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involuntary shriek burst from me, and I cried out“ That woman
-Oh! that woman “Was a devil,” said the master, “and if you knew but half the misery you have escaped, you would fall down upon your knees and thank God for the blessing : I have heard your story, Mr. Chaubert, and when a man is in love, do you see, he does not like to have his mistress taken from him ; but some things are better lost than found, and if this is all you have to complain of, take my word for it you complain of the luckiest hour in
whole life.” He would have proceeded, but I turned from him without uttering a word, and shutting myself into my cabin, surrendered myself to my meditations.
• My mind was now in such a tumult, that I cannot recall my thoughts, much less put them into any order for relation: the ship however kept her course, and had now entered the mouth of the Garonne; I landed on the quay of Bourdeaux; the master accompanied me, and young Lewis kept charge of the ship : the first object that met my view was a gibbet erected before the door of a merchant's compting house: the convict was kneeling on a scaffold; whilst a friar was receiving his last confession; his face was turned towards us; the Englishman glanced his eye upon him, and instantly cried out—" Look, look, Mr. Chaubert, the very man, as I am alive; it is the father of
Lewis." -The wretch had discovered us in the same moment, and called aloud—“ Oh Chaubert, Chaubert! let me speak to you before I die!"—His yell was horror to my soul; I lost the power of motion, and the crowd pushing towards the scaffold, thrust me forward to the very edge of it: the friar ordered silence, and demanded of the wretch why he had called out so eagerly, and what he had farther to confess.
6" Father,” replied the convict, “ this is the very man, the very Chaubert, of whom I was speaking; he was the best of friends to me, and I repaid his kindness with the blackest treachery; I seduced the woman of his affections from him, I married her, and because we dreaded his resentment, we conspired in an attempt upon his life by poison"—He now turned to me, and proceeded as follows:-“ You may remember, Chaubert, as we were supping together on the very evening of Louisa's elopement, she handed to you a glass of wine to drink to your approaching nuptials; as you were lifting it to your lips, your favourite spaniel leaped upon your arm, and dashed it on the floor; in a sudden transport of passion, which you were addicted to, you struck the creature with violence, and laid it dead at your feet. It was the saving moment of your life--the wine was poisoned, inevitable death was in the draught, and the animal you killed was God's instrument for preserving you; reflect upon the event, subdue your passions, and practise resignation. Father, I have no more to confess! I die repentant: Let the executioner do his office.”!
Here ends the diary of Chaubert. I do not mean to expose my ideas to ingenious ridicule by maintaining that every thing happens to every man for the best, but I will contend, that he, who makes the best of it, fulfils the part of a wise and good man. Another thing may be safely advanced, namely, that man is not competent to docide
upon the good or evil of many events, which befal him in this life, and we have authority to say,
Woe be to him that calls good evil, and evil good! I could wish that the story of Chaubert, as I have given it, might make that impression upon any one of my readers, as it did upon me, when I received it: and I could also wish, that I felt myself worthy
to add to it the experience of many occurrences in my own life, to which time and patience have given colours very different from those they wore upon their first appearance.
When men sink into despondency or break out into rage upon adversities and misfortunes, it is no proof that Providence lays a heavier burden upon them than they can bear, because it is not clear that they have exerted all the possible resources of the soul.
The passions may be humoured till they become our masters, as a horse may be pampered till he gets the better of his rider; but early discipline will prevent mutiny, and keep the helm in the hands of
If we put our children under restraint and correction, why should we, who are but children of a larger growth, be refractory and complain, when the Father of all things lays the wholesome correction of adversity on our heads?
Amongst the fragments of Philemon the comic poet, there is part of a dialogue preserved between a master and his servant, whose names are not given, which falls in with the subject I am speaking of; these fragments have been collected from the works of the scholiasts and grammarians, and many of them have been quoted by the fathers of the Christian church, for the moral and pious maxims they contain; I think the reader will not be displeased, if I occasionally present him with some specimens from these remains of the Greek comedy, and, for the present, conclude my paper with the following translation:
Servant. · Whilst you live, Sir, drive away sorrow; it is the worst company a man can keep.'
Master. · Whilst I live, sirrah? why there is no living without it.'
Servant. • Never tell me, Sir; the wounds of the mind are not to be healed by the tears of the eyes : if they were, who would be without the medicine ?
They would be the best family physic in nature ; and if nothing but money would buy them, you could not pay too dearly for the purchase. But alack-a-day, what do they avail? Weep, or weep not, this stubborn world of ours will have its way ; sighing and groaning, take my word for it, is but labour lost.'
Master. · Granted! for its use I will not contend, nor can you, as I take it, dispute its necessity : it is as natural for the eyes to shed tears in affliction, as for a tree to drop its leaves in autumn.'
Servant. “That I deny; the necessity of evil I admit, but not the necessity of bewailing it. Mark how
your maxims and mine differ; you meet misfortune in the way, I let misfortune meet me: there are too many evils in life that no man's wisdom can avoid; but he is no wise man who multiplies too many by more : now my philosophy teaches me,
that amongst all the evils you complain of, there is no evil so great as your complaint itself: why it drives a man out of his senses, out of his health, nay at last out of the world; so shall it not me: if misfortune will come, I cannot help it, but if lamentation follows it, that is my fault; and a fool of his own making, my good master, is a fool indeed.'
Master. 'Say you so, sirrah? Now I hold your insensibility to be of the nature of the brute: my feelings I regard as the prerogative of a man; thus although we differ widely in our practice, each acts up to his proper character.'
Servant. If I am of the nature of a brute, because I fear the gods and submit to their will, the gods forgive me! If it be the prerogative of a man, to say I will not bear misfortunes, I will not submit to the decrees of the gods, let the gods answer that for themselves! I am apt to think it is no great mark of courage to despair, nor any sure proof of weakness to be content. If a man were to die of a
disappointment, how the vengeance does it come to pass that any body is left alive? You may, if you think well of it, counteract the designs of the gods, and turn their intended blessings into actual misfortunes, but I do not think their work will be mended by your means; you may, if you please, resent it with a high hand, if your mother, or your son, or your friend, should take the liberty to die, when you wish them to live ; but to me it appears a natural event, which no man can keep off from his own person, or that of any other; you may, if you think it worth
your while, be very miserable when this woman miscarries, or that woman is brought to bed; you may torment yourself because your mother has a cough, or your mistress drops a tear; in short, you may send yourself out of the world with sorrow; but I think it better to stay my time in it, and be happy.'
I MENTIONED in my seventh paper that I had a card from Vanessa, inviting me to a Feast of Reason. I confess I was very curious to know what the nature of this feast might be; and having been since favoured with a second invitation, I shall take the liberty of relating what I saw and heard at that lady's assembly.
The celebrated Vanessa has been either a beauty or a wit all her life long; and of course has a better plea for vanity than falls to most women's share ; her vanity also is in itself more excusable for the pleasing colours it sometimes throws upon her character: it gives the spring to charity, good-nature, affability; it makes her splendid, hospitable, facetious : carries