페이지 이미지

to contend, I am sure, is a duty; and upon that principle, some, I suppose, will, under any discouragements. From the despondence I feel about the public, my heart is, I think, more taken up with the sentiments of private affection and concern for my friends. This makes me very impatient to hear from your lordship, that I may be assured of your health, which I am afraid may be too much affected by this unhappy event; and it will be the greatest consolation to me under the loss of a friend I shall always regret, to find that you continue your kindness to, my lord, your lordship’s most obliged, humble servant,


I put this into the hands of Mr. Brinsden, until he can find a safe opportunity of delivering it to you.

DR. HAWKESWORTH TO A YOUNG LADY. DEAR MISS, Bromley, Kent, 14th Dec, 1748. You are now going, from the company, the conversation, and amusements of children, into a scene of life which affords more rational pleasures, and will engage you in more important pursuits : the world is opening before you, a wilderness in which many bave been lost; and in which, among a thousand broad ways, there is but one narrow path that leads to happiness and honour. If this path is missed at setting out, it is very difficult to recover it; it is therefore of great consequence to be directed into it at first; and though I hope you will be long under the

protection and guidance of parents in whom there is all that can be wished in a relation, yet I shall give you a few plain instructions, which I hope will assist you in fulfilling your duty to them, in obtaining the good will of others, and in promoting your own welfare. .

As my affection to you first led me to this design, my knowledge of your capacity encourages me to pursue it. Do not imagine that I think you inclined to all the faults and follies that I shall warn you against; but you must remember that all men have faults and follies, and that to caution persons while they are innocent may prevent the shame and anguish of being reproved or upbraided after they are guilty.

Great part of the happiness of every individual depends upon the opinion and actions of others : it is therefore desirable to gain and to preserve the good will of all : nor would I have you think any person either so mean in their state of life, or so undeserving in their character, as that their good will is of no consequence to you. Every one who thinks you love them will love you ; for this reason be always ready to show your good will to all, by such acts of friendship as are in your power, still taking care to avoid a partiality which may lead you to do any thing in favour of one person at the expense of another, or of yourself.

There are many acts of friendship to mankind in general, which are neither difficult, troublesome, nor expensive : the principal of these is speaking well, or at least not speaking ill of the absent.

If you see a fault in another, don't make it the subject of conversation ; hide it with as much care as if it was your own. Do not think yourself justified by saying that what you report to another's disadvantage is true ; if all the failings which are true of the best of us were to be told to our dearest friend, perhaps all our virtues could scarce secure his esteem. But this rule must not extend to the concealing any thing by which another may be injured in his property and his character, if by revealing it the evil may be prevented ; and this is the only instance in which you are allowed to speak of the faults of others.

Be always punctual in returning what the world calls civilities. The failing in this, however trilling, is often taken for contempt, or at least for want of esteem; and I have known the omitting to return a visit, or to answer a letter in due time, attended with coldness, indifference, and worse consequences. That persons ought not to set such a value on these trifles is true; but if they do, it behoves us to act as if they ought: however as the resenting a breach in these punctillios is really a fault, take care that you are not betrayed into it. Let it be a rule with you never to resent any thing that was not intended as an affront; mere negligences should he below your resentment; though, for the sake of the infirmities of others, you should guard against them in yourself.

There are two ways of gaining the esteem of the world, which weak people practise because they know no other ; one is flattery, the other is

lavish professions of friendship, which begin and end on the lips. Never stoop to either of these low and infamous arts; whatever is thus gained is bought too dear. To refrain from this fault is easy, but to guard against the ill effects of it in others is difficult; it is not however more difficult than necessary. Always suspect that a person who commends you to your face endeavours to gain a confidence that he intends to betray. Remember that whoever makes professions of friendship which are not merited is an hypocrite, and beware that your own vanity does not encourage you to think that you have merited uncommon and excessive instances of favour and zeal to serve you.

But the constant steady esteem of a person long tried and well known, who has obtained a reputation for virtue and sincerity, is an invaluable treasure : if you find it, preserve it with a religious care, and return it with fidelity and zeal. • In this place I would caution you never to be trusted with the secrets of others, if you can by any means avoid it with decency: reject it as an enemy to your peace, and as a snare for your good name. Whoever tells you a secret tells it as a secret to twenty more ; at length it is betrayed; and as this breach of faith is always denied by the guilty, the innocent are always suspected. It has been thought good advice not to reveal your own secrets, but I would ratheradvise you to have none : do nothing that if known would wound your reputation, or fill your own bosom with shame and regret. To be at the

mercy of accident; to be obliged constantly to watch over our words and actions, lest what we wish to hide should be discovered, is the life of a slave, full of fear, suspicion, and anxiety : those who have nothing to fear but falsehood and detraction enjoy their own innocence, have an open look, a noble confidence, native cheerfulness, and perpetual peace.

If upon any difference you should happen to lose an intimate acquaintance, don't be eager to relate the circumstances of the quarrel in order to justify your conduct and condemn theirs; those stories, which a thousand little circumstances make of importance to you, and warm your mind in the recital, are insipid to every other person; and while you think you amuse them, and are rising into a person of consequence by a detail of your own prudent management; you will become tiresome, impertinent, and ridiculous. If the party with whom you have differed should pursue this method, the wiser part of mankind will rather conclude them to be in the fault, from their zeal to defend themselves, than you from your silence ; for it is a consciousness that others will condemn us which makes us so eager to anticipate their judgment. This rule extends to the talking of yourself and of your private affairs on every other occasion, except when it has some pertinent relation to the discourse of the company, or when it is necessary to obtain some valuable purpose.

As to your behaviour at home, keep yourself always above the servants; your station is above them as their master's daughter, while they are

« 이전계속 »