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and when she made any discovery of this kind, she spoke of it incessantly. She could not avoid giving her friends the passages to read that had struck her, and joy was quite an event in her circle. Rene, the episode of Valleda, in the Martyrs ; the scene of the burial, in the Antiquary; and the first poems of Lord Byron; gave her inexpressible emotion, and for a time renewed her'existence.
" Death, morally considered, gave her no alarm. She preserved so much tranquility, as to wish to dictate to Mr. Schlegel the description of what she felt. Her thoughts were always turned with hope towards her father, and towards immortality. My father waits for me on the other shore,' she said. She beheld her father with God, and in God himself could see nothing but a father. These two ideas were confounded in her heart; and that of a protecting goodness was inseparable from both. One day, rousing from a state of reverie, she said; I think I know what the transition from life to death is; and I am sure, that the goodness of God softens it to us.
Our ideas become confused, and the pain is not very acute.''
THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF BERTHOLDE. Bertholde had a large head, as round as a football, adorned with red hair, very strait, and which had a great resemblance to the bristles of a hog; an extremely short forehead, furrowed with wrinkles; two little blear eyes, edged round with a border of bright carnation, and overshadowed by a pair of large eye-brows, which, upon occasion, might be made use of as brushes; a flat red nose, resembling an extinguisher; a wide mouth, from which proceeded two long crooked teeth, not unlike the tusks of a boar, and pointing to a pair of ears, like those which formerly belonged to Midas; a lip of a monstrous thickness, which hung down on a chin, that seemed to sink under the load of a beard, thick, strait, and bristly; a very short neck, which nature had adorned with a kind of necklace, formed of ten or twelve small wens. The rest of his body was perfectly agreeable to the grotesque appearance of his visage; so that, from head to foot, he was a kind of monster, who, by his deformity, and the hair with which he was covered, had a greater resemblance to a bear half licked into form, than to a human creature.
But though nature had treated him so ill with respect to his body, she bad recompensed him by the subtilty, the agreeableness, and the solidity of the mind she had united to it. This advantage, infinitely more precious than all others, raised him from being a simple and mean peasant, to be the favourite of a
great prince, and happily extricated him out of all the spares and dangers that had been laid for bim.
Bertholde was born of poor parents, in a village called Bertagnona, at some miles distance from Verona. The small fortune of his father, and his having ten children, would not permit the good man to give them the least education. for Bertholde, he had a fund of wit, which sufficiently made him amends for the poverty of his parents, and the deformity of his person, which was more fit to affright children, than to raise his fortune; and, therefore, the nurses and mothers of the village had nothing more to do, but to mention his name to make their children quiet when crying, or to make them cry when they were quiet.
But the pleasure he gave to the other peasants, was equal to the terror his figure caused in the little innocents. Bertholde diverted them on Sunday, and every festival, with the sallies of his wit: he instructed them by excellent sentences, which he uttered from time to time; so that, to the priest and the lord of the manor, no person in the village was treated with greater respect. His poverty, contrary to custom, was not considered as a vice; and, what is very strange, it did not render him the object of aversion and contempt. So far was this from being the case, the honest country people, in order to keep him amongst them, would have contributed to his support; but he not being willing to be a burthen to them, chose rather to leave the village, and to seek a living elsewhere.
With this view, he went to Verona, where Alboin, the first king of the Lombards, after having conquered the greatest part of Italy, kept his court. Chance conducted Bertholde to the palace of this prince, and while he was gazing and wondering at the beauty of the building, his attention was drawn aside, to observe two women, at a small distance, who had neither nails nor fingers enough to scratch with, nor a volubility of tongue sufficient to give vent to the torrent of abuse they seemed willing to cast out at each other.
Bertholde was so much diverted with this scene, that he had no inclination to put an end to it; but a stop was put to his satisfaction by one of the king's officers, who came with his orders for parting the combatants, he commanded them to lay their complaints before his majesty, who had promised to do them justice. Upon this, their fury ceased, each picked up her
сар, , and finding her clothes torn, and her person something discomposed, they both begged leave to retire for a while, that they might appear with greater decency before the king
Bertholde hearing this, conceived some idea of the goodness of his sovereign, and as he had never seen him, resolved to pay him a visit. In this age, the gates of palaces were not yet blocked up with guards, every one had free access to lay their grievances before the throne.
Though a peasant, though a clown, though disgraced by nature, reason dictated to him, that all men were formed by the same hand, and created in a perfect equality; he, therefore, thoright there was no person on earth with whom he might not be allowed to converse familiarly.
In consequence of this principle, he entered the palace without any conductor, marched up stairs, traversed the apartments, and entered into that in which the king was surrounded by his courtiers, who were conversing with him in a respectful posture, and laughing at the two women who had just been quarrelling before the window; but how great was their astonishment to see Bertholde walk in with his hat on his head, and, without speaking a word, come boldly up to them, and seat himself by the side of the king, in a chair which they, out of respect, had left empty! Surprised at this rusticity, and more still at his grotesque appearance, they stood immoveable at the view of this second Esop, whose mean dress was very suitable to his deformity. From this rustic behaviour, the king easily guessed that he was one whom curiosity had brought to his court. And as he had learned from experience, that nature sometimes hides her treasures under the most unpromis. ing form, he resolved to have a familiar conversation with him, and, for a few minutes, in complaisance to the clown, to forget his own grandeur and dignity. Who are you? cried the prince to Bertholde :-How did you come into the world? What is your country? I am a man, replied the peasant;
I came into the world in the manner Providence sent me, and the world itself is my country.
The king then asked him several questions, which had not the least connexion with each other. A trial of wit, which, in those days, was much used at the courts of sovereign princes. And this is the substance of the discourse, as it is preserved in the ancient records of the country. What thing is that which flies the swiftest ? cried the monarch.—Thought, answered Bertholde. What is the gulf that is never filled ?- The avarice of the miser. What is the most hateful in young people ?-- Self conceit, because it makes them incorrigible. What is most ridiculous in the old ?-Love. Who are most lavish of their caresses ?- Those who intend to deceive us, and those who have already done it. What are the things most dangerous in a house ?-A wicked wife, and the tongue of a servant. What is the husband's most incurable disease ? ---The infidelity of
his wife. What way will you take to bring water in a sieve? -I'll stay till it is frozen. How will you catch a hare without running ?-I will wait till I find her on the spit.
The king was astonished at the readiness with which he answered these questions; and to let him see his satisfaction, promised to give him any thing he could desire. I defy you, replied Bertholde, bluntly. How so, replied his majesty? Do you doubt my good will ?—No; but I aspire after what you do not possess, and consequently, cannot give to me. And what is this precious thing that I do not possess ?- Felicity, which was never in the power of kings, who enjoy less of it than the rest of mankind. How! am not I happy on so elevated a throne? Yes, you are, if the happiness of a man consists in the height of his seat. Do you see these lords and gentlemen that are continually about me, would they be always ready to obey me, if they were not convinced of my power? And do you not see, in your turn, that there are as many crows, waiting to devour a carcass, and who, to prevent its seeing their designs, begin by picking out its eyes. Well said, but all this does not hinder me from sbining in the midst of them as the sun amongst the stars. True, but tell me, shining sun, how many eclipses you are obliged to suffer in a year ? Why do you put this question ? Because the continual flattery of these gentlemen will raise a cloud that must darken your understanding. On this foot, then, you would not be a courtier? Miserable as I am, I should be sorry to be placed in the rank of slaves; besides, I am neither knave, traitor, nor liar, and consequently, have not the necessary qualities for succeeding in this fine employment. What are you then to seek for at my court ? What I have not been able to find there ; for I had imagined a king to be as much above other men, as a steeple is above common houses; but I have soon found, that I have honoured them more than they deserve.
Of all the virtues, those of frankness and sincerity have been in every age least recompensed in a court. This Bertholde experienced; for the king, shocked at the little regard he express- • ed for his person, told him, that if he was unwilling to be turned out in an ignominious manner, he must leave the palace im. mediately. He obeyed; but as he was going, said, with an air of gaiety, that he was of the nature of flies, which the more you attempt to drive away, the more obstinately are they bent on their return. I permit you to return like them, cried the monarch, provided you bring them along with yon; but if you appear without them, you shall forfeit your head. Agreed, replied the peasant; to do this, I will only take a step to our village. The king gave his consent, and Bertholde hasted.
away—The monarch did not doubt of his keeping his word; but had a great curiosity to see in what manner he would perform it, and the clown soon satisfied him; for he had no sooner reached the village, than running to a stable belonging to one of his brothers, he took out an old ass, whose back and buttocks had lost the friendly covering of a sound skin, and mounting on his back, turned again to Verona, accompanied by an infinite number of flies riding behind him, and this equipage arrived at the palace; when commending the fidelity with which they had stuck to his beast, and attended him all the way, he told the king, that he kept his promise; and Alboin, pleased with the stratagem, soon conceived such an idea of his abilities, that he imagined he might be useful to him, in helping him to disentangle the intricacies of government, and therefore gave him free leave to stay at court.
I shall omit the various contests between Bertholde and the king, on the virtues and vices of the ladies, in which the king did justice to their merit, while our hero endeavoured to bring them into contempt. But I cannot avoid taking notice of a petition of the ladies of the court, to obtain a share in the government, and administration of affairs.
The king having read their long request, which the queen had engaged the chancellor to deliver to him, replied, that this affair being of very great importance, required his serious consideration; that he would weigh the matter, and give the ladies an answer in an audience, to which they should be admitted the next day.
Bertholde, the enemy of beauty, could not hear the petition and reply, without bursting into a loud laugh. The king asked the reason; Bertholde ridiculed his compliance and the easiness of his temper, when the king replied, that he was in a terrible embarrassment; that he should be ruined if he granted their request, and that his danger would not be less if he refused it. A refusal, said be, will enrage them; they are able to revenge themselves, by making their husbands, who have the command of my troops, rise up against me. My dear Bertholde, added he; Bertholde, my faithful friend, help me out of this labyrinth : thy imagination, fertile in stratagems, has hitherto drawn thee out of the dangers thou hast fallen into at my court, and I am persuaded thou canst relieve me out of this. Bertholde promised every thing, and desired the king to be satisfied. Having stood musing for a moment, he left the palace, went to the market and bought a little bird : he shut it in a box in the presence of the king, gave it to him, and desired him to send it to the queen, for her to give it to the ladies who had presented her the petition, with a most express prohibition against opening the box, on pain of incurring his