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which I could not have believed any disappointment in money matters would have induced my lively friend, Frank Mervyn, to adopt. “I see,” said I, advancing with a duly gentle step, and modulated voice, “that you know all, and I fear that the fortunate number” “Was the one you saw me enclose to Mr. Creswell,” he answered, in a gloomy manner, without raising his head. “This is certainly an unfortunate accident, my dear Frank,” said I, “but there is no blame to be attached to any body.” “Blame,” interrupted he, quickly, “no, certainly, who presumed to talk of blame?” I did not quite like his manner of addressing me, but I knew that vexation seldom improves the temper, or polishes the manners, and therefore I excused his abruptness. “Oh!” said he, after a few minutes' silence, “how just was your remark, that a habit of speculation deadens the nice feelings of honor " “Yes,” said I, gratified by his compliment, although I did not exactly see what it had to do with the subject in question. “I believe most of my remarks are very just and sound, and might also be very profitable, if you and my other young friends would only be persuaded.” Here Mervyn again interrupted me— “How proudly once,” said he, “did I boast of my ability to resist temptation; and now, how near have I been to falling!” I was still more puzzled. * “I dare say, Frank,” said I, “you are angry with yourself for not having taken my advice, and relinquished your idea of buying a ticket.” “Angry with myself!” he repeated, rising, and walking up and down the room, “I despise inyself.” I was in doubt whether I ought not to ring the bell, and send a messenger for medical assistance, considering Mervyn's senses to be in a very precarious state, when he settled the point by ringing the bell himself. “I wish this letter to be taken to the post-office,” said he, giving one, as he spoke, to the servant who attended. He stood at the window, watching his messenger round the corner, and then turned to me with a completely altered expression of countenance. “Congratulate me,” said he ; “I have overcome the unworthy inclination that I blush to think I could ever have enter
tained. The letter which I have just given to the servant was the one which you saw me direct yesterday to Mr. Creswell!” I pressed Mervyn's extended hand in silence, and he continued : “Soon after I left you, yesterday, I met with a friend whom I had not seen for some time; he pressed me to accompany him home to dinner, and I completely forgot the letter. This morning I was, like you, attracted by the notification in Cornhill of the splendid prize just drawn; I eagerly took out my own ticket, and at the same moment that I ascertained that it was not the number in question, I felt that the letter for Mr. Creswell still remained in my pocket ; I returned home, and for the last hour I have been combating a disgraceful and culpable impulse to change the tickets.” “But you have overcome the impulse,” I said. “Yes,” he answered, “but I do not think I should ever have entertained it for a moment, had it not been for my unfortunate familiarity with speculation; in fact, I am persuaded that had this event occurred a twelvemonth ago, I should no more have thought of appropriating Mr. Creswell's lottery ticket, than of abstracting the contents of his strong box; but this was the insidious, baleful form in which the evil spirit assailed me. You know my firm confidence in the judgment and integrity of Glossington, and that this twenty thousand pounds (if my own) would immediately have been delivered over to his management. I thought to do the same in the present instance, and when it was trebled in value, to disclose the whole facts to Mr. Creswell, and divide the profits with him.” “It would have been long enough, I fancy,” said I, “before the disclosure took place, if you waited till the money was trebled by Mr. Glossington's powers of multiplication.” “I cannot agree with you there,” said he, “but I immediately began to reflect that I had no right to judge for another person; the money was fairly and equitably Mr. Creswell's. I knew him to have a decided aversion for speculation, and felt that I could not be justified in running risks for him, which he certainly would never have run for himself. Above all, I reflected that, although my fellow-creatures would not see my exchange of the tickets, it would be beheld by that Almighty Judge who will one day ‘bring to light the hidden things of darkness.’ My cheerful days, my peaceful nights, my even spirits, must all be sacrificed, and replaced by self-upbraidings, gloomy retrospection, and anxious forebodings. A prize in the lottery is a desirable thing, but the proverb tells us that “even gold may be bought too dear,’ and certainly I am not disposed to purchase it at the price of an approving conscience.” “You will, I hope, inform Mr. Creswell of your honorable conduct,” said I. “Assuredly not,” he replied, “the circumstances are not at all to my credit; I feel much more ashamed of having admitted the temptation, than pride in having resisted it.” “Nay,” said I, “do not undervalue your own conduct; few have ever been placed in circumstances of such remarkable temptation, and I sincerely hope that the honor you have evinced will in some way or other be rewarded.” “Thank you for your good wishes,” he answered, “but I cannot bear such phrases as ‘honor rewarded,” “virtue rewarded ;’ a modern writer humorously designates them as the clinking of cash in the white pockets of conscience.’ I will immediately go to the lottery office and give them the name and address of the fortunate holder of the prize (alas ! for me not the ‘fortunate youth'), and then return to the usual concerns of life, with rather a more humble opinion of my own excellence and rectitude than I entertained before.” I accompanied Mervyn to the office, where we inquired the fate of the other ticket, and learned that it had been just drawn a blank Some time afterwards, Mr. Creswell arrived in London, and notwithstanding Mervyn's strenuous solicitations to deposit the proceeds of his lottery prize in the hands of Glossington, persisted in placing it in the inglorious security of the three per cents. I was well acquainted with Mr. Creswell, and under the seal of secrecy, acquainted him with Mervyn's triumph over temptation. This circumstance added much to the interest which he had always taken in him, and he joined with me in deeply lamenting his speculative habits; but reasoning was not now of any avail—it was too late; Frank Mervyn's capital was already in the hands of Glossington, and few and faint were the hopes to be entertained of its escape from them. Shortly after these events, I was at Bath, for my health, when the London papers informed me of the complete exposure of
Glossington's fraud and dishonesty. He had lately added forgery to his other “choice receipts” for amassing a large fortune in a short time, had been apprehended and imprisoned, and his unfortunate dupes found that they had purchased wisdom at a dear rate, for most of them had exchanged for it the whole of their worldly wealth. I received a few lines from Mervyn, in which he (very properly) regretted that he had not followed my advice, congratulated himself that he had not been the gainer of the lottery prize, which Glossington's magic wand would so soon have converted into a blank, and finally informed me that his kind friend Mr. Creswell had earnestly pressed him to pay him a long visit at his country seat, which was within a few miles of Cheltenham. Three months after these occurrences I bent my own steps to Cheltenham, and took an early opportunity of riding over to Mr. Creswell's house, where I hoped to find Mervyn still domesticated. Mr. Creswell had an amiable wife, a pretty daughter, two lively and agreeable sons, and a beautitul house and grounds, and I thought that Mervyn could not be in more desirable quarters. Mr. Creswell received me with all the cordiality of an old friend, and told me that I had come just in time to condole with him, for that he had made up his mind to part with his only daughter. “Not, however,” he continued, “that I can expect much sympathy from you, for I am about to bestow her on your favorite young friend Frank Mervyn.” “I congratulate you,” said I warmly, “you will gain an amiable, kind-hearted, honorable son-in-law, and it matters little to you that he is not a rich one.” “Nay,” replied Mr. Creswell, “we must not speak lightly of his possessions, since to him I may be said to owe the portion that I have bestowed on my daughter. I should have contrived in any event to have given her a becoming fortune, but now I have settled the matter very economically for myself, and very satisfactorily for the young couple, by making over to her the twenty thousand pounds which I received a few months ago from the golden mart, in Cornhill.” I was completely silent with surprise —a very unusual effect for surprise to take on me. The straight path is always the best, but in this instance how wonderfully had it also proved the most prosperous! Had Mervyn yielded to the temptation of exchanging the tickets, he would continually have been oppressed by the burden of a troubled conscience; his ill-gotten gains would have been swallowed up in the vortex of speculation, and any attentions that Mr. Creswell had shown to him in his adversity would have been shunned by him, from a natural horror of receiving benefits from one whom he had injured. Now his conscience was easy, and his prospects bright; all was clear and peaceful without and within, and the two greatest faults in his character, a love of speculation, and a little propensity to think too highly of his own excellence, had been chastened and improved by the experience of the past. Twenty-two years have since elapsed; Frank Mervyn and his wife reside principally in London, and I often visit at their house. I have now acquired the experience of a quarter of a century in addition to the tolerable stock of wisdom which I possessed in the days of Frank Mervyn's temptation, and I have seen many changes and revolutions in that time, some of which have been very satisfactory to me. Lotteries are now at an end; people have acquired such a salutary horror, and quick perception of smooth swindlers, that the present era is uninfested by a Glossington,
and the funds have been so often reduced,
that the fund-holders begin to emulate the apathy of the celebrated Mandrin, who said, when he was undergoing the punishment of the wheel, that the first keen pang brought with it a stunning torpor, which deadened his senses to all those that followed it. Still, however, I am far from being contented with the aspect of things in general: my opinion is, that the world is madder than ever.
For some years I have been excessively annoyed and disconcerted by the increase of railroads; nobody stays at home for a month at a time, neither is home any longer a place of domestic quiet, it is filled with perpetual guests brought down by the railroads. The “homes of England” have ceased to realize the charming description of Mrs. Hemans; the master of the family is always running to London by the railroad to visit his club, or to get his fowling-piece put in order; the sons run by the railroad to every possible part of England, and then avail themselves of the facilities of steam in another element, by running over to the continent; the ladies constantly stand in need of mineral springs, or sea-bathing, and the railroad is at hand to convey them to a watering-place; and should one of the
daughters feel inclined to effect a runaway match, there is no hope of overtaking her, as in the good old days, when one post chaise used to enter into Gretna Green, with another fifty yards behind it; no, she elopes by the railroad, and nobody can follow her till the next train sets off. I thought that railroads had done their worst, but it is very difficult to say when any thing animate or inanimate has done its worst. There is a mania at the present time for railway shares—the newspapers are full of the subject, private conversation is engrossed by it; there are railway quadrilles in the very assembly room, in which an imitation of the abominable whistle is introduced, and the dancers converse on railway investments in the intervals of the figure The traffic is no matter of secrecy; fathers and sons go together to buy railway shares, ladies devote the superfluities of their pin money to the same purpose; nay, the director of a savings bank has assured me that numerous depositors have recently drawn out their money, and that he has a shrewd suspicion of the reason. Business and relaxation used to be separate pursuits, but railroads now are the connecting link that unites them. People talk not of green banks, but embankments; not of shepherds and reapers, but of stokers and engineers. None of the common authorized roads to ruin suit the impetuosity of modern speculators—nothing will satisfy them but going to ruin by the railroad: yes, I repeat it advisedly, the world is madder than ever. I have, however, one pleasing association connected with the present day. Last week I was dining with a large party of gentlemen. I am much more prone to give general advice than I was two-and-twenty years ago, and I read a very sensible lecture on railway speculations to my next neighbor, who pleaded guilty to divers misdeineanors of that description. “Depend upon it,” he replied, “that there is not a person in company with the exception of yourself, who has not speculated in railway shares.” He proposed the query successively to all the party, one alone was able to answer it in the negative, and that one was my friend, Frank Mervyn. . I cannot close my little narrative better than with this anecdote. I do not think I can possibly give my readers a more convincing proof of Frank Mervyn's entire reformation.
THE NEW PLANET.
The newly-discovered planet, Astraea, is a companion of the four little ones ascertained, about forty years ago, to exist between Mars and Jupiter, all revolving at nearly equal distances from the sun. If it be no bigger than the smallest of these, it probably is not forty miles in diameter, or possessed of a surface measuring more than the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Think of a tight little Island in this spherical form, wheeling along in independent fashion through space with all its proper features of vegetation and of animated being—a perfect miniature of those respectably-sized orbs of which our own is a specimen And supposing there are men and women upon it, think of the miniatures of nations which they must compose, and of all their other social arrangements in proportion
In that case, a piece of land the size of four or five English counties will be a goodly continent, and a mass of sea like the Firth of Forth a perfect Mediterranean. A range of hills such as those of Derbyshire will be as a set of Alps or Himalays to the Astraans, and their Danubes and Amazons will be about the size of our best Scotch burns. , Rutlandshire would be a large edition of the Russian empire in Astraea. The more common-sized kingdoms would be about the magnitude of our ordinary parishes. It is inconceivable, however, that the people of this little planet are split up into nations so extremely small. Let us rather suppose that they form but four or five in all, each occupying as much land as about half the Isle of Wight. Some quarter of a million in all they might be allowing that the land in Astraea is for the most part fit to produce sustenance for human beings. Narrow as is that fold of existence, and limited its population, there will no doubt be room for the display of human passions in Astraea. It will have its wars occasionally. A Frederick the Great will set all its Europe in a flame, for possession of a Silesia of the size of the Regent's Park. An Alexander, having invaded an India resembling Cornwall in extent, will sigh, and with something like reason, to think that there are no more worlds to conquer. There will be class interests too. Some little Britain will make fierce resolves to raise all its own corn, under whatever difficulties, and at whatever cost:
and treaties will be entered into as between Jersey and Guernsey for an exchange of wine against woollen cloths, let the rest of the forty-mile world pine at the arrangement as it pleases. Colonies, too, will not fail to raise a pother. There will be an Algiers of parish size, with an Abd-elKader storming for its defence; and two mighty countries, representing a Britain and an America, will spurt out big words about an Oregon of the extent and value of the Moor of Rannoch. The Astraeans, although their world is so little, will see it to be a firm and stable thing beneath their feet, with all the other bodies of space revolving round it. If not yet arrived at the use of the telescope, and of the rules of geometry, they will believe their sphere to be the great central world, to which every thing else is subordinate. But even if they have advanced as far in these matters as ourselves, they will think and speak on the understanding that Astraa is the world—the only place where they know for certain there are human beings— all the other spheres being only conjecturally scenes of life. Even to those most enlightened on such points, the immediateness of their own little globe will give it an importance and a centrality which they will scarcely be able to attribute to any other mass within their range of observation. There will be a great deal of self-esteem in the Astraeans respecting their poor little hummingtop of a world. They will look upon themselves, doubtless, as very high intelligences, and great will that man think himself who becomes known for his acts or words to one-fourth of them. He will also esteem himself a most liberal-minded and cosmopolitan person, who advocates that the five great countries should live at peace with each other, and that statesmen should legislate impartiality for the good of the whole people of the globe. They will have on record their first circumnavigators and discoverers of countries; their Drakes, and Frobishers, and Columbuses; the men of giant-heart, who ventured upon untraversed seas of the width of the straits of Calais, and dared to put a girdle round a globe no less than a hundred and twenty miles in circumference. They will also have their great men of philosophy, of letters and of arts. Would it not be curious to get a peep into one of their biographical dictionaries, and see what sort of men had been the Astraean Homer and Milton, the Astrasan Socrates and Newton, the Astraean Phidias and Raphael ? Their universal history would be not less amusing ! What narrations of conquests pushed over the space of one of our degrees of latitude; and how interesting to trace civilization as arising in a certain parishlike space of ground, and then spreading slowly into the adjacent parishes! Great notions entertained, too, about the origins of all those little nations; some sprung from demigods, no less. One particularly great people, convinced that they were destined to be the leading people in the world, because they were twenty thousand more in number than any other. A Napoleon in Astraca—what a droll phenomenon . Think of him setting out with the idea that his country—la Belle something—measuring about ten miles each way, was destined to predominate over the world. And behold him then overrunning his little Italy, Austria, Prussia, in succession, and thinking he had it all safe. But behold, he is at length led by constant success into an enterprise where nature happens to be against him, and he sinks more rapidly than he rose. Then histories, poems about him, wondering at the vastness of a genius which grasped at a dominion embracing perhaps as much ground as belonged to the king of the East Saxons. Deplorations for so great a spirit, pining like the chained eagle on an islet, wretched as a toy-disappointed child, because he could not be allowed any longer to play the conqueror He lest a name at which the world grew pale—this forty-mile world, to wit—to point a moral and adorn a tale. And yet this, however whimsical it may look from our eight-thousand-mile globe, would undoubtedly be very serious to the Astrayans. For just as Astrata is to us, so is the earth to a planet like Jupiter or Saturn, where men may be speculating about our Tellurian history exactly in the present strain, although, as is well known we regard our Napoleon as something very tremendous. It is possible after all, that the Astraeans have a more just view of themselves and their world in comparison with other worlds and other peoples. They may be, perchance, a more modest example of human nature than their earthly brethren; and it may have therefore happened that when they first learned, from their Copernicuses, Newtons, and Herschels, how matters really stood in the universe, that they felt extremely abashed and disheartened about it. Let us for a moment imagine them in their
state of original ignorance, fully persuaded that Astraea was the Mundas or world, and that all the luminous bodies which, like us, they see in the sky, were merely a drapery hung up for the regalement of their eyesight. What a mighty thing Astraea is, and what a grand set of beings are the Astraeans! A sun to give us warmth and vegetation. Stars to begem our nightly view, Sister Pallas, or Westa, occasionally sailing pretty close by, about the size of a moon, as if by way of a holiday spectacle. Every thing very nice and complete about us. But lo! astronomy begins to tell strange tales.—It now appears that there are coordinate bodies called planets, probably inhabited as well as ours, and of infinitely larger size. The stars, moreover, are suns, having other planets in attendance upon them, and these probably residences for human beings too. All at once, Astrata shrinks from its position as the centre and principal mass of the universe, into the predicament of a paltry atom, hung loosely on to a machine whose centre is far otherwise. And the Astraeans—the People of the World—the Metropolitans of Space—are degraded in a moment into a set of Villagers. What a fall is there, my countrymen, for a respectable set of worlders, who happened not to possess sufficient self-esteem to bear them up against it ! What an overturn to all the ordinary ideas of Astracan mankind One can imagine the fact making its way over such a baby globe in the course of a couple of days, and thus producing a universal hanging down of heads and thrusting of tails between legs, as it were simultaneously. What a sad state for a world to be in— not a bit of spirit or spunk remaining in it; not one Astraean fit to say a cheering word to another! In such a state of things, one can imagine hardly a word of any kind spoken in Astraca for a week. It would look as if the planet were never to get up its head again in life. There would, however, be varieties in the moods of Astraeans on this distressing subject. Some, a little more vaporing than the rest, would by and by suggest that no matter for the small size of the globe; the smaller the globe, the bigger the people, for, gravitation being less with us than in larger worlds, we require larger size to keep us fast to the ground. Let neighbor Jupiter, then, plume himself on his vast diadem, but his people must be pigmies in comparison with us. The malicious, again, would feel a conso