Page images

during the first course, or the distress occasioned by my being desired to carve a fowl, or help to various dishes that stood near me, spilling a sauce-boat and knocking down a salt-seller: rather let me hasten to the second course, "where fresh disasters overwhelm

ed me quite."

I had a piece of rich sweet pudding on my fork, when Miss Louisa Friendly begged to trouble me for a pigeon that stood near me; in my haste, scarcely knowing what I did, I whipped the pudding into my mouth, hot as a burning coal; it was impossible to conceal my agony, my eyes were starting from their sockets. At last, in spite of shame and resolution, I was obliged to drop the cause of torment on my plate. Sir Thomas and the ladies all compassionated my misfortune, and each advised a different application; one recommended oil, another water, but all agreed that wine was best for drawing out the fire; and a glass of sherry was brought me from the side-board, which I snatched up with eagerness but, oh! how shall I tell the sequel? whether the butler by accident mistook, or purposely designed to drive me mad, he gave me the strongest brandy, with which I filled my mouth, already flea'd and blistered; totally unused to every kind of ardent spirits, with my tongue, throat, and palate, as raw as beef, what could I do? I could not swallow, and clapping my hands upon my mouth, the cursed liquor squirted through my nose and fingers like a fountain, over all the dishes; and I, crushed by bursts of laughter from all quarters. In vain did Sir Thomas reprimand the servants, and Lady Friendly chide her daughters; for the measure of my shame and their diversion was not yet complete. To relieve me from the intolerable state of perspiration which this accident had caused, without considering what I did, I wiped my face with that ill-fated handkerchief, which was still wet from the consequences of the fall of Xenophon, and covered all my features with streaks


of ink in every direction. The baronet himself could not support this shock, but joined his lady in the general laugh; while I sprung from the table in despair, rushed out of the house, and ran home in an agony of confusion and disgrace, which the most poignant sense of guilt would have excited.

Thus without having deviated from the path of moral rectitude, I am suffering torments like " a goblin damn'd." The lower half of me has been almost boiled, my tongue and mouth grilled, and I bear the mark of Cain upon my forehead; yet these are but trifling considerations, to the everlasting shame which I must feel, whenever this adventure shall be mentioned.



Mrs. Hunter.

VERY one knows, for every one must feel, that the first link that unites man to man is mutual weakness and mutual wants. But how various are the sympathies which spring from this principle of selfpreservation and security when modified by the affections of nature! Perhaps there is not a condition in human life in which one is so soon conducted to a knowledge of that infinite skill with which heaven has formed its rational creation here, for the several purposes of virtue and enjoyment, as in the isolated station of a ship's company, exposed to the same hazards, and impressed with a sense of the reciprocal dependencies resulting from their situation. Removed from relatives and friends, the social compact of comrades and brother sailors, fills up the aching void; companionship ripens into friendship, and mutual

confidence keeps alive the generous affections of


How often do you see the cheerful glass, drunk to the health of the far-remote wife and sweetheart, meet the quivering lip and starting tear! and see the hard, but sympathetic, hand of an honest messmate extended with assumed hilarity, to grasp that of his brother, in this moment of tender recollection! How often do you listen there to the cheering tale of absence being forgotten in the heartfelt joy of hearing again the welcome of those whom they loved! It is not a romance. Such are the men who contemplate the wonders of the deep and such seamen may be found by thousands in Great Britain.

[ocr errors]



singular, in the age we live in, is the discreet behaviour of young Lady Sophia, and how amiable does she appear in the eyes of all wise men? Her lover, a little before marriage, acquainted her, that he intended to lay out a thousand pounds for a present in jewels; but, before he did it, desired to know what sort would be most agreeable to her. "Sir," replied Sophia, "I thank you for your kind and generous intentions, and only beg they may be executed in another manner: Be pleased only to give me the money, and I will try to lay it out to a better advantage. I am not," continued she, " in the least fond of those expensive trifles; neither do I think the wearing of diamonds can be any addition, nor the absence of them any diminution, to my happiness. I should be ashamed to appear in public for a few days in a dress which does not become me at all times.

Besides, I see, by that modest plain garb of yours, that you are not yourself affected with the gaiety of apparel. When I am your wife, my only care will be to keep my person clean and neat for you, and not to make it fine for others." The gentleman, transported with this excellent turn of mind in his mistress, presented her the money in new gold. She purchased an annuity with it; and, out of the income of which, at every revolution of her wedding-day, she makes her husband some pretty present, as a token of her gratitude, and a fresh pledge of her love. Part of it she yearly distributes among her indigent and best deserving neighbours, and the small remainder she lays out in something useful for herself and the children.

[ocr errors]




Mad. de Genlis.

MET a servant maid, whom I interrogated; but

she answered me abruptly." Indeed I know not whether she is alive or dead; who cares about such a woman as her?" On hearing these words, I advanced towards the stairs, went up, stopped at the first floor, entered the apartments, but saw no one. All the doors were open; I traversed two anti-chambers, and entered the bed-room. There was neither nurse nor priest, nor domestics. Religion was there unknown: never did friendship appear there; love had fled away, together with pleasure and voluptuousness. Death alone reigned within the spacious apartment. Day had now quite departed, and not even a lamp was left in this deserted chamber; but it received considerable light from a reverberating lamp, which hung

in front of one of the open windows. I advanced with a trembling step: the first object I beheld was a harp unstrung, leaning against a table: all my senses seemed convulsed, as I recalled to mind the seducing figure I had so often seen holding that harmonious instrument in her arms. Every thing was in confusion; several pieces of furniture, heaped together, occupied a part; near the alcove was an elegant toilette, half thrown down. Fragile altar of beauty! from which the most delicious perfumes every day exhaled! Flowers, still unfaded, were dispersed in various flower-pots; a fancy-dress, covered with festoons of roses, thrown upon a sofa; broken masks spread about the floor; every thing shewed that death had taken his victim by surprise, and seized her in the arms of folly and pleasure. I raised my eyes-I shuddered-I cast a look towards the alcove-I touched it. The sides were wholly covered with looking-glass, which a few days before multiplied the images of beauty, but now presented a picture of destruction. The rays of the reverberator, reflected there with brilliancy, afforded a light which discovered to my eyes, with horror, the inanimate figure of the unfortunate, Sophia a thousand times repeated!" Thou art no more!" exclaimed I; "those speaking eyes are closed for ever; that enchanting, that deceitful mouth will never be more opened, nor that Syren voice be heard.-Alas! what a fatal use hast thou made of such an assemblage of charms-vice has cut short thy career- in thy last moments thou wast abandoned thy memory is tarnished by contempt. Unfortunate Sophia-at length one tear of pity shall fall upon thy death-bed!"

M 3

« PreviousContinue »