« PreviousContinue »
vated his lands, and he possessed large sums of money placed at interest.
7. When did any man ever rise věry far above the rank in which he was born, without presenting a mark for envy and detraction' to aim their ărrows against ? Mediocrity? always avenges itself by calumny,' and so Staszic found it; for the good folks of Warsaw were quite ready to attribute all his actions to sinister* motives. A group of idlers had paused close to where the students were standing. All looked at the minister, and every one had something to say against him.
8. “Who would ever think,” cried a noble, whose gray mustache' and old-fashioned costume recalled the era of King Sigismund, “that he could be a minister of State? Formerly, when a palatine traversed the capital, a troop of horsemen both preceded and followed him. Soldiers dispersed the crowds that pressed to look at him. But what respect can be felt for an old miser, who has not the heart to afford himself a coach, and who eats a piece of bread in the streets, just as a beggar would do ?'
9. “His heart,” said a priest, “is as hard as the iron chest in which he keeps his gold ; a poor man might die of hunger at his door, before he would give him alms.” “He has worn the same coat for the last ten years,” remarked another. “He sits on the ground, for fear of wearing out his chairs,” chimed in a saucy looking lad, and every one joined in a mocking laugh.
10. A young pupil of one of the public schools had listened in indignant' silence to these speeches, which cut him to the heart; and at length, unable to restrain himself, he turned toward the priest, and said : “A man distinguished for his generosity ought to be spoken of with more respect. What does it signify to us how he dresses, or what he eats, if he makes a noble use of his fortune ?”
1 De trăc' tion, abuse; the act of Sỉn' is ter, left-handed; evil ; taking away from the character or corrupt. worth of another; the act of decry. Mustache, (mus tåsh). ing another from envy.
• Păl a tỉne, a minister; one in. • "Mē'di Šo'rity, a middle state; vested with royal privileges. moderate degree of talents.
" In dig' nant, feeling angry, as 3 Căl' um ny, false statement of when a person is excited by un. facts reproachful to another, made worthy or unjust treatment, or by a intentionally, and with knowledge mean action, or by the charge of a of its falsehood ; slander.
Who was who discovered in Poland osteos as greedy
11. “Pray, what use does he make of it?” “The Academy of Sciences wanted a place for a library, and had not funds to hire one. Who bestowed on them a magnificent' palace? Was it not Staszic ?” “Oh, yes! because he is as greedy of praise as of gold," was the reply. “Poland esteems as her chief glory the man who discovered the laws of the sidereal' movement. Who was it that raised to him a monument worthy of his renown-calling the chisel of Canõ'va' to honor the memory of Copernicus ?” 4
12. “It was Staszic,” replied the priest ; "and for that all Europe honors the generous senator. But, my young friend, it is not the light of the noon-day sun that ought to illumine Christian charity. If you want reälly to know a man, watch the daily course of his private life.
13. “This ostentātious miser, in the books which he publishes, groans over the lot of the peasantry, and in his vast domains he employs five hundred miserable serfs. Go some morning to his house : there you will find a poor woman beseeching with tears a cold proud man, who repulses her. That man is Staszic; that woman his sister. Ought not the haughty giver of palaces, the builder of pompous statues, rather to employ himself in protecting his oppressed serfs, and relieving his destitute relatives ?”
M HE young man began to reply, but no one would listen to
1 him. Sad and dejected at hearing one who had been to him a true and generous friend so spoken of, he went to his humble lodging
Mag nif' i cent, on a grand scale; guished astronomer, who revived splendid.
the true system of the motion of the ? Si dē! re al, relating to the stars. heavenly bodies, according to the
s Canova, (kå no' vå), Antony Ca- theory of Pythăg'oras. He was born nova, one of the most distinguished Feb. 19th, 1473, and died in 1543. sculptors of modern times, was born Os'ten tā' tious, fond of very in 1757, and died in 1822, at Venice. great or offensive display ; vaunting
* Co per nỉ cs, a most distin. boastful.
2. Next morning, he repaired at an early hour to the dwelling of his benefactor. There he met a woman weeping, and lamenting the inhumanity of her brother. This confirmation of what the priest had said, inspired the young man with a fixed determination. It was Staszic who had placed him at college, and supplied him with the means of continuing there. Now, he would reject his gifts ; he would not accept benefits from a man who could look unmoved at his own sister's tears.
3. The learned minister, seeing his fāvorite pupil enter, did not desist from his occupation, but, continuing to write, said to him : “Well, Adolphe, what can I do for you to-day? If you want books, take them out of my library; or instruments, order them, and send me the bill. Speak to me freely, and tell me if you want any thing."
4. “On the contrary, sir, I came to thank you for your past kindness, and to say that I must in future decline receiving your gifts.” “You have, then, become rich ?” “I am as poor as ever.” “And your college?” “I must leave it.” “Impossible!” cried Staszic, standing up, and fixing his penetrating eyes on his visitor. “You are the most promising of all our pupils ; it must not be !"
5. In vain the young student tried to conceal the motive of his conduct; Staszic insisted on hearing it. “You wish,” said Adolphe, “to heap favors on me at the expense of your suffering family.”
6. The powerful minister could not conceal his emotion ; his eyes filled with tears, and he pressed the young man's hand warmly, as he said : “Dear boy, always take heed to this counsel—'JUDGE NOTHING BEFORE THE TIME. Ere the end of life arrives, the purest virtue may be soiled by vice, and the bitterest calumny proved to be unfounded. My conduct is in truth an enigma,' which I can not now solve—it is the secret of my life.”
7. Seeing the young man still hesitate, he added : “Keep an account of the money I give you ; consider it as a loan; and when, some day, throughlabor and study, you find yourself rich, pay the debt by educating a poor, deserving student. As for me, wait for my death, before you judge my life.”
? Cón'fir mā' tion, the act of con- ' E nỉg'ma, a riddle ; something firming, settling, or making fixed; mysterious. proof.
ster could noted the yound to this
fifty yeatite knew tön the
8. During fifty years, Stanislaus Staszic allowed malice to blacken his actions. He knew the time would come when all Poland would do him justice. On the 20th of January, 1826, thirty thousand mourning Poles flocked around his bier, and sought to touch the pall, as though it were some holy, precious relic. The Russian army could not comprehend the reason of the homage thus paid by the people of Warsaw to this illustrious man.
9. His last testamento fully explained the reason of his apparent avarice. His vast estates were divided into five hundred portions, each to become the property of a free peasant, his former serf. A school, on an admirable plan, and very extended scale, was to be established for the instruction of the peasants' children in different trades.
10. A reserved fund was provided for the succor* of the sick and aged. A small yearly tax, to be paid by the liberated serfs, was destined for purchasing by degrees the freedom of their neighbors, condemned, as they had been, to hard and thankless toil.
11. After having thus provided for his peasants, Staszic bequeathed six hundred thousand florins for founding a modèl hospital; and he left a considerable sum toward educating poor and studious youths. As for his sister, she inherited only the same allowance which he had given her yearly, during his life; for she was a person of careless and extravagant habits, who dissipated foolishly all the money she received.
12. A strānge fate was that of Stanislaus Staszic. A martyr to calumny during his life, after death his memory was blessed and revered by the multitudes whom he had made happy.
Rěl'ic, that which remains; a money, or gain; greediness after corpse ; especially, the body, or some wealth. part of the body, of deceased saints · Succor, (sůk' kor), help; assist. or martyrs; any thing preserved in ance; aid. remembrance.
Lib'er a ted, set at liberty; freed. Těst' a ment, will ; a writing in Flör ins, coins first made at which a person declares how he Florence. The silver florin was wishes his property disposed of after valued at from twenty-three to fiftyhis death.
four cents. The gold florin was of * Av a riez, excessive love of the value of about a dollar and a half
78. THE STORY OF PARNELL'S HERMIT.
DEVOUT'hermit lived in a cave, near which a shepherd A folded his flock. Many of the sheep being stolen, the shepherd was unjustly killed by his master, as being concerned in the theft. The hermit, seeing an innocent man put to death, began to suspect' the existence of a Divine Providence, and resolved no longer to perplex himself with the useless severities of religion, but to mix in the world.
2. In traveling from his retirement, he was met by an angel in the figure of a man, who said, “I am an angel, and am sent by God to be your companion on the road.” They entered a city, and begged for lodging at the house of a knight, who entertained them at a splendid supper. In the night, the angel rose from his bed and strangled the knight's only child, who was ăsleep in the cradle. The hermit was astonished at this barbarous return for so much hospitality, but was áfraid to make any remonstrance* to his companion.
3. Next morning they went to another city. Here they were liberally received in the house of an opulent citizen ; but in the night the angel rose, and stole ă golden cup of inestimable' value. The hermit now concluded that his companion was a bad angel.
4. In traveling forward the next morning, they passed over a bridge, about the middle of which they met a poor man, of whom the angel asked the way to the next city. Having received the desired information, the angel pushed the poor man into the water, where he was immediately drowned. In the evening they arrived at the house of a rich man, and begging for a lodging, were ordered to sleep in a shed with the cattle. In the morning the angel gave the rich man the cup which he had stolen. 5. The hermit, ămāzed that the cup which was stolen from
De vout', given up to religious : Sus pěct', to hold to be uncer. feelings and duties.
tain; to doubt. ? Hermit, (hér' mit), one who lives •Re món' strance, reason against alone in a retired place; especially, a thing; earnest advice or reproof. one who so lives from religious mo. In ěs' ti ma ble, that can not be tives ; a recluse
estimated or valued ; beyond price.