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books, we ask, where is the great harm if they are sometimes gnawed a little by the mice? Of what use to them is all their reading ? Since they have lived with you, must they not be fully convinced of the inutility of all knowledge ? They see you good without the assistance of Treatises upon Morals ; charming in your manners without having read our historiographer Moncrief's Art of Pleasing ; ard happy without being acquainted with the Treatise on Happiness, by the unfortunate Manpertuis. Wbile they are the daily witnesses of your profound ignorance, they, who know so many things, are wholly unac. quainted with the art you know so well, of being able to dispense with knowing any thing. Your orthography is not much better than ours, and your writing is very like the scratching of a cat's paw. You totally mistake the way to spell happiness, but you enjoy the thing without knowing how it should be written ; that happiness, in short, which they cannot draw from their books, you shed around them from the eminence of your ignorance. The mice cannot, therefore, as we have proved, do them any great injury. As to the slippers of Mademoiselle Luillier, if she would only creep on at a somewhat less drawling pace, the mice would not be able to get at them; and it is strange that you would condemn us to death because your waiting-maid moves only at a snail's pace.
But these reasons, strong as they are, are not the only ones which may excuse us towards you for the spoliations committed in your house by the mice. Oh! most illustrious lady, with what conscience can we be reproached for not catching them, when you have constantly about you two large dogs thirsting for our blood, who will not permit us to approach your beloved person, as duty and gratitude would lead us to do? Two dogs! this is saying enough: they are animals brought up in the utmost hatred of our species ; their barking always fills us with terror. How can any one be so unjust as to reproach us with keeping at a distance from places where animals thus ferocious, whom nature has inspired with such aversion to us, and such power to destroy us, reign un. controlled ? nay, farther, if the question were only of French dogs, there might be hopes that their hatred would not be so active, that their ferocity would not be so alarming ; but you must needs take into your service (in contempt of the wise decrees of the comptroller-general) a bull-dog which you have imported from England, who hates us doubly; in the first place as cats, and still more ardently as French cats. see daily before our eyes the cruel effects of his rage in the shortened tail of our brother Le Noir. Our zeal to serve you, united with the natural taste we have for mice, would lead us to form hunting parties in your apartments, if we were not banished by these formidable enemies, whom you have made masters of them. Let us no Jonger, therefore, be reproached with the disorders committed against you by the mice, since we are deprived of the possibility of repressing them.
Alas! those happy times are no more when the il. lustrious cat Pompon reigned in these places, slept on your lap, and reposed upon your couch! when that Zemira*, who now so eagerly endeavours to have us turned out of doors, and who flies into a rage at the very sound of the word cat, humbly paid his court to
* A little dog.
the favourite, whose situation he now occupies. Then could we parade about the house with our tails in the air: the late M. Pompon would sometimes condescend to share with us the rabbits, graciously sent him by his majesty from his shooting parties; and under the protection of this illustrious favourite, we enjoyed peace and happiness. Those happy times, we must repeat, are, alas ! no more : we live under the reign of a dog ; and are sunk in deep and lasting regrets for the cat, beneath whose empire such enjoyments were ours, while our only consolation is to go every night, and water with our tears, the cypress which shadows his tomb !
Ah, most illustrious lady! let the memory of the cat you so much loved inspire you at least with some compassion towards us. We are not indeed of his race, since he was devoted to chastity from his youth : but we are of his species. His manes, still wandering about this spot, call upon you to revoke the san. guinary order which menaces our days; and all those which you preserve to us shall be consecrated to mew. ing forth our lasting gratitude, while the beneficent act shall be handed down by us to our children, and to our children's children.
All human situations have their inconveniences; we feel those that we find in the present, and we neither feel nor see those that exist in another. Hence we make frequent and troublesome changes, without amendment, and often for the worse. In my youth I was passenger in a little sloop, descending the river Delaware. There being no wind, we were obliged, when the ebb was spent; to cast anchor, and wait for
the next. The heat of the sun on the vessel was ex ressive, the company strangers to me, and not very agreeable. Near the river side I saw what I took to be a pleasant green meadow, in the middle of which was a large shady tree, where it struck my fancy I could sit and read (having a book in my pocket), and pass the time agreeably till the tide turned ; I there. fore prevailed with the captain to put me ashore. Being landed, I found the greatest part of my mea. dow was really a marsh, in crossing which, to come at my tree, I was up to my knees in mire : and I had not placed myself under its shade five minutes, before the muskitoes in swarms found me out, attacked my legs, hands, and face, and made my reading and my rest impossible; so that I returned to the beach, and called for the boat to come and take me on board again, where I was obliged to bear the heat I bad strove to quit, and also the laugh of the company. Similar cases in the affairs of life have since fallen under my observation.
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 in. nocent ; 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 amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occa. sions. For life is a kind of chess, in which we have points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it. By playing at chess, then, we learn,
I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action : for it is continually occurring to the player, “ If I move this piece, what will be the advantage of my new situation ? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his a:tacks ?”
II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action, the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may take this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.
III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired by observing strictly the laws of the game, such as, “ If you touch a piece, you