love any man, it probably would be me. The
fourth day she received my addresses, and on the fifth gave me every
thing to hope for. On the arrival of the evening of this day, she
happened to mention your name, when, recollecting myself, I became
fully sensible of my guilt. She perceived my confusion, and begged to
know the cause of it. As soon as I told her, she insisted on my setting
out that night--that very night on which I promised myself so much
felicity.

"Sensible I am that I merit death, for having thus shamefully neglected
my duty; but one thing I have to beg, that my sufferings may not be
long."

All was silent for a few moments. After which said the calif--"Your
punishment shall be the slowest that human ingenuity can possibly
invent. Imprisonment shall be your fate as long as life shall be
able to support it. Take him hence, soldiers, and let his treatment
henceforward be the severest man can endure."

The soldiers conducted Kalan to his place of confinement, and the
courtiers followed him with their eyes, which seemed to be moistened
with tears, while their hearts rejoiced in his disgrace.

In about an hour or two after this event, it was reported, that the
calif had dispatched a messenger; but no one could tell whither, or on
what account. In the course of the five following days, the name of
Kalan was forgotten; but on the sixth, to the astonishment of every
one, the calif ordered him again to be brought before him.

As soon as Kalan appeared, the calif, after asking him some taunting
questions, "Yes," said he, "a song on some voluptuous subject, and a
harp in that fair damsel's hand you saw upon your journey, made you
negligent of what you knew your duty. I am, therefore, resolved both to
punish and remind you of the fault you have committed, by decreeing,
that in future you shall listen to such songs as are descriptive of
complaining lovers. Let the Egyptian take her harp and play upon it."

Instantly was heard a voice so sweet, that Mahmoud's courtiers scarce
dared to breathe, for fear of interrupting so much harmony. As soon as
it began, the prisoner gave a cry, fell down, and beat the ground with
his forehead.

"Rise, Kalan," said the calif, "and hear your sentence. You that at
present surround my throne," speaking to his courtiers, "who so often
stand in need of indulgence, tell me, which among you, being in Kalan's
place, on the point of having all his wishes accomplished, and after
having passed five days in the pursuit of it, would not have presumed
to hazard a sixth day?" (_Here a pause ensued._) "No answer?--Kalan,
since even envy thus keeps silence, you find favour with your king.
Take your Zada, therefore, and be happy for the time to come; she is
now yours."

Kalan, after having thrown himself at the feet of the calif, was no
sooner risen up than he flew into the arms of his beloved Zada. They
retired in mutual embraces; and the courtiers with hearts full of envy
and fell malignity.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_Female Courage properly considered._


The Rev. Mr. Sherlock being one day in company with a number of young
ladies, the conversation happened to turn on the courage of their own
sex. One observed, that Miss Lovelace had a resolution above being
curbed by her guardians, and was determined to dress as she liked;
while another gave it as her opinion, that it would be better for her
to check her temper, and submit to the will of her guardians. "If ever
I should be married," said one of the young ladies, "I think I shall
have courage enough to make my husband do as I please."--"You may be
right, miss," said another, "but I think, should I ever be married, I
shall always consult my husband's opinion, and readily submit to it,
whenever reason seems to require it."

The young ladies kept up this kind of conversation for some time; when,
at last, finding their opinions were so different, they requested
the reverend divine to give them his sentiments, wherein true female
courage consisted.

"I have," said Dr. Sherlock, "been listening to your conversation, and,
as you have been pleased to appeal to me, I shall speak truth, without
the least reserve. I hope you will attend to what I am going to say,
and treasure it up in your minds.

"I consider _true_ courage as one of the noblest ornaments of the fair
sex, since it must be allowed, that without a becoming resolution, many
female accomplishments would be lost, and sunk in obscurity, and that
even virtue itself, unassisted by true courage, would soon dwindle to a
shadow. I doubt not but that each of you amiable young ladies flatter
yourselves with being possessed of this noble accomplishment; but
permit me to tell you, that it is not every possessor of a pretty face
who knows what it is. It is not Xantippe, but Lucretia, whom I call the
woman of true courage.

"Xantippe is the daughter of two noble personages, and the wife of a
sensible and prudent man; the mother of a blooming offspring, and the
sole mistress of a plentiful fortune, the produce of which her husband
cannot receive without her order. Elated with the thoughts of her high
birth, and sensible of the dependence her husband has on her will, she
subjects him to the most rigorous discipline, is cruelly severe to her
children, and arbitrary and tyrannical over her servants.--Insolent and
disdainful in her behaviour to her equals, and haughty and arrogant in
her demeanour to her superiors, her jealousy is equalled only by her
ill-nature; the most innocent freedom of her husband to a visitor is
sufficient to give rise to the former; and the most trifling repartee
is sure to occasion the latter. These are her qualities, which she is
so far from endeavouring to amend, that she considers them as marks of
true courage; or, to speak in a more polite phrase, they make her pass
for a woman of spirit!

"How reverse is the conduct of Lucretia!--Possessed of no other fortune
than what good sense and a proper education give her, she passes
through life with peace and serenity of mind.--The will of her husband,
the care of her children, and the due preservation of order and economy
in her house, are her principal studies. Easy, good-natured, and
affable to her equals, and humble, submissive, and obliging to her
superiors; as no height of prosperity makes her forgetful of adversity,
so no storms of angry fortune are able to disturb the calm within her
breast, or deprive her of that hope with which true courage will always
support those who possess it.

"True courage, rightly understood, and properly cultivated, will
inspire the fair sex with the noblest sentiments of honour and
generosity. It will elevate their minds above those mean and paltry
methods, which too many of them put in practice, to captivate the
hearts of the giddy and unthinking. It will raise in them a noble and
emulative zeal for literary studies, which will rescue them from the
odium that is too frequently, and too justly, cast on many of them,
of being pretty, but silly, prattling creatures. It is true courage
only that can raise in them such sentiments as shall preserve them the
esteem and affection of all, when the bloom of youth shall be lost in
the evening of life; when the lily and rose shall fade on their cheek,
and the beautiful form of their persons can be no longer admired.

"I have now, young ladies, given you my opinion of what really ought
to be considered as _true courage_ in your sex, and I hope it will
have some influence on your minds, as well as on your conduct in the
commerce of this busy world. It is not at all surprising, that you
young ladies should differ in your opinions on so delicate a question,
since _true courage_ is, in these times of refinement, considered in a
very different light to what it was in the remote ages of antiquity.
In order to amuse you, and perhaps instruct you, I shall beg your
attention to a piece of ancient history; from which you will judge what
was the barbarous ideas the ladies of antiquity had of true courage.

"Mithridates, king of Pontus, proving unsuccessful in the war in which
he was engaged against Lucullus, a Roman general, had shut up two of
his wives (for the custom of that country allowed of a plurality) and
two of his sisters, whom he most loved, in that part of his kingdom
which was the most remote from danger. At last, not being able to brook
the apprehensions of their falling into the hands of the Romans, he
sent orders to Bacchalides, a eunuch, to put them to death. The manner
in which they received this order, strongly marks the ideas the ladies
of those times and regions had of true courage.

"Berenice and Monimes were these unfortunate princesses. The first was
born in the island of Chio, and the other in Miletus, a city of Ionia,
towards the borders of Cairo, on the coast of the Ægean Sea. Monimes
was celebrated for the invincible resistance which she made to all
the offers of Mithridates, who was most violently in love with her,
and to which she never consented, till he had declared her queen, by
calling her his wife, and sending her the royal diadem--a ceremony
indispensable in the marriage of kings in that part of the world.

"However, even then she consented with reluctance, and only to gratify
the inclinations of her family, who were dazzled with the lustre of the
crown and power of Mithridates, who was at that time victorious and
loaded with glory. Monimes abandoned herself to a perpetual melancholy,
which the abject slavery in which Mithridates kept his wives, the
distance she then was from Greece, where she had no hopes of returning,
and perhaps too, a secret passion, which she always disguised, rendered
insurmountable.

"When Bacchalides had declared to them the fatal message, and that
they were at liberty to chuse what death appeared to them the most
easy, Monimes tore off the royal bandage which she always wore on her
head, and, fixing it round her neck, endeavoured to strangle herself;
but the bandage broke, and left her in a condition truly to be pitied.
'Unfortunate diadem,' said she, trampling it under her feet, 'thou hast
brought me to all my miseries! thou hast been witness of my slavery
and wretchedness! Why wouldst thou not at last help me to put an end
to them all?'--After having shown these marks of her resentment, she
snatched a dagger from the hand of Bacchalides, and sheathed it in her
bosom.

"Berenice swallowed the dreadful potion with astonishing resolution,
and obeyed, without murmuring, the frenzy of a barbarous lover.

"The king's two sisters, Statira and Roxana, followed the example of
Berenice. Roxana, after having a long time kept a profound silence,
swallowed the fatal draught, and died without uttering a single word.
As for Statira, after having shown her grief for the king's defeat, she
highly praised his conduct, and ordered Bacchalides to thank him for
thinking of her amidst the wreck of his affairs, and thereby securing
her, by a timely death, from the shameful slavery of the Romans."

Dr. Sherlock having now finished, the young ladies all rose and thanked
him for the instruction he had been pleased to give them. They assured
him, that they should in future endeavour to distinguish between the
_true courage_ of these modern times, and those in which lived the
wives and sisters of Mithridates.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The beautiful Statue._


One of the kings of Balsora proved unfortunate in the choice of his
queen, whose temper was as disgustful and displeasing as her person
was lovely and beautiful. Discontented with every one around her, she
made her own life miserable, and did all she could to interrupt the
happiness of others.

They had an only son, and his father began very early to turn his
thoughts, in what manner he should secure the young prince, when he
came of age, from forming a connection in matrimony so disagreeable
as his own. "If it should please Heaven," said he, "to spare my life
till my son shall attain the years of discretion, I then shall be able
properly to direct him in the search of a prudent wife; but, as there
is no certainty in human life, and as I may be taken from him in his
early days, before he can be capable of comprehending my admonitions,
I will leave proper instructions with my executors, who, I hope, will
fulfil my requests, when I shall be at rest in my peaceful grave."

In consequence of this resolution, the king took every precaution he
thought necessary in so important a business; and scarcely had he
finished his regulations, when the unrelenting decree of death summoned
him from this world to take up his eternal abode in the ever-blooming
regions of felicity.

No sooner was the king dead than his will was examined. By this it
was directed, that his son Achmet should be instructed in all the
principles of rigid virtue, and in every scientific accomplishment
necessary to form the mind of a wise and good prince. It was also
directed, that at the age of eighteen years he should be put in
possession of all his wealth, which was deposited in spacious vaults
under the palace. The will, however, strongly directed that these
vaults were not to be opened, under any pretence whatever, before the
appointed time, on pain of Achmet losing the whole contents of them.

It may easily be supposed what were the anxieties of a youthful mind,
while he waited with impatience for the arrival of that day, which
was to make him master of so many hidden treasures. At length the day
arrived, the vaults were opened, and the heart of Achmet leaped within
his bosom at the sight of such unbounded riches.

Amidst all this glare of profuse wealth, in one particular apartment of
the vault, the eye of Achmet was caught by the dazzling view of nine
pedestals of massy gold, on eight of which stood as many beautiful
adamantine statues.

Achmet could not help expressing his astonishment, where his father
could collect such uncommon and valuable curiosities. The ninth
pedestal, however, increased his surprise, and he could not conceive
why that alone should be without a statue on it. On going nearer to
it, he found it covered with a piece of satin, upon which were written
these words: "My dear Achmet, the acquisition of these statues has cost
your father much; yet, beautiful as they are, you see there is one
wanting, which is far more brilliant than either of those which now
present themselves to your view. This, however, must be sought for in
a remote quarter of the world, and, if you wish to be possessed of it,
you must depart for Cairo, in the kingdom of Egypt. You will there find
one Alibeg, formerly one of my slaves. Inform him who you are, and what
is your business. He will properly direct your pursuits after this
incomparable statue, the possession of which will make you one of the
happiest and greatest monarchs of the East."

As soon as Achmet had appointed proper persons to govern his kingdom in
his absence, he set out in quest of this grand object. He pursued his
journey without any thing particular happening; and, on his arrival at
Cairo, he soon found out the house of Alibeg, who was supposed to be
one of the richest persons in that city.

As Alibeg knew the time was nearly advanced, in which he was to expect
a visit from Achmet, the arrival of the latter at Cairo did not at all
surprise him. However, he appeared ignorant of the business; enquired
of him what brought him to that city, his name, and his profession.
To all these questions Achmet gave the most satisfactory answers; and
informed him, that it was a statue he was engaged in the pursuit of.

This declaration of Achmet seemed at once to convince Alibeg, that he
was talking with the son of the late king; and he blessed the great
prophet for permitting him so honourable an interview. "My dear and
honoured prince," said Alibeg, "your father bought me as a slave,
and never made me free; consequently I am a slave still, and all my
property is yours."--"From this moment," replied Achmet, "you are a
free man, and I for ever renounce any future claim on your person or
possessions."

Alibeg then assured the young king, that he would do every thing in his
power to procure him the ninth statue he was so ardent in the pursuit
of; but advised him, after so fatiguing a journey, to take a few
weeks rest. The next day, however, the king told Alibeg, that he was
sufficiently rested; that he came not there for pleasure, and therefore
wished immediately to enter on the pursuit of his grand object.

Alibeg told him, that he should certainly obtain his wish; but reminded
him, that he must encounter much toil and fatigue before he could
accomplish that desirable end. "I fear neither toils nor fatigues,"
replied the young king, "I am equal to the task, and by the blessing of
the great prophet I will undertake any thing, however difficult it may
appear. I entreat you only to let me know what part I am to act."

Alibeg, after a short pause, thus addressed his youthful sovereign:
"You must swear to me by the holy prophet, that, when you set out from
hence, you will immediately return to your own dominions. As soon as
you arrive on the borders of it, you will immediately proceed on the
search of what I am going to direct you to. Your search must be to
find out a youthful female, whose age must not exceed sixteen years,
nor be less than fifteen. She must be the offspring of virtuous
parents, and who has never been the dupe to a previous passion of love.
She must be as lovely as Venus, as chaste as Diana, and a native of
your own kingdom. You must, therefore, traverse every part of your
extensive dominions; and as soon as you shall be so fortunate to find
one who corresponds with this description, you must bring her to me,
and I will soon after put you in possession of the statue you sigh
for. Remember, however, that should your pursuits be attended with
success, you must have the most rigorous command over your passions
while you are conducting the fair one hither, and not have even the
least conversation with her. If this last condition be not punctually
fulfilled, you will lose all claim to what you are now in pursuit of.
Consider within yourself, whether the possession of the statue has so
many charms in it, as to enable you to surmount all these obstacles, so
difficult to one of your age."

The young king, with an ardour natural to a youth of his years, was
going to reply, when Alibeg, stopped him, by saying, that he had not
yet done, but had still something further to say on the subject.

"You may idly imagine," continued Alibeg, "that should you be fortunate
enough to find such a maiden as I have described to you, and your
youthful ideas should lead you astray, you may imagine they will not
be discovered; but herein you will be mistaken, for the great prophet
will reveal your deceit, and you will thereby infallibly lose all
pretensions to the statue. I must tell you still further, that, in
order to give a sanction to your search for so virtuous a maiden, you
must cause it to be reported, that you mean to make her the lawful
partner of your throne."

Achmet listened with attention to every word that dropt from the mouth
of Alibeg, and in proportion as difficulties were mentioned to him, the
more did his youthful bosom burn to show how much he was above them. He
eagerly took the oath prescribed to him, grew more and more impatient
to become possessed of the statue, and thought every hour an age that
retarded his departure in pursuit of his favourite object.

The next morning, Alibeg, being unwilling to abate the ardour of the
young prince, presented him with a looking-glass. "I here give you,"
said he to Achmet, "an invaluable present. In the course of your
pursuit, you will meet with many beautiful damsels, fair to external
appearance as Aurora herself; but outward forms may deceive you, and
what your eye may applaud, your heart, on a more intimate acquaintance,
may despise. Believe me, royal youth, the beauties of the person and
those of the mind are very different. A degenerate and wicked heart may
be concealed under the most lovely external appearances. Whenever,
therefore, you meet with a beautiful female, whose charms may dazzle
your eye, tell her to breathe upon this mirror. If she be chaste, her
breath will not long remain upon the glass; but, if her pretensions are
not founded in truth, her breath will long remain on the mirror, as a
testimony of the falsehood she has advanced."

These useful lessons, which Alibeg gave his royal pupil, were not the
result of thoughts of his own, but were the consequence of the wise
plan the late king of Balsora had prescribed for his son. He well knew
that little artifices of this nature seldom failed of succeeding with
youthful minds naturally fond of mystery.

The young prince took an affectionate leave of Alibeg, promised to be
punctual to all his instructions, and then, taking up his miraculous
glass, took the direct road from Egypt to Balsora. His intention was
to commence his enquiries as soon as he reached the borders of his
dominions; but a thought struck him, that it would be mean in him to
seek the wished-for damsel among shepherds and peasants, when his own
court furnished such a display of beauties.

As soon as he arrived in his own dominions, he proclaimed the
resolution he had taken concerning marriage. He invited every maiden of
fifteen years of age, who was born of virtuous parents, and had never
experienced the passion of love, to repair to his court, out of which
he proposed to chuse the fortunate partner of his crown and empire.

This proclamation soon surrounded his palace with the first beauties
of the kingdom; but as soon as the king presented to them the mirror,
which was to be the touchstone of their prudence, they all shrunk back
from the trying ordeal, conscious that they could not, with safety to
their characters, run the hazard of such a trial.

Here it seems necessary to say a few words by way of explanation,
lest the youthful part of my readers should be led into an error. The
properties which Alibeg ascribed to this looking-glass were merely
fabulous, and calculated only to strike a terror on the minds of
youthful females, who, from the apprehensions of being discovered in
their attempt to deceive an eastern monarch, refused to breathe on the
glass. So that the young prince could not find, in any part of his
capital, a maiden of fifteen perfectly answerable to the terms proposed
by Alibeg.

Achmet, being thus disappointed in his capital, traversed every part
of his dominions, and visited even the most sequestered villages; but
he every where found the morals of the people so very corrupt, that no
maiden could be found who would venture to look on the mirror, which
they apprehended would reveal their most trifling defects. Achmet,
therefore, began to be disheartened, and feared he should at last be
disappointed in the grand object of his pursuit, and never be able to
obtain the statue he so ardently sighed for.

As he was one evening reposing himself in a mean habitation, situated
in a lonely and recluse village, an iman came to pay him a visit,
having previously learned what was the cause of the king's journey.
"I must confess," said he to the king, "that your majesty is engaged
in a very difficult pursuit; and I should be led to believe, that all
your researches would be in vain, did I not know of a beautiful damsel,
who perfectly answers to the description of your wants. Her father
was formerly a vizier of Balsora; but he has now left the court, and
leads a private and recluse life, solely occupied in the education
of his daughter. If it is your pleasure, royal sir, I will to-morrow
attend you to the habitation of this lovely damsel. Her father will
undoubtedly be exceedingly happy to have the king of Balsora for his
son-in-law."

Achmet very prudently replied, "I cannot think of promising to marry
the beauty you mention till I have seen her, and have put her to those
trials which none have yet been able to withstand. I am satisfied
with your account of her beauty, but I must have proof of her virtue
and prudence." The king then told him of the glass he had in his
possession, and which had hitherto so far terrified every damsel, that
none had dared to look into it.

The iman, however, still persisted in every thing he had advanced
concerning this beautiful female; and, in consequence, they went the
next morning to see her and her father. As soon as the old gentleman
was acquainted with the real character and business of his royal
visitor, he ordered his daughter Elvira to attend unveiled. The king
was struck with wonder and astonishment, when he beheld in this
beautiful damsel such perfections as his court could not equal. After
gazing on her some time with inexpressible astonishment, he pulled out
his glass, and acquainted the lovely Elvira with the severe trial she
would be put to on looking into that mirror of truth. Her conscious
innocence derided all fear, she breathed on the glass without the least
apprehension, when the high-polished surface rejected the breath thrown
on it, and soon recovered its usual brightness.

As Achmet was now in possession of the person he had so long wished
for, he asked her father to give him his permission to marry her; to
which he readily consented, and the marriage ceremony was performed
with all the decency a country village would admit of.

Achmet, however, could not help feeling the impressions which the
charms of Elvira had made on his mind; and, though he hastened the
preparations for his departure, yet it was with evident marks of
reluctance. The vizier, who attended him in the pursuit of this fair
one, plainly perceived it, and enquired the cause of it.

It seemed very singular to Achmet, that the vizier should ask him such
a question. "Can there be any creature," said he, "more lovely than
the angel I have married? Can you be any ways surprised, should I be
tempted to dispute the instructions of Alibeg, and place her as the
partner of my throne?"

"Be cautious what you do," said the vizier. "It will not be becoming of
a prince like you, to lose the statue after you have done so much to
obtain it." This rebuke roused him, and he determined not to lose it;
but he desired the vizier to keep her from his sight, as he feared he
had seen her too much already.

As soon as every thing was ready, Achmet set out for Cairo, and on his
arrival there was introduced to Alibeg. The fair bride had performed
the journey in a litter, and had not seen the prince since she was
married. She enquired where she was, and whether that was her husband's
palace.

"It is time, madam," said Alibeg, "to undeceive you. Prince Achmet only
aimed at getting you from your father as a present to our sultan, who
wishes to have in his possession such a beautiful living picture as you
are." At these words Elvira shed a torrent of tears, which greatly
affected both Achmet and Alibeg. As soon as her grief would permit her
to speak, "How can you," said she, "be so treacherous to a stranger!
Surely the great prophet will call you to an account for this act of
perfidy!"

However, her tears and arguments were in vain. Achmet, indeed, seemed
to feel for her situation, which Alibeg viewed with pleasure. "You
have now performed your promise," said he to Achmet, "by bringing
hither this beautiful virgin. The sultan will undoubtedly reward you,
by putting you in possession of the statue you seek after. I will
immediately send a person to Balsora to fetch the pedestal; and, within
the compass of nine days, you may expect to see it and the statue in
one of the apartments of my palace; for surely you only are worthy of
such a precious possession."

Elvira was immediately separated from Achmet; she made the bitterest
bewailings, and wished for death to hide her sorrows and disgrace.
Notwithstanding the fond desire of Achmet to be in possession of the
statue, he could not reconcile his mind to the hard fate of Elvira.
He reproached himself with having taken her from an indulgent father,
to throw her into the arms of a tyrant. He would sometimes say with a
sigh, "O beautiful damsel, cruel indeed is your condition!"

At the expiration of the nine days, which had passed between hope and
sorrow, Achmet was conducted into an apartment of the palace, in order
to be put in possession of the inestimable statue. But it is impossible
to express his astonishment and surprise, when, instead of such a
figure as he expected, he beheld the beautiful maiden he had seduced
from her father.

"Achmet," said the lovely virgin, "I doubt not but your expectations
are sadly disappointed, in finding me here, instead of the inestimable
statue you expected, and to obtain which you have taken so much pains."
As soon as Achmet had recovered from his surprise, "The great prophet
can bear me witness," said he, "that I was frequently tempted to break
the oath I had solemnly taken to Alibeg, and to sacrifice the idea of
every statue in the world to you. I love my dear, beautiful Elvira more
than all the world besides!"

"Prince Achmet," said Alibeg, "this is the ninth statue, which you
have so long been in pursuit of, and which was the intentions of your
father, who had contrived this method, in order to procure you a queen
with whom you might be happy. Love her tenderly, be faithful to her,
and in proportion as you endeavour to procure her happiness so will she
yours."

Achmet, enraptured with the lovely countenance and virtuous
dispositions of his dear Elvira, that day proclaimed her queen of
Balsora, and thereby amply made her amends for the short disquietude he
had occasioned her.

We may from hence draw this conclusion, that merit is not every where
to be found; but, like diamonds of the first lustre, take up much toil
and time in the pursuit. What we gain too easily, we are apt to think
too little of; and we are accustomed to estimate the value of every
thing in proportion to the care and pains it costs us. This the wise
father of Achmet well knew, and therefore devised those means which
were most likely to enable him to discover the woman of beauty, virtue,
and prudence, without leaving him any hopes of finding it in the lap of
pride, indolence, and luxury.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_Dorcas and Amarillis._


Dorcas was born in a village far remote from the capital, amidst rocks
and precipices, in the northern parts of the island. His parents
laboured hard for their daily bread, and with difficulty procured a
subsistence for themselves and their little son. A fever, which they
both caught, put an untimely end to their existence, and Dorcas was
taken care of by the parish, being then of too tender an age even to be
sensible of his loss.

His education was adapted to his humble situation, and extended no
farther than writing and reading. As soon as he had reached the
fifteenth years, the directors of the workhouse thought it time to
ease the parish of their burden, and accordingly placed him as a
servant to a neighbouring farmer, to watch his cattle, and attend to
the duties of husbandry.

Amarillis was of nearly the same age, the daughter of a farmer, and
employed by her father in looking after his sheep. She would frequently
bring her flock into the meadows to feed and wanton on the enamelled
carpet of the sweetest herbage, where she frequently met with Dorcas.
The youthful shepherd did her every little service in his power, and
Amarillis was pleased to see him so solicitous to oblige her. Dorcas
was never so happy as when in company with his shepherdess, and
Amarillis always found pleasure in the presence of Dorcas.

Some years glided away in this pleasing intercourse between Dorcas
and Amarillis, when what had hitherto appeared only under the name of
friendship began gradually to assume a softer title, which at last
ripened into love. Their hearts were formed for each other, and they
began to be uneasy when separated. Dorcas talked of the happiness of
marriage, and obtained permission from Amarillis to ask her father's
consent to their union.

The maiden's delicacy would not suffer her to be present when Dorcas
paid his visit to her father on that business; and, therefore,
appointed a time when she was obliged to go to a neighbouring town,
for him to take the opportunity of opening the matter to her parent,
desiring he would meet her on her way home at night, and acquaint her
with the success of his commission.

At the appointed time the shepherd waited on her father, and disclosed
to him the secrets of his heart, adding, how happy he should be to have
her for a wife. "I suppose so," replied the old man. "What, you are in
love with my daughter! Do you know what you are talking of? Have you
any clothes to give her? have you any house of your own? Learn how to
get your own living, before you think of encumbering yourself with a
wife. A poor shepherd as you are, you cannot have a penny beforehand.
My daughter is not rich enough to keep herself, and I am sure you
cannot keep her."

"If I am not rich," replied Dorcas, "I am vigorous and hearty, and
those who are industrious never want for work. Out of the forty
shillings I receive yearly for my wages, I have already saved five
pounds, which will buy us goods in plenty. I will take a little farm,
and I will work harder. The richest men in the village had no better
beginning, and why may not I do as well as they have?"

The old man, however, told him he was young enough, and must wait for
better circumstances. "Get rich," said the old farmer, "and Amarillis
shall be yours; but speak no more to me concerning her, till your money
shall induce me to listen to you."

It was in vain for Dorcas to argue any more; and as Amarillis was by
this time on her return home, he went out to meet her. When they met,
Dorcas was quite thoughtful, and the pretty shepherdess knew from
thence he had not met with success. "I can see," said Amarillis, "that
my father is averse to our marriage."--"What a misfortune it is,"
replied Dorcas, "to be born poor! Yet, I will not be cast down; for I
may, by industry, perhaps change my situation. Had your father given
his consent to our marriage, I would have laboured to procure you every
thing comfortable. But I know we shall still be married, if we do but
wait with patience, and trust till it shall please Providence to be
more favourable to our wishes."

As the lovers were thus talking over the disappointment to their views,
the night rapidly increased upon them; they therefore hastened their
pace, that they might reach the cottage in good time. As they were
pursuing their way home on the road, Dorcas stumbled over something,
and fell down. As he felt about to discover what had occasioned his
fall, he found a bag, which, on his lifting it, proved very heavy.
Curiosity made them both anxious to know what it could be; but, on
opening it, they were presently convinced, dark as it was, that it
certainly was money.

"This is the gift of Heaven," said Dorcas, "who has made me rich to
make you happy. What say you, my pretty Amarillis, will you now have
me? How gracious has Heaven been to my wishes in sending me this
wealth, such as is more than sufficient to satisfy your father, and
make me happy!"

These ideas gave birth to inexpressible joy in their hearts; they
anxiously surveyed the bag, they looked affectionately on each other,
and then resumed the path that led to their village, eager to acquaint
the old man with their unexpected good fortune.

They had nearly reached their habitation, when a thought struck Dorcas,
and made him suddenly stop short. "We imagine," said he to Amarillis,
"that this money will complete our happiness; but we should recollect
that it is not ours. Some traveller has undoubtedly lost it. Our fair
is but just over, and some dealer, coming from thence, may probably
have dropped this bag; and while we are thus rejoicing over our good
fortune on finding it, we may be assured that somebody is truly
wretched on having lost it."

"My dear Dorcas," answered Amarillis, "your thoughts are very just. The
poor man is undoubtedly much distressed by his loss. We have no right
to this money, and were we to keep it, we should act a very dishonest
part."

"We are going with it to your father's," said Dorcas, "and he would
undoubtedly be glad to see us so rich; but what joy or happiness can we
expect in possessing the property of another, whose family is perhaps
ruined by the loss of it? As our minister is a worthy man, and has
always been good to me, let us leave it with him. He is the properest
person to consult on this occasion, as I am sure he will advise me for
the best."

They accordingly went to the minister's, and found him at home. The
honest Dorcas delivered the bag into his possession, and told him
the whole tale; how happy they were at first on finding it, and what
motives, from second thoughts, had induced them to bring it to him. He
confessed his love for Amarillis, and acquainted him with the obstacles
that poverty threw in the way of his felicity. "Yet," added Dorcas,
"nothing shall tempt me to wander from the paths of honesty."

The minister was much pleased with their mutual affection for each
other, and assured them, that Heaven would not fail to bless them, so
long as they persevered in that line of conduct. "I will endeavour,"
said the minister, "to find out to whom this bag belongs, who will,
no doubt, amply reward your honesty. Even out of the small matters I
can save, I will add something to the present he shall make you, and
I will then undertake to procure for you the consent of the father of
Amarillis. Should the money not be claimed, it will be your property;
and I shall then think myself bound to return it to you."

Dorcas and his lovely shepherdess returned to their homes much better
satisfied than they would have been, had they otherwise made use of
the treasure they had found, and they were happy in the promises the
good minister had made them. The money was cried all round the country,
and printed bills were distributed in towns and villages even at some
distance. Many were base enough to put in their pretensions to it; but
as they could neither describe the bag, nor what was in it, all they
got by it was to establish their names as scandalous impostors.

In the mean time, the minister was not unmindful of the promise he
had made the young lovers. A short time afterwards he put Dorcas into
a little farm, provided him with money to purchase stock and farming
implements, and at last procured him his beloved Amarillis.

The young couple having acquired every object of their humble wishes,
sent up to Heaven their unfeigned thanks, and called down for blessings
on the head of their good minister. Dorcas was industrious about the
farm, and Amarillis kept every thing right in the house; they were
punctual in the payment of their rent, and lived within the bounds of
their income.

Two years had now passed, and no one had yet appeared to lay claim
to the lost treasure. The minister, therefore, apprehended there was
no necessity to wait any longer for a claimant, but took it to the
virtuous couple, and gave it to them, saying, "My dear children, take
what it has pleased Providence to throw in your way. This bag, which
contains five hundred guineas, has not yet been claimed by its right
owner, and therefore must at present be your property; but, should you
ever discover the real person who lost it, you must then return it to
him. At present, make such use of it as may turn it to advantage, and
always be equal in value to the money, should it be justly demanded."

Dorcas entirely agreed with the minister, in laying out the money
in such a manner that it might be ready on the shortest notice, or
at least in something full the value in kind. As the landlord was
proposing to sell the farm which Dorcas occupied, and as he valued
it at little more than five hundred guineas, he thought he could not
lay out the money to greater advantage than in the purchase of this
farm; for, should a claimant ever appear, he would have no reason to
complain of the disposal of his money, since it would be easy to find
a purchaser for it, after it had received improvements from his labour.

The good pastor entirely agreed in opinion with Dorcas: the purchase
was made, and, as the ground was now in his own hands, he turned it
to much greater advantage. He was happy with his Amarillis, and two
sweet children blessed their union. As he returned from his labour in
the evening, his wife constantly welcomed his return, and met him on
the way with her children, who fondled round him with inexpressible
cheerfulness and delight.

The worthy minister, some years after this happy union, paid the
debt of nature, and was sincerely wept for by both Dorcas and
Amarillis.--The death of this worthy pastor brought them to reflect on
the uncertainty of human life. "My dear partner," said Dorcas, "the
time will come when we must be separated, and when the farm will fall
to our children. You know it is not ours, nor perhaps ever properly
will be. Should the owner appear, he will have nothing to show for it,
and we shall go to the grave without having secured his property."

Dorcas, therefore, drew up a short history of the whole affair in
writing, got the principal inhabitants to sign it, and then put it
into the hands of the succeeding minister. Having thus taken all the
precautions they could to secure the property to the right owner,
should he ever appear, they were much more easy and contented than
before.

Upwards of ten years had elapsed since they had been in possession of
the farm; when Dorcas coming home from the fields one day to dinner,
saw a phaeton in the road, which he had hardly cast his eyes on, till
he saw it overset. He hastened to the spot to give them his assistance,
and offered them the use of his team to convey their baggage. In
the mean time, he begged them to step to his house, and take such
refreshment as it afforded, though they had fortunately received no
hurt.

"This place," said one of the gentlemen, "is always mischievous
to me, and I suppose I must never expect to pass it without some
accident.--About twelve years since, I somewhere hereabouts lost my
bag, as I was returning from the fair, with five hundred guineas in it."

"Five hundred guineas, sir!" said Dorcas, who was all attention. "Did
you make no enquiry after so great a loss?"--"I had it not in my
power," replied the stranger, "as I was then going to the Indies, and
was on my road to Portsmouth, which place I reached before I missed my
bag. The ship was getting under way when I arrived there, and would
have gone without me had I been an hour later. Considering it was money
I had lost, it appeared to me a doubtful matter whether I should hear
any thing of it after making the strictest enquiry; and had I been
fortunate enough to succeed, even in that case, by losing my passage, I
should have sustained a much greater loss than that of my bag and its
contents."

After the part Dorcas has acted, this conversation was undoubtedly
pleasing to him, and he consequently became more earnest in wishing the
travellers to partake of the fare of his table. As there was no house
nearer, they accepted the offer; he walked before to show them the way,
and his wife came out to meet them, to see what accident had happened;
but he desired her to return, and prepare dinner.

While the good woman was dressing the dinner, Dorcas presented his
guests with some refreshments, and endeavoured to turn the conversation
on the traveller's loss. Being convinced of the truth of his
assertions, he ran to the minister, told him who he had with him, and
begged he would come and dine with him. They all sat down to dinner,
and the strangers could not help admiring the order, decency, and
neatness that were every where conspicuous. They could not but notice
the generosity and frankness of Dorcas, and were highly delighted with
his helpmate, and the manner in which she treated her children.

As soon as dinner was over, Dorcas showed them his house, his garden,
sheepfold, flocks, and granaries. "This house and premises," said he,
addressing himself to the traveller who had formerly lost his money,
"is your property. I was fortunate enough to find your bag and money,
with which I purchased this farm, intending to restore it to the owner,
should he ever come forward, and show himself. For fear I should die
before an owner was found, I left a full detail in writing with the
minister, not wishing my children to enjoy what was not their own."

It is impossible to express the surprise and astonishment of the
stranger, who read the paper, and then returned it. He first gazed
on Dorcas, then on Amarillis, and then on their young ones. At last,
"Where am I?" cried he; "and what is it I have heard? Is this world
capable of producing so much probity and virtue! and in what an humble
station do I find it! Is this the whole of your property, my friend?"

"This house, my herd, and my cattle," replied Dorcas, "are all I
possess. Even though you should keep the premises in your hand, still
you will want a tenant, and I shall wish to be indulged with the
preference."

The stranger replied, after a moment's pause, "Integrity like yours
merits a more ample reward. It is upwards of twelve years since I
first lost the money, and Providence threw it in your way. Providence
has been no less kind to me, in blessing my undertakings. I had long
since forgotten my loss, and even were I to add it to my fortune this
day, it would not increase my happiness. Since it has pleased God that
you should be the fortunate finder of it, far be it from me to wish to
deprive you of it. Keep then what you have so well merited, and may
heaven bless and prosper you with it."

He then tore the paper, on which Dorcas had made his acknowledgment of
finding the purse, saying, "I will have a different writing drawn up,
which shall contain my free gift of these premises, and shall serve to
hand down to posterity the virtue and probity of this amiable pair." He
fulfilled his word, by immediately sending for a lawyer, when he made
over the premises to Dorcas and his heirs for ever.

Dorcas and Amarillis were then going to fall at the feet of their
generous benefactor, but he would by no means permit it. "I am
infinitely happy," said the generous stranger, "in having it in my
power this day to confirm your felicity. May your children long after
you inherit your farm, and imitate all your virtues!"

Remember, my youthful readers, that the pleasures and the comforts of
human life are not in proportion to the extent of our possessions,
but to the manner in which we enjoy them. The cottage of liberty,
peace, and tranquility, is preferable to the gilded palaces of slavery,
anxiety, and guilt.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Conversation._


It happened on one of those delightful summer afternoons, when the heat
of the day was tempered with the gently-wafting zephyrs, that Madam
Heathcote was entertaining a large company at tea in her arbour in
the garden. No situation could be more delightful. The arbour looked
full in front of a fine river, on which some were busily employed
in fishing, or pursuing their different occupations, while others
were skimming on its surface for amusement. All round the arbour the
luxuriant grapes hung in clusters, and the woodbine and jessamine stole
up between them. A situation like this will naturally incline the mind
to be thoughtful, and the whole company, by imperceptible degrees,
began to draw moral reflections. They remarked, how different were the
objects of our pursuits, how unsteady and fickle are all human affairs,
and what empty baubles frequently attract our most serious attention.
After some time being spent in a kind of desultory conversation, the
principal speakers began to arrange their ideas under distinct heads,
and of this class the first who spoke was


_Dr. Chamberlaine._

I am very well acquainted with two brothers, whom I shall conceal under
the borrowed names of Mercurius and Honestus.

Mercurius was the elder son of a gentleman, who, with a moderate
fortune, and by a nice management, so regulated his affairs, that
he was generally thought to be exceedingly rich.--He gave a genteel
education to his two sons, who finished their studies at Cambridge.

Mercurius attached himself more to the gaiety and politeness of the
college, than to the drudgery of books. He was a gay and lively
companion, and a perfect master of those little arts which always
recommend a young gentleman to the acquaintance of the giddy fools
of fortune, who are sent to both our universities more out of
complaisance to fashion, than to improve their morals, or enlarge their
understandings.

Mercurius had drawn this conclusion, (and it must be confessed, that
experience tells us it is too true a conclusion), that powerful
connections are more likely to raise a man's fortune in life than all
the natural and acquired abilities which human nature is capable of
possessing. He, therefore, took every opportunity to ingratiate himself
with the noble young students, whose follies he flattered, and the fire
of whose vanities he fanned.

Amidst this pursuit after fortune and grandeur, his father died, and
left but a small pittance for the support of him and his brother
Honestus.--This was soon known in the college, where fortune is
considered as the first of all things.--Mercurius was now forced, in
order to keep up his noble connections, to stoop to many meannesses,
such as the thirst of ambition only can persuade the true dignity of a
man to submit to; but, when we once quit the path of virtue in pursuit
of imaginary pleasure, we must give up every hope of a retreat.

Among the patrons of Mercurius was a young nobleman of great fortune
and connections, such as were more than sufficient to make a coxcomb
of the happiest genius. The time arrived in which he was to quit
college, and Mercurius accompanied him to London as his companion and
friend. He was the constant partner of his nocturnal revels, and little
more, in fact, than his footman out of livery. He was the dupe to his
prejudices, the constant butt of his wit, and the contempt of every
independent mind. But let us leave this mistaken man to the feelings
of his own mind, and his fears for his future existence, that we may
return to his brother.

Honestus, less ambitious than his brother, had a mind above stooping
too low in order to rise the higher. He applied himself closely to
his studies, and employed the little his father had left him in the
most frugal manner. He turned his whole attention to the study of the
law, in which he became a very able proficient, and at last quitted
the university with the reputation of a profound scholar, a cheerful
companion, and a sincere friend.

These, however, are seldom characters sufficient to raise a man in the
world. He long remained unnoticed in his profession as a counsellor;
but, however long the beams of the sun may be obscured, they at last
pierce through the densest bodies, and shine in their native lustre. He
now reaps the fruits of his honest labours, and often looks back with
pity on the tottering state of his brother, and the parade of empty
ambition.


_Madam Lenox._

When we consider the short duration of human life, when extended even
to its longest period, and the many perplexities, cares, and anxities,
which contribute to disturb the repose of even those whom we should
be led to consider as happy mortals, what is there in our sublunary
pursuits that ought to make any long and lasting impression on our
minds?

We have seen many of the wisest people, on the loss of a darling
child, or on a sudden and unexpected wreck in their affairs, retire
from the world, and endeavour to seek consolation, by indulging their
melancholy in some gloomy retreat. Surely, however, nothing can be more
inconsistent with the dignity of human nature than such a conduct.

If to fly from the face of an enemy in the hour of battle, and seek
a retreat in some sequestered forest, may be considered as cowardice
in the soldier, is it no less so in the moral militant, who has not
courage to face the storms of fortune, but precipitately flies from the
field of adversity, the ground of which he ought to dispute inch by
inch?

It has been an old and long-received maxim, that Fortune favours the
daring, and shuns the coward. Whatever may be the whims and caprice
of Dame Fortune, who sometimes makes a peer of a beggar, and as often
reduces the peer to a state of penury, yet experience tells us, that
she is seldom able, for any considerable length of time, to withstand
resolute and unremitted importunities; and, when she has hurled us to
the bottom of her wheel, whatever motion that wheel afterwards makes,
it must throw us upwards. As those, who have enjoyed a good state of
health during the prime of their lives, feel the infirmities of age,
or a sudden sickness, more keenly than those who have laboured under
a weakly and sickly constitution; so those, who have basked in the
perpetual sunshine of fortune, are more susceptible of the horrors of
unexpected calamities, than those who have been rocked in the cradle of
misfortune.

To bear prosperity and adversity with equal prudence and fortitude is,
perhaps, one of the greatest difficulties we have to conquer; and it
is from hence we may venture to form our opinions of the generality of
people. Those who are insolent in prosperity will be mean in adversity;
but he who meets adversity with manly courage and fortitude, will, in
the hour of prosperity, be humane, gentle, and generous.

To fly from misfortunes, and endeavour to console ourselves by
retiring from the world, is undoubtedly increasing the evil we wish
to lessen. This has often been the case of disappointed lovers, when
the object of their hearts has proved inconstant or ungrateful. They
have vainly imagined that there must be something very soothing to the
afflicted mind, in listening to the plaintive sound of some purling and
meandering stream, or in uttering their plaints to the gentle breezes
and the nodding groves. But, alas! these delusive consolations only
contribute to feed the disorders of the mind, and increase the evil,
till melancholy takes deep root in their souls, and renders their
complaints incurable.

The society of the polite and refined of both sexes is the only relief,
at least the principal one, for any uneasiness of the mind. Here a
variety of objects will insensibly draw our attention from that one
which tyrannises in our bosom, and endeavours to exclude all others.

In the commerce of this life there is hardly an evil which has not
some good attending it; nor a blessing which does not, in some degree
or other, carry with it some bitter ingredient. To be, therefore, too
confident in prosperity, is a folly; and to despair in adversity, is
madness.

Those who enjoy the good while they have it in their power, and support
the evil without sinking under its weight, are surely best fitted for
this uncertain and transitory state. To have too nice and delicate
feelings is, perhaps, a misfortune; and the wise man has very justly
said, "as we increase in knowledge, so we increase in sorrow."

We are apt to form too great an opinion of ourselves, and to examine
so closely into the conduct of others, that we at last begin to shun
and despise all the world, in whom we can find no belief; but were we
to examine our own conduct as critically, we should find, that we have
as much to ask from the candour of others, as we have cause to give.
Self-love and pride are the sources from whence flow most of our real,
as well as imaginary woes; and if we seek the retired and sequestered
hut, it is not so much with a view to avoid misery itself, as to
endeavour to conceal it in ourselves from the eyes of the world.


_Sir John Chesterfield._

Certain philosophers tell us, that "there is no such thing as happiness
or misery in this life, and that they are terms merely confined to the
ideas of different people, who differently define them." It must indeed
be confessed, from constant and invariable experience, that what a man,
at one time in his life, considered as a misery, he will at another
consider as a happiness.

Cleorus was, from his childhood, bred to business, and the pursuit
of riches appeared to him as the principal blessing he had in view,
since, from his worldly possessions, he hoped to derive every comfort
of life. He viewed, with an eye of pity and contempt, the follies and
extravagancies of young fellows of his own age, and considered their
nocturnal revels and excursions as so many sad scenes of misery.

He continued in this opinion till he was turned of the age of forty;
at which period, losing his wife, and finding his circumstances easy,
he joined in the company of those we call _free_ and _easy_. New
company, by degrees, made him imbibe new sentiments, and what he had
formerly considered as miseries, began insensibly to assume the name
of pleasure, and his former happiness was soon construed to be misery.
He began to reflect on the dull path he had trodden all the prime of
his life, and therefore determined to atone for it in the evening of
his days, by entering on such scenes as were disgraceful even to the
youthful partners of his follies. Suffice it to say, that after having
exchanged prudence for pleasure, he soon fell a martyr to his vices.

It is a melancholy but a just observation, that the man who turns
vicious in the evening of his life, is generally worse than the
youthful libertine, and his conversation often more lewd and obscene.
Hence we may conclude with Ovid, that no man can be truly said to
be blessed, till death has put a seal on his virtuous actions, and
rendered him incapable of committing bad ones.

The destruction of happiness and misery is, perhaps, more on a level
than we are in general apt to imagine. If the labouring man toils all
the day, and hardly earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, yet every
meal is to him a sumptuous feast, and he sleeps as soundly between
coarse blankets as on a bed of down; nor does any part of his life
betray a sense of that state of misery, such as it would be considered
by the courtier.

If the courtier basks in the sunshine of fortune; if he be loaded
with honours, riches, and titles, keeps a brilliant equipage, and has
numerous dependants at his command, the world in general will consider
him as placed in a state of happiness; but, if we contemplate him at
leisure, see the anxieties of his mind to be still more great and
powerful, which interrupt his broken slumbers, and see how insipid to
him are all the luxuries of his table, his perpetual succession of
false pleasure, and the mean adoration he is compelled to pay to the
idol of power, we shall hardly allow him the idea of happiness, but
justly consider him as more miserable than the labouring peasant.

The mind is undoubtedly the seat of happiness and misery, and it is
within our power to determine which shall hold the empire there. To
maintain a uniform conduct through all the varying stations of life--to
content ourselves with what comes within our reach, without pining
after what we cannot obtain, or envying others what they possess--to
maintain a clear unsullied conscience--and to allow for the infirmities
of others from a retrospect of our own, are perhaps some of the best
rules we can lay down, in order to banish misery from this mortal
frame, and to acquire such a degree of happiness, as may enable us to
perform our terrestrial journey with some degree of satisfaction to
ourselves and others.


_Lady Heathcote._

Though the depravity, luxury, and corruption of the times, form just
subjects of complaint for the grave, the thoughtful, and the aged, yet
I cannot help believing, that many of these complainants are themselves
lending a helping hand to render the rising generation as effeminate
and corrupt as the present.

I am now appealing to parents on the education of their children, which
appears to me a subject that ought to attract the serious attention
of those who wish longevity, peace, and happiness to their children,
and prosperity, repose, and a reformation of manners to the rising
generation.

"The first seasoning," says Plato, "sticks longest by the vessel. Thus
those, who are permitted from their earliest periods to do wrong, will
hardly ever be persuaded, when they arrive at maturity, to do right."
It is a maxim with some people, a maxim surely founded only on pride,
that their children shall not be checked in their early years, but be
indulged in whatever their little hearts shall pant after; and for this
reason, because they will grow wiser as they grow older. But, since the
love of ease, finery, and pleasure, is natural to almost every youthful
mind, how careful ought each parent to be to check those juvenile
sallies, which, if encouraged, will in time be productive of the very
evils they complain of in the present generation.

It is not only in childhood, but also in their progress through school,
and during their apprenticeship, that these indulgences are continued;
and an excuse is always ready, that their children must not be more
hardly treated than others. Hence it follows, that you often meet the
apprentice of eighteen strutting through the streets in his boots on
an errand of business, or screening himself from the dew of heaven
under the shade of a large silken umbrella!--It would be worse than
sacrilege, in their opinions, to appear abroad with an apron before
them, or in their working dress.

Their evenings are too often spent abroad at chair clubs, in
alehouses, at the theatres, or in some gardens. "To know the world,"
as they call it, is more their study than the attainment of their
profession, by which they are hereafter to live. But of what does
this knowledge of the world consist?--To despise virtue, to laugh
at morality, and to give way to the most shocking scenes of folly
and dissipation. Their Sundays, part of which, at least, ought to
be spent in acts of piety, are passed in revelling and drunkenness;
and the exploits and excesses of that day furnish plenty of boastful
conversation for the rest of the week.

What can be expected from a youth, when he shall arrive at manhood,
who has thus passed the morning of his life? and with what reason can
either parents or masters complain of the depravity of the times,
since they themselves take so little care of the morals of the rising
generation?

The youth who has been long accustomed to revel through the dangerous
wilds of gaiety and pleasure, and has once given a loose to the
excesses of the town, will hardly ever be prevailed on to quit them,
for what he considers as the dull enjoyments of a calm, peaceable, and
virtuous life. Deaf to all remonstrances, he pursues his pleasures, and
perishes in the midst of his delusive enjoyments.

To check these evils, and thereby prevent the fatal consequences, the
infant mind must be carefully watched, and the unruly passions made
to give way to the reason and authority of the parent. Nothing can be
so pleasing and delightful, and, at the same time, more the duty of
the parent, than to watch over the tender thought, and teach the young
ideas to flow in a proper channel. To leave these cares to the vain
hope, that reason and maturity will gradually fix the wandering mind,
and bring it to a proper sense of its duty, is as absurd and ridiculous
as to expect that the fiery steed, who has never felt the spur nor the
curb, the saddle nor the bridle, will with age become the peaceful, the
quiet, and the obedient animal.

Nature seems, in some instances, to have given to the inferior class
of beings that degree of instinct, which sometimes puts human reason
to the blush. Shall inferior beings, merely by the power of instinct
qualities, show more care and prudence in rearing their tender
offspring, than proud man, with all his lordly and boasted superiority
of human reason?


_Dr. Sterne._

When I was last summer on my travels through Yorkshire, I one day met
with a person who gave me a very singular history of himself, of the
veracity of which I was assured by some gentlemen I might rely upon. I
shall repeat his history to you, as nearly as I can recollect, in his
own words.

Though I was born of poor parents, said he, I was fortunate enough to
pick up a tolerable education in one of those public schools in the
country, which are supported by voluntary and charitable contributions.

Nature formed me of an active and lively disposition; and, as I grew
up, my vanity began to flatter me, that I was not destitute of genius.
I happened one day, accidentally, to take up the tragedy of the Orphan,
when I was particularly struck with the following lines, which I seemed
inclined never to forget:

    "I would be busy in the world, and learn;
    Not like a coarse and worthless dunghill weed,
    Fix'd to one spot, to rot just where I grow."

As soon as I had reached the age of fourteen, I was discharged from the
school, when my parents put me to the farming business; but my ideas
soared above that menial profession.

I had frequently heard it mentioned in our village, that the only place
for preferment was the great and rich city of London; where a young
fellow had only to get himself hired as a porter in some respectable
shop, and he would soon rise to be shopman, then clerk, then master,
and at last a common-councilman, or an alderman, if not a lord mayor.

I, therefore, soon determined to leave my native village, and hasten up
to this centre of preferment and happiness. On my arrival in London, I
was advised to apply to a register office, from whence I was sent to a
capital grocer in the city, who was then in want of a porter, and where
I was accordingly engaged. "How happy am I," said I to myself, "at once
to jump into so capital a place? I shall here learn a fine business,
and in time, like my master, keep a splendid coach, horses, and livery
servants."

However, I was here very sadly mistaken; for I was constantly every
day so driven about, from one end of the town to the other, with
loads, that I had no opportunity of getting the least insight into
the business; and every Sunday morning I almost sunk under a load of
various kinds of provisions I was forced to carry to our villa in
Kentish-town, from whence I returned in the evening with a still more
enormous burden of the produce of the garden, consisting of cabbages,
turnips, and potatoes, or whatever happened to be in season, for the
use of the townhouse, during the ensuing week. I, therefore, was not
much displeased at being obliged to quit this service on my master's
becoming a bankrupt.

I next engaged myself with a wholesale linen-draper, to open and
shut up shop, and go occasionally on errands; but here again I was
disappointed, being obliged to employ all my leisure hours in blacking
shoes, cleaning knives, or whatever the cook-maid was pleased to set
me about. My stay here consequently was but short, any more than in my
next place, where my master starved his servants in order to feed his
horses.

I shall not trouble you with an account of all the places I was in,
during the space of seven years, without the least hopes of success,
till, by accident, I got to be a kind of shopman at a tobacconist's.
Here hope seemed to afford me some glimmerings of success, as I was
well treated in the house, and taken particular notice of by my
master, who was very rich, and had an only daughter, who was young and
beautiful.

I soon fell in love equally with her person and her fortune, and had
great reason to believe, from her looks, that I was not indifferent to
her. One evening, when all the family were out on a visit, and miss had
thought proper to stay at home, being a little indisposed, I determined
to improve the favourable opportunity, and, by one resolute action,
complete the summit of my wishes. I accordingly entered the parlour,
threw myself at her feet, and declared my passion for her, assuring her
that I could not live without her.

She seemed at first surprised; but, recollecting herself, with a most
gracious smile, bid me rise and hope. I instantly retired, thinking I
had done enough for the first attempt. But, alas! I was called up the
next day after dinner, and was desired by miss, in the presence of a
large company, who all joined in the laugh against me, not to trouble
myself with paying her any further addresses. My master then kicked
me down stairs, and out of the house. I am now returned to my native
village, having given over all hopes of ever being either a lord mayor,
an alderman, or even a common-councilman!

       *       *       *       *       *

Here Dr. Sterne finished; and, as the sun was sunk beneath the horizon,
and night was speedily advancing, the conversation ended for the
present. Madam Heathcote thanked the company for the favour of their
visit, and did not doubt but that the young ladies and gentlemen
who were present, would go away pleased and edified by the polite
conversation they had heard.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_Edwin and Matilda._


Edwin and his sister were natives of a town in Glamorganshire, whose
father had but little more to leave them at his death than the virtues
he possessed in his lifetime. His character and assiduity procured
him an employment of consequence, which, in a few years, enabled
him to save a very decent fortune. Honour, virtue, and integrity,
however amiable in themselves, will not always protect us against the
calamities of human life, though they may contribute to soften them.

In the midst of his career of business, he was attacked by a long and
tedious disorder, which considerably impaired his constitution, and
obliged him to relinquish all thoughts of business at a very early
age. Not long after he had given up all mercantile pursuits, the
failure of his banker deprived him of two-thirds of his fortune. The
remainder of his possessions, which consisted only of the house he then
lived in, and a few cottages in the village, afforded him but a scanty
pittance for the support of his wife and two children, Edwin, then
about ten years of age, and Matilda, about nine.

Their mother was tenderly fond of them, and consequently was less able
to endure the afflicting prospect of seeing them reduced so low, and
her philosophy failed her in this instance. The narrow scale of living
to which she was now forced to submit, and the parting with many little
comforts and conveniences in which she had taken pleasure to indulge
her children, and which they were no more to expect;--the affliction of
seeing her dear Edwin and Matilda become her servants, and that dumb
sorrow she fancied she beheld in their countenances whenever she looked
on them;--all these, and many other thoughts, crowding on her mind, so
weakened and impaired her constitution, that she was no longer the same
woman. Every time she looked at her children, the tears stole down her
cheeks; and her husband, who most tenderly loved her, would sometimes
mingle his tears with hers, and at other times retire to conceal them.

As Edwin was one day gathering apples in the orchard, he perceived his
parents in close conversation with each other. A hedge of rosebushes
only parted them, so that he heard every thing they said. His mother
gave a sigh, and his father thus endeavoured to console her.

"I was far from blaming," said he, "the excess of your affliction in
the infancy of our misfortunes, and I did not attempt to interrupt you;
but now you ought to be wiser from experience, and patiently bear those
evils which cannot be removed, but may be increased by our impatience
under them. I have concealed my sorrows, fearing they might add to
yours; but you, in return, put no restraint on yourself; and you are
shortening my days, without being sensible of what you are doing. I
love my children no less than you, and feel for their misfortune in
losing what I hoped they would live to enjoy after we were no more.
Consider my infirmities, which will probably carry me to my long home
before you. You must then act the part of father and mother; but how
will you be able to do this, if you give way to such immoderate grief?
You are sensible these misfortunes are not my own seeking; they are the
works of the Almighty, and it is impiety not to submit to them. It has
pleased him to deprive me of my property and health, while you deprive
me of the satisfaction of seeing you submissive to his decrees. I see
sorrow must pursue me to the grave, and you will not help to protract
that awful hour of my dissolution."

Edwin treasured up in his youthful bosom every word that dropped
from the lips of his father, but his mother answered only in sighs
and half-finished words. "Do not distress your mind," continued her
husband, "on the hapless situation of our children, since they may
still be happy though deprived of their fortune. Edwin has noble and
generous sentiments; and Matilda has been brought up in the strictest
principles of virtue. Let us, therefore, set our children an example,
by teaching them to submit to the will of Providence, instead of
teaching them to repine at his decrees."

As soon as the conversation was ended, Edwin got away as softly as he
could, and, going into the house, met his sister Matilda, who, as she
saw him look very serious, asked him what was the matter with him. They
went together into the parlour, when Edwin thus addressed his sister.

"Ah! my dear sister, had you, like me, heard what has just passed
between my father and mother, on our account, I am sure you would have
been equally afflicted. I was very near the arbour in which they were
conversing; but though I could hear every thing they said, they could
not see me. My mother talks of nothing but about our being ruined;
and my father says every thing he can to pacify and comfort her. You
well know, that my father has never had a good state of health, and my
mother's is going very fast; so that I fear we shall soon lose them
both. What, my dear sister, will become of us, and what shall we do
without them? I could wish to die with them."

"Let us hope," replied Matilda, "that things will not go so hard
with us. Do not let such melancholy thoughts enter your head, and
be particularly careful not to cry in their presence, as that would
affect them more than any thing else. Let us endeavour to be cheerful,
and when they see us so, it will possibly lessen their affliction.
They love us tenderly, and we ought, in return, to do every thing in
our power to make them cheerful and contented, if we cannot make them
happy."

Their father, coming to the door just as they began their conversation,
stopped short, and heard every word that passed between the two young
folks. His heart could not fail of being tenderly affected by their
conversation, he rushed into the room, and caught them in his arms. "My
dear children," said he, "how amiable is your conduct, and how worthy
are you of a better fortune!"

He then took them by the hand, and led them to their mother, who was
reading in another room. "Lay down your book," said he, "and kiss
your children; for neither of us need be any more afflicted on their
account. They stand not in need of our pity, for they have resources
of happiness within their own youthful bosoms. We have been deceiving
each other, in thus afflicting ourselves on their account, when nothing
has disturbed them. Nothing can be wanting to the possessors of so much
virtue."

He then related to their mother the conversation he had just overheard,
and appealed to her tenderest feelings, whether she ought not to exert
herself to the utmost to make herself happy, and endeavour to promote
the felicity of two such children.

Their mother again shed tears, but they were tears of joy. "I will from
henceforth," said she, "endeavour to quiet the storm within my breast,
that I may be the better able to take care of my dear children. It
would be disgraceful in me, to let the world see that I have children
from whom I have to learn lessons of philosophy."

Edwin and Matilda were so lost in the delightful sensations they
received from the words and caresses of their parents, that they
thought themselves the happiest of all little mortals. From this moment
all their griefs and anxities seemed to subside, and the six following
months glided away without even a desponding look from either of the
parties.

Edwin frequently walked abroad with his father, who constantly taught
him to draw some moral reflection, or some useful knowledge in the
commerce of life, from every thing they saw. It is too often the case
with parents, when they take their children abroad, to amuse themselves
with their gossiping tales, instead of teaching them to reflect upon
the different interesting subjects that fall within their view.
Children are much sooner capable of reflecting than the generality of
parents are aware of; and they would soon be convinced of the truth of
this assertion, would they but make the trial, wait patiently for their
answers, and endeavour to correct their youthful ideas when wrong.

Six months had now slid away in peace and serenity; but the apparent
tranquility of their mother was only in outward appearance. Despair had
taken deep root in her heart, and was secretly making great havoc with
her constitution. A fever at last seized her, which soon put a period
to her life.

The death of their mother was the source of inexpressible sorrow to her
husband, who never recovered the shock it gave him. She expired in his
arms, while poor Edwin and Matilda were drowned in tears by her side.

The house, for some time, afforded one continued scene of lamentation.
Her character was truly amiable; her children obeyed her through love,
for fear had no share in their duty. She possessed the happy skill of
penetrating into the infant heart, and making it sensible, by its own
feelings, of the propriety of what she commanded to be done. Thus she
at once improved the heart and understanding, without ruffling the
infant mind.

Edwin and Matilda severely felt the loss of their mother; but it was a
still greater shock to their father, whose health, which was bad enough
before, evidently grew worse from this fatal stroke. Grief brought on
a complication of disorders, which soon confined him to his bed; and
in this sad situation he lived near a twelvemonth, when, his strength
being totally exhausted, he expired in the arms of his son.

The situation of Edwin and Matilda was much to be pitied. They had
no relation left to fly to, and friends are rarely to be found when
distress seeks them. Edwin was almost driven to despair; but Matilda
had more fortitude, and recalled her brother back to reason. It is
certain, that the female mind, in scenes of distress, often shows more
fortitude than we meet with in men.

The young orphans agreed to live together, and cultivate the little
spot that was left them. The remembrance of the virtues of their
parents animated their labour, and their moderation regulated their
wants. They enjoyed the sweets of friendship, and lived happily,
because they had learned how to be contented with little.

Remember, my youthful readers, how fleeting and uncertain is the
possession of riches. Of these Fortune may deprive you, but it cannot
rob you of your virtue. Virtue is an invaluable treasure, which even
the revolutions of states and empires cannot take from you. Like Edwin
and Matilda, love and reverence your parents, cherish them in the
evening of their days, and be a comfort to them in the time of trial,
in the hour of sickness, and in the expiring moments of their lives.
Let every wise mother imitate the mother of Edwin and Matilda, who
never suffered passion to get the upper hand of her reason, when she
argued with her children on those little imperfections, which young
people are apt to run into, and which are necessary to be corrected.
It is better to be beloved than feared; but to indulge children in
excesses, will neither create fear nor esteem. Happy are those parents
who have such children as Edwin and Matilda; and happy those children
who know how properly to love, honour, and obey their parents.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The pious Hermit._


At the bottom of the Cordillieres, whose towering summits overlook
Peru and Chili in the New World, as it is called, is situated an
uninhabited spot of land, on which nature has exhausted all her art,
being decorated with innumerable beauties. Woods of stately poplars
rear their heads to the clouds, and odoriferous groves shed their
fragrance over every part of it; while the roaring river Oroonoko rolls
its majestic floods through an immense bed which, at length exhausting
itself, contracts into peaceful rills and meandering streams. These
beauties are terminated by a thick, gloomy forest, which serves as a
foil to these enchanting beauties.

In this charming solitude lived Nestor, an old and venerable hermit,
who, for a long time, had withdrawn himself from the tumultuous bustle
of the world, and had seen forty revolving suns pass over his head
in this peaceful retreat. A stranger to the passions, without wishes
or desires, he passed his life in tranquility, without the fear of
experiencing either cares or disappointments. He was grown old in the
practice of virtue, for this spot afforded not even the shadow of
temptations. He felt not the infirmities which are natural to old age;
nor had he any of those complaints, to which the luxurious inhabitants
of cities and large towns are subject before they reach the meridian of
their lives.

He had made himself a hut at the foot of a verdant hill, that screened
it from the cold blasts of winter. Thick leaves and sod composed its
walls, which time had covered and cemented with a mossy crust. A
plantation of various trees, peculiar to the soil, reared their lofty
heads around his mansion, and a narrow path led through them to his
rustic habitation. A clear and transparent spring arose near his hut;
which, after forming a little bason for domestic services, overflowed
and fled away in meandering streams through the wood.

His time was employed in cultivating a little garden he had made
contiguous to his house. Here he studied the works of Nature, and
explored her wonderful operations in the production of fruits and
vegetables. Here Nature furnished him with a volume that was never to
be read through, but discovered something new every time it was opened.

The sun was one evening sinking beneath the horizon, when Nestor was
seated on the stump of a tree, near the door of his hut, shaded with
woodbines and jessamines. His venerable front, which was now whitened
by time, was lifted up towards heaven; calmness and serenity were
seated on his countenance, and every thing about him accorded with
wisdom and philosophy.

"How I delight," said he, "to view the beautiful azure of that glorious
firmament! What a variety of beautiful colours show themselves in those
clouds! O rich and magnificent dome! when shall I leave this sublunary
world, and ascend to those regions of bliss, where my mind will be lost
in raptures that will know no end! However, let me not be impatient,
since the measure of my life is nearly exhausted. I ought not to repine
at the length of my continuance here, since I enjoy, in this solitary
retreat, what is denied to almost every one who is engaged in the busy
pursuits of life. Every thing I possess is my own, and I live in the
enjoyment of what is purely natural, without the troublesome alloy
of ambition and parade. In whatever direction I turn my view, I see
nothing but smiling landscapes. The sun affords to me the same cheering
warmth, and its light in as great a degree, as to the first monarch of
the earth! Should I not live to see his rising beams, yet he will rise
to cheer the hearts of others, when I shall no longer want them.

"Yonder lie the ruins of that ancient habitation in which once lived
the venerable shepherd and his daughter, who taught me how to live,
when I retired from the empty bustle of the world, and first took up my
abode in these mansions of peace. If their hut be fallen into ruins, it
is but an emblem of what will, in a few years, be the fate of the most
stately palaces. Both he and his daughter now lie at rest under the
shade of those neighbouring and lofty poplars.

"The scythe of Time mows down every thing that comes within the reach
of its keen edge; it has destroyed not only towns and cities, but even
whole empires, which were once mistresses of the world, and reduced
them to a state of pity. The most lofty and luxuriant trees, by Time,
are reduced to dry trunks, without being able to give nourishment to a
single leaf. I have seen huge and tremendous rocks, to all appearance
invulnerable, crumbled into powder by the roaring thunders and the
vivid lightnings. Once the rose was blushing in my blooming cheeks; but
grey hairs have now covered my head, and wrinkles hide my forehead. But
the time is now coming, in which my mortal race will be finished."

A young man had, for some years, taken a part in his solitude, and
as the virtuous Nestor found himself weak and exhausted, he exerted
himself in calling upon the youth. Misfortunes more severe than those
that generally happen to mortal beings, first brought him into this
charming solitude. The pleasing gloom of that retreat, which was not
without its beauties to change the scenes, soon calmed the storm within
his bosom, and made him happy in retirement; to which the conversation
of the venerable old man contributed not a little.

"Come hither, my son," said the virtuous Nestor in faltering accents,
"and embrace your friend for the last time in this world. My eyes will
soon be closed for ever, and I must return to the earth from whence I
came. Complain not that I go before you to the regions of bliss, for I
have enjoyed a long succession of happy years. My career is finished,
and I die without a murmur. It is our ignorance only of what may be
our state hereafter, that makes men afraid of death; but everlasting
happiness is promised to us, and death puts us in possession of it.
Though you will in me lose a mortal friend, yet I leave you One in
heaven who is eternal, and who never will forsake you, so long as you
pursue the paths of virtue. As soon as I shall be no more, dig my
grave close by the poplar which grows on the borders of the river,
where it waters my last plantation. That spot afforded me infinite
delight while I was living, and there I wish my body to repose. This is
the last favour I have to ask of you. Farewell for ever, my virtuous
companion.--The earth seems to fly from me--my time is come--once more,
farewell.--Grieve not for the loss of me, but respect my memory.--Keep
constantly in your view the example which it has pleased heaven to
permit me to set you, and you will be happy, because you will be
virtuous."

Having finished these words, the good Nestor closed his eyes, and
expired without a struggle; he passed away like a cloud floating in
the ambient air, which insensibly disperses and dissipates itself in
a sky of azure. How peaceful and tranquil are the last moments of the
virtuous man! The youth looked stedfastly on that venerable front,
which appeared graceful even in death. He embraced him, and could not
help sighing. "O my dear father," said he, "you are no more! You leave
me in this solitude, without any one to partake of it with me. Who
will, in future, be the comfort of my existence? and to whom am I to
tell my tales of past woe?"

His heart was sensibly affected, and the tears flowed down his cheeks;
but he recollected the last words of his friend Nestor, and endeavoured
to moderate his grief. He took the body on his shoulders, and carried
it to the place where Nestor had desired it might be buried. Being
come to the borders of the river, he gently laid down the body of his
deceased friend, and then dug the grave.

While he was thus sadly employed in his last work for Nestor, he
thought all nature, and whatever breathed throughout the region round
him, united their tears for his virtuous benefactor. After he had
deposited the body in the grave, it was some time before he could
prevail on himself to cover it with the earth. He felt his heart very
powerfully affected; he stood almost motionless, and the tears stole
insensibly down his cheeks.

"Happy Nestor," said he, "you can neither see nor condemn my weakness.
If you could, you would forgive me, and pity me. You were my father,
philosopher, and friend; you taught me to love you, and now I have lost
you. Let me indulge my tears in this melancholy moment, as the only
tribute I can pay to your virtues."

He then proceeded to fill up the grave; but every shovelful of earth
was accompanied with a sigh. When he had covered part of his face, he
stopped suddenly. "Farewell, my dear friend," said the generous and
pious youth, "a little more earth, and then you will be lost from my
sight for ever! It is the decree of Heaven, it must be so, and it is
my duty to submit. But though you will soon be for ever lost from my
sight, your memory will never be erased from my mind, till my mortal
clay, like yours, shall be incapable of knowing what passes in this
world. May my end be like yours, peaceful, composed, and tranquil."

After a few minutes pause, he proceeded in his business, filled up the
grave, and covered it with the most verdant turf he could find. He then
planted round it the woodbine and jessamine, and inclosed the whole
with a fence of blushing roses.

His business being now completed, he turned to the transparent stream,
and thus uttered his devotions, to which no mortal could be witness,
and his plaintive accents were heard only by the wafting gentle zephyrs.

"Thou great and omnipotent Being, who, in your gracious bounty to me,
unworthy wretch as I am, have been pleased to take me from the regions
of Folly, and place me here in those of Innocence and Virtue, where
I have learned to forget the former dreadful misfortunes of my life,
grant me, O gracious Heaven! thy protection, and endow me with the same
virtues that reverend sage possessed, to whose memory I have just paid
the last duties. Left as I am without either guide or companion, his
sacred ashes shall supply the place of them. Sooner shall this stream
cease to flow, and the sun withdraw its benign influence from these
happy regions, than I to wander from the paths into which my departed
friend has conducted me."

Though Nestor's death left the virtuous youth without friend or
companion, yet he in some measure consoled himself for that loss by
daily visiting his grave, and cautiously watching the growth of that
funeral plantation. He suffered not a weed to grow near it, and kept
every thing about it in the highest state of perfection. Every morning
and evening the birds assembled in the surrounding bushes, and warbled
forth their notes over the departed sage.

Though it is neither to be expected nor wished, that my youthful
readers should turn hermits, yet it would be proper for them to
remember, that happiness is not always to be found among the bustling
crowd, where every thing appears under borrowed shapes. In whatever
condition Fortune may place them, let them remember this one certain
truth, that there can be no real happiness where virtue is wanting.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Caprice of Fortune._


Painters represent Fortune with a bandage over her eyes, by which they
mean to tell us, that she distributes her gifts indiscriminately, and
as chance happens to throw a happy object in her way, without paying
regard to either virtue or merit. The following short history will
evince the truth of the old adage, that there is a something necessary,
besides merit and industry, to make a person's fortune in this
capricious world.

A brave old soldier, whom I shall conceal under the borrowed name of
Ulysses, had acquired immortal honours in the service of his country
on the field of battle. Having passed the prime of his life in actual
service, he retired to pass the evening of his days in the circle of
his family, and the care of his children.

He tenderly loved his offspring, and he had the inexpressible pleasure
and delight to find himself beloved by them.

As his eldest son had entered into a marriage contract by the consent
of all parties, a house was taken for the young couple, and the
necessary repairs and embellishments were not forgotten. One of the
apartments being designed for pictures, the generous youth, without
acquainting his father with his design, employed a painter to describe
all the heroic actions of his sire.

This business was completed with great expedition and secrecy, and as
soon as the house was properly ornamented and furnished, the young
gentleman invited all his relations and particular acquaintances to
partake of an elegant dinner, on his commencing housekeeping. When
the veteran entered the room, where all his glorious actions were
represented in the most lively colours, he could not avoid being
singularly struck with the generous piety of his son. The company were
at a loss which they should most admire, the heroic exploits of the
father, or the exemplary conduct of the son.

The old general surveyed every picture with an air of carelessness,
at which the company were not a little surprised, and could not help
wondering at his composed indifference. "You acted very properly, son,"
said the old gentleman, "to conceal your intentions of this matter from
me till you had completed it, as I otherwise should most certainly have
stifled it in its birth. What you have thus done is a convincing proof
of your love and affection for me; but, however sensible it may make me
of your attachments to me, yet it does not much flatter my vanity.

"Few pieces of biography are correct on their first appearance in the
world, where the parties meant to be handed down to posterity have not
been previously consulted. The most particular event, from the want of
proper information, is frequently omitted. Such is the case, my son, in
the present instance. There is one circumstance in my life which ought
to have been recorded, since to that action alone I owe all my fortune,
and my promotion in the army." However, as dinner was then serving up,
the conversation was dropped, and the company very soon began to have
something else to think of.

The next day, however, being at dinner with his children and a small
party of friends, his son requested him to inform him what was that
heroic act he had forgotten in his penciled history. The general
replied, he had no objections to do so, but observed, that it would be
necessary to go into the room where the pictures were hanging.

As soon as they had entered the room, the general began his
observations on the paintings. "I suppose son," said he, "you have
terminated the first line with that in which his majesty is supposed
to have made me a lieutenant-general. In this, indeed, you have made
a very capital error, as you have here brought together events that
happened at different periods. But I would wish to know, whether the
military honours I have received, were in consequence of the actions
represented in this picture, or on account of what is represented in
the whole."

The young gentleman replied, without the least hesitation, that the
honours he had received were in consequence of all his services, and
not of any single one.

"You are very much mistaken," said the general, "for it was in
consequence only of one action in my life, that I enjoy my present
honours; and this action you have not recorded."

The young gentleman was very much surprised to think that he should
forget the principal occurrence of his father's life, and that too from
which alone he was raised in the army. He censured his own want of
memory, and was the more angry with himself, as he could not even then
recollect it.

"Do not make yourself uneasy," said the general to his son, "for it is
not possible that you could paint an action you never knew any thing
of. It is a transaction which I have never yet related to any one; but
I shall now give you the particulars.

"During the very early part of my life as a soldier, I lost my left
leg, and received so dangerous a wound in my head, that my life was for
some time despaired of, nor did I perfectly recover of it till after
sixteen months had elapsed. I lost my three youngest sons on the field
of battle, where they bled in the service of their king and country.

"Notwithstanding all these services, I enjoyed no higher rank than that
of a major for nearly thirty years, while in that battle, in which I
lost my limb, my general fled, in order to preserve his precious life
from danger, and was rewarded with a title and a pension. But he was
the nephew of a favourite at court, who took care to represent him to
his sovereign and the nation, as having on the day of battle exposed
himself to the most imminent dangers. It may easily be supposed,
that my affections for my family, and my wishes to do well for them,
induced me to hope for preferment. Numbers were, like me, seeking for
promotion; but I could not, like the generality of them, stoop to their
means to obtain it; and if they had not more merit than myself, at
least they had better fortune. Tired out with expectations that met
with nothing but disappointments, I took the resolution to hang about
the court no longer in expectancy, but to retire into the country, and
there spend the remainder of my days in private. However, Fortune at
length smiled on me, and, when I least expected it, led me into the
path of fame and preferment. Of this circumstance not the least notice
is taken in your paintings!"

The young gentleman appeared very much astonished, and could not guess
what this circumstance could be, which he had omitted in his pictures,
since he apprehended that he was well acquainted with all the material
occurrences in the life of his father. "I know not, sir," said his
son, "what this circumstance can be that I have omitted. Perhaps it
may be something which the pencil of the artist cannot express. I must
confess, that I long much to know what this occurrence can be."

"Nothing can be more easy," replied the general, "than to represent
this scene on canvass: A beautiful river, ladies weeping on the borders
of it, and I on horseback in the liquid stream, holding a little
lap-dog in a half-drowned condition. Surely this could not be a very
difficult scene for an able pencil to represent, and could give but
little trouble to the painter!"

The young gentleman could hardly think his father serious, and could
not comprehend how such a scene as this could be considered as one of
the general's most glorious military exploits, by which he had gained
his promotion as a soldier. He, therefore, begged he would be pleased
to explain himself more fully.

"Trifling as you may think this exploit," replied the veteran, "I owe
to it my present promotion, which the loss of a limb in the field
of battle could not procure me. I will give you the history of this
strange affair in as few words as possible.

"As I was one morning riding on horseback, for the benefit of the air,
as well as for the advantage of exercise, on the beautiful banks of the
Thames, near Richmond, a coach passed me.--Curiosity induced me to look
into it, when I discovered the mistress of the minister; who appeared
to me as a pretty doll, agreeable to behold, but from whom you must
expect neither sense nor reason, and but a very small share of modesty,
that first accomplishment of the fair sex. Though she knew me perfectly
well, she condescended only to give me a nod, and having driven to
some distance before me, she got out of her carriage to walk with her
companions on the banks of the river.

"In order to avoid giving her the trouble of taking notice of me again,
I turned into a lane; but hardly had I entered it, when I heard a cry
of distress from the same women. I doubted not but some misfortune
had happened to them, and I, therefore, galloped towards them. As soon
as I got to them, the pretty doll cried out, 'Help, help, dear major!
my dear sweet Chloe has fallen into the water, and is unable to get
out!--The poor dear will be drowned, and I shall die with grief. Save
him, major, save him, I beg of you.'

"Though I cared as little for the mistress as for the animal, yet
compassion urged me to put spurs to my horse, and get into the river.
I happened to get hold of the ugly cur, and brought him in safety to
his mistress. I know not whether the scene which followed excited most
pity or contempt, since the most affectionate mother could not have
shown more joy on the recovery of her child. The idle and ridiculous
congratulations from the company, and their eager endeavours who should
be first to caress the ugly animal, exceeds all description. Every
mouth was open, and every tongue was in motion, each endeavouring to be
most noticed by the doll of fashion.

"As I apprehended my company was no longer wanted, I was about taking
my leave, when the little dog's mistress pressed me so warmly to
stay, that I alighted from my horse, and she took me by the arm. As
we sauntered along, at a little distance behind the company, and
out of their reach of hearing, she told me, she had been informed,
some time before, what rank I had been soliciting for. 'If I forget
this service,' said she, 'and if the minister is not from this day
your warmest advocate,--then major--O my poor dear Chloe!--you shall
see--yes, that you shall.'

"I made her a bow without saying any thing; for I was too proud
to wish to owe my preferment to such a woman, and to such paltry
services.--However, the very next day, I was sent for to the
minister's levee, when he drew me aside, and told me, that the king
had recollected both my name and my services, and that he himself had
represented the justice there would be in my promotion. In short,
in less than a month from that day, I was promoted to the rank of a
lieutenant-general. Thus, by saving the life of a little ugly animal,
did I obtain more than all my services in the field could procure me."

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The melancholy Effects of Pride._


A few miles distant from the metropolis lived an industrious farmer,
who had a son named Bounce. He had so strong a propensity to the
military life, that he was observed to be continually shouldering his
hoe, and treating it in other respects as a gun. He was fond of the
company of soldiers, and took great delight in hearing them repeat
their accounts of sieges and battles.

When he had reached the eighteenth year of his age, he enlisted in one
of the marching regiments; and as he had previously learned at school
to read, write, and cast up common accounts, he became so useful in his
present station, that he was first made a corporal, and soon after was
advanced to the higher state of a serjeant.

Much about this time, war was declared between England and France,
and, by a succession of the most fortunate circumstances, at the
commencement of the campaign, he had a lieutenantcy given him. He
behaved with great conduct on all occasions, and whenever any bold and
daring enterprise was to be undertaken, he was always appointed to
command it, and constantly came off with honour. The examples he set
others of his bravery, made every soldier under him as brave as himself.

So strongly had his conduct recommended him to the favour of his
general, that he soon after presented him with a company, in order that
his fortune might raise in the common soldiers an emulation to imitate
his conduct. He had not long enjoyed this new promotion, when a most
desperate battle was fought, which proved fatal to several superior
officers. On this occasion, Bounce, who had performed wonders during
the battle, was instantly appointed a major.

His exploits had often been recorded in the public papers, which being
read in his native village, all the inhabitants ran to congratulate his
parents on the occasion. His parents and brothers, undoubtedly, were
not a little flattered with the bravery and good fortune of Bounce.
The tear of joy would frequently steal down their cheeks when these
matters were mentioned. They longed for the happy day in which he was
to return, that they might have the inexpressible pleasure of embracing
a son and brother in their arms, whose bravery had done so much honour
to his family, and raised himself to such an elevated situation.

We have hitherto only surveyed the brilliant colourings of the picture;
but we must now proceed to examine its shades. All his good qualities
were tarnished by one predominant and odious vice, which was pride. In
relating the history of his own achievements, he would consider himself
as little less than an Alexander or a Cæsar. He paid himself all the
compliments for his heroic actions, which the most fulsome flatterer
would give a victorious prince in his presence.--He assumed to himself
all the honours of every battle he had been engaged in, without
allowing the least merit to any other officer.

All parties being at last tired of the war, many thousands of their
subjects having perished in the contest, many widows left to bemoan
their husbands, and a great number of children to lament the loss
of their fathers, a general peace put an end to this horrid carnage
of human beings. It so happened, that the regiment to which Bounce
belonged was directed to pass along the road on which his father's
house was situated, in order to proceed to Windsor, where it was to be
disbanded.

By this time, his father and mother had paid their last debt to nature;
but his brothers, who were still living, hearing of his approach, ran
to meet him, accompanied by many others in the village. They soon found
him at the head of his battalion, exercising his men, in quality of
captain and major.

They ran to him with open arms, saying, "O dear Bounce! were but our
parents now living, what joy would this give to their aged hearts! My
brother and I have been long sighing for this moment of seeing and
embracing you. Thanks to that God who has preserved you through so many
dangers, and at last has afforded us this inexpressible pleasure!"
Having thus said, the two brothers attempted to embrace him.

The major, however, was very much displeased, that men, who had no
cockades in their hats, should presume to take these freedoms with him,
and call him brother. He pushed them from him, and treated their marks
of affection with insolence and contempt. "What do you mean," said he,
"by taking these freedoms with me?"--"Is it possible," replied the
younger brother, "that you have forgotten us? Look at me, I am George,
whom you formerly loved, whom you taught to dig and sow this ground,
when I was but a little one, and not higher than the length of the
sword which now dangles by your side."

This put the major into a violent rage, and he threatened he would have
them apprehended as impostors, if they did not immediately depart.

This scene of pride and vanity passed at the head of his battalion,
to which every soldier was witness. They dared not to speak their
minds openly, but in their hearts execrated his conduct. They vented
their indignation in whispers to each other. "Is it possible," said
they, "that our major can be ashamed of having once been what we are
at present? on the contrary, he ought to think himself happy, and be
thankful, that Fortune has raised him from nothing to what he now is.
It is more to the honour and reputation of a man, to acquire a fortune
by merit, than it is to be born to one."

These were sentiments, however, of which Bounce had no idea; the
fortune he met with seemed to increase the depravity of his heart
rather than correct it. He even wished his fellow-soldiers to forget
that he had originally been, like them, one of the rank and file, and
consequently treated them with the most haughty and insolent contempt;
while they, on the other hand, viewed him in the just light in which
men ought to be considered, who, having soared above their original
obscurity, suffer themselves to be led away by the empty parade of
pride and ambition.

As he was one day reviewing the regiment in the presence of the
colonel, the latter having found some fault in his method of giving the
word of command, he gave him a very insolent and haughty answer, such
as the military laws will not admit an inferior to give to a superior
officer. He had frequently before given shameful instances of his
pride and arrogance to those of higher rank; his colonel, therefore,
determined to try him by a court-martial, and at once punish him for
all his audacious infractions of the military law. He was accordingly
tried, found guilty, and solemnly declared incapable of serving any
longer in the army. He was disgraced and ruined.

It can hardly be expected, that such a man as we have here described,
could have any great share of prudence or economy in the management
of his private affairs. He was not worth any thing at the time of his
disgrace, and, therefore, found himself obliged either to labour for
his living, or starve. What a situation for a man to be reduced to,
who, but a little while since, ingloriously despised that condition,
which he was now forced to apply to for his subsistence!

Necessity, at last, obliged him to pay a visit to the place of his
nativity, and beg the assistance of those whom he had so lately
despised. The villagers, when they saw him thus reduced, in their turn,
treated him with contempt, and made him experience how dangerous it is,
whatever may be our present fortune, to despise any one merely because
he may not be so great as ourselves.--During the whole course of his
prosperity he had formed no friendly connections, and therefore now,
in the hour of adversity, he had no creature to apply to, either to
advise or assist him. Thus had his pride and folly deprived him of one
of the greatest blessings of this life. The mind receives some little
consolation in being _pitied_; but deplorable indeed is his situation,
who cannot command that most trifling relief.

Finding himself neglected and despised by every one he had hitherto
applied to, he was at last forced to seek relief from his brothers,
whom he had lately insulted so cruelly. It was now, indeed, their turn
to retaliate on him; but they had souls far greater than his. They
despised every idea of mean revenge, and did him all the service they
could under his present difficulties.

The little matters their father had left them had long been divided
among them, and Bounce had made away with his share, as well as with
all his pay. In this situation, the brothers gave him a little spot of
ground to cultivate, on which he was obliged to employ all his time,
in order to procure a scanty subsistence. He had now time enough to
reflect on the elevated station from which his pride and folly had
thrown him.

He would frequently exclaim to himself, "O diabolical pride, to what
a melancholy situation hast thou brought me! Why, O Fortune! did you
raise me so far above my original character, as to make me forget
my former situation, and thereby make my fall more inglorious and
irreparable? had you not raised me above the state of a subaltern, I
might have still been happy; but, by making me great, you have ruined
and undone me!"

Ideas and reflections such as these perpetually haunted him, and
interrupted his repose; until Death, more kind to him than Fortune, put
an end to his feelings and sufferings by an untimely end, leaving an
example of the fatal consequences which pride brings in its train.

Be cautious, my youthful readers, how you suffer this vice to get
possession of your hearts, since it renders deformed the most perfect
beauty, and eclipses the most brilliant accomplishments.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

_The Nettle and the Rose._


We may consider human life as a garden, in which roses and nettles are
promiscuously scattered, and in which we often feel the sting of the
wounding nettle, while we enjoy the fragrance of the blooming rose.
Those bowers of delight, entwined with the woodbine and jessamine,
under whose friendly umbrage we seek shelter from the noon-day sun,
frequently are the abode of snakes, adders, and venomous creatures,
which wound us in those unguarded scenes of delight.

As the year has its seasons, and winter and summer are constantly in
pursuit of each other; so changeable likewise is the condition of
mortals; and, as the elements are frequently disturbed by storms,
hurricanes, and tempests, so is the human mind frequently ruffled
and indisposed, till the sun-shine of reason and philosophy bursts
forth and dispels the gloom. Murmuring brooks, purling streams, and
sequestered groves, whatever the fictions of a poetical imagination may
have advanced, are not always the seat of unmingled pleasure, nor the
abode of uninterrupted happiness.

The hapless Florio pined away some months on the delightful banks
of the Severn: he complained of the cruelty of the lovely Anabella,
and told his fond tale to the waters of that impetuous stream, which
hurried along regardless of his plaints. He gathered the lilies of
the field; but the lilies were not so fair as his Anabella, nor the
fragrance of the blushing rose so sweet as her breath; the lambs were
not so innocent, nor the sound of the tabor on the green half so
melodious as her voice. Time, however, has joined Florio and Anabella
in the fetters of wedlock, and the plaints of the swain are changed.
The delusion of the enchantment is vanished, and what he but lately
considered as the only object worthy of his sublunary pursuit, he now
contemplates with coolness, indifference, and disgust: enjoyment has
metamorphosed the rose into a nettle.

Ernestus, contrary to his inclinations, was compelled by his parents
to marry the amiable Clara, whose sense, tenderness, and virtues, soon
fixed the heart of the roving Ernestus; and what at first gave him pain
and disgust, by degrees became familiar, pleasing, and delightful. Here
the nettle was changed to the rose.

The wandering libertine, who pursues the rose through the unlawful
paths of love, who tramples on every tender plant that comes within his
reach, and who roves from flower to flower, like the bee, only to rob
it of its sweets, will at last lose his way; and, when benighted, be
compelled to repose on the restless bed of wounding nettles.

The blooming rose is an utter stranger to the regions of Ambition,
where gloomy clouds perpetually obscure the beams of the joyful sun;
where the gentle zephyrs never waft through the groves, but discordant
blasts are perpetually howling, and where the climate produces only
thorns and nettles.

The rose reaches its highest perfection in the garden of Industry,
where the soil is neither too luxuriant, nor too much impoverished.
Temperance fans it with the gentlest breezes, and Health and
Contentment sport around it. Here the nettle no sooner makes its
appearance, than the watchful eye of Prudence espies it; and, though it
may not be possible totally to eradicate it, it is never suffered to
reach to any height of perfection.

Since then human life is but a garden, in which weeds and flowers
promiscuously shoot up and thrive, let us do what we can to encourage
the culture of the rose, and guard against the spreading nettle.
However barren may be the soil that falls to our lot, a careful and
assiduous culture will contribute not a little to make the garden, at
least, pleasing and cheerful.

[Illustration: FINIS]


Printed by J. Swan, 76, Fleet Street.



Transcriber's Notes:


Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Occasional occurrences of the archaic long "s" (printed as "f") have
been replaced with the modern "s".

Occasional missing periods and opening or closing quotation marks
remedied.

Page 95: "Though her visitors did not look" was printed as "visiters",
but was changed here for consistency with other occurrences of
"visitor" or "visitors" in this text.

Page 97: "spised" probably should be "despised".





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