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was matter of wonder and surprise, and his death: was an astonishment.
This gentleman was born of creditable parents, who gave him a very good education, and a great deal of good learning, so that he could read and write before he was sixteen. However, he early discovered an inclination to follow lewd courses; he refused to take the advice of his parents, and pursued the bent of his inclination; he played at cards on the Sundays, called himself a gentleman, fell out with his mother and laundress; and, eveu in these early days, his father was frequently heard to observe, that young The.-would be hanged.
As he advanced in years, he grew more fond of pleasure; would eat an ortolan for dinner, though he begged the guinea that bought it; and was once known to give three pounds for a plate of green peas, which he had collected over-night as charity for a friend in distress; he ran into debt with every body that would trust him, and none could build a sconce better than he: so that, at last, his creditors swore with one accord that The.-would be hauged.
But as getting into debt by a man who had no visible means but impudence for subsistence, is a thing that every reader is not acquainted with, I must explain that point a little, and that to his satisfaction:
There are three ways of getting into debt; first, by pushing a face; as thus, You, Mr. Lustring, send me home six yards of that paduasoy, damme; -but, hark'ye, don't think I ever intend to pay you for it,-damme.' At this the mercer laughs heartily, cuts off the paduasoy, and sends it home; nor is he, till too late, surprised to find the gentleman had said nothing but truth, and kept his word.
The second method of running into debt is called fineering; which is getting goods made up in such a fashion as to be unfit for every other purchaser ; and, if the tradesman refuses to give them upon credit, then threaten to leave them upon his hands.
But the third and best method is called, the good customer.' The gentleman first buys some trifle, and pays for it in ready money; he comes a few days after with nothing about him but bank bills, and buys, we will suppose, a sixpenny tweezer. case; the bills are too great to be changed, so he promises to return punctually the day after, and pay for what he has bought. In this promise he is punctual; and this is repeated for eight or ten times, till his face is well known, and he has got, at last, the character of a good customer. By this means he gets credit for something considerable, and then never pays for it.
In all this the young man, who is the unhappy subject of our present reflections, was very expert; and could face, fineer, and bring custom to a shop, with any man in England: none of his companions could exceed him in this; and his companions at last said, that The.-would be hanged.
As he grew old, he grew never the better; he loved ortolans and green peas, as before; he drank gravy soup when he could get it, and always thought his oysters tasted best when he got them for nothing, or, which was just the same, when he bought them upon tick; thus the old man kept up the vices of the youth, and what he wanted in power he made up by inclination; so that all the world thought that old The.-would be hanged.
And now, reader, I have brought him to his last scene; a scene where, perhaps, my duty should have obliged me to assist. You expect, perhaps, his dying words, and the tender farewel he took of his wife and children; you expect an account of his coffin and white gloves, his pious ejaculations, and the papers he left behind him. In this I cannot indulge your curiosity; for, oh, the mysteries of fate! The. was drowned!
Reader,' as IIervey saith, pause and ponder, and ponder and pause;' who knows what thy own end may be!
THERE are few subjects which have been more written upon, and less understood, than that of friendship. To follow the dictates of some, this virtue, instead of being the assuager of pain, becomes the source of every inconvenience. Such speculatists, by expecting too much from friendship, dissolve the connexion, and, by drawing the bands too closely, at length break them. Almost all our romance and novel writers are of this kind; they persuade us to friendships, which we find it impossible to sustain to the last; so that this sweetener of life, under proper regulations, is, by their means, rendered inaccessible or uneasy. It is certain, the best method to cultivate this virtue is by letting it, in some measure, make itself; a similitude of minds or studies, and even sometimes a diversity of pursuits, will produce all the pleasures that arise from it. The current of tenderness widens as it pro ceeds; and two men imperceptibly find their hearts filled with good nature for each other, when they were at first only in pursuit of mirth or relaxation.
Friendship is like a debt of honour; the moment it is talked of, it loses its real name, and assumes the more ungrateful form of obligation. From hence we find, that those who regularly undertake to cultivate friendship find ingratitude generally repays their endeavours. That circle of beings, which dependence gathers round us, is almost ever unfriendly; they secretly wish the terms of their connexions more nearly equal; and, where they even have the most virtue, are prepared to reserve all their affections for their patron only in the hour of his decline. Increasing the obligations which are laid upon such Minds, only increases their burden; they feel them.
selves unable to repay the immensity of their debt, and their bankrupt hearts are taught a latent resentment at the hand that is stretched out with offers of service and relief.
Plautious was a man that thought, that every good was to be brought from riches; and, as he was possessed of great wealth, and had a mind naturally formed for virtue, he resolved to gather a circle of the best men round him. Among the number of his dependants was Musidorus, with a mind just as fond of virtue, yet not less proud than his patron. His circumstances, however, were such as forced him to stoop to the good offices of his superior, and he saw himself daily among a number of others loaded with benefits and protestations of friendship. These, in the usual course of the world, he thought it prudent to accept: but, while he gave his esteem, he could not give his heart. A want of affection breaks out in the most trifling instances, and Plautinus had skill enough to observe the minutest actions of the man he wished to make his friend. In these he even found his aim disappointed; Musidorus claimed an exchange of hearts, which Plautinus, solicited by a variety of claims, could never think of bestowing.
It may be easily supposed, that the reserve of our poor proud man was soon construed into ingratitude; and such indeed in the common acceptation of the world it was. Wherever Musidorus appear. ed, he was remarked as the ungrateful man; he had accepted favours, it was said, and still had the insolence to pretend to independence. The event, however, justified his conduct. Plautinus, by misplaced liberality, at length became poor, and it was then that Musidorus first thought of making a friend of him. He flew to the man of falling fortune, with an offer of all he had; wrought under his direction with assiduity; and by uniting their talents, both were at length placed in that state of life from which one of them had formerly fallen.
To this story, taken from modern life, I shall add one more, taken from a Greek writer of antiquity: Two Jewish soldiers, in the time of Vespasian, had made many campaigns together, and a participation of danger at length bred a union of hearts. They were remarked through the whole army, as the two friendly brothers; they felt and fought for each other. Their friendship might have continued, without interruption, till death, had not the good fortune of the one alarmed the pride of the other, which was in his promotion to be a centurion under the famous John, who headed a particular part of the Jewish malcontents.
From this moment, their former love was converted into the most inveterate enmity. They at tached themselves to opposite factions, and sought each other's lives in the conflict of adverse party. In this manner they continued for more than two years, vowing mutual revenge, and animated with an unconquerable spirit of aversion. At length, however, that party of the Jews, to which the mean soldier belonged, joining with the Romans, it be came victorious, and drove John, with all his adherents, into the Temple. History has given us more than one picture of the dreadful conflagration of that superb edifice. The Roman soldiers were gathered round it; thew hole temple was in flames; and thousands were seen amidst them, within its sacred circuit. It was in this situation of things, that the now-successful soldier saw his former friend, upon the battlements of the highest tower, looking round with horror, and just ready to be cou sumed with flames. All his former tenderness now returned; he saw the man of his bosom just going to perish; and unable to withstand the impulse, he ran spreading his arms, and cried out to his friend to leap down from the top, and find safety with him. The centurion from above heard and obeyed; and casting himself from the top of the tower into his fellow-soldier's arms, both fell a sacrifice on the