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I was once more in the power of the French, and I believe it would have gone hard with me, had I been brought back to Brest ; but, by good fortune, we were retaken by the Viper. I had almost forgot to tell you, that in this engagement I was wounded in two places : I lost four fingers of the left hand, and my leg was shot off.? If I had had the good fortune to have lost my leg and the use of my hand on board a king's ship, and not on board a privateer, I should have been entitled to clothing and maintenance during the rest of my life ; but that was not my chance : one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wooden ladle. However, blessed be God, I enjoy good health, and will for ever love liberty and old England. Liberty, property, and old England, for ever, huzza !
Thus saying, he limped off,3 leaving me in admiration at his intrepidity and content; nor could I avoid acknowledging that an habitual acquaintance with misery serves better than philosophy to teach us to despise it.
THE SAVAGES OF NORTH AMERICA. In the year 1744, when a treaty was made at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, between the government of Virginia and the Six Nations, the Commissioners, after the principal business was settled, informed the Indians, by a speech, that there was at Williamsburg a college, with a fund for educating 4 Indian youth ; and if the chiefs of the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their sons to that college, the government would take care that they should be well provided for,5 and instructed in all the learning of the white people. It is one of the Indian rules of politeness not to answer a public proposition the same
1 It would have gone hard with me, Cela se serait mal passé pour moi.-2 And my leg was shot off, Et j'eus la jamne emportée. -3 He limped off, Il s'en alla en clopinant --4 With a fund for educating, Doté d'une fondation pour l'éducation de. --5 The government would take care that they should be well provided for, Le gouvernement veillerait à ce qu'ils ne manquassent de rien,
day that it is made ; they think it would be treating it as a light matter, and they show it respect by taking time to consider it. They, therefore, deferred their answer till the day following. Then their speaker began, by expressing their deep sense of the kindness of the Virginia government, in making them that offer ; “ for we know,” said he, “that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those colleges, and that the maintenance of our young men, while with you, would be very expensive to you. We are convinced, therefore, that you mean to do us good by your proposal ; and we thank you heartily. But you, who are wise, must know that different nations have different conceptions of things ;1 and you will, therefore, not take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had some experience of it : several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the northern provinces ; they were instructed in all your sciences ; but when they came back to us, they were bad runners ; ignorant of every means of living in the woods ; unable to bear either cold or hunger ; knew neither how 3 to build a cabin, catch a deer, or kill an enemy; spoke our language imperfectly; were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor councillors : they were totally good for nothing. We are, however, not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it; and to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them.” B. FRANKLIN.
THE WIDOW AND HER SON. The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, and by various rural occupations, and the assistance of a small garden, had supported themselves creditably, and led a happy and blameless life. They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and pride of their age. “Oh sir!” said the good woman, “he was such a comely lad, so sweet-tempered, so kind to every one around him, so dutiful to his parents !” It did one's heart good to see him on a Sunday, dressed out in his best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to church—for she was always fonder of leaning on George's arm than on her goodman's ; and, poor soul, she might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the country round.
1 That different nations have different conceptions of things, Que les différentes nations se font sur les choses des idées différentes.- Amiss, En mauvaise part. 3 See $ 55, 39.
Unfortunately, the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship, to 3 enter into the service of one of the small craft that plied on a neighbouring river. He had not been long in this employ when he was entrapped by a press-gang 4 and carried off to sea. His parents received tidings of his seizure,5 but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sunk into his grave. The widow, left lonely in her age and feebleness, could no longer support herself, and came upon the parish.6 Still there was a kind feeling toward her throughout the village, and a certain respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the cottage in which she had passed so many happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied from the scanty production of her little garden, which the neighbours would now and then cultivate 7 for her. It was but a few days before the time at which these circumstances were told me, that she was gathering some vegetables for her repast, when she heard the cottage door, which faced the garden, suddenly opened. A stranger came out, and seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly around. He was dressed in seaman's clothes, was emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken by sickness and hardships. He saw her, and hastened toward her, but his steps were faint and faltering; he sunk on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering eye. “Oh, my dear, dear mother! don't you know your son ? your poor boy George?” It was indeed the wreck of her once noble lad, who,2 shattered by wounds, by sickness, and foreign imprisonment,3 had at length dragged his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood. 4
1 Had supported themselves creditably, Ils avaient pourvu honorablement à leurs besoins.—2 It did one's heart good to, C'était plaisir de. -3 The son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship, to, Le fils, pendant une année de disette, alors que le travail à la terre manquait aussi, fut poussé à.-+ Entrapped by a press-gang, Pris par la presse -5 His seizure, Son enlèvement. -6 Came upon the parish, Tomba à la charge de la paroisse, (see p. 106, note 5.)_7 Would cultivate, Cultivaient.
I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, where joy and sorrow were so completely blended. Still he was alive! he was come home! he might yet live to comfort and cherish her old age! Nature, however, was exhausted in him; and if anything had been wanting to finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet, on which his widowed mother had passed many a sleepless night, and he never rose from it again.
The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and assistance that their humble means afforded. He was too weak, however, to talk ; he could only look his thanks. His mother was his constant attendant, and he seemed unwilling to be helped by any other hand.
There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of manhood, that softens the heart, and brings it back to the feelings of infancy. Who that has languished, even in advanced life, in sickness and despondency, who that has pined on a weary bed 6 in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign land, but has thought on? the mother “ that looked on his childhood," that smoothed his pillow,8 and administered to his helplessness? Oh! there is an
1 And seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly around, Et parut regarder autour de lui d'un air inquiet et hagard.—2 It was indeed the wreck of her once noble lad, who, C'était en effet tout ce qui restait de son superbe garçon ; c'était lui qui.3 Foreign imprisonment, Un emprisonnement à l'étranger. ---4 The scenes of his childhood, Les lieux témoins de son enfance. --5 Look his thanks, Remercier du regard.—6 A weary bed, Un lit de douleur.–7 But has thought on, Sans penser à. -8 That smoothed his pillow, Qui arrangeait son oreiller.
enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart. It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame and exult in his prosperity; and if misfortune overtake him, he will be the dearer to her from misfortune;' and if disgrace settle upon his name,? she will still love and cherish him in spite of his disgrace; and if all the world beside cast him off, she will be all the world to him.
Poor George Somers had known what it was to be in sickness, and none to soothe ; lonely and in prison, and none to visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight; if she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would sit for3 hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Sometimes he would start from a feverish dream and look anxiously up until he saw her bending over him, when 4 he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child. In this way he died.
My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of affliction,5 was to visit the cottage of the mourner and administer pecuniary assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, however, on inquiry, that6 the good feelings of the villagers had prompted them to do everything that the case admitted, and, as the poor know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not venture to intrude.
The next Sunday I was at the village church, when, to my surprise, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the aisle to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar.
She had made an effort to put on something like mourning for her son ;8 and nothing could be more touching than the struggle between pious affection and utter poverty ; a black riband or so, 9
1 He will be the dearer to her from misfortune, Il ne lui en deviendra que plus cher._? If disgrace settle upon his name, Si une tache flétrit son nom.—3 See $ 28, 1. -4 When, Et alors. See also $ 38.-5 This humble tale of affliction, Cette simple, mais affligeante histoire.—6 I found, however, on inquiry, that, Je pris des renseignements et je sus que.—7 And as the poor know best how, Et comme il n'est tels que les pauvres pour savoir.--To put on something like mourning for her son, Pour mettre en mémoire de son fils quelque chose qui eût un air de deuil.-9 A black riband or so, Un ruban noir ou à peu près.