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THE TRANSFORMATION OF FIDELIO
INTO A LOOKING-GLASS.
And claims the ministry of heav'nly pow'rs.
entertained the company with a relation of a coqnette in the neighbourhood, who had been discovered practising before ber glass. To turn the discourse, which, from being witty, grew to be malicious, the matron of the family took occasion, from the subject, to wish that there were to be found amongst men such faithful nionitors to dress the mind by, as we consult to adorn the body. She added, that if a sincere friend were miraculously changed into a looking-glass, she should not be ashamed to ask its advice very often. This whimsical thought worked 30 much upon my fancy the whole evening, that it produced a very odd dream.
Methought, that as I stood before my glass, the image of a youth, of an open and ingenuous aspect, appeared in it; who with a small shrill voice spoke in the following manner :
“ The looking-glass, you see, was heretofore a man, even I, the unfortunate Fidelio. I bad two brothers, whose deformity in shape was made out by the clearness of their understanding : it must be owned, how ever, that (as it generally bappens) they had each a perverseness of bumour suitable to their distortion of body. The eldest, whose belly sunk in inonstrously, was a great coward; and though his splenetic contracted temper made him take fire immediately, he made objects that beset bim appear greater than they were The secoud, whose breast swelled into a bold relievo, on the contrary, took great pleasure in lessening every thing, and was perfectly the reverse of his brother. These oddnesses pleased company once or twice, but disgusted when often seen; for which reason the young gentlemen were sent from court to study mathematics at the university,
" I need not acquaint you, that I was very well made, and reckoned a bright polite gentleman. I was the confidant and darling of all the fair; and if the old and ugly spoke ill of me, all the world knew it was because I scorned to flatter them. No ball, no assembly, was attended till I had been consulted. Flavia coloured her hair before me, Celia showed me her teeth, Panthea heaved her bosom. Cleora brandished her diamonds; I have seen Cloe's fout, and tied artificially the garters of Rhodope.
“ 'Tis a general maxim, that those who doat upon themselves, can have no violent affection for another; bat on the contrary, I found that the women's passion for me rose in proportion to the love they bore to themselves. This was verified in my amour with Narcissa, who was so constant to me, that it was plea. santly said, had I been little enough, she would have bung me at ber girdle. The most dangerous rival I bad, was a gay empty fellow, who by the strength of a long intercourse with Narcissa, joined to his natural endowments, had formed himself into a perfect resemblance with her. I had been discarded, had she not observed that he frequently asked my opiniou about matters of the last consequence: this made ine still more considerable in her eye.
Though I was eternally caressed by the ladies, such was their opinion of my honour, that I was never envied by the men.
A jealous lover of Narcissa one day thonght he had caught her in an amorous conversation ; for though he was at such a distance that he could hear nothing, he imagined strange things from her airs and gestures. Sometimes with a serene look
De in manu sitt
er an happy Yet of no gelt bes, apou such
Reable by pare
she stepped back in a listening postore, and brighteneo ed into an innocent smile. Quickly after she swelled into an air of majesty and disdain, then kept her eyes half shut after a languishing manner, then covered her blushes with her hand, breathed a sigh, and seemed ready to sink down. In rushed the furious lover; but how great was his surprise to see no one there but the innocent Fidelio, with his back against the wall be. twixt two windows!
« It were endless to recount all Let me basten to that which cost me my life, and Narcissa her happiness. ; "She had the misfortune to have the small-pos, upa on which I was expressly forbid her sight, it being a prehended that it would increase her distemper, and that I should infallibly catch it at the first look. As soon as she was suffered to leave her bed, she stole out of her chamber, and found me all alone in an adjoin. ing apartment. She ran with transport to her darling
, and without mixture of fear, leat I should dislike her. But oh me! what was her fury when she heard me say, I was afraid and shocked at so loathsome a spee tacle. She stepped back, swollen with rage, to see if I had the insolence to repeat it. I did, with this addie tion, that her ill-timed passion had increased her oglio ness. Enraged, inflamed, distracted, she spatched a bodkin, and with all her force stabbed me to the heart. Dying, I preserved my sincerity, and express ed the truth, though in broken words; and by reproachful grimaces to the last I mimicked the defor. mity of my murderess.
“ Cupid, who always attends the fair, and pitied the fate of so useful à servant as I was, obtained at ruptible, and retain the qualities my the Destinies, that my body should be made incor became smooth, polished, and bright, and to this day sessed, I immediately lost the figure of a man, and
Portion of the
base and in
Teds those abo
til besides. T Sadraint befor porewhen th och orber's car
am the first favourite of the ladies."
INSIPID, VEXATIOUS, OR HAPPY.
Cui in manu sit quem esse dementem velit,
CÆCIL. Who has it in her power to make any man mad, or in
his senses; sick or in health; and who can choose
the object of her affection at pleasure? THE marriage life is always an insipid, a vexations,
or an happy condition. The first is, when two people of no genius or taste for themselves meet toge. ther, upou such a settleinent as has been thought reasonable by parents and conveyancers from an exact valuation of the land and cash of both parties: in this case the young lady's person is no more regarded, than the house and improvements in purchase of an estate; but she goes with her fortune, rather than her fortune with her. These make up the crowd or vulgar of the rich, and fill up the lumber of human race without beneficence towards those below them, or respect to. wards those above them; and lead a despicable, inde. pendent, and useless life, without sense of the laws of kindness, good-nature, mutual offices, and the elegant satisfaction which flows from reason aud virtue.
The vexatious life arises from a conjunction of two people of quick taste and resentment, put together for reasons well known to their friends, in which especial care is taken to avoid, what they think the chief of evils, poverty, and ensure to them riches, with every evil besides. These good people live in a constant constraint before company, and tou great familiarity alone; when they are within observation they fret at each other's carriage and behaviour; when alone they
revile each other's person and conduct: in company they are in a purgatory, when only together in an hell.
The happy marriage is, where two persons meet and voluntarily make choice of each other, without principally regarding or neglecting the circumstances of fortune or beauty. These may still love in spite of adversity or sickness: the former we may in some measure defend ourselves from, the other is the portion of our very make.
CLERGYMEN, LAWYERS, AND PHY
SICIANS, TOO NUMEROUS.
AM sometimes very much troubled, when I reflect
upon the three great professions of divinity, law, and physic; how they are each of them overbordened with practitioners, and filled with multitudes of ingevious gentlemen that starve one another.
We may divide the clergy into generals, field-oflicers, and subalterns. Among the first we may reckon bishops, deans, and archdeacons. Among the second are doctors of divinity, prebendaries, and all that wear scarfs. The rest are comprehended under the subalterns.
As for the first class, our constitution preserves it from any redundancy of incumbents, notwithstanding competitors are numberless. Upon a strict calculation, it is found that there has been a great exceeding of late years in the second division, several brevets having been granted for the converting of subalterns into scarf-officers; insomuch that within my memory the price of lutestring is raised above two-pence in a