ePub 版



... WRITTEN TO HIS nephew.

When I was a child, about seven year old, nay 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 mel by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my ino. ney for one, I then came home, and went whisto ling all over the house, much pleased with my whis, tle, 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 wor h. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of my 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. A • This however was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind: so that ofien when I was t.mpted to buy some unnićessary thing I s.id to inusell, don't give too much for the whistle; and so I saved my money. .

As I grew up, came into the world, and observe ed ihe actions of men, I thought I met with many, verv many, who gave too much for the whistle. !

When I saw any one too ambitious of court fa. vors, 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 mun gives too much for his whistle.

When I saw another fond of popularity, constant' ly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting

[ocr errors]

his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect : He pays indeed, says I, 100 much for his whistle.

If I knew a iniser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, ail the pleasure of doing good to oihers, all the esteem ot his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevol nt friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth : poor man, says I, you do indeed pay too much for your whistle.

When I meet a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his for. tune, to mere corporeal sensations: Mistaken man, savs I, you are providing puin for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.

It see 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, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.

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

In short, I conceived that great part of the mise. ries 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 whistle.

A PETITION . To those who have the superintendency of

Education. . : , LADDRESS myself to all the friends of youth, and conjer them to direct their compassionate regards to my

untiappy fate, in order to remove the prejudices of - which I am the victim. There are twin sisters of us: and the two eyes of nan do not more resemble, por are 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 distinctions between uis. - From my infancy I have been led to consider my sister as a being of 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 louched a pencil, a pen or a needle, I was bitterly rebuked : and more than once I have been beaten for baing 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 instis gated merely by vanity-No; my uneasiness is occa. sioned by an object much more serious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole business of pro. viding 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 uf other accidents—what would be the face of our poor family? Must not the regret of our parents be excessive at having placed so great a distance between sisters who are so perfectly equal? Alas! we must perish froin 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 ano. te: in transcribing the request which I have now the . honor to prefer to you."

Condescend, sir's, to make my parents sensible of the injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessity of distributing their care and affection among all their children equally.

I am, withi profound respect,

- Your obedient servant,


[ocr errors][merged small]

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, becomes 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 owa 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 meals and drinks of belier and worse tasle, disnes better and worse dressed: in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather: under whatever gove ernment, they may find good and bad laws, and a good and bad administration of thosc 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.

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 dressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy ali with cheerfulness.' Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries, Heuce they are continually discontented themselves, and, by their remarks, sour the pleasures of society; offend personally many people, and make themselves every where disagreeable. If vis turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons wonld the more to be pitied. Bui as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is, perhaps, taken up originally by imitarioi, and is unawares grown into a habit, which, thou hat present strong, may nevertheless be cured, when those who have it are convinced of its bad efiicis on thuir fee ficity; I hope this little admonition may be ut ServiGS

to them, and put them on changing a habit, which, tho' in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs ar;d 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 humor, and draws them into disputes and conten. tions. If they aim at obiaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes then success, or will stir a slep, or speak a word to favor their pretensions. If they incur pnblic censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and render them completely odious. If these people wi}l not change this bad habi!, condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without freeting themselves and other's about the contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them; which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very i couveni.. enl, especially when one finds one's self entangled in tireir quarrels.

An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefuily avoided any in irracy with such p: opie.' He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer, to shew him the heat of the weather; and a barometer, to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there beo ing no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpk asing disposition in a person, he, for that pur. pose, made use of his legs; one of which was remarka ably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at the first interview, regarder bis ugly leg more than the handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and look no police of the handsome leg, that was sutiicient to determine my philosopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two-legged mstrumenit; but e voly one with a litle attention, may observe signs of · that carpins, feuil-finding disposition, and take the saing

« 上一頁繼續 »