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children in understanding and want of ideas, grew enamoured of the use of them as a suitable entertainment. Others also, pleased to reflect on the innocent part of their lives, had recourse to this amusement, as what recalled it to their minds. A knot of villains encreased the party; who, regardless of that entertainment, which the former seemed to draw froin cards, considered them in a more serious light, and made use of them as a more decent substitute to robbing upon the road, or picking pockets. But men who propose to themselves a dignity of character, where will you find their inducement to this kind of game? For difficult, indeed, where it to determine, whether it appear more odious among sharpers, or more, empty and ridiculous among persons of character.'.
Perhaps,' replied I, “ your men of wit and fancy may favour this diversion, as giving occasion for the crop of jest and witticism, which naturally enough arises from the names and circumstances of the cards. He said, he would allow this as a proper motive, in case the men of wit and humour would accept the excuse themselves. 'In short,' said he, “as persons of ability are capable of furnishing out a much more agreeable entertainment, when a gentleman offers me cards, I shall esteem it as his private opinion that I have neither sense nor fancy. I asked how much he had lost.-His answer was, he did not much regard ten pieces; but that it hurt him to have squandered them away on cards; and that to the loss of a conversation, for which he would have given twenty.
ON HYPOCRISY. Were hypocrites to pretend to no uncommon sanctity, their want of merit would be less discoverable. But pretensions of this nature bring their characters on the carpet. Those who endeavour to pass for the lights of the world must expect to attract the eyes of it. A small blemish is more easily discoverable in them, and more justly ridiculous, than a much greater in their neighbours. A small blemish also presents a clue, which very often conducts us through the most intricate mazes and dark recesses of their character.
Notwithstanding the evi. dence of this, how often do we see pretence cultivated in proportion as virtue is neglected! As religion sinks in one scale, pretence is exalted in the other. Perhaps there is not a more effectual key to the discovery of hypocrisy than a censorious temper. The man possessed of real virtue knows the difficulty of attaining it; and is, of course, more inclined to pity others, who happen to fail in the pursuit. The hypocrite, on the other hand, having never trod the thorny path, is less induced to pity those who desert it for the flowery one. He exposes the unhappy victim without compunction, and even with a kind of triumph; not considering, that vice is the proper object of compassion; or that propensity to censure is almost a worse quality than any it can expose. Clelia was born in England of Romish parents, about the time of the revolution. She seemed naturally framed for love, if you were to judge by her external beauties; but if you build your opinion on her outward conduct, you would have deemed her as naturally averse to it. Numerous were the garçons of the polite and gallant nation, who endeavoured to overcome her prejudices, and to reconcile her manhers to her form. Persons of rank, fortune, learning, wit, youth, and beauty sued to her; nor had she any reason to quarrel with love for the shapes in which he appeared before her. Yet in vain were all applications. Religion was her only object; and she seemed resolved to pass her days in all the austerities of the most rigid convent. To this purpose she sought out an abbess that presided over a nunnery in Languedoc, a small community, particularly remarkable for extraordinary instances of self-denial. The abbess herself exhibited a person in which chastity appeared, indeed, not very meritorious. Her character was perfectly well known before she went to preside over this little society. Her virtues were, indeed, such as she thought most convenient to her circumstances. Her fasts were the effect of avarice, and her devotions of the spleen. She considered the cheapness of house-keeping as the great reward of piety, and added profuseness to the seven deadly sins. She knew sack-cloth to be cheaper than brocade, and ashes than sweet powder.
Her heart sympathized with every cup that was broken, and she instituted a fast for each domestic misfortune. She had converted her larder into a study, and the greater part of her library consisted of manuals for fasting days. By these arts, and this way of life, she seemed to enjoy as great a freedom from inordinate desires, as the persons might be supposed to do, who were favoured with her smiles or her conversation. To this lady was Clelia admitted ; and, after the year of probation, assumed
Among many others who had solicited her notice, before she became a member of this convent, was Leander, a young physician of great learning and ingenuity. His personal accomplishments were at least equal to those of any of his rivals, and his passion was superior. He urged in his behalf all that wit, inspired by fondness, and recommended by person, dress, and equipage, could insinuate; but in vain. She grew angry at solicitations with which she resolved never to comply, and which she found so difficult to evade. But Clelia now had assumed the veil, and Leander was the most muiserable of mortals. He had not so high an opinion of his fair one's sanctity and zeal, as some other of her admirers: but he had a conviction of her beauty, and that altogether irresistible. His extravagant passion had produced in him a jealousy that was not easy eluded,
“ At regina dolos
quid non sentit amor?” He had observed his mistress go more frequently to her confessor, a young and blooming ecclesiastic, than was, perhaps, necessary for so much apparent purity, or, as he thought, consistent with it. It was enough to put a lover on the rack, and it had this effect on Leander. His suspicions were by no means lessened, when he found the convent to which Clelia had given the preference before all others, was one where this young friar supplied a confessional chair. It happened that Leander was brought to the abbess in the capacity of a physician, and he had one more opportunity offered him of beholding Clelia through the grate.
She, quite shocked at his appearance, burst out into a
sudden rage, inveighing bitterly against his presumption, and calling loudly on the name of the blessed virgin and the holy friar. The convent was, in short alarmed; nor was Clelia capable of being pacified till the good man was called, in order to allay, by suitable applications, the emotions raised by this unexpected interview. Leander grew daily more convinced, that it was not only verbal communications which passed between Clelia and the friar. This, however, he did not think himself fully warranted to disclose, till an accident of a singular nature, gave him an opportunity of receiving more ample testimony. The confessor had a favourite spaniel, which he had lost for some time, and was informed, at length, that he was killed, at a village in the neighbourhood, being evidently mad. The friar was at first not much concerned; but in a little time recollected that the dog had snapped his fingers the very day before his elopement. A physician's advice was thought expedient on the occasion and Leander was the next physician. He told him, with great frankness, that no prescription he could write, had the sanction of so much experience as immersion in sea-water. The friar, therefore, the next day, set forward on his journey, while Leander, not without a mischievous kind of satisfaction conveyed the following lines to Clelia. "My charming Clelia!
Tho'l yet love you to distraction, I cannot but suspect that you have.granted favours to your confessor, which you might, with greater innocence, have granted to Leander. All I have to add is this, that amorous intercourses of this naturę, which you have enjoyed with friar Laurence, put you under