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rest of my equipage; but as I had always a peculiar veneration for my muff, I could not forbear being piqued a little; and throwing my eyes with a spite. ful air on her bosom, I could heartily wish, madam, replied I, that for your sake, my muff was cut into a tippet.'
'As my cousin, by this time, was grown heartily ashamed of her gentleman-usher, and as I was never very fond of any kind of exhibition myself, it was mutually agreed to retire for a while to one of the seats, and, from that retreat, remark on others as freely as they had remarked on us.
When seated, we continued silent for some time, employed in very different speculations. I regarded the whole company, now passing in review before me, as drawn out merely for my amusement. For my entertainment the beauty had, all that morning, been improving her charms; the beau had put on lace, and the young doctor a big wig, merely to please ine. But quite different were the senti ments of cousiu Hannah: she regarded every welldressed woman as a victorious rival; hated every face that seemed dressed in good humour, or wore the appearance of greater happiness than her own. I perceived her uneasiness, and attempted to lessen it, by observing that there was no company in the Park to-day. To this she readily assented; And yet,' says she, it is full enough of scrubs of one kind or another.' My smiling at this observation gave her spirits to pursue the bent of her inclination, and now she began to exhibit her skill in secret history, as she found me disposed to listen. Observe,' says she to me, that old woman in tawdry silk, and dressed out beyond the fashion. That is Miss Biddy Evergreen. Miss Biddy, it seems, has money; and as she considers that money was never so scarce as it is now, she seems resolved to keep what she has to herself. She is ugly enough, you see; yet, I assure you, she has refused several offers, to my knowledge, within this twelvemonth.
Let me see, three gentlemen from Ireland, who study the law, two waiting captains, her doctor, and a Scotch preacher who had like to have carried her off. All her time is passed between sickness and finery. Thus she spends the whole week in a close chamber, with no other company but her mon. key, her apothecary, and cat; and comes dressed out to the Park every Sunday, to show her airs, to get new lovers, to catch a new cold, and to make new work for the doctor.
There goes Mrs. Roundabout, I mean the fat lady in the luring trollopée. Between you and I, she is but a cutler's wife. See how she's dressed; as fine as hands and pins can make her, while her, two marriageable daughters, like bunters, in stuff gowns, are now taking sixpenny-worth of tea at the White-conduit-house. Odious puss, how she waddles along, with her train two yards behind her! She puts me in mind of my lord Bantam's Indian sheep, which are obliged to have their monstrous tails trundled along in a go-cart. For all her airs, it goes to her husband's heart to see four yards of good lustring wearing against the ground, like one of his knives on a grindstone. To speak my mind, cousin Jeffery, I never liked those tails; for suppose a young fellow should be rude, and the lady should offer to step back in the fright, instead of retiring, she treads upon her train, and falls fairly on her back; and then you know, cousin,- her clothes may be spoiled.
Ah! miss Mazzard! I knew we should not miss her in the Park; she in the monstrous Prussian bonnet. Miss, though so very fine, was bred a milliner; and might have had some custom if she had minded her business; but the girl was fond of finery, and, instead of dressing her customers, laid out all her goods in adorning herself. Every new gown she put on, impaired her credit; she still, however, went on, improving her appearance and
lessening her little fortune, and is now, you see, become a belle and a bankrupt.'
My cousin was proceeding in her remarks, which were interrupted by the approach of the very lady she had been so freely describing. Miss had perceived her at a distance, and approached to salute her. I found, by the warmth of the two ladies' protestations, that they had been long intimate, esteemed friends and acquaintance. Both were so pleased at this happy rencounter, that they were resolved not to part for the day. So we all crossed the Park together, and I saw them into a hackney-coach at St. James's.
ASEM, AN EASTERN TALE;
OR, THE WISDOM OF PROVIDENCE IN THE MORAL GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD.
WHERE Tauris lifts its head above the storm,
and presents nothing to the sight of the distant traveller, but a prospect of nodding rocks, falling torrents, and all the variety of tremendous nature; on the bleak bosom of this frightful mountain, secluded from society, and detesting the ways of men, lived Asem the man-hater.
Asem had spent his youth with men; had shared in their amusements; and had been taught to love his fellow-creatures with the most ardent affection: but, from the tenderness of his disposition, he exhausted all his fortune in relieving the wants of the distressed. The petitioner never sued in vain; the weary traveller never passed his door; he only de
sisted from doing good when he had no longer the power of relieving.
From a fortune thus spent in benevolence, he expected a grateful return from those he had formerly relieved; and made his application with confidence of redress: the ungrateful world soon grew weary of his importunity; for pity is but a short-lived passion. He soon, therefore, began to view mankind in a very different light from that in which he had before beheld them: he perceived a thousand vices he had never before suspected to exist: wherever he turned, ingratitude, dissimulation, and treachery, contributed to increase his detestation of them. Resolved therefore to continue no longer in a world which he hated, and which repaid his detestation with contempt, he retired to this region of sterility, in order to brood over his resentment in solitude, and converse with the only honest heart he knew; namely, with his own.
A cave was his only shelter from the inclemency of the weather; fruits, gathered with difficulty from the mountain's side, his only food; and his drink was fetched with danger and toil from the headlong torrent. In this manner he lived, sequestered from society, passing the hours in meditation, and sometimes exulting that he was able to live independently of his fellow-creatures.
At the foot of the mountain an extensive lake displayed its glassy bosom, reflecting on its broad surface the impending horrors of the mountain. To this capacious mirror he would sometimes descend, and, reclining on its steep banks, cast an eager look on the smooth expanse that lay before him. 'How beautiful,' he often cried, is nature! how lovely, even in her wildest scenes! How finely
contrasted is the level plain that lies beneath me, with yon awful pile that hides its tremendous head in clouds! But the beauty of these scenes is no way comparable with their utility; from hence a hundred rivers are supplied, which distribute
health and verdure to the various countries through which they flow. Every part of the universe is beautiful, just, and wise, but man: vile man is a solecism in nature; the only monster in the crea tion. Tempests and whirlwinds have their use; but vicious ungrateful man is a blot in the fair page of universal beauty. Why was I born of that detested species, whose vices are almost a reproach to the wisdom of the Divine Creator? Were men entirely free from vice, all would be uniformity, har mony, and order. A world of moral rectitude, should be the result of a perfectly moral agent. Why, why then, O Alla! must I be thus confined in darkness, doubt, and despair?"
Just as he uttered the word despair, he was going to plunge into the lake beneath him, at once to satisfy his doubts, and put a period to his anxiety; when he perceived a most majestic being walking on the surface of the water, and approaching the bank on which he stood. So unexpected an object at once checked his purpose; he stopped, contem. plated, and fancied he saw something awful and divine in his aspect.
'Son of Adam,' cried the genius, stop thy rash purpose; the Father of the faithful has seen thy justice, thy integrity, thy miseries; and hath sent me to afford and administer relief. Give me thine hand, and follow, without trembling, wherever I shall lead; in me behold the genius of conviction, kept by the great prophet, to turn from their errors those who go astray, not from curiosity, but a rectitude of intention. Follow me and be wise."
Asem immediately descended upon the lake, aud his guide conducted him along the surface of the water; till, coming near the centre of the lake, they both began to sink; the waters closed over their heads; they descended several hundred fathoms, till Asem, just ready to give up his life as inevita bly lost, found himself with his celestial guide in another world, at the bottom of the waters, where