« AnteriorContinuar »
my gay rival.
bunch of keys hung at her side. She thus accosted the sleeping girl :
6. • Melissa, I am the genius who have ever been the friend and companion of your mother; and I now offer you my protection. I have no allurements to tempt you with like those of
Instead of spending all your time in amusements, you enter yourself in my train, you must rise early, and pass the long day in a variety of employments, some of them difficult, some laborious, and all requiring exertion of body or of mind. You must dress plainly ; live mostly at home ; and aim at being useful rather than shining. But in return, I will ensure you content, even spirits, self-approbation, and the esteem of all who thoroughly know you. If these offers appear to your young mind less inviting than those of my rival, be assured, however, they are more real. She has promised much more than she can ever make good. Perpetual pleasures are no more in the power of dissipation, than of vice or folly to bestow. Her delights quickly pall, and are inevitably succeeded by langour and disgust. She appears to you under a disguise, and what you see is not her real face. For myself, I shall never seem to you less amiable than I now do ; but, on the contrary, you will like me better and better. If I look grave to you now, you will see me cheerful at my work ; and when work is over, I can enjoy every innocent amusement. 'But I have said enough. It is time for you to choose whom you will follow, and upon that choice all your happiness depends. If you would know
my name, it is Industry.'
7. Melissa heard her with more attention than delight ; and though overawed by her manner, she could not help turning again to take another look at the first speaker. She beheld her still offering her presents, with so bewitching an air, that she felt it scarcely possible to resist; when, by a lucky accident, the mask with which dissipation's face was so artfully covered, fell off. As soon as Melissa beheld, instead of the smiling features of youth and cheerfulaess, a countenance wan and ghastly with sickness, and soured by fretfulness, she turned away with horrour, and gave her hand unreluctantly to her sober and sincere companion.
The Father redeemed from Slavery by his Son. 1. A young man named Robert, was sitting alone in his boat, in the harbour of Marseilles. A stranger stepped in, and took his seat near him, but qnickly rose again ; observing, that since
the master was not present, he would take another boat. •This, sir, is mine,' said Robert ; 'would you sail without the harbour ?
“I meant only to move about in the basin, and enjoy the coolness of this fine evening. But I cannot believe you are a sailor.' •Nor am I: yet on Sundays and holidays, I act the bargeman, with a view to make up a sum.' What! covetous at your age! your looks had almost prepossessed me in
Alas! sir, did you know my situation, you would not blame me.' • Well ; perhaps I am mistaken. Let us take our little cruise of pleasure ; and acquaint me with your history
2. The stranger having resumed his seat, the dialogue, after a short pause, proceeded thus : 'I perceive, young man, you are sad.
What grieves you thus ? My father, sir, groans in fetters, and I cannot ransom him. He earned a livelihood by petty brokerage ; but in an evil hour embarked for Smyrna, to superintend, in person, the delivery of a cargo, in which he had
The vessel was captured by a Barbary corsair ; and my
father was conducted to Tetuan, where he is now a slave. They refused to release him for less than two thousand crowns, a sum which far exceeds our scanty means. However, we do our best. My mother and sisters work day and night ; I labour hard at my stated occupation of a journeyman jeweller; and, as you perceive, make the most I can of Sundays and holidays. I had resolved to put myself in my father's stead; but my mother, apprized of my design, and dreading the double privation of a husband and an only son, requested the Levant captains to refuse me a passage. Pray, do you ever hear from your
father? Under what name does he pass ? or what is his master's address ?' · His master is overseer of the royal gardens at Fez; and my father's name is Robert, at Tetuan, as at Marseilles. Robert, overseer of the royal gardens ?' · Yes, sir.' I am touched with your misfortunes; but venture to predict their termination.'
3. Night drew on apace. The stranger, upon landing, put into young Robert's hand a purse containing eight double louis d'ors, with ten crowns in silver, and instantly disappeared.
4. Six weeks passed after his adventure; and each returning sun bore witness to the unremitting exertions of the good family. As they sat one day at their unsavoury meal of bread and dried almonds, old Robert entered the apartment, in a garb little suited to a fugitive prisoner ; tenderly embraced his wife and children, and thanked them, with tears of gratitude, for the fifty louisd’ors they had caused to be remitted to him on siis
sailing from Tetuan, for his free passage, and a comfortable supply of wearing apparel.
5. His astonished relatives eyed one another in silence. At length, the mother, suspecting that her son had secretly concerted the whole plan, recounted the various instances of his zeal and affection. • Six thousand livres,' continued she, 'is the sum we wanted ; and we had already procured somewbat more than the half, owing chiefly to his industry. Some friends, no doubt, have assisted him upon an emergency like the present.'
6. A gloomy suggestion crossed the father's mind. Turning suddenly to his son, and eyeing him with the sternness of distraction, Unfortunate boy,' exclaimed he, "what have you done? How can I be indebted to you for my freedom and not regret it? How could you effect any ranson, without your mother's knowledge, unless at the expense of virtue ? I tremble at the thought of filial affection having betrayed you into guilt. Tell me the truth at once, whatever may be the consequence.
7. Calm your apprehensions, my dearest father,' cried the son, embracing him. No, I am not unworthy of such a parent, though fortune has denied me the satisfaction of proving the full strength of my attachment. I am not your deliverer ; but I know who is. Recollect, mother, the unknown gentleman who gave me the purse. He was particular in his inquiries. Should I
pass my life in the pursuit, I must endeavour to meet with him, and invite him to contemplate the fruits of his beneficence.' He then related to his father all that passed in the pleasureboat, and removed every distressing suspicion.
8. Restored to the bosom of his family, the father again par took of their joys, prospered in his dealings, and saw his children comfortably established. Some time afterwards, on a Sunday morning, as the son was walking on the quay, he discovered his benefactor, clasped his knees, and entreated bim, as his guardian angel, as the preserver of a father and a fainily, to share the happiness he had been the means of producing. The stranger again disappeared in the crowd—but, reader, this stranger was Montesquieu.
Inkle and Yarico. 1. Among the various vices to which human nature is prone, and which mark the degradation it has suffered, none more strikingly evince its debasement than the practice of ingratitude. For other vices, and other failings, reason may be able to assiga
a cause ; but for that she must search in vain : that kindness should ever be returned with cruelty, or affection with neglect, is humanity's shame and man's disgrace.
2. A young merchant, whose name was Thomas Inkle, was the third son of a wealthy citizen, who had carefully instilled into his mind a love of gain, and a desire of acquiring wealth ; and this propensity, which he had imbibed from precept, and felt from nature, was the grand inducement for him to try his fortune in the West-Indies. Inkle's person was quite the reverse of his mind; the former was manly and noble, but the latter mean, selfish, and contracted.
3. During the voyage, the vessel in which he embarked put into a creek to avoid the fury of a storm; and young Inkle, with several of the party, went on shore to take a view of a scene so entirely new They had not walked far up the country before they were observed by a party of Indians, and fear and apprehension lent wings to their flight. Inkle outran his companions, and breathless with terrour, sought security in the thicket of a forest.
4. He had not been long in that forlorn situation, when his astonishment was called forth by the appearance of a young feinale, whose benignant countenance seemed instantly to compassionate his unhappiness. The name of the female was Yarico. Gentleness and sweetness were displayed in every feature ; and when Inkle, by signs, acquainted her with his distressed situation, she evidently proved that sympathy was confined to no particular clime, and that humanity depends not upon the colour of the skin.
5. The generous Indian was a woman of high birth; and knowing that the tenderness she felt for the unfortunate stranger would be displeasing to her parents, she felt the necessity of disguising it. She conducted Inkle to a remote cave, supplied his wants, and daily administered to his comforts. Her affection, in time, became so strong, that she scarcely could exist but in his presence.
6. Fearful that he would grow weary of his confinement, she used to watch the opportunities of her parents' absence, and then conduct him into the beauteous groves with which that country abounds ; then persuade him to lie down and slumber, and anxiously watch over him for fear he should be disturbed? His little dwelling was adorned with all the art that native elegance could suggest, and unsuspecting innocence employ, to make it appear pleasing to her lover's eyes., At length Yarico had the happiness of finding Inkle un
derstand her language, and had the felicity of hearing him express the strength of his gratitude, and power of his love. Inkle was constantly representing the joys that would await them if they could once return to England ; and painted the excess of his passion in such glowing colours, that the unsuspecting Yarico could not doubt his sincerity, and at length promised, not only to become the partner of his flight, but daily watch the arrival of some vessel to promote it.
8. The wished for object soon appeared ; the unsuspicious Yarico left the abode of her doating parents, and, forgetful of her duty, thought only of her affection. The ship in which they had embarked was bound for Barbadoes, and all Inkle's ideas of acquiring wealth returned with double force. Love, which had been a transitory passion, and which had acquired its foundation in interest, now yielded to a superiour claim. His freedom once obtained, the means were totally forgotten, and the unfortunate Yarico considered as a tax upon his bounty.
9. As soon as the vessel arrived at Barbadoes, the merchants crowded round it for the purpose of purchasing their slaves. The ungrateful Inkle was animated at the sight, and resolved to relieve himself of what he considered as a burden, offered the beautiful Yarico, his amiable deliverer, to the highest bidder ! It was in vain that she threw herself on her knees before him, or pleaded her tenderness and affection : the heart that could be dead to gratitude, was lost to love ; and the unfortunate Yarico was doomed to a life of slavery!!!
Demetrius and the Athenians. 1. DEMETRIUS POLIORCETES, who had done singular services for the people of the city of Athens, on setting cut for a war in which he was engaged, left his wife and children to their protection. He lost the battle, and was obliged to seek security for his person in flight.
2. He doubted not, at first, but that he should find a safe asylum among his good friends the Athenians : but those ungrateful people refused to receive him, and even sent back to him his wife and children, under pretence that they probably might not be safe in Athens, where the enemy might come and take them.
3. This conduct pierced the heart of Demetrius ; for nothing is so affecting to an honest mind, as the ingratitude of those we love, and to whom we have done singular services. Some time afterwards this prince recovered his affairs, and came with a large army to lay siege to Athens.