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Curious to know what had of late so much engrossed my leisure hours, this was the opportunity she wished, and it was with great exultation she descried ainidst “Scraps of Poetry,” “ Loose Thoughts," des morceaux, &c. &c. my unfortunate productious.
Here let me pause, and remark how often do the most trivial circunstances act as agents in the formation of the most heart-felt evils.
Whether my dearest thought so much good sense Qught not to be private property, or intended to endear domestic life by holding me up to public derision, I have not yet been enabled to determine; certain it is, in a very short time I was in print, and faith I never wish to be in print again. Some days after, as I was passing along the most crowded part of the city, one of the gayest of my associates slapped me on the shoulder, exclaiming, Well! who'd have thought it?" I turned, surprised, but was quickly roused by his asking me with a very arch look," How long it might be since my entrée into the world as an author?” observing, at the same time, that if I had written poetry, blank verse, or any thing else, he should have thought something of me, but as for essays, he had a most hearty contempt for them, they being uniformly made up of dulness and insipidity. Provoked by his rude salutation, and still more so by the sigoificance of his looks, I hastily wished him good morning, and got away just time enough to hear him mutter, “ What fine airs these upstarts give themselves! getting above old acquaintances.” But this was enjoyment itself in comparison of what I had next to endure.
It had been my custom, as it is of many men in business, to adjourn about noon to a neighbouring tavern, for the purpose of refreshment, and hearing and retailing news. The house to which I resorted was much frequented, and, as it had been my practice to go there for some time, I was known, as far as a bow, or rather a nod, carries knowledge of character, to most persons there. On this luckless day, having entered as usual, I took my seat, and paid the current civilities to those around; but was somewhat mortified at the reception I met with": some, by the slightness of their ackuowledgment, seemed never to have scén me before, others turned their heads another way, while those who thought the weight of their purses might compensate for any want of politeness, laughed outright. Being naturally of.a tímid and reserved disposition, 1 sat covered with confusion, uuable to divine the cause of such unusual behaviour, but this was quickly upravelled by a humorous stock broker, who enquired, 4* How long I intended to enlighten the world by my wisdom, and whether I had bespoken a place in the next review ?” I answered, that if he spoke with reference to the pamphlet just published, I could only assure bim it was not with my consent it bad appeared. "Aye! aye!” replied a fat cit," he thvught his essays mighty fine, I've no doubt; but when men of judg ment come to look over them, they are but poor stuff:' and then, with more than his usual eloquence, he ran on enumerating the evils atteudant upon those whom he termed over-learned ; and in the conclusion of his harangue, (with the view of raising my depressed spirits,) affirmed that he did not know, nor had he ever heard of any one who had earned an honest livelihood by productions of what they called genius ; but which, if sifted to the bottom, would be found to proceed from indolence, or unfitness for other employ. ment; nay, he remembered hearing talk of a certain Scotch poet, who was nearly starved to death, and an English one, who was actually killed by eagerness to satisfy bis hunger, after the generosity of a friend had provided him the means of purchasing a roll.
The decision of this man of judgment was without appeal; it was received by the major part of the company as a most sensible piece of extemporaneous composition, and not without some reason, for he bad given his daughter twenty thousand pounds as her portion, and was computed to be worth sixty more. Tired with so much acuteness, it was impossible to remain long in the place where I had met with such unprovoked insoleuce. I therefore sallied forth, returned to my des and early in the evening repaired home, where
" Oh horrible ! horrible! most horrible!" my beloved spouse had invited a select party, consisting of about thirty of her own immediate friends, purposely to enjoy the chagrin which her“ prophetic eye” foresaw would be the result of her machinations.
Here I had likewise a fiery ordeal! One thought my essay on good breeding so well written, that if Lord Chestertield could but rise from the dead, he would burn bis directions as quite unnecessary : another wished that, as I had said so much about “ mad dogs," I had prescribed a cure for the bite of one: a third (by the way a noted dunce,) declared my
Reveries” very natural, as he had often when sitting half asleep by the fire, thought exactly the same: and a fourth, by way of improvement, said I ought in justice to make my wife a present of a new set of china, for saving me the trouble and expense of publication."
Were I to enumerate the many vexations to which my imprudence has given rise, a moderate sized volume would not suffice; and, as the recital of my first day's disasters will serve for the most part as an epitome of the rest, I shall not trouble you with the compliments of iny relations and friends, who, as my fame extended, never failed to let me know that I had, in their humble opinion, acted very unwisely; but I am afraid of falling into the same error which has been to me the cause of so much uneasiness, and you will doubtless applaud my resolution, whien I inform you it is never my intention to give fresh reason for being termed on all occasions
TRUTH: AN INDIAN TALE.
FROM THE FRENCH*. AS a fakir was taking his walk in a retired spot, the earth seemed to resound beneath his footsteps. He stopped. “ This place is hollow,” he said to himself, “and perhaps incloses a treasure: wliat a happy man would it make me, should I be lucky enough to find it!"
The fakir began removing the ground, and soon observed a sort of vault; but after undergoing so much fatigue, he was greatly mortified at discovering nothing
• In the original it forms the introduction to a volume of fables.
but the mouth of a well, which had apparently rec mained there for several ages.
Whilst he was surveying it with an air of disappoiutment, a female form, dripping with wet, shivering with cold, and quite naked, suddenly rose up and being excessively beautiful, the fakir contemplated the figure with so much delight, that he never unce thought of covering her with his cloak.
“O thou who surpassest in beauty the daughters of Brahma," said he," tell me who thou art, and where. fore thou bathest in a well?” “I am TRUTH," she replied. The fakir instantly grew pale, and fell on his knees, as if a fakir and truth could not possibly exist together.
The virgiu being thus at liberty, advanced peaceably towards the city. A woman walking naked is not so great a singularity in India as in other climates less favoured by the sun. There passed by her poets, sultapas, and eunuchs.
Ah," said the poets, on beholding her, “ how thin she is !""
6 How indiscreet she is!" said the sultanas. " How sad she appears!" ejaculated the eunuchs. Nove of them seemed to care about her.
A voluptuous courtier bappeued also to pass her. He perceived that she had a white skin, and he had her placed in his palanquin.
Scarcely was she seated, wben the mistress of the emperor appeared, riding on a dromedary, hy order of her physicians. “ How odd it is,” cried Truth," that the favourite sultana should have a crooked nose!”
The courtier trembled at this exclamation, and gave himself up for lost: for there was a law forbidding any one from speaking well or ill of the favourite's nose. He cast Truth into the middle of the highway, saying, “What a fool have I been to trouble myself with this babbler!”
She arrived at the gates of the city, and observing a person of an interior order, enquired of him where she might find an asylum for the night. The man conducted her to his home, not doubting but this acquaintance would make his fortune.
The host with whom Truth had taken up her lodging, got his living by writing a gazette; where, each morning, every person in office read his own panegyric. Whenever, therefore, he went to the court, the slaves had orders to fill his pockets with the best remains of the kitchen.
The presence of our traveller very much deranged the affairs of this poor man. He had scarcely time to prepare his gazette. Truth saw him at work without saying a word, and when he had finished, erased every thing that he had written. The publication was two days behind hand.
The vizir, angry at this delay, called for the writer, and after giving him fifty stripes, permitted him to speak in his own justification. He did so with eloquence and propriety; so much the worse for the ga. zeteer, for the vizir dismissed him with a hundred more bastinadoes.
This last punishment appeared singular to those who knew how just the vizir meant to be. He did this, because he wanted the time which the punishment occupied, secretly to remove Truth from the gazeteer's house. Had he thought ninety-nine blows would have been sufficient for his purpose, he had too great a regard for his fellow creatures to have suffered one more to be inflicted.
When the vizir had gotten sole possession of Truth he hoped to make advantage of her against his enemies : but it being announced that the emperor was coming that very day to visit his palace, and dreading above all things lest he should see her, he ordered that, for the public good, she should be put to death.
Immediately four emirs placed her gently between silk cushions, embroidered and perfumed, and then smothered her with every possible precaution. They afterwards threw the dead body into the most unfrequented spot in the garden.
The men in power imagined that Truth was dead, because she had been smothered some time; but this was not the case, the open air revived her, and she availed herself of the darkness of the night to leave the garden.
She took shelter in a vast library, where the Brahmins had stored up the learning and wisdom for five thousand years. The night being cold she lit a fire