페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

I always love to keep my prospects at home, that my friends may come to see me the oftener.'

By this time we were arrived as high as the stairs would permit us to ascend, till we came to what he was facetiously pleased to call the first floor down the chimney; and knocking at the door, a voice, with a Scotch accent, from within demanded, • Wha's there?' My conductor answered, that it was him. But this not satisfying the querist, the voice again repeated the demand ; to which he answered louder than before; and now the door was opened by an old maid servant with cautious reluctance.

When we were got in, he welcomed me to bis house with great ceremony, and turning to the old woman, asked where her lady was. • Good troth,' replied she in the northern dialect, 'she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, because they have taken an oath against lending out the tub any long. er.' – My two shirts!' cried he, in a tone that faltered with confusion,' what does the idiot mean?' - I ken what I mean well enough,' replied the other ; ' she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, because 'Fire and fury, no more of thy stupid explanations, cried he. Go and inform her we have got company.

Were that Scotch hagi' continued he, turning to me, ' to be for ever in my family, she would never learn politeness, nor forget that absurd poisonous accent of hers, or testify the smallest specimen of breeding or high life; and yet it is very surprising too, as I had ber from a parliament man, a friend of mine, from the Highlands, one of the politest men in the world ; that's a secret:'

We waited some time for Mrs. Tibb's arrival, during which interval I had a full opportunity of

6

bat

surveying the chamber and all its furniture: which consisted of four chairs with old wrought bottoms, that he assured me were his wife's embroidery; a square table that had been once japanned; a cradle in one corner, a lumber.cabinet in the other; a broken shepherdess, and a mandarine without a head, were stuck over the chimney; and round the walls several paltry, unframed pictures, which he observed were all of his own drawing. What do you think, sir, of that head in the corner, done in the manner of Grisoni? There's the true keeping in it; it's my own face; and though there happens to be no likeness, a countess offered me an hundred for its fellow: I refused her, for, hang it, that would be mechanical, you know.'

The wife at last made her appearance; at once a slattern and coquet; much emaciated, but still carrying the remains of beauty. She made twenty apologies for being seen in such an odious dishabille, but hoped to be excused, as she had staid out all night at Vauxhall Gardens with the countess, who was excessively fond of the horns. And, indeed, my dear,' added she, turning to her husband, his lordship drank your health in a bumper.'' Poor Jack!' cries he, a dear good-natured creature, I know he loves me; but I hope, my dear, you have given orders for dinner; you need make no great preparations neither, there are but three of us; something elegant, and little will do; a turbot, an ortolan, or a Or what do you think, my dear,' interrupts the wife, of a nice pretty bit of ox-cheek, piping hot, and dressed with a little of my own sauce? The very thing,' replies he; 'it will eat best with some smart bottled beer; but be. sure to let's have the sauce his grace was so fond of. I hate your immense loads of meat; that is country

all over ; extreme disgnsting to those who are in the least acquainted with high life.'

By this time my curiosity began to abate, and my appetite to increase; the company of fools may a first make us smile, but at last never fails of rendering us melancholy. I therefore pretended to recollect a prior engagement, and after having shown my respect to the house, by giving the old servant a piece of money at the door, I took my leave; Mr. Tibbs assuring me, that dinner, if I staid, would be ready at least in less than two hours.

ON THE IRRESOLUTION OF YOUTH.

As it has been observed that few are, better quali.

fied to give others advice, than those who have taken the least of it themselves; so in this respect I find myself perfectly authorised to offer mine : and must take leave to throw together a few observations upon that part of a yonng man's conduct on his entering into life, as it is called.

The most usual way among young men who have no resolution of their own, is first to ask one friend's advice, and follow it for some time; then to ask advice of another, and turn to that; so of a third, still unsteady, always changing. However, every change of this nature is for the worse; people may tell you of your being unfit for some pecaliar occupations in life; but heed them not; whatever employment you follow with perseverance and assiduity, will be found fit for you; it will be your support in youth, and comfort in age. In learning the useful part of every profession, very moderate abilities will suffice: great abilities are generally

obnoxious to the possessors. Life has been compared to a race; but the allusion still improves by observing, that the most swift are ever the most apt to stray from the course.

To know one profession only, is enough for one man to know; and this, whatever the professors may tell you to the contrary, is soon learned. Be contented, therefore, with one good employment; for if you understand two at a time, people will give you business in neither.

A conjuror and a tailor once happened to converse together. Alas!' cries the tailor, what an unhappy poor creature am I! If people take it into their heads to live without clothes, 1 am undone; I have no other trade to have recourse to.'-'Indeed, friend, I pity you sincerely,' replies the conjurer;

but, thank heaven, things are not quite so bad with me for, if one trick should fail, I have an hundred tricks more for them yet. However, if at any time you are reduced to beggary, apply to me, and I will relieve you.' A famine overspread the land; the tailor made a shift to live, because his customers could not be without clothes; but the poor conjurer, with all his hundred tricks, could find none that had money to throw away: it was in vain that he promised to eat fire, or to vomit pins; no single creature would relieve him, till he was at last obliged to beg from the very tailor whose calling he had formerly despised.

There are no obstructions more fatal to fortune than pride and resentment. If you must resent injuries at all, at least suppress your indignation till you become rich, and then show away. The resentment of a poor man is like the efforts of a harmless insect to sting; it may get him crushed, but cannot defend him. Who values that anger which is consumed only in empty menaces?

Once upon a time a goose fed its young by a pond side; and a goose, in such circumstances, is always extremely proud, and excessively punctilious. If any other animal, without the least design to offend, happened to pass that way, the goose was immediately at it. The pond, she said, was hers, and she would maintain her right in it, and support her honour, while she had a bill to hiss, or a'wing to flutter. In this manner she drove away ducks, pigs, and chickens; nay, even the insidious cat was seen to scamper. A lounging mastiff, however, happened to pass by, and thought is no harm if he should lap a little of the water, as he was thirsty: The guardian goose flew at him like a fury, pecked at him with her beak, and slapped him with her feathers. The dog grew angry, and had twenty times a mind to give her a sly snap; but suppressing his indignation, because his master was nigh, A pox take thee,' cries he, for a fool; sure those who have neither strength nor weapons to fight, at least should be civil.' So saying, he went forward to the pond, quenched his thirst, in spite of the goose, and followed his master.

Another obstruction to the fortune of youth is, that, while they are willing to take offence from none, they are also equally desirous of giving nobody offence. From hence they endeavour to please all, comply with every request, and attempt to suit themselves to every company; have no will of their own, but, like wax, catch every contiguous impression. By thus attempting to give universal satisfaction, they at last find themselves miserably disappointed: to bring the generality of admirers on our side, it is sufficient to attempt pleasing a very few.

A painter of eminence was once resolved to finish

« 이전계속 »