Page images

levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.

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

If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citi zens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth ; Poor man, says I, you do indeed pay too much for your vbiftle.

When I meet a man of pleasure, facrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune,' to mere corporeal sensations; Mistaken man, says !, 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 prison; Alas, says I, be has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.

When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl married to an ill-natured brute of a husband :, What a pity it is, says I, that she has paid so much for a whistle.

In short, I conceived that great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the false estimates they had made of the valuc of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.


[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

I ADDRESS myself to all the friends of youth, and conjure them to direct their compassionate regard to my unhappy fate, in order to remove the prejudices of which I am the victim. There are twin sisters 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 myself, were it not for the partiality of our parents, who make the most injurious distinctions between us. From my infancy, I have been led to consider my sister as a being of a more elevated rank. I was suffered to grow up without the least instruction, while nothing was spared in her education. She had masters to teach her writing, drawing, music, 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 sister associated me with her upon some occasions; but she always made a point of taking the lead, calling upon me only from necessity, or to figure by her side.

But conceive not, Sirs, that my complaints are instigated merely by vanity- No; my uneafiness is occafioned by an object much more ferious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole business of providing for its fublistence falls upon my sister and myself. It


any indisposition should attack my sister—and I mention it in confidence, upon this occasion, that she is subject to the gout, the rheumatism, and cramp, without making mention of other accidents-what would be the fate of our poor family? Must not the regret of our parents be excessive, at having placed so great a difference between fifters who are so perfectly equal ? Alas! we must perish from diftress: for it would not be in my power to scrawl a suppliant petition for relief, having been obliged to employ the hand of another in transcribing the request which I have now the honour to prefer to you.

Condescend, Sirs, to make my parents sensible of the injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the neceflity of diftributing their care and affection among all their children equally.

I am, with a profound respect,

Your obedient servant,





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 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 conveniencies and inconveniencies : 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 adminiftration of those laws: in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may fee 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 pleasant parts of conversation, the well drefled dishes, 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 society; offend

personally personally many people, and make themselves every where dilagreeable. If this turn 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 shews 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 fuccefs, or will ftir a step, or speak a word to favour their pretensions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excufe, 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 good for others to avoid an ace quaintance with them; which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds oneself entangled in their quarrels.

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


« PreviousContinue »