Imatges de pÓgina

of coarse laughter, that proceeded from the adjoining apartment; but the fatigue occasioned by a long day's journey, could no longer be amused by the operation of any outward circumstance, and at length the weary travellers fell asleep.

The night was very far advanced, when the gentleman was suddenly aroused from his slumbers, by a violent gesture from his wife, whom he found sitting up in bed, apparently in an agony of fear, pointing towards one corner of the apartment, and endeavouring in vain to speak. The moon was then shining very bright, and he could perceive her lips and tongue moving, as if in the act of speaking ; but she spoke not, and retained a fixed stare upon an object, he could scarcely discern, in the most gloomy corner of the room, while her whole frame trembled with the most violent emotion and alarming gesture.

Her husband instantly became affected by her fears, and not daring to move, but wishing to shew courage he did not possess, demanded in a loud voice the cause of her affright, at the same time, arraigning her folly for being infected by groundless fears. But, notwithstanding these bold ejaculations, he was himself most terribly alarmed; and, as he has very often assured me


since, there was something so horrid in the attitude and dumb shew of his lady, who appeared convulsed with fear, that he would in those moments have granted any boon for the happy sound of one single word from her lips.

The lady continued in this dreadful situation, and her companion in a state very little more to be envíed, until the morning's dawn began to steal upon the surrounding objects, and with gradual light to render them visible.

As the gloom of darkness slowly gave way to the happy light of a coming day, the object that had caused so much uneasiness became more perceptible. In the before-mentioned corner of the room, stood a high-backed chair, over which had appeared the figure of a man, resting his arms upon it, and looking towards the bed, retaining one steady and immoveable attitude. In proportion as the light increased, the husband's courage returned, and at length he had the hardiness to venture out of bed, and examine the cause of their mutual terror; when lo and behold, it appeared to be merely the riding habit of the lady, which had been thrown across the back of the chair, and upon the top of which she bad placed her beaver hat. These articles of dress, so far resembled the portraiture of a man enfolded in a long cloak, and peeping over the back of the chair, that even in the time of day, it might, upon a sudden glance of the eye, have been mistaken for the appearance of a ruffian, watching for an opportunity to spring forwards ; therefore, the reader's surprise cannot be so great, that a timorous young lady, in such a situation, when her mind was ready to receive any imprese sion of fear, should, through the doubtful medium of a gloomy shade, have worked up her imagination to a pitch of phrensy, which was gra. dually removed by the increasing light of day.

At last, the golden oriental gate
“ Of greatest heaven 'gan to open faire,

" And Phoebus fresh, as bridegrome to his mate,
• Came dancing forth, shaking his deawy heare ;
" And hurles his glistering beames through gloomy aire."

But such were the dreadful effects resulting from this trifling cause, that this amiable and ac. complished young bride, bore the marks of the convulsive fear she had sustained on that fatal night, through all the remaining period of her life.

Before this circumstance, her hair was of a most beautiful glossy black, and flowed in such

elegant tresses, that it was'universally admired ; but so 'powerful were the effects of her fear, during that night, upon her delicate frame, that her hair, which had formerly been so much admired, became, almost instantaneously, entirely grey, and her nerves were never afterwards so strong as they had formerly been.

These were the effects of a different species of fear, from that which I have illustrated in the two preceding essays, and resulted from an apprehension of real danger, a danger that was pro. bable from natural and existing circumstances, and consequently more pardonable than the fear of an ideal danger that could not exist; by which, I allude to all supernatural agency, which no man can pretend to uphold on any just grounds of arguments 'or reason.

Although this lively apprehension of actual danger is more pardonable, because it is more rational and natural, than that of fictitious danger, yet, since we find it is productive of ill consequences, and can never be of the least service to us, I hold it to be our duty to be as assiduous lowards its eradication, as to wipe away all superstitious affections of the mind; because, we have always observed, that when a man has been sorely oppressed by fear, in a situation of actual danger, his faculties have been so bewil. dered, that his reason has been prevented from exerting her natural power towards his preservation; and if his fearful delirium did not urge his destruction, but allowed him to escape, he has afterwards found, that had his faculties not been clouded and obstructed by his fears, he would have acted in a very different and more manly manner.

Avery little accurate observation will convince any unprejudiced mind, not only of the great absurdity, but the great inconvenience of

every species of fearful impression; and from his own feelings (if he pays attention to the workings of his own mind) he will find that they can, by gradual and determined efforts be overcome, and swept away, with as much ease as any other impression of the mind, that owes its origin to ignorance, superstition, and perverted nature.

Man should know of no fear, but the fear of death; and the pure precepts of Christianity would fain teach erring man to contemplate even the wreck of his own existence with satisfaction ; yet nature seems to have planted an universal dread of

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