fire, leaning his head upon his band, and his elbow on a table that stood by him, his eyes fixed on the ground; his countenance to the last degree dejected, pale, and thin; and, in short, as like a spectre as any thing that is real flesh and blood could be supposed to be. As she came forward into the room, he lifted up his eyes, and said only this word, Sister! and would have risen up, but had not strength. She desigued to bave embraced him; but when she saw him, she was frighted and amazed, and sat down over against him at some distance, being ready to swoon away. At the first she could hardly be convinced it was really her brother: and when she was satisfied of that, the very seeing him in that condition struck her with such grief, that she could not speak a word to him for a great while. Being recovered a little, my dear brother! said she, and would have gone on, but she burst out into tears. However, these transports, which the surprise of seeing him in such a condition might very well be supposed to work in so near a relation, being a little over, they began to discourse a little together; and after the usual questions concerning his health, and the proper remedies to be used to recover his strength, and the like, the following dialogue contains the substance of their discourse :

Sist. Dear brother, but what makes you. so dejected ? and why have you lost your courage so much at your disaster? I hope, with taking care of yourself, and proper remedies being used, you may recover. But if your spirits are sunk, you will fall under the weight of your own melancholy, and be lost without remedy.

Bro. Dear sister, not all my disasters, not the loss of my arm, or the cruel operations of the surgeons; not the baving wasted my estate ; not my being reduced to want of bread; not all that has hefallen me, or that could befal me in the world, has ever been able to sink my spirits, and cast me so low as this part of my tragedy. Sist. What part, brother?


Bro. Why, that my father, who kindly relieved me, when I wrote to bim in my distress, who ordered me to be brought home, as I thought, that, according to my request, I might die in my native country, should, instead of that common compassion, which nature dictates for men in misery, bring me hither but just as they do malefaetors, to die with the more shame; and, not suffering me to come within his doors, should send me hither, as it were to an hospital, to be kept upon his charity; like one, who, although he would not have starved, be had relieved, not in favour, but that he might die with the most exquisite tortures of the mind. This he could not but know such a thing would produce, and must produce in a soul that bad any sense of misery left.

Sist. You lay it too much to heart, brother ; that is not my father's design.

Bro. Yes, yes, that is the design; why else had he not ordered me to some hospital, or place of retreat? some place where I need not have been a spectacle to, and the reproach of his servants, and the contempt of all my acquaintance? But he shall have his full satisfaction over me; and I will, as I dreamed I had done, cause myself to be carried to his gate, that he may say he had the pleasure to see bis eldest son die at his door.

Sist. Your grief permits you not to make a right judgment of things; I beg you will weigh the circumstances of every part, and you will find my father has quite other designs towards you.

Bro. It cannot be, sister; for why this triumph then over my disasters; it is impossible.

Sist. You cannot think so hardly of my father; you should rather conclude, that his bringing you so pear him, is in order to restore you entirely, and a little patience would give you light into that matter.

Brr. Has he given me so much as the least intimation of it? On the contrary, has he not brought me to pass his

very door, and sent his messengers to command me to come no nearer to him, nor bimself so much as vouchsafe to see me?

Sist. You should consider, brother, the terms on which you stand with my father, with respect to your going away, and the obligation he is under of expecting some terms, before

you are restored. Bro. I know what you mean, sister. I could bave made any submissions, bad he not brought me thus, as it were, upon a stage, to be a spectacle to all people, and make a private breach become public, by a scandalous penance. Now I can never do it, though I were much more convinced of the crime than I am; it is impossible: no, I cannot do it, if I starve here.

Sist. Dear brother, do not talk of that; you shall not starve. I have bad too much hand in your miseries to suffer you to starve, though my father would; but you will not find my father inclines to any thing unkind. Bat, dear brother, you are, I hope, too sensible of the mistake we both committed, to be unwilling to give my father that small satisfaction he requires, which is but a bare acknowledgment of having done amiss. I have done it with the greatest sincerity, and with the greatest peace and satisfaction to myself in the world; to tell you the truth, I had really no truc peace or satisfaction till I did do it.

Bro. Well, sister, before I speak of that, let me observe to you, that your words put me in mind of my old dream again ; which, you cannot but remember, I told you of at my aunt's; and it is fulfilled in every part; for I am brought to my father's very door, and being refused leave to come in, I am sent hither to be kept as in an hospital under cure;

and you only (just as I dreamed) are come to visit me, acknowledging you have submitted to your father, and persuading me to do the same. God is just, sister! God is just! and I have brought all this upon myself! But my father is cruel, and tyrannizes over my distress, and that I cannot bear,

Sist. Dear brother, it is very wonderful, and I have ofteo thought on that dream, and of my aunt's prediction also, about the same time, viz. that you would be brought to want bread, and to beg of my father to relieve you, though I was in hopes it would never have come to pass.

Bro. It is a testimony that nothing befalls us without an invisible band. I acknowledge his justice; but I cannot but think that my father is very severe, and indeed very cruel.

Sist. That is, because you take the first part of this affair, without the subsequent, wbich is in his design; and which, I hope, will make all end well still, if you can be persuaded to act with temper and patience.

Bro. That is upon supposition, I perceive, that my condition will oblige me to make the utmost submissions, merely for.want of subsistence, whether I am sensible of the crime or not.

Sist. Dear brotber, I hope you are sensible of it. If such judgments as you have met with cannot make you sensible, nothing will. However, as all your dream is come to pass, I shall fulfil the rest, by which, besides my respect to you, that excuse shall be taken


viz. that you are necessitated to make submissions for bread. I hope you will do it from a mere sense of the sin, and of God's anger and justice, as well as of your father's displeasure. And that you may not be in a pecessity of doing it otherwise, take that part of your dream too, for your present comfort, for you dreamed I brought you some money.

[She puts a purse of gold into his hand.]

Bro. Dear sister, you are too kind; but I am past this kind of consolation.

Sist. As you are reduced to want necessaries, you cannot be past receiving some satisfaction for a supply.

Bro. If, with my estate, I had lost all sense of honour, was grown as low spirited as I am low circumstanced, I might cringe and stoop as a heggar at a door; but if my father seeks to suppress the soul, by the afflictions of the

body, as it is more than cruel in him, so it is insupportable to me, and I must deliver myself, sister.

Sist. If you had not at first disobliged him to the highest degree, you would have had reason in what you say: but if what my father expects now be more than he expected, when you were in your best circumstances, no more than he made the condition of your return, by receiving the assurances of its being the consequence of your going away, and that even before you went; and above all, if it be no more, as a parent and a master of a family, he was obliged to do, to preserve that authority, which you and I unhappily opposed: then you cannot call bis carrying it thus to you now, an imposing upon you, or insulting your misery. I know it is not in his nature to do so; if it had, brother, why did he answer your letters, send you relief, be at the expense of bringing you over, and providing for you here: has not his pity saved your life?

Bro. But is not this way of giving life.worse than death? I know how to revenge myself: he that dares die, knows how to revenge himself of all the world.

Sist. That is talking more like a soldier, brother, than a Christian ; nay, according to the notions of philosophy, which you and I used to talk of, it is talking like a coward, not like a man of courage, since what they call courage consists in sustaining the mind under the most pressing afflictions, and passive valour is the greatest extremity of true magnanimity, whereas be that destroys himself is a coward, and dies for fear of the bitterness of life. Bro. There are some circumstances which

ray overcome even human nature itself, and among these, to be insulted in distress, is the most insupportable. I could die by torture, with much more ease.

Sist. But, dear brother, you put the falsest construction imaginable upon your present circumstances. My father has put no insult upon you, and means you nope; you know the just engagements he is under, bind him to what he does.

« ElőzőTovább »