« AnteriorContinuar »
This affair perplexed me prodigiously; and the more so, as Tom was at that time on the point of marrying a young lady of great fortune. It happened however, that a journeyman in the same house with me had just received a legacy: To him I apply'd for the money, who was so generous as to advance it on our joint bond, and discharged the action. Tom after this thought proper to go to France, only for a trip, as he call'd įt, where he made another feau peau, and was obliged to apply to my father, who made a mortgage to support his extravagance, and then alter'd his will, and to maintain the dignity of the family, as he term'd it, deducted seven thousand pounds, the sum my brother had squander'd, out of the legacy he had bequeath'd me, and soon after died, leaving me, who had never done any thing to disoblige him, only 300 1. and my brother Tom a good four thousand pounds a year. Strange inequality! Soon after my brother had taken possession of the estate, application was made to him for the discharge of the five hundred pound bond, which he absolutely refused to pay, tho' without giving any reason for it. My friend, who at that time rcally wanted the money, applied to me; and what could I do, knowing his neceísity, but discharge a just and honourable debt; a sum lent to serve my own brother, at my own request; and for which I had joined in the security ? In fine, I paid the money, and advis'd my brother of it; but receiving no answer to severa! letters which I wrote expressly on that subject, I at last went to him about it myself, but not without previously advising him of my intended vilit and my business. Just at the entrance of the door I was met by his valet, who inform'd me that it was his master's desire I should walk into the servants-hall till he had leisure to speak to me, for at that time he was busy with his dancing-master. This indigo nity I put up with, and feated myself by the fire, where I was complimented with the whispers, sneers, and impertipences of the servants, each of whom thought his situation
better than mine. The coøk however, who did not know me, and who appeared to have more good sense than the rest and more humanity than his master, made up to me with a plate of victuals in his hand, Come, honeft man, says he, eat a bit. I'm sure you must be hungry after your ride, and I think one may as well give a þit of offal victuals to a poor trade man, as to gormandize so many dogs as my master keeps, tho' he thinks nothing too good for them, and every thing too good for his fellow-creatures, But here he comes : ’tis as much as my place is worth, jould he see me give you this meat ; therefore, pray honest friend, put it into your pocket, do, or under your great coat till he is gone by. At this instant seeing him go by the door, I made after him in order to get my business settled, when that moment up came Sir William *
who prevented me; and my brother, observing me at a distance, and fearing I might come so near as to discover myself and disgrace his fine clothes, calls out, Hark ye friend, step into the room there, and stay till I have time to speak to you, dye hear. I was willing to see how far the man's pride and illnature would carry him, and therefore stept back to my former station. Here I sat till he had din’d, and the victuals came down to the servants, when one of 'em stepping up to me faid, Şir, my master would have you fit down and eat a bit with us, and by that time you've din d, he says, he'll send you a line. Thank ye, friend, said I; as I think you have aþundantly more manners, than your master, it would be more agreeable to me to dine with you than him, provided I wanted a dinner ; but at this time I have half a crown in my pocket, and therefore, have no occasion to be troublesome to him. The moment I had done speaking, my brother's brother's valet entered with a letter, of which the following is a faithful copy, and was transcrib’d and witness’d by my foreman Richard Trusty, and therefore you need not be afraid to publish it,
SIR, “ It neither suits my convenience or inclination to pay
you the 500l. I am now about to offer myself a candi-' “ date for the county, and probably shall have occasion for « all the readý money I have ; but this is not the only rea« fon; and that you may not expect the money and be dif« appointed, as you have hitherto been, I must inform
you, that as I was under age at the time of signing the « bond, so I am not obliged, by the law, to pay it ; and am " therefore determined not to pay a farthing on that ac
This you might have pleaded in discharge of the “ bond yourself, if you had not been a fool; for you was a " minor as well as me. I have but one word more to add, <s and that is, while you serve me with goods cheap, and “ behave as other tradesmen do, you may expect to share my
custom in common with Mr. ***, whom I shall “ think it my interest to deal with, as his bills may be a “ check upon yours; for I'll have no extraordinary charges " made on account of the 500l. I assure you. Yours,
This was a cut indeed ! -This! and from my own brother, almost depriv'd me of my reason !
—I was all amazement insensible as a stone !-Grief and surprize had lock'd up every faculty of my soul ! At last, some friendly tears reliev'd me, and gave birth to some reflections which I may by and by send you. In the mean time, if you can tell me how to reclaim my lost brother, you'll infinite obligez
Your friend and fervant,
We pity this poor gentleman most heartily, and with ve could put him in a way to reform his brother. But perMaps he was never good, and we know how dificult it is ta
Thake a peach from a pear-tree. We can't help obferving however, that he has now asfavourable opportunity of getting his money, if he'll but make a bold push for it before the election ; for every candidate at this time must wear the face of honesty.
HUMAN LIFE compared to the MASQUERADE.
OETS and philosophers, both ancient and modern, have
compared this world to the theatre, and considered human life as the grand drama thereof. As this is a subject that has employ'd the wit and genius of the greatest men of all ages, just and noble reflections have been the result of this comparison ; from whence have been deduced very excellent and useful morals. But as mankind in general seem to act the impostor, I think we may with equal propriety compare human life to our modern masquerade. If we look abroad in the world, and take a close survey of the human fpecies, consider the different ends they have in view, and the means by which they pursue them, we shall find that the greatest part of their actions tend to fallacy and disguise : which is the very part of an actor at our masquerade affemblies; where a town-miss shall pass for a lady of quality, and a peer for a footman ; the obfequious courtier for an honest rustick, and the loose debauchee for an austere priest. I have but a narrow insight into human nature : that is a boundless field to expatiate in, and tho' a man may make some confiderable progress in it, yet he can never hope to arrive at his journey's end: but as far as my observations extend, I hardly ever yet met with a person, but what might in some respect or other be fairly ranked under this denomination.
The good man often conceals his virtue, the wicked man his vicę. The ill-natured and 'morose feigns a countenance full of pleasantry and good-nature; the impudent and profane an air of bashfulness and morality. The hypocrite puts on a religious face, and the villain a thew of honesty. The
spendthrift spendthrift affects frugality, the intemperate fobriety. The rich man conceals his wealth, and the indigent appears for a man of fortune. The learned man studiously keeps his knowledge in secret, and the ignorant oftentatiously boasts of his learning.
The same observations hold good in every scene of life. If
you would view aright the ecclesiastick or the courtier, the physician or the lawyer, from the first minister of state even to him that poffeffes the lowest station in the scale of human professions, you must first take off the masque with which he deceives the gazing, but giddy and unthink ing multitude,
Detrahere & pellem, nitidus quâ quisque per ora
· But I shall dare to advance a step further, and to afferti that ALL NATURE wears a masque : and to unmafque her, bic labor, hoc opus eft. This is the important business of all mankind; and a task it is, difficult to be performed. This it was that employed a Pythagoras and an Aristotleg a Newton and a Locke. Noble advances; indeed, have these exalted geniuses made towards the compleating this arduous task; but perhaps it shall never be fully accomplished, till time Thall be no more. This lets us see the reason, why the vulgar have such different notions and conceptions of things, than what they have, who have improved their minds by ftudy and enquiry ; who have employed their time and pains in drawing this deceitful vizard from off the face of nature. Talk but with a man of this fort concerning fome of our modern improvements in natural philofophy, and you will foon be convinced, that no part of nature ever appeared to him without her masque. Discourse with himn of the distance and magnitude of the fun, moon and stars; of the earth and its appendages ; of its size, figure and motion ; of the air, winds and water ; and you will immediately perceive