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on the fortitude of one whose whole life has been a round of pleasures? Her gay spirits might revolt at the dark downward path of low humility suddenly, pointed out before her, and might cling to the sunny regions in which they had hitherto revelled. Besides, ruin in fashionable life is accompanied by so many galling mortifications, to which in other ranks it is a stranger.-In short, I could not meet Leslie the next morning without trepidation. He had made the disclosure.
“And how did she bear it ?!
“Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her mind, for she threw her arms round my neck, and asked if this was all that had lately made me unhappyBut, poor girl," added he, "she cannot realize the change we must undergo. She has no idea of poverty but in the abstract; she has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied to love. She feels as yet no privation; she suffers no loss of accustomed conveniences nor elegancies. When we come practically to experience its sordid cares, its paltry wants, its petty humiliations—then will be the real trial.”
“But,” said I, “now that you have got over the severest task, that of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the world into the secret the better. The disclosure may be mortifying; but then it is a single misery, and soon over: whereas you otherwise suffer it, in anticipation, every hour in the day. It is not poverty so much as pretence, that harasses a ruined man-the struggle between a proud mind and an empty purse the keeping up a hollow show that must soon come to an end. Have the courage to appear poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting." "On this point I found Leslie perfectly prepared. He had no false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was only anxious to conform to their altered fortunes.
Some days afterwards he called upon me in the evening. He had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles, and those of the simplest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late residence had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said, was too closely associated with the idea of herself; it belonged to the little story of their loves : for some of the sweetest moments of their courtship were those when he had leaned over that instrument, and lise tened to the melting tones of her voice. I could not but smile at this instance of romantic gallantry in a doting husband.
He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had been all day superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly interested in the progress of this family story, and, as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany him.
He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.
“Poor Mary!" at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.
“And what of her ?" asked I: “has any thing happened to her ?"
“ What,” said he, darting an impatient glance, “is it nothing to be reduced to this paltry situation—to be caged in a miserable cottage to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her wretched habitation ?"
“Has she then repined at the change ?"
“Repined ! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humour. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been to me all love, and tenderness and comfort!”
"Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. “You call yourself poor, my friend; you never were so rich—you never knew the boundless treasure of excellence you possessed in that woman."
"Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real experience; she has been introduced into a humble dwelling-she has been employed all day in arranging its miserable equipments-she has, for the first time, known the fatigues of domestic employment --she has, for the first time, looked round her on a home destitute of every thing elegant,--almost of every thing convenient; and may now be sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of future poverty."
There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could not gainsay, so we walked on in silence.
After turning from the main road up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded with forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine
had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plat in front. A small wicket gate opened upon a footpath that wound through some shrubbery to the door. Just as we approached, we heard the sound of music—Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened. It was Mary's voice, singing, in a style of the most touching simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond.
I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out at the window and vanished a light footstep was heard —and Mary came tripping forth to meet us; she was in a pretty rural dress of white ; a few wild flowers were twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole countenance beamed with smiles--I had never seen her look so lovely.
“My dear George, cried she, "I am so glad you are come! I have been watching and watching for you; and running down the lane, and looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most delicious strawberries, for I know you are fond of them and we have such excellent cream-and we have every thing so sweet and still here-Oh!" said she, putting her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his face, "Oh, we shall be so happy!"
Poor Leslie was overcome-He caught her to his bosom -he folded his arms round her-he kissed her again and again-he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me that though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his life has, indeed, been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more exquisite felicity.
TO ANTHONY EVERGREEN, Gent.
Sir, As you appear to have taken to yourself the trouble of meddling in the concerns of the beau-monde, I take the liberty of appealing to you on a subject, which, though
considered merely as a very good joke, has occasioned me great vexation and expense. You must know I pride myself on being very useful to the ladies, that is, I take boxes for them at the theatre, go shopping with them, supply them with bouquets, and furnish them with novels from the circulating library. In consequence of these attentions I am become a great favourite, and there is seldom a party going on in the city without my having an invitation. The grievance I have to mention is the exchange of hats which takes place on these occasions; for, to speak my mind freely, there are certain young gentlemen who seem to consider fashionable parties as mere places to barter old clothes : and I am informed, that a number of them manage by this great system of exchange to keep their crowns decently covered without their hatters suffering in the least by it.
It was but lately that I went to a private ball with a new hat, and on returning in the latter part of the evening, and asking for it, the scoundrel of a servant, with a broad grin, informed me that the new hats had been dealt out half an hour since, and they were then on the third quality; and I was in the end obliged to borrow a young lady's beaver rather than go home with any of the ragged remnants that were left.
Now I would wish to know if there is no possibility of having these offenders punished by law; and whether it would not be advisable for ladies to mention in their cards of invitation, as a postscript, “Stealing hats and shawls positively prohibited."--At any rate, I would thank you, Mr. Evergreen, to discountenance the thing totally, by publishing in your paper, that stealing a hat is no joke.
Your humble servant,
Showing the nature of History in general; containing furthermore the universal Acquirements of William the Testy, and how a Man may learn so much as to render himself good for nothing. When the lofty Thucydides is about to enter on his de scription of the plague that desolated Athens, one of his
modern commentators* assures the reader, that his his tory "is now going to be exceeding solemn, serious, and pathetic;" and hints, with that air of chuckling gratulation, with which a good dame draws forth a choice morsel from a cupboard to regale a favourite, that this plague will give his history a most agreeable variety.
In like manner did my heart leap within me, when I came to the dolorous dilemma of Fort Good Hope, which I at once perceived to be the forerunner of a series of great events and entertaining disasters. Such are the true subjects for the historic pen. For what is history in fact, but a kind of Newgate Calendar, a register of the crimes and miseries that man has inflicted on his fellow men? It is a huge libel on human nature, to which we industriously add page after page, volume after volume, as if we were building up a monument to the honour rather then the infamy of our species. If we turn over the pages' of these chronicles that man has written of himself, what' are the characters dignified by the appellation of great, and held up to the admiration of posterity ?-Tyrants, robbers, conquerors, renowned only for the magnitude of their misdeeds and the stupendous wrongs and miseries they have inflicted on mankind-warriors, who have hired themselves to the trade of blood, not from motives of virtuous patriotism, or to protect the injured or defenceless, but merely to gain the vaunted glory of being adroit and successful in massacring their fellow beings! What are the great events that constitute a glorious era? The fall of empires—the desolation of happy countries-splendid cities smoking in their ruins—the proudest works of art tumbled in the dust—the skrieks and groans of whole nations ascending unto heaven!
It is thus the historians may be said to thrive on the miseries of mankind-they are like the birds of prey that hover over the field of battle, to fatten on the mighty dead. It was observed by a great projector of inland lock navigation, that rivers, lakes, and oceans were only formed to feed canals. In like manner I am tempted to believe, that plots, conspiracies, wars, victories, and massacres are ordained by Providence only as food for the historian. .
It is a source of great delight to the philosopher in studying the wonderful economy of nature, to trace the mu
* Smith's Thucyd. vol. lo