صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

composition of the pudding, or the seasoping of the mince pies; or enters into a disquisition on the figure of the dam ask tablecloth, with a word or two on the thrist of making one's own linen; but the young lady will be surprisec wher I inform her, that her own history of last Thursday assembly, with the episode of lady D's feather, and the digression to the qualities of Mr. Frizzle, the hairdresser, was also a piece of downright pedantry.

Mrs. Caudle is guilty of the same weakness, when she recounts the numberless witticisms of her daughter Emma describes the droll figure her little Bill made yesterday a trying on his first pair of breeches, and informs us, tha Bobby has got seven teeth, and is just cutting an eighth though he will be but nine months old next Wednesday at six o'clock in the evening. Nor is her pedantry les disgusting, when she proceeds to enumerate the virtues and good qualities of her husband; though this last spe cies is so uncommon, that it may, perhaps, be admitted into conversation, for the sake of novelty.

There is a pedantry in every disquisition, however inas. terly it may be, that stops the general conversation of the company. When Silius delivers that sort of lecture he is apt to get into, though it is supported by the most extensive information and the clearest discernment, it is still pedantry; and while I admire the talents of Silius, I can not help being uneasy at his exhibition of them. Last night, after supper, Silius began upon Protestantism, proceeded to the Irish inassacre, went through the Revolu. tion, drew the character of King William, repeated anecdotes of Schomberg, and ended, at a quarter past twelve, by delineating the course of the Boyne, in half a bumper of port, upon my best table; which river, happening to overflow its banks, did infinite damage to my cousin Sophy's white satin petticoat.

In short, every thing, in this sense of the word, is pedantry, which tends to destroy that equality of coversation, which is necessary to the perfect case and good humour of the company. Every one would be struck with the unpoliteness of that person's behaviour, who should help himself to a whole plateful of peas or strawberrys, which some friend had sent him for a rarity, in the beginning of the season. Now conversation is one of those good things,

which our friends or companions are equally entitled to share, as of any other constituent part of the entertainnent; and it is as essential a want of politeness to enzross the one, as to inonopolize the other. XVI.- The Journey of a Dny.--A Picture of Human Life.

RAMBLER. OBIDAH, the son of Abensina, left the caravansera Sarly in the morning, and pursued his journey through the plains of Indostan. He was fresh and vigorous with rest; he was animated with hope; he was incited by desire; hé walked swiftly forward over the valies, and saw the hills gradually rising before him. As he passed along, his ears were delighted with the morning song of the bird of para. lise, he was fanned by the last flutters of the sinking breeze, and sprinkled with dew by groves of spices; he sometimes contemplated the towering height of the oak, monarch of the bills; and sometimes caught the gentle fragrance of the primrose, eldest daughter of the spring ; all his senses were gratified, and all care was banished from his heart.

Thus he went on till the sun approached his meridian, and the mcreasing heat preyed upon his strength; he then looked round about him for some more commodious path. He saw, on his right hand, a grove that seemed to wave its shades as a sign of invitation, he entered it, and found the coolness and verdure irresistibly pleasant. He did not, however, forget whither he was travelling, but found a narrow way, bordered with flowers, which appeared to have the same direction with the main road, and was pleased, that, by this happy experiment, he had found means to unite pleasure with business, and to gain the resard of diligence without suffering its fatigues. He, therefore, still continued to walk, for a time, without the least remission of his ardour, except that he was sometimes templed to stop by the music of the birds, whom the heat had assembled in the shade, and sometimes amused himself with plucking the flowers that covered the banks on either side, or the fruits that hung upon the branches. At last, the green path began to decline froin its first tendency, and to wind among hills and thickets, cooled with fountains, and murmuring with water falls. llere, Obidah

paused for a time, and began to consider, whether it were longer safe to forsake the known and common track; but remembering that the heat was now in its greatest violence, and that the plain was dusty and uneven, he resolv. ed to pursue the new path, which he supposed only to make a few meanders, in compliance with the varieties of the ground, and to end at last in the common road.

Having thus calmed his solicitude, he renewed his pace, though he suspected he was not gaining ground. This uneasiness of his mind inclined him to lay hold on every new object, and give way to every sensation that might soothe or divert him. He listened to every echo, he mounted every bill for a fresh prospect, he turned aside to every cascade, and pleased himself with tracing the course of a gentle river, that rolled among the trees, and watered a large region, with innumerable circumvolutions. In these amusements, the hours passed away unaccounted, his deviations had perplexed his memory, and he knew not towards what point to travel. He stood pensive and confused, afraid to go forward, lest he should go wrong, yet conscious that the time of loitering was now past.While he was thus tortured with uncertainty, the sky was overspread with clouds, the day vanished from before him, and a sudden tempest gathered round his head. He was now roused by his danger, to a quick and painful remem. brance of his folly; he now saw how happiness was lost when ease is consulted; he lamented the unmanly impa. tience that prompted him to seek shelter in the grove, and despised the petty curiosity that led him on from trifle to trifle. While he was thus reflecting, the air grew blacker, and a clap of thunder broke his meditation.

He now resolved to do what remained yet in his power, to tread back the ground which he bad passed, and try to find some issue, where the wood might open into the plain, He prostrated himself upon the ground, and commended his life to the Lord of nature.

He rose with confidence and tranquility, and pressed on with his sabre in his hand; for the beasts of the desert were in motion, and on every hand were heard the mingled howls of rage and fear, and ravage and expiration; all the horrours of darkness and solitude surrounded him ;--the winds roared in the woods, and the torrents tumbled from the hills.

Thus forlorn and distressed, he wandered through the wild, without knowing whither he was going, or whether he was every moment drawing nearer to safety or to destruction, At length, not fear but labour began to overcome him; his breath grew short; and his knees trembled, and he was on the point of lying down, in resignation to his fate, when he beheld, through the brambles, the glimmer of a taper. He advanced towards the light, and finding that it proceeded from a cottage of a hermit, he called humbly at the door, and obtained admission.The old collected in set before him such provisions as he had collected for himself, on which Ubidah fed with eagerness and gratitude. When the repast was over,

66 Tell me, said the hermit, by what chance thou hast been brought hither; I have been now twenty years an inhabitant of the wilderness, in which I never saw a man before.” Ohidah then related the occurrences of his journey, without any concealment or palliation.

Son, said the hermit, let the errours and follies, the dangers and escapes of this day, sink deep into thy heart. Remember, my son, that human life is the journey of a day. We rise in the morning of youth, full of vigour, and full of expectation ; we set forward with spirit and hope, with gaiety and with diligence, and travel on a while in the straight road of piety, towards the mansions of rest. In a short time we remit our fervour, and endeavour to find some mitigation of our duty, and some more easy means of obtaining the same end. We then relax our vigour, and resolve no longer to be terrified with crimes at a distance, but rely upon our own conStancy, and venture to approach what we resolve never to louch We thus enter the bowers of ease, and repose in the shades of security. Here the heart softens, and vigilance subsides; we are then willing to inquire whether another advance cannot be made, and whether we may not, at least turn our eyes upon the gardens of pleasure. We approach them with scruple and hestitation; we enter them, but enter timorous and trembling, and always hope to pass through them without losing the road of virtue, which we, for a while keep in our sight, and to which we propose to return. But temptation succeeds temptation,

and one compliance prepares us for another; we in time lose the happiness of innocence, and solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. By degrees, we let fall the remembrance of our original intention, and quit the only adequate object of rational desire. We entangle ourselves in business, immerge ourselves in luxury, and rove through the labyrintx of inconstancy, till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way. We then look back upon our lives with horrour, with sorrow, with repentance; and wish but too often vainly wish, that we had not forsaken the ways of virtue. Happy are they, my son, who shall learn from thy example not to despair, but shall remember, that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made ; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted ; that the wanderer may at length return, after all his errours; and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find danger and difficulty give way before htm. Go now, my son, to thy repose, commit thyself to the care of Omnipotence; and when the morning calls again to toil, begin anew thy journey and thy life.”

« السابقةمتابعة »