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DUPES.

“That the country, and only the country, displays the inexhaustible varieties of nature, and supplies the philosophical mind with matter for admiration and enquiry, never was denied; but my curiosity is very little attracted by the colour of a flower, the nature of an insect, or the structure of a nest; I am generally employed on human manners, and therefore fill up my leisure with remarks on those who live within the circle of my notice."-JOHNSON.

I HAD thrown myself back in my chair, folded my arms, and gazed on the cornice of my study, as I generally do when in want of a subject, when the vacuity of which I was conscious was filled by an incident. A sound which I traced to the corner cupboard, proved to me that it was occupied by one of those quadrupedal de. predators which were the ordinary attendants of the poet's chamber, till the liberality of the age lowered it from its attic elevation, and rendered his falls less dangerous, and, of course, his flights more sublime. Bent on mischief, I ordered the trap to be baited, and two minutes had not elapsed before the domestic police officer conveyed the enquiry of Macbeth to my

ear

“The deed is done, did you not hear the noise?" Involuntarily the response was given_“I did;" and hurrying immediately to the scene of capture, I beheld the victim. Prithee, gentle reader, don't knit your brows, nor give utterance to the ominious interrogation, “Well what of that?” Withhold the quotation so familiar to your classical mind,

Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus ;"! and remembering that Æsop gives his fable before the moral, allow me to state the fact,

and then to lucubrate con amore. As I looked on the little creature, belonging to a species which, but for its fecundity, might excite very different emotions to those commonly entertained, and one of which was seen by Schieber to fall into convulsions through fear, whilst holden in the hand; a race of bipeds passed rapidly before my eyes, whose hatchment, to be descriptive, should include a captured mouse.

Be it observed, however, that as there are many degrees of intermediate solidity between “a Westphalia ham and a whip syllabub,” so there are many degrees between the 66 muscipularcaptivity from which extrication is possible, and that which issues fatally. Nor will it, I hope, appear less obvious on the perusal of this paper, that resemblances may be found in human life, to the varieties in apprehension, pain and loss, sustained by that part of the irrational creation, which many bards, from Homer

bards, from Homer to Burns, have assisted to immortalize.

The organ of acquisitiveness, we are told by all members of the phrenological school, is very generally developed; it is indeed, by no means, à lusus naturæ ; and where it does not appear on the skull, the feeling of which it is the sign manual, may, perhaps, be discovered in the heart. It need not excite our surprise, therefore, that while a few should allow its judicious exercise, a multitude, heedless of every thing but its gratification, should suffer injury from its indulgence. The angler's baits for the finny tribes, are not so varied in form and hue as those are which attract the eyes of men. and induce their pursuits, regardless of sacrifice. Among these, is that ideal thing called fashion. To be ostensibly under its influence, the thoughtless of either sex will submit to wear its livery, to the inconvenience, and distortion, and torture of their frames, to the prostration of their minds, and even to prove irrefragably, that it is in fact, “the voluntary slavery which leads them to think, act, and dress, according to the caprice of coxcombs, and the judgment of fools.” And what is money but a guilded bait, which in many cases conceals a hook; or which, like the instrument first referred to, exposes the pursuer to what is quite as fatal?

A prominent feature in the records of the present age will be its love of speculation. It may be doubted, indeed, whether the large demand made on credence, will not induce posterity to disbelieve the full reality. That men, by prodigious efforts, and unprecedented sacrifices, should accumulate thousands, only to hazard them with a flimsy change of their security, and a flimsier of their productiveness, will seem so perfectly Utopian, as to deserve mention with the pedant of Hierocles, who in a storm tied himself to an anchor, expecting safety from adherence, in the event of a wreck. Our surprise at the issue may well be inferior to that we experience when witnesses of the rise of these chimeras. To predict the broken fortunes, the shattered credit, the pungent regrets, the details of which so frequently meet the eye or the ear, required assuredly no prophetic sagacity. But what are these, though deeply affecting, to the statements which might be given? Could the whole result be viewed, the rivulet on which we gaze would expand into a mighty river of sorrow

The desire of accumulation,

however awakened, requires to be limited. To be lawful, it must certainly be confined within a narrow compass; and beyond this it is a serious evil. The element that affords a genial warmth, requires but a little relaxation of restraint to be an agent fearfully destructive. Whenever the pursuit of gain is not controlled by sound principle, it merits strong reprehension; but there are some cases in which it appears indescribably detestable. The possession of property, for example, may be an object of legitimate solicitude in the prospect of conjugal life; but to make this the exclusive object of regard, is to discover the most odious avarice, since it violates, with ruthless energy, the most sacred engagements, and despises sentiments and feelings that are elevated and delightful. Still the dupes of this infatuation are numerous. Who has not beheld them?-I have; and at the sight my heart tas sickened.) I have seen one whose personal beauty was,' to all capable of appreciating her worth, her least attraction, allied to a sickly, wrinkled, and morose being, because he was wealthy. Sometimes I have witnessed, in this situation, the victim of compulsion; and the hottest indignation of my soul has been kindled against the gross, the monstrous, the fiendish violence which has perpetrated such an outrage. I should think the evening star about as appropriate to illumine a jailer's lanthorn as a woman of this order to such circumstances; and I would not incur the responsibility of those who enforced it for all the gold they have, multiplied by all there is---except theirs. But, unhappily, there are instances of this kind, in which choice, not necessity, prevails. Snow can make a dunghill look pretty, and riches can exert an analogous influence. Pity must then give place to other emotions. The woman who, ' for interest sake," can submit to be “paired, not matched,” to forego the endearments of domestic felicity, to be bound indissolubly to one who abroad is as pleasant as a pampered cur let into the drawing room on his best behaviour, and at home reminds you of a great apple dangling and whizzing for hours at the fire, is a specimen of the lovelier sex for which I have no sympathy. What then shall I say of “ the fortune-hunters,” engaged unceasingly in the chase of gold and pearls? of all the abject, they are the most degraded. Their folly rarely goes long unpunished. Till they grasp their object, vexation and disappointment are their companions, and when it is gained, it proves often still more distressing. They borrow Shylock's knife to plunge it to the haft in their own happiness. Fascinated by the splendoúrs of "the god of their idolatry,” they overlook his iron fetters. Unmindful of the fact, that even what is good may have some accompaniments which render its pursuit madness, the sad reality alone disperses their forgetfulness. It is worth remembrance that many obey the mandate--

Look like the innocent flower,

But be the serpent under it." I will not tell all I have seen of a few of the fair, who, because they brought their husbands wealth, clain an indefensible right to rule. I had not so resolved, the consequences might be serious; I pledge myself to adhere to truth, and the law unfortunately says, the greater the truth the greater the libel.

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