Imágenes de páginas

advantage, in order to be a judge of the dress of others; and besides all those qualifications, she must be endued with the gift of secrecy, a talent very rarely to be met with in her profession.

[ocr errors]

By what I have said, I believe my reader will be convinced, that notwithstanding the many pretenders, the perfection of dress cannot be attained without a genius; and shall venture boldly to affirm, that in all arts and sciences whatever, epic poetry excepted, (of which I formerly shewed the knack or mechanism) a genius is absolutely neces


N° 150. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2, 1713. ́

[blocks in formation]

I WENT the other day to visit Eliza, who in the perfect bloom of beauty, is the mother of several children. She had a little prating girl upon her lap, who was begging to be very fine, that she might go abroad; and the indulgent mother, at her little daughter's request, had taken the knots off her own head, to adorn the hair of the pretty trifler. A smiling boy was at the same time caress

ing a lap-dog, which is their mother's favourite, because it pleases the children; and she, with a delight in her looks, which heightened her beauty, so divided her conversation with the two pretty pratt lers, as to make them both equally cheerful.

As I came, she said with a blush, Mr. Ironside, though you are an old bachelor, you must not laugh at my tenderness to my children.' I need not tell my reader, what civil things I said in answer to the lady, whose matron-like behaviour gave me infinite satisfaction: since I myself take great pleasure in playing with children, and am seldom unprovided of plums or marbles, to make my court to such entertaining companions.

Whence is it, said I to myself when I was alone, that the affection of parents is so intense to their offspring? Is it because they generally find such resemblances in what they have produced, as that thereby they think themselves renewed in their children, and are willing to transmit themselves to future time? Or is it, because they think themselves obliged, by the dictates of humanity, to nourish and rear what is placed so immediately under their protection; and what by their means is brought into this world, the scene of misery, of necessity? These will not come up to it. Is it not rather the good providence of that Being, who in a supereminent degree protects and cherishes the whole race of mankind, his sons and creatures? How shall we, any other way, account for this natural affection, so signally displayed throughout every species of the animal creation, without which the course of nature would quickly fail, and every various kind be extinct? Instances of tenderness. in the most savage brutes are so frequent, that quotations of that kind are altogether unnecessary,

If we, who have no particular concern in them, take a secret delight in observing the gentle dawn of reason in babes; if our ears are soothed with their half-forming and aiming at articulate sounds; if we are charmed with their pretty mimicry, and surprised at the unexpected starts of wit and cunning in these miniatures of man: what transport may we imagine in the breasts of those, into whom natural instinct hath poured tenderness and fondness for them! how amiable is such a weakness in human nature! or rather, how great a weakness is it, to give humanity so reproachful a name! The bare consideration of paternal affection should methinks create a more grateful tenderness in children toward their parents, than we generally see; and the silent whispers of nature be attended to, though the laws of God and man did not call aloud.

These silent whispers of nature have had a marvellous power, even when their cause hath been unknown. There are several examples in story of tender friendships formed betwixt men who knew not of their near relation. Such accounts confirm me in an opinion I have long entertained, that there is a sympathy betwixt souls, which cannot be explained by the prejudice of education, the sense of duty, or any other human motive.

The memoirs of a certain French nobleman, which now lie before me, furnish me with a very entertaining instance of this secret attraction implanted by Providence in the human soul. It will be necessary to inform the reader, that the person whose story I am going to relate, was one whose roving and romantic temper, joined to a disposition singularly amorous, had led him through a vast variety of gallantries and amours. He had, in his youth, attended a princess of France into

Poland, where he had been entertained by the king her husband, and married the daughter of a grandee. Upon her death he returned into his native country; where his intrigues and other misfortunes having consumed his paternal estate, he now went to take care of the fortune his deceased wife had left him in Poland. In his journey he was robbed before he reached Warsaw, and lay ill of a fever, when he met with the following adventure; which shall be related in his own words.

I had been in this condition for four days, when the countess of Venoski passed that way. She was informed that a stranger of good fashion lay sick, and her charity led her to see me. I remembered her, for I had often seen her with my wife, to whom she was nearly related; but when I found she knew me not, I thought fit to conceal my name. I told her I was a German; that I had been robbed; and that if she had the charity to send me to Warsaw, the queen would acknowledge it; I having the honour to be known to her majesty. The countess had the goodness to take compassion of me; and ordering me to be put into a litter, carried me to Warsaw, where I was lodged in her house until my health should allow me to wait on the queen.

My fever increased after my journey was over, and I was confined to my bed for fifteen days. When the countess first saw me, she had a young lady with her about eighteen years of age, who was much taller and better shaped than the Polish women generally are. She was very fair, her skin ex ceeding fine, and her hair and shape inexpressibly beautiful. I was not so sick as to overlook this young beauty; and I felt in my heart such emetions at the first view, as made me fear that all my

misfortunes had not armed me sufficiently against the charms of the fair sex. The amiable creature seemed afflicted at my sickness; and she appeared to have so much concern and care for me, as raised in me a great inclination and tenderness for her. She came every day into my chamber to inquire after my health; I asked who she was, and I was answered, that she was niece to the countess of Venoski.

I verily believe that the constant sight of this charming maid, and the pleasure I received from her careful attendance, contributed more to my recovery than all the medicines the physicians gave me. In short, my fever left me, and I had the satisfaction to see the lovely creature overjoyed at my recovery. She came to see me oftener as I grew better; and I already felt a stronger and more tender affection for her than I ever bore to any woman in my life; when I began to perceive that her constant care of me was only a blind, to give her an opportunity of seeing a young Pole, whom I took to be her lover. He seemed to be much about her age, of a brown complexion, very tall, but finely shaped. Every time she came to see me the young gentleman came to find her out; and they usually retired to a corner of the chamber, where they seemed to converse with great earnestness. The aspect of the youth pleased me wonderfully; and if I had not suspected that he was my rival, I should have taken delight in his person and friendship.

They both of them often asked me if I were in reality a German; which when I continued to affirm, they seemed very much troubled. One day, I took notice that the young lady and gentleman, having retired to a window, were very intent

« AnteriorContinuar »