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had an estate sufficient to support the expense, and an agreeable place to retire to, when he was wea. ricd with his less pleasing employment ?"
“ This is but one of the twenty."
“ But it is strong enough to be equal to half a score of less weight. However, you shall have another."
“ There is no need of it. I am sensible that a man ought to know the true value of what he possesses, both that he may enjoy it with dae gratitude to the giver, and that he may take sufficient care to preserve it, at least, and, perhaps, to improve it still farther. But when this is granted, you will allow me, that it is very disagreeable for a rich man to be always boasting of the greatness of his estate, and the magnificence of his palaces.”
“ Most certainly. Nor is it less disgustful to hear a man, who is well known to all the world to have a very considerable fortune, always complaining of his poverty, and, under a feigned humility, concealing the most hateful pride."
“ So that, upon the whole, all extremes ought to be avoided, even though, sometimes, they may seem to border upon a virtue." ...
" This is the rightest conclusion in the world; but the misfortune is, that it is no new discovery of ours, but has been the allowed and wise precept of all ages.”*
" That does not make it at all the less valuable to us. Do not you think, we should be much happier in being able to follow the maxim, than in being able to give it ?"
“I should wish to be capable of both.”
“ Pray, my dear, how old are you?"
“ You have lived eighteen years in the world, you say: pray, may I inquire what you have done in all that time?"
“My life has not, as yet, beer one of much action. I have been chiefly employed in laying in provision of knowledge and sentiments, for future years.”
“Well : shall I examine your magazine ? you will have occasion for it all, and ought to have it chosen with the utmost care.”
“ Which will you look into first, my heart or my memory? Here are the keys of both.”
“ Your memory is next at hand. It is a pretty
• Virtus est medium vitiorum, et utrimque reductum.
Hor. Lib. i. Epist. 18.
cabinet, and not one of the smallest size : but f have seen a japan cabinet kept in much better. order, though it was filled only with shells."
“I wish you would help me to set the drawers a little in order. What do you meet with in the
“ Fragments of all sorts and kinds. Truly, I think it is like a museum : there are some valuable things in it, but they are almost hid amongst mere trash. -I need look no further. I perceive already, that your memory is so idly filled, that your wish of giving wise maxims, is a very wild one. So I will conclude, my dear, with advising you, to be very well contented, if you can but follow those of other
Danger of too much Prosperity, without the Assist
ance of real Friends,
“ Come to my assistance, my friend, my adviser. I feel myself oppressed and low-spirited, to the greatest degree; all my thoughts have a disagreeable turn; my employments seem burthensonie, and my amusements insipid. A moment's serious conversation with you seems the only thing that is likely to give me relief.”
" " I should little have thought, that your situation in life required relief, or wanted any assistance, to make you sensible of its agreeableness."
· "I know that I have every reason, except that which arises from merit, to think myself the happiest creature in the world; and nobody can be. more fully and more gratefully sensible of it than I am : nor is it my reason that complains."
3 "It is not then your situation in life, that sinks your spirits ?"
-- $. It is the very situation that answers Cowley's
wish and mine; nor would I change with the greatest princess.”
“Nor is it the want of friends to make that situation agreeable ?"
“ In this respect, you know, that no mortal was ever so remarkably happy as I am. Nobody had ever, I believe, the advantage of such amiable examples of affectionate care, guided by such excellent sense and goodness. I feel too much upon this article to express it at all well : and my thoughts flow in so fast, that I cannot find words for them. But I was going to add, that nobody erer wanted this advantage so much as I do, whose too easy temper might, perhaps insensibly, follow a bad ex. ample, if fortune had thrown it in my way. But however that be, of this I am sure; that never was a mind so helpless, so distressed as mine would be, if it had been left in this wide world, without guides, who possess all my love and confidence."
“ Is it bad health, then, that prevents your enjoy. ing the happiness that seems to attend on all your
“Nothing less : I never knew a painful illness. My sleeps are sweet and uninterrupted; and those slight disorders, to which I am sometimes liable, only serve to make me sensible of the value of the great share of health and ease which I for the most part enjoy, and to show me the most engaging instances of goodness in those about me. I speak