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feint at Buchanan's head, gave him sud- with their distress, and have at once the denly a severe wound in the thigh. comfort of admiration and pity.
“I hope you are now sensible of There is nothing magnanimous in bearyour error?” said Targe, dropping his ing misfortunes with fortitude when the point.
whole world is looking on : men in such “I am of the same opinion I was!” circumstances will act bravely, even from cried Buchanan; “ so keep your guard.” motives of vanity; but he who, in the So saying, he advanced more briskly vale of obscurity, can brave adversity, than ever upon Targe, who, after ward- who, without friends to encourage, acing off several strokes, wounded his quaintances to pity, or even without hope antagonist a second time. Buchanan, to alleviate his misfortunes, can behave however, showed no disposition to re- with tranquillity and indifference, is truly linquish the combat. But this second great : whether peasant or courtier, he wound being in the forehead, and the deserves admiration, and should be held blood flowing with profusion into his up for our imitation and respect. eyes, he could no longer see distinctly, While the slightest inconveniences of but was obliged to flourish his sword at the great are magnified into calamities, random, without being able to perceive while tragedy mouths out their sufferings the movements of his adversary, who, in all the strains of eloquence, the miseries closing with him, became master of his of the poor are entirely disregarded ; and sword, and with the same effort threw yet some of the lower ranks of people him to the ground; and, standing over undergo more real hardships in one day, him he said, “This may convince you, than those of a more exalted station suffer Mr. Buchanan, that yours is not the in their whole lives. It is inconceivable righteous cause! You are in my power; what difficulties the meanest of our combut I will act as the queen whose cha- mon sailors and soldiers endure without racter I defend would order were she murmuring or regret; without passionalive. I hope you will live to repent of ately declaiming against Providence, or the injustice you have done to that calling their fellows to be gazers on their amiable and unfortunate princess.” He intrepidity. Every day is to them a day then assisted Buchanan to rise. Buchanan of misery, and yet they entertain their made no immediate answer; but when hard fate without repining. he saw Targe assisting the groom to stop With what indignation do I hear an the blood which flowed from his wounds, Ovid, a Cicero, a Rabutin, complain of he said, “I must acknowledge, Mr. their misfortunes and hardships, whose Targe, that you behaved like a gentle- greatest calamity was that of being un"-Zeluco.
able to visit a certain spot of earth, to which they had foolishly attached an idea of happiness! Their distresses were plea
sures compared to what many of the ad(OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 1728-1744.] venturing poor every day endure without THE OLD SOLDIER.
murmuring. They ate, drank, and slept;
they had slaves to attend them; and were No observation is more common, and sure of subsistence for life : while many at the same time more true, than that of their fellow-creatures are obliged to one half of the world are ignorant how wander without a friend to comfort or the other half lives. The misfortunes of assist them, and even without shelter the great are held up to engage our atten- from the severity of the season. tion ; are enlarged upon in tones of de- I have been led into these reflections clamation ; and the world is called upon from accidently meeting, some days ago, to gaze at the noble sufferers ; the great, a poor fellow, whom I knew when a boy, under the pressure of calamity, are con- dressed in a sailor's jacket, and begging scious of several others sympathising at one of the outlets of the town with
a wooden leg. I knew him to have enough till he died, when I was obliged been honest and industrious when in to provide for myself ; so I was resolved the country, and was curious to learn to go seek my fortune. what had reduced him to his present “In this manner I went from town to situation. Wherefore, after having given town, worked when I could get employhim what I thought proper, I desired to ment, and starved when I could get none: know the history of his life and misfor- when happening one day to go through a tunes, and the manner in which he was field belonging to a justice of peace, I reduced to his present distress. The dis- spied a hare crossing the path just before abled soldier (for such he was, though me; and I believe the devil put it in my head dressed in a sailor’s habit), scratching his to fling my stick at it ;-well, what will head, and leaning on his crutch, put him- you have on't? I killed the hare, and self in an attitude to comply with my was bringing it away, when the justice request, and gave me his history as himself met me; he called me poacher follows:
and a villain ; and, collaring me, desired " As for my misfortunes, master, II would give an account of myself. I fell can't pretend to have gone through any upon my knees, begged his worship’s more than other folks ; for, except the pardon, and began to give a full account loss of my limb, and my being obliged to of all that I knew of my breed, seed, and beg, I don't know any reason, thank generation; but, though I gave a very Heaven! that I have to complain : there true account, the justice said I could give is Bill Tibbs, of our regiment, he has lost no account ; and so I was indicted at the both his legs, and an eye to boot ; but, sessions, found guilty of being poor, and thank Heaven, it is not so bad with me sent up to London to Newgate, in order yet.
to be transported as a vagabond. “I was born in Shropshire; my father “People may say this and that of being was a labourer, and died when I was five in jail; but, for my part, I found Newyears old ; so I was put upon the parish. gate as agreeable a place as ever I was in As he had been a wandering sort of a all my life. I had my belly full to eat man, the parishioners were not able to and drink, and did no work at all. This tell to what parish I belonged or where I kind of life was too good to last for ever ; was born, so they sent me to another so I was taken out of prison, after five parish, and that parish sent me to a third. months; put on board a ship, and sent I thought in my heart, they kept sending off, with two hundred more, to the planme about so long, that they would not let tations. We had but an indifferent pasme be born in any parish at all ; but at sage; for, being all confined in the hold, last, however, they fixed me. I had some more than a hundred of our people died disposition to be a scholar, and was re- for want of sweet air ; and those that resolved at least to know my letters ; but mained were sickly enough, God knows. the master of the workhouse put me to When we came ashore, we were sold to business as soon as I was able to handle a the planters, and I was bound for seven mallet ; and here I lived an easy kind of years more. As I was no scholar (for I life for five years. I only wrought ten did not know my letters), I was obliged to hours in the day, and had my meat and work among the negroes; and I served drink provided for my labour. It is true, out my time, as in duty bound to do. I was not suffered to stir out of the house, “When my time was expired, I worked for fear, as they said, I should run away; my passage home, and glad I was to see but what of that? I had the liberty of the old England again, because I loved my whole house, and the yard before the country. I was afraid, however, that Í door, and that was enough for me. I should be indicted for a vagabond once was then bound out to a farmer, where I more, so I did not much care to go down was up both early and late ; but I ate and into the country, but kept about the town, <lrank well, and liked my business well and did little jobs when I could get them.
“I was very happy in this manner for dark lantern in his hand : ‘Jack,' says some time, till one evening, coming home he to me, “Will you knock out the from work, two men knocked me down, French sentries' brains ?'--'I don't care,' and then desired me to stand. They says I, striving to keep myself awake, belonged to a press-gang: I was carried 'if I lend a hand.'—' Then follow me,' before the justice, and, as I could give no says he, and I hope we shall do their account of myself, I had my choice left, business.'--So up I got, and tied my whether to go on board a man of war, or blanket (which was all the clothes I had) list for a soldier: I chose the latter ; and, about my middle, and went with him to in this post of a gentleman, I served two fight the Frenchmen. I hate the French, campaigns in Flanders, was at the battles because they are all slaves, and wear of Val and Fontenoy, and received but wooden shoes. one wound, through the breast here ; but Though we had no arms, one Engthe doctor of our regiment soon made me lishman is able to beat five French at any well again.
time ; so we went down to the door, “When the peace came on I was dis- where both the sentries were posted, and, charged; and as I could not work, be- rushing upon them, seized their arms in a cause my wound was sometimes trouble moment, and knocked them down. From some, I listed for a landman in the East. thence nine of us ran together to the India Company's service. I have fought quay; and, seizing the first boat we met, the French in six pitched battles ; and I got out of the harbour and put to sea. verily believe, that, if I could read or We had not been here three days before write, our captain would have made me a we were taken up by the Dorset privateer, corporal. But it was not my good for- who were glad of so many good hands, tune to have any promotion, for I soon and we consented to run our chance. fell sick, and so got leave to return home However, we had not as much luck as we again, with forty pounds in my pocket. expected. In three days we fell in with This was at the beginning of the present the Pompadour privateer, of forty guns, war, and I hoped io be set on shore, and while we had but twenty-three ; and so to to havethe pleasure of spending my money; it we went, yard-arm and yard-arm. The but the government wanted men, and so fight lasted for three hours, and I verily was pressed for a sailor before ever I could believe we should have taken the Frenchset foot on shore.
man, had we but had some more men left “The boatswain found me, as he said, behind; but, unfortunately, we lost all our an obstinate fellow: he swore he knew men just as we were going to get the that I understood my business well, but victory. that I shammed Abraham to be idle ; but, “I was once more in the power of the God knows, I knew nothing of sea- French, and I believe it would have gone business, and he beat me without con- hard with me had I been brought back to sidering what he was about. I had still, Brest; but, by good fortune, we were rehowever, my forty pounds, and that was taken by the Viper. I had almost forgot some comfort to ine under every beating ; to tell you, that, in that engagement, I and the money I might have had to this was wounded in two places : I lost four day, but that our ship was taken by the fingers of the left hand, and my leg was French, and so I lost my money.
shot off. If I had had the good fortune “Our crew was carried into Brest, and to have lost my leg and the use of my many of them lied, because they were hand on board a king's ship, and not on not used to live in a jail ; but for my part, board a privateer, I should have been enit was nothing to me, for I was seasoned titled to clothing and maintenance during One night, as I was asleep on the bed of the rest of my life ; but that was not my boards, with a warm blanket about me chance : one man is born with a silver (for I always loved to lie well), I was spoon in his mouth, and another with a awakened by the boatswain, who had alwooden ladle. However, blessed be God! I enjoy good health, and will for ever love fixed at last in Arabic letters, and preliberty and Old England, -Liberty, Pro- scribed to the caliph the following words: perty, and Old England for ever, huzza !” “Vathek ! thou hast violated the condiThis saying, he limped off
, leaving me tions of my parchment, and deservest to in admiration at his intrepidity and con- be sent back ; but in favour to thy comtent ; nor could I avoid acknowledging, panion, and, as the meed for what thou that an habitual acquaintance with misery hast done to obtain it, Eblis permitteth serves better than philosophy to teach us that the portal of his palace shall be to despise it. — Miscellanies.
opened, and the subterranean fire will receive thee into the number of its adorers.”
He scarcely had read these words be(WILLIAM BECKFORD. 1770-1844.] fore the mountain against which the terTHE HALL OF EBLIS.
race was reared trembled, and the watch
towers were ready to topple headlong A DEATHLIKE stillness reigned over upon them. The rock yawned, and disthe mountain and through the air. The closed within it a staircase of polished moon dilated on a vast platform, the marble, that seemed to approach the shades of the lofty columns which reached abyss. Upon each stair were planted from the terrace almost to the clouds. two large torches, like those Nouronihar The gloomy watch-towers, whose number had seen her vision, the camphorated could not be counted, were covered by no vapour of which ascended and gathered roof; and their capitals, of an architec- itself into a cloud under the hollow of the ture unknown in the records of the earth, vault. served as an asylum for the birds of night, The caliph and Nouronihar beheld which, alarmed at the approach of such each other with amazement at finding visitants, fled away croaking.
themselves in a place which, though The chief of the eunuchs, trembling roofed with a vaulted ceiling, was so with fear, besought Vathek that a fire spacious and lofty that at first they took might be kindled. “No,” replied he, it for an immeasurable plain. But their “there is no time left to think of such eyes at length growing familiar to the trifles; abide where thou art, and expect grandeur of the surrounding objects, they my commands.". Having thus spoken, extended their view to those at a distance, he presented his hand to Nouronihar, and discovered rows of columns and and, ascending the steps of a vast stair- arcades, which gradually diminished till case, reached the terrace, which was they terminated in a point radiant as the flagged with squares of marble, and re- sun when he darts his last beams athwart sembled a smooth expanse of water, upon the ocean. The pavement, strewed over whose surface not a blade of grass ever with gold-dust and saffron, exhaled so dared to vegetate. On the right rose the subtle an odour as almost overpowered watch-towers, ranged before the ruins of them. They, however, went on, and an immense palace, whose walls were observed an infinity of censers, in which embossed with various figures. In front ambergris and the wood of aloes were stood forth the colossal forms of four continually burning. Between the several creatures, composed of the leopard and columns were placed tables, each spread the griffin, and though but of stone, in- with a profusion of viands, and wines of spired emotions of terror. Near these every species sparkling in vases of crystal. were distinguished, by the splendour of A throng of genii and other fantastic the moon, which streamed full on the spirits of either sex danced lasciviously at place, characters like those on the sabres the sound of music which issued from of the Giaour, and which possessed the beneath. same virtue of changing every moment. In the midst of this immense hall, a These, after vacillating for some time, vast multitude was incessantly passing,
who severally kept their right hands on features seemed to have been tarnished by their hearts, without once regarding any- malignant vapours. In his large eyes thing around them. They had all the appeared both pride and despair; his livid paleness of death. Their eyes, deep Aowing hair retained some resemblance sunk in their sockets, resembled those to that of an angel of light. In his hand, phosphoric meteors that glimmer by night which thunder had blasted, he swayed in places of interment. Some stalked the iron sceptre that causes the monster slowly on, absorbed in profound reverie ; Ouranbad, the afrits, and all the powers some, shrieking with agony, ran furiously of the abyss, to tremble. At his presence, about like tigers wounded with poisoned the heart of the caliph sunk within him, arrows; whilst others, grinding their and he fell prostrate on his face. Nouteeth in rage, foamed along more frantic ronihar, however, though greatly disthan the wildest maniac. They all mayed, could not help admiring the peravoided each other; and though sur- son of Eblis, for she expected to have rounded by a multitude that no one could seen some stupendous giant, Eblis, with number, each wandered at random, un- a voice more mild than might be imagined, heedful of the rest, as if alone on a desert but such as penetrated the soul and filled where no foot had trodden.
it with the deepest melancholy, said: Vathek and Nouronihar, frozen with “Creatures of clay, I receive you into terror at a sight so baleful, demanded of mine empire ; ye are numbered amongst the Giaour what these appearances might my adorers; enjoy whatever this palace mean, and why these ambulating spectres affords; the treasures of the pre-adamite never withdrew their hands from their sultans; their fulminating sabres; and hearts. “Perplex not yourselves with so those talismans that compel the dives to much at once," replied he, bluntly ; open the subterranean expanses of the
'you will soon be acquainted with all; mountain of Kaf, which communicate let us haste and present you to Eblis.” with these. There, insatiable as your They continued their way through the curiosity may be, shall you find sufficient multitude, but notwithstanding their con objects to gratify it. You shall possess fidence at first, they were not sufficiently the exclusive privilege of entering the composed to examine with attention the fortresses of Aherman, and the halls of various perspective of halls and of galleries Argenk, where are pourtrayed all creathat opened on the right hand and left, tures endowed with intelligence, and the which were all illuminated by torches and various animals that inhabited the earth brasiers, whose flames rose in pyramids prior to the creation of that contemptible to the centre of the vault. At length being whom ye denominate the father of they came to a place where long curtains, mankind.” brocaded with crimson and gold, fell Vathek and Neuronihar, feeling themfrom all parts in solemn confusion. Here selves revived and encouraged by this the choirs and dances were heard no harangue, eagerly said to the Giaour : longer. The light which glimmered “ Bring us instantly 'to the place which came from afar.
contains these precious
talismans.” After some time, Vathek and Nou- “Come," answered this wicked dive, ronihar perceived a gleam brightening with his malignant grin, come and through the drapery, and entered a vast possess all that my sovereign hath protabernacle hung round with the skins of mised, and more. He then conducted leopards. An infinity of elders, with them into a long aisle adjoining the streaming beards, and 'afrits in complete tabernacle, preceding them with hasty armour, had prostrated themselves before steps, and followed by his disciples with the ascent of a lofty eminence, on the top the utmost alacrity. They reached of which, upon a globe of fire, sat the at length a hall of great extent, and formidable Eblis. His person was that covered with a lofty dome, around of a young man, whose noble and regular which appeared fifty portals of bronze,