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THE HANDSOME AND DEFORMED
There are two sorts of people in the world, who, with equal degrees of health and wealth, and the other comforts of life, become, the one happy, and the other miserable. This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and events; and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.
In whatever situation men can be placed, they may find conveniences and inconveniences; in whatever company, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing; at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed; in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather; under whatever government, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws; in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties; in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above mentioned fix their attention, those, who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniences of things, the pleasan parts of conversation, the welldressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather,, etc. and enjoy all with cheerfulness. Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and, by their remarks, sour the pleasures of society, offend personally many people, and make then selves every where disagreeable. If this turu of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons would be the more to be pitied. But as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is, perhaps, taken up originally by imitation and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may nevertheless be cured, when those who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity; I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them on changing a habit, which, though in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes. For, as many are offended by, and nobody loves, this sort of people, no one shows them more than the most common civility and respect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them out of humour, and draws them into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step, or speak a word, to favour their pretensions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to
aggravate, their misconduct, and render them completely odious. If these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting themselves and others about the contraries, it is Lood for others to avoid an acquaintance with them; which !always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds oneself entangled in their quarrels.
An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from c'iperience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully a oided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer, to show him the heat of the weather, and a barometer, to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument inented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposiion in a person, he, for that purpose, made use of his 1.gs; one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, hy some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at the first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one,
he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and cook no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two-legged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, fault-finding, disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy, people, that, if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.
MORALS OF CHESS.
Playing at chess is the most ancient and most universal game known among men; for its original is bey the memory of history, and it has, for numberless ages, been the amusement of all the civilized nations of Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it above a thousand years; the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins lately to make its appearance in these states. It is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it; and thence it is never played for money. Those, therefore, who have leisure for such diversions, cannot find one that is more innocent; and the following piece, written with a view to correct (among a few young friends)
some little improprieties in the practice of it, shows, at the same time, that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely innocent, but advantageous, to the vanquished as well as the victor.
The game of chess is not merely an idle amusenient. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to becume habits, ready on all occasions. For life is a kind of chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend' with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it. By playing at chess, then, we may learn,
1. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action: for it is continually occurring to the player, «lf I move this piece, what will be the advantage of my new situation ? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to de. fend myself from his attacks ? »
11. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chess-board, or scene of action, the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may take this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.
NI. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired by observing strictly the laws of the game, such as, “ If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere: if you set it down, you must let it stand : » and it is therefore best that these rules should be obsery. ed, as the game thereby becomes more the image of human life, and particularly of war; in which, if you have incautiously put yourself into a bad and dangerous position, you cannot obtain your enemy's leave to withdraw your troops, and place them more securely, but you must abide all the consequences of your rashness.
And, lastly, we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating oneself from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory by our own skill, or at least of getting a stale mate, by the negligence of our adversary. And who ever considers, what in chess he often sees instances of, that particular pieces of success are apt to produce presumption, and its consequent inattention, by which the loss may be recovered, will
learn not to be too much discouraged by the present suc. cess of his adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune upon every little check he receives in the pursuit of it.
That we may, therefore, be induced more frequently to chose this beneficial amusement, in preference to others, which are not attended with the same advantages, every circumstance which may increase the plasures of it should be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, disrespectful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of both the la yers, which is to pass the time agreeably.
Therefore, first, if it is agreed, to play according to the strict rules; then those rules are to be exactly observed by both parties, and should not be insisted on for one side, while deviated from by the other for this is not equitable.
Secondly, if it is agreed, not to observe the rules exactly, but one party demands indulgences, he should then be as willing to allow them to the other.
Thirdly, no false move should ever be made to extricate yourself out of difficulty, or to gain an advantage. There can be no pleasure in playing with a person once detected in such unfair practice.
Fourthly, if your adversary is long in playing you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, nor take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do any thing that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing. but your craftiness or your rudeness.
Fifthly, you ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying, that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes: for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in
Sixthly, you must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor show too much pleasure; but endeavour 1o console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself, by every kind of civil expression, that may be used with truth, such as, “ you understand the
better than I, but you are a little inattentive;, or, you play too fast; - or, “ you had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favour.»
Seventhly, if you are a spectator while others play, observe the most perfect silence. For it you give advice, you offend both parties; him against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game, him in whose favour you give it, because, though it be good and he follows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think until it had occurred to himself. 'Even after a move or moves, you must not, by replac
ing the pieces, show how it might have been placed better: tor that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts about their true situation. All talking to the players lessens or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing. Nor should you give the least hint to either party, by any kind of noise or motion. If you do, you are un. worthy to be a spectator. If you have a mind to exercise or show your judgment, do it in playing your own game, when you have an opportunity, not in criticising, or meddling with, or counselling the play of others.
Lastly, if the game is not to be played rigorously, according to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a perilous situation, etc. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent, but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection, together with the silent approbation and good-will of impartial spectators.
THE ART OF PROCURING PLEASING
INSCRIBED TO MISS ****
Being written at her request. As a great part of our life is spent in sleep, during which we have sometimes pleasing and sometimes painful dreams, it becomes of some consequence to obtain the one kind, and avoid the other; for, whether real or imaginary, pain is pain, and pleasure is pleasure. If we can slein without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avo:ne ed. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dreams. it is, as the French say, tant gagné, so much added to the pleasure of Life.
To this end, it is, in the first place, necessary to be careful in preserving health, by due exercise, and gre.i temperance; for, in sickness, the imagination is disturbed ; and disagreeable, sometimes terrible, ideas are apt to present themselves. Exercise should precede meals, not im. mediately follow them: the first promotes, the latter, miless moderate, obstructs digestion. If, after exercise, we feed sparingly, the digestion will be easy and good, the