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more crimes than they can punish, and more wrongs than they can redress, set themselves at ease by indiscriminate negligence, and presently forget the request when they lose light of the petitioner.
Imlac then endeavoured to gain some intelligence by private agents. He found many who pretended to an exact knowledge of all the haunts of the Arabs, and to regular correspondence with their chiefs, and who readily undertook the recovery of Pekuah. Of these, fome were furnished with money for their journey, and came back no more ; some were liberally paid for accounts which a few days discovered to be fille. But the princess would not suffer any means, however improbable, to be left untried. While the was doing something she kept her hope alive. As one expedient failed, another was suggested; when one messenger returned unsuccessful, another was dispatched to a different quarter.
Two months had now passed, and of Pekuah nothing had been heard; the hopes which they had endeavoured to raise in each other grew more languid, and the princess, when she saw nothing more to be tried, funk down inconsolable in hopeless dejection. A thousand times the reproached herself with the easy compliance by which the permitted her favourite to stay behind her. “ Had not my fondness, said she, lessened my authority, Pekuah had not dared to talk of her terrours.
She ought to have feared me more than spectres. A severe look would have overpowered her ; a peremptory command would have compelled obedience. Why did foolish indulgence prevail upon me? Why did I not speak, and refuse to hear?”
" Great princess, said Imlac, do not reproach yourself for your virtue, or consider that as blameable by which evil has accidentally been caused. Your tenderness for the timidity of Pekuah was generous and kind. When we act according to our duty, we commit the event to him by whose laws our actions are governed, and who will suffer none to be finally punished for obedience. When, in prospect of some good, whether natural or moral, we break the rules prescribed us, we withdraw from the direction of superior wisdom, and take all consequences upon ourselves. Man cannot so far know the connexion of causes and events, as that he may venture to do wrong in order to do right. When we persue our end by lawful means, we may always console our miscarriage by the hope of future recompence. When we consult only our own policy, and attempt to find a nearer way to good, by overleaping the settled boundaries of right and wrong, we cannot be happy even by success, because we cannot escape the consciousness of our fault : but, if we miscarry, the disappointment is irremediably embittered. How comfortlefs is the sorrow of him who feels at once the pangs of guilt, and the vexation, of calamity which guilt has brought upon him?
“ Consider, princess, what would have been your condition, if the lady Pekuah had entreated to' accompany you, and being compelled to stay in the tents, had been carried away; or how would you have borne the thought, if you had forced her into the pyramid, and she had died before you in agonies of terrour?”
“ Had either happened, said Nekayah, I could not have endured life till now : I should have been tortured to madness by the remembrance of such cruelty, or must have pined away in abhorrence of myself.”
“ This at least, said Iinlac, is the present reward of virtuous conduct, that no unlucky consequence can oblige us to repent it.”
THE PRINCESS LANGUISHES FOR WANT OF PEKU'AH.
NEKAYAH being thus reconciled to herself
, found that no evil is insupportable but that which is accompanied with consciousness of wrong. She was, from that time, delivered from the violence of tempestuous forrow, and funk into filent pensiveness and gloomy tranquillity. She fat from morning to evening recollecting all that had been done or faid by her Pekuah, treasured up with care every trifle on which Pekuah had set an accidental value, and which might recal to mind any little incident or careless conversation. The fentiments of her, whom she now expected to see no more, were treasured in her memory as rules of life, and the deliberated to no other end than to conjccture on any occasion what would have been the opinion and counsel of Pekuah.
The women, by whom she was attended, knew nothing of her real condition, and therefore the could not talk to them but with caution and reserve. She began to remit her curiosity, having no great care
to collect notions which she had no convenience of uttering. Raffelas endeavoured first to comfort, and afterwards to divert her; he hired musicians, to whom she seemed to liften, but did not hear them, and procured masters to instruet her in various arts, whose lectures, when they visited her again, were again to be repeated. She had lost her taste of pleasure, and her ambition of excellence. And her mind, though forced into short excursions, always recurred to the image of her friend.
Imlac was every morning earnestly enjoined to renew his inquiries, and was asked every night whether he had yet heard of Pekuah, till not being able to return the princess the answer that she desired, he was less and less willing to come into her presence. She observed his backwardness, and commanded him to attend her. “ You are not, said she, to confound impatience with resentment, or to suppose that I charge you with negligence, because I repine at your unsuccessfulness. I do not much wonder at your absence; I know that the unhappy are never pleasing, and that all naturally avoid the contagion of misery. To hear complaints is wearisome alike to the wretched and the happy; for who would cloud, by adventitious grief, the short gleams of gaiety which life allows us? or who, that is struggling under his own evils, will add to them the miseries of another?
« The time is at hand, when none shall be disturbed any longer by the sighs of Nekayah: my search after happiness is now at an end. I am refolved to retire from the world with all its flatteries and deceits, and will hide myself in solitude without VOL. XI.
any other care than to compose my thoughts, and regulate my hours by a conttant fuccession of innocent occupations, till, with a mind purified from all earthly desires, I shall enter into that state, to which all are hastening, and in which I hope again to enjoy the friendship of Pekuah.”
“ Do not entangle your mind, said Imlac, by irrevocable determinations, nor increase the burthen of life by a voluntary accumulation of misery: the weariness of retirement will continue or increase when the loss of Pekuah is forgotten. That you have been deprived of one pleasure, is no very good reason for rejection of the rest.”
“ Since Pekuah was taken from me, said the princess, I have no pleasure to reject or to retain. She that has no one to love or trust has little to hope. She wants the radical principle of happiness. We may, perhaps, allow that what satisfaction this world can afford, must arise from the conjunction of wealth, knowledge, and goodness: wealth is nothing but as it is bestowed, and knowledge nothing but as it is communicated: they must therefore be imparted to others, and to whom could I now delight to impart thein? Goodneis affords the only comfort which can be enjoyed without a partner, and goodness may be practised in retirement.”
“ How far folitude may admit goodness, or advance it, I shall not, replied Imlac, dispute at prefent. Remember the confeffion of the pious herinit. You will wish to return into the world, when the image of your companion has left your thoughts." “ That time, said Nekayah, will never come. The generous frankness, the modest obsequiousness, and