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it scarce lasts from the first impulse till the hand can be put into the pocket; with others it may con tinue for twice that space; and on some of extra. ordinary sensibility, I have seen it operate for-half an hour together: but still, last as it may,
generally produces but beggarly effects; and where, from this motive, we give five farthings, from others we give pounds: whatever be our feelings from the first impulse of distress, when the same distress solicits a second time, we then feel with diminished sensibility; and, like the repetition of an echo, every stroke becomes weaker; till, at last, our sensations lose all mixture of sorrow, and degenerate into downright contempt.
These speculations bring to my mind the fate of a very good-natured fellow, who is now no more. He was bred in a counting-house, and his father dying just as he was out of his time, left him a handsome fortune, and many friends to advise with. The restraint in which my friend had been brought up, had thrown a gloom upon his temper, which some regarded as prudence; and, from such considerations, he had every day repeated offers of friendship. Such as had money, were ready to offer him their assistance that way; and they who had daughters, frequently, in the warmth of affection, advised him to marry. My friend, however, was in good circumstances; he wanted neither money, friends, nor a wife; and therefore modestly declined their proposals.
Some errors, however, in the management of his affairs, and several losses in trade, soon brought him to a different way of thinking; and he at last considered, that it was his best way to let his friends know that their offers were at length ac. ceptable. His first address was to a scrivener,
who had formerly made him frequent offers of money and friendship, at a time when, perhaps, he knew those offers would have been refused. As a man, therefore, confident of not being refused, he requested the use of a hundred guineas for a few days, as he just then had occasion for money. And pray, sir,' replied the scrivener, do you want all this money? Want it, sir!' says the other if I did not want it I should not have asked it.' Iam sorry for that,' says the friend; for those who want money when they borrow, will always want money when they should come to pay. To say the truth, sir, money is money now; and I believe it is all sunk in the bottom of the sea, for my part; he that has got a little, is a fool if he does not keep what he has got.'
Not quite disconcerted by this refusal, our adventurer was resolved to apply to another, who he knew was the very best friend he had in the world. The gentleman whom he now addressed, received his proposal with all the affability that could be expected from generous friendship. Let me see; you want a hundred guineas; and pray, dear Jack, would not fifty answer. If you have but fifty to spare, sir, I must be contented.'- Fifty to spare! I do not say that, for I believe I have but twenty about me.' Then I must borrow the other thirty from some other friend.'- And pray,' replied the friend, would it not be the best way to borrow the whole money from that other friend, and then one note will serve for all, you know? You know, my dear sir, that you need make no ceremony with me at any time; you know I'm your friend; and when you choose a bit of dinner or so-You, Tom, see the gentleman down. You won't forget to dine with us now and then. Your very humble servant."
Distressed, but not discouraged, at this treatment, he was at last resolved to find that assistance from love, which he could not have from friendship. A young lady, a distant relation by the mother's side, had her fortune in her own hands; and, as she had already made all the advances that her sex's modesty would permit, he made his proposal with confidence. He soon, however, perceived that no bankrupt every found the fair one kind. She had lately fallen deeply in love with another, who had more money, and the whole neighbourhood thought it would be a match.
Every day now began to strip my poor friend of his former finery; his clothes flew, piece by piece, to the pawnbroker's, and he seemed at length equipped in the genuine livery of misfortune. Bnt still he thought himself secure from actual necessity; the num berless invitations he had received to dine, even after his losses, were yet unanswered; he was therefore now resolved to accept of a dinner, because he wanted one; and in this manner he actually lived among his friends a whole week without being openly affronted. The last place I saw him in was at a reverend divine's. He had, as he fancied, just nicked the time of dinner, for be came in as the cloth was laying. He took a chair without being desired, and talked for some time withous being attended to. He assured the company, that nothing procured so good an appetite as a walk in the park, where he had been that morn ing. He went on, and praised the figure of the darnask table-cloth; talked of a feast were he had been the day before, but that the venison was overdone. But all this procured him no invitation : tinding, therefore, the gentleman of the hou se insen. sible to all his fetches, he thought proper, at last,
to retire, and mend his appetite by a second walk in the Park.
You then, () ye beggars of my acquaintance, whether in rags or lace, whether in Kent-street or the Mall, whether at the Smyrna or St. Giles's, might I be permitted to advise as a friend, never seem to want the favour which you solicit. Apply to every passion but human pity for redress: you may find permanent relief from vanity, from self-interest, or from avarice, but from compassion never. The very eloquence of a poor man is disgusting ; and that mouth which is opened even by wisdom, is seldom expected to close without the horrors of a petition.
To ward off the gripe of Poverty, you must pre. tend to be a stranger to her, and she will at least use you with ceremony. If you be caught dining upon a halfpenny porenger of peas soup, toes, praise the wholesomeness of your frugal repast. You may observe that Dr. Cheyne has pre. scribed peas-broth for the gravel; hint that you are not one of those who are always making a deity of your belly. If, again, you are obliged to wear a flimsy stuff in the midst of winter, be the first to remark, that stuffs are very much worn at Paris; or, if there be found fome irreparable defects in any part of your equipage, which cannot be concealed by all the arts of sitting cross-legged, coaxing, or darning, say, that neither you nor Samson Gideon were ever very fond of dress. If you be a philosopher, bint that Plato or Seneca are the tailors you choose to employ; assure the company that man ought to be content with a bare covering, since what now is so much his pride, was, formerly his shame. In short, kowever caught, never give out; but ascribe to the frugality of your disposition what others might be apt to attribute to the narrowness
your circumstances. Tó be poor, and to seen poor, is a certain method never to rise : pride in the great is hateful; in the wise it is ridiculous; but beggarly pride is a rational vanity which I have been taught to applaud and excuse.
ON GENEROSITY AND JUSTICE.
LYSIPPUS is a man whose greatness of soul the
whole world admires. His generosity is such, that it prevents a demand, and saves the receiver the confusion of a request. His liberality also does not oblige mure by its greatness, than by his inimitable grace in giving. Sometimes he even distributes his bounties to strangers, and has been known to do good offices to those who professed themselves his enemies. All the world are unanimous in the praise of his generosity; there is only one sort of people who complain of his conduct. Lysippus does not pay his debts.
It is no difficult matter to account for a conduct .80 seemingly incompatible with itself. There is greatness in being generous, and there is only simpte justice in satisfying creditors. Generosity is the part of a soul raised above the vulgar. There is in it something of what we admire in heroes, and praise with a degree of rapture. Justice, on the contrary, is a mere mechanic virtue, only fit for tradesmen, and what is practised by every broker in Change alley.
In paying his debts a man barely does his duty, and it is an action attended with no sort of glory. Should Lysippus satisfy his creditors, who would be at the pains of telling it to the world ? Generosity