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death-like appearance of the good old man, so different from those in which I was prepared to indulge, had almost overcome me; but the growing emotion, was checked by the countenance with which he beheld it. No sooner was I seated, than, taking my hand: “What a change,” said he, with a look of melancholy composure, “is here, since you last saw me !- I was two years older than your father; had he been alive, he would have been seventy-four next Christmas."
The particulars of the conversation, though they have made a lasting impression on my mind, would be uninteresting to many
but as the life of Antonio will afford an important lesson to the younger part of them, I give the following short account of it, as the subject of this and the subsequent paper:
“ The father of Antonio was one of the first men of family in Scotland, who had been bred to the profession of a merchant; in which he was so successful, that about the beginning of this century he had acquired the sum of twenty thousand pounds, which was at that time, reckoned no inconsiderable fortune. He had two children who survived him; Antonio, and a daughter, Leonora, who was several years younger than her brother. As the father had received a liberal education, he was attentive to bestow the same benefit upon his son; but, being equally sensible of the advantages of industry, he was, at the same time, determined, that he should be educated to some profession or employment, though he did not restrain him in his choice. Antonio, on his part, seconded his father's views. His genius was inferior to none of his contemporaries ; allowing for some little excesses, which the liveliness and pliancy of his disposition engaged him in,
he exceeded them all in the assiduity of his application; and, as his manners were at the same time mild and spirited, he was both beloved and respected by his companions.
“ Being arrived at an age which made it necessary to regulate his studies by the profession he was to follow, he made choice of that of physic, which, including the different branches of science usually connected with it may be said to embrace the whole study of nature; to these he applied rather as a philosopher than as one who intended to be a practitioner in the art; he was, nevertheless, preparing to take his degree, when the death of his father left him, at the age of twenty, possessed of a handsome fortune.
66 Antonio continued his studies for some time with his usual assiduity ; but, finding his income more than sufficient for his wants, he gave up all thoughts of engaging in practice. His house became the rendezvous of his former school-companions, many of them the sons of the first families in the kingdom, who were now entering into life, I speak of a period above fifty years ago, and who found themselves flattered by those engaging manners in the man, which had attached them to the boy.
“ In consequence of these connections, Antonio found himself engaged in a line of life to which he had been little accustomed ; but, as he had mixed the study of polite literature with science, and was master of the exercises of dancing, fencing, and riding, he soon acquired that ease in his address and conversation, which mark the gentleman, while they hide the man of learning from a common observer. His good-nature and benevolence, proceeding from an enlarged and liberal mind, prevented him from viewing, with too severe an eye, the occasional ex
cesses of some of his companions; an elegant taste, and a sound understanding, prevented him from engaging in them too deeply
• Antonio's time was now mostly spent among the great. He made long and frequent visits at their seats in the country; he joined them in excursions from time to time to the different courts on the continent; and, when he was not abroad, he resided almost constantly in London, or the neighbourhood; so that he became, in a great measure, a stranger in his own country.
“ Among the companions of Antonio were two sons of the Earl of W who were particularly attached to him. Their father was not more envied by the ambitious for the distinguished rank he held in the councils of his sovereign, than by the wise and moderate for being father to two of the most promising young men of the age. They had been acquainted with Antonio from their infancy. They had
grown up at the same schools, and studied under the same masters. After an absence of three years, they happened to meet at Venice, where Antonio had the good fortune to render them essential service, in extricating them from difficulties in which the impetuosity of the best conditioned young men will sometimes involve them, especially in a foreign country. They returned together to Britain. Their father, who knew their former connection with Antonio, and had heard of their recent obligation to him, expressed his sense of it in very flattering terms, and earnestly wished for an opportunity to reward it.
“I have seen few men who were proof against the attention of ministers. Though it does always gratity, it seldom fails to excite three of the most powerful passions, vanity, ambition, and avarice. Antonio,
I am afraid, did not form an exception to the rule. Though naturally an economist, his mode of life bad considerably impaired his fortune. He knew this; but he knew not exactly to what extent. ceived gentle remonstrances on the subject from some of his relations in Scotland, who remembered his virtues. In the letters of his sister Leonora, who still retained that affection and attachment to her brother which his attention to her, both before and after her father's death, had impressed upon her mind, he perceived an anxiety, for which he could not otherwise account than from her apprehensions about the situation of his affairs. The patronage of the Earl of W presented itself as a remedy. To him, therefore, he determined to apply. The intimacy in which he lived with his sons, the friendly manner in which the earl himself always behaved to him, made this appear an easy matter to Antonio; but he was unaccustomed to ask favours even from the great. His spirit rose at the consciousness of their having become necessary; and he sunk in his own esteem in being reduced to use the language of solicitation for something like a pecuniary favour. After several fruitless attempts, he could bring himself no further than to give a distant hint to his companions, the sons of the earl. It was sufficient to them; and, at the next interview with their father, Antonio received the most friendly assurances of being soon provided for in some way suited to his taste and disposition.
“ Elated with these hopes, he returned, after a ten years' absence, to visit his friends in Scotland, and to examine into the situation of his affairs. Of the 20,0001. left by his father, there was little more than 10,000l. remaining; and the half of that sum belonged to his sister Leonora. The knowledge of
this made no great impression on his mind, as he was certain of being amply provided for; meanwhile, he thought it his duty to put his sister's fortune in safety; and, by his whole behaviour to her during a nine months' residence in Scotland, he confirmed that love and affection which his more early conduct had justly merited.”
No. 71. TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 1780.
“ ANTONIO returned to London about the breaking out of the Spanish war in 1739. The parties in the state ran high ; the minister was attacked on all sides, in a language somewhat more decent than what is in use among the patriots of the present day, though it was not, on that account, less poignant and severe. Antonio's patron, the Earl of W took part with the minister, and, both he and his sons, who were by this time in parliament, seemed so much occupied with the affairs of the public, that Antonio was unwilling to disturb them with any private application for himself, till the ferment was somewhat subsided. In the mean time, he continued his usual mode of life; and though he could not help observing, that many of the great men with whom he had been accustomed to converse on the most easy and familiar terms, began to treat him with a forbidden ceremony, more disgusting to a mind of sensibility than downright insolence; still, the consciousness of his situation pre