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taking the lead, calling upon me only from necessity, or to figure by her side.
But conceive not, Sirs, that my complaints are instigated merely by vanity-No; my uneasiness is occasioned by one object much more serious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole business of providing for its subsistence falls upon my sister and myself. If any indisposition should attack my sister and I mention it in confidence, upon this occasion, that she is subject to the gout, the rheumatism and cramp, without making mention of other accidents—what would be the fate of our poor family? Must not the regret of our parents be excessive, at having placed so great a difference between sisters who are perfectly equal? Alas! we must perish from distress; for it would not be in my power even to scrawl a suppliant petition for relief, having been obliged to employ the hand of another in transcribing the request which I have now the honour to prefer to you.
Condescend, Sirs, to make my parents sensible of the injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessity of distributing their care and affection among all their children equally.
I am, with a profound respect,
THE LEFT HAND.
HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG.
There are two sorts of people in the world, who with equal degrees of health and wealth, and the other comforts of life, become the one happy, and the other miserable, This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and events; and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.
In whatever situation men can be placed, they may find conveniences and inconveniences; in whatever campany, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing ; at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed ; in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather: under whatever government, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws ; in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties ; in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above mentioned, fix their attention, those who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniences of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the well-dressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy all with cheerfulness. Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and by their remarks sour the pleasures of society; offend personally many people, and make themselves every where disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons would be the more to be pitied. But as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is perhaps, taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may nevertheless be cured, when those who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity ; I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them on changing a habit, which, though in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfor
tunes. For as many are offended by, and nobody loves this sort of people ; no one shews them more than the most common civility and respect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them out of humour, and draws them into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step, or speak a word to favour their pretensions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and render them completely odious : If these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting themselyes and others about the contraries, 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 shew him the heat of the 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 : one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at the 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 further 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, that if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.
OF A COMPANY OF EPHEMERÆ;
WITH THE SOLILOQUY OF ONE ADVANCED IN AGE.
TO MADAME BRILLIANT.
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
1 a little in one of our walks, and staid some time behind the company. We had been shewn numberless skel, etons of a kind of little fly, called an Ephemeræ, whose successive generations, we are told, were bred and expired within the day. I appened 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 natural 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, the one a cousin, the other a muscheto ; in which dispute they spent their time, seemingly as regardless of the shortness of 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 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.
“ It was,” says he,“ the opinion of learned philosophers 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 life to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of our 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 420 minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long! I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My present friends are the children and grand-children of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more! And I must soon follow them ; for, by the 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 honey-dew on this leaf, which I can not live to enjoy! What the political struggles I have been engaged in, for the good of my com-patriot in-'". habitants 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