« PreviousContinue »
happened to come up to a young bullock, entangled by his horns in the thicket, who, with groans and cries, solicited assistance to release him. “ By no means," said the Colt; “it is your own fault. What need you be wearing those things upon your head -don't you see that we have none ?" and, kicking up his hoofs in the poor captive's face, he galloped off.
A Magpie, wishing to improve the society of the neighbourhood, sent an invitation to some Blackbirds to dine with him in a certain wheat-field, where, at much expense no doubt, a dinner of newly-sown corn had been provided. The Blackbirds came in a full suit of black—the Magpie was dressed, as usual, in black and white; which, when the Blackbirds saw, great whisperings began amongst them. What a vulgar fellow; how monstrously unfashionable ; could he not see that everybody wears black ? they wished they had not come; they gulped down the corn, half-choking with ill-humour; two of them died that night of indigestion ; the rest would ever after endure the pangs of hunger rather than alight in a field where a Magpie was feeding.
A certain Crab, cast upon the shore by the tide, and eager to regain his native element, was walking, as was his custom, sidewise to the water's edge. By the way he met with an Eel in the same predicament; but he, like most others, travelled with his head foremost. “ I do not see, sir," said the Eel,
why you should refuse to conform to the customs of the world and the habits of society; therefore I will thank you to turn about, and walk like other people.” The Crab maintained his right to walk as he pleased, more especially as it was the only way he could walk. The Eel persisted. A quarrel ensued. Meantime the tide went out, and nei
ther party, backward or forward, being able to reach the water, they were left to die of thirst
upon the sand.
“ Hear those creatures,” said a pretty little Thrush, who, just finishing his morning song, had alighted on a bough that overhung a bee-hive 66 would
you believe they take that noise for music? The tasteless creatures! and pretend to have a concert! How I hate pretension ! I will shame them into silence ;"—and forthwith the Thrush resumed his loudest song. The Bees, however, happening to have more taste for honey than music, a concert not in their thoughts, went buzzing on, totally unconscious of the rivalship they had excited. The Thrush grew wroth; they were actually trying to out-sing him; that was not to be borne; and down he pounced upon the Bees, as one by one they soared above their hive, and struck them to the ground with his beak; they trying in vain to pierce his close feathers with their sting : though some historians are of opinion he did not escape altogether unhurt.
« Pray, sir,” said a Goat to a Sheep, as they chanced to meet one day upon the narrow pathof a declivity, but just wide enough to allow them to pass—“ may I take the liberty of asking why you wear your hair curled while I wear mine straight ?" The Sheep, not remarkable for his reasoning powers, had no particular reason to give: it answered his purpose, and, if each was content with his
there was no need of argument. The Goat thought otherwise. People ought to have reasons for what they do, and be able to explain the grounds of their conduct; and if they have not brains enough to discriminate, they ought to follow the example of those that have : therefore, to convince him that there was a reason why long loose hair was more advan
tageous than close curled wool, he should take the liberty of putting his horns into his fleece, and rolling him down the steep; which, if he had worn hair, he could not so easily have done.
It happened that a beautiful little Spaniel formed a strong attachment to a certain Rabbit he was in the habit of meeting in the beds of his master's garden. The Rabbit felt extremely much flattered by the protection of so superior a person; but there was one subject of difference between them that was not easily to be adjusted. The Spaniel assured the Rabbit it was excessively vulgar to live upon vegetable diet: no rational creature did so: it was food only for brutes. He hoped, now he had chosen the Rabbit for his friend, he would try to acquire more polite habits. The Rabbit modestly suggested that, besides that he had no teeth to masticate animal food, and possibly no organs to digest it, he did not exactly know how he was to get it. The Spaniel generously promised to remove the latter difficulty, by sharing with him his own food. As to his teeth, if he could not masticate the meat, he might swallow it whole: it would save appearances, and nobody would know whether he digested it or not. The ambitious Rabbit, eager to place himself on an equality with his friend, and willing to imitate him in every thing, most assiduously swallowed the meat the Spaniel brought him; and if he did not enjoy his meals to the full as much as when fed on cabbages and parsley, the idea of growing more genteel quite reconciled him to the privation. But alas! nature prevailed, and poor bunny died.
A Fly who had been born and bred among his kindred, behind a drawing-room curtain, determined to go forth and see the world, and make himself better acquainted with the beings that inhabit it. On
his return, he was observed to be morose and melancholy: he shut himself up in a creek of the ceiling, and could scarcely be persuaded to go out in search of necessary food. His friends, greatly concerned, questioned him upon the cause of this sadness; to which he only answered, that what he had seen of the world had so disgusted him, he was determined to have no more intercourse with it-he would rather stay in his creek and starve. His companions, who had seen nothing in society so much amiss, except a few Spiders, continued to express their surprise; till the poor Fly explained, that during his recent intercourse with the world, he observed that the animals had the folly to wear their eyes in the front of their heads. Of all the living creatures he had become acquainted with, there was not one, besides themselves, that could see behind him: he would sooner starve in solitude than associate with creatures so senseless; and he is supposed to have died of cold soon after, because he would not go to the hearth to warm himself, lest he should meet a creature without eyes at the back of his head.
My readers, I am sure, must feel much effected at the mournful state of society in the animal creation at that period; at sorrows that overwhelmed alike the innocent and the guilty. I can imagine that nothing, while they read it, stays their tears from falling, but the hope that such a state of society never has existed. I cannot certainly pledge myself to the historical truth of what I have related; though it appears to me quite as probable as many things that are believed: but I can assure you, I have seen something very much like it, in the state of society among certain young ladies and gentlemen of my acquaintance in various parts of the habitable
be morre a earth: I say young ones, more especially; because it a creek da is an evil, the experience and self-knowledge of insded to a creasing years tend, in some degree, to correct. But ends, great habit not unfrequently perpetuates what began in ca'use of the folly ; which makes it the more necessary that early that whate habits should be watched, and, as far as may be, him, be v restrained ; lest, confirmed by repetition, and beurse with its come insensible to ourselves, the fault remains when tarve. His the excuse is gone. society a Young persons, ignorant of the world and mostly ued to er ignorant of themselves, receive from their parents or zined
, that their governess, or from the combined circumstances tvorld. her of their education, a certain set of opinions, ideas,
and habits: very good ones, perhaps, but confined all their
as the sphere in which they are collected. This set
of notions is made into a standard of excellence, difcould see fering materially according to the difference of educolitude i
cation. But every girl thinks her own standard the Lodbeks
best; or rather the only one; for she knows no because !
other; and she comes into society fully prepared to measure all and every thing by her own set of notions. If to discover her mistake and correct it were the only results, it would be very well—the best and easiest remedy for a temporary evil—but this is not all. Censoriousness, contempt, impertinence, ill-humour, contention, and injustice, are the abundant
progeny ; and self-esteem is the parent of them all. Too high an opinion of ourselves, and too low an opinion of others, is the certain position assumed by a mind so conditioned: the very worst that can possibly be maintained, for all that is most lovely and valuable in the human character.
I observe a young woman who has been brought up in a London school: she has been taught to do every thing by the rules of politeness ; she walks by rule, and talks by rule, and eats by rule, and thinks Vol. II.
h effects mal crea whelmed imagine T lears
Í ate of en of cable