[ocr errors]

What can I think of myself! For it would be worse than affecta. tion in me not to know who is the hero of your story, and worse than stupidity noť to make proper account of it.-Nay, nay,” c continued he, seeing me about to interrupt him, you

shall not soothe dowp the self-contempt, which at this moment I feel and ought to feel : you have probed me deeply, I confess, but you have done your duty, and by the blessing of restored reason,

I will do mine.” So saying, nothing could hinder him from in. stantly sending his servant to fetch his wife and daughter Or stop,”

,” he cried : “ I should go to them myself,” and after begging the servant’s pardon for ringing him up to no purpose, to the great and most respectful admiration of poor John, he requested me to accompany him to the room in which they were sitting. It is needless to recount all the particulars of the meeting, and indeed I should blush to relate the very handsome terms in which he was pleased to introduce me to the ladies as the restorer of their peace and of his senses. The wife looked her thanks delightedly, but had too delicate an affection for her husband to add to his humiliation by fine speeches ; but the daughter, who was in the main a very lively girl, and had the loveliest oval face and long black eyes I ever be held, seemed as if she would fairly have kissed me, and could by no means suffer the servant to hand me any refreshment:she would do it all herself;--so that what with my new friend's de. light at feeling comfort again, the silent gratitude of his lady, and the lively cordiality of my little Hebe, all humiliations and trou. bles were quickly forgotten, and we made as pleasant a party at dinner (for they made me stay dinner), as was to be found in the whole compass of the metropolis.--I must not forget to mention that in the course of the desert my friend seemed to threaten a relapse, for the young lady happening to say some. thing playfully about ill-natured people, he looked suddenly towards her very gravely, and I turned with as great gravity towards him. Do not be alarmed, Doctor," said he, smiling,

I know she did not mean to offend her father.”—“ No, indeed, papa," said the charmer, her eyes filling with tears. " I was only turning,” he resumed, “ to observe with how much gentleness an innocent mind speaks even of the tempers most unlike itself, and how contrary to my daughter's manner on this occasion would have been my own stupid asperity if I had retained it. But per. haps,” continued he, you think I am not quite secure yet ?". 66 Indeed,” replied I, 66 you have no reason to think so ill of yourself, especially after the philosophy you have shewn in these public acknowledgments of your fault. If you had made only partial acknowledgments and private resolutions about it, I should have set very litttle value on what I have known so often to come to nothing; but voluntarily and manfully to expose one's self,



love to the triumph of equals and inferiors, I beg pardon for the word triumph-but at least, to their pity and forgiveness, is one of the noblest of human victories, and almost implies the conquest of any weakness and any habit which the vanquisher may ehuse to undertake. The conversation then became general, and in a short time, not without many regrets, I took my leave, in order to finish my visits for the day.

What these visits were, or rather were intended to be, I should have disclosed to the reader, had I not been prevented by a singular accident; for after paying but three of them, one to a fine lady whose daughter had just been presented at court, another to two families who happened to reside in the same house, and a third to my friend the Attorney-General whom I found writhing under a violent newspaper attack, I went to look at the progress of a poor little infant afflicted with fits of crying, and upon merely hinting to the mother that she was too indulgent to it at one time and too violent with it at another, she contradicted me by such a slap on the face, that I awoke ! My first feeling, on Jooking about me, was to congratulate myself on having to do with no such forcible reasoners ; but I could not help lamenting that my surprising cure of the gentleman had been only a dream; and his daughter had made such an impression on me, that whenever I see an innocent, sprightly, peace-making face like hers, though it may not be precisely the same in beauty, I cannot, for the life of me, help dreaming again for the moment, and being fairly enchanted.

ART. XIV-On the Advantages of the Present Age,

O fortunatos pimium, sua si bona norint.--VIRGII.

MR. REFLECTOR, There is certainly no disposition of mind more desirable than the habit of dwelling on the bright side of things, of reflecting on the advantages, and throwing out of our thoughts the disadvan. tages, of our situations, of resolving 66 to have what we like, by liking what we have * » For this reason, I have a particular affection for the advocates of existing institutions, and the sticklers

our gude auld gaits ;” and cannot but think we are greatly indebted to those speakers and writers who, by a “happy al.


for 66

* Freocb Proverb.

chemy of mind,” can elicit good from seeming evil, and who always endeavour to turn our eyes from the contemplation of our disasters and misfortunes, by holding up to our view a brilliant picture of our comforts and advantages. I have been often cured of apprehension and discontent by the reasoning of this useful class of philosophers. When I had been thrown into a melan. choly fit by the perusal of Cobbett on Sinecure Places, and the Corruption of Parliament, I have been instantaneously relieved by ą reflection in the Morning Post, that we had the best of kings, and a constitution the envy of Europe. I quite forgot the mise ries of my countrymen at Walcheren, whilst I read with exultation that we had the most vigorous of Ministers, and a larger army and navy than at any former period. When I was somewhat out of temper on considering the disabilities to which the Catholics are liable, my peace of mind was restored, on being told that by the rejection of their claims we had been prevented from forcing the King's conscience, and putting the Church of England in danger. Deeply impressed with the beneficial effects which all such information and discoveries must produce in the minds of my countrymen, I am induced to present to your readers a more extended view, than has yet been exhibited, of the advantages of the present age.

How easy is now the acquisition of knowledge ! Surely the prophet's prediction, “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain,” may be interpreted in favour of the successful labours of the mental engineers of the present times. Pope's comparison of the progress of a student to that of a traveller over the Alps, Aikin's Hill of Science, and many other similes and allusions of a like kind, will have nothing but the beauty of their language to recommend them to succeeding generations. A ready-made translation of all the quotations in use has made the study of Greek and Latin not ab. solutely nceessary for acquiring the reputation of a scholarNatural philosophers tell us that all the matter of the world might be compressed into a ball of an inch diameter; and our modern booksellers, reasoning by analogy, have concluded that all the mind of the world may be put almost into as small a compass. Thus they have given us the whole circle of the Sciences in one pocket-volume, and all the beauties of Literature in another. It was said, in the praise of Socrates, that he had drawn Philosophy from the heavens to reside amongst men: it may, 'with equal justice, be affirmed, to the honour of Sir Richard Phillips and his coadjutors, that they have enticed her from the libraries of men, to take up - her abode in the play-rooms of children. Young ladies and gentlemen may be taught every branch of natural phi


[ocr errors]

losophy without the aid of the mathematics; and yet, to encourage them to take the little pains which the acquisition of that once abstruse branch of science requires, we are assured, by the elegant author of the Evening Amusements, “ that the greater part of the mathematics now taught in the University of Cambridge, may be made level to the capacities of boys and girls under seventeen years of age Chemistry is explained in charming con-. versations between Mr. B. and Misses Emily and Caroline; and in short, every art, science, or language may be learned by a new and improved method, and we can calculate to an hour the time necessary for attaining it.

The present age will be nobly distinguished in the annals of history, by the wonderful experiments which have been insti. tuted in politics and political economy, and which have demona strated that our government may be administered without a king; that our trade can be carried on without gold; that our Ministers may direct affairs at home or abroad, with the greatest vigour, without having common sense; and that a General may obtain a. splendid victory by running away. Posterity will not fail to remark with admiration the advantages we have obtained over our enemies, by having discontinued the use of those troublesome things called Declarations of War.

“ Go, from the creatures, thy instruction take," said Pope, and we have very wisely followed his advice. The cat does not mew, nor the tiger growl, nor the eagle scream when about to seize on its prey. How absurd, then, was it in our an. cestors, when they had it in their power to pounce upon an unsuspecting offender, to put him upon his guard, by filling the post-horns of all Europe," with a ridiculous bravado against him.

• The lion calls not to his prey,

Nor bids the wolf the lambkin stay.”-GAV Somebody has said, that if we hate vice, we must hate mankind, -an observation, of the truth of which the present generation Seem's justly sensible. We have, therefore, left out of our vocabulary all such terms as seemed to imply any sort of detestation of the crimes and

and have substituted others which convey no un feeling sentiments respecte ing them. A courtezan is termed a lady under protection; adultery, an afair of crim. con.; a self-murderer, a lunatic; an embezzlement of the revenue, a misapplication of the public money; and thus, in a spirit of Christian benignity, hardly perhaps cono


many unfortunate creatures,


See the Preface to Mr. Freud's Algebra.


templated by the founder himself of the religion, our Charity covers a multitude of sins !

It is certainly a proof of a delightful freedom of manners in the present times, and a matter of infinite importance in a trading country, that'any man who has money, and will give elegant entertainments, may have the princes and nobles of the land for his visitors. Our great men have none of the hauteur, or of the as. semblies sans auvre melee *" of the Germans. Riches are a ready passport to fashionable society, no matter how a man came, by them.

For personal and domestic comforts and conveniencies, the present age is certainly unrivalled. The defects and decays of nature may be almost miraculously remedied. Thanks to the in.. genuity of our admirable artists, the climax of the poet,

“ Sans eyes, sans ears, sans nose, saps teeth, sans taste, sans every thing,” is not now applicable to any individual at any time of life.

Old age is disarmed of half its terrors, and the perusal of the adver-, tisements in a London newspaper, by the help of a pair of periscopic spectacles, will do more towards rendering the prospect of it endurable, than the most intense meditation upon Cicero de Senectute. How greatly is our sex indebted to Mr. Packwood for his inestimable contrivance of a razor, by which a man may shave himself, at full gallop; and the ladies cannot do otherwise than put in practice the noble sentiment of gratitude every time they see the invisible petticoat. How blessed are we in the possession of our water proof hats, coats, and shoes, our polygraphs, our compendious walking-sticks, whether comprising a Mute, an umbrella, or a map of London, our trinitarian writ. ing-desks, and a thousand other equally useful conveniences ! If

any one is inclined to sneer at the mention of some of these things, as matters of little importance, I would have him se. riously reflect

upon the truth recorded by the Mammoth of literature, that the misery of man proceeds not from any single crush of overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continually re. peated; and it's corrolary, that his happiness is less owing to any individual advantage, however great, than to the useful multipli. cation of petty conveniences.

In enumerating the advantages of the present age, the pious man will chiefly delight to dwell upon the important benefits conferred upon us by the Rev. Rowland Hill's improved style of preaching. With the truest knowledge of human nature, this Rev. Gent. forms his discourses upon the model of the Italian Sermons, which


* An assembly" sans æuvre melee,” is, in the style of the German nability, an assembly from which not only commoners are excluded, but even those whose aobility is liable to the slighiest suspicion.

« ElőzőTovább »