« PreviousContinue »
brain, and smooth every avenue of thought? What pleasing meditations, what agreeable wanderings of the mind, and what delicious slumbers, have I enjoyed here! And when I turn up some masterly writer to my imagination, methinks here his beauties appear in the most advantageous light, and the rays of his genius shoot upon me with greater force and brightness than ordinary. This place likewise keeps the whole family in good humour, in a season wherein gloominess of temper prevails universally in this island. My wife does often touch her lute in one of the grottos, and my daughter sings to it; while the ladies withi you, amidst all the diversions of the town, and in the most affluent fortunes, are fretting and repining beneath a lowering sky for they know not what. In this green-house we often dine, we drink tea, we dance country dances; and, what is the chief pleasure of all, we entertain our neighbours in it, and by this means contribute very much to mend the climate five or six miles about us. I am your most humble servant,
PARENTAL ADVICE. No. 189. The common race of esquires in this kingdom use their sons as persons that are waiting only for their funerals, and spies upon their health and happiness; as indeed they are, by their own making them such. I am sorry to own it, but there is one branch of the house of the Bickerstaffs, who have been as erroneous in their conduct this way as any other family whatsoever. The head of this branch is now in town, and
has brought up with him his son and daughter, who are all the children he has, in order to be put some way into the world, and see fashions. They are both very ill-bred cubs; and having lived together from their infancy, without knowledge of the distinctions and decencies that are proper to be paid to each other's sex, they squabble-like two brothers. The father is one of those who knows no better than that all pleasure is debauchery, and imagines, when he sees a man become his estate, that he will certainly spend it. This branch are a people' who never had ainong them one man eminent either for good 'or ill'; however, have all along kept their heads just above' water, not by a prudent and regular meconomy, but by expedients in the matches they have made in their house. When one of the family has, in the pursuit of 'foxis, and in the entertainment of clowns, run out the third part of the value of his estate, such a spend thrift has dressed up his eldest son, and married what they call a good fortune; who has supported the father as a tyrant over them during his life, in the same house or neighbourhood. The son, in succession, has just taken the same method to keep up his dignity, until the mortgages he has eat and drank himself into, have reduced him to the necessity of sacrificing his son also, in imitation of his progenitor. This had been, for many generations, the whole thai had happened in the family of Sam Bickerstaff, until the time of my present cousin Samuel, the father of the young people we have just now spoken of.
Samuel Bickerstaff, esquire, is so happy, as that by several·legacies from distant relations, deaths of maiden sisters, and other instances of good fortune, he has, besides his real estate, a great sum of ready money. 'ngo Lib. VOL. 1.
His son, at the same time, knows he has a good fortune, which the father cannot alienate; though he strives to make him believe he depends only on his will for maintenance. Tom is now in his nineteenth year, Mrs. Mary in her fifteenth. Cousin Samuel, who understands no one point of good behaviour as it regards all the rest of the world, is an exact critic in the dress, the motion, the looks, and gestures of his children. What adds to their misery is, that he is excessively fond of them, and the greatest part of their time is spent in the presence of this nice observer. Their life is one continued constraint. The girl never turns her head, but she is warned not to follow the proud minxes of the town. The boy, is not to turn fop, or be quarrelsome; at the same time, not to take an affroat. I had the good fortune to dine with him fo-day, and heard his fatherly table-talk as we sat at dinner, which, if my memory does not fail me, for the benefit of the world, I shall set down as he spoke it; which was much as follows, and may be of great use to those parents who seem to make it a rule that their children's turn to enjoy the world is not to commence until they themselves have left it. .
Now, Tom, I have bought you chambers in the inns of court. I allow you to take a walk once or twice a day round the garden. If you mind your business, you need not study to be as great a lawyer as Coke upon Littleton. I have that that will keep you; but be sure you keep an exact account of your linen, Write down what you give out to your laundress, and what she brings home again. Go as little as possible to the other end of the town; but, if you do, come home early. I believe I was as sharp as you for your cars; and I had my hat snatched off my head coming
the toin. Jo as little
i I beli
home late at a stop by St. Clement's church, and I do not know from that day to this who took it. I do not care if you learn to fence a little ; for I would not have you made a fool of. Let me have an account of every thing every post; I am willing to be at that charge, and I think you need not spare your pains. As for you, daughter Molly, do not mind one word that is said to you in London; for it is only for your money.'
The URNS OF DESTINY. No. 146.
- As I was sitting after dinner in my elbow-chair, I took up Homer, and dipped into that famous speech of Achilles to Priam, in which he tells him that Jupiter has by him two great vessels, the one filled with blessings, and the other with misfortunes; out of which ḥe mingles a composition for every man that comes into the world. This passage so exceedingly pleased me, that, as I fell insensibly into my afternoon's slumber, it wrought my imagination into the following dream.
When Jupiter took into his hands the government of the world, the several parts of nature with the presiding deities did homage to him. One presented him with a mountain of winds, another with a magazine of hail, and a third with a pile of thunder-bolts. The stars offered up their influences; the ocean gave in his trident, the earth her fruits, and the sun his seasons. Among the several deities who came to make their court on this occasion, the Destinies advanced with two great tuns carried before them, one of which they fixed at the right hand of Jupiter, as he sat upon his throne, and the other on his left. The first was filled with all the blessings, and the other with all the calamities of human life. Jupiter, in the beginning of his reign, finding the world much more innocent than it is in this iron age, poured very plentifully out of the tun that stood at his right hand; but as mankind degenerated, and became unworthy of his blessings, he set abroach the other vessel, that filled the world with pain and poverty, battles and distempers, jealousy and falschood, intoxicating pleasures and untimely deaths.
He was at length so very much incensed at the great depravations of human nature, and the repeated provocations which he received from all parts of the earth, that, having resolved to destroy the whole species, except Deucalion and Pyrrha, he commanded the Destinies to gather up the blessings which he had thrown away upon the sons of men, and lay them up until the world should be inhabited by a more virtuous and deserving race of mortals.
The three sisters immediately repaired to the earth, in search of the several blessings that had been scattered on it; but found the task which was enjoined them to be much more difficult than they imagined. The first places they resorted to, as the most likely to succeed in, were cities, palaces, and courts; but instead of meeting with what they looked for here, they found nothing but envy, repining, uneasiness, and the like bitter ingredients of the left hand vessel. Whereas, to their great surprise, they discovered con. tent, cheerfulness, health, innocence, and other the most substantial blessings of life, in cottages, shades, and solitudes.
There was another circumstance no less unexpected than the former, and which gave them very great per