Evenings at home; or, the juvenile budget opened: Consisting of a variety of miscellaneous pieces, ... [pt.5]






  • On Earths and Stones Page. 1
  • The Wanderer's Return 35
  • The Dog and his Relations 50
  • The Coſt of a War 54
  • The Cruciform-Flowered Plants 64
  • Generous Revenge 76
  • True Heroiſm 85
  • The Coloniſts 91
  • The Travelled Ant 101
  • Show and Uſe, or the Two Preſents 116
  • [Page 4] Humble Life 122
  • On Emblems 138
  • Ledyard's Praiſe of Women 150




Harry. I. WONDER what all this heap of ſtones is for.
George. I can tell you—It is for the lime-kiln; don't you ſee it juſt by?
H. O yes, I do. But what is to be done to them there?
G. Why, they are to be burned into lime; don't you know that?
H. But what is lime, and what are its uſes?
G. I can tell you, one; they lay it on the fields for manure. Don't you remember we ſaw a number of little heaps of it, that we took for [Page 2] ſheep at a diſtance, and wondered they did not move. However, I believe we had better aſk our tutor about it. Will you pleaſe, Sir, to tell us ſomewhat about lime.
Tutor. Willingly. But ſuppoſe, as we talked about all ſorts of metals ſometime ago, I ſhould now give you a lecture about ſtones and earths of all kinds, which are equally valuable, and much more common, than metals.
G. Pray do, Sir.
H. I ſhall be very glad to hear it.
T. Well then. In the firſt place, the ground we tread upon, to as great a depth as it has been dug, conſiſts for the moſt part of matter of various appearance and hardneſs, called by the general name of earths. In common language, indeed, only the ſoft and powdery ſubſtances are ſo named, while the hard and ſolid are called ſtone or rock: but chymiſts uſe the ſame term for all; as, in fact, earth is only [Page 3] crumbled ſtone, and ſtone only conſolidated earth.
H. What!—has the mould of my garden ever been ſtone?
T. The black earth or mould which covers the ſurface wherever plants grow, conſiſts moſtly of parts of rotted vegetables, ſuch as ſtalks, leaves, and roots, mixed with ſand or looſe clay; but this only reaches a little way; and beneath it you always come to a bed of gravel, or clay, or ſtone of ſome kind. Now theſe earths and ſtones are diſtinguiſhed into ſeveral ſpecies, but principally into three, the properties of which make them uſeful to man for very different purpoſes, and are therefore very well worth knowing. As you began with aſking me about lime, I ſhall firſt mention that claſs of earths from which it is obtained. Theſe have derived their name of calcareous from this very circumſtance, calx being lime, in Latin; and lime is [Page 4] got from them all in the ſame way, by burning them in a ſtrong fire. There are many kinds of calcareous earths. One of them is marble; you know what that is?
G. O yes! Our parlour chimneypiece and hearth are marble.
H. And ſo are the monuments in the church.
T. True. There are various kinds of it; white, black, yellow, grey, mottled and veined with different colours; but all of them are hard and heavy ſtones, admitting a fine poliſh, on which account they are much uſed in ornamental works.
G. I think ſtatues are made of it.
T. Yes; and where it is plentiful, columns, and porticoes, and ſometimes whole buildings. Marble is the luxury of architecture.
H. Where does marble come from?
T. From a great many countries. Great Britain produces ſome, but [Page 5] moſtly of inferior kinds. What we uſe chiefly comes from Italy. The Greek iſlands yield ſome fine ſorts. That of Paros is of ancient fame for whiteneſs and purity, and the fineſt antique ſtatues have been made of Parian marble.
H. I ſuppoſe black marble will not burn into white lime.
T. Yes, it will. A violent heat will expel moſt of the colouring matter of marbles, and make them white. Chalk is another kind of calcareous earth. This is of a much ſofter conſiſtence than marble; being eaſily cut with a knife, and marking things on which it is rubbed. It is found in great beds in the earth; and in ſome parts of England whole hills are compoſed of it.
G. Are chalk and whiting the ſame?
T. Whiting is made of the finer and purer particles of chalk waſhed [Page 6] out from the reſt, and then dried in lumps. This, you know, is quite ſoft and crumbly. There are, beſides, a great variety of ſtones in the earth, harder than chalk, but ſofter than marble, which will burn to lime, and are therefore called limeſtones. Theſe differ much in colour and other properties, and accordingly furniſh lime of different qualities. In general, the harder the limeſtone is, the firmer is the lime made from it. Whole ridges of mountains in various parts are compoſed of limeſtone, and it is found plentifully in moſt of the hilly countries of England, to the great advantage of the inhabitants.
G. Will not oyſter-ſhells burn into lime? I think I have heard of oyſterſhell lime.
T. They will; and this is another ſource of calcareous earth. The ſhells of all animals, both land and ſea, as oyſters, muſcles, cockles, crabs, lobſters, [Page 7] ſnails, and the like, and alſo egg-ſhells of all kinds, conſiſt of this earth; and ſo does coral, which is formed by inſects under the ſea, and is very abundant in ſome countries. Vaſt quantities of ſhells are often found deep in the earth in the midſt of chalk and limeſtone beds; whence ſome have ſuppoſed that all calcareous earth is originally an animal production.
H. But where could animals enow ever have lived to make mountains of their ſhells?
T. That, indeed, I cannot anſwer. But there are ſufficient proofs that our world muſt long have exiſted in a very different ſtate from the preſent. Well—but beſides theſe purer calcareous earths, it is very frequently found mingled in different proportions with other earths. Thus, marle, which is ſo much uſed in manuring land, and of which there are a great many kinds, [Page 8] all conſiſts of calcareous earth, united with clay and ſand; and the more of this earth it contains, the richer manure it generally makes.
G. Is there any way of diſcovering it when it is mixed in this manner with other things?
T. Yes—there is an eaſy and ſure method of diſcovering the ſmalleſt portion of it. All calcareous earth has the property of diſſolving in acids, and efferveſcing with them; that is, they bubble and hiſs when acids are poured upon them. You may readily try this at any time with a piece of chalk or any oyſter ſhell.
G. I will pour ſome vinegar upon an oyſter ſhell as ſoon as I get home. But now I think of it, I have often done ſo in eating oyſters, and I never obſerved it to hiſs or bubble.
T. Vinegar is not an acid ſtrong enough to act upon a thing ſo ſolid as a ſhell. But aqua-fortis, or ſpirit [Page 9] of ſalt, will do it at once; and perſons who examine the nature of foſſils always travel with a bottle of one of theſe acids, by way of a teſt of calcareous earth. Your vinegar will anſwer with chalk or whiting. This property of diſſolving in acids, and what is called neutraliſing them, or taking away their ſourneſs, has cauſed many of the calcareous earths to be uſed in medicine. You know that ſometimes our food turns very ſour upon the ſtomach, and occaſions the pain called heart-burn, and other uneaſy ſymptoms. In theſe caſes it is common to give chalk, or powdered ſhells, or other things of this kind, which afford relief by deſtroying the acid.
G. I ſuppoſe, then, magneſia is ſomething of this ſort, for I have often ſeen it given to my little ſiſter when they ſaid her ſtomach was out of order.
[Page 10] T. It is; but it has ſome peculiar properties which diſtinguiſh it from other calcareous earths, and particularly it will not burn to lime. Magneſia is an artificial production, got from one of the ingredients in ſeawater, called the bitter purging ſalt.
G. Pray what are the other uſes of theſe earths?
T. Such of them as are hard ſtone, as the marbles and many of the limeſtones, are uſed for the ſame purpoſes as other ſtones. But their great uſe is in the form of lime, which is a ſubſtance of many curious properties that I will now explain to you. When freſh burnt, it is called quicklime, on account of the heat and life, as it were, which it poſſeſſes. Have you ever ſeen a lump of it put into water?
G. Yes, I have.
T. Were you not much ſurpriſed to ſee it ſwell and crack to pieces, [Page 11] with a hiſſing noiſe, and a great ſmoke and heat?
G. I was, indeed. But what is the cauſe of this?—how can cold water occaſion ſo much heat?
T. I will tell you. The ſtrong heat to which calcareous earth is expoſed in making it lime, expels all the water it contained (for all earths, as well as almoſt every thing elſe, naturally contain water), and alſo a quantity of air which was united with it. At the ſame time it imbibes a good deal of fire, which remains fixed in its ſubſtance, even after it has grown cool to the touch. If water be now added to this quicklime, it is drunk in again with ſuch rapidity, as to crack and break the lime to pieces. At the ſame time, moſt of the fire it had imbibed is driven out again, and makes itſelf ſenſible by its effects, burning all the things that it touches, and [Page 12] turning the water to ſteam. This operation is called ſlacking of lime. The water in which lime is ſlacked diſſolves a part of it, and acquires a very pungent harſh taſte: this is uſed in medicine under the name of lime-water. If, inſtead of ſoaking quicklime in water, it is expoſed for ſome time to the air, it attracts moiſture ſlowly, and by degrees falls to powder, without much heat or diſturbance. But whether lime be ſlacked in water or air, it does not at firſt return to the ſtate in which it was before, ſince it ſtill remains deprived of its air; and on that account is ſtill pungent and cauſtic. At length, however, it recovers this alſo from the atmoſphere, and is then calcareous earth as at firſt. Now, it is upon ſome of theſe circumſtances that the utility of lime depends. In the firſt place, its burning and corroding quality makes it uſeful to the tanner, in looſening all the hair from [Page 13] the hides; and deſtroying the fleſh and fat that adhere to them. And ſo in various other trades it is uſed as a great cleanſer and purifier.
H. I have a thought come into my head. When it is laid upon the ground I ſuppoſe its uſe muſt be to burn up the weeds.
T. True—that is part of its uſe.
G. But it muſt burn up the good graſs and corn too.
T. Properly objected. But the caſe is, that the farmer does not ſow his ſeeds till the lime is rendered mild by expoſure to the air and weather, and is well mixed with the ſoil. And even then it is reckoned a hot and forcing manure, chiefly fit for cold and wet lands. The principal uſe of lime, however, is as an ingredient in mortar. This, you know, is the cement by which bricks and ſtones are held together in building. It is made of freſh ſlaked lime and a proportion [Page 14] of ſand well mixed together; and generally ſome chopped hair is put into it. The lime binds with the other ingredients; and in length of time, the mortar, if well made, becomes as hard or harder than ſtone itſelf.
G. I have heard of the mortar in very old buildings being harder and ſtronger than any made at preſent.
T. That is only on account of its age. Burning lime and making mortar are as well underſtood now as ever; but in order to have it excellent, the lime ſhould be of a good quality, and uſed very freſh. Some ſorts of lime have the property of making mortar which will harden under water, whence it is much valued for bridges, locks, wharfs, and the like.
G. Pray is not plaſter of Paris a kind of lime? I know it will become hard by only mixing water with it, for I have uſed it to make caſts of.
T. The powder you call plaſter of [Page 15] Paris is made of an earth named gypſum, of which there are ſeveral kinds. Alabaſter is a ſtone of this ſort, and hard enough to be uſed like marble. The gypſeous earths are of the calcareous kind, but they have naturally a portion of acid united with them, whence they will not efferveſce on having acid poured on them. But they are diſtinguiſhed by the property, that after being calcined or burned in the fire, and reduced to powder, they will ſet into a ſolid body by the addition of water alone. This makes them very uſeful for ornamental plaſters, that are to receive a form or impreſſion, ſuch as the ſtucco for the ceilings of rooms. Well—we have ſaid enough about calcareous earths; now to another claſs, the Argillaceous.
G. I think I know what thoſe are. Argilla is Latin for clay.
T. True; and they are alſo called [Page 16] clayey earths. In general, theſe earths are of a ſoft texture and a ſort of greaſy feel; but they are peculiarly diſtinguiſhed by the property of becoming ſticky on being tempered with water, ſo that they may be drawn out, and worked into form like a paſte. Have you ever, when you were a little boy, made a clay houſe?
G. Yes. I have.
T. Then you well know the manner in which clay is tempered, and worked for this purpoſe.
H. Yes—and I remember helping to make little pots and mugs of clay.
T. Then you imitated the potter's trade; for all utenſils of earthen ware are made of clays either pure or mixed. This is one of the oldeſt arts among mankind, and one of the moſt uſeful. They furniſh materials for building, too; for bricks and tiles are made of theſe earths. But in order to be fit for theſe purpoſes, it is neceſſary that clay [Page 17] ſhould not only be ſoft and ductile while it is forming, but capable of being hardened afterwards. And this it is, by the aſſiſtance of fire. Pottery ware and bricks are burned with a ſtrong heat in kilns, by which they acquire a hardneſs equal to that of the hardeſt ſtones.
G. I think I have read of bricks being baked by the ſun's heat alone in very hot countries.
T. True; and they may ſerve for building in climates where rain ſcarcely ever falls; but heavy ſhowers would waſh them away. Fire ſeems to change the nature of clays; for after they have undergone its operation, they become incapable of returning again to a ſoft and ductile ſtate. You might ſteep brick duſt or pounded pots in water ever ſo long without making it hold together in the leaſt.
G. I ſuppoſe there are many kinds of clays.
[Page 18] T. There are. Argillaceous earths differ greatly from each other in colour, purity, and other qualities. Some are perfectly white, as that of which tobacco-pipes are made. Others are blue, brown, yellow, and in ſhort of all hues, which they owe to mixtures of other earths or metals. Thoſe which burn red contain a portion of iron. No clays are found perfectly pure; but they are mixed with more or leſs of other earths. The common brick clays contain a large proportion of ſand, which often makes them crumbly and periſhable. In general, the fineſt earthen-ware is made of the pureſt and whiteſt clays; but other matters are mixed in order to harden and ſtrengthen them. Thus porcelain, or china, is made with a clayey earth mixed with a ſtone of a vitrifiable nature, that is, which may be melted into glaſs; and the fine pottery called queen's-ware is a mixture of tobacco-pipe [Page 19] clay, and flints burned and powdered. Common ſtone-ware is a coarſe mixture of this ſort. Some ſpecies of pottery are made with mixtures of burned and unburned clay; the former, as I told you before, being incapable of becoming ſoft again with water like a natural clay.
H. Are clays of no other uſe than to make pottery of?
T. Yes—the richeſt ſoils are thoſe which have a proportion of clay; and marl, which I have already mentioned as a manure, generally contains a good deal of it. Then, clay has the property of abſorbing oil or greaſe, whence ſome kinds of it are uſed like ſoap for cleaning cloaths. The ſubſtance called Fuller's earth is a mixed earth of the argillaceous kind; and its uſe in taking out the oil which naturally adheres to wool is ſo great, that it has been one cauſe of the ſuperiority of our woollen cloths.
[Page 20] H. Then I ſuppoſe it is found in England.
T. Yes. There are pits of the beſt kind of it near Woburn in Bedfordſhire. A clayey ſtone called ſoap rock has exactly the feel and look of ſoap, and will even lather with water. The different kinds of ſlate, too, are ſtones of the argillaceous claſs; and very uſeful ones, for covering houſes, and other purpoſes.
H. Are writing-ſlates like the ſlates uſed for covering houſes?
T. Yes; but their ſuperior blackneſs and ſmoothneſs make them ſhow better the marks of the pencil.
G. You have mentioned ſomething of ſand and flints, but you have not told us what ſort of earths they are.
T. I reſerved that till I ſpoke of the third great claſs of earths. This is the ſiliceous claſs, ſo named from ſilex, which is Latin for a flint-ſtone. They have alſo been called vitrifiable earths, [Page 21] becauſe they are the principal ingredient in glaſs, named in Latin vitrum.
G. I have heard of flint glaſs.
T. Yes—but neither flint, nor any other of the kind will make glaſs, even by the ſtrongeſt heat, without ſome addition; but this we will ſpeak of by and bye. I ſhall now tell you the principal properties of theſe earths. They are all very hard, and will ſtrike fire with ſteel, when in a maſs large enough for the ſtroke. They moſtly run into particular ſhapes, with ſharp angles and points, and have a certain degree of tranſparency; which has made them alſo be called cryſtalline earths. They do not in the leaſt ſoften with water, like clays; nor are they affected by acids, nor do they burn to lime, like the calcareous earths. As to the different kinds of them, flint has already been mentioned. It is a very common production in ſome parts, and is generally met [Page 22] with in pebbles or round lumps. What is called the ſhingle on the ſeaſhore chiefly conſiſts of it; and the ploughed fields in ſome places are almoſt entirely covered with flint-ſtones.
H. But do they not hinder the corn from growing?
T. The corn, to be ſure, cannot take root upon them; but I believe it has been found that the protection they afford to the young plants which grow under them, is more than equal to the harm they do by taking up room. Flints are alſo frequently found imbedded in chalk under the ground. Thoſe uſed in the Staffordſhire potteries chiefly come from the chalk-pits near Graveſend. So much for flints. You have ſeen white pebbles, which are ſemitranſparent, and when broken, reſemble white ſugar-candy. They are common on the ſea-ſhore, and beds of rivers.
H. O, yes. We call them fireſtones. [Page 23] When they are rubbed together in the dark they ſend out great flaſhes of light, and have a particular ſmell.
T. True. The proper name of theſe is quartz. It is found in large quantities in the earth, and ores of metals are often imbedded in it. Sometimes it is perfectly tranſparent, and then it is called cryſtal. Some of theſe cryſtals ſhoot into exact mathematical figures; and becauſe many ſalts do the ſame, and are alſo tranſparent, they are called the cryſtals of ſuch or ſuch a ſalt.
G. Is not fine glaſs called cryſtal, too?
T. It is called ſo by way of ſimile: thus we ſay of a thing, ‘"it is as clear as cryſtal."’ But the only true cryſtal is an earth of the kind I have been deſcribing. Well—now we come to ſand; for this is properly only quartz in a powdery ſtate. If you [Page 24] examine the grains of ſand ſingly, or look at them with a magnifying glaſs, you will find them all either entirely or partly tranſparent; and in ſome of the white ſhining ſands the grains are all little bright cryſtals.
H. But moſt ſand is brown or yellowiſh.
T. That is owing to ſome mixture, generally of the metallic kind. I believe I once told you that all ſands were ſuppoſed to contain a ſmall portion of gold. It is more certain that many of them contain iron.
G. But what could have brought this quartz and cryſtal into powder, ſo as to have produced all the ſand in the world?
T. That is not very eaſy to determine. On the ſea-ſhore, however, the inceſſant rolling of the pebbles by the waves is enough in time to grind them to powder; and there is reaſon to believe that the greateſt part of [Page 25] what is now dry land, was once ſea, which may account for the vaſt beds of ſand met with inland.
G. I have ſeen ſome ſtone ſo ſoft that one might crumble it between ones fingers, and then it ſeemed to turn to ſand.
T. There are ſeveral of this kind, more or leſs ſolid, which are chiefly compoſed of ſand conglutinated by ſome natural cement. Such are called ſand-ſtone, or freeſtone; and are uſed for various purpoſes, in building, making grind ſtones, and the like, according to their hardneſs.
H. Pray what are the common pebbles that the ſtreets are paved with? I am ſure they ſtrike fire enough with the horſe's ſhoes.
T. They are ſtones of the ſiliceous kind, either pure or mixed with other earths. One of the hardeſt and beſt for this purpoſe is called granite, which is of various kinds and colours, [Page 26] but always conſiſts of grains of different ſiliceous earths cemented together. The ſtreets of London are paved with granite, brought from Scotland. In ſome other ſtones, theſe bits of different earths diſperſed through the cement are ſo large, as to look like plums in a pudding; whence they have obtained the name of puddingſtones.
G. I think there is a kind of ſtones that you have not yet mentioned—precious ſtones.
T. Theſe, too, are all of the ſiliceous claſs;—from the opake or halftranſparent, as agate, jaſper, cornelian, and the like, to the perfectly clear and brilliant ones, as ruby, emerald, topaz, ſapphire, &c.
G. Diamond, no doubt, is one of them.
T. So it has commonly been reckoned, and the pureſt of all; but ſome late experiments have ſhewn, that [Page 27] though it is the hardeſt body in nature, it may be totally diſperſed into ſmoke and flame by a ſtrong fire; ſo that mineralogiſts will now hardly allow it to be a ſtone at all, but claſs it among inflammable ſubſtances. The precious ſtones above mentioned owe their different colours chiefly to ſome metallic mixture. They are in general extremely hard, ſo as to cut glaſs, and one another; but diamond will cut all the reſt.
G. I ſuppoſe they muſt be very rare.
T. Yes; and in this rarity conſiſts the greateſt part of their value. They are, indeed, beautiful objects; but the figure they make in proportion to their expence is ſo very ſmall, that their high price may be reckoned one of the principal follies among mankind. What proportion can there poſſibly be between the worth of a glittering ſtone as big as a hazel-nut, and [Page 28] a magnificent houſe and gardens, or a large tract of country, covered with noble woods and rich meadows and corn fields? And as to the mere glitter, a large luſtre of cut glaſs has an infinitely greater effect on the eye than all the jewels of a ſovereign prince.
G. Will you pleaſe to tell us now how glaſs is made?
T. Willingly. The baſe of it is, as I ſaid before, ſome earth of the ſiliceous claſs. Thoſe commonly uſed are flint and ſand. Flint is firſt burned or calcined, which makes it quite white, like enamel; and it is then powdered. This is the material ſometimes uſed for ſome very white glaſſes; but ſand is that commonly preferred, as being already in a powdery form. The white cryſtalline ſands are uſed for fine glaſs; the brown or yellow for the common ſort. As theſe earths will not melt by themſelves, the addition in making glaſs is ſomewhat that [Page 29] promotes their fuſion. Various things will do this; but what is generally uſed is an alkaline ſalt, obtained from the aſhes of burnt vegetables. Of this there are ſeveral kinds, as pot-aſh, pearl-aſh, barilla, and kelp. The ſalt is mixed with the ſand in a certain proportion, and the mixture then expoſed in earthen pots to a violent heat, till it is thoroughly melted. The maſs is then taken while hot and fluid, in ſuch quantities as are wanted, and faſhioned by blowing and the uſe of ſheers and other inſtruments. You muſt ſee this done, ſome time, for it is one of the moſt curious and pleaſing of all manufactures; and it is not poſſible to form an idea of the eaſe and dexterity with which glaſs is wrought, without an actual view.
H. I ſhould like very much to ſee it, indeed.
G. Where is glaſs made, in this country?
[Page 30] T. In many places. Some of the fineſt, in London; but the coarſer kinds generally where coals are cheap; as at Newcaſtle and its neighbourhood, in Lancaſhire, at Stombridge, Briſtol, and South Wales. I ſhould have told you, however, that in our fineſt and moſt brilliant glaſs, a quantity of the calx of lead is put, which vitrifies with the other ingredients, and gives the glaſs more firmneſs and denſity. The blue, yellow and red glaſſes are coloured with the calxes of other metals. As to the common green glaſs, it is made with an alkali that has a good deal of calcareous earth remaining with the aſhes of the plant. But to underſtand all the different circumſtances of glaſs making, one muſt have a thorough knowledge of chymiſtry.
G. I think making of glaſs is one of the fineſt inventions of human ſkill.
[Page 31] T. It is perhaps not of that capital importance that ſome other arts poſſeſs; but it has been a great addition to the comfort and pleaſure of life in many ways. Nothing makes ſuch clean and agreeable veſſels as glaſs, which has the quality of not being corroded by any kind of liquor, as well as that of ſhowing its contents by its tranſparency. Hence it is greatly preferable to the moſt precious metals for drinking out of; and for the ſame reaſons it is preferred to every other material for chymical utenſils, where the heat to be employed is not ſtrong enough to melt it.
H. Then, glaſs windows!
T. Aye; that is a moſt material comfort in a climate like ours, where we ſo often wiſh to let in the light, and keep out the cold wind and rain. What could be more gloomy than to ſit in the dark, or with no other light than came in through ſmall holes covered [Page 32] with oiled paper or bladder, unable to ſee any thing paſſing without doors! Yet this muſt have been the caſe with the moſt ſumptuous palaces before the invention of window-glaſs, which was a good deal later than that of bottles and drinking glaſſes.
H. I think looking-glaſſes are very beautiful.
T. They are indeed very elegant pieces of furniture, and very coſtly too. The art of caſting glaſs into large plates, big enough to reach almoſt from the bottom to the top of a room, is but lately introduced into this country from France. But the moſt ſplendid and brilliant manner of employing glaſs is in luſtres and chandeliers, hung round with drops cut ſo as to reflect the light with all the colours of the rainbow. Some of the ſhops in London, filled with theſe articles, appear to realize all the wonders [Page 33] of an enchanted palace in the Arabian Nights Entertainments.
G. But are not ſpectacles and ſpying glaſſes more uſeful than all theſe?
T. I did not mean to paſs them over, I aſſure you. By the curious invention of optical glaſſes of various kinds, not only the natural defects of the ſight have been remedied, and old-age has been in ſome meaſure lightened of one of its calamities, but the ſenſe of ſeeing has been wonderfully extended. The teleſcope has brought diſtant objects within our view, while the microſcope has given us a clear ſurvey of near objects too minute for our unaſſiſted eyes. By means of both, ſome of the brighteſt diſcoveries of the moderns have been made; ſo that glaſs has proved not leſs admirable in promoting ſcience, than in contributing to ſplendour and convenience. Well—I don't know that I have any thing more at preſent [Page 34] to ſay relative to the claſs of earths. We have gone through the principal circumſtances belonging to their three great diviſions, the calcareous, argillaceous, and ſiliceous. You will remember, however, that moſt of the earths and ſtones offered by nature are not any one of theſe kinds perfectly pure, but contain a mixture of one or both the others. There is not a pebble that you can pick up which would not exerciſe the ſkill of a mineralogiſt fully to aſcertain its properties, and the materials of its compoſition. So inexhauſtible is nature!


[Page 35]


IT was a delightful evening about the end of Auguſt. The ſun ſetting in a pure ſky illuminated the tops of the weſtern hills, and tipped the oppoſite trees with a yellow luſtre.

A traveller, with ſun-burnt cheeks and duſty feet, ſtrong and active, having a knapſack at his back, had gained the ſummit of a ſteep aſcent, and ſtood gazing on the plain below.

This was a wide tract of champaign country, chequered with villages, whoſe towers and ſpires peeped above the trees in which they were emboſomed. The ſpace between them was chiefly arable land, from which the laſt products of harveſt were buſily carrying away.

[Page 36] A rivulet winded through the plain, its courſe marked with grey willows. On its banks were verdant meadows, covered with lowing herds, moving ſlowly to the milkmaids, who came tripping along with pails on their heads. A thick wood cloathed the ſide of a gentle eminence riſing from the water, crowned with the ruins of an ancient caſtle.

Edward (that was the traveller's name) dropt on one knee, and claſping his hands, exclaimed, ‘"Welcome, welcome, my dear native land! Many a ſweet ſpot have I ſeen ſince I left thee, but none ſo ſweet as thou! Never has thy dear image been out of my memory; and now, with what tranſport do I retrace all thy charms. O receive me again, never more to quit thee!"’ So ſaying, he threw himſelf on the turf, and having kiſſed it, roſe and proceeded on his journey.

As he deſcended into the plain, [Page 37] he overtook a little group of children, merrily walking along the path, and ſtopping now and then to gather berries in the hedge.

‘"Where are you going, my dears?"’ ſaid Edward.

‘"We are going home,"’ they all replied.

‘"And where is that?"’

‘"Why, to Summerton, that town there among the trees, juſt before us. Don't you ſee it?"’

‘"I ſee it well,"’ anſwered Edward, the tear ſtanding in his eye.

‘"And what is your name—and yours—and yours?"’

The little innocents told their names. Edward's heart leaped at the wellknown ſounds.

‘"And what is your name, my dear?"’ ſaid he to a pretty girl, ſomewhat older than the reſt, who hung back ſhyly, and held the hand of a ruddy white-headed boy, juſt breeched.

[Page 38] ‘"It is Roſe Walſingham, and this is my youngeſt brother, Roger."’

‘"Walſingham!"’ Edward claſped the girl round the neck, and ſurpriſed her with two or three very cloſe kiſſes. He then lifted up little Roger, and almoſt devoured him. Roger ſeemed as if he wanted to be ſet down again, but Edward told him he would carry him home.

‘"And can you ſhow me the houſe you live at, Roſe?"’ ſaid Edward.

‘"Yes—it is juſt there, beſide the pond, with the great barn before it, and the orchard behind."’

‘"And will you take me home with you, Roſe?"’

‘"If you pleaſe,"’ anſwered Roſe, heſitatingly.

They walked on. Edward ſaid but little, for his heart was full, but he frequently kiſſed little Roger.

Coming at length to a ſtile, from which a path led acroſs a little cloſe, [Page 39] ‘"This is the way to our houſe,"’ ſaid Roſe.

The other children parted. Edward ſet down Roger, and got over the ſtile. He ſtill, however, kept hold of the boy's hand. He trembled, and looked wildly around him.

When they approached the houſe, an old maſtiff came running to meet the children. He looked up at Edward rather ſourly, and gave a little growl; when all at once his countenance changed; he leaped upon him, licked his hand, wagged his tail, murmured in a ſoft voice, and ſeemed quite overcome with joy. Edward ſtooped down, patted his head, and cried, ‘"poor Captain, what, are you alive yet?"’ Roſe was ſurpriſed that the ſtranger and their dog ſhould know one another.

They all entered the houſe together. A good-looking middle-aged woman was buſied in preparing articles of [Page 40] cookery, aſſiſted by her grown-up daughter. She ſpoke to the children as they came in, and caſting a look of ſome ſurpriſe on Edward, aſked him what his buſineſs was.

Edward was ſome time ſilent; at length with a faultering voice he cried, ‘"Have you forgot me, mother?"’

‘"Edward! my ſon Edward!"’ exclaimed the good woman. And they were inſtantly locked in each others arms.

‘"My brother Edward?"’ ſaid Molly; and took her turn for an embrace as ſoon as her mother gave her room.

‘"Are you my brother?"’ ſaid Roſe. ‘"That I am,"’ replied Edward with another kiſs. Little Roger looked hard at him, but ſaid nothing.

News of Edward's arrival ſoon flew acroſs the yard, and in came from the barn his father, his next brother Thomas, and the third, William. The [Page 41] father fell on his neck, and ſobbed out his welcome and bleſſing. Edward had not hands enow for them all to ſhake.

An aged white headed labourer came in, and held out his ſhrivelled hand. Edward gave it a hearty ſqueeze. ‘"God bleſs you,"’ ſaid old Iſaac; ‘"this is the beſt day I have ſeen this many a year."’

‘"And where have you been this long while?"’ cried the father.—‘"Eight years and more,"’ added the mother.

His elder brother took off his knapſack; and Molly drew him a chair. Edward ſeated himſelf, and they all gathered round him. The old dog got within the circle, and lay at his feet.

‘"O, how glad I am to ſee you all again!"’ were Edward's firſt words. ‘"How well you look, mother! but father's grown thinner. As for the [Page 42] reſt, I ſhould have known none of you, unleſs it were Thomas and old Iſaac."’

‘"What a ſun-burnt face you have got!—but you look brave and hearty,"’ cried his mother.

‘"Ay, mother, I have been enough in the ſun, I aſſure you. From ſeventeen to five and twenty I have been a wandere upon the face of the earth, and I have ſeen more in that time than moſt men in the courſe of their lives.’

‘"Our young landlord, you know, took ſuch a liking to me at ſchool, that he would have me go with him on his travels. We went through moſt of the countries of Europe, and at laſt to Naples, where my poor maſter took a fever and died. I never knew what grief was till then; and I believe the thoughts of leaving me in a ſtrange country went as much to his heart as his illneſs. An intimate acquaintance of his, a rich young Weſt [Page 43] Indian, ſeeing my diſtreſs, engaged me to go with him in a voyage he was about to take to Jamaica. We were too ſhort a time in England before we ſailed, for me to come and ſee you firſt, but I wrote you a letter from the Downs."’

‘"We never received it,"’ ſaid his father.

‘"That was a pity,"’ returned Edward; ‘"for you muſt have concluded I was either dead, or had forgotten you. Well—we arrived ſafe in the Weſt Indies, and there I ſtaid till I had buried that maſter too; for young men die faſt in that country. I was very well treated, but I could never like the place; and yet Jamaica is a very fine iſland, and has many good people in it. But for me, uſed to ſee freemen work cheerfully along with their maſters—to behold nothing but droves of black ſlaves in the fields, toiling in the burning ſun under the conſtant [Page 44] dread of the laſh of hard-hearted taſkmaſters;—it was what I could not bring myſelf to bear; and though I might have been made an overſeer of a plantation, I choſe rather to live in a town, and follow ſome domeſtic occupation. I could ſoon have got rich here; but I fell into a bad ſtate of health, and people were dying all round me of the yellow fever; ſo I collected my little property, and though a war had broke out, I ventured to embark with it for England.’

‘"The ſhip was taken and carried into the Havanna, and I loſt my all, and my liberty beſides. However, I had the good fortune to ingratiate myſelf with a Spaniſh merchant whom I had known at Jamaica, and he took me with him to the continent of South America. I viſited great part of this country, once poſſeſſed by flouriſhing and independent nations, but now groaning under the ſevere yoke of [Page 45] their haughty conquerors. I ſaw thoſe famous gold and ſilver mines, where the poor natives work naked, for ever ſhut out from the light of day, in order that the wealth of their unhappy land may go to ſpread luxury and corruption throughout the remoteſt regions of Europe.’

‘"I accompanied my maſter acroſs the great ſouthern ocean, a voyage of ſome months without the ſight of any thing but water and ſky. We came to the rich city of Manilla, the capital of the Spaniſh ſettlements in thoſe parts. There I had my liberty reſtored, along with a handſome reward for my ſervices. I got from thence to China; and from China, to the Engliſh ſettlements in the Eaſt-Indies, where the ſight of my countrymen, and the ſounds of my native tongue, made me fancy myſelf almoſt at home again, though ſtill ſeparated by half the globe.’

[Page 46] ‘"Here I ſaw a delightful country, ſwarming with induſtrious inhabitants, ſome cultivating the land, others employed in manufactures, but of ſo gentle and effeminate a diſpoſition, that they have always fallen under the yoke of their invaders. Here how was I forced to bluſh for my countrymen, whoſe avarice and rapacity ſo often have laid waſte this fair land, and brought on it all the horrors of famine and deſolation! I have ſeen human creatures quarrelling like dogs for bare bones thrown upon a dunghill. I have ſeen fathers ſelling their families for a little rice, and mothers entreating ſtrangers to take their children for ſlaves that they might not die of hunger. In the midſt of ſuch ſcenes, I ſaw pomp and luxury of which our country affords no examples.’

‘"Having remained here a conſiderable time, I gladly at length ſet [Page 47] my face homewards, and joined a company who undertook the long and perilous journey to Europe over land. We croſſed vaſt tracts, both deſart and cultivated; ſandy plains parched with heat and drought, and infeſted with bands of ferocious plunderers. I have ſeen a well of muddy water more valued than ten camel-loads of treaſure; and a few half-naked horſemen ſtrike more terror than a king with all his guards. At length, after numberleſs hardſhips and dangers, we arrived at civilized Europe, and forgot all we had ſuffered. As I came nearer my native land, I grew more and more impatient to reach it; and when I had ſet foot on it, I was ſtill more reſtleſs till I could ſee again my beloved home.’

‘"Here I am at laſt—happy in bringing back a ſound conſtitution and a clear conſcience. I have alſo brought enough of the relicks of my [Page 48] honeſt gains to furniſh a little farm in the neighbourhood, where I mean to ſit down, and ſpend my days in the midſt of thoſe whom I love better than all the world beſides."’

When Edward had finiſhed, kiſſes and kind ſhakes of the hand were again repeated, and his mother brought out a large ſlice of harveſt cake, with a bottle of her niceſt currant wine, to refreſh him after his day's march. ‘"You are come,"’ ſaid his father, ‘"at a lucky time, for this is our harveſt ſupper. We ſhall have ſome of our neighbours to make merry with us, who will be almoſt as glad to ſee you as we are—for you were always a favourite among them."’

It was not long before the viſitors arrived. The young folks ran to meet them, crying, ‘"Our Edward's come back—Our Edward's come home! Here he is—this is he;"’ and ſo, without ceremony, they introduced them [Page 49] ‘Welcome!—welcome!—God bleſs you!"’ ſounded on all ſides. Edward knew all the elderly ones at firſt ſight, but the young people puzzled him for a while. At length he recollected this to have been his ſchoolfellow, and that, his companion in driving plough; and he was not long in finding out his favourite and playfellow Sally, of the next farm-houſe, whom he left a romping girl of fifteen, and now ſaw a blooming full-formed young woman of three and twenty. He contrived in the evening to get next her; and though ſhe was ſomewhat reſerved at firſt, they had pretty well renewed their intimacy before the company broke up.

‘"Health to Edward, and a happy ſettlement among us,"’ was the parting toaſt. When all were retired, the Returned Wanderer went to reſt in the very room in which he was born, [Page 50] having firſt paid fervent thanks to heaven for preſerving him to enjoy a bleſſing the deareſt to his heart.


KEEPER was a farmer's maſtiff, honeſt, brave, and vigilant. One day, as he was ranging at ſome diſtance from home, he eſpied a Wolf and Fox ſitting together at the corner of a wood. Keeper, not much liking their looks, though by no means fearing them, was turning another way, when they called after him, and civilly deſired him to ſtay. ‘"Surely, Sir, (ſays Reynard), you won't diſown your relations. My couſin Ghaunt and I were juſt talking over family matters, and we both agreed that we had the honour of reckoning you among our kin. You muſt know, [Page 51] that according to the beſt accounts, the wolves and dogs were originally one race in the foreſts of Armenia; but the dogs, taking to living with man, have ſince become inhabitants of towns and villages, while the wolves have retained their ancient mode of life. As to my anceſtors, the foxes, they were a branch of the ſame family who ſettled farther northwards, where they became ſtinted in their growth, and adopted the cuſtom of living in holes under ground. The cold has ſharpened our noſes, and given us a thicker fur and buſhy tails to keep us warm. But we have all a family likeneſs which it is impoſſible to miſtake; and I am ſure it is our intereſt to be good friends with each other."’

The wolf was of the ſame opinion; and Keeper, looking narrowly at them, could not help acknowledging their relationſhip. As he had a generous heart, he readily entered into friendſhip [Page 52] with them. They took a ramble together; but Keeper was rather ſurprized at obſerving the ſuſpicious ſhyneſs with which ſome of the weaker ſort of animals ſurveyed them, and wondered at the haſty flight of a flock of ſheep as ſoon as they came within view. However, he gave his couſins a cordial invitation to come and ſee him at his yard, and then took his leave.

They did not fail to come the next day about duſk. Keeper received them kindly, and treated them with part of his own ſupper. They ſtaid with him till after dark, and then marched off with many compliments. The next morning, word was brought to the farm that a gooſe and three goſlings were miſſing, and that a couple of lambs were found almoſt devoured in the home-field. Keeper was too honeſt himſelf readily to ſuſpect others, ſo he never thought of his kinſmen on [Page 53] the occaſion. Soon after, they paid him a ſecond evening viſit, and next day another loſs appeared, of a hen and her chickens, and a fat ſheep. Now Keeper could not help miſtruſting a little, and blamed himſelf for admitting ſtrangers without his maſter's knowledge. However, he ſtill did not love to think ill of his own relations.

They came a third time. Keeper received them rather coldly, and hinted that he ſhould like better to ſee them in the day-time; but they excuſed themſelves for want of leiſure. When they took their leaves, he reſolved to follow at ſome diſtance and watch their motions. A litter of young pigs happened to be lying under a hayſtack without the yard. The wolf ſeized one by the back, and ran off with him. The pig ſet up a moſt diſmal ſqueal; and Keeper running up at the noiſe, caught his dear couſin in the fact. He flew at him, and made [Page 54] him relinquiſh his prey, though not without much ſnarling and growling. The fox, who had been prowling about the hen-rooſt, now came up, and began to make proteſtations of his own innocence, with heavy reproaches againſt the wolf for thus diſgracing the family. ‘"Begone, ſcoundrels both! (cried Keeper) I know you now too well. You may be of my blood, but I am ſure you are not of my ſpirit. Keeper holds no kindred with villains."’ So ſaying, he drove them from the premiſes.


You may remember, Oſwald, (ſaid Mr. B. to his ſon) that I gave you, ſome time ago, a notion of the price of a victory to the poor ſouls engaged in it.

I ſhall not ſoon forget it, I aſſure you, Sir, (replied Oſwald.)

[Page 55] Father. Very well. I mean now to give you ſome idea of the coſt of a war to the people among whom it is carried on. This may ſerve to abate ſomething of the admiration with which hiſtorians are too apt to inſpire us for great warriors and conquerors. You have heard, I doubt not, of Louis the fourteenth, king of France.
Oſ. O yes!
F. He was entitled by his ſubjects Louis le Grand, and was compared by them to the Alexanders and Caeſars of antiquity; and with ſome juſtice, as to the extent of his power, and the uſe he made of it. He was the moſt potent prince of his time; commanded mighty and victorious armies; and enlarged the limits of his hereditary dominions. Louis was not naturally a hard-hearted man; but having been taught from his cradle that every thing ought to give way to the intereſts of his glory, and that this glory conſiſted [Page 56] in domineering over his neighbours, and making conqueſts, he grew to be inſenſible to all the miſeries brought on his own and other people in purſuit of this noble deſign, as he thought it. Moreover, he was plunged in diſſolute pleaſures, and the delights of pomp and ſplendor, from his youth; and he was ever ſurrounded by a tribe of abject flatterers, who made him believe that he had a full right in all caſes to do as he pleaſed. Conqueſt abroad and pleaſure at home were therefore the chief buſineſs of his life. One evening, his miniſter, Louvois, came to him, and ſaid, ‘"Sire, it is abſolutely neceſſary to make a deſart of the Palatinate."’ This is a country in Germany, on the banks of the Rhine, one of the moſt populous and beſt cultivated diſtricts in that empire, filled with towns and villages, and induſtrious inhabitants. [Page 57] ‘"I ſhould be ſorry to do it (replied the king), for you know how much odium we acquired throughout Europe when a part of it was laid waſte ſome time ago, under Marſhal Turenne."’ ‘"It cannot be helped, Sire, (returned Louvois.) All the damage he did has been repaired, and the country is as flouriſhing as ever. If we leave it in its preſent ſtate, it will afford quarters to your majeſty's enemies, and endanger your conqueſts. It muſt be entirely ruined—the good of the ſervice will not permit it to be otherwiſe."’ ‘"Well, then, (anſwered Louis) if it muſt be ſo, you are to give orders accordingly."’ So ſaying, he left the cabinet, and went to aſſiſt at a magnificent feſtival given in honour of his favourite miſtreſs by a prince of the blood. The pitileſs Louvois loſt no time; but diſpatched a courier that very night, with poſitive orders to the [Page 58] French generals in the Palatinate to carry fire and deſolation through the whole country—not to leave a houſe nor a tree ſtanding—and to expel all the inhabitants. It was the midſt of a rigorous winter.
Oſ. O horrible! But ſurely the generals would not obey ſuch orders.
F. What! a general diſobey the commands of his ſovereigh! that would be contrary to every maxim of the trade. Right and wrong are no conſiderations to a military man. He is only to do as he is bid. The French generals, who were upon the ſpot, and muſt ſee with their own eyes all that was done, probably felt ſomewhat like men on the occaſion; but the ſacrifice to their duty as ſoldiers was ſo much the greater. The commands were peremptory, and they were obeyed to a tittle. Towns and villages were burnt to the ground: vineyards and orchards [Page 59] were cut down and rooted up: ſheep and cattle were killed: all the fair works of ages were deſtroyed in a moment; and the ſmiling face of culture was turned to a dreary waſte. The poor inhabitants were driven from their warm and comfortable habitations into the open fields, to confront all the inclemencies of the ſeaſon. Their furniture was burnt or pillaged, and nothing was left them but the clothes on their backs, and the few neceſſaries they could carry with them. The roads were covered with trembling fugitives, going they knew not whither, ſhivering with cold, and pinched with hunger.—Here an old man, dropping with fatigue, lay down to die—there a woman with a new born infant ſunk periſhing on the ſnow, while her huſband hung over them in all the horror of deſpair.
Oſ. O, what a ſcene! Poor creatures! what became of them at laſt?
[Page 60] F. Such of them as did not periſh on the road, got to the neighbouring towns, where they were received with all the hoſpitality that ſuch calamitous times would afford; but they were beggared for life. Meantime, their country for many a league round diſplayed no other ſight than that of black ſmoking ruins in the midſt of ſilence and deſolation.
Oſ. I hope, however, that ſuch things do not often happen in war.
F. Not often, perhaps, to the ſame extent; but in ſome degree they muſt take place in every war. A village which would afford a favourable poſt to the enemy is always burnt without heſitation. A country which can no longer be maintained, is cleared of all its proviſion and forage before it is abandoned, leſt the enemy ſhould have the advantage of them; and the poor inhabitants are left to ſubſiſt as they can. Crops of corn are trampled down by [Page 61] armies in their march, or devoured while green as fodder for the horſes. Pillage, robbery, and murder, are always going on in the out-ſkirts of the beſt diſciplined camp. Then, conſider what muſt happen in every ſiege. On the firſt approach of the enemy, all the buildings in the ſuburbs of a town are demoliſhed, and all the trees in gardens and public walks are cut down, leſt they ſhould afford ſhelter to the beſiegers. As the ſiege goes on, bombs, hot balls, and cannon-ſhot, are continually flying about, by which the greateſt part of a town is ruined or laid in aſhes, and many of the innocent people killed and maimed. If the reſiſtance is obſtinate, famine and peſtilence are ſure to take place; and if the garriſon holds out to the laſt, and the town is taken by ſtorm, it is generally given up to be pillaged by the enraged and licentious ſoldiery. [Page 62] It would be eaſy to bring too many examples of cruelty exerciſed upon a conquered country, even in very late times, when war is ſaid to be carried on with ſo much humanity; but, indeed, how can it be otherwiſe? The art of war is eſſentially that of deſtruction, and it is impoſſible there ſhould be a mild and merciful way of murdering and ruining one's fellow-creatures. Soldiers, as men, are often humane, but war muſt ever be cruel. Though Homer has filled his Iliad with the exploits of fighting heroes, yet he makes Jupiter addreſs Mars, the God of War, in terms of the utmoſt abhorrence.
Of all the Gods who tread the ſpangled ſkies,
Thou moſt unjuſt, moſt odious in our eyes!
Inhuman diſcord is thy dire delight,
The waſte of ſlaughter, and the rage of fight;
No bound, no law thy fiery temper quells.
Oſ. Surely, as war is ſo bad a thing, [Page 63] there might be ſome way of preventing it.
F. Alas! I fear mankind have been too long accuſtomed to it, and it is too agreeable to their bad paſſions, eaſily to be laid aſide, whatever miſeries it may bring upon them. But in the mean time let us correct our own ideas of the matter, and no longer laviſh admiration upon ſuch a peſt of the human race as a Conqueror, how brilliant ſoever his qualities may be; nor ever think that a profeſſion which binds a man to be the ſervile inſtrument of cruelty and injuſtice, is an honourable calling.


[Page 64]


George. How rich you field looks with its yellow flowers. I wonder what they can be.
Tutor. Suppoſe you go and ſee if you can find it out; and bring a ſtalk of the flowers with you.
G. (returning.) I know now—they are turneps.
T. I thought you could make it out when you came near them. Theſe turneps are left to ſeed, which is the reaſon why you ſee them run to flower. Commonly they are pulled up ſooner.
[Page 65] Harry. I ſhould not have thought a turnep had ſo ſweet a flower.
G. I think I have ſmelt others like them. Pray, Sir, what claſs of plants do they belong to?
T. To a very numerous one, with which it is worth your while to get acquainted. Let us ſit down and examine them. The petal, you obſerve, conſiſts of four ſlat leaves ſet oppoſite to each other, or croſs-wiſe. From this circumſtance the flowers have been called cruciform. As moſt plants with flowers of this kind bear their ſeeds in pods, they have likewiſe been called the ſiliquoſe plants, ſiliqua being the Latin for a pod.
G. But the papilionaceous flowers bear pods, too.
T. True; and therefore the name is not a good one. Now pull off the petals one by one. You ſee they are faſtened by long claws within the flower-cup. Now count the chives.
[Page 64] [...] [Page 65] [...]
[Page 66] H. There are ſix.
G. But they are not all of the ſame length—two are much ſhorter than the reſt.
T. Well obſerved. It is from this that Linnaeus has formed a particular claſs for the whole tribe, which he calls tetradynamia, a word implying four powers, or the power of four, as if the four longer chives were more perfect and efficacious than the two ſhorter; which, however, we do not know to be the caſe. This ſuperior length of four chives is conſpicuous in moſt plants of this tribe, but not in all. They have, however, other reſemblances which are ſufficient to conſtitute them a natural family; and accordingly all botaniſts have made them ſuch. The flowers, as I have ſaid, have in all of them four petals placed croſswiſe. The calyx alſo conſiſts of four oblong and hollow leaves. There is a ſingle piſtil, ſtanding upon a ſeedbud, [Page 67] which turns either into a long pod, or a ſhort round one called a pouch; and hence are formed the two great branches of the family, the podded, and the pouched. The ſeedveſſel has two valves or external openings, with a partition between. The ſeeds are ſmall and roundiſh, attached alternately to both ſutures or joinings of the valves. Do you obſerve all theſe circumſtances?
G. and H. We do.
T. You ſhall examine them more minutely in a larger plant of the kind. Further, almoſt all of theſe plants have ſomewhat of a biting taſte, and alſo a diſagreeable ſmell in their leaves, eſpecially when decayed. A turnep field, you know, ſmells but indifferently; and cabbage, which is one of this claſs, is apt to be remarkably offenſive.
[Page 68] H. Yes—there is nothing worſe than rotten cabbage leaves.
G. And the very water in which they are boiled is enough to ſcent a whole houſe.
T. The flowers, however, of almoſt all the family are fragrant, and ſome remarkably ſo. What do you think of wall-flowers and ſtocks?
H. What, are they of this kind?
T. Yes—and ſo is candy-tuft, and rocket.
H. Then they are not to be deſpiſed.
T. No—and eſpecially as not one of the whole claſs, I believe, is poiſonous; but, on the contrary, many of them afford good food for man and beaſt. Shall I tell you about the principal of them?
G. Pray do, Sir.
T. The pungency of taſte which ſo many of them poſſeſs, has cauſed them [Page 69] to be uſed for ſallad herbs. Thus, we have creſs, water-creſs, and muſtard; to which might be added many more which grow wild, as ladyſmock, wild rocket, hedge-muſtard, and jackby-the-hedge, or ſauce-alone. Muſtard, you know, is alſo greatly uſed for its ſeeds, the powder or flour of which, made into a ſort of paſte with ſalt and water, is eaten with many kinds of meat. Rape-ſeeds are very ſimilar to them, and from both an oil is preſſed out, of the mild or taſteleſs kind, as it is likewiſe from cole-ſeed, another product of this claſs. Scurvygraſs, which is a pungent plant of this family, growing by the ſea-ſide, has obtained its name from being a remedy for the ſcurvy. Then there is horſe-radiſh, with the root of which I am ſure you are well acquainted, as a companion to roaſt-beef. Common radiſh, too, is a plant of this kind, which has a good deal of pungency. [Page 70] One ſort of it has a root like a turnep, which brings it near in quality to the turnep itſelf. This laſt plant, though affording a ſweet and mild nutriment, has naturally a degree of pungency and rankneſs.
G. That, I ſuppoſe, is the reaſon why turnepy milk and butter have ſuch a ſtrong taſte.
T. It is.
H. Then why do they feed cows with it?
T. In this caſe, as in many others, quality is ſacrificed to quantity. But the better uſe of turneps to the farmer is to fatten ſheep and cattle. By its aſſiſtance he is enabled to keep many more of theſe animals than he otherwiſe could find graſs or hay for; and the culture of turneps prepares his land for grain as well, or better, than could be done by letting it lie quite fallow. The turnep-huſbandry, as it is called, [Page 71] is one of the capital modern improvements of agriculture.
G. I think I have heard that Norfolk is famous for it.
T. It is ſo. That county abounds in light ſandy lands, which are peculiarly ſuitable to turneps. But they are now grown in many parts of the kingdom beſides. Well—but we muſt ſay ſomewhat more about cabbage, an article of food of very long ſtanding. The original ſpecies of this is a ſea-ſide plant; but cultivation has produced a great number of varieties well-known in our gardens, as white and red cabbage, kale, colewort, brocoli, borecole, and cauliflower.
H. But the flower of cauliflower does not ſeem at all like that of cabbage or turnep.
T. The white head, called its flower, is not properly ſo, but conſiſts of a cluſter of imperfect buds. If they are left to grow for ſeed, they throw [Page 72] out ſome ſpikes of yellow flowers like common cabbage. Brocoli heads are of the ſame kind. As to the head of white or red cabbage, it conſiſts of a vaſt number of leaves cloſing round each other, by which the innermoſt are prevented from expanding, and remain white on account of the excluſion of the light and air. This part, you know, is moſt valued for food. In ſome countries they cut cabbage heads into quarters, and make them undergo a kind of acid fermentation; after which they are ſalted and preſerved for winter food under the name of ſour krout.
G. Cattle, too, are ſometimes fed with cabbage, I believe.
T. Yes, and large fields of them are cultivated for that purpoſe. They ſucceed beſt in ſtiff clayey ſoils, where they ſometimes grow to an enormous bigneſs. They are given to milch kine, as well as to fattening cattle.
[Page 73] G. Do not they give a bad taſte to the milk?
T. They are apt to do ſo unleſs great care is taken to pick off all the decayed leaves. Coleworts, which are a ſmaller ſort of cabbage, are ſometimes grown for feeding ſheep and cattle. I think I have now mentioned moſt of the uſeful plants of this family, which, you ſee, are numerous and important. They both yield beef and mutton, and the ſauce to them. But many of the ſpecies are troubleſome weeds. You ſee how yonder corn is overrun with yellow flowers.
G. Yes. They are as thick as if they had been ſown.
T. They are of this family, and called charlock, or wild muſtard, or corn kale, which, indeed, are not all exactly the ſame things, though nearly reſembling. Theſe produce ſuch plenty of ſeeds, that it is very difficult [Page 74] to clear a field of them if once they are ſuffered to grow till the ſeeds ripen. An extremely common weed in gardens and by road-ſides is ſhepherd's—purſe, which is a very good ſpecimen of the pouch bearing plants of this tribe, its ſeed-veſſels being exactly the figure of a heart. Ladyſmock is often ſo abundant a weed in wet meadows as to make them all over white with its flowers. Some call this plant cuckow-flower, becauſe its flowering is about the ſame time with the firſt appearance of that bird in the ſpring.
G. I remember ſome pretty lines in a ſong about ſpring, in which ladyſmock is mentioned.
When daifies pied, and violets blue,
And ladyſmocks all ſilver white;
And cuckow-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight.
T. They are Shakeſpeare's. You ſee he gives the name of cuckow-bud [Page 75] to ſome other flower, a yellow one, which appears at the ſame ſeaſon. But ſtill earlier than this time, walls and hedge-banks are enlivened by a very ſmall white flower, called whitlowgraſs, which is one of this tribe.
H. Is it eaſy to diſtinguiſh the plants of this family from one another?
T. Not very eaſy, for the general ſimilarity of the flowers is ſo great, that little diſtinction can be drawn from them. The marks of the ſpecies are chiefly taken from the form and manner of growth of the ſeed veſſel, and we will examine ſome of them by the deſcriptions in a book of botany. There is one very remarkable ſeed-veſſel which probably you have obſerved in the garden. It is a perfectly round large flat pouch, which after it has ſhed its ſeed, remains on the ſtalk, and looks like a thin white bladder. The plant bearing it is commonly called honeſty.
[Page 76] H. O, I know it very well. It is put in winter flower-pots.
T. True. So much, then, for the tetradynamious or cruciform-flowered plants. You cannot well miſtake them for any other claſs, if you remark the ſix chives, four of them, generally, but not always, longer than the two others; the ſingle piſtil changing either into a long pod or a round pouch containing the ſeeds; the four oppoſite petals of the flower, and four leaves of the calyx. You may ſafely make a ſallad of the young leaves wherever you find them; the worſt they can do to you is to bite your tongue.


AT the period when the Republic of Genoa was divided between the factions of the nobles and the people, [Page 77] Uberto, a man of low origin, but of an elevated mind and ſuperior talents, and enriched by commerce, having raiſed himſelf to be the head of the popular party, maintained for a conſiderable time a democratical form of government.

The nobles at length, uniting all their efforts, ſucceeded in ſubverting this ſtate of things, and regained their former ſupremacy. They uſed their victory with conſiderable rigour; and in particular, having impriſoned Uberto, proceeded againſt him as a traitor, and thought they diſplayed ſufficient lenity in paſſing a ſentence upon him of perpetual baniſhment, and the confiſcation of all his property. Adorno, who was then poſſeſſed of the firſt magiſtracy, a man haughty in temper, and proud of ancient nobility, though otherwiſe not void of generous ſentiments, in pronouncing this ſentence on Uberto, aggravated its ſeverity by the inſolent [Page 78] terms in which he conveyed it. ‘"You (ſaid he)—you, the ſon of a baſe mechanic, who have dared to trample upon the nobles of Genoa—You, by their clemency, are only doomed to ſhrink again into the nothing whence you ſprung."’

Uberto received his condemnation with reſpectful ſubmiſſion to the court; yet ſtung by the manner in which it was expreſſed, he could not forbear ſaying to Adorno ‘"that perhaps he might hereafter find cauſe to repent the language he had uſed to a man capable of ſentiments as elevated as his own."’ He then made his obeiſance and retired; and, after taking leave of his friends, embarked in a veſſel bound for Naples, and quitted his native country without a tear.

He collected ſome debts due to him in the Neapolitan dominions, and with the wreck of his fortune went to ſettle on one of the iſlands in the Archipelago [Page 79] belonging to the ſtate of Venice. Here his induſtry and capacity in mercantile purſuits raiſed him in a courſe of years to greater wealth than he had poſſeſſed in his moſt proſperous days at Genoa; and his reputation for honour and generoſity equalled his fortune.

Among other places which he frequently viſited as a merchant, was the city of Tunis, at that time in friendſhip with the Venetians, though hoſtile to moſt of the other Italian ſtates, and eſpecially to Genoa. As Uberto was on a viſit to one of the firſt men of that place at his country houſe, he ſaw a young chriſtian ſlave at work in irons, whoſe appearance excited his attention. The youth ſeemed oppreſſed with labour to which his delicate frame had not been accuſtomed, and while he leaned at intervals upon the inſtrument with which he was working, a ſigh burſt from his full heart, and a [Page 80] tear ſtole down his cheek. Uberto eyed him with tender compaſſion, and addreſſed him in Italian. The youth eagerly caught the ſounds of his native tongue, and replying to his enquiries, informed him he was a Genoeſe. ‘"And what is your name, young man? (ſaid Uberto) You need not be afraid of confeſſing to me your birth and condition."’ ‘"Alas! (he anſwered) I fear my captors already ſuſpect enough to demand a large ranſom. My father is indeed one of the firſt men in Genoa. His name is Adorno, and I am his only ſon."’ ‘"Adorno!"’ Uberto checked himſelf from uttering more aloud, but to himſelf he cried, ‘"Thank heaven! then I ſhall be nobly revenged."’

He took leave of the youth, and immediately went to enquire after the corſair captain who claimed a right in young Adorno, and having found him, demanded the price of his ranſom. [Page 81] He learned that he was conſidered as a capture of value, and that leſs than two thouſand crowns would not be accepted. Uberto paid the ſum; and cauſing his ſervant to follow him with a horſe and a complete ſuit of handſome apparel, he returned to the youth who was working as before, and told him he was free. With his own hands he took off his fetters, and helped him to change his dieſs, and mount on horſeback. The youth was tempted to think it all a dream, and the flutter of emotion almoſt deprived him of the power of returning thanks to his generous benefactor. He was ſoon, however, convinced of the reality of his good fortune, by ſharing the lodging and table of Uberto.

After a ſtay of ſome days at Tunis to diſpatch the remainder of his buſineſs, Uberto departed homewards, accompanied by young Adorno, who by his pleaſing manners had highly ingratiated [Page 82] himſelf with him. Uberto kept him ſome time at his houſe, treating him with all the reſpect and affection he could have ſhown for the ſon of his deareſt friend. At length, having a ſafe opportunity of ſending him to Genoa, he gave him a faithful ſervant for a conductor, fitted him out with every convenience, ſlipped a purſe of gold into one hand, and a letter into another, and thus addreſſed him.

‘"My dear youth, I could with much pleaſure detain you longer in my humble manſion, but I feel your impatience to reviſit your friends, and I am ſenſible that it would be cruelty to deprive them longer than neceſſary of the joy they will receive in recovering you. Deign to accept this proviſion for your voyage, and deliver this letter to your father. He probably may recollect ſomewhat of me, though you are too young to do ſo. Farewell! I ſhall not ſoon forget you, and I [Page 83] will hope you will not forget me."’ Adorno poured out the effuſions of a grateful and affectionate heart, and they parted with mutual tears and embraces.

The young man had a proſperous voyage home; and the tranſport with which he was again beheld by his almoſt heart-broken parents may more eaſily be conceived than deſcribed. After learning that he had been a captive in Tunis (for it was ſuppoſed that the ſhip in which he ſailed had foundered at ſea), ‘"And to whom,"’ (ſaid old Adorno) ‘"am I indebted for the ineſtimable benefit of reſtoring you to my arms?"’ ‘"This letter,"’ (ſaid his ſon) ‘"will inform you."’ He opened it, and read as follows.

‘"That ſon of a vile mechanic, who told you that one day you might repent the ſcorn with which you treated him, has the ſatisfaction of ſeeing his prediction accompliſhed. For know, [Page 84] proud noble! that the deliverer of your only ſon from ſlavery is The baniſhed Uberto."’

Adorno dropt the letter, and covered his face with his hand, while his ſon was diſplaying in the warmeſt language of gratitude the virtues of Uberto, and the truly paternal kindneſs he had experienced from him. As the debt could not be cancelled, Adorno reſolved if poſſible to repay it. He made ſuch powerful interceſſion with the other nobles, that the ſentence pronounced on Uberto was reverſed, and full permiſſion given him to return to Genoa. In apprizing him of this event, Adorno expreſſed his ſenſe of the obligations he lay under to him, acknowledged the genuine nobleneſs of his character, and requeſted his friendſhip. Uberto returned to his country, and cloſed his days in peace, with the univerſal eſteem of his fellow-citizens.


[Page 85]

YOU have read, my Edmund, the ſtories of Achilles, and Alexander, and Charles of Sweden, and have, I doubt not, admired that high courage which ſeemed to ſet them above all ſenſations of fear, and rendered them capable of the moſt extraordinary actions. The world calls theſe men heroes; but before we give them that noble appellation, let us conſider what were the motives which animated them to act and ſuffer as they did.

The firſt was a ferocious ſavage, governed by the paſſions of anger and revenge, in gratifying which he diſregarded all impulſes of duty and humanity. The ſecond was intoxicated with the love of glory—ſwollen with abſurd pride—and enſlaved by diſſolute pleaſures; and in purſuit of theſe [Page 86] objects he reckoned the blood of millions as of no account. The third was unfeeling, obſtinate, and tyrannical, and preferred ruining his country, and ſacrificing all his faithful followers, to the humiliation of giving up any of his mad projects. Self, you ſee, was the ſpring of all their conduct; and a ſelfiſh man can never be a hero. I will give you two examples of genuine heroiſm, one ſhown in acting, the other in ſuffering; and theſe ſhall be true ſtories, which is perhaps more than can be ſaid of half that is recorded of Achilles and Alexander.

You have probably heard ſomething of Mr. Howard, the reformer of priſons, to whom a monument is juſt erected in St. Paul's church. His whole life almoſt was heroiſm; for he confronted all ſorts of dangers with the ſole view of relieving the miſeries of his fellow-creatures. When he began to examine the ſtate of priſons, ſcarcely [Page 87] any in this country was free from a very fatal and infectious diſtemper called the gaol-fever. Wherever he heard of it, he made a point of ſeeing the poor ſufferers, and often went down into their dungeons when the keepers themſelves would not accompany him. He travelled ſeveral times over almoſt the whole of Europe, and even into Aſia, in order to gain knowledge of the ſtate of priſons and hoſpitals, and point out means for leſſening the calamities that prevail in them. He even went into countries where the plague was, that he might learn the beſt methods of treating that terrible contagious diſeaſe; and he voluntarily expoſed himſelf to perform a ſtrict quarantine, as one ſuſpected of having the infection of the plague, only that he might be thoroughly acquainted with the methods uſed for prevention. He at length died of a fever caught in attending on the ſick, on the borders [Page 88] of Crim Tartary, honoured and admired by all Europe, after having greatly contributed to enlighten his own and many other countries with reſpect to ſome of the moſt important objects of humanity. Such was Howard the Good; as great a hero in preſerving mankind, as ſome of the falſe heroes above-mentioned were in deſtroving them.

My ſecond hero is a much humbler, but not leſs genuine one.

There was a journeyman bricklayer in this town—an able workman, but a very drunken idle fellow, who ſpent at the alehouſe almoſt all he earned, and left his wife and children to ſhift for themſelves as they could. This is, unfortunately, a common caſe; and of all the tyranny and cruelty exerciſed in the world, I believe that of bad huſbands and fathers is by much the moſt frequent and the worſt.

The family might have ſtarved, but [Page 89] for his eldeſt ſon, whom from a child the father brought up to help him in his work; and who was ſo induſtrious and attentive, that being now at the age of thirteen or fourteen, he was able to earn pretty good wages, every farthing of which, that he could keep out of his father's hands, he brought to his mother. And when his brute of a father came home drunk, curſing and ſwearing, and in ſuch an ill humour that his mother and the reſt of the children durſt not come near him for fear of a beating, this good lad, (Tom was his name) kept near him, to pacify him, and get him quietly to bed. His mother, therefore, juſty looked upon Tom as the ſupport of the family, and loved him dearly.

It chanced that one day, Tom, in climbing up a high ladder with a load of mortar on his head, miſſed his hold, and fell down to the bottom on a heap of bricks and rubbiſh. The byſtanders [Page 90] ran up to him and found him all bloody, and with his thigh broken and bent quite under him. They raiſed him up, and ſprinkled water in his face to recover him from a ſwoon in which he had fallen. As ſoon as he could ſpeak, looking round, with a lamentable tone, he cried, ‘"O, what will become of my poor mother?"’

He was carried home. I was preſent while the ſurgeon ſet his thigh. His mother was hanging over him half diſtracted. ‘"Don't cry, mother! (ſaid he) I ſhall get well again in time."’ Not a word more, or a groan, eſcaped him while the operation laſted.

Tom was a ragged boy that could not read or write—yet Tom has always ſtood on my liſt of heroes.


[Page 91]


COME, ſaid Mr. Barlow to his boys, I have a new play for you. I will be the founder of a colony; and you ſhall be people of different trades and profeſſions coming to offer yourſelves to go with me. What are you, A?

A. I am a farmer, Sir.
Mr. B. Very well! Farming is the chief thing we have to depend upon, ſo we cannot have too much of it. But you muſt be a working-farmer, not a gentleman farmer. Labourers will be ſcarce among us, and every man muſt put his own hand to the plough. There will be woods to clear, and marſhes to drain, and a great deal of ſtubborn work to do.
[Page 92] A. I ſhall be ready to do my part, Sir.
Mr. B. Well then, I ſhall entertain you willingly, and as many more of your profeſſion as you can bring. You ſhall have land enough, and utenſils; and you may fall to work as ſoon as you pleaſe. Now for the next.
B. I am a miller, Sir.
Mr. B. A very uſeful trade! The corn we grow muſt be ground, or it will do us little good. But what will you do for a mill, my friend?
B. I ſuppoſe we muſt make one, Sir.
Mr. B. True; but then you muſt bring with you a mill-wright for the purpoſe. As for mill-ſtones, we will take them out with us. Who is next?
C. I am a carpenter, Sir.
Mr. B. The moſt neceſſary man that could offer! We ſhall find you work enough, never fear. There will be houſes to build, fences to make, [Page 93] and all kinds of wooden furniture to provide. But our timber is all growing. You will have a deal of hard work to do in felling trees, and ſawing planks, and ſhaping poſts, and the like. You muſt be a field carpenter as well as a houſe carpenter.
C. I will, Sir.
Mr. B. Very well; then I engage you, but you had better bring two or three able hands along with you.
D. I am a blackſmith, Sir.
Mr. B. An excellent companion for the carpenter! We cannot do without either of you; ſo you may bring your great bellows and anvil, and we will ſet up a forge for you as ſoon as we arrive. But, by the bye, we ſhall want a maſon for that purpoſe.
E. I am one, Sir.
Mr. B. That's well. Though we may live in log houſes at firſt, we ſhall want brick or ſtone work for chimneys, and hearths, and ovens, ſo there will [Page 94] be employment for a maſon. But if you can make bricks and burn lime too, you will be ſtill more uſeful.
E. I will try what I can do, Sir.
Mr. B. No man can do more. I engage you. Who is next.
F. I am a ſhoemaker, Sir.
Mr. B. And ſhoes we cannot well do without. But can you make them, like Eumaeus in the Odyſſey, out of a raw hidel for I fear we ſhall get no leather.
F. But I can dreſs hides, too.
Mr. B. Can you? Then you are a clever fellow; and I will have you, though I give you double wages.
G. I am a taylor, Sir.
Mr. B. Well—Though it will be ſome time before we want holiday ſuits, yet we muſt not go naked; ſo there will be work for the taylor. But you are not above mending and botching, I hope, for we muſt not mind patched clothes while we work in the woods.
[Page 95] G. I am not, Sir.
Mr. B. Then I engage you, too.
H. I am a weaver, Sir.
Mr. B. Weaving is a very uſeful art, but I queſtion if we can find room for it in our colony for the preſent We ſhall not grow either hemp or flax for ſome time to come, and it will be cheaper for us to import our cloth than to make it. In a few years, however, we may be very glad of you.
J. I am a filverſmith and jeweller, Sir.
Mr. B. Then, my friend, you cannot go to a worſe place than a new colony to ſet up your trade in. You will break us, or we ſhall ſtarve you.
J. But I underſtand clock and watch-making, too.
Mr. B. That is ſomewhat more to our purpoſe, for we ſhall want to know how time goes. But I doubt we cannot give you ſufficient encouragement [Page 96] for a long while to come. For the preſent you had better ſtay where you are.
K. I am a barber and hair-dreſſer, Sir.
Mr. B. Alas, what can we do with you? If you will ſhave our men's rough beards once a week, and crop their hair once a quarter, and be content to help the carpenter or follow the plough the reſt of your time, we ſhall reward you accordingly. But you will have no ladies and gentlemen to dreſs for a ball, or wigs to curl and powder for Sundays, I aſſure you. Your trade will not ſtand by itſelf with us, for a great while to come.
L. I am a doctor, Sir.
Mr. B. Then, Sir, you are very welcome. Health is the firſt of bleſſings, and if you can give us that, you will be a valuable man indeed. But I hope you underſtand ſurgery [Page 97] as well as phyſic, for we are likely enough to get cuts, and bruiſes, and broken bones, occaſionally.
L. I have had experience in that branch too, Sir.
Mr. B. And if you underſtand the nature of plants, and their uſes both in medicine and diet, it will be a great addition to your uſefulneſs.
L. Botany has been a favourite ſtudy with me, Sir; and I have ſome knowledge of chymiſtry, and the other parts of natural hiſtory, too.
Mr. B. Then you will be a treaſure to us, Sir, and I ſhall be happy to make it worth your while to go with us.
M. I, Sir, am a lawyer.
Mr. B. Sir, your moſt obedient ſervant. When we are rich enough to go to law, we will let you know.
N. I am a ſchoolmaſter, Sir.
Mr. B. That is a profeſſion which I am ſure I do not mean to undervalue; [Page 98] and as ſoon as ever we have young folks in our colony, we ſhall be glad of your ſervices. Though we are to be hardworking plain people, we do not intend to be ignorant, and we ſhall make it a point to have every one taught reading and writing, at leaſt. In the mean time, till we have employment enough for you in teaching, you may keep the accounts and records of the colony; and on Sundays you may read prayers to all that chooſe to attend upon you.
N. With all my heart, Sir.
Mr. B. Then I engage you. Who comes here with ſo bold an air?
O. I am a ſoldier, Sir; will you have me?
Mr. B. We are peaceable people, and I hope ſhall have no occaſion to fight. We mean honeſtly to purchaſe our land from the natives, and to be juſt and fair in all our dealings with them. William Penn, the founder of [Page 99] Pennſylvania, followed that plan; and when the Indians were at war with all the other European ſettlers, a perſon in a quaker's habit might paſs through all their moſt ferocious tribes without the leaſt injury. It is my intention, however, to make all my coloniſts ſoldiers, ſo far as to be able to defend themſelves if attacked, and that being the caſe, we ſhall have no need of ſoldiers by trade.
P. I am a gentleman, Sir; and I have a great deſire to accompany you, becauſe I hear game is very plentiful in that country.
Mr. B. A gentleman! And what good will you do us, Sir?
P. O, Sir, that is not at all my intention. I only mean to amuſe myſelf.
Mr. B. But do you mean, Sir, that we ſhould pay for your amuſement?
P. As to maintenance, I expect to be able to kill game enough for my [Page 100] own eating, with a little bread and garden ſtuff, which you will give me. Then I will be content with a houſe ſomewhat better than the common ones; and your barber ſhall be my valet, ſo I ſhall give very little trouble.
Mr. B. And pray, Sir, what inducement can we have for doing all this for you?
P. Why, Sir, you will have the credit of having one gentleman at leaſt in your colony.
Mr. B. Ha, ha, ha! A facetious gentleman truly! Well, Sir, when we are ambitious of ſuch a diſtinction, we will ſend for you.


[Page 101]

THERE was a garden encloſed with high brick walls, and laid out ſomewhat in the old faſhion. Under the walls were wide beds planted with flowers, garden-ſtuff, and fruit-trees. Next to them was a broad gravel walk running round the garden; and the middle was laid out in graſs-plots, and beds of flowers and ſhrubs, with a fiſh-pond in the centre.

Near the root of one of the wall fruit-trees, a numerous colony of ants was eſtabliſhed, which had extended its ſubterraneous works over great part of the bed in its neighbourhood. One day, two of the inhabitants meeting in a gallery under ground, fell into the following converſation.

Ha! my friend, (ſaid the firſt) is it [Page 102] you? I am glad to ſee you. Where have you been this long time? All your acquaintance have been in pain about you, leſt ſome accident ſhould have befallen you.

Why, (replied the other) I am indeed a ſort of ſtranger, for you muſt know I am but juſt returned from a long journey.

A journey! whither, pray, and on what account?

A tour of mere curioſity. I had long felt diſſatisfied with knowing ſo little about this world of ours; ſo, at length, I took a reſolution to explore it. And, I may now boaſt that I have gone round its utmoſt extremities, and that no conſiderable part of it has eſcaped my reſearches.

Wonderful! What a traveller you have been, and what ſights you muſt have ſeen!

Why, yes—I have ſeen more than [Page 103] moſt ants, to be ſure; but it has been at the expence of ſo much toil and danger, that I know not whether it was worth the pains.

Would you oblige me with ſome account of your adventures?

Willingly. I ſet out, then, early one ſunſhiny morning; and, after croſſing our territory and the line of plantation by which it is bordered, I came upon a wide open plain, where, as far as the eye could reach, not a ſingle green thing was to be deſcried, but the hard ſoil was every where covered with huge ſtones, which made travelling equally painful to the eye and the feet. As I was toiling onwards, I heard a rumbling noiſe behind me, which became louder and louder. I looked back, and with the utmoſt horror beheld a prodigious rolling mountain approaching me ſo faſt, that it was impoſſible to get out of the way. I threw myſelf flat on the ground behind [Page 104] a ſtone, and lay expecting nothing but preſent death. The mountain ſoon paſſed over me, and I continued, I know not how long, in a ſtate of inſenſibility. When I recovered, I began to ſtretch my limbs one by one, and to my ſurpriſe found myſelf not in the leaſt injured; but the ſtone beſide me was almoſt buried in the earth by the craſh!

What an eſcape!

A wonderful one, indeed. I journeyed on over the deſart, and at length came to the end of it, and entered upon a wide green tract, conſiſting chiefly of tall, narrow, pointed leaves, which grew ſo thick and entangled, that it was with the greateſt difficulty I could make my way between them; and I ſhould continually have loſt my road, had I not taken care to keep the ſun in view before me. When I had got near the middle of this region, I was ſtartled with ſight huge four-legged [Page 105] monſter, with a yellow ſpeckled ſkin, which took a flying leap directly over me. Somewhat further, before I was aware, I ran upon one of thoſe long, round, crawling creatures, without head, tail, or legs, which we ſometimes meet with under ground near our ſettlement. As ſoon as he felt me upon him, he drew back into his hole ſo ſwiftly, that he was near drawing me in along with him. However, I jumped off, and proceeded on my way.

With much labour I got at laſt to the end of this perplexed tract, and came to an open ſpace like that in which we live, in the midſt of which grew trees ſo tall that I could not ſee to their tops. Being hungry, I climbed up the firſt I came to, in expectation of finding ſome fruit; but after a weary ſearch I returned empty. I tried ſeveral others with no better ſucceſs. There were, indeed, leaves and flowers in plenty, but nothing of which [Page 106] I could make a meal; ſo that I might have been famiſhed, had I not found ſome ſour harſh berries upon the ground, on which I made a poor repaſt. While I was doing this, a greater danger than any of the former befel me. One of thoſe two-legged feathered creatures which we often ſee to our coſt, jumped down from a bough, and picked up in his enormous beak the very berry on which I was ſtanding. Luckily he did not ſwallow it immediately, but flew up again with it to the tree; and in the mean time I diſengaged myſelf, and fell from a vaſt height to the ground, but received no hurt.

I croſſed this plantation, and came to another entangled green, like the firſt. After I had laboured through it, I came on a ſudden to the ſide of a vaſt glittering plain, the nature of which I could not poſſibly gueſs at. I walked along a fallen leaf which lay on the ſide, and coming to the farther [Page 107] edge of it, I was greatly ſurprized to ſee another ant coming from below to meet me. I advanced to give him a fraternal embrace, but inſtead of what I expected, I met a cold yielding matter, in which I ſhould have ſunk, had I not ſpeedily turned about, and caught hold of the leaf, by which I drew myſelf up again. And now I found this great plain to conſiſt of that fluid which ſometimes falls from the ſky, and cauſes us ſo much trouble by filling our holes.

As I ſtood conſidering how to proceed on my journey, a gentle breeze aroſe, which, before I was aware, carried the leaf I was upon away from the ſolid land into this yielding fluid, which, however, bore it up, and me along with it. At firſt, I was greatly alarmed, and ran round and round my leaf in order to find ſome way of getting back; but perceiving this to be impracticable, I reſigned myſelf to [Page 108] my fate, and even began to take ſome pleaſure in the eaſy motion by which I was borne forwards. But what new and wonderful forms of living creatures did I ſee inhabiting this liquid land! Bodies of prodigious bulk, covered with ſhining ſcales of various colours, ſhot by me with vaſt rapidity, and ſported a thouſand ways. They had large heads, and ſtaring eyes, tremendous wide mouths, but no legs; and they ſeemed to be carried on by the action of ſomewhat like ſmall wings planted on various parts of their body, and eſpecially at the end of the tail, which continually waved about. Other ſmaller creatures, of a great variety of extraordinary forms, were moving through the clear fluid, or reſting upon its ſurface; and I ſaw with terror numbers of them continually ſeized and ſwallowed by the larger ones before mentioned.

When I had got near the middle, [Page 109] the ſmooth ſurface of this plain was all roughened and moved up and down, ſo as to toſs about my leaf, and nearly overſet it. I trembled to think what would become of me ſhould I be thrown amidſt all theſe terrible monſters. At laſt, however, I got ſafe to the other ſide, and with joy ſet my feet on dry land again. I aſcended a gentle green ſlope, which led to a tall plantation like that I had before paſſed through. Another green plain, and another ſtony deſart, ſucceeded; which brought me at length to the oppoſite boundary of our world, encloſed by the ſame immenſe mound riſing to the heavens, which limits us on this ſide.

Here I fell in with another nation of our ſpecies, differing little in way of life from ourſelves. They invited me to their ſettlement, and entertained me hoſpitably, and I accompanied them in ſeveral excurſions in the neighbourhood. There was a charming fruit-tree [Page 110] at no great diſtance, to which we made frequent viſits. One day, as I was regaling deliciouſly in the heart of a green-gage plum, I felt myſelf all on a ſudden carried along with great ſwiftneſs, till I got into a dark place, where a horrid craſh threw me upon a ſoft moiſt piece of fleſh, whence I was ſoon driven forth in a torrent of wind and moiſture, and found myſelf on the ground all covered with ſlime. I diſengaged myſelf with difficulty, and looking up, deſcried one of thoſe enormous two-legged animals, which often ſhake the ground over our heads, and put us into terror.

My new friends now began to hint to me that it was time to depart, for you know we are not fond of naturalizing ſtrangers. And lucky, indeed, it was for me that I received the hint when I did; for I had but juſt left the place, and was travelling over a neighbouring eminence, when I heard behind [Page 111] hind me a tremendous noiſe; and looking back, I ſaw the whole of their ſettlement blown into the air with a prodigious exploſion of fire and ſmoke. Numbers of half-burnt bodies, together with the ruins of their habitations, were thrown to a vaſt diſtance around; and ſuch a ſuffocating vapour aroſe, that I lay for ſome time deprived of ſenſe and motion. From ſome of the wretched fugitives I learned that the diſaſter was attributed to ſubterranean fire burſting its way to the ſurface; the cauſe of which, however, was ſuppoſed to be connected with the machinations of that malignant two-legged monſter from whoſe jaws I had ſo narrowly eſcaped, who had been obſerved juſt before the exploſion to pour through the holes leading to the great apartment of the ſettlement, a number of black ſhining grains.

On my return from this remote country, I kept along the boundary [Page 112] wall, which I knew by obſervation muſt at length bring me back to my own home. I met with ſeveral wandering tribes of our ſpecies in my road, and frequently joined their foraging parties in ſearch of food. One day, a company of us, allured by the ſmell of ſomewhat ſweet, climbed up ſome lofty pillars, on which was placed a vaſt round edifice, having only one entrance. At this were continually coming in and going out thoſe winged animals, ſomewhat like ourſelves in form, but many times bigger, and armed with a dreadful ſting, which we ſo often meet with ſipping the juices of flowers; but whether they were the architects of this great manſion, or it was built for them by ſome beneficent being of greater powers, I am unable to decide. It ſeemed, however, to be the place where they depoſited what they ſo induſtriouſly collect; for they were perpetually arriving loaded with a fragrant [Page 113] ſubſtance, which they carried in, and they returned empty. We had a great deſire to enter with them, but were deterred by their formidable appearance, and a kind of angry hum which continually proceeded from the houſe. At length, two or three of the boldeſt of our party, watching a time when the entrance was pretty free, ventured to go in; but we ſoon ſaw them driven out in great haſte, and trampled down and maſſacred juſt in the gate-way. The reſt of us made a ſpeedy retreat.

Two more adventures which happened to me, had very nearly prevented my return to my own country. Having one evening, together with a companion, taken up my quarters in an empty ſnail-ſhell, there came on ſuch a ſhower of rain in the night, that the ſhell was preſently filled. I awaked juſt ſuffocated; but luckily, having my head turned towards the mouth of [Page 114] the ſhell, I roſe to the top, and made a ſhift to crawl to a dry place. My companion, who had got further into the ſhell, never roſe again.

Not long after, as I was travelling under the wall, I deſcried a curious pit, with a circular orifice, gradually growing narrower to the bottom. On coming cloſe to the brink in order to ſurvey it, the edge, which was of fine ſand, gave way, and I ſlid down the pit. As ſoon as I had reached the bottom, a creature with a huge pair of horns and dreadful claws made his appearance from beneath the ſand, and attempted to ſeize me. I flew back, and ran up the ſide of the pit; when he threw over me ſuch a ſhower of ſand, as blinded me, and had like to have brought me down again. However, by exerting all my ſtrength, I got out of his reach, and did not ceaſe running till I was at a conſiderable diſtance. I was afterwards informed that [Page 115] this was the den of an ant-lion, a terrible foe of our ſpecies, which not equalling us in ſpeed, is obliged to make uſe of this crafty device to entrap his heedleſs prey.

This was the laſt of my perils. To my great joy I reached my native place laſt night, where I mean to ſtay content for the future. I do not know how far I have benefited from my travels, but one important concluſion I have drawn from them.

What is that? (ſaid his friend.)

Why, you know it is the current opinion with us, that every thing in this world was made for our uſe. Now, I have ſeen ſuch vaſt tracts not at all fit for our reſidence, and peopled with creatures ſo much larger and ſtronger than ourſelves, that I cannot help being convinced that the Creator had in view their accommodation as well as ours, in making this world.

I confeſs this ſeems probable enough; [Page 116] but you had better keep your opinion to yourſelf.

Why ſo?

You know we ants are a vain race, and make high pretenſions to wiſdom as well as antiquity. We ſhall be affronted with any attempts to leſſen our importance in our own eyes.

But there is no wiſdom in being deceived.

Well—do as you think proper. Meantime, farewell, and thanks for the entertainment you have given me.



ONE morning, Lord Richmore, coming down to breakfaſt, was welcomed with the tidings that his favourite [Page 117] mare, Miſs Slim, had brought a foal, and alſo, that a ſhe-aſs kept for his lady's uſe as a milker, had dropt a young one. His lordſhip ſmiled at the inequality of the preſents nature had made him. ‘"As for the foal (ſaid he to the groom) that, you know, has been long promiſed to my neighbour Mr. Scamper. For young Balaam, you may diſpoſe of him as you pleaſe."’ The groom thanked his lordſhip, and ſaid he would then give him to Iſaac the woodman.

In due time, Miſs Slim's foal, which was the ſon of a noted racer, was taken to Squire Scamper's, who received him with great delight, and out of compliment to the donor named him Young Peer. He was brought up with at leaſt as much care and tenderneſs as the Squire's own children—kept in a warm ſtable, fed with the beſt of corn and hay, duly dreſſed, and regularly exerciſed. As he grew up, he gave [Page 118] tokens of great beauty. His colour was bright bay, with a white ſtar on his forehead; his coat was fine, and ſhone like ſilk; and every point about him ſeemed to promiſe perfection of ſhape and make. Every body admired him as the completeſt colt that could be ſeen.

So fine a creature could not be deſtined to any uſeful employment. After he had paſſed his third year, he was ſent to Newmarket to be trained for the turf, and a groom was appointed to the care of him alone. His maſter, who could not well afford the expence, ſaved part of it by turning off a domeſtic tutor whom he kept for the education of his ſons, and was content with ſending them to the curate of the pariſh.

At four years old, Young Peer ſtarted for a ſubſcription purſe, and came in ſecond out of a number of competitors. Soon after, he won a country plate, and filled his maſter [Page 119] with joy and triumph. The Squire now turned all his attention to the turf, made matches, betted high, and was at firſt tolerably ſucceſsful. At length, having ventured all the money he could raiſe upon one grand match, Young Peer ran on the wrong ſide of the poſt, was diſtanced, and the ſquire ruined.

Meantime young Balaam went into Iſaac's poſſeſſion, where he had a very different training. He was left to pick up his living as he could in the lanes and commons; and on the coldeſt days in winter he had no other ſhelter than the lee ſide of the cottage, out of which he was often glad to pluck the thatch for a ſubſiſtence. As ſoon as ever he was able to bear a rider, Iſaac's children got upon him, ſometimes two or three at once; and if he did not go to their mind, a broomſtick or bunch of furze was freely applied to his hide. Nevertheleſs [Page 120] he grew up, as the children themſelves did, ſtrong and healthy; and though he was rather bare on the ribs, his ſhape was good and his limbs vigorous.

It was not long before his maſter thought of putting him to ſome uſe; ſo, taking him to the wood, he faſtened a load of faggots on his back, and ſent him with his ſon Tom to the next town. Tom ſold the faggots, and mounting upon Balaam, rode him home. As Iſaac could get plenty of faggots and chips, he found it a profitable trade to ſend them for daily ſale upon Balaam's back. Having a little garden, which from the barrenneſs of the ſoil yielded him nothing of value, he bethought him of loading Balaam back from town with dung for manure. Though all he could bring at once was contained in two ſmall panniers, yet this in time amounted to enough to mend the ſoil of his [Page 121] whole garden, ſo that he grew very good cabbages and potatoes, to the great relief of his family. Iſaac, being now ſenſible of the value of his aſs, began to treat him with more attention. He got a ſmall ſtack of ruſhy hay for his winter fodder, and with his own hands built him a little ſhed of boughs and mud in order to ſhelter him from the bad weather. He would not ſuffer any of his family to uſe Balaam ill, and after his daily journies he was allowed to ramble at pleaſure. He was now and then cleaned and dreſſed, and, upon the whole, made a reputable figure. Iſaac took in more land from the waſte, ſo that by degrees he became a little farmer, and kept a horſe and cart, a cow, and two or three pigs. This made him quite a rich man; but he had always the gratitude to impute his proſperity to the good ſervices of Balaam, the [Page 122] groom's preſent; while the ſquire curſed Young Peer as the cauſe of his ruin, and many a time wiſhed that his lordſhip had kept his dainty gift to himſelf.


[Page 123]


Mr. Everard—Charles (walking in the fields.)
Mr. E. WELL, Charles, you ſeem to be deep in meditation. Pray what are you thinking about?
Ch. I was thinking, Sir, how happy it is for us that we are not in the place of that poor weaver whoſe cottage we juſt paſſed by.
Mr. E. It is very right to be ſenſible of all the advantages that Providence has beſtowed on us in this world, and I commend you for reflecting on them with gratitude. But what particular circumſtance of compariſon between [Page 124] our condition and his ſtruck you moſt juſt now?
Ch. O, almoſt every thing! I could not bear to live in ſuch a poor houſe, with a cold clay floor, and half the windows ſtopt with paper. Then how poorly he and his children are dreſſed! and I dare ſay they muſt live as poorly too.
Mr. E. Theſe things would be grievous enough to you, I do not doubt, becauſe you have been accuſtomed to a very different way of living. But if they are healthy and contented, I don't know that we have much more to boaſt of. I believe the man is able to procure wholeſome food for his family, and clothes and firing enough to keep them from ſuffering from the cold; and nature wants little more.
Ch. But what a ragged barefooted ſellow the boy at the door was!
Mr. E. He was—but did you obſerve his ruddy cheeks, and his ſtout [Page 125] legs, and the ſmiling grin upon his countenance? It is my opinion he would beat you in running, though he is half the head leſs; and I dare ſay he never cried becauſe he did not know what to do with himſelf, in his life.
Ch. But, Sir, you have often told me that the mind is the nobleſt part of man; and theſe poor creatures, I am ſure, can have no opportunity to improve their minds. They muſt be as ignorant as the brutes, almoſt.
Mr. E. Why ſo? Do you think there is no knowledge to be got but from books; or that a weaver cannot teach his children right from wrong?
Ch. Not if he has never learned himſelf.
Mr. E. True—but I hope the country we live in is not ſo unfriendly to a poor man as to afford him no opportunity of learning his duty to God and his neighbour. And as to other points of knowledge, neceſſity and common [Page 126] obſervation will teach him a good deal. But come—let us go and pay them a viſit, for I doubt you hardly think them human creatures.
[They enter the cottage.—Jacob, the weaver, at his loom. His wife ſpinning. Children of different ages.]
Mr. E. Good morning to you, friend! Don't let us diſturb you all, pray. We have juſt ſtept in to look at your work.
Jacob. I have very little to ſhow you, gentlemen; but you are welcome to look on. Perhaps the young gentleman never ſaw weaving before.
Ch. I never did, near.
Jac. Look here, then, maſter. Theſe long threads are the warp. They are divided, you ſee, into two ſets, and I paſs my ſhuttle between them, which carries with it the croſs threads, and that makes the weft. (Explains the whole to him.)
[Page 127] Ch. Dear! how curious! And is all cloth made this way, papa?
Mr. E. Yes; only there are ſomewhat different contrivances for different kinds of work. Well—how ſoon do you think you could learn to weave like this honeſt man?
Ch. O—not for a great while!
Mr. E. But I ſuppoſe you could eaſily turn the wheel and draw out threads like that good woman.
Ch. Not without ſome practice, I fancy. But what is that boy doing?
Jac. He is cutting pegs for the ſhoemakers, maſter.
Ch. How quick he does them!
Jac. It is but poor employment, but better than being idle. The firſt leſſon I teach my children is that their hands were made to get their bread with.
Mr. E. And a very good leſſon, too.
[Page 128] Ch. What is this heap of twigs for?
Jac. Why, maſter, my biggeſt boy and girl have learned a little how to make baſket work, ſo I have got them a few oziers to employ them at leiſure hours. That bird-cage is their making; and the back of that chair in which their grandmother ſits.
Ch. Is not that cleverly done, papa?
Mr. E. It is, indeed. Here are ſeveral arts, you ſee, in this houſe, which both you and I ſhould be much puzzled to ſet about. But there are ſome books too, I perceive.
Ch. Here is a bible, and a teſtament, and a prayer-book, and a ſpelling-book, and and a volume of the gardener's dictionary.
Mr. E. And how many of your family can read, my friend?
Jac. All the children but the two youngeſt can read a little, Sir; but Meg, there, is the beſt ſcholar among [Page 129] us. She reads us a chapter in the teſtament every morning, and very well too, though I ſay it.
Mr. E. Do you hear that, Charles?
Ch. I do, Sir. Here's an almanack, too, againſt the wall; and here are my favourite ballads of the Children of the Wood, and Chevy-chace.
Jac. I let the children paſte them up, Sir, and a few more that have no harm in them. There's Hearts of Oak, and Rule Britannia, and Robin Gray.
Mr. E. A very good choice, indeed. I ſee you have a pretty garden there behind the houſe.
Jac. It is only a little ſpot, Sir; but it ſerves for ſome amuſement, and uſe too.
Ch. What beautiful ſtocks and wallflowers! We have none ſo fine in our garden.
Jac. Why, maſter, to ſay the truth, we are rather proud of them. I have got a way of cultivating them that I [Page 130] believe few beſides myſelf are acquainted with; and on Sundays I have plenty of viſitors to come and admire them.
Ch. Pray what is this buſh with narrow whitiſh leaves and blue flowers?
Jac. Don't you know? It is roſemary.
Ch. It is good for any thing?
Jac. We like the ſmell of it; and then the leaves, mixed with a little balm, make pleaſant tea, which we ſometimes drink in an afternoon.
Ch. Here are ſeveral more plants that I never ſaw before.
Jac. Some of them are pot herbs, that we put into our broth or porridge; and other are phyſic herbs, for we cannot afford to go to a doctor for every trifling ailment.
Ch. But how did you learn the uſe of theſe things?
Jac. Why, partly, maſter, from an old herbal that I have got; and partly [Page 131] from my good mother and ſome old neighbours; for we poor people are obliged to help one another as well as we can. If you were curious about plants, I could go into the fields and ſhow you a great many that we reckon very fine for ſeveral uſes, though I ſuppoſe we don't call them by the proper names.
Mr. E. You keep your garden very neat, friend, and ſeem to make the moſt of every inch of ground.
Jac. Why, Sir, we have hands enow, and all of us like to be doing a little in it when our in-doors work is over. I am in hopes ſoon to be allowed a bit of land from the waſte for a potato-ground, which will be a great help to us. I ſhall then be able to keep a pig.
Mr. E. I ſuppoſe, notwithſtanding your induſtry, you live rather hardly ſometimes.
Jac. To be ſure, Sir, we are ſomewhat [Page 132] pinched in dear times and hard weather; but, thank God, I have conſtant work, and my children begin to be ſome help to us, ſo that we fare better than ſome of our neighbours. If I do but keep my health, I don't fear but we ſhall make a ſhift to live.
Mr. E. Keep ſuch a contented mind, my friend, and you will have few to envy. Good morning to you; and if any ſickneſs or accident ſhould befal you, remember you have a friend in your neighbour at the hall.
Jac. I will, Sir, and thank you.
Ch. Good morning to you.
Jac. The ſame to you, maſter.
[They leave the cottage.
Mr. E. Well, Charles, what do you think of our viſit?
Ch. I am highly pleaſed with it, Sir. I ſhall have a better opinion of a poor cottager as long as I live.
Mr. E. I am glad of it. You ſee, when we compare ourſelves with this [Page 133] weaver, all the advantage is not on our ſide. He is poſſeſſed of an art, the utility of which ſecures him a livelihood whatever may be the changes of the times. All his family are brought up to induſtry, and ſhow no ſmall ingenuity in their ſeveral occupations. They are not without inſtruction, and eſpecially ſeem to be in no want of that beſt of all, the knowledge of their duty. They underſtand ſomething of the cultivation and uſes of plants, and are capable of receiving enjoyment from the beauties of nature. They partake of the pleaſures of home and neighbourhood. Above all, they ſeem content with their lot, and free from anxious cares and repinings. I view them as truly reſpectable members of ſociety, acting well the part allotted to them, and that, a part moſt of all neceſſary to the well-being of the whole. They may, from untoward accidents, be rendered [Page 134] objects of our compaſſion, but they never can of our contempt.
Ch. Indeed, Sir, I am very far from deſpiſing them now. But would it not be poſſible to make them more comfortable than they are at preſent?
Mr. E. I think it would; and when giving a little from the ſuperfluities of perſons in our ſituation, would add ſo much to the happineſs of perſons in theirs, I am of opinion that it is unpardonable not to do it. I intend to uſe my intereſt to get this poor man the piece of waſte land he wants, and he ſhall have ſome from my ſhare rather than go without.
Ch. And ſuppoſe, Sir, we were to give him ſome good potatoes to plant it?
Mr. E. We will. Then, you know, we have a fine ſow that never fails to produce a numerous litter twice a year. Suppoſe we rear one of the next brood [Page 135] to be ready for him as ſoon as he has got his potato-ground into bearing?
Ch. O yes! that will be juſt the thing. But how is he to build a pigſtye?
Mr. E. You may leave that to his own ingenuity; I warrant he can manage ſuch a job as that, with the help of a neighbour, at leaſt. Well—I hope both the weaver, and you, will be the better for the acquaintance we have made to day: and always remember that, man, when fulfilling the duties of his ſtation, be that ſtation what it may, is a worthy object of reſpect to his fellowman.


PRAY, papa, (ſaid Cecilia) what is an emblem. I have met with the word in my leſſon to-day, and I do not quite underſtand it.

[Page 136] An emblem, my dear, (replied he) is a viſible image of an inviſible thing.

C A viſible image of—I can hardly comprehend—
P. Well, I will explain it more at length. There are certain notions that we form in our minds without the help of our eyes, or any of our ſenſes. Thus, Virtue, Vice, Honour, Diſgrace, Time, Death, and the like, are not ſenſible objects, but ideas of the underſtanding.
C. Yes—We cannot feel them or ſee them, but we can think about them.
P. True. Now it ſometimes happens that we wiſh to repreſent one of theſe in a viſible form; that is, to offer ſomething to the ſight that ſhall raiſe a ſimilar notion in the minds of the beholders. In order to do this, we muſt take ſome action or circumſtance belonging to it, capable of being [Page 137] expreſſed by painting or ſculpture; and this is called a type, or emblem.
C. But how can this be done?
P. I will tell you by an example. You know the Seſſions-houſe where trials are held. It would be eaſy to write over the door, in order to diſtinguiſh it, ‘"This is the Seſſions-houſe;"’ but it is a more ingenious and elegant way of pointing it out, to place upon the building a figure repreſenting the purpoſe for which it was erected, namely, to diſtribute juſtice. For this end, the notion of juſtice is to be perſonified, that is, changed from an idea of the underſtanding into one of the ſight. A human figure is therefore made, diſtinguiſhed by tokens which bear a relation to the character of that virtue. Juſtice carefully weighs both ſides of a cauſe; ſhe is therefore repreſented as holding a pair of ſcales. It is her office to puniſh crimes; ſhe therefore bears a ſword. This is then [Page 138] an emblematical figure, and the ſword and ſcales are emblems.
Ch. I underſtand this very well. But why is ſhe blindfolded?
P. To denote her impartiality—that ſhe decides only from the merits of the caſe, and not from a view of the parties.
C. How can ſhe weigh anything, though, when her eyes are blinded?
P. Well objected. Theſe are two inconſiſtent emblems; each proper in itſelf, but when uſed together, making a contradictory action. An artiſt of judgment will therefore drop one of them; and accordingly the beſt modern figures of Juſtice have the balance and ſword, without the bandage over the eyes.
C. Is not there the ſame fault in making Cupid blindfolded, and yet putting a bow and arrow into his hands?
P. There is. It is a groſs abſurdity, [Page 139] and not countenanced by the antient deſcriptions of Cupid, who is repreſented as the ſureſt of all archers.
C. I have a figure of Death in my fable-book. I ſuppoſe that is emblematical.
P. Certainly, or you could not know that it meant Death. How is he repreſented?
C. He is nothing but bones, and he holds a ſcythe in one hand, and an hour-glaſs in the other.
P. Well—how do you interpret theſe emblems?
C. I ſuppoſe he is all bones, becauſe nothing but bones are left after a dead body has lain long in the grave.
P. True. This, however, is not ſo properly an emblem, as the real and viſible effect of death. But the ſcythe?
C. Is not that becauſe death mows down every thing?
P. It is. No inſtrument could ſo properly repreſent the wide-waſting [Page 140] ſway of death, which ſweeps down the race of animals, like flowers falling under the hand of the mower. It is a ſimile uſed in the ſcriptures.
C. The hour-glaſs, I ſuppoſe, is to ſhow people that their time is come.
P. Right. In the hour-glaſs that Death holds, all the ſand is run out from the upper to the lower part. Have you never obſerved upon a monument an old figure, with wings, and a ſcythe, and with his head bald, all but a ſingle lock before?
C. O yes!—and I have been told it is Time.
P. Well—and what do you make of it? Why is he old?
C. O! becauſe time has laſted a long while.
P. And why has he wings?
C. Becauſe time is ſwift, and flies away.
P. What does his ſcythe mean?
C. I ſuppoſe that is, becauſe he deſtroys [Page 141] and cuts down every thing like death.
P. True. I think, however, a weapon rather ſlower in its operation, as a pick-axe, would have been more ſuitable to the gradual action of time. But what is his ſingle lock of hair for?
C. I have been thinking, and cannot make it out.
P. I thought that would puzzle you. It relates to time as giving opportunity for doing any thing. It is to be ſeized as it preſents itſelf, or it will eſcape, and cannot be recovered. Thus the proverb ſays, ‘"Take time by the fore-lock."’ Well—now you underſtand what emblems are.
C. Yes, I think I do. I ſuppoſe the painted ſugar-loaves over the grocer's ſhop, and the mortar over the apothecary's, are emblems too.
P. Not ſo properly. They are only the pictures of things which are themſelves [Page 142] the objects of ſight, as the real ſugar-loaf in the ſhop of the grocer, and the real mortar in that of the apothecary. However, an implement belonging to a particular rank or profeſſion, is commonly uſed as an emblem to point out the man exerciſing that rank or profeſſion. Thus a crown is conſidered as an emblem of a king; a ſword or ſpear, of a ſoldier; an anchor, of a ſailor; and the like.
C. I remember Captain Heartwell, when he came to ſee us, had the figure of an anchor on all his buttons.
P. He had. That was the emblem or badge of his belonging to the navy.
C. But you told me that an emblem was a viſible ſign of an inviſible thing; yet a ſea-captain is not an inviſible thing.
P. He is not inviſible as a man, but his profeſſion is inviſible.
C. I do not well underſtand that.
[Page 143] P. Profeſſion is a quality, belonging equally to a number of individuals, however different they may be in external form and appearance. It may be added or taken away without any viſible change. Thus, if Captain Heartwell were to give up his commiſſion, he would appear to you the ſame man as before. It is plain, therefore, that what in that caſe he had loſt, namely his profeſſion, was a thing inviſible. It is one of thoſe ideas of the underſtanding which I before mentioned to you, as different from a ſenſible idea.
C. I comprehend it now.
P. I have got here a few emblematical pictures. Suppoſe you try whether you can find out their meaning.
C. O yes—I ſhould like that very well.
P. Here is a man ſtanding on the ſummit of a ſteep cliff, and going to [Page 144] aſcend a ladder which he has planted againſt a cloud.
C. Let me ſee!—that muſt be Ambition, I think.
P. How do you explain it?
C. He is got very high already, but he wants to be ſtill higher; ſo he ventures up the ladder, though it is only ſupported by a cloud, and hangs over a precipice.
P. Very right. Here is now another man, hood-winked, who is croſſing a raging torrent upon ſtepping ſtones.
C. Then he will certainly fall in. I ſuppoſe he is one that runs into danger without conſidering where he is going.
P. Yes; and you may call him Fool-hardineſs. Do you ſee this hand coming out of a black cloud, and putting an extinguiſher upon a lamp?
C. I do. If that lamp be the [Page 145] lamp of life, the hand that extinguiſhes it, muſt be Death.
P. Very juſt. Here is an old halfruined building, ſupported by props; and the figure of Time is ſawing through one of the props.
C. That muſt be Old-age, ſurely.
P. It is. The next is a man leaning upon a breaking crutch.
C. I don't well know what to make of that.
P. It is intended for Inſtability; however, it might alſo ſtand for Falſe Confidence. Here is a man poring over a ſun-dial, with a candle in his hand.
C. I am at a loſs for that, too.
P. Conſider—a ſun-dial is only made to tell the hour by the light of the ſun.
C. Then this man muſt know nothing about it.
P. True; and his name is therefore Ignorance. Here is a walking ſtick, the lower-part of which is ſet in [Page 146] the water, and it appears crooked. What does that denote?
C. Is the ſtick really crooked?
P. No; but it is the property of water to give that appearance.
C. Then it muſt ſignify Deception.
P. It does. I dare ſay you will at once know this fellow who is running as faſt as his legs will carry him, and looking back at his ſhadow.
C. He muſt be Fear, or Terror, I fancy.
P. Yes; you may call him which you pleaſe. But who is this ſower, that ſcatters ſeed in the ground?
C. Let me conſider. I think there is a parable in the Bible about ſeed ſown, and it there ſignifies ſomething like Inſtruction.
P. True; but it may alſo repreſent Hope, for no one would ſow without hoping to reap the fruit. What do you think of this candle held before a [Page 147] mirror, in which its figure is exactly reflected?
C. I do not know what it means.
P. It repreſents Truth; the eſſence of which conſiſts in the fidelity with which objects are received and reflected back by our minds. The object is here a luminous one, to ſhow the clearneſs and brightneſs of Truth. Here is next an upright column, the perfect ſtraightneſs of which is ſhown by a plumb line hanging from its ſummit, and exactly parallel to the ſide of the column.
C. I ſuppoſe that muſt repreſent Uprightneſs.
P. Yes—or in other words, Rectitude. The ſtrength and ſtability of the pillar alſo denotes the ſecurity produced by this virtue. You ſee here a woman diſentangling and reeling off a very perplexed ſkein of thread.
C. She muſt have a great deal of patience.
[Page 148] P. True. She is Patience herſelf. The brooding hen ſitting beſide her is another emblem of the ſame quality that aids the interpretation. Who do you think this pleaſing female is, that looks with ſuch kindneſs upon the drooping plant ſhe is watering?
C. That muſt be Charity, I believe.
P. It is; or you may call her Benignity, which is nearly the ſame thing. Here is a lady ſitting demurely, with one finger on her lip, while ſhe holds a bridle in her other hand.
C. The finger on the lip I ſuppoſe denotes Silence. The bridle muſt mean Confinement. I could almoſt fancy her to be a School-miſtreſs.
P. Ha! ha! I hope, indeed, many ſchool-miſtreſſes are endued with her ſpirit, for ſhe is Prudence, or Diſcretion. Well—we are now got to the end of our pictures, and upon the whole you have interpreted them very prettily.
C. But I have one queſtion to aſk [Page 149] you, papa! In theſe pictures, and others that I have ſeen of the ſame ſort, almoſt all the good qualities are repreſented in the form of women. What is the reaſon of that?
P. It is certainly a compliment, my dear, either to your ſex's perſon, or mind. The inventor either choſe the figure of a female to cloath his agreeable quality in, becauſe he thought that the moſt agreeable form, and therefore beſt ſuited to it; or he meant to imply that the female character is really the moſt virtuous and amiable. I rather believe that the firſt was his intention, but I ſhall not object to your taking it in the light of the ſecond.
C. But is it true—is it true?
P. Why, I can give you very good authority for the preference of the female ſex in a moral view. One Ledyard, a great traveller, who had walked through almoſt all the countries of [Page 150] Europe, and at laſt died in an expedition to explore the internal parts of Africa, gave a moſt deciſive and pleaſing teſtimony in favour of the ſuperior character of women, whether ſavage or civilized. I was ſo much pleaſed with it, that I put great part of it into verſe; and if it will not make you vain, I will give you a copy of my lines.
C. O, pray do!
P. Here they are. Read them.


THRO' many a land and clime a ranger,
With toilſome ſteps I've held my way,
A lonely unprotected ſtranger,
To all the ſtranger's ills a prey.
While ſteering thus my courſe precarious,
My fortune ſtill has been to find
Men's hearts and diſpoſitions various,
But gentle Woman ever kind.
Alive to every tender feeling,
To deeds of mercy always prone;
[Page 151] The wounds of pain and ſorrow healing,
With ſoft compaſſion's ſweeteſt tone.
No proud delay, no dark ſuſpicion,
Stints the free bounty of their heart;
They turn not from the ſad petition,
But cheerful aid at once impart.
Form'd in benevolence of nature,
Obliging, modeſt, gay and mild,
Woman's the ſame endearing creature
In courtly town and ſavage wild.
When parch'd with thirſt, with hunger waſted,
Her friendly hand refreſhment gave;
How ſweet the coarſeſt food has taſted!
What cordial in the ſimple wave!
Her courteous looks, her words careſſing,
Shed comfort on the fainting ſoul;
Woman's the ſtranger's general bleſſing
From ſultry India to the Pole.