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“The story fily points at you." RIDE is never more offensive, than when
it condescends to be civil; whereas vanity, whenever it forgets itself, naturally affumes goodhumour. Nothing was ever more agreeable than Vanessa t'other night, when I found her in a small circle over her fire-side, where a certain gentleman had taken the whole talk of talking on himself, and left Vanessa nothing else to do, but to fhew him just as much attention as served to make him believe she was listening, and left her at liberty to rest her own imagination in the mean-time.
I found this gentleman at the close of a pathetic narrative he had been giving of some adventure, which he had met with in his travels, and which he wound up with saying—“I am “afraid, ladies, this story has made you melan
choly.” If he had said weary, he had been nearer to the truth : Methought Vanessa once in her life forgot her usual politeness, when she answered him « Oh! no; not at all”—but she was thinking of something else, and the story I should guess had been very circumstantial; so that I heartily forgave her. The talking gentleman however was not disposed to take her word, but stuck to his opinion, and had so much consideration for the company, as to promise them another story, which should be altogether as diverting, as the former one had been mournful. There was an effort in the countenance of Vanessa, which convinced me of her good-humour; she strove to welcome this pro, mife with a smile ; but it was a smile, that cost her some pains to produce, and if the talker had possessed but one grain of intuition, he must have discovered that all such promises cut up performance, and that no story will endure a preface. I felt at that moment all the aukward embarrassment of his situation, as if it had been my own; and it was a sensible relief to me, when Vanessa gave a little hitch to her chair, as if drawing nearer to the story-teller, and at the same time stooping forward, put herself into å listening attitude. She never appeared so amiable in my eyes, and I began to take heart -What pains and trouble, thought I, does this poor man take to make himself agreeable, when every struggle carries him further from his point ! And how little does he know what an easy thing
it is to those, who have the secret of succeeding without any effort at all !-I use almost the very words of a contemporary author, and I am obliged to him for them.
As for the story, which now followed, there is no occafion to repeat it; if it had made its entrance without a herald ; if it had grown out of the conversation naturally, and not been grafted in against nature ; and if it had been less prolix, or told with more point, the story had not been amiss ; it was à good one in its own country, but it was lamed in its journey, and Vancsla did not seem exactly to know when it was finithed, until the relater '
made á second apostrophe, hoping he had now repaired at former damages, and reinstated the ladies in their usual good spirits. Vanesta now found it necessary to say something, and well knowing, without doubt, that people like to be treated as if they had sensibility, although they have none, the palled a few compliments upon the fiory very nicatly turned; when an elderly Gentleman (who, as I afterwards found out, was father to the talking gentleman) observed to him, that as he had made us grave, and muide us incrry, nothing now remained but to trake us wife. And whò lo fit for that pur“ ," added he, * as the lady of the house
« herself?” Vanessa very aptly replied, that she knew but one way to impose that belief on the company, and that was by keeping filence. " And what is so edifying,” resumed he, « as to keep filence? What is so good a leffon u of wisdorst, as to fee one, who can talk sa well, forbear to do it, until other tongues « have run their courfe?"-I stole a glance at the talkative gentleman, and to my utter surprize he was fo far from being sensible of the rebuff, that he was actually preparing for another onset." What you remark upon filence," cried he, “ pats me in mind of an adınirable " story."-" That may well be,” answered the old gentleman ; " but give me leave firft to tell
you a story, that may put you in mind of « filence.”
Jupiter and Apollo çame down from Olym"pus upon a visit to king Midas Mercury « had been dispatched to apprise hịm of the 5 guests he was to entertain, and to fignify to « him, that it was the pleasure of the gods to « be received with no extraordinary honours, s but to be considered only as travellers, who
came to pay a visit to his court, and take a « view of his capital. On the day appointed, « Jupiter, in the perfon of an elderly Athenian « gentleman, and Apollo as his son, presented
a themfelves in the great saloon of the palace : u Midas, surrounded by his courtiers, and glit“ tering in his richest robes, received the gods “ habited in this simple attire, and unattended. « The injunctions of Mercury were neglected, « for the feast was the most sumptuous that art « and luxury could devise ; and the gods were
disgusted with the vanity of their host, and « the profusion of his entertainment. When « Midas had thus contrived to display the wealth « and splendor of his court to his celestial “ guests, his next ftudy was to impress them « with an opinion of his talents and accom“plishments: He discoursed to Jupiter, without “ ceasing, upon his maxims and rules of governs
ment; he treated him with innumerable anec“ dotes and events, calculated to set off his own “ wisdom, consequence, and good policy, and “ of every tale he made himself the hero. The « courtiers kept silence through fear, the deities " through contempt; no voice was heard but « the voice of Midas. He had not the sense
to discern the impropriety of his being an in“ ceffant talker, when he ought only to have “ been a respectful hearer; and so consummate
was his vanity, that having possessed Jupiter « with impressions, as he foolishly imagined, of « his wisdom and science, he flattered himself