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be best secured by keeping his subjects continually at war. I was a coadjutor completely to her taste in public and private, having small care for the nation, and few scruples of delicacy. We spared no expenses for the support of the army, but our generals were sometimes beaten and disgraced us ; sometimes victorious, and then they came home to insult us. My sultana's temper, crooked as her person, grew wholly insupportable ; every misfortune was set down to my account as minister, and money became hard to find. Taxes offended the people, and the soldiers refused to enforce them. The lady was affrighted at the spirit she had raised ; and, when I observed her one evening as if mixing some powders in the Cherbette we were to drink after supper, I was affrighted too; and, grasping her so roughly that resistance was vain, I held the prepared potion to her own lips. Fortunately for my innocence, the Valadi, in her ungovernable fury at such treatment, broke a blood-vessel, and I left her to expire unpitied on the sofa, while the bustle gave me time to drop my turban ; and, snatching the lay frock from off a dervise in the crowd, covered myself up, and escaped from being the prime minister at Ispahan. Let us now try to find our fourth brother, Ittai, and return, though ragged, to our father's house."
The first man they met showed the leading path, and pointed out the way. Arrived, they saw the fields so much improved it was scarce possible to recognize the place. The man of talents, however, climbing a ladder which was reared against the wall for some reason, looked in, and perceived Ittai dancing at the celebration of his son's birthday. “O brother!” he exclaimed, “ here we are; we have never found Asheri.” “ That is a truth, indeed,” replied a little figure from behind the screen, “for I have never moved for fifteen years from this very spot.” “Is that the beautiful creature we were taught to expect ? ” cried out the man of pleasure. Ittai set wide his door, and a burst of brilliancy illuminated the dwelling. Virtue, Love, and Friendship
— three forms under one radiant head — dazzled their sight; and, “ Keep your distance,” said the well-tuned voice ; “ Asheri abhors men who deny the existence of what all must wish, but none will ever find in pleasure, fame, or power. Asheri dwells in heaven, visiting in disguise even the favored mortals, who,
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like Ittai, send up their pious aspirations there, and live contented with their lot below.” The brothers waked as from a dream, resolving to forget all their projects of felicity in this life ; which they closed in company with Ittai ; and each half hoped he saw a gleam of Asheri, as this world gradually receded from their view, and soft futurity advanced to meet them.
Streatham Park, April 3, 1816. — Mrs. Piozzi gave me this (the foregoing) paper in the library. After telling several amusing anecdotes, she mentioned one of Sir R. Jebb. One day somebody had given him a bottle of castor oil, very pure; it had but lately been brought into use. Before he left his home, he gave it in charge to his man, telling him to be careful of it. After the lapse of a considerable time, Sir Richard asked his servant for the oil. “O, it's all used !” replied he. “Used !” said Sir Richard ; “ how and when, Sir?” “I put it in the castor when wanted, and gave it to the company.” The way of telling this story by Mrs. Piozzi added to the humor, and renders all description useless. — Sir James Fellowes.
HER CHARACTER OF THRALE.
As this is Thraliana, I will now write Mr. Thrale's character in it. It is not because I am in good or ill-humor with him or he with me, for we are not capricious people, but have, I believe, the same opinion of each other at all places and times.
Mr. Thrale's person is manly, his countenance agreeable, his eyes steady and of the deepest blue; his look neither soft nor severe, neither sprightly nor gloomy, but thoughtful and intelligent; his address is neither caressive nor repulsive, but unaffectedly civil and decorous; and his manner more completely free from every kind of trick or particularity than I ever saw any person's. He is a man wholly, as I think, out of the power of mimickry. He loves money, and is diligent to obtain it ; but he loves liberality too, and is willing enough both to give generously and to spend fashionably. His passions either are not strong, or else he keeps them under such command that they seldom disturb his tranquillity or his friends; and it must, I think, be something more than common which can affect him strongly, either with hope, fear, anger, love, or joy. His regard for his father's memory is remarkably great, and he has been a most exemplary brother; though, when the house of his favorite sister was on fire, and we were all alarmed with the account of it in the night, I well remember that he never rose, but bidding the servant who called us to go to her assistance, quietly turned about and slept to his usual hour. I must give another trait of his tranquillity on a different occasion. He had built great casks holding 1,000 hogsheads each, and was much pleased with their profit and appearance. One day, however, he came down to Streatham as usual to dinner, and after hearing and talking of a hundred trifles, “ But I forgot,” says he,“ to tell you how one of my great casks is burst, and all the beer run out.”
Mr. Thrale's sobriety, and the decency of his conversation,
being wholly free from all oaths, ribaldry and profaneness, make him a man exceedingly comfortable to live with ; while the easiness of his temper and slowness to take offence add greatly to his value as a domestic man. Yet I think his servants do not much love him, and I am not sure that his children have much affection for him ; low people almost all indeed agree to abhor him, as he has none of that officious and cordial manner which is universally required by them, nor any skill to dissemble his dislike of their coarseness. With regard to his wife, though little tender of her person, he is very partial to her understanding; but he is obliging to nobody, and confers a favor less pleasingly than many a man refuses to confer one. This appears to me to be as just a character as can be given of the man with whom I have now lived thirteen years; and though he is extremely reserved and uncommunicative, yet one must know something of him after so long acquaintance. Johnson has a very great degree of kindness and esteem for him, and says if he would talk more, his manner would be very completely that of a perfect gentleman.
(Here follow Master Pepys' verses addressed to Thrale on his wedding-day, October, 1776.)
People have a strange propensity to making vows on trilling occasions, a trick one would not think of, but I once caught my husband at it, and have since then been suspicious that 't is oftener done than believed. For example: Mr. Thrale and I were driving through E. Grinsted, and found the inn we used to put up at destroyed by fire. He expressed great uneasiness, and I still kept crying, “ Why can we not go to the other inn ? 't is a very good house ; here is no difficulty in the case." All this while Mr. Thrale grew violently impatient, endeavored to bribe the postboy to go on to the next post-town, &c., but in vain ; till, pressed by inquiries and solicitations he could no longer elude, he confessed to me that he had sworn an oath or made a vow, I forget which, seventeen years before, never to set his foot within those doors again, having had some fraud practised on him by a landlord who then kept the house, but had been dead long enough ago. When I heard this all was well; I desired him to sit in the chaise while the horses were changed, and walked into the house myself to get some refreshment the while.
In 1779, June, after his recovery from the first fit of paralysis, she writes :
His head is as clear as ever; his spirits indeed are low, but they will mend; few people live in such a state of preparation for eternity, I think, as my dear master has done since I have been connected with him; regular in his public and private devotions, constant at the Sacrament, temperate in his appetites, moderate in his passions, — he has less to apprehend from a sudden summons than any man I have known who was young and gay, and high in health and fortune like him.
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