Imatges de pÓgina

annoyances, or tangible tribulations, of which you are the victim, than to those subller and more elegant agonies, which are my own peculiar inheritance; for the nerves, Sir, holding, by a sort of amphibious tenure, both to mind and body, acquaint me with the whole circle of dissatisfactions.-Let it be your comfort, then, that what you lose in ........

Tes. Death and fury! what is all this about ?-One thing, Master Sensitive, you have just now taught me and that is, that, if nerves are necessary to a boiling fit of rage, I must have my full quota of them ;-yes, Sir, and in that case, after all your flattering distinctions between your carcase and mine, I wou'd engage to cut up as nervous as you can do—though, perhaps, I may’nt carry my anxiety for the actual experiment altogether so far :-but be that as it may-I would fain be made to see how the body, which settled to be a block, and otherwise so carefully parted from the mind, is to carry on the extensive business of discontent, which you do not deny that it has to manage, entirely on its own bottom.

you have Sen. But, my good Sir....

T'es. Nay, nay, I have not done with you yet;if you, and your mind, and your nerves, are such fast cronies as to be absolutely all in all to one another, how come ye, pray, to be so wonderfully interested in the fate of

your flesh, as you have more than half confessed, among you, that you are ?—Why, if I might presume to try my hand at an opinion, without a mind, I should say, that till Mind, aforesaid, can shake off this unaccountable weakness, it may as well, at once, give up the doublerefined fancy of always leaving poor body in the basket.

I think, Mr. Samuel, I may now be bold enough to suspect, with all my fleshy lumber about me, that our implements of grieving, on both sides, are made pretty nearly of the same stuff, be it what it will — unless I am quite abroad still; and if so, I will humbly wait, while you are so kind as to clarify my understanding.

Sen. No, Mr. Testy; I have heard you with penitent ears, and beg leave to resign the contest: I cannot but perceive that, in your present emotions, there is, at least, as much of spiritual as of material ; and so I freely allow you to share with me (tho' still in an unequal proportion) the Empire of Misery--especially as I feel that the loss of your friendship, which I seem in great danger of incurring, and by which I should be stripped of my only remaining solace,--that of sociality in sorrow and complaint,-wou'd leave me poor indeed."-But I expect that you will concede to me, in your turn, Mr. Testy, that nerves are nerves, after all.

Test. Aye, aye-a fair compromise enough; -and now that my heat is a little over, 'Squire, your candour shall drag out a confession, which your sauciness had locked up; viz. that tho' I am reasonably certain that I have a mind, I am, I know not how, still more feelingly satisfied that I have a body: with you, I believe, it may go the other way; you shrink most, perhaps, from a hard word, and I from a hard knock ;-will that do for you!

Sen. Exactly :-—if happiness, dear Sir, cou'd find me out, I should be truly happy in this accurate adjustment of our claims.

· But our work is not yet over, I must remind you; other claimants remain to be silenced, before we can hope to sit down easy under our afflictions. — There exists, Mr. Testy, and has immemorially existed, a set of Usurpers, who assume to themselves a prescriptive and exclusive right of suffering, and complaining, upon the strength of what they choose to call the greater evils of life, whether bodily or mental :-of the former kind, they will confidently quote you hurricanes, shipwreck, sickness, &c. &c. and of the latter, injuries, insults, disappointments, treacheries, and so forth. But what are all these, or worse than these, in the balance with our perplexities, and alarms, at which they presume to sneer, under the nick-names of rubs, bores, stews, takings, &c.?-for let us inspect, a little more narrowly, the state of our separale pretensions:-And first, with respect to their particular cast of curses,-ought not their

acknowledged rarity to be honestly set off against their weight? as, with regard to ours, --supposing (but not granting) each, by itself, to be specifically light, shall not their number, and frequency, entitle them to be considered as collectively heavy ?-- just as, in disputation, the argument cumulative, when it has been fairly heard to an end, is admitted to be at least as pressing as the argument solitary. Such, I say, is the only equitable, or indeed, possible course, for enabling the contending murmurers to settle the

comparative tonnage of their minds.--The tomahawk, or the scalping-knife, whatever other charms may be denied them, are, at least, recommended by the dispatch with which they perform their services;---one violent visit, and they are away for ever ;-but thorns, pins, needles, (and I wou'd add, tongues,) are always in the way, and always pointed; nor is there ever wanting some industrious body at your elbow, who is, at all times, in cheerful readiness to stick them. Thus much for illustration:

I will next

« AnteriorContinua »