Imágenes de páginas

than wbat is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office. Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, dispatch money, and the like specious terms, are the pretences onder which corruption very frequently shelters itself. An honest man will however look on all these methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better in a moderate fortune that is gained with honour and reputa. tion, than in an overgrown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction. Were all our offices discharged with such an inflexible integrity, we should not see men in all ages, who grow up to exorbitant wealth with the abilities which are to be met with in an ordinary mechanic. I cannot bnt think that such a corruption proceeds chiefly from men's employing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the character of shrewd worldly men, instead of searching out such as have had a liberal education, and bave been trained up in the studies of knowledge and virtue.

It has been observed, that men of learning who take to business, discharge it generally with greater honesty than men of the world. The chief reason for it I take to be as follows: A man that has spent his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatized. A man that has passed his time in the world, has often seen vice triumphant, and virtue discountevanced. Extortion, rapine, and injustice, which are branded with infamy in books, often give a map a figure in the world ; while several qnalities which are celebrated in authors, as generosity, ingenuity, and good-nature, impoverish and ruin him. This cannot but have a proportionable effect on men, whose tempers and principles are equally good and vicious.

There wonld be at least this advantage in employing men of learning and parts in business, that their pros. perity would set more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worthless persons sbot up into the greatest figures of life.





Tibi scriptus, matrona, libellus.


A book the chastest matron may peruse.

SHE who shall lead the small illustrious number of

my female heroines shall be the amiable Fidelia. Before I enter upon the particular parts of her character, it is necessary to preface, that she is the only child of a decrepit father, whose life is bonnd up in her's. This gentleman has used Fidelia from her cradle with all the tenderness imaginable, and has viewed her growing perfections with the partiality of a parent, that soon thought her accomplished above the children of all other men, but never thought she was come to the utmost improvement of which she herself was capable. This fondness has had very bappy effects upon his own happiness, for she reads, she dances, she sings, uses her spinet and lute to the utmost perfection: and the lady's use of all these excellencies is, to divert the old man in his easy chair, when he is out of the pangs of a chronical distemper. Fidelia is now in the twenty-third year of her age; but the application of many lovers, her vigorous time of life, her quick sense of all that is truly gallant and ele. gant in the enjoyment of a plentiful fortune, are not able to draw her from the side of her good old father. Certain it is, that there is no kind of affection so pure and angelic as that of a father to a danghter. He beholds her both with and without regard to her sex. In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons there is ambition; but in that to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express. Her

life is designed wholly domestic, and she is so ready a friend and companion, that every thing that passes about a man, is aceompanied with the idea of her presence. Her sex also is naturally so much exposed to hazard, both as to fortune and innocence, that there is, perhaps, a new cause of fonduess arising from that consideration also. None but fathers can have a true sense of these sort of pleasures and sensations; but my familiarity with the father of Fidelia, makes me let drop the words which I have heard him speak, and observe upon his tenderness towards her.

Fidelia on her part, as I was going to say, as ac. complished as she is, with all her beauty, wit, air, and mien, employs ber whole time in care and at. tendance upon her father. How have I been charıned to see one of the inost beauteous women the age has produced on her knees helping on an old man's slipper! Her filial regard for him is what she makes her diversion, her business, and her glory. When she was asked by a friend of her deceased mother to admit of the courtship of her son, she auswered, That she had a great respect and gratitude to her for the overture in behalf of one so pear to her, but that during her father's life, she shonld admit into her heart no value 'for any thing that shonld interfere with her endeavour to make his remains of life as bappy and easy as could be expected in bis circumstances. The lady admonished her of the prime of life with a smile; which Fidelia answered with a frankness that always attends uufeigned virtue. “ It is true, madam, there is to be sure very great satisfaction to be expected in the commerce of a man of honour, whom one tenderly loves; but I find so much satisfaction in the reflection, how nach I mitigate a good man's pains, whose welfare depends upon my assiduity about him, that I willingly exclude the loose gratifications of passion for the solid reflections of duty. I know not whether any man's wife would be allowed, and (what I still more fear) I know not whether 1, a wife, should be willing to be as officious as I ain at present about my parent.” The happy father has her declaration that she will not marry during bis life, and the pleasure of seeing that resolution not uneasy to her. Were one to paint filial affection in its utmost beauty, he could not have a more lively idea of it than in beholding Fidelia serv. ing her father at his hours of rising, meals, and rest.

When the general crowd of female youth are con. sulting their glasses, preparing for balls, assemblies, or plays; for a young lady, who could be regarded among the forensost in those places, either for her person, wit, fortune, or conversation, and yet contemn all these entertainments, to sweeten the heavy hours of a decrepit parent, is a resignation truly heroic. Fi. delia performs the duty of a nurse with all the beauiy of a bride; nor does she neglect her person, because of her attendance on him, when he is too ill to receive company, to whom she may make an appearance.

Fidelia, who gives bim up her yonth, does not think it any great sacrifice to add to it the spoiling of ber dress. Her care and exactness in her habit, convince her father of the alacrity of her mind; and she has of all women the best foundation for affecting the praise of a seeming negligence. What adds to the entertain. ment of the good old man is, that Fidelia, where merit and fortune cannot be overlooked by epistolary lovers, reads over the accounts of her conqnests, plays on her spinet the gayest airs, (and while she is doing so you would think her formed only for gallantry) to intimate to him the pleasures she despises for his sake.

Those who think themselves the patterns of good breeding and gallantry, would be astonished to hear, that in those intervals when the old gentleman is at ease, and can bear company, there are at his house, in the most regular order, assemblies of people of the highest merit; where there is conversation without mention of the faults of the absent, benevolence between men and women without passion, and the highest subjects of morality treated of as a natural and ac.

cidental discourse; all which is owing to the genius of Fidelia, who at once makes her father's way to another world easy, and herself capable of being an houour to his name in this.



Nos duo turba sumus

OVID. Met. i. 335.

“ We two are a multitude."

ONE would think that the larger the company is in

which we are engaged, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; but instead of this, we find that conversation is never so much straitened and confined as in numerous assemblics. When a multitude meet together ou any subject of discourse, their debates are taken up chiefly with forms and general positions; way, if we come into a more contracted assembly of men and women, the talk generally runs upon the weather, fashions, vews, and the like public topics. In proportion as conversation gets into clubs and knots of friends, it descends into particulars, and grows more free and communica. tive: but the most open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that which passes between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends. On these occasions, a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought that is uppermost, discovers his most retired opinions of persons and things, tries the beauty and strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole soul to the examination of his friend.

Tully was the first, who observed, that friendship iinproves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy, and dividing of our grief; a thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upou

« AnteriorContinuar »