Page images

every various kind be extinct ? Instances of tenderness in the most savage brutes are so frequent, that quotations of that kind are altogether unnecessary.

If we, who have no particular concern in them, take a secret delight in observing the gentle dawn of reason in babes; if our ears are soothed with their half forming and aiming at articulate sounds : if we are charmed with their pretty mimicry, and surprised at the unexpected starts of wit and cunning in these miniatures of man : what transport may we imagine in the breasts of those, into whom natural instinct hath poured tenderness and fondness for them ! how amiable is such a weakness in human nature ! or rather, how great a weakness is it, to give humanity so reproachful a name! The bare consideration of paternal affection should methinks create a more grateful tenderness in children toward their parents, than we generally see; and the silent whispers of nature be attended to, though the laws of God and man did not call aloud.

These silent whispers of nature have had a marvellous power, even when their cause hath been unknown. There are several examples in story of tender friendships formed betwixt men who knew not of their near relation. Such accounts confirm me in an opinion I have long entertained, that there is a sympathy betwixt souls, which cannot be explained by the prejudice of education, the sense of duty, or any other human motive.

The memoirs of a certain French nobleman", which now lie before me, furnish me with a very entertaining instance of this secret attraction implanted by Providence in the human soul. It will be necessary to inform the reader, that the

whose story going to relate, was one whose roving and romantic

d See advertisement, p. 383, of the book from which this story is taken.

person whose

I am

No. 150.




temper, joined to a disposition singularly amorous, had led him through a vast variety of gallantries and

He had, in his youth, attended a princess of France into Poland, where he had been entertained by the king her husband, and married the daughter of a grandee. Upon her death he returned into his native country; where his intrigues and other misfortunes having consumed his paternal estate, he now went to take care of the fortune his deceased wife had left him in Poland. In his journey he was robbed before he reached Warsaw, and lay ill of a fever, when he met with the following adventure which he shall relate in his own words.

I had been in this condition for four days, when the countess of Venoski passed that way. She was informed that a stranger of good fashion lay sick, and her charity led her to see me.

I remembered her, for I had often seen her with my wife, to whom she was nearly related; but when I found she knew not me, I thought fit to conceal my name. I told her I was a German; that I had been robbed; and that if she had the charity to send me to Warsaw, the

queen would acknowlege it ; I having the honour to be known to her majesty. The countess had the goodness to take compassion of me; and ordering me to be put into a litter, carried me to Warsaw, where I was lodged in her house until my health should allow me to wait on the queen.

My fever increased after my journey was over, and I was confined to my bed for fifteen days. When the countess first saw me, she had a young lady with her about eighteen years of age, who was much taller and better shaped than the Polish women generally

She was very fair, her skin exceeding fine, and her hair and shape inexpressibly beautiful. I was not so sick as to overlook this young beauty; and I

[ocr errors]



felt in my heart such emotions at the first view, as made me fear that all my misfortunes had not armed me sufficiently against the charms of the fair sex. The amiable creature seemed afflicted at my sickness; and she appeared to have so much concern and care for me, as raised in me a great inclination and tenderness for her. She came every day into my chamber to inquire after my health ; I asked who she was, and I was answered, that she was niece to the countess of Venoski.

I verily believe that the constant sight of this charming maid, and the pleasure I received from her careful attendance, contributed more to my recovery than all the medicines the physicians gave me.

In short, my fever left me, and I had the satisfaction to see the lovely creature overjoyed at my recovery. She came to see me oftener as I grew better; and I already felt a stronger and more tender affection for her than I ever bore to any woman in my life : when I began to perceive that her constant care of me was only a blind, to give her an opportunity of seeing a young Pole, whom I took to be her lover. He seemed to be much about her age, of a brown complexion, very tall, but finely shaped. Every time she came to see me the young gentleman came to find her out; and they usually retired to a corner of the chamber, where they seemed to converse with great earnest

The aspect of the youth pleased me wonderfully; and if I had not suspected that he was my rival, I should have taken delight in his person and friendship

They both of them often asked me if I were in reality a German ; which when I continued to affirm, they seemed very much troubled. One day, I took notice that the young lady and gentleman having retired to a window, were very intent upon a picture ;



and that every now and then they cast their eyes upon me, as if they had found some resemblance betwixt that and


features. I could not forbear to ask the meaning of it; upon which the lady answered, that if I had been a Frenchman, she should have imagined that I was the person for whom the picture was drawn, because it so exactly resembled

I desired to see it ; but how great was my surprise! when I found it to be the very painting which I had sent to the queen five years before, and which she commanded me to get drawn to be given to my children. After I had viewed the piece, I cast my eyes upon the young lady, and then upon the gentleman I had thought to be her lover. My heart beat, and I felt a secret emotion which filled me with wonder. I thought I traced in the two young persons some of my own features, and at that moment I said to myself, “ Are not these my children ?” The tears came into my eyes, and I was about to run and em. brace them; but constraining myself with pain, I asked whose picture it was? The maid, perceiving that I could not speak without tears, fell a weeping. Her tears absolutely confirmed me in my opinion, and falling upon her neck, “ Ah, my dear child,” said I, “ yes, I am your father.” I could say no more. The youth seized


hands at the same time, and kissing, bathed them with his tears. Throughout my life, I never felt a joy equal to this ; and it must be owned, that nature inspires more lively motions and pleasing tenderness than the passions can possibly excite':'

e See Notes to Nos. 10. and 15. ad fines ; and advertisement,

No. 151. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1713.*

Juv. Sat. i. 42.

Accipiat sanè mercedem sanguinis, et sic
Palleat, ut nudis pressit qui calcibus anguem.
A dear-bought bargain, all things duly weigh'd,
For which their thrice concocted blood is paid;
With looks as wan, as he, who in the brake,
At unawares has trod upon a snake.




* I BELIEVE you distance me not so much in years as in wisdom, and therefore since you have gained so deserved a reputation, I beg your assistance in correcting the manners of an untoward lad, who perhaps may listen to your admonitions, sooner than to all the severe checks and grave reproofs of a father. Without any longer preamble, you must know, Sir, that about two years ago, Jack, my eldest son and heir, was sent up to London, to be admitted of the Temple, not so much with a view of his stu. dying the law, as a desire to improve his breeding. This was done out of complaisance to a cousin of his, an airy lady, who was continually teasing me, that the boy would shoot up into a mere country booby, if he did not see a little of the world. She herself was bred chiefly in town, and since she was

* STEELE's.—This and the preceding paper are ascribed to Steele, but it is highly probable that they were not written by him. He was at this time deeply engaged in his election at Stockbridge, as appears from what follows: 'Stock at the Bridge formerly was at an 100, is now near 500. We are informed that Mr. Nestor, alias Birmingham Ironside, designs to make a Guardian on the nature and usefulness of bribery; and instead of a motto will dedicate it to the electors of the Stock which is of late risen. Then follows a transcript of the last paragraph of Guardian, No. 152. “But as it is usual enough for several persons to dress themselves in the habit of a great leader,' &c.

Post Boy, Sept. 4, 1713.

« PreviousContinue »