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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 conveniencies of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the well dressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy all with cheerful
Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and by their remark, 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 misfortunes. 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 obe taining some advantage in rank or fortune, no. body 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 themselves and others about the contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them ; which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very incon. venient, especially when one finds one's self en. tangled 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 instru. ment 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 philoso. pher to have no further acquaintance.gith 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, un. happy 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.
COMPANY OF EPHEMERA; 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 de. lightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopt a liule in one of our walks, and staid some time behind the company. We had been shewn numberless skeletons of a kind of little fly, called an Ephemeræ, whose successive generations, we are 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 tp 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 imper. fections 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 philosophers of our race, who lived and flourish. el long before my time, that this vast world the Moulin Jolycould not itself subsist more than eighteen hours ; and I think there was some found ation 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
66 It was,
; 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 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 Ephemeræ will in a course of minutes become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched : And in philoso. phy 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 I have lived long enough to nature and to glory. But what will fame be to an Ephemeræ who no longer exists? and what will become of all history in the eighteenth hoor, when the world itself, even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in 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 conversa,