صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

tears over a letter she had just received from her friend, which gave an account that her father had lately been stripped of every thing by an execution. The lover,who with some difficulty, found out the cause of her grief, took this occasion to make her a proposal. It is impossible to express Amanda's confusion when she found his pretensions were not honourable. She was now deserted of all her hopes, and had no power to speak, but, rushing from him in the utmost disturbance, locked herself up in her chamber. He immediately despatched a messenger to her father with the following letter:

(SIR,

I HAVE heard of your misfortunes, and have offered your daughter, if she will live with me, to settle on her four hundred pounds a-year, and to lay down the sum for which you are now distressed. I will be so ingenuous as to tell you that I do not intend marriage ; but if you are wise, you will use your authority with her not to be too nice, when she has an opportunity of saving you and your family, and of making herself happy.

“I am,' &c.

This letter came to the hands of Amanda's mother. She opened and read it with great surprise and concern. She did not think it proper to explain herself to the messenger, but, desiring him to call again the next morning, she wrote to her daughter as follows :

DEAREST CHILD, Your father and I have just now received a letter from a gentleman who pretends love to you, with a proposal that insults our misfortunes, and would throw us to a lower degree of misery than any thing which is come upon us. How could this barbarous man think that the tenderest of parents would be tempted to supply their want, by giving up the best of children to infamy and ruin? It is a mean and cruel artifice to make this proposal at a time when he thinks our necessities must compel us to any thing; but we will not eat the bread of shame: and therefore we charge thee not to think of us, but to avoid the snare which is laid for thy virtue. Beware of pitying us: it is not so bad as you have perhaps been told. All things will yet be well, and I shall write my child better news...

I have been interrupted ; I know not how I was moved to say things would mend. As I was going on, I was startled by the noise of one that knocked at the door, and hath brought us an unexpected supply of a debt which had long been owing. Oh ! I will now tell thee all. It is some days I have lived almost without support, having conveyed what little money I could raise to your poor father.-Thou wilt weep to think where he is, yet be assured he will be soon at liberty. That cruel letter would have broke his heart, but I have concealed it from him. I have no companion at present besides little Fanny, who stands watching my looks as I write, and is crying for her sister. She says she is sure you are not well, having discovered that my present trouble is about you. But do not think I would thus repeat my sorrows to grieve thee. No; it is to entreat thee not to make them insupportable, by adding what would be worse than all. Let us bear cheerfully an affliction which we have not brought on ourselves; and remember there is a power who can better deliver us out of it than by the loss of thy innocence. Heaven preserve my dear child !

• Thy affectionate mother,"

The messenger, notwithstanding he promised to deliver this letter to Amanda, carried it first to his master, who he imagined would be glad to have an opportunity of giving it into her hands himself. His master was impatient to know the success of his proposal, and therefore broke open the letter privately to see the contents. He was not a little mored at so true a picture of virtue in distress; but at the same time was infinitely surprised to find his offers rejected. However, he resolved not to suppress the letter, but carefully sealed it up again, and carried it to Amanda. All his endeavours to see her were in vain till she was assured he brought a letter from her mother. He would not part with it but upon condition that she should read it without leaving the room. While she was perusing it, he fixed his eyes on her face with the deepest attention. Her concern gave a new softness to her beauty, and, when she burst into tears, he could no longer refrain from bearing a part in her sorrow, and telling her, that he too had read the letter, and was resolved to make reparation for having been the occasion of it. My reader will not be displeased to see the second epistle which he now wrote to Amanda's mother.

MADAM,

I am full of shame, and will never forgive myself if I have not your pardon for what I lately wrote. It was far from my intention to add trouble to the afflicted ; nor could any thing but my being a stranger to you have betrayed me into a fault, for which, if I live, I shall endeavour to make you amends, as a son. You cannot be unhappy while Amanda is your daughter; nor shall be, if any thing can prevent it which is in the power of,

"MADAM,
- Your most obedient humble servant,

This letter he sent by his steward, and soon after went up to town himself to complete the generous act he had now resolved on. By his friendship and assistance Amanda's father was quickly in a condition of retrieving his perplexed affairs. To conclude, he married Amanda, and enjoyed the double satisfaction of having restored a worthy family to their former prosperity, and of making himself happy by an alliance to their virtues.

No. 376. MONDAY, MAY 12, 1712.

-Pavone ex Pythagoræo. From the Pythagorean peacock.

PERS. SAT. vi. ll.

“ MR. SPECTATOR, “ I HAVE observed that the officer you some time ago appointed as inspector of signs has not done his duty so well as to give you an account of very many strange occurrences in the public streets, which are worthy of, but have escaped, your notice. Among all the oddnesses which I have ever met with, that which I am now telling you of gave me most delight. You must have observed that all the criers in the street attract the attention of the passengers, and of the inhabitants in the several parts, by something very particular in their tone itself, in the dwelling upon a note, or else making themselves wholly unintelligible by a scream. The person I am so delighted with has nothing to sell, but very gravely receives the bounty of the people, for no other merit but the homage they pay to his manner of signify

ing to them that he wants a subsidy. You must sure have heard speak of an old man who walks about the city, and that part of the suburbs which lies beyond the Tower, performing the office of a daywatchman, followed by a goose, which bears the bob of his ditty, and confirms what he says with a‘Quack, quack. I gave little heed to the mention of this known circumstance till, being the other day in those quarters, I passed by a decrepit old fellow with a pole in his hand, who just then was bawling out, * Half an hour after one o'clock! and immediately a dirty goose behind him made her response, “Quack, quack.' I could not forbear attending this grave procession for the length of half a street, with no small amazement to find the whole place so familiarly acquainted with a melancholy midnight voice at noon-day, giving them the hour, and exhorting them of the departure of time, with a bounce at their doors. While I was full of this novelty, I went into a friend's house, and told him how I was diverted with their whimsical monitor and his equipage. My friend gave me the history; and interrupted my commendation of the man, by telling me the livelihood of these two animals is purchased rather by the good parts of the goose than of the leader; for it seems the peripatetic who walked before her was a watchman in that neighbourhood; and the goose of herself, by frequent hearing this tone, out of her natural vigilance, not only observed, but answered it very regularly from time to time. The watchman was so affected with it, that he bought her, and has taken her in partner, only altering their hours of duty from night to day. The town has come into it, and they live very comfortably. This is the matter of fact. Now I desire you, who are a profound philosopher, to consider this alliance of instinct and reason. Your speculation may turn very

« السابقةمتابعة »