« ZurückWeiter »
it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them, which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled in their quarrels.
An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to show him the heat of weather, and a barometer to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, he, for that purpose, made use of his legs; which was remarkably handsome; the other by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no farther acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two-legged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.
CONVERSATION OF A COMPANY OF
With the Soliloquy of one advanced in Age.
You may remember, my dear friend, that when we
lately spent that happy day, in the delightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopt a little in one of our walks, and staid some time behind the company. We had been shown numberless skeletons of a kind of little fly, called an Ephemeræ, whose successive generations, we were told, were bred and expired within the day. I happened to see a living company of them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in conversation. You know I understand all the inferior animal tongues; my too great application to the study of them is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I have made in your charming language. I listened through curiosity to the discourse of these little creatures, but as they in their national vivacity spoke three or four together, I could make but little of their conversation. I found, however, by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, one a cousin, the other a muscheto; in which dispute they spent their time, seeming as regardless of the shortness of their life as if they had been sure of living a month. Happy people, thought I, you live certainly under a wise, just, and mild government, since you have no public grievances to complain of, nor any other subject of contention but the perfections or imperfections of foreign music. I turned my head from them to an old grey-headed one, who was single on another leaf, and talking to himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to whom I am so much indebted for the most pleasing of all amusements, her delicious company and heavenly harmony.
says he, "the opinion of learned phi
losophers of our race, who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could not itself subsist more than eighteen hours; and I think there was some foundation for that opinion; since, by the apparent motion of the great luminary, that gives light to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably toward the ocean at the end of the earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal death and destruction. I have lived seven of those hours; a great age, being no less than four hundred and twenty minutes of time! How very few of us continuing so long! I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My present friends are the children and grandchildren of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more! and I must soon follow them; for, by the common course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight minutes longer. What now avails all my toil and labour, in amassing honeydew on this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy. What the political struggles I have been engaged in, for the good of my com-patriot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosophical studies, for the benefit of our race in general; for in politics (what can laws do without morals ?) our present race of ephemera will, in a course of minutes, become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched! And in philosophy how small our progress! Alas! art is long, and life is short! My friends would comfort me with the idea of a name, they say, I shall leave behind me; and they tell me
Thave lived long enough to nature and to glory. But what will fame be to an ephemera who no longer exists? and what will become of all history in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in an universal ruin ?"
To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures now remain, but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well, the sensible conversation of a few good lady ephemeræ, and now and then a kind smile and a tune from the ever amiable. Brilliant.
MORALS OF CHESS.
PLAYING at chess is the most ancient and universal game known among men; for its original is beyond the memory of history; and it has, for numberless ages, been the amusement of all the civilized nations of Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it above a thousand years; the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins to make its appearance in these States. It is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it; and thence it is never played for money. Those, therefore, who have leisure for such diversions, cannot find one that is more innocent; and the following piece, written with a view to correct (among a few young friends some little improprieties in the practice of it, shows, at the same time, that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely innocent, but advantageous to the vanquished as well as the victor.
The game of chess is not merely an idle amuse
NECESSARY HINTS TO THOSE THAT WOULD BE RICH.
WRITTEN ANNO 1763.
THE use of money is all the advantage there is in having money. For six pounds a-year you may have the use of one hundred pounds, provided you are a man of known prudence and honesty. He that spends a groat a-day idly, spends idly above six pounds a year, which is the price for the use of one hundred pounds. He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, one day with, another, wastes the privilege of using one hundred pounds each day, He that idly loses five shillings' worth of time, loses five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings into the sea. He that loses five shillings, not only loses that sum, but all the advantages that might be made by turning it in dealing; which, by the time that a young man becomes old, will amount to a considerable sum of money.
Again, he that sells upon credit, asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is to be kept out of it; therefore, he that buys upon credit, pays interest for what he buys; and he that pays ready money, might let that money out to use; so that he that possesses any thing he has bought, pays interest for the use of it. Yet in buying goods, it is best to pay ready money, because, he that sells upon credit, expects to lose five per cent. by bad debts; therefore he charges, on all he sells upon credit, an advance that shall make up that deficiency. Those who pay for what they buy upon credit, pay their share of this advance. He that pays ready money, escapes, or may escape, that charge.