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house," says he, “the poor are supplied with food, clothes, fire, and a bed to lie on; they want no more, I desire no more myself; yet still they seem discons tented. I am surprised at the inactivity of our magistrates, in not taking up such vagrants who are only a weight upon the industrious; I'm surprised that the people are found to relieve them, when they must be at the same time sensible that it, in some measure, encourages idleness, extravagance, and imposture. Were I to advise any man for whom I had the least regard, I would caution him by all means not to be imposed upon by their false pretences ; let me assure you, Sir, they are impostors, every one of them; and rather merit á prison than relief."
He was proceeding in this strain earnestly, to dissuade me from an imprudence of which I am seldom guilty;
when an old man, who still had about him the remnants of tattered finery, implored our compassion. He assured us that he was no common beggar, but forced into the shameful profession, to support a dying wife and five hungry children. Being prepossessed against such falsehoods, his story had not the least influence upon me; but it was quite otherwise with the man in black; I could see it visibly operate upon
his countenance, and effectually interrupt his harangue. I could easily perceive that his heart burned to relieve the five starving children, but he seemed ashamed to discover his weakness to me. While he thus hesitated be. tween compassion and pride, I pretended to look another way, and he seized this opportunity of giving the poor petitioner a piece of silver, bidding him at the same time, in order that I should hear, go work for his bread, and not teaze passengers with such impertinent falsehoods for the future.
As he had fancied himself quite unperceived, he continued, as we proceeded, to rail against beggars with as much animosity as before ; he threw in some episodes on his own amazing prudence and economy, with his profouud skill in discovering impostors; he explained the manner in which he would deal with beggars were he a magistrate, hinted at enlarging some of the prisons for their reception, and told two stories of ladies that were robbed by beggar-men. He was beginning a third to the same purpose, when a sailor with a wooden leg, once more crossed our walks, desiring our pity, and blessing our limbs. - I was for going on without taking any notice, but my friend looking wish, fully upon the poor petitioner, bid me stop, and he would shew me with how much ease he could at any time detect an impostor.
He now therefore assumed a look of importance, and in an angry tone began to examine the sailor, demanding in what engagement he was thus disabled and rendered unfit for service. The sailor replied in a tone as angrily as he, that he had been an officer on board a private ship of war, and that he had lost his leg abroad in defence of those who did nothing at home. - At this reply all my friend's importance vanished in a mo- . ment; he had not a single question more to ask; he now only studied what method he should take to relieve him unobserved. He had, however, no easy part to act, as he was obliged to preserve the appearance of ill nature before me, and yet relieve himself by relieving the sailor. Casting therefore a furious look upon some bundles of chips which the fellow carried in a string, at his back, my friend demanded how he sold his matches; but not waiting for a reply, desired, in a surly tone, to have a shilling's worth. The sailor seemed at first surprised at his demand, but soon recollected himself, and presenting his whole bundle-“Here, master,” says he,
says he, “ take all my cargo, and a blessing into the bargain.
It is impossible to describe with what an air of triumph my friend marched off with his new purchase ; he assured me that he was firmly of opinion, that those fellows must have stolen their goods, who could thus
afford to sell them for half value; he informed me of several different uses to which those chips might be applied; he expatiated largely upon the savings that would result from lighting candles with a match instead of thrusting them into the fire. He averred that he would have as soon parted with a tooth as his money to these vagabonds, unless for some valuable consideration. I cannot tell how long this panegyric upon frugality and matches might have continued, had not his attention been called off by another object more distressful than either of the former. A woman in rags, with one child in her arms, and another on her back, was attempting to sing ballads, but with such a mournful voice that it was difficult to determine whether she was singing or crying. A wretch, who, in the deepest distress still aimed at good humour, was an object my friend was by no means capable of withstanding : his vivacity and his discourse were instantly interrupted; upon this occasion his very
dissimulation had forsaken him. Even in my presence, he immediately applied his hands to his pockets, in order to relieve her ; but guess his confusion, when he found he had already given away all the money he carried about him to former objects. The misery painted in the woman's visage was not half so strongly expressed as the agony in his. He continued to search for soine time, but to no purpose; till, at length, recollecting himself, with a face of ineffable good nature, as he had no money, he put into her hands his shilling's worth of matches.
fellow-creature conveys a pleasing kind of sensation, which it is difficult to describe, but which Shakespeare expressed thus: “It comes over the heart as soft music does over the ear;
Like the sweet south,
It is most fortunate for men to have hearts so framed that they derive pleasure from such recollections. Men of that construction are stimulated to do good to others for their own sake.
Such a motive may seem to degrade benevolence; but it must be acknowledged, that it is the most active and the most certain.
CHARACTER OF ALFRED THE GREAT,
KING OF ENGLAND.
THE merit of this prince, both in private and pub
lic life, may, with advantage, be set in opposition to that of any monarch or citizen which the annals of any age or nation can present to us. He seems, in deed, to be the complete model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a sage or wise man, the philosophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever seeing it reduced to practice. So happily were all his virtues tempered together; so justly were they blended, and so powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds. He knew how to conciliate the most enterprising spirit with the coolest moderation; the most obstinate perseverance, with the easiest flexibility ; the most severe justice, with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining taa lents for action. His civil and his military virtues are almost equally the objects of our admiration ; excepting only, that the former being more rare among princes, as well as more useful, seem chiefly to challenge our applause.
Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily accomplishments, vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a pleasant, engaging, and open countenance.
Fortune alone, by throwing him into that barbarous age, deprived him of historians worthy to transmit his fame to posterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively colours, and with more particular strokes, that we may at least perceive some of those small specks and blemishes, from which, as a man, it is impossible he could be entirely exempted.
THE BAGPIPER: A FRAGMENT.
Attempted after the Manner of Sterne.
HAD just quaffed my last glass of claret, and being
determined immediately to leave the tavern, was going to rise out of my arm-chair, when the notes of a highland bagpipe saluted my ear, wild and rural indeed; bat the notes, though wild and rural, were