Page images
PDF
EPUB

them. All these and many other habits, are awkward and disagreeable, and are to be avoided by attention. You cannot imagine how necessary it is to mind all these little things. I have seen many people, with great talents, ill received for want of having these talents too: and others well received, only from their little talents, and who had no great ones.

CHESTERFIELD.

SECTION XIV.

The ungrateful guest. 1. Philip, king of Macedon, is celebrated for an act of private justice, which does great honor to his inemory. A certain soldier in the Macedonian army, had, in various instances, distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of valor ; and had received many marks of Philip's approbation and favor.

2. On a particular occasion, this soldier embarked on board a vessel which was wrecked by a violent storm ; and he was cast on the shore, helpless and naked, with scarcely any appearance of life. A Macedonian, whose lands were contiguous to the sea, came opportunely to be witness of his distress ; and with the most humane and charitable tenderness, flew to the relief of the unhappy stranger.

3. He bore him to his house, laid him in his own bed, revived, cherished, and comforted him; and for forty days, supplied him freely, with all the necessaries, and conveniences, which his languishing condition could require.

4. The soldier thus happily rescued from death, was incessant in the warmest expressions of gratitude to his benefactor ; assured him of his interest with the king, and of his determination to obtain for him, from the royal bounty, the noble returns which such extraordinary benevolence had merited. He was at length completely recovered, and was supplied by his kind host with money to pursue his journey.

5. After some time, the soldier presented himself before the king; he recounted his misfortunes; he magnified his services; and this inhuman wretch, who had looked with an eye of envy on the possessions of the man by whom his life had been preserved, was so devoid of gratitude, and of every humane sentiment, as to request that the king would bestow upon him the house and lands where he had been so tenderly and kindly entertained.

6. Unhappily, Philip, without examination, precipitately granted his infamous request. The soldier then returned to his preserver, and repaid his goodness by driving him from his settlement, and taking immediate possession of all the fruits of his honest industry.

7. The poor man, stung with such an instance of unparalleled ingratitude and insensibility, boldly determined, instead of submitting to his wrongs, to seek relief; and in a letter addressed to Philip, represented his own and the soldier's conduct, in a lively and affecting manner.

8. The king was instantly fired with indignation. He ordered that ample justice should be done without delay: that the possessions should be immediately restored to the man, whose charitable offices had been thus horridly repaid ; and to show his abhorrence of the deed, he caused the soldier to be seized, and to have these words branded on his forehead~" The ungrateful guest.'

GOLDSMITH.

SECTION XV.

The hospitable Negro woman. 1. The enterprising traveller, Mungo Park, was employed by the African association, to explore the interior regions of Africa. In this hazardous undertaking, he encountered many dangers and difficulties. His wants were often supplied, and his distresses alleviated, by the kindness and compassion of the negroes. He gives the following lively and interesting account of the hospitable treatment he received from a poor negro woman.

2. "Being arrived at Sego, the capital of the kingdom of Bambarra, situated on the banks of the Niger, I wished to pass over to that part of the town, in which the king resides ; but, from the number of persons eager to obtain a passage, I was under the necessity of waiting two hours.

During this time, the people who had crossed the tiver, carried information to Mansong, the king, that a white man was waiting for a passage, and was coming to see him.

4. " He immediately sent over one of his chief men, who informed me that the king could not possibly see me;

[ocr errors]

until he knew what had brought me into his country ; and that I must not presume to cross the river without the king's permission.

5. “He therefore advised me to lodge, for that night, at a distant village, to which he pointed, and said that, in the morning, he would give me further instructions how to conduct myself.

6. “This was very discouraging. However, as there was no remedy, I set off for the village, where I found, to my great mortification, that no person would admit me into his house. From prejudices infused into their minds, I was regarded with astonishment and fear; and was obliged to sit the whole day without victuals, in the shade of a tree.

7. “ The night threatened to be very uncomfortable; for the wind arose, and there was great appearance of a heavy rain: the wild beasts too were so numerous in the neighborhood, that I should have been under the necessity of climbing up the tree, and resting among the branches.

8.“ About sunset, however, as I was preparing to pass the night in this manner, and had turned my horse loose that he might graze at liberty, a negro woman returning from the labors of the field, stopped to observe me, and perceiving that I was weary and dejected, inquired into my situation.

Î briefly explained it to her; after whieli, with looks of great compassion, she took up my saddle and bridle, and told me to follow her. Having conducted me into her hut, she lighted a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, and told me I might remain there for the night.

Finding that I was very hungry, she went out to procure me something to eat; and returned in a short time with a very fine fish; which, having caused it to be half broiled upon some embers, she gave me for supper.

11. “ The rites of hospitality being thus' performed towards a stranger in distress, my worthy benefactress (pointing to the mât, and telling me I might sleep there without apprehension,) called to the female part of her family, who had stood gazing on me all the while in fixed astonish ment, to resume their task of spinning cotton : in which they continued to employ themselves great part of the night.

12. “They lightened their labor by songs, one of which

9. 66

10. "

was composed extempore ; for I was myself the subject of it. It was sung by one of the young women, the rest joining in a sort of chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words literally translated, were these.

13. “The winds roared, and the rains fell. The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. He has no mother to bring him milk; no wife to grind his

Chorus. Let us pity the white man : no mother has he to bring him milk ; no wife to grind his corn.

corn.

[These simple and pathetic sentiments, have been very beauti.. fully versified and expanded, by the Dutchess of Devonshire. The following is a copy of this little interesting piece of poetry.

1. The loud wind roar'd, the rain fell fast;

The white man yielded to the blast.
He sat him down beneath the tree,
For weary, sad, and faint was he;
And ah! no wife or mother's care,
For him the milk or corn prepare.

CHORUS

The white man shall our pity share ;
Alas! no wife, or mother's care,
For him the milk or corn prepare.

2. The storm is o'er, the tempest past,

And mercy's voice has hush'd the blast,
The wind is heard in whispers low;
The white man far away must go :
But ever in his heart will bear
Remembrance of the negro's care.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

CHORUS

Go, white man, go,; but with thee bear
The negro's wish, the negro's pray’r,
Remembrance of the negro's care.]

I was

14. “Trifling as these events may appear to the reader, they were to me affecting in the highest degree. oppressed by such unexpected kindness, and sleep filed from my eyes. In the morning, I presented to my compassionate landlady, two of the four brass buttons, which remained on my waistcoat; the only recompense it was in my power to make her."

PARK'S TRAVELS.

SECTION XVI.

Catharina, empress of Russia.

1. CATHARINA ALEXOWNA, born near Derpat, a little city in Livonia, was heir to no other inheritance than the virtues and frugality of her parents. Her father being dead, she lived with her aged mother, in their cottage, covered with straw; and both, though very poor, were very contented.

2. Here, retired from the gaze of the world, by the labor of her hands she supported her parent, who was now incapable of supporting herself. While Catharina spun, the old woman would sit by, and read some book of devotion. When the fatigues of the day were over,

both would sit down contentedly by their fire-side, and enjoy their frugal meal.

3. Though Catharina's face and person were models of perfection, yet her whole attention seemed bestowed upon her mind. Her mother taught her to read, and an old Lutheran minister instructed her in the maxims and duties of religion. Nature had furnished her not only with a ready, but a solid turn of thought; not only with a strong, but a right understanding.

4. Her virtues and accomplishments procured her several solicitations of marriage, from the peasants of the country; but their offers were refused; for she loved her mother too tenderly to think of a separation.

5. Catharina was fifteen years old when her mother died. She then left her cottage, and went to live with the Lutheran minister, by whom she had been instructed from her childhood. In this house she resided, in quality of governess to his children ; at once reconciling in her character, unerring prudence with surprising vivacity.

6. The old man, who regarded her as one of his own children, had her instructed in the elegant parts of female education, by the masters who attended the rest of his family. Thus she continued to improve, till he died; by which accident, she was reduced to her former poverty.

7. The country of Livonia was at that time wasted by war, and lay in a miserable state of desolation. Those calamities are ever most heavy upon the poor ; wherefore

« EelmineJätka »