Page images

caped her wiles, and withstood her allurments. For a husband she would give any thing. She has thrown herself purposely into the way of several youths, and with some has entered into an epistolary correspondence. She is ever arrayed in all the charms of painted loveliness and of dress; and like a couching tigress, is ever ready to pounce upon her unsuspecting prey. She has laughed, and romped, and ogled, and coquetted ; she has answered sigh with sigh, and look with look ; offered her hand to be pressed, and her cheek to be kissed a thousand times ; but, poor hapless maiden ! every effort has proved unsuccessful. Yet she fancies herself beautiful and accomplished, imagines herself the very pink of politeness, and prides herself on her elegance in dress.

Belinda Nettletop is ever gay and lovely. Her darling object is to inspire every man who beholds her with secret admiration, and inflaine his heart with latent love. Her conversation is fascinating, her manners elegant, her disposition (apparently) frank, candid, and generous. A bewitching artlessness appears in every look and every motion ; but when she has excited the admiration, and obtained the love of her victim, then, flushed with conquest, and the satisfaction of having added another name to the extended catalogue of her lovers, she is perfectly satisfied, and turns her attention, and points her attraction towards another object.

" Simplex munditiis ! Heu. quoties fidem
Mutatosque Deos flebit, et aspera
Nigris æquora ventis
Emirabitur insolens.
Qui nuuc te fruitur credulus aurea !
Qui semper vacuam, semper amabilem
Sperat, nescius auræ
Fallacis ? miseri quibus
• Intentata nites.”

Every theatre, and every street in this large metropolis, exemplify the ravages which men have committed on the fairer portion of the creation. Thousands and thousands have been ruined by having too implicitly relied on the honour of the male sex; who, having had nothing in view but the mere gratification of sensuality, have committed numberless perjuries and acts of perfidy, and have finally triumphed, leaving their hapless victims in the lowest state of ruin, infamy, and degradation.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

" Trust not a man; we are by nature false, . .

Dissembling, subtle, cruel, and inconstant;
When a man talks of love, with caution trust him ;
But if he swears, he'll certainly deceive thee."

[merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

(A supposed Apparition, from the voyages of Commodore Walker.)

7.10. it barbabit Tooh

bili sono innile When Mr. Walker was setting out on his second cruize in the Boscawen private ship of war, A. D. 1740, a report was made by the French officers, when the ship was taken, that a gunner's wife had been murdered on board, a circumstance which was looked upon by the men as ominous of the misfortunes which would attend the cruise. A seaman remarkable for his sobriety and good character, one night alarmed the ship, by declaring he had seen a strange appearance of a woman, who informed him, among other particulars, that the ship would be lost. The story spread among the crew, and laid such hold of their imaginations, as would have been attended with the most serious consequences, had not Mr. Walker turned it into ridicule, relating, with great presence of mind, the following anecdote to the assembled ship's crew :

In June, 1734, Mr Walker lying at an anchor at Cadiz, in his ship the Elizabeth, a gentleman of Ireland, whose name was Burnett, was then on board, in order to take his passage to Ireland. This gentleman was a particular acquaintance of Mr. Walker's, and he was extremely fond of him, being a man of good sense, and very lively in conversation. The night before the affair we speak of happened, the subject turned upon apparitions of deceased friends, in which this gentleman seemed much to believe, and told many strange stories as authorities for them; but Mr. Walker, who was entirely of another way of thinking, treating all his arguments with ridicule, Mr. Burnett, who was bred a physician, was curious to try how far fancy might be wrought on in an unbeliever, and resolved to prove the power of this natural fear over the senses ; a strange way, it will be said, to convince the mind, by attacking the imagination; or, if it were curiosity, to see the operations of fear work on fancy, it was too nice an experiment to anatomise a friend's mind for information only. But perhaps the humour of thought was the greatest motive ; for he was a man of gay temper, and frolicksome. .

About noon, as they were standing, with more of the ship's company, on deck, near the forecastle, looking at some of the Governor's guard-boats making fast to the buoy of a ship, in

the bay, Mr. Burnett proposed as a plan, for a wager, he being a remarkable good swimmer, to leap off the gunnel of the ship, and dive all the way quite 'under water, from the ship to the boats at that distance, and so rise upon them to startle the people on watch in them.' A wager being laid, he undressed, jumped off, and dived entirely out of sight. Every body crowded forward, keeping their eyes at the distance where he was expected to come up, but he never rising to their expectation, and the time running past their hopes of ever seeing him more, it was concluded he was drowned ; and every body was in the greatest pain and concern; especially those who by laying the wager, thought themselves in some measure accessary to his death. But hé by skilful diving, having turned the other way behind the ship, and being also very active, got up by the quarter ladder in at the cabin window, whilst every body was busy and in confusion at the forward part of the ship; then concealing himself 'the remaining part of the day in a closet in the state room, wrapped himself up in a linen night gown of Mr. Walker's. Evening coming on, the whole ship's company being very melancholy at the accident, Mr. Walker returned with a friend or two to his cabin, when, in their conversation, they often lamented the sad accident and loss of their friend and dear companion, speaking of every merit he had when living. The supposed dead man remained still quiet, aud heard many good things said to his memory. As soon as it was night, Mr. Walker's company left him, and he being low in spirits, went to bed, where lying still pensive on the late loss of his companion and friend, and the moon shining direct through the windows, he perceived the folding doors of the closet to open, and looking stedfast towards them, saw something that could not fail startling him, as he imagined it a representation of a human figure ; but, recalling his better senses, he was fond to persuade himself it was only the workings of his disturbed fancy, and turned away his eyes. However, he soon returned again in search of the object, and seeing it now plainly advance upon him, in a slow and constant step, he recognised the image of his departed friend. He has not been ashamed to own he felt terrors which shook him to the inmost soul. The Mate, who lay in a steerage at the back of the cabin, divided only by a bulk-head, was not yet a-bed ; and hearing Mr. Walker challenge him with a loud and alarmed voice, “ what are you," ran to him with a candle, and meeting Mr. Burnett in the linen gown, down he dropped, without so much as an ejaculation. Mr. Burnett, now beginning himself to be afraid, runs for a bottle of smelling spirits he knew lay in the window, and applied them to the nose and temples of the swooning mate. Mr. Walker seeing the ghost so very alert and good-natured, began to recover from bis own apprehension, when Mr. Burnett cried out to him, “Sir, I must ask pardon; I fear I have carried

the jest to far; I swam round, and came in at the cabin window; I meant, Sir, to prove to you the natural awe the bravest must be under at such appearances, and have, I hope, convinced you of it."-" Sir,” says Mr. Walker, (glad of being relieved from a terrible dream, and belief of his friend's death), “ You have given me a living instance, there needs no better proof; but pray take care you don't bring death among us in earnest." He then lent his aid in the recovery of the poor inate, who, as he recovered his senses, still relapsed at the sight of Mr. Burnett; so that Mr. Walker was obliged to make him entirely disappear, and call others to his assistance, which took up some considerable time in doing, every body, as Mr Burnett advanced to them, being more or less surprised; but they were called to by him, and told the manner of the cheat, and where by degrees convinced of his reality; though every one was thoroughly satisfied of his death. Being persuaded that this story carries a lesson in it which speaks for itself, I shall conclude it by mentioning this circumstance, that the poor mate never recovered the use of his senses from that hour. Nature had received too great a shock, by which reason was flung from her seat, and could never regain it afterwards; a constant stupidity hung around him, and he could never be brought to look direct at Mr. Burnett afterwards, though he was as brave a man as ever went, in all his senses, to face death hy day-light.

sos பசி

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

The imagination cannot easily conceive an unfaithful shepherd. The very name of shepherd recalls, at once, the Thirsises, so celebrated in our pastorals, who have no other employment than Fontain's, who did nothing; whose life was spent in sighing, and singing the beauties of Lisetta, and whose whole ambition was to touch her heart. Love, which wholly engages them, leaves no place in their hearts for any other passion : all their treasures are the favours of their mistress ; all their happiness consists in a favourable glance from her beautiful eyes. This love, says an elegant author, is simple, because those who feel it, entirely yield to a country life, and the delightful idleness which fills up every hour, without any dangerous refinement. Their love is more pointed, because they are occupied with no other passion; it is more discreet, because they are unacquainted with vanity; more faithful, because, with an imagination and vivacity seldom exercised, they have less inquietude, less disgust, and less caprice. Their love, in a word, is freed from every thing foreign to it, or of the bad tendency which human fancy has frequently mixed with it. All the time that sleep leaves at their disposal, they employ in seeking means to please the shepherdess who has conquered their heart; she is the only subject of all their thoughts ; they are anxious only in contriving little tricks to surprise her into a confession of the love which their earnest and respectful attentions have inspire!. 'Modesty seems to promise a friendship even more tender than love, a word that they long to hear from the mouth of that beauty, to whom they pay the most pure and disinterested adoration. They pass their days, impatiently expecting the moment, when their dear shepherdess will give them hopes of a short conversation, about the close of the following day. In his impatience to arrive at the happy moment, Thyrsis, who has gained the promise by such urgent requests, quits his bed before the break of day, complains that the sun is too slow in dispelling the darkness, when the day is to end so happily. The sun at last appears; the shepherd measures, with his eyes, the distance he must run, before the moment arrives that his Daphne has promised to see him and to hear him.

Such occupations leave no place for the tumultuous passions, which tyrannize over the inhabitants of cities : pleasure, tranquil pleasure, is the object of their wishes.'

The pastoral life, such as our poets have described ; the life of shepherds who know no other occupation, no other passion, than those we have been speaking of, must certainly seem uniform, dismal, and tiresome, to those who from their birth have heard only of the schemes of fortune, who are accustomed to taste no other pleasures but those which they fancy are found in numerous and noisy assemblies, where no one comes, but to participate, with the rest, the listlessness which accompanies every pleasure that nature has neither inspired nor prepared. But let those who frequent them, only lift the veil spread over the minds by habit, prejudice, and example, they will find that the artificial taste to which they have yielded themselves, will never procure that happiness constantly offered by nature. And how often have those most engaged in the tumult of the world, and agitated by their possessions, perceived that they never found in either that calm delight in which true pleasure consists ?

« PreviousContinue »