« PreviousContinue »
resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, qiu rulous, discontented, unhappy people, that if they wish to be respected and beloved by o:hers, and happy in themselves, they should leave of looking at ihe ugly lig.
Conversation of a Company of Ephemere ; with the Soliloquy of one advanced in age.
To MADAME BRILLIANT. You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spent that happy day, in the delightful garden avd sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopil a little in one of our walks and staid some time behind the company. We had been shewn numberless skeletons of a kind of little îly, called an Ephemeræ, whose successive ginerations, 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 coliversation. 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 natural vivacity, spoke three or four together, I could make but little of their conversation. I found, however, by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, the 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 wise, just, and mild government, since you have no public greve ances 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 indebied for the most pleasing of all amusemenis, her delicious company, and heavenly harmony:
“ It was,” says he, “ the opinion of learned philosophers of our race, who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast world the Moulin Joly could not itself consist more than eighteen lours: and I think there was some foundation for that opinion; since, by the appaient motion of the great luminary, that gives life to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of our earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal deaih and destruction. I have lived seven of those hours'; a great age, being no less than 420 minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long! I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My present friends are the children and grand-children of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more! And I must soon 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 labor, in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy! What the political struggles I have been engaged in, for the good of my compatriot inhabitants of this, bush, or my philosophical., studies for the benefit of our race in general ! for in politics (what can laws do without morals?) our present race of ephemeræ will in a course of minutes be. come corrupts like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched : And in philosophy how small our progress! Alas! art is long and life is short ! My-friends would comfort me with the idea of a name, they say, I shall leave behind me; and they tell me I have lived long enough to nature and to glory. But ybat will fame be to an ephemera who no longer ex
ists? and what will become of all history in the eighteenth bour, when the world itseif,, even the whole Moulir Foli, shall come to its end, and be buried in uniVersal ruin?
To 1, after all iny eager pursuits, no solid pleasures now remain, but the reflection of ad long life spent in meaning well, the sensible coversation of a few good lally ephemeræ, and now and then a kind smile and a tune from the ever amiable brilliant.
It is so
MORALS OF CHESS. Playing at chess is the most ancient and most'uni tersal game k!01'n among men; for its original is beyond the memory of history and it has, for vumberless ages, been the amusement of all the civilized nations of · Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe bas had it above a thousand years, the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins laiely to make its appearance in these state's. interesting in itsejf, is not 10 need the view of gain to induce engaging in it; and thence it is never played for money.
I host, ther fore, who have leisure for such diverions, can:01 find one that is more innoce111; and the following piece, written with a view to correct (amonga [:* young f iends) some liike improp ielie's in the practice of i!, shews at the same tiibe, that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely innocent, but acivantageutis, lu the Vanquished as well as the victor.
The game of chess is noi m rily an idle an use merito Several valuable qualities of the mild, laefiil' in the course of human li, are to be acquired or strengthene, ed by it, so as to become habils, liudy on all occasions. For life is a krid of chuss, in which we liave oficinpoiu's to jail and competitors' oi' arivilsaries 10 coin bud wilin, and in winch thuitis is väsi vaiety of soud
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 attend an action ; for it is continually occurring to the player, “If 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, aidio di fend myself from his attacks?"
11. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action, the relations of the several pices and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilites 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 hiin.
III. 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 observed, as,the game thereby becomes more the image of human life, and particularl; of war ; in which, if you have incautiously put yoursi it into a bad and dangerous position, you canuot obtain your enemy's leave to withdraw your troops, and place then more securely, but you must abide all the cubsequences of your radness. ,
Aiit, lustly, we learn by chiess the habit of not being discourugid by present caci appeurunces in the state of our afir8, the abi: of noiing for a javoruble change and tist of prsavorig in the sea ch of resources. The game is so full of vents, riure is such a variety of illns in it, tie fortllie of it is -1 subject 10 sucidin vicissitudes, and Die so frequeilly afier loiig contempiaung, discover's t: en ans of estrica inyons self from a sui pised insurmuubiubiu dacuity, wal une is encouiuocu 10 conii
nue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory. by our skil. or at least of giving a stale mate, by negligence of our adversary. And whoever considers what in chess hre 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 100 much discouraged by the present success of his adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune, upon every little check he receives in pursuit of it.
That we may, therefore, be induced more frequently to choose this beneficial amusement, in preference to others, which are not attended with the same advantages, every circumstance which may increase the pleasures of it should be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, disrespeciful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of buth the players, 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 obie. Served by buih 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 ege actly, but one party demands indulgence, he should then be as willing to allow then to the other.
Thirdly, no false nove shonid ever be made to extricale you''scif out of a difficulty, or to gain an advantanto Tirere can be no pleasure in playing with a person once detected in such unfair practice.
Tourthly, if your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry bian, or express any uneasiness at 15 delay. . You should not sing, nor whistlu', por 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 anything that nay disturb his attenle tion. For all these things ciglase, and they no not show your skil in playing, but your crafuness Or your rudeness.