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EXPECTATIONS of PLEASURE FRUSTRATED.
LEASURE is very seldom found where it is.
commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. The flowers which scatter their odours from time to time in the paths of life, grow up without culture from seeds scattered by chance.
Nothing is more hopeless than a scheme of merriment. Wits and humourists are brought together from distant quarters by preconcerted invitations; they come attended by their admirers prepared to laugh and to applaud; they gaze a while on each other, ashamed to be silent, and afraid to speak; every man is discontented with himself, grows angry with those that give him pain, and resolves that he will contribute nothing to the merriment of such worthless company. Wine inflames. the general malignity, and changes sullenness to petulence, till at last none can bear any longer the presence of the rest. They retire to vent their indignation in safer places, where they are heard with attention; their importance is restored, they recover. their good humour, and gladden the night with wit and jocularity.
Merriment is always the effect of a sudden impression. The jest which is expected is already destroyed. The most active imagination will be sometimes torpid under the frigid influence of melancholy; and sometimes occasions will be wanting to tempt the mind, however volatile, to sallies and excursions. Nothing was ever said with uncommon felicity, but by the cooperation of chance; and, therefore, wit as well as valour must be content to share its honours with fortyne,
All other pleasures are equally uncertain; the general remedy of uneasiness is change of place; almost every one has some journey of pleasure in his mind, with which he flatters his expectation. He that travels in theory has no inconvenience ; he has shade and sunshine at his disposal, and wherever he alights finds tables of plenty and looks of gaiety. These ideas are indulged till the day of departure arrives, the chaise is called, and the progress of happiness begins.
A few miles teach him the fallacies of imagination, The road is dusty, the air is sultry, the horses are sluggish, and the postillion brutal. He longs for the time of dinner, that he may eat and rest. The inn is crowded, his orders are neglected, and nothing remains but that he devour in haste what the cook bas spoiled, and drive on in quest of better entertainment. He finds at night a more commodious house, but the best is always worse than he expected.
He at last enters his native province, and resolves to feast his mind with the conversation of his old friends, and the recollection of juvenile frolics. He stops at the house of his friend, whom he designs to overpower with pleasure by the unexpected interview. He is not kuown till he tells his name, and revives the memory of himself by a gradual explanation. He is then coldly received, and ceremoniously feasted. He hastes away to another, whom his affairs have called to a distant place, and having seen the empty house, goes away disgusted, by a disappointment which could not be intended because it could not be foreseen. At the next house he finds every face clouded with mis. fortune, and is regarded with malevolence as an unreasonable intruder, who comes not to visit but to insult them.
It is seldom that we find either men or places such as we expect them. He that has pictured a prospect upon his fancy, will receive little pleasure from his cyes; he that has anticipated the conversation of a wit, will wonder to what prejudice he owes his reputation. Yet it is necessary to hope, though hope should always be deluded; for hope itself is happiness, and its frustrations, however frequent, are yet less dreadful thanits extinction.
NHE beautiful Grisset rose up when I said this,
and going behind the counter, reach'd down a a parcel, and untied it: I advanced to the side over against her : they were all too large. The beautiful Grisset measured them one by one across my hand.It would not alter the dimensions.-- She begged I would try a single pair, which seemed to be the least.
She held it open-my hand slipp'd into it at once.It will not do, said I, shaking my head a little.--No, said she, doing the same thing.
There are certain combined looks of simple subtlety, where whim, and sense, and seriousness, and nonsense, are so blended, that all the languages of Babel set loose together could not express them—they are communicated and caught so instantaneously, that you can scarcely say which party is the infector. I leave it to your men of words to swell pages about it-it is enough in the present to say again the aloves would not do; so folding our hands within our arms, we both loll'd upon
the counter-it was narrow, and there was just room for the parcel to lie between us.
The beautiful Grisset look'd sometimes at the gloves, then sideways to the window, then at the gloves-and then at me. I was not disposed to break silence-I followed her example : so I look'd at the gloves, then
to the window, then at the gloves, and then at her.. and so on alternately.
I found I lost considerably in every attack-she had a quick black eye, and shot through two such long and silken eye-lashes with such penetration, that she look'd into my very heart and reins.-It may seem strange, but I could actually feel she did.
-It is no matter, said I, taking up a couple of the pairs next me, and putting them into my pocket.
I was sensible the beautiful Grisset had not ask'd more than a single livre above the price—I wish'd she had ask'd a livre more, and was puzzling my brains how to bring the matter about.--Do you think, my dear sir, said she, mistaking my embarrassment, that I could ask a sous too much of a stranger-and of a stranger whose politeness, more than his want of gloves, has done me the honour to lay himself at my mercy ?-M'en croyez capable ?-Faith! not I, said I: and if you were, you are welcome. So counting the money into her hand, and with a lower bow than one generally makes to a shop-keeper's wife, I went out, and her lad with his parcel followed me.
WOLKMAR AND HIS DOG.
T was evening, when Wolkmar and his dog, almost
spent with fatigue, descended one of the mountains in Switzerland; the sun was dilated in the horizon, and threw a tint of rich crimson over the waters of a neighbouring lake; on each side rocks of varied form, their green heads glowing in the beam, were swarded with shrubs that hung feathering from their
summits, and, at intervals, was heard the rushings of a troubled stream.
Amid this scenery, our traveller, far from any habis tation, wearied, and uncertain of the road, sought for some excavation in the rock, wherein he might repose himself; and having at length discovered such a situation, fell fast asleep upon some withered leaves. His dog sat watching at his feet, a small bundle of linen and a staff were placed beside him, and the red rays of the declining sun, having pierced through the shrubs that concealed the retreat, gleamed on the languid features of his beloved master.
And long be thy rest, О Wolkmar! may sleep sit pleasant on thy soul! Unhappy man! war hath estranged thee from thy native village; war, unnatural war; snatched thee from thy Fanny and her infant. Where art thou, best of wives ? thy Wolkmar lives! 'twas error spread his death. Thou fledd'st; thy beauty caught the eye of power : thou fledd'st with thy infant and thy aged father. Unhappy woman! thy husband seekest thee over the wilds of Switzerland. Long be thy rest, О Wolkmar! may sleep sit pleasant on thy soul!
Yet not long did Wolkmar rest; starting, he beheld the dog, who, seizing his coat, had shook it with violence; and having thoroughly awakened him, whining, licked his face, and sprang through the thicket. Wolkmar, eagerly following, discerned at some distance a man gently walking down the declivity of the opposite hill, and his own og running with full speed towards him. The sun yet threw athwart the vale rays of a bloodred hue, the sky was overcast, and a few big round drops rustled through the drooping leaves, Wolkmar sat down, the dog now fawned upon the man, then bounding, ran before him. The curiosity of Wolkmar was roused, he rose to meet the stranger, who, as he drew near, appeared old, very old, his steps scarcely supporting with a staff; a blue mantle was wrapped