Page images
[ocr errors]

levees, his repofe, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have faid to myfelf, This man gives too much for his whistle.

When I faw another fond of popularity, conftantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect: He pays, indeed fays I, too much for his whistle.

If I knew a mifer, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the fake of accumulating wealth; Poor man, fays I, you do indeed pay too much for your whistle.

When I meet a man of pleafure, facrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal fenfations; Miftaken man, fays I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure: you give too much for your whistle.

If I fee one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in prifon; Alas, fays I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.

When I fee a beautiful, fweet-tempered girl married to an ill-natured brute of a husband :, What a pity it is, fays I, that she has paid fo much for a whistle!

In fhort, I conceived that great part of the miferies of mankind were brought upon them by the false estimates they had made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whiftles.


$ :



I ADDRESS myself to all the friends of youth, and conjure them to direct their compaffionate regard to my unhappy fate, in order to remove the prejudices of which I am the victim. There are twin fifters of us: and the two eyes of man do not more resemble, nor are capable of being upon better terms with each other, than my filter and myfelf, were it not for the partiality of our parents, who make the most injurious diftinctions between us. From my infancy, I have been led to confider my fifter as a being of a more elevated rank. I was fuffered to grow up without the leaft inftruction, while nothing was fpared in her education. She had mafters to teach her writing, drawing, mufic, and other accomplishments; but if by chance I touched a pencil, a pen, or a needle, I was bitterly rebuked: and more than once I have been beaten for being aukward, and wanting a graceful manner. It is true, my fifter affociated me with her upon fome occafions; but fhe always made a point of taking the lead, calling upon me only from neceffity, or to figure by her fide.

But conceive not, Sirs, that my complaints are inftigated merely by vanity- No; my uneafinefs is occafioned by an object much more ferious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole bufinefs of providing for its fubfiftence falls upon my fifter and myself. It


any indifpofition fhould attack my fifter-and I mention it in confidence, upon this occafion, that she is fubject to the gout, the rheumatism, and cramp, without making mention of other accidents-what would be the fate of our poor family? Muft not the regret of our parents be exceffive, at having placed fo great a difference between fifters who are fo perfectly equal? Alas! we must perish from diftrefs: for it would not be in my power to fcrawl a fuppliant petition for relief, having been obliged to employ the hand of another in tranfcribing the request which I have now the honour to prefer to you.

Condefcend, Sirs, to make my parents fenfible of the injuftice of an exclufive tenderness, and of the neceffity of diftributing their care and affection among all their children equally.

I am, with a profound refpect,


Your obedient fervant,





THERE are two forts 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 arifes very much from the different views in which they confider things, perfons, and events; and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.

In whatever fituation men can be placed, they may find conveniencies and inconveniencies: in whatever company, they may find perfons and converfation more or lefs pleafing: at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse tafte, 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 adminiftration of thofe laws: in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may fee faults and beauties in almoft every face, and every person they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.

Under thefe circumftances, the two forts of people above mentioned fix their attention, those who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniences of things, the pleasant parts of converfation, the well dreffed difhes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy all with chearfullness. Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and, by their remarks, four the pleasures of fociety; offend perfonally

perfonally many people, and make themselves every where difagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, fuch unhappy perfons would be the more to be pitied. But as the difpofition to criticife, and to be difgufted, is, perhaps, taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at prefent ftrong, may nevertheless be cured, when thofe who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity; I hope this little admonition may be of fervice to them, and put them on changing a habit, which, though in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has ferious confequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes. For as many are offended by, and nobody loves, this fort of people; no one fhews them more than the most common civility and refpect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them out of humour, and draws them into difputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining fome advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them fuccefs, or will ftir a ftep, or fpeak a word to favour their pretenfions. If they incur public cenfure or difgrace, no one will defend or excufe, and many join to aggravate their mifconduct, and render them completely odious. If these people will not change this bad habit, and condefcend to be pleased with what is pleafing, without fretting themselves and others about the contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them; which is always difagreeable, and fometimes very inconvenient, efpecially when one finds onefelf entangled in their quar


An old philofophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with fuch people. He had, like other philofophers, a ther



« PreviousContinue »