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more affected than Cyrillo, or set an example of sincerer mortification. The society considered the deposition of their benefactress among them as a very great honour, and masses in abundance were promised for her safety. But what was the amazement of the whole convent the next day, when they found the vault in which she was deposited broke open, the body mangled, her fingers on which were some rings cut off, and all her finery carried away. Every person in the convent was shocked at such barbarity, and Cyrillo was one of the foremost in condemning the sacrilege. However, shortly after, on going to his cell, having occasion to examine under his mattress, he there found that he alone was the guiltless plunderer. The convent was soon made acquainted with his misfortune; and at the general request of the fraternity, he was removed to another monastery, where the prior had a power, by right, of confining his conventuals. Thus debarred from doing mischief, Cyrillo led the remainder of his life in piety and peace.
As I see you are fond of gallantry, and seem willing to set young people together as soon as you can, I cannot help lending my assistance to your endeavours, as I am greatly concerned in the attempt. You must know, Sir, that I am landlady of one of the most noted inns on the road to Scotland, and have seldom less than eight or ten couples a-week, who go down rapturous lovers, and return man and wife.
If there be in this world an agreeable situation, it must be that in which a young couple find themselves, when just let loose from confinement, and whirling off to the land of promise. When the post-chaise is driving off, and the blinds are drawn up, sure nothing can equal it! And yet, I do not know how, what with the fears of being pursued, or the wishes for greater happiness, not one of my customers but seems gloomy and out of temper. The gentlemen are all sullen, and the ladies discontented. But if it be so going down, how is it with them coming back? Having been for a fortnight together, they are then mighty good company to be sure. It is then the young lady's indiscretion stares her in the face, and the gentleman himself finds that much is to be done before the money comes in. For my own part, Sir, I was married in the usual way; all my friends were at the wedding; I was conducted with great ceremony from the table to the bed; and I do not find that it any ways diminished my happiness with my husband, while, poor man, he continued with me. For my part, I am entirely for doing things in the old family way; I hate your new-fashioned manners, and never loved an outlandish marriage in my life. As I have had numbers call at my house, you may be sure I was not idle in inquiring who they were, and how they did in the world after they left me. I cannot say that I ever heard much good come of them; and, of a history of twentyfive that I noted down in my ledger, I do not know a single couple, that would not have been full as happy if they had gone the plain way to work, and asked the consent of their parents. To convince you of it, I will mention the names of a few, and refer the rest to some fitter opportunity. Imprimis, Miss Jenny Hastings went down to Scotland with a tailor, who to be sure, for a tailor, was a very agreeable sort of a man. But, I do not know how, he did not take proper measure of the young lady's disposition: they quarrelled at my house on their return; so she left him for a
Miss Rachel Runfort went off with a grenadier. They spent all their money going down; so that he carried her down in a post-chaise, and coming back she helped to carry his knapsack. * Miss Racket went down with her lover in their own phaeton; but upon their return, being very fond of driving, she would be every now and then for holding the whip. This bred a dispute; and before they were a fortnight together, she felt that he could exercise the whip on somebody else besides the horses. Miss Meekly, though all compliance to the will of her lover, could never reconcile him to the change of his situation. It seems, he married her supposing she had a large fortune; but being deceived in their expectations, they parted; and they now keep separate garrets in Rosemarylane. The next couple of whom I have any account, actually lived together in great harmony and uncloying kindness for no less than a month; but the lady, who was a little in years, having parted with her fortune to her dearest life, he left her to make love to that better part of her which he valued more. The next pair consisted of an Irish fortune-hunter, and one of the prettiest modestest ladies that ever my eyes beheld. As he was a well-looking gentleman, all drest in lace, and as she seemed very fond of him, I thought they were blest for life. Yet I was quickly mistaken. The lady was no better than a common woman of the town, and he was no better than a sharper; so they agreed upon a mutual divorce. He now dresses at the York ball, and she is in keeping by the member for our borough in parliament. In this manner, we see that all those marriages, in which there is interest on one side and disobedience on the other, are not likely to promise a long harvest of delights. If our fortune-hunting gentlemen would but speak out, the young lady, instead of a lover, would often find a sneaking rogue, that only wanted the lady's purse, and not her heart. For my own part, I never saw any thing but design and falsehood in every one of them; and my blood has boiled in my veins, when I saw a young fellow of twenty kneeling at the feet of a twenty thousand pounder, professing his passion, while he was taking aim at her money. I do not deny but there may be love in a Scotch marriage, but it is generally all on one side.
Of all the sincere admirers I ever knew, a man of my acquaintance, who, however, did not run away with his mistress to Scotland, was the most so. An old exciseman of our town, who, as you may guess, was not very rich, had a daughter, who, as you shall see, was not very handsome. It was the opinion of every body, that this young woman would not soon be married, as she wanted two main articles, beauty and fortune. But for all this a very well-looking man, that happened to be travelling those parts, came and asked the exciseman for his daughter in marriage. The exciseman, willing to deal openly by him, asked if he had seen the girl; “for,” says he, “she is humpbacked.” “Very well,” cried the stranger, “that will do for me.” “Aye,” says the exciseman, “but my daughter is as brown as a berry.” “So much the better,” cried the stranger; “such skins wear well.” “But she is bandy-legg'd,” says the exciseman. “No matter,” cries the other; “her petticoats will hide that defect.” “But then she is very poor, and wants an eye.” “Your description delights me,” cries the stranger: “I have been looking out for one of her make; for I keep an exhibition of wild beasts, and intend to show her off for a Chimpanzee.”
There are few subjects which have been more written upon and less understood, than that of friendship: to follow the dictates of some, this virtue, instead of being the assuager of pain, becomes the source of every inconvenience. Such speculatists, by expecting too much from friendship, dissolve the connection, and by drawing the bands too closely, at length break them.
Almost all our romance and novel writers are of this kind: they persuade us to friendships which we find it impossible to sustain to the last; so that this sweetener of life under proper regulations, is by their means rendered inaccessible or uneasy. It is certain, the best method to cultivate this virtue is by letting it in some measure make itself; a similitude of minds or studies, and even sometimes a diversity of pursuits, will produce all the pleasures that arise from it. The current of tenderness widens as it proceeds; and two men imperceptibly find their hearts warm with good-nature for each other, when they were at first in pursuit only of mirth or relaxation.
Friendship is like a debt of honour; the moment it is talked of it loses its real name, and assumes the more ungrateful form of obligation. From hence we find, that those who regularly undertake to cultivate friendship, find ingratitude generally repays their endeavours. That circle of beings which dependence gathers round us, is almost ever unfriendly ; they secretly wish the term of their connexion more nearly equal; and where they even have the most virtue, are prepared to reserve all their affections for their patron only in the hour of his decline. Increasing the obli
(l) [Now first collected, from the Universal Magazine for 1774.]