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your father's servants; and every one should act suitable to their station. But do not think I mean that you should treat them haughtily, or look upon the meanest of them with contempt; that you should put on a commanding air, or speak to them in a peremptory tone : this would be most effectually to lose the superiority of your station, and to become despised and hated by those who ought to regard you with respect and esteem. My meaning is, that you should treat them courteously, but permit no familiarity. Never suffer yourself to be made their confidante in any thing they would conceal from their master and mistress : never make yourself a party in their discourse; and if they should address themselves to you, decline the conversation with as much address as you can, not to incur the imputation of pride, or ill nature, by frowning looks and harsh language. Avoid also the opposite ex. treme: do not watch their most trivial actions as a spy, nor report every little misdemeanor which falls under your observation with the low pleasure and petty officiousness of an informer: never steal the knowledge of what passes between thèm when they think they are alone, by secretly listening with a vain or malevolent curiosity ; what you overhear by such means may probably do you more harm than any thing which may be thus discovered can do you good. If your mamma should delegate part of her authority to you in the management of the household affairs, use it with moderation, and give orders to the maid rather in her name than in your own ; you will VOL. V.
then be obeyed without seeming to assume a command, or to value yourself upon it.
If your papa or mamma should at any time express a disapprobation of your conduct, immediately resolve to amend it, apologize for the past, and promise for the future: never seem in haste to justify yourself; and though you should think their displeasure unmerited, in wbich it is a thousand to one but you will be mistaken, yet be sure to avoid all pert and self sufficient replies on the one hand, and on the other sullen looks and dumb resentment. If it should happen that a harsh expression escapes them when their temper is ruffled by the perplexing accidents and disappointments of business, as it would be the highest ingratitude and indecency in you to express impatience and discontent, so as the reward of a contrary conduct, their own reflections upon what is past when the mind is calm will be in your favour, and their affection will seek an opportunity of compensating your uneasiness. You should regard these accidents as opportunities of endearing yourself to them, and as tests of your prudence, duty, and affection.
What may not children expect from a father who is a friend to the whole circle of his acquaintance ? It is your happiness to have such a father; think yourself secure of every thing that is fit for you in his affection, and do not anticipate his bounty by requests : the pleasure of both will be lessened if you receive because you ask, and he gives because he cannot deny you. How very shameful then is the common triumphs of favourites for having gained by importunity what is
denied to merit, and withheld by prudence ! Whatever is thus gained from the hand is lost in the heart. I have seen with grief and resentment every tender moment watched, to urge a request, and wrest a promise from the generous weakness of unguarded affection. How mean and selfish is such a practice! Remember that a noble mind will dispose a person to suffer much, rather than ask a favour which he knows cannot be refused, if he thinks that his friend may notwithstanding have reason to wish it had not been asked.
I shall finish this long letter with a note of yet higher importance.
If you succeed in every design which you form, and the world gives you till its utmost bounty is exhausted, your happiness will be still imperfect, you will find some desire unsatisfied, and your possession will never fill your wishes. . · But do not suffer the present hour to pass away unenjoyed by an earnest and anxious desire of some future good; for if this weakness is indulged, your happiness will still fly from you as you pursue it, and there will be the same distance between you and the object of your wishes, till all the visions of imagination shall vanish, and your progress to further degrees of temporal advantage shall be stopped by the grave.
It is notwithstanding true, that the expectation of future good, if the object is worthy of a rational desire, pleases more than any present enjoyment. You will therefore find that a well grounded hope of heaven will give a relish to whatever you shall possess upon earth. If there is no time to come that we can anticipate with pleasure, we regret every moment that passes; we see that time is flying away with all our enjoyments ; that youth is short, health precarious, and age approaching, loaded with infirmities, to which death only can put an end : for this reason endeavour to secure an interest in the favour of God, which will ensure to you an everlasting life of uninterrupted and inconceivable felicity. Nor is this a difficult or an unpleasing attempt; no real present happiness need to be forfeited to purchase the future, for virtue and piety at once secure every good of body and mind both in time and eternity.
As many of these hints as may be of immediate use I think you cannot fail to understand now; and I would recommend the frequent perusal of this letter, that you may at length comprehend the whole ; for as the world opens to you, you will see the reason and the use of other parts ; and if they assist you in any degree to pass through life with safety and reputation, I shall think my labour well bestowed. I am, dear miss, your affectionate friend,
OLIVER GOLDSMITH TO R. BRYANTON, ESQ. MY DEAR BOB,
Edinburgh, Sept. 26, 1753. How many good excuses (and you know I was always good at an excuse) might I call up to vindicate my past shameful silence !-I might tell how I wrote a long letter at my first coming
hither, and seem vastly angry at my not receiving an answer; I might allege that business (with business you know I was always pestered) had never given me time to finger a pen ;--but I suppress these, and twenty more equally plausible and as easily invented, since they might be attended with a slight inconvenience of being known to be lies. Let me then speak truth : an hereditary indolence (I have it from the mother's side) bas bitherto prevented my writing to you, and still prevents my writing at least five and twenty letters more, due to my friends in Ireland. No turnspit dog gets up into his wheel with more reluctance than I sit down to write ; yet no dog ever loved the roast meat he turns better than I do him I now address. Yet what sball I say now I am entered ? Shall I tire you with a description of this unfruitful country, where I must lead you over their hills all brown with heath, or their valleys scarce able to feed a rabbit? Man seems to be the only creature who has arrived to the natural size in this poor soil.
-Every part of the country presents the same dismal landscape :-no grove por brook lend their music to cheer the stranger, or make the inhabit. ants forget their poverty :-yet, with all these disadvantages to call him down to humility, a Scotchman is one of the proudest things alive. The poor have pride ever ready to relieve them :
if mankind should happen to despise them, they are masters of their own admiration, and that they cari plentifully bestow on themselves.
From their pride and poverty, as I take it, results one advantage this country enjoys, namely,