Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

they could. One of the friends was now in the boat, while the other was drawn up with others by the water-side waiting the return of the boat. A disorder happened in the passage by an unruly horse ; and a gentleman who had the rein of his horse negligently under his arm, was forced into the water by his horse's jumping over. The friend on the shore cried out, “Who's that is drowned trow?” He was immediately answered, “Your friend, Harry Thompson.” He very gravely replied, “Ay, he had a mad horse.” This short epitaph from such a familiar, without more words, gave me, at that time under twenty, a very moderate opinion of the friendship of companions. Thus is affection and every other motive of life in the generality rooted out by the present busy scene about them : they lament no man whose capacity can be supplied by another; and where men converse without delicacy, the next man you meet will serve as well as he whom you have lived with half your life. To such the devastation of countries, the misery of inhabitants, the cries of the pillaged, and the silent sorrow of the great unfortunate, are ordinary objects; their minds are bent upon the little gratifications of their own senses and appetites, forgetful of compassion, insensible of glory, avoiding only shame; their whole hearts taken up with the trivial hope of meeting and being merry. These are the people who make up the gross of the soldiery : but the fine gentleman in that band of men is such a one as I have now in my eye, who is foremost in all danger to which he is ordered. His officers are his friends and companions, as they are men of honour and gentlemen ; the private men his brethren, as they are of his species. He is beloved of

all that behold him : they wish him in danger as he views their ranks, that they may have occasions to save him at their own hazard. Mutual love is the order of the files where he commands ; every man afraid for himself and his neighbour, not lest their commander should punish them, but lest he should be offended. Such is his regiment who knows mankind, and feels their distresses so far as to prevent them. Just in distributing what is their due, he would think himself below their tailor to wear a snip of their clothes in lace upon his own; and below the most rapacious agent, should he enjoy a farthing above his own pay. Go on, brave man, immortal glory is thy fortune, and immortal happiness thy reward.'

[Spectator, No. 152.

PERSONAL AND DOMESTIC

Mr. Bickerstaff on himself

I HAVE received this short epistle from an unknown hand.

'SIR,

'I have no more to trouble you with than to desire you would in your next help me to some answer to the enclosed concerning yourself. In the meantime I congratulate you upon the increase of your fame, which you see has extended itself beyond the bills of mortality.' 'Sir,

‘That the country is barren of news has been the excuse, time out of mind, for dropping a correspondence with our friends in London ; as if it were impossible out of a coffee-house to write an agreeable letter. I am too ingenuous to endeavour at the covering of my negligence with so common an excuse. Doubtless, amongst friends, bred, as we have been, to the better knowledge of books as well as men, a letter dated from a garden, a grotto, a fountain, a wood, a meadow, or the banks of a river, may be more entertaining than one from Tom's, Will's, White's, or St. James's. I promise, therefore, to be frequent for the future in my rural dates to you.

But from fear you should, from what I have said, be induced to believe I

« AnteriorContinuar »