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come, be able to eclipfe all their splendour, and surpass all their magnificence.
Upon plans of elegance, and schemes of pleasure, the day rose and set, and the year went round unregarded, while we were busied in laying out plantations on ground not yet our own, and deliberating whether the manor-house should be rebuilt or repaired.
This was the amusement of our leisure, and the folace of our exigencies; we met together only to contrive how our approaching fortune should be enjoyed; for in this our conversation always ended, on whatever subject it began. We had none of the collateral interests, which diversify the life of others with joys and hopes, but had turned our whole attention on one event, which we could neither hasten nor retard, and had no other object of curiosity than the health or sickness of my aunts, of which we were careful to procure very exact and early intellige.ice.
This visionary opulence for a while foothed our imagination, but afterwards fired our wishes, and exasperated our neceffities, and my father could not always restrain himself from exclaiming that no creature had so many lives as a cat and an old maid. At last, upon the recovery of his sister from an ague, which she was supposed to have caught by sparing fire, he began to lose his stomach, and four months afterwards funk into the grave.
My mother, who loved her husband, survived him but a little while, and left me the fole heir of their lands, their schemes, and their wishes. As I had not enlarged my conceptions either by books or conversation, I differed only from my father by the fresh. ness of my cheeks, and the vigour of my step; and, like him, gave way to no thoughts but of enjoying the wealth which my aunts were hoarding.
At length the eldest fell ill. I paid the civilities and compliments which fickness requires with the utmost punctuality. I dreamed every night of escutcheons and white gloves, and enquired every morning at an early hour, whether there were any news of
my dear aunt. At last a messenger was sent to inform me that I must come to her without the delay of a moment. I went and heard her last ada vice, but opening her will, found that she had left her fortune to her second sister.
I hung my head; the youngest fister threatened to be married, and every thing was disappointment and discontent. I was in danger of losing irreparably one-third of my hopes, and was condemned still to wait for the rest. Of part of my terror I was soon eased; for the youth, whom his relations would have compelled to marry the old lady, after innumerable stipulations, articles, and settlements, ran away with the daughter of his father's groom; and my aunt, upon this conviction of the perfidy of man, resolved never to listen more to amorous addresses.
Ten years longer I dragged the shackles of expectation, without ever suffering a day to pass, in which I did not compute how much my chance was improved of being rich to morrow. At last the fecond lady died, after a short illness, which yet was long enough to afford her time for the disposal of her estate, which she gave to me after the death of her fifter.
I was now relieved from part of my misery ; a larger fortune, though not in my power, was certain and unalienable ; nor was there now any danger, that I might at last be frustrated of my hopes by a fret of dotage, the flatteries of a chamber-maid, the whispers of a tale-bearer, or the officiousness of a nurse. But my wealth was yet in reversion, my aunt was to be buried before I could emerge to grandeur and pleasure; and there were yet, according to my father's observation, nine lives between me and happiness.
I however lived on, without any clamours of difcontent, and comforted myself with considering, that all are mortal, and they who are continually decaying must at last be destroyed.
But let no man from this time suffer his felicity to depend on the death of his aunt. gentlewoman was very regular in her hours, and fimple in her diet; and in walking or fitting still, waking or sleeping, had always in view the preservation of her health. She was subject to no disorder but hypochondriac dejection; by which, without intention, she increased my miseries, for whenever the weather was cloudy, she would take her bed and fend me notice that her time was come. I went with all the halte of eagerness, and sometimes received paffionate injunctions to be kind to her maid, and directions how the last offices should be performed; but if before my arrival the sun happened to break out, or the wind to change, I met her at the door, or found her in the garden, bustling and vigilant, with all the tokens of long life.
Sometimes, however, she fell into distempers, and was thrice given over by the doctor, yet she found means of flipping through the gripe of death, and after having tortured me three months at each time with violent alternations of hope and fear, came out of her chamber without any other hurt than the loss of flesh, which in a few weeks she recovered by broths and jellies.
As most have fagacity sufficient to guess at the defires of an heir, it was the constant practice of those who were hoping at second hand, and endeavoured to secure my favour against the time when I should be rich, to pay their court, by informing me that my aunt began to droop, that she had lately a bad night, that she coughed feebly, and that she could never climb May hill; or, at least, that the autumn would
Thus was I flattered in the winter with the piercing winds of March, and in summer, with the fogs of September. But the lived through spring and fall, and set heat and cold at defiance, till, after near half a century, I buried her on the fourteenth of last June, aged ninety-three years, five months, and six days.
For two months after her death I was rich, and was pleased with that obsequiousness and reverence which wealth instantaneously procures.
But this joy is now past, and I have returned again to my old habit of wishing. Being accustomed to give the future full power over my mind, and to start away from the scene before me to some expected enjoy. ment, I deliver up myself to the tyranny of every desire which fancy suggests, and long for a thou. fand things which I am unable to procure. Money Vol. V. с
carry her off.
has much less power than is ascribed to it by those that want it. I had formed schemes which I cannot execute, I had supposed events which do not come to pass, and the rest of my life must pass in craving solicitude, unless you can find some remedy for a mind, corrupted with an inveterate disease of wishing, and unable to think on any thing but wants, which reason tells me will never be supplied.
I am, &c.
NUMB. 74. SATURDAY, December 1, 1750.
Rixatur de laná fæpe caprina.
EN seldom give pleasure, where they are not
pleased themselves; it is necessary, therefore, to cultivate an habitual alacrity and cheerfulness, that in whatever state we may be placed by Provi. *dence, whether we are appointed to confer or receive benefits, to implore or to afford protection, we may secure the love of those with whom we tranfact.
For though it is generally imagined, that he who grants favours, may spare any attention to his behaviour, and that usefulness will always procure friends; yet it has been found, that there is an art of granting requests, an art very difficult of attainment; that officiousness and liberality may be fo