Page images



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 refemble, nor are capable of being upon better terms with each other, than my fifter and myself, 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 excessive, 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 respect,


Your obedient fervant,



[ocr errors]



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 miferable. 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 less pleasing: at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse tafte, dishes better and worse dreffed 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 perfon they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.

Under these circumftances, the two forts of people above mentioned fix their attention, those who are difpofed to be happy, on the conveniences of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, 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 difcontented 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 those 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 fcarcely 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


mometer to fhew him the heat of the weather; and a barometer, to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no inftrument invented to discover, at firft fight, this unpleafing difpofition in a perfon, he, for that purpofe, made use of his legs; one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by fome accident, crooked and deformed. If a ftranger, at the first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he fpoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was fufficient to determine my philofopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two legged inftrument; but every one, with a little attention, may obferve figns of that carping, fault-finding difpofition, and take the fame refolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, difcontented, 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.


« PreviousContinue »