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discovered that the kind Fairy had been lavish in her gifts.
Prince Georgishkan, at length, arrived at the most dangerous part of human life — that in which the passions are in full sway, without the advantage of either mature reason, or ex• perience to controul them ; and to the very great sorrow of his parents, he soon gave symptoms that he would be a slave to them, if the Fairy Prudentia should forget her promise of watching over him; but the King and Queen had too much confidence in her sincerity to distrust it.
Prince Georgishkan had scarcely got rid of his preceptors before he engaged in an amour with one Petitinah, a public stage-player, who, as was usual in her profession, had only in terest in view, and she did not take much care to conceal it from the prince, whose inexperience, perhaps, she despised : to add to the criminality of the intrigue, she was a married woman and a mother.
On the morning after the intimacy had been first sealed, the prince drew out the glass-the
gift of the Fairy Prudentia, which had been presented to him at the appointed time by bis father, with an explanation of its wonderful and valuable properties; but the prince bad hitherto used it only as a common piece of mechanism for the purpose of viewing his face, adjusting and plucking out superfluous hairs, or patching a pimple. It was for one or other of those important purposes, that he now drew it forth from his bosom, where it was suspended by a coral chain round his neck; as his father had advised him to keep it thus, for fear of its being injured. On looking at it, he observed that it was covered with a kind of mist. Imagining that it might be only the vapour of his breath which attached to the polished surface, he wiped it with a napkin; but to his excessive astonishment and fright, he could not remove the mist. He then remembered what he had heard of its properties, and exclaimed with a sigh: -" Ab! I understand now - this wonderful glass points out that I have made the first step into vice.' I must take the warning.”-He was resolved to break off with Petitinah; but an irresistible charm drew him to her again on
that very evening, and her fascinating allurements made him forget his intention, and renew his guilt. The glass, on the next morning, appeared still misty; but the astonishment and fright of the prince had partly subsided, and by a frequent repetition of the cause of its being so, he became familiar with it. Tbis intrigue was, at length, broken off by satiety; and the avaricious Petitinah was left to bewail - not the loss of the prince, for she never cared for him— but of the advantages which she hoped to have derived from him.
Wit loves its brother wit, and the prince fell into the company of a set of artful, designing, ambitious, and needy, but witty courtiers, whose designs upon him were not of a more honourable nature than those of Petitinah.By flattering him, they first gained an ascen. dancy over him; and then, that they might have opportunities of rendering themselves subservient to his pleasures, they gave him a taste for rioting, gaming, and every other kind of debaucbery.
One night, after one of his nocturnal sallies with these dangerous associates, the prince, by
mere chance, looked into the glass which he had long neglected, and perceived that the mist was vanished, but the appearance of the reflected image was highly distressing. He beheld his once beauteous form, still retaining all its outlines; but sickly, bloated and carbun. cled.-- Alas !” exclaimed he, with a groan, “ these are the effects of the second step to vice. I will resume fortitude, and retrace my steps.” At that instant some of his pretended friends entered the apartment - swore that he never looked so well in his life — joked him upon some new conquests - made him forget his faithful monitor, the glass; and finished by leading him into fresh extravagancies.
This unbridled course of life was so very expensive, that the treasury was soon drained of all the gold and jewels, which had been carefully heaped up by the prince's ancestors ; but he took no warning, nor bestowed a single thought on the dangerous tendency of pursuing such a line of conduct. Could he have had free access to the mines of Golcondah, they would not have long supplied his profusion. When all the valuables in the treasury were expended, he had recourse to borrowing of rapacious money. lenders, who supplied him for a while in hopes of receiving enormous interest when he should ascend the throne. The good old king, however, affording no symptoms of speedily satisfying the hopes of these human vultures, they grew tired of lending any more money, and the prince was obliged to take up rich merchandize from the bazars to administer to his luxuries.
As the king imagined, that marriage would tend, in a great measure, to reclaim the prince, he prevailed upon him to consent to address the daughter of a neighbouring prince, by pointing out that his enormous load of debts, which were unworthy of his rank, would be discharged by means of the presents, which it was usual for the people to make on such occasions. The prince yielded with a seeming good grace ; the marriage was concluded, and he received a bride, fair as the morning-star, blooming as the Houris. For a while the Georgians, who had long been discontented at the prince's extravagance, but, out of their attachment to the king, attributed it to youthful follies, had reason to