網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

factions for hours of privacy and retirement. No apology was to be made to her, no expedient to be found, no previous manner of breaking what was amiss in her; but all the world was to be acquainted with her errors, without the least admonition. Mr. Freeman was going to make a softening speech, but I interposed : Look you, madam, I have nothing to say to this matter, but you ought to consider you are now past a chicken : this humour, which was well enough in a girl, is insufferable in one of your motherly character. With that she lost all patience, and flew directly at her husband's periwig. I got her in my arms, and defended my friend--He making signs at the same time that it was too much; I beckoning, nodding, and frowning over her shoulder, that he was lost if he did not persist. In this manner she flew round and round the room in a moment, until the lady I spoke of abore and servants entered ; upon which she fell on a couch as breathless. I still kept up my friend ; but he, with a very silly air, bid them bring the coach to the door, and we went off: I was forced to bid the coachman drive

We were no sooner come to my lodgings, but all his wife's relations came to inquire after him ; and Mrs. Freeman's mother writ a note, wherein she thought never to have seen this day, and so forth.

In a word, sir, I am afraid we are upon a thing we have no talents for; and I can observe already, my friend looks upon me rather as a man that knows à weakness of him that he is ashamed of, than one who has rescued him from slavery. Mr. Spectator, I am but a young fellow; and if Mr. Freeman submits, 1 shall be looked upon as an incendiary, and never get a wife as long as I breathe. He has indeed sent word home he shall lie at Hampstead to night; but I be5

lieve

O.

[ocr errors]

lieve fear of the first onset after this rupture has too great a place in this resolution. Mrs. Freeman has a very pretty sister ; suppose I delivered him up, and articled with the mother for her bringing him home, If he has not courage to stand it, (you are a great casuist,) is it such an ill thing to bring myself off as well as I can? What makes me doubt my mạn, is, that I find he thinks it reasonable to expostulate at least with her; and captain Sentry will tell you, if you let your orders be disputed, you are no longer a commander. I wish you could advise me how to get clear of this business handsomely,

• Yours,

· Tom Meggot,'

STEELE.

STORY OF TWO NEGROES. Nò. 215.

I CONSIDER a human soul without education, like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties, until the skill of the polisher fetches oụt the colours, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot, and vein that runs through the body of it. Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every latent virtue and perfection, which without such helps are neyer able to make their appearance.

If my reader will give me leave to change the allusion so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same instance to illustrate the force of education, which, Aristotle has brought to explain his doctrine of substantial forms, when he tells us that a statue lies bid

in a block of marble; and that the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter, and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great man, very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have dis-interred, and have brought to light. I am therefore much delighted with reading the accounts of savage nations, and with contemplating those virtues which are wild and uncultivated; to see courage exerting itself in fierceness, resolution in obstinacy, wisdom in cunning, patience in sullenness and despair.

Men's passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of actions, according as they are more or less rectified and swayed by reason.

When one hears of negroes, who upon the death of their masters, or upon changing their service, hang themselves upon the next tree, az it frequently happens in our American plantations, who can forbear adıniring their fidelity, though it expresses itself in so dreadful a manner? What might not that savage greatness of soul which appears in these poor wretches on many occasions be raised to, were it rightly cultivated ? And what colour of excuse can there be for the contempt with which we treat this

part of our species ? that we should not put

the common foot of humanity; that we should only set an insignificant fine upon the man who murders them; nay, that we should as much as in us lies cut them off from the prospects of happiness in another world as well as in this, and deny them that which we look upon as the proper means for attaining it? Since I am engaged on this subject, I cannot forbear mentioning a-story which I have lately heard, and which is so well attested, that I have no manner of reason to suspect the truth of it. I may call it a kind of wild tragedy that passed about twelve years ago at St. Christopher's, one of our British leeward islands. The negroes, who were the persons concerned in it, werë all of them the slaves of a gentleman who is now in England.

bear

them upon

This gentleman among his negroes had a young woman, who was looked upon as a most extraordinary beauty by those of her own complexion. He had at the same time two young fellows who were likewise negroes and slaves, remarkable for the comeliness of their persons, and for the friendship which they bore to one another. It unfortunately happened that both of them fell in love with the female negró above mentioned, who would have been very glad to have taken either of them for her husband, provided they could agree between themselves which should be the man.

But they were both so passionately in love with her, that neither of them.could think of giving her up to his rival; and at the same time were so true to one another, that neither of them would think of gaining her without his friend's consent. The torments of these two lovers were the discourse of the family to which they belonged, who could not forbear observing the strange complication of passions which perplexed the hearts of the poor negroes, that often dropped expressions of the uneasiness they underwent, and how impossible it was for either of them ever to be happy.

After a long struggle between love and friendship, truth and jealousy, they one day took a walk together into a wood, carrying their mistress along with them; where, after abundance of lamentations, they stabbed

her

ber to the heart, of which she immediately died. A slave who was at his work not far from the place where this astonishing piece of cruelty was committed, hearing the shrieks of the dying person, ran to see what was the occasion of them. He there discovered the woman lying dead upon the ground, with the two negroes on each side of her, kissing the dead corpse, weeping over it, and beating their breasts in the utmost agonies of grief and despair. He immediately ran to the English family with the news of what he had seen ; who upon coming to the place saw the woman dead, and the two negroes expiring by her with wounds they had given themselves.

We see in this amazing instance of barbarity, what strangè disorders are bred in the minds of those men whose passions are not regulated by virtue, and disciplined by reason. Though the action which I have recited is in itself full of guilt and horror, it proceeded from å témper of mind which might have produced very noble fruits, had it been informed and guided by a suitable education,

ADDISON.

ACCOUNT OF SAPPHO.

HER HYMN TO VENUS.

No. 223

WAEN I reflect upon the various fate of those multitudes of antient writers who flourished in Greece and Italy, I consider time as an immense ocean, in which many noble authors are entirely swallowed up, many very much shattered and damaged, some quite disjointed and broken into pieces, while some have wholly

escaped

« 上一頁繼續 »