صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ftances of the affair. The moment he heard that his fon had refused a challenge, he was seized with rage fo violent, that it had the appearance of distraction : ke uttered innumerable oaths and execrations in a voice that was scarce human, declared his son to be unworthy of his name, and folemnly renounced him for ever.

Eugenio returned to London the same day, but it was late before he arrived: the fervant that opened the door told him with tears in his eyes, that his father was gone to bed much disordered, and had commanded that he should no more be admitted into that house. He stood motionless a few moments; and then departing without reply, came directly to me;

his looks were wild, his countenance pale, and his eyes swimming in tears : the moment he saw me, he threw himself into a chair ; and putting a copy of his answer to Ventosus's challenge into my hand, anticipated my inquiries by relating all that had happened.

After having administered such confolation as I could, I prevailed upon him with much difficulty to go to bed. I fate up the rest of the night, devising various arguments to convince Orgilio, that his son had added new dignity to his character. In the morning I went to his house; and after much folicitation was admitted to his chamber. I found him in bed, where he had lain awake all the night; and it was easy to see that his mind was in great agitation. I hoped that this tumult was produced by the itruggles of parental tenderness: but the moment I mentioned his son, he fell into an agony of rage that rendered him speechless; and I came away, convinced that the eloquence of an angel upon the same subject would have been without effect. I did not, however, relate these discouraging circumstances.

to

to Eugenio: I told him that it would be proper to wait a few days before any farther application was made; not only because his father's resentment would probably subside, but because he was now indisposed.

Eugenio, when he heard that his father was ill, changed colour and burst into tears. He went every evening, and knocking softly at the servant's window, inquired how he did; and when he found that his fever had become dangerous, he intreated me to go yet once more and intercede for him, that he might at least. be permitted to see his father, if he might not hope to be forgiven. I went; but when Orgilio heard my name, he fell into a fresh transport of rage, which ended in a delirium. The effect which this incident produced upon Eugenio, who waited at the end of the street for my return, cannot be described : I prevailed upon him to go back to my house, where he sometimes hastily traversed the room, and sometimes fat fixed in a kind of stupid insensibility upon the floor. While he was in one of these fits, news was brought that his father was. dead, and had the morning after he was taken ill, disinherited him, declaring that by the infamy of his conduet he had broke his heart.

Eugenio heard this account without any apparent furprise or emotion, but could not be persuaded to change his posture or receive any food; till his fpirits being quite exhausted, sleep relieved him a few hours from the agony of his mind.

The night on which his father was buried, he wrapped himself up in a horseman's coat that belonged to my fervant, and followed the procession at a distance on foot. When the ceremony was over, and the company departed, he threw himself on the grave, and hiding

his

[ocr errors]

his face in the dust, wept over it in filence that was interrupted only by groans. I, who had followed him unperceived, did not think it prudent to intrude upon the folemnity of his forrow, till the morning dawned : he was surprised, and I thought somewhat confounded to see me; he fuffered me, however, to lead him away, but neither of us uttered a word.

He told me the next day, that he would trouble me a few nights longer for a lodging, and in the mean sime think of some means by which he might obtain a fubfiftence: he was, indeed, totally destitute, without money and without a profession; but he made no complaint, and obftinately refused all pecuniary assistance.

In less than a week afterwards, having converted his watch, his sword, a fuuff-box, and ring, into money, he engaged as a common failor in a private undertaking to discover the north-west passage to India.

When he communicated this desperare enterprise, he appeared perfectly composed; “My dear friend," said he,“ it has been always my point of honour to “ obey the commands of God, the prime author of my “ being, and the ultimate object of my hope, at what

ever risque; and I do not repent that I have steadi“ ly adhered to this principle at the expence of all " that is valuable upon earth: I have suffered the loss of fortune, of love, and of fame; but I have pre“ ferved my integrity, and I know that I shall not lose

my reward. To these I would, indeed, add the “ esteem, though not the love of Amelia. She will “ hear of me as degraded and disinherited, a coward,

a vagabond, and a fugitive; and her esteem, I think, I have sufficient reason to give up : grief will wound "her deeper than contempt; it is therefore, best that

[ocr errors]

" she should despise me. Some of those, by whom she “ is addressed, deserve her: and I ought not to with“ hold a felicity which I cannot enjoy. I shall embark to-morrow;

and your friendly embrace is all the good that I expect to receive from this country, " when I depart in search of others which are un66 known.

To this address I was not in a condition to reply ; and perceiving that I was overwhelmed with grief, he left me, perhaps, left his purpose should be shaken, and my weakness should prove contagious.

On the morrow I attended him to the ship. He talked to me of indifferent things; and when we parted wrung my hand, and turned from me abruptly without speaking. I hafted into the boat which waited to bring me on shore, and would not again feel the pangs of yesterday for all the kingdoms of the world.

Such is the friend I have lost! such is the man, whom the world has disgraced for refusing a challenge ; but none who are touched with pity at his misfortunes, wish that he had avoided them by another conduct ; and not to pity Eugenio, is surely to be a monster rather than a man.

It may, perhaps, be questioned, whether I ought thus to have exhibited his story under feigned names; or have a right to attempt that which he forbore. My love to him, is, indeed, my motive : but I think my conduct is juft, when I consider, that though it is possible that Amelia may, by the perusual of these papers, suffer the most tender, and, therefore, the most exqui. site distress, by the re-cítablishment of her esteem for him who most deserves it; yet the world may derive new virtue, from the dignity which the character of Euge

nio

nio reflects upon his conduct : his example is truly illuftrious; and as it can scarce fail to excite emulation, it ought not to be concealed.

I am, SIR,

Your humble servant,

BENEVOLUS.

No. LXVII. Tuesday, June 26, 1753)

Inventas vitam excoluere per artes.

VIRG.

They polish life by useful arts.

That familiarity produces neglect, has been long observed. The effect of all external objects, however great or splendid, ceases with their novelty; the courtier stands without emotion in the royal presence; the rustic tramples under his foot the beauties of the spring with little attention to their colour or their fragrance; and the inhabitant of the coast darts his eye upon the immense diffusion of waters, without awe, wonder, or terror.

Those who have past much of their lives in this great city, look upon its opulence and its multitudes, its es. tent and variety, with cold indifference ; but an inhabitant of the remoter parts of the kingdom is immedi

ately

« السابقةمتابعة »