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I saw very
extravagancy whatever I did. 6 well that he would have starved me, but for
losing my jointures; and he suffered agonies · between the grief of seeing me have so good
a ftomach, and the fear that, if he made me ' fast, it might prejudice my health. I did not • doubt he would have broke my heart, if I did • not break his, which was allowable by the law • of self-defence.. The way was very easy. I • refolved to spend as much money as I could; • and, before he was aware of the stroke, ap
peared before him in a two thousand pounds · diamond necklace; he laid nothing, but went quietly to his chamber, and, as it is thought,
composed himtelf with a dose of opium. I · behaved myself fo well upon the occasion that
to this day I believe he died of an apoplexy. "Mr. Waitfort was refolved not to be too late • this time, and I heard from him in two days. • I am almost out of my weeds at this present
writing, and very doubtful whether I will marry him or no. I do not think of a fe
venth for the ridiculous reason you mention, ' but out of pure morality that I think so much
constancy should be rewarded, though I may ' not do it after all perhaps. I do not believe
all the unreasonable malice of mankind can give a pretence why I should have been con•
Itant to the memory of any of the deccafed,
or have spent much time in grieving for an • insolent, insignificant, negligent, extrava
gant, 1plenatic, or covetous husband; my • first insulted me, my second was nothing to
me, my third disgusted me, the fourth would • have ruined me, the fifth tormented me, and • the fixth would have starved me. If the other • ladies you name would thus give in their • husbands' pictures at length, you would see
they have had as little reaion as myself to lose • their hours in weeping and wailing.'
Friday, July 30, 1714.
Od, ix. 45.
Non poßidentem multa vocaveris
Muneribus fapienter uti,
But rather those that know
For what kind fates bestow,
WAS once engaged in discourse with а
Roficrucian about “ the great fecret.” As this kind of men (I mean those of them who are not profesicd cheats) are overrun with en
Just publihed, “An Account of Switzerland, written in 1714.” By Abraham Stanyan, Envoy there. Spect, in folio.
thusiasm and philosophy, it was very amusing to hear this religious adept descanting on his pretended discovery. He talked of the secret as of a spirit which lived within an emerald, and converted every thing that was near it to the highest perfection it is capable of. It gives a lustre, says he, to the sun, and water to the diamond. It irradiates every metal, and enriches lead with all the properties of gold. It heightens smoke into flame, flame into light, and light into glory. He further added, that a sin
of it dissipates pain, and care, and melancholy, from the person on whom it falls. In short, says he, its presence naturally changes every place into a kind of heaven. "After he had gone on for some time in this unintelligible cant, I found that he jumbled natural and moral ideas together in the same discourse, and that his great secret was nothing else but CONTENT.
This virtue does indeed produce, in some measure, all those effects which the alchymist usually ascribes to what he calls the philosopher's stone; and if it does not bring riches, it does the same thing, by banishing the desire of them. If it cannot remove the disquietudes arising out of man's mind, body, or fortune, it makes him easy under them. It has indeed a kindly influence on the soul of man, in respect of every being to whom he stands related. It extinguishes all murmur, repiping and ingratitude towards that Being who has allotted him his
part to act in this world. It destroys all inordinate ambition, and every tendency to cor
ruption, with regard to the community wherein he is placed. It gives sweetness to his converfation, and a perpetual serenity to all his thoughts. Among
many methods which might be made ute of for the acquiring of this virtue, I shall only mention the two following. First of all, a man should always consider how much he has more than he wants: and secondly, how much more unhappy he might be than he
First of all, a man should always consider how much he has more than he wants. I am wonderfully pleased with the reply which Aristippus made to one who condoled him upon the loss of a farm: " Why," said he, “ I have “ three farms still, and you have but one; so " that I ought rather to be afflicted for you “ than you for me."
for me.” On the contrary, foolish men are more apt to consider what they have lost than what they possess; and to fix their eyes upon those who are richer than themselves, rather than on those who are under greater difficulties. All the real pleasures and conveniencies of life lie in a narrow compass; but it is the humour of mankind to be always looking forward, and straining after one who has got the start of them in wealth and honour, For this reason, as there are none can be properly called rich who have not more than they want, there are few rich men in any of the politer nations but among the middle fort of people, who keep their wishes within their for
tunes, and have more wealth than they know how to enjoy. Persons of a higher rank live in a kind of lplendid poverty, and are perpetually wanting, because, instead of acquiescing in the solid pleasures of life, they endeavour to outvie one another in shadows and appearances. Men of sense have at all times beheld with a great deal of mirth this filly game that is playing over their heads, and, by contracting their defires, enjoy all that secret satisfaction which others are always in quest of. The truth is, this ridiculous chase after imaginary pleasures cannot be sufficiently exposed, as it is the great source of those evils which generally undo a nation. Let a man's estate be what it will, he is a poor man if he does not live within it, and naturally sets himself to sale to any one that can give him his price. When Pittacus, after the death of his brother, who had left him a good estate, was offered a great sum of money by the king of Lydia, he thanked him for his kindness, but told him he had already more by half than he knew what to do with. In short, Content is equivalent to wealth, and luxury to poverty; or, to give the thought a more agreeable turn, “ Content is natural wealth,” says Socrates; to which I shall add, Luxury is “ artificial poverty." I shall therefore recommend to the consideration of those who are always aiming after superfluous and imaginary enjoyments, and will not be at the trouble of contracting their desires, an excellent saying of Bion the philosopher; namely, “ That no man has