صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

came into my head, that I should look out for some hole in a tree, and seek to hide it there, till I should have occasion for it. Big with this discovery, as I then thought it, I began to look about me for a tree; but there were no trees in the fields about Stepney or Mile-end that looked fit for my purpose; and if there were any that I began to look narrowly at, the fields were so full of people, that they would see if I went to hide anything there; and I thought the people eyed me, as it were, and that two men in particular followed me, to see what I intended to do.

This drove me further off; and I crossed the road at Mile-end, and in the middle of the town went down a lane that goes away to the Blind Beggar's, at Bethnal Green. When I got a little way in the lane, I found a foot-path over the fields, and in those fields several trees for my turn, as I thought; at last, one tree had a little hole in it, pretty high out of my reach, and I climbed up the tree to get it; and when I came there, I put my hand in, and found, as I thought, a place very fit; so I placed my treasure there, and was mighty well satisfied with it; but behold, putting my hand in again, to lay it more commodiously, as I thought, of a sudden it slipped away from me, and I found the tree was hollow, and my little parcel was fallen out of my reach, and how far it might go in, I knew not; so that, in a word, my money was gone, irrecoverably lost; there could be no room so much as to hope ever to see it again, for it was a vast great tree.

As young as I was, I was now sensible what a fool I was before, that I could not think of ways to keep my money, but I must come thus far to throw it into a hole, where I could not reach it. Well, I thrust my hand quite up to my elbow, but no bottom was to be found, nor any end of the hole or cavity; I got a stick of the tree, and thrust it in a great way, but all was one; then I cried, nay, roared out, I was in such a passion; then I got down the tree again, then up again, and thrust in my hand again, till I scratched my arm, and made it bleed, and cried all the while most violently; then I began to think I had not so much as a half-penny of it left for a half-penny roll, and I was hungry, and then I cried again. Then I came away in despair, crying and roaring like a little boy that had been whipped; then

I went back again to the tree, and up the tree again, and thus I did several times.

The last time I had gotten up the tree, I happened to come down, not on the same side that I went up and came down before, but on the other side of the tree, and on the other side of the bank also; and behold, the tree had a great open place in the side of it, close to the ground, as old hollow trees often have; and looking in the open place, there lay my money and my linen rag, all wrapped up, just as I had put it into the hole; for the tree being hollow all the way up, there had been some moss, or light stuff, which I had not judgment enough to know was not firm, that had given way when it came to drop out of my hand, and so it had slipped quite down at once.

I was but a child, and I rejoiced like a child, for I hollowed quite out aloud when I saw it; then I ran to it, and snatched it up, hugged and kissed the dirty rag a hundred times; then danced and jumped about, ran from one end of the field to the other; and, in short, I knew not what, much less do I know now what I did, though I shall never forget the thing; either what a sinking grief it was to my heart when I thought I had lost it, or what a flood of joy overwhelmed me when I had got it again.

While I was in the first transport of my joy, as I have said, I ran about, and know not what I did; but when that was over, I sat down, opened the cloth the money was in, looked at it, told it, found it was all there, and then I fell a-crying as violently as I did before, when I thought I had lost it.

JONATHAN SWIFT. 1667-1745.

Swift was born in Dublin, educated at Trinity College, in that city, and afterwards repaired to Oxford, where he received the degree of M.A. He took orders in the Irish church, and after holding the offices of prebend, vicar, and rector of different places, he was made Dean of St. Patrick's. His father dying in poverty before his birth, the circumstances of want and dependence, with which he was early familiar, had such a depressing effect upon his mind, that he adopted the custom of observing his birth-day as a period of sorrow, on which he would read Job's execration of the day upon which it was said, "that a manchild was born." He spent some time in England, and was intimately acquainted with Pope, Arbuthnot, Steele, and Addison. He is considered the most powerful and original prose writer of his age, — wit

Gulliver's Travels, and the Tale
His Verses on his own Death

irony, knowledge of human nature, and power of feigning reality, being his most marked characteristics. of a Tub, are his most famous works. are the best example of his poetical talent. At the age of about twentyone, he became attached to a lady, whom he has immortalized under the name of Stella. She was the daughter of his friend's steward, and either from pride or ambition, he put off indefinitely his marriage to her, and kept her for a long time in a state injurious both to her peace and reputation, though professing to "love her better than his life, a thousand million times." When above forty years of age, a young lady of eighteen, whose fancy name was Vanessa, became passionately attached to him. Flattered with her love, he did not declare to her his relation to Stella, but suffered her to wreck her happiness, and cut short her life, in the indulgence of a hopeless attachment. He was at last secretly married to Stella, in the garden of the deanery; but she died without any public acknowledgment of the tie. In extenuation of his conduct, it may be supposed that the malady which he himself anticipated, in the saying, as he pointed to a noble elm, much decayed at its upmost branches, "I shall be like that tree, I shall die at the top," was then lurking about him. Scott said of him, "The stage darkened ere the curtain fell." For the last three years of his life, he was almost totally silent-the last year, he spoke not a word. He left his fortune, amounting to £10,000, to the founding of a lunatic asylum in Dublin.

[From the description of the Academy of Ladoga, in " Gulliver's Travels."] SATIRE ON PRETENDED PHILOSOPHERS AND


I was received very kindly by the warden, and went for many days to the academy. Every room hath in it one or more projectors, and I believe I could not be in fewer than five hundred


The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt and skin, were all of the same color. He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sun-beams out of cucumbers, which were to be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air, in raw, inclement summers. He told me he did not doubt, in eight years more, that he should be able to supply the governor's gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate.

[blocks in formation]

There was a most ingenious architect, who had contrived a new method for building houses, by beginning at the roof, and

working downwards to the foundation; which he justified to me by the like practice of those two prudent insects, the bee and the spider.

[blocks in formation]

One illustrious person more, who is called, among them, the universal artist, told us he had been thirty years employing his thoughts for the improvement of human life. He had two large rooms, full of wonderful curiosities, and fifty men at work; some were condensing air into a dry, tangible substance, by extracting the nitre, and letting the aqueous or fluid particles percolate; others softening marble for pillows and pin-cushions; others petrifying the hoofs of a living horse, to preserve them from foundering.





We crossed a walk, to the other part of the academy, where the projectors of speculative learning resided.

The first professor I saw was in a very large room, with forty pupils about him. After salutation, observing me to look earnestly upon a frame, which took up the greatest part of both the length and breadth of the room, he said :— Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas, by his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labor, may write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, law, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study. He then led me to the frame, about the sides whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the The superficies was composed of several bits of wood, about the bigness of a die, but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires. These bits of wood were covered on every square with paper pasted on them; and on these papers were written all the words of their language, in their several moods, tenses and declensions, but without any order The professor then desired me to observe, for he was going to set his engine at work. The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the edges of the frame; and giving them a sudden turn, the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed.


He then commanded six and thirty of the lads to read the several lines softly, as they appeared upon the frame; and where they found three or four words together, that might make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were scribes. This work was repeated three or four times; and at every turn, the engine was so contrived, that the words shifted into new places, as the square bits of wood moved upside down.

Six hours a day, the students were employed in this labor; and the professor showed me several volumes, in large folio, already collected, of broken sentences, which he intended to piece together, and out of those rich materials to give the world a complete body of all arts and sciences.





I was at the mathematical school, where the master taught his pupils after a method scarce imaginable to us in Europe. The proposition and demonstration were written on a thin wafer, with ink composed of a cephalic tincture. This the student was to swallow, upon a fasting stomach, and, for three days following, eat nothing but bread and water. As the wafer digested, the tincture mounted to his brain, bearing the proposition along with it. * * *

In the school of political projectors, there was a most ingenious doctor, who, when parties in a state were violent, offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this: - You take a hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size; then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party-man. It seems, indeed, to be a work that requireth some exactness; but the professor assured us, that, if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible. For he argued thus: that the two half brains being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished for in the heads of those who

« السابقةمتابعة »