Page images
PDF
EPUB

which the solemnity of the outward cell, with the moon shining into it, and faintly gleaming on its melancholy furniture, would suit my turn of thought better than the brightest sun, glittering on the gayest scenes.”

“ I have not yet mentioned to you the most agreeable circumstance of the outward cell, its delightful and extensive view.”

“ Is not that obstructed by the groves of evergreens, through which you ascend to this seat of calm wisdom?"

“ It is placed high enough for the spectator to look over their venerable tops, and see the current of life, a wide extended ocean, gliding swiftly along, at the foot of the mountain. Beyond it, but half concealed in woods, lie the happy islands, and the bleak and doleful regions, where all that infinite number of barks, that cover 'this immense ocean, sooner or later dislodge their weary passengers. The observations you will make, from this eminence, on the course of the sea, the various rocks and whirlpools that make its passage dangerous, the conduct of the pilots, and the behaviour of the passengers, will give you important instructions for the guidance of your own bark. You may even see your own; and, by a timely observance, avoid every danger that threatens it, and improve every favourable gale to the best advantage."

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

" What have you done this summer ?”

“ Rode, and laughed, and fretted." “ What did you intend to do ?”

[ocr errors]

“ To learn geography, mathematics, decimal fractions, and good humour; to work a screen, draw copies of two or three fine prints, and read abun. dance of history; to improve my memory, and restrain my fancy; to lay out my time to the best advantage; to be happy myself, and make every body else so; to read Voltaire's Newton, Whiston's Euclid, and Tillotson's Sermons."

“ Have you read nothing ?”

“ Yes; some of the Sermons, Mrs. Rowe's Works, the Tale of a l'ub, a book of Dr. Watts's, L'Histoire. du Ciel, Milton, and abundance of plays and idle books."

“ Do you remember nothing of your geography?"
“ Not so much as what belongs to England.”
“ Mathematics" -

“ Turn my head."
“ And what is your fine head good for ?”

“ To wear a pair of Brussels lappets, or spin out extravagant imaginations and fancies.”

“ How does your arithmetic go on?"

“I have bought one of the best books on the subject."

[merged small][ocr errors]

O no; I have not read a page in it."

“ This is the way, too, in which you study natural history?”

“ Yes; I have bought Reaumur's works, and set them on my shelves.”

“Well; but are you good humoured ?"

[ocr errors]

“O) yes; mightily so, when I am pleased and entertained.”

“ But a trifle puts you out of humour ?"

Yes, perhaps it does ; but, then, I an ten times more out of humour with myself than with other people."

“ So that, upon the whole, you are satisfied with your temper?"

“ Very tolerably, as the world goes."

“ And do not you think yourself at all vain ?”

“ I do not think, what is commonly called vanity, so terrible a thing as it is generally reckoned.”

“What do you mean by this ?”

“ I mean, that if it were possible, people ought to be as well acquainted with their own characters, at least, as with those of other persons; and, therefore, ought to know their good qualities, as well as their faults."

“ This, in itself, is not vanity; but it is the ready path to it.”

“ How so?"

'" If you were standing on a high hill, from whence you had two very different views--one adorned with all that can make a landscape beautiful, the other

leading your eye through barren moors, dreary caverns, and frightful precipices—which do you think you should spend most time in looking at ??" .

“ The answer is a very clear one: if I had no interest in either of the views, I should admire the fine landscape, and, perhaps, take a copy of it.

“ Well, but suppose them both in your own estate. You seem to think that would make some difference in your way of proceeding." .

.6. Yes, to be sure, a very great one. In that case I should spend the greatest part of my time in considering by what methods I could level the preci. pices, render the barren heaths fruitful, and make that part of my estate as useful and delightful as the other ; but still it would be necessary to ob. serve the other prospect, for this very purpose of imitating it.”

“ If you had not added this last reason for looking at the gay side of the view, you had proved, what was far from your intention; that it is our faults, and not our perfections, which ought to claim our attention."

« There are twenty reasons for this, besides that which I mentioned. To continue your allegory : with what spirit do you think it would be possible for a man to set about so difficult a work, as those improvements must be, if he did not know that he

D

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »