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THREE PAPERS, BY COWPER,

INSERTED IN THE CONNOISSEUR.

his papers

“ During Cowper's visit to Eartham, he kindly pointed out to me,” Hayley observes, “three of

in the last volume of the · Connoisseur.' -I inscribed them with his name at the time; and imagine that the readers of his Life may be gratified in seeing them inserted here. I find other numbers of that work ascribed to him, but the three following I print as his, on his own explicit authority. Number 119, Thursday, May 6, 1756 -Number 134, Thursday, August 19,-Number 138, Thursday, Sept. 16."

No. CXIX.

Plenus rimarum sum, huc et illuc perfluo.

TER.

Leaky at bottom; if those chinks you stop,
In vain—the secret will run o'er at top.

There is no mark of our confidence taken more kindly by a friend than the intrusting him with a secret, nor any which he is so likely to abuse.

Confidants in general are like crazy firelocks, which are no sooner charged and cocked than the spring gives way, and the report immediately follows. Happy to have been thought worthy the confidence of one friend, they are impatient to manifest their importance to another; till, between them and their friend and their friend's friend, the whole matter is presently known to all our friends round the Wrekin. The secret catches as it were by contact, and like electrical matter breaks forth from every

link in the chain, almost at the same instant. Thus the whole Exchange may be thrown into a buzz to-morrow, by what was whispered in the middle of Marlborough Downs this morning; and in a week's time the streets may ring with the intrigue of a woman of fashion, bellowed out from the foul mouths of the hawkers, though at present it is known to no creature living but her gallant and her waiting maid.

As the talent of secrecy is of so great importance to society, and the necessary commerce between individuals cannot be securely carried on without it, that this deplorable weakness should be so general is much to be lamented. You may as well pour water into a funnel or sieve, and expect it to be retained there, as commit any of your concerns to so slippery a companion. It is remarkable that, in those men who have thus lost the faculty of retention, the desire of being communicative is always most prevalent where it is least justified. If they are entrusted with a matter of no great moment, affairs of more consequence will perhaps in a few

hours shuffle it entirely out of their thoughts ; but if any thing be delivered to them with an earnestness, a low voice, and the gesture of a man in terror for the consequence of its being known; if the door is bolted, and every precaution taken to prevent surprise, however they may promise secrecy, and however they may intend it, the weight upon their minds will be so extremely oppressive, that it will certainly put their tongues in motion.

This breach of trust, so universal amongst us, is perhaps, in great measure owing to our education. The first lesson our little masters and misses are taught is to become blabs and tell-tales: they are bribed to divulge the petty intrigues of the family below stairs to papa and mamma in the parlour, and a doll or hobby-horse is generally the encouragement of a propensity, which could scarcely be atoned for by a whipping. As soon as children can lisp out the little intelligence they have picked up in the hall or the kitchen, they are admired for their wit; if the butler has been caught kissing the housekeeper in his pantry, or the footman detected in romping with the chamber-maid, away flies little Tommy or Betsy with the news; the parents are lost in admiration of the pretty rogue's understanding, and reward such uncommon ingenuity with a kiss or a sugar-plum.

Nor does an inclination to secrecy meet with less encouragement at school. The gouvernantes at the boarding-school teach miss to be a good girl, and tell them every thing she knows: thus, if any young lady is unfortunately discovered eating a

green apple in a corner; if she is heard to pronounce a naughty word, or is caught picking the letters out of another miss's sampler ; away runs the chit who is so happy as to get the start of the rest, screams out her information as she goes ; and the prudent matron chucks her under the chin, and tells her that she is a good girl and every body will love her.

The management of our young gentlemen is equally absurd ; in most of our schools, if a lad is discovered in a scrape, the impeachment of an accomplice, as at the Old-Bailey, is made the condition of a pardon. I remember a boy, engaged in robbing an orchard, who was unfortunately taken prisoner in an apple-tree, and conducted, under the strong guard of the farmer and his dairy-maid to the master's house. Upon his absolute refusal to discover his associates, the pedagogue undertook to lash him out of his fidelity; but, finding it impossible to scourge the secret out of him, he at last gave him up for an obstinate villain, and sent him to his father, who told him he was ruined, and was going to disinherit him for not betraying his schoolfellows.

I must own I am not fond of thus drubbing our youths into treachery; and am much pleased with the request of Ulysses, when he went to Troy, who begged of those who were to have the care of young Telemachus, that they would above all things teach him to be just, sincere, faithful, anu to keep a secret.

Every man's experience must have furnished him

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