« PreviousContinue »
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 inftru. ment invented to discover, at first sight, this un. pleasing disposition in a person, he, for that pur. pose, made use of his legs; one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by 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 took no notice of the handsome leg, that was fufficient 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 fame 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 fhould leave off looking at the ugly leg.
COMPANY OF EPHEMERÆ;
WITH THE SOLILOQUÝ OF ONE ADVANCED IN AGÊ:
TO MADAME BRILLIANT.
You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spent that happy day, in the delightful garden and sweet fociety of the Moulin Foly, I stopt a little in one of our walks, and staid some time behind the company. We had been Thewn numberless skeletons of a kind of little fly, called an Ephemera, whose fuccessive generations, we were told, were bred and expired within the day. I happened to see a living company of them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in conversation. You know I understand all the inferior animal tongues: my too great application to the study of them, is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I have made in your charming language. I listened through curiosity to the discourse of these little creatures; but as they, in their national vivacity, spoke three or four together, I could make but little of their conversation. I found, however, by fome expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, one a cousin,
the other a muscheto; in which dispute they spent their time, seemingly as regardless of the shortness of life as if they had been sure of living a month. Happy people! thought I, you live certainly under a wife, just, and mild government, since you have no public grievances to complain of, nor any subject of contention, but the perfections or imperfections of foreign music. I turned my head from them to an old grey-headed one, who was single on another leaf, and talking to himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to whom I am so much indebted for the most pleasing of all amusements, her delici. ous company, and heavenly harmony.
“ It was,” says he," the opinion of learned “ philosophers of our race, who lived and flou“ rished long before my time, that this vast “ world the Moulin Foly could not itself fubfift “ more than eighteen hours : and I think there - was some foundation for that opinion ; fince, “ by the apparent motion of the great luminary, " that gives life to all nature, and which in my 6c time has evidently declined towards the ocean " at the end of our earth, it must then finish its “ course, be extinguished in the waters that fur6 round us, and leave the world in cold and “ darkness, necessarily producing universal death 66 and destruction. I have lived seven of those “ hours; a great age, being no less than 420 mi6 nutes of time. How very few of us continue 6 so long? I have seen generations born, flourish, « and expire. My present friends are the chil66 dren and grand-children of the friends of my
youth, who are now, alas, no more! And I must foon follow them; for, by the course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight minutes longer.
" What now avails all my toil and labour, in
even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its “ end, and be buried in universal ruin?”
To me, after all my eager pursuits, no folid pleasures now remain, but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well, the sensible conversation of a few good lady ephemeræ, and now and then a kind smile and a tune from the ever ami. able Brilliant.
MORALS OF CHESS.
PLAYING at chefs is the most ancient and most universal game known among men; for its original is beyond 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) fome little improprieties in the practice of it, shews, 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 amusement. 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 become 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 fome 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