« PreviousContinue »
your pleasing epistles, if I do not contribute to the correspondence, obliges me to take up my pen : 'and as Mr. B. has kindly sent me word, that he sets out tomorrow to see you ; instead of spending this Wednesday evening, as I have done its name-sakes, in your delightful company, I sit down to spend it in thinking of you, in writing to you, and in reading over and over again your letters.
I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with your plan of living there ; and I approve much of your conclusion, that in the mean time, we should draw all the good we can from this world. In my opinion, we might all draw more good from it than we do, and suffer less evil, if we would take care not to give too much for whistles. For to me it seems, that most of the unhappy people we meet with, are become so by neglect of that caution.
You ask, what I mean? You love stories, and will excuse my telling one of myself.
When I was a child, at seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for it. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and they laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection
gave me'more chagrin, than the whistle gave me pleasure.
This however was afterwards of use to me, the inpression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle ; and so I saved my money.
As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle. . When I saw any one too ambitious of court favours, sacrificing his time in attendance on 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 bustks, 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-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man, says I, you pay too much for your whistle.
When I meet a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, Mistaken man, says I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure: you give too much for your whistle.
If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his for
tune, for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in a prison, Alas, says I, he has paid dear, very deur, 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 value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.
Yet I ought to have charity for these unhappy people, when I consider, that with all this wisdom of which I am boasting, there are certain things in the world so tempting, for example, the apples of king John, which happily are not to be bought; for if they were put to sale by auction, I might very easily be led to ruin myself in the purchase, and find, that I had once more .given too much for the whistle.
Adieu, my dearest friend, and believe me ever yours very sincerely and with unalterable affection,
A Petition to those who have the Superintendency of
I ADDRESS myself to all the friends of youth, and conjure them to direct 'their compassionate regards 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
* From the American Museum, Vol. VII. p. 265. Editor.
capable of being upon better terms with each other, than my sister and myself, were it not for the partiality of our parents, who make the most injurious distinetions 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 bad 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 uneasiness is occasioned by an object much more serious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole business of providing for its subsistence falls upon my sister and myself. If 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 sisters, who are so perfectly equal ? Alas! we must perish from distress : for it would not be in my power even 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 exclasive tenderness, and of the neces-
THE LEFT HAND.
The handsome and deformed Leg*.
THERE are two sorts 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 conveniences and inconveniences; 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 administration of those laws; in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
From the Colunubian Magazine, Vol. I. p. 61. Editor.