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Letter from Hannah Hopeful.
ill-nature, which are often the attendants on "hopeless virginity." Some ladies in my situation
"Despise those blessings which they can't enjoy,"
and hold up their condition as that which is most to be envied, while they are continually slandering all the young wives with whom they acquainted. Such, however, is not my disposition-although I own it is provoking enough to see a mere child, scarcely complete in her boarding-school education, selected to fulfil the duties of a wife, and assuming all the airs and importance which, in her conception, belong to her new situation, and looking down on us, poor maidens, with the eye of a superior. This is mortifying, no doubt; but I have learned to bear these little troubles, and I can now, with the utmost composure, read the marriage of the beautiful and accomplished Miss A. or the elopement of the young and lovely Miss B. with an officer of the guards.
You must know, my good sir, that I have been revolving in my mind for the last month a plan which I mean to submit to you for advice and approval. With all my philosophy I am inclined to think that happiness is only found in "wedded love;" and anxious for the weal of the community, I have started a project, which, if carried into effect, will diffuse much satisfaction, and finally tend to the strength and security of the country by increasing its population.
In short, sir, my plan is to have a general marriage-for which purpose, I would, in the first place, convene a meeting of all the single ladies in the city; (that is to say, all those of our neglected sisterhood, from desponding twenty-eight to hopeless forty-five,) with the intention of framing a petition to his most gracious majesty, when he honors our metropolis with his presence; humbly praying him to take our case into his benign consideration; and to issue a proclamation calling together all single gentlemen, to shew cause why they have chosen a life of celibacy, and to require each of them to select a suitable partner, and to enter into the holy state of wedlock, within one calendar month-under pain of a severe penalty; and also the high displeasure of his majesty.
Such, sir, is the plan which I offer to your notice-would it were reduced to practice!-oh, what delightful sensations would it not produce! what ringing of the church bells, and rattling of carriages through the streets, with their white favors flying about in all directions! By recommending the measure, you will oblige
Your friend and well-wisher,
Letter from Hereafter.
P. S. As this plan may meet with objections, on the plea of its being unprecedented, I beg to acquaint you that a similar measure was carried into effect by the great Augustus in Rome, who was pleased (no doubt on the representation of its neglected spinsters,) to order a general and simultaneous marriage in the city.
I AM one of those persons who seldom appear in public, and very rarely engross any share in the conversations of polite society. Indeed, to say truth, I live in a very retired manner, and have few friends in the city who even think of me; while those who sometimes remember me, do so, for the most part, because they have heard that I am entitled to respect, and not from having individually and personally examined my claim.
It is now nearly two thousand years since my merits and peculiar attributes were explained to the whole world ;-men were taught to look on me with veneration, and my name was engraved on the tablet which they were instructed to study and remember. No stronger evidence of my being could be adduced, for it was commanded that I should not unfold myself until a stated day; yet man persisted sometimes in forgetting me, and sometimes in trampling on my injunctions. At this time two powerful rivals started up, and engrossed that attention which should justly have been mine; these were named the PAST and the PRESENT. To these man devoted himself, wholly neglecting what he had prontised to me, and forfeiting the rewards which I had held out for his fidelity. Though I had much to fear from the former of my rivals, there was more unfaithfulness occasioned by the latter; and in order to put you in possession of their powers over the heart of man, I will endeavor to describe them in the exercise of their several avocations. Attended by a train of various spirits, the PAST stole upon man in the hours of solitude-that season when his mind should be more particularly filled with the lessons I had marked out for him in the book of life. She was observed sometimes to carry Mirth and Happiness in her suite, and sometimes she was followed by Sadness and Misery; she seldom intruded on him in society;
VOL. I.-NO. IV.
Letter from Hereafter.
she carried in one hand a magical glass, through which she could evoke representations of former times, and the Simurgh of the east sat perched upon the other. Judge what a triumph she obtained, when she thus burst on him, and found him not only unable to resist her, but willing to be enslaved. He sank in the contemplation of her person; and while the glare of her secret rites played wildly around him, he remembered all he had plighted and pledged-except his promise to me. I could have forgiven this ingratitude, if he had taken advantage of the opportunities my other rival permitted in her presence of offering up tokens of reminiscence to me. Attired at one season in the light and gaudy vestments of youth, and at another in the sombre weeds of age, the PRESENT appeared alternately attended by Pleasure and Thoughtlessness, Pain and Regret. She generally came on him in the hours of conviviality and glee: for the nature of man was such, that aware of her approach, he met her with companions by his side, whose welcome was a boisterous shout that drowned the words she was occasionally about to address to him. When she came followed by Pain, she held an hour-glass in her hand; but when she altered her appearance, and Pleasure waited on her, man recognized vine-leaves wreathed through her hair, and the shell and the lyre in her hands. Enamoured of her beauty when she was thus habited, he lost all his moments in admiration ; he even sacrificed worldly interest to gaze on her golden lyre, and forgot the magical glass to drink from her shell; he was caught by the specious and the brilliant, and ceased to remember the useful.
These, sir, are the opponents with whom I have to contend, and from whom I have to escape. I cannot relate to you the indignities I suffer in consequence, and the insulting indifference with which I am treated. It is not enough that the reverence due to my name is forgotten; it is placed amongst common words that have no acceptation beyond the general wants and exigencies of the world, and pronounced without one single wandering thought in which I am included. More than this, affairs of the greatest and the least consequence, important and trivial, are frequently referred to me without
The wonderful bird, Simurgh, in Eastern mythology, is gifted with the powers of reason and can interpret many languages. He is said to relate that he has beheld the wondrous changes of 7000 years flourish and decay twelve times, and that since the commencement man has been swept from the world seven times, and population has been as often restored.
Correspondence of a Lover.
once inquiring whether I shall be inclined to review them or attend to them. For instance, when obligations of a pressing and paramount nature call on the sleeping exertions of man, he answers them by saying, "I cannot hearken to you now; hereafter I will satisfy all your demand;" when he has overlooked a trifling concern, he cries," hereafter I will arrange this." In short, sir, my character is daily sinking; and although I have made many essays to replace myself in that estimation of which I am deserving, I find the ingratitude and obduracy of man too rooted to be overcome; I will at last be silent for ever, he shall have no voice to remind him of me; and when he comes, like an humble and despairing thing, to solicit my pardon, I will, perhaps, crush him into nothing.
FRAGMENTS OF THE CORRESPONDENCE OF A LOVER.
[This desultory correspondence is again interrupted. We find the following fragment negligently written on a leaf of paper, which, it appears, was never sent to Eleanor.]
WE met-yes, Eleanor, we met-there was a protection about him -a spell which he had borrowed from you, and I sank beneath it. My spirit was in my tongue, and in the moment I would have accused him, he anticipated me by making an explanation which I felt it impossible to misunderstand. Had you answered my last note-had you but thrown out a hint that my suspicions were ill-founded, you would have preserved me from the confusion that followed our meeting.
I address you once more, Louisa, because I would not write to Eleanor on the subject of which I am about to speak. Perhaps you may blame me for intemperance-perhaps condemn me for hasty resolves and foolish suspicions.-I am very unhappy-but how often have I repeated this!-I must now give you my fears and my sorrows with that coolness we would assume when dwelling on a totally uninteresting subject. Is it true that Mr. T is your cousin's formal
Correspondence of a Lover.
and acknowledged admirer?-Answer me this one word, and it shall end all-Is it true that your uncle and Frederick entertain him as such ?—and is it true that Eleanor does not at once give him a refusal?—I cannot, must not tell you my thoughts-there are few can enter into the spirit of my meditations-few can understand them.
You will naturally tell me that I should no longer weep and torment you-that I should become a public lover, and not a private idolater-Can I do all this?-oh! if human exertion or mortal energy could overcome the slights of fortune, what would I leave undone to render myself worthy of Eleanor?-But circumstanced as I am, you know I must be silent.
Yes!-to-morrow your family go to Delgany-Mr. T goes with you; the object of the party and the revelry is too evident to leave a doubt upon my mind. God knows, Eleanor, I wish you all the happiness which this world can bestow; 'tis true I am invited-I may be there; but they who watch my steps, and follow me to the glen, will
I had not an opportunity until this moment of explaining to you the result of my journey yesterday. When I reached the glen, my first object was to enquire at the cottage if a party had lately passed; on discovering that they had not yet arrived, but that they were expected every moment, as Mr. T had obtained permission to have the use of the obelisk to dine in, with his company, I sauntered heedlessly on through that romantic valley.
At length the rolling of carriages behind arrested my at- : tention, and I perceived a cavalcade approaching, which my heart told me was Eleanor's party. I was anxious to conceal myself, and climbed a little eminence that was partly hid by thick plantation trees, from whence I could distinguish them as they passed below. Three carriages went on, in none of which could I recognise Eleanor; and it was some moments before a gig approached--I could scarcely summon fortitude to look out from my retreat-there was a veil over my eyes that gave every object a dizzy appearance-a gentleman drove the gig-a lady sat beside him-it was not Eleanor's dress.I watched a moment-all was silentit was the last of the party, and was separated at some distance from the rest. "It is-it is Eleanor!" I exclaimed,