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courage it. Of all Speculations, mine are the safest to engage in; and I therefore expect that persons of all profeflions will find leifure to deal in fome little ventures. I should be particularly happy in receiving any manufactures from the hands of the ladies. The peculiar fancy of defign, the fineness of the texture, and elegance of finishing, will throw the greatest credit on my scheme. I shall also hope that the gentlemen of that facred order, for which I have the fincerett refpect, will condefcend to affift one, who, in a fubordinate degree, is engaged in the fame cause with themselves, and whofe greatest ambition is to contribute to the increase of man's genuine riches, to wit, HONOUR, VIRTUE and RELIGION.
I fhall add no more on this head than to observe, that, as the outfet of my veffel will be very expenfive, I fhall hope that my friends will exert themfelves, and enable me, by their kind affiduity, to carry my new defign into execution. N.
BREEZ PARADERERIER. Monday, April 23, 1770.
Truncus iners jacui, fpecies et inutile fignum,
HERE are in life feveral cafes of real dif Ttrefs, fo complicated with ridiculous. circumftances, that they will force a fmile from the beft natured perfon in the world. I think I don't want humanity myself, and
yet I have feen a particular friend come tumbling down a whole flight of ftairs with fo peculiar an air, fuch a kind of Je ne fcai quoi, that mylaughter was irrefiftable, tho' the event might have been a broken neck. I remember the picture of an old gouty gentleman taking a flying leap out of the window of his litter (occafioned by the tumbling of the foremoft mule) with all the expedition of SULLY going thro' a hogshead, which never failed of producing laughter.
This predominance of the ridiculous over the benevolent, may feem, at first view, not very favourable to human nature: yet I am inclined to believe, that it is no other than an habitual remnant of childhood; a stage of life in which the rifible fide of every incident turns uppermoft, and the want of reflection and experience precludes a due eftimation of the pain which is felt by the fufferer. Our inattention to this article increases in proportion to the novelty and variety with which the occurrence is attended. The imagination, being highly amufed, will not permit our focial feelings to interfere, and make the cafe (as they are always inclined to do) our own. We can laugh heartily at Harlequin's being tickled to death. In short, we see things, on fuch occafions, but in one light, and all the contorfions of real anguish produce no other effect, than that of genuine humour.
I was led into thefe reflections by reading the nineteenth number of the Spectator (referred to in the following letter) in which there is the highest defcription of ridiculous diftrefs I ever met with; I mean the unfortunate adventure of Monfieur PoNTIGNAN, which I would advise my readers to peruse, before they read the letter which I here prefent them E with.
with. It is difficult to determine which to prefer, PONTIGNAN's night or RODRIGO's. The young fellows will probably be divided. The robuft will think the former à very hell. For my part, who am five and forty, I would not be in either of their fituations to gain the whole fex: but, if I were under the neceffity of doing penance, it fhould rather be between my two fair tormentors, than fhrinking on a bed-poft from the touch of a jealous' Don. To Mr. FLYN,
You may remember in the nineteenth number of the Spectator, the account given of the torments M. PONTIGNAN underwent for a whole night by the contrivance of two malicious girls, in revenge for his having made love to them both at the fame time.
I met not long ago, among fome Spanish manufcripts which accidentally fell into my hands, a story of the fufferings of a gentleman for one night only, and that on a love affair, which exceeded thofe all to nothing. I wish I may be able to do juftice to the original; but, poor as the translation may be, I am fure it will afford fome entertainment to your readers, and may ferve, when you have not leifure to compofe a Speculation, to fill up the front of your paper.
Don Luvs, a gentleman of many accomplishments, but flender fortune, had a long time paid his addreffes to a lady of great wit and beauty, and was fhortly to have been joined to her in marriage, had not her parents, from mercenary views and the allurement of a title, married her to an old nobleman, who had a magnificent feat on the banks of the river not far from Valladolid. Some confiderable time after, fhe wrote a letter to her former lover, fignifying how
much against her inclination her marriage with the Count was, and that she was his, and would be fo to the end of her life. She likewife informed him, that her husband had fet out that morning on a long journey, and defired he would come at night to a certain place near her house, accompanied by his friend Don RODRIGO only. Don Luys was out of his wits, and believed the whole to be a dream, but recovering from his transports a little, and knowing. the handwriting, he repaired to me, and we both fet out for the appointed place.
We had not been long there, when about o'clock an old woman came up, and desired us to fol-low her. The night was dark, and the conveyed us with great privacy into a chamber of the palace, where the Countefs prefently made her appearance, and received us with great demonstrations of joy. After having made a few fhort compliments upon the pleasure she had in feeing us, the addreffed me in the following manner ; "Don RODRIGO, the time we have to enjoy this opportunity, you will presently fee, can be but fhort. You know with what ties of friendship you are bound to Don Luys, and if they were to cease, I would expect that on my account you would grant me one request."
"Know then, the Count my husband, in confequence of being taken ill on the road, is returned, without having finished his journey, and finding himself quite jaded, is gone to bed, where I have left him falt afleep. But, because it may fo happen that he should awake, and stretching out a leg or an arm towards my part of the bed, and not finding me there, I fhould f run the greatest danger of being detected, all I defire is, that while Don Luys and I are entertaining one anoE 2
ther with a little chat (which cannot be above a quarter of an hour) you will go to bed in my place, and I can affure you that you will run no fort of hazard ; for, befides that the Count is old, he hardly ever awakes in the night, unless (for a wonder) he turns once, and then falls to fleep immediately again."
Heavens ! what a reasonable request was this of the Countefs, to put myself into such imminent danger! However, as I confidered that my refufal would carry all the marks of pufillanimity with it, and be inconfiftent with the obligations of friendship that fubfifted between Don Luys and me; I told her the might difpofe of me as the pleafed, but begged the would not keep me long in that dangerous fituation, as I engaged in it meerly for their fakes. They both promifed ine, and even swore, that they would not keep me there for more than half an hour at the farthest.
The Countess then put a night-dress of her own on me, and led me to her bed-chamber, where she made me go to bed, and then retired. There was not the leaft glimmering of light; all was dark as hell, and every thing in profound filence. I fixed myself clofe on the bed-poft, where I remained without fo much as ftirring a finger: not a quarter, nor a half, but more than five long hours, in fhort 'till it was just day. Let any one confider himself in my fituation for fo long a time. What care that I fhould not be known! What dread left I should he discovered; the confequence of which would have been inftant death: for though I might have been able to cope with the old Count, how could I, naked and unarmed, escape from his numerous domefticks!
But these were not the only fufferings I endured, for Don Luys and the Countefs laughed and talked all this