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Shalum falling into a deep melancholy, and resolving to take away that objection which had been raised against him when he made his first addresses to Hilpa, began, inmediately after her marriage with Harpath, to plant all that mountainous region which fell to his · lot in the division of this country. He knew how to adapt every plant to its
proper soil, and is thought to have inherited many traditional secrets of that art from the first man. This employment turned at length to his profit as well as to his amusement: his mountains were in a few years shaded with young trees that gradually shot up into groves, woods, and forests, intermixed with walks and lawns and gardens; insomuch that the whole region, from a naked and desolate prospect, began now to look like a second paradise, The pleasantness of the place, and the agreeable disposition of Shalum, who was reckoned one of the mildest and wisest of all who lived before the flood, drew into it multitudes of people, who were perpetually employed in the sinking of wells, the digging of trenches, and the hollowing of trees, for the better distribution of water through every part of this spacious plantation.
The babitations of Shalum looked every year more beautiful in the eyes of Hilpa, who, after the space of seventy autumns, was wonderfully pleased with the distant prospect of Shalum's hills, which were then covered with innumerable tufts of trees, and gloomy, scenes that gave a magnificence to the place, and converted it into one of the finest landscapes the eye of man could behold.
The Chinese record a letter which Shalum is said to have written to Hispa in the eleventh year of her widowhood. I shall here translate it, without departing
from that noble simplicity of sentiments and plainness of manners which appear in the original.
Shalum was at this time one hundred and eighty years old, and Hilpa one hundred and seventy.
Shalum, master of mount Tirzah, to Hilpa,
mistress of the valleys.
• In the 788th year of the creation. What have I not suffered, O thou daughter of Zilpah, since thou gavest thyself away in marriage to my rival ! I grew weary of the light of the sun, and have ever since been covering myself with woods and forests. These threescore and ten years have I bewailed the loss of thee on the tops of mount Tirzah, and soothed my melancholy among a thousand gloomy shades of my own raising. My dwellings are at present as the garden of God; every part of them is filled with fruits and flowers and fountains. The whole mountain is perfumed for thy reception. Come up into it, O my beloved, and let us people this spot of the , new world with a beautiful race of mortals; let us multiply exceedingly among these delightful shades, and fill every quarter of them with sons and daughters. Rememberg. O thou daughter of Zilpah, that the age of man is but a thousand years; that beauty is the admiration but of a few centuries. It flourishes as, a mountain oak, or as a cedar on the top of Tirzah, which in three or four hundred years will fade away, and never be thought of by posterity, unless a young wood springs from its roots. Think well on this, and remember thy neighbour in the mountains.'
Having here inserted this letter, wbích I look upon as the only. antediluvian ,billet-doux now extant; I shall in my next paper give the answer to it, and the sequel of this story.' ,, : :
ANTEDILUVIAN STORY, PAPER 11. No. 585.
The sequel of the story of Shalum and Hilpa. The letter inserted in my last had so good: an effect upon Hilpa, that she answered it in less than twelve months, after the following manner :
titis: Hilpa, mistress of the valleys, to Shalum, master of
?!!!w mount Tirzah..
.. In the 789th year of the creation. - What have I to do with thcę, Q Shalum? Thou praisest Hilpa's beauty, but art thou not secretly enamoured with the verdure of her meadows? Art thou not more affected with the prospect of her
valleys, than thou wouldest be with the sight of her person? The lowings of my herds, and the bleatings of my flocks, make a pleasant echo in thy mountaips, and sound sweetly in thy ears. What though I am delighted with the wavings of thy forests, and those breezes of perfumes which flow from the top of Tirzah: are these like the riches of the valley ?
• I know thee, O Shalum; thou art more wise and happy than any of the sons of men. Thy dwellings are among the cedars : thou searchest out the diversity of soils, thou understandest the influences of the
stars, and markest: the change of seasons. Can a woman appear lovely in the eyes of such an one? Disquiet me not, O Shalum ; let me alone, that I may enjoy those goudly possessions which are fallen to my lot. Win me not by thy enticing words. May thy trees increase and multiply; mayest thou add wood to wood, and shade to shade; but tempt not Hilpa to destroy thy solitude, and make thy retirement popu. lous.'
The Chinese say, that a little time afterwards she accepted of a treat in one of the neighbouring hills to which Shalum had invited her. This treat lasted for two years, and is said to have cost Shalum five hundred antelopes, two thousand ostriches, and a thousand tons of milk: but what most of all recommended it was that variety of delicious fruits and pot-herbs, in which no person then living could any way equal Shalum.
He treated her in the bower which he had planted amidst the wood of nightingales. . This wood was made up of such fruit-trees and plants as are most agreeable to the several kinds of singing-birds; so that it had drawn into it all the music of the country, and was filled from one end of the year to the other with the most agreeable concert in season.
He showed her every day some beautifal and surprising scene in this new region of woud-lands; and as by this ineans he had all the opportunities he could wish for of opening bis mind to her, he succeeded so well, that upon her departure she made him a kind of promise, and gave him her word to return him a positive answer in less than fifty years.
She had not been long among her own people in the valleys, when she received now overtures, and at
the same time a most splendid visit from Mishpach who was a mighty man of old, and had built a great city, which he called after his own name. Every house was made for at least a thousand years, nay there were some that were leased out for three lives, so that the quantity of stone and timber consumed in this building is scarce to be imagined by those who live in the present age of the world. This great man entertained her with the voice of musical instruments, which had been lately invented, and danced before her to the sound of the timbrel. He also presented her with several domestic utensils wrought in brass and iron, which had been newly found out for the conveniency of life. In the mean time Shalum
grew very uncasy with himself, and was sorely displeased at Hilpa for the reception which she had given to Mish, pach, insomuch that he never wrote to her or spoke of her during a whole revolution of Saturn; but finding that this intercourse went no further than a visit, he again renewed his addresses to her, who, during his long silence, is said very often to have cast a wishing eye upon mount Tirzah.
Her mind continued wavering about twenty years longer between Shalum and Mishpach ; for though ter inclinations favoured the former, her interest pleaded very powerfully for the other, While her heart was in this unsettled condition the following accident happened, which determined her choice. A high tower of wood that stood in the city of Mishpach, having caught fire by a flash of lightning, in a few days reduced the whole town to ashes. Mishpach resolved to rebuild the place whatever it should cost him; and having already destroyed all the timber of the country, he was forced to have recourse to Shalum,