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expecting to be taken notice of; but he was so much altered by a long succession of hardships, that he continued unnoted among the rest; and, in the evening, when he was going up to the prætor's chair, he was brutally repulsed by the attending lictors. The attention of the poor is generally driven from one ungrateful object to another; for night coming on, he now found himself under a necessity of seeking a place to lie in, and yet knew not where to apply. All emaciated, and in rags as he was, none of the citizens would harbour so much wretchedness; and sleeping in the streets'might be attended with interruption or danger: in short, he was obliged to take up his lodging in oneof the tombs without the city, the usual retreat of guilt, poverty, and despair. In this mansion of horror, laying his head upon an inverted urn, he forgot his miseries for a while in sleep ; and found, on his flinty couch, more ease than beds of down can supply to the guilty.
As he continued here, about midnight two robbers came to make this their retreat ; but happening to disagree about the division of their plunder, one of them stabbed the other to the heart, and left him weltering in blood at the entrance. In these circumstances he was found next morning dead at the mouth of the vault. This naturally inducing a farther enquiry, an alarm was spread; the cave was examined; and Alcander being found, was immediately apprehended, and accused of robbery and murder. The circumstances against him were strong, and the wretchedness of his appearance confirmed suspicion. Misfortune and he were now so long acquainted, that he at last became regardless of life. He detested a world where he had found only ingratitude, falsehood, and cruelty; he was deter. mined to make no defence; and thus, lowering with resolution, he was drag
§ed, bound with cords, before the triunal of Septimius. As the proofs were positive against him, and he offered nothing in his own vindication, the judge was proceeding to doom him to a most cruel and ignominious death, when the attention of the multitude was soon divided by another object. The robber,
who had been really guilty, was apprehended selling his plunder, and, struck with a panic, had confessed his crime. He was brought bound to the fame tribunal, and acquitted every other person of any partnership in his guilt. Alcander's innocence therefore appeared, but the sullen rashness of his conduct remained a wonder to the surrounding multitude; but their astonishment was still farther encreased, when they saw their judge start from his tribunal to embrace the supposed criminal: Septimius recollected his friend and former benefactor, and hung upon his neck with tears of pity and of joy. Need the sequel be related? Alcander was acquitted; shared the friendship and honours of the principal citizens of Rome; lived afterwards in happiness and ease; and left it to be engraved on his tomb, That no circumstances are so desperate, which Providence may not relieve.
§ 4. The Muni.
A poor Monk of the order of St. Francis came into the room to beg something for his convent. The moment I cast my eyes upon him, I was pre-deter» mined not to give him a single sous, and accordingly I put my purse into my pocket—buttoned it up—set myself a little more upon my center, and advanced up gravely to him: there was something, I fear, forbidding in my look: I have his figure this moment before my eyes, and think there was that in it which deserved better.
The Monk, as I judge from the break in his tonsure, a few scatterred white hairs upon his temples being all that remained of it, might be about seventy ■ but from his eyes, and that sort of fire which was in them, which seemed more tempered by courtesy than years,
could be no more than sixty truth
might lie between He was certainly
sixty-five; and the general air of his countenance, notwithstanding something seemed to have been planting wrinkles in it before their time, agreed to the account.
It was one of those heads which Guido has often painted—mild—pale—« penetrating, free from all common-place ideas of fat con tented ignorance looking
downwards' downwards upon the earth—it look'd forwards ; but look'd as if it look'd at something beyond this world. How one of his order came by it, Heaven above, who let it fall upon a mcnjc's shoulders, best knows; but it would have suited a Bramin, and had I met it upon the plains of Indoitan, I had reverenced it.
The rest of his outline may be given in a few strokes; one might put it into the hands of any one to design, for 'twas neither elegant nor otherwise, but as character and expression made it so: it was a thin, spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not the distinction by a bend forwards in the figure—but it was the attitude of intreaty ; and as it now stands present to my imagination, itgain'd more than it lost by it.
When he had entered the room three paces, he stood still; and laying his left hand upon his breast (a slender white staff with which he journeyed being in his right)—when I had gat close up to him, he introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order and did it with so simple a grace—and such an air of deprecation was there in the whole cast of his look and figure—I was bewitched not to have been struck with it
—A better reason was, I had predetermined not to give him a. single sous.
—'Tis very true, said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes, with which he had concluded his address—'tis very true—and Heaven be their resource who have no other but the charity of the world, the stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made upon it.
As I pronounced the words "great "claims," he gave a flight glance with his eye downwards upon the sleeve of his tunic-—I felt the full force of the appeal—I acknowledge it, said I—a coarse habit, and that but once in three years, with meagre diet—are no great matters: and the true p'oint of pity is, as they can be earn'd in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by pressing upon a
fund which is the property os'the lame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm: the captive, who lies down counting over and over again the days of his afflictions, languishes also for his share of it; and had you been of the order of Mercy, instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am, continued I, pointing at my portmanteau, full cheerfully should it have been opened to you for the ransom of the unfortunate. The Monk made me a bow—but of all others, resumed I, the unfortunate of our own country, surely, have the first rights; and I have left thousands in
distress upon our own shore -The
Monk gave a cordial wave with his head—as much as to fay, No doubt, there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent——But we distinguish, said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic, in return for his appeal—we distinguish, my good father! betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labour—and those who eat the bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life, but to get through it in sloth and ignorance, for the love of God.
The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a moment pass'd across his cheek, but could not tarry—Nature; seemed to have had done with her resentments in him; he shewed none—but letting his staff fall within his arm, he pressed both his hands with resignation, upon his breast, and retired.
My heart smote me the moment he
shut the door Psha! said I, with au
air of carelessness, three several times but it would not do; every ungracious syllable I had sttered, crowded back into my imagination; I reflected I had no right over the poor Franciscan, but to deny him ; and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed, without the addition of unkind language—I considered his grey hairs—. his courteous figure seemed to re-enter, and gently ask me, what injury he had done me? and why J could use him. thus?— I would have given twenty livres for an advocate —. 1 have behaved very ill, said I within myself; but I have only just set out upon my
travels; travels 3 and (hall learn better manners as I get along. Sterne.
§5. Sir Bertrand. A Fragment.
~—— Sir Bertrand turned his steed towards the woulds, hoping to cross these dreary moors before the curfew. But ere he had proceeded half his journey, he was bewildered by the different tracks ; and not being able, as far as the eye could reach, to espy any object but the brown heath surrounding him, he was at length quite uncertain which way he should direct his course. Night overtook him in this situation. It was one of those nights when the moon gives a faint glimmering of light through the thick black clouds of a lowering sky. Now and then she suddenly emerged in full splendour from her veil, and then instantly retired behind it; having just served to give the forlorn Sir Bertrand a wide extended prospect over the desolate waste. Hope and native courage awhile urged him to pusti forwards, but at length the increasing darkness and fatigue of body and mind overcame him; he dreaded moving from the ground he stood on, for fear of unknown pits and bogs, and alighting from his horse in despair, he threw himself on the ground. He had not long continued in that posture-, when the sullen toll of a distant bell struck hisears—he started up, and turning towards the found, discerned a dim twinkling light. Instantly he seized his horse's bridle, and with cautious steps advanced towards it. After a painful march, he was stopped by a moated ditch, surrounding the place from whence the light proceeded; and by a momentary glimpse of moon-light he had a full view of a large antique mansion, with turrets at the corners, and an ample porch in the centre. The injuries of time were strongly marked on every thing about it. The roof in various places was fallen in, the battlements were half demolished, and the) windows broken and dismantled, A draw-bridge, with a ruinous gate-way at each end, led to the court before the Vuilding—He entered, and instantly the
light, which proceeded from a window in one of the turrets, glided along and vanished ; at the same moment the moon sunk beneath a black cloud, and the night was darker than ever. All was silent—Sir Bertrand fastened his steed under a shed, and approaching the house traversed its whole front with, light; and flow footsteps-r-AH was still as death—He looked in at the lower windows, but could not distinguish a single object through the impenetrable gloom. A,fter a short parley with himT self, he entered the porch, and seizing a massy iron knocker at the gate, lifted it up, and hesitating, at length struck a loud stroke—the noise resoundedthrough the whole mansion with hollow echoes. All was still again—he repeated the strokes more boldly and louder*—another interval of silence ensued—A third time he knocked, and a third time all was still. He then fell back to some distance, that he might discern whether any light could be seen in the whole front—It again appeared in the same place, and quickly glided away, as before—at the fame instant a deep sullen toll sounded from the turret. Sir Bertrand's heart made a fearful stop—he was a while motionless ; then terror imr pelled him to make seme hasty steps towards his steed—-but shame stopt his flight; and urged by honour, and a resistless desire of finishing the adventure, he returned to the porch.; and working up his foul to a full steadiness of resolution, he drew forth his sword with one hand, and with the other lifted up the latch of the gate. The heavy doer creaking upon its hinges reluctantly yielded to his hand-—he applied his shoulder to it, and forced it open—he quitted it, and stept forward—the door instantly shut with a thundering clap. Sir Bertrand's blood was chilled-r-he turned back to find the door, and it was long ere his trembling hands could seize iwbut his utmost strength could not open it again. After several ineffectual attempts, he looked behind him, and beheld, across a hall, upon a large stair-case, a pale bluish flame, which cast a dismal gleam of light around. H,e again summoned forth his courage. 2 and
and advanced towards it—it retired, open, and discovered a large apartment, He came to the foot of the stairs, and at rhe end of which was a coffin rested after a moment's deliberation ascended, upon a bier, with a taper burning on He went (lowly up, the flame retiring each fide of it. Along the room, on before him, till he came to a wide gal- both sides, were gigantic statues of black lery—The flame proceeded along it, marble, attired in the Moorish habit, and he followed in silent horror, tread- and holding enormous sabres in their ing lightly, for the echoes of his foot- right hands. Each of them reared his steps startled him. It led him to the arm, and advanced one leg forwards, as foot of another stair-cafe, and then va- the knight entered; at the fame mo. nifhed—At the fame instant another ment the lid of the coffin^flew open, toll sounded from the turret—Sir Ber- and the bell tolled. The flame still trand felt it strike upon his heart. He glided forwards, and Sir Bertrand resowas now in total darkness, and, with his lutely followed, till he arrived within, arms extended, began to ascend the se- six paces of the coffin. Suddenly a cond stair-cafe. A dead cold hand met his lady in a shroud and black veil rose up left-hand, and firmly grasped it, draw- in it, and stretched out her arms toing him forcibly forwards—he endea- wards him—at the fame time the statues voured to disengage himself, but could clashed their sabres and advanced. Sir not—he made a furious blow with his Bertrand flew to the lady, and clasped sword, and instantly a loud shriek her in hit arms—(he threw up her veil, pierced his ears, and the dead hand was and kissed his lips; and instantly the left powerless with his—He dropt it, whole building (hook as with an earth•and rushed forwards with a desperate quake, and fell asunder with a horrible valour. The stairs were narrow and crash. Sir Bertrand was thrown into a winding, and interrupted by frequent sudden trance, and on recovering found breaches, and loose fragments of stone, himself seated on a velvet sofa, in the The stair-case grew narrower and nar- most magnificent room he had ever seen, rower, and at length terminated in a low lighted with innumerable tapers, in. iron grate. Sir Bertrand pushed it open lustres of pure crystal. A sumptuous —it led to an intricate winding passage, banquet was set in the middle. The just large enough toadmit a person upon doors opening to soft music, a lady his hands and knees. A faint glim- of incomparable beauty, attired with, mering of light served to shew the na- amazing splendour, entered, surround, ture of the place—Sir Bertrand entered ed by a troop of gay nymphs more —A deep hollow groan resounded from fair than the Graces*—She advanced to a distance through the vault—He went the knight, and falling on her knees, forwards, and proceeding beyond the thanked him as her deliverer. The first turning, he discerned the same blue nymphs placed a garland oflaurel upon flame which had before conducted him his head, and the lady led him by the — He followed it. The vault, at hand to the banquet, and fat beside length, suddenly opened into a lofty him. The nymphs placed themselves gallery, in the midst of which a figure at the table, and a numerous train of appeared? completely armed, thrusting servants entering, served up the feast; forwards the bloody stump of an arm, delicious music playing all the time, with a terrible frown and menacing ges- Sir Bertrand could not speak for astoture, and brandishing a sword in his niihment—he could only return their hand. Sir Bertrand undauntedly sprung honours by courteous looks and gestures, forwards; and aiming a fierce blow at After the banquet was finished, all rethe figure, it instantly vanished, letting tired but the lady, who leading back fall a massy iron key. The flame now the knight to the sofa, addressed him in rested upon a pair of ample folding these words: — — — —
doors at the end of the gallery. Sir — > — — — — —
Bertrand went up to it, and applied the — — — — — —
key to a brazen lock—with difficulty he Jihn's Mfitl.
turned the bolt—instantly the doors flew §6. Qn
§ 6. On Human Grandeur.
An alehouse-keeper near Islington, •who had long lived at the sign of the French King, upon the commencement of the last war pulled down his old sign, and put up that of the Queen of Hungary. Under the influence of her red face and golden sceptre, he continued to sell ale, till she was no longer the favourite of his customers; he changed her, therefore, some time ago, for the King of Prussia, who may probably be changed, in turn, for the next great man that shall be set up for vulgar admiration.
In this manner the great are dealt out, one after the other, to the gazing Crowd. When we have sufficiently wondered at one of them, he is taken in, and another exhibited in his room, who seldom holds his station long; for the mob are ever pleased with variety.
I must own I have such an indifferent opinion of the vulgar, that I am ever led to suspect that merit which raises their shout: at least I am certain to find those great, and sometimes good men, who find satisfaction in such acclamations, made worse by it; and history has too frequently taught me, that the head which has grown this day giddy with the roar of the million, has the very next been fixed upon a pole.
As Alexander VI. was entering a little town in the neighbourhood of Rome, which had been juil evacuated by the enemy, he perceived the townsmen busy in the market-place in pulling down from a gibbet a figure which had been designed to represent himself. There were some also knocking down a neighbouring statue of one of the Orsini family, with whom he was at war, in order to put Alexander's effigy in its place. It is possible a man who knew less of the world would have condemned the adulation of those bire-saced flatterers; but Alexander seemed pleased at their zeal ; and, turning to Borgia, his son, said with a smile, " Vides, mi "fili, quam leve discrimen patibulum "inter et llatnam." " You se?, my son, "the small difference between agiboet "and a statue." Is the great couid be taught any lesson, this might serve to
teach them uponi»ow weak a souncTation their glory stands; for, as popular applause is excited by what seems like merit, it as quickly condemns what has only the appearance of guilt.
Popular glory is a perfect coquet: her lovers must toil, feel every inquietude, indulge every caprice; and, perhaps, at last, be jilted for their pains. True glory, on the other hand, resembles a woman offense; her admirers must play no tricks; they feel no great anxiety, for they are sure, in the end, of being rewarded in proportion to their merit. When Swift used to appear in public, he generally had the mob shouting in his train. "Pox take these fools," he would fay, " how much joy might all "this bawling give my lord-mayor!"
We have seen those virtues which have, while living, retired from the public eye, generally transmitted to posterity, as the truest objects of admiration and praise. Perhaps the character of the late duke of Marlborough may one day be set up, even above that of his more talked-of predecessor; since an assemblage os all the mild and amiable virtues are far superior to those vulgarly called the great ones. I must be pardoned for this short tribute to the memory of a man who, while living, would as much detest to receive any thing that wore the appearance of flattery, as I should to offer it.
I know not how to turn so trite a subject out of the beaten road cf common-place, except by illustrating it, rather by the assistance of my memory than judgment; and, instead os making reflections, by telling a story.
A Chinese, who had long studied the works of Confucius, who knew the characters of fourteen thousand words, and could read a great part of every book that came in his way, once took it into his head to travel into Europe, and observe the customs of a people which he thought not very much inferior even to his own countrymen. Upon his arrival at Amsterdam, his passion for letters naturally led him to a bookseller's (hop; and, as he could speak a lit le Dutch, he civilly asked the bookseller for the works of the immortal Xixofou. The bookseller assured him he had never heard