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they were, could not be preserved pure, but were embittered by petty competitions and worthless emulation. They were always jealous of the beauty of each other ; of a quality to which solicitude can add nothing, and from which detraction can take nothing away. Many were in love with triflers like themselves, and many fancied that they were in love when in truth they were only idle. Their affection was fixed on sense or virtue, and therefore seldom ended but in vexation. Their grief, however, like their joy, was transient; every thing Aoated in their mind unconnected with the past or future, so that one desire easily gave way to another, as a second stone caft into the water effaces and confounds the circles of the first.
With these girls she played as with inoffensive animals, and found them proud of her countenance, and weary of her company.
But her purpose was to examine more deeply, and her affability easily persuaded the hearts that were swelling with sorrow to discharge their secrets in her ear: and those whom hope flattered, or prosperity delighted, often courted her to partake their pleasures.
The princess and her brother commonly met in the evening in a private summer-house on the bank of the Nile, and related to each other the occurrences of the day. As they were sitting together, the princess cast her eyes upon the river that flowed before her. “ Answer, said she, great father of waters, thou that rollest thy foods through eighty nations, to the invocations of the daughter of thy pative king. Tell me if thou waterest, through all F 3
thy thy course, a single habitation from which thou dost not hear the niurmurs of complaint?”
" You are then, said Rasselas, not more fuccessful in private houses than I have been in courts.” “ I have, since the last partition of our provinces, faid the princess, enabled myself to enter familiarly into many families, where there was the faireft New of prosperity and peace, and know not ore house that is not haunted by some fury that destroys their quiet.
“ I did not seek ease among the poor, because I concluded that there it could not be found. But I faw many poor, whom I had supposed to live in affluence. Poverty has, in large cities, very different appearances : it is often concealed in splendour, and often in extravagance. It is the care of a very great part of mankind to conceal their indigence from the rest : they support themselves by tempo. rary expedients, and every day is lost in contriving for the morrow.
“ This, however, was an evil, which, though frequent, I saw with less pain, because I could relieve it. Yet some have refused my bounties; more offended with my quickness to detect their wants, than pleased with my readiness to fuccour them: and others, whose exigencies compelled them to admit my kindness, have never been able to forgive their benefactress. Many, however, have been sincerely grateful, without the ostentation of gratitudie, or the hope of other favours.”
C H A P.
THE PRINCESS CONTINUES HER REMARKS UPON
EK AYAH perceiving her brother's attention
fixed, proceeded in her narrative. « In families, where there is or is not poverty, there is commonly discord: if a kingdom be, as Imlac tells us, a great family, a family likewise is a little kingdom, torn with factions, and exposed to revolutions. An unpractifed observer expects the love of parents and children to be constant and equal; but this kindness seldom continues beyond the years of infancy: in a short time the children become rivals to their parents. Benefits are allayed by reproaches, and gratitude debased by envy.
« Parents and children feldom act in concert: each child endeavours to appropriate the esteem or fondness of the parents, and the parents, with yet less temptation, betray each other to their children; thus some place their confidence in the father, and fome in the mother, and by degrees, the house is filled with artifices and feuds.
“ The opinions of children and parents, of the young and the old, are naturally opposite, by the contrary effects of hope and despondence, of expectation and experience, without crime or folly on either side. The colours of life in youth and age appear different, as the face of nature in spring and winter. And how can children credit the assertions of parents, which their own eyes show them to be false? F4
“ Few parents act in such a manner as much to enforce their maxims by the credit of their lives. The old man trusts wholly to now contrivance and gradual progresion: the youth expects to force his way by genius, vigour, and precipitance. The old man pays regard to riches, and the youth reverences virtue. The old man deifies prudence: the youth commits himself to magnanuity and chance. The young man, who intends no ill, believes that none is intended, and therefore acts with openness and candour: but his father, having fuffered the injuries of fraud, is impelled to suspect, and too often allured to practise it. Age looks with anger on the temerity of youth, and youth with contempt on the scrupulosity of age. Thus parents and child dren, for the greatest part, live on to love less and less: and, if those whom nature has thus closely united are the torments of each other, where shall we look for tenderness and confolation ?"
“ Surely, said the prince, you must have been unfortunate in your choice of acquaintance: I am unwilling to believe, that the most tender of all relations is thus impeded in its effects by natural necesity."
“ Domestick discord, answered nie, is not inevitably and fatally neceffary; but yet it is not easily avoided. We seldom see that a whole family is virtuous: the good and evil cannot well agree; and the evil can yet less agree with one another : even the virtuous fall fometimes to variance, when their virtues are of different kinds, and tending to extremes. In general, those parents have most re
verence who most deserve it : for he that lives well cannot be despised.
“ Many other evils infest private life. Some are the Naves of servants whom they have trusted with their affairs. Some are kept in continual anxiety to the caprice of rich relations, whom they cannot please, and dare not offend. Some husbands are imperious, and some wives perverse : and, as it is always more easy to do evil than good, though the wisdom or virtue of one can very rarely make many happy, the folly or vice of one may often make many miserable.”
“ If such be the general effect of marriage, said the prince, I shall, for the future, think it dangerous to connect my interest with that of another, left I should be unhappy by my partner's fault.”
“ I have met, said the princess, with many who live single for that reason; but I never found that their prudence ought to raise envy. They dream away their time without friendship, without fondness, and are driven to rid themselves of the day, for which they have no use, by childish amusements, or vicious delights. They act as beings under the constant sense of some known inferiority, that fills their minds with rancour, and their tongues with censure. They are peevish at home, and malevolent abroad; and, as the outlaws of human nature, make it their business and their pleasure to disturb that society which debars them from its privileges. To live without feeling or exciting sympathy, to be fortunate without adding to the felicity of others, or afflicted without tasting the þalm of pity, is a state more gloomy than foli