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which ought to be well looked into ; and I thank you. for calling upon me to make the examination.
I do not tell you, however, that I have not written many letters, read many books, spent much time in company of excellent people whom I love, and a great deal in such exercise as was indispensably requisite for my health: but it is almost necessary in this place to live « au jour la journée," and giving up all schemes and choices of one's own, to despatch such employments as the present moment more immediately calls for. And, I think, -Epictetus says excellent things on this head; and affirms that one ought not to be always sighing after leisure, but to know how to live sometimes without it. But I do sigh very often to feel a dead weight of unimproved time upon my hands, in the visits of this town, when a whole afternoon's conversation is wasted on the most uninteresting trifles. Would time really stand still so long, this wretched trifling night be less unpardonable. But time flows on in the same rapid course; and while we still trifle, eternity is upon us. A gracious Providence calls upon us, by the loudest alarms*, to hasten and finish our appointed ivork; and we carelessly divert our attention to objects undeserving the serious contemplations of a 'monkey. I do not call it trifling, to be gay with our friends; to enliven the circle of social good humour ; to improve all our talents, small as well as great, to the praise of the Giver ; thankfully to enjoy and admire even his least and most common bounties ; to refresh ourselves with needful relaxation; and to indulge, at fit times, the innocent sportings of fancy. But
• The memorable earthquake at lisbon happened on the inst of November, 1755. In
I have no patience with the false politeness of the world which banishes every subject that is interesting and de. lightful, if it bears but the name of seriousness, to introduce every one that is dull and tiresome, merely because it is unimportant. Some striking subjects have indeed forced themselves upon every body's attention this winter : but alas! in a soil where weeds and thorns are so plentifully sown, no lasting good can be expected without a daily preparation of the ground, begun in humility, and continued with patience.
I take the unconscionable liberty of writing to you who do not need it, what I dare not speak in polite companies that do. I confess I am in a peculiarly serious disposition this winter, though by no means a gloomy one. I have great awe upon my mind, and yet no sort of panic. I feel an earnest desire to be the better myself, and as earnest a one that every body else may be the better, for the warnings we have had. The storms that seem ready to break over us, may yet, after a salutary threatening, be dispelled by HIM who made all things, and into whose hands all things are committed.-Had the one minute in which you perceived so gentle a motion, been lengthened into three or four, in what scenes of distress had we both been involved! how likely that we should never more have met in this world! Such thoughts do not strike me with melancholy: they only serve to endear every frfend, and heighten the value of every added moment, at the same time that they loosen my mind from these vanishing scenes. I often look upon the loftiest and strongest buildings, as shadowy forms in a cloud, which may the next minute disappear; the scenes of gaiety seem like gleams of April sunshine, which may instantaneously be overcast.
Were idle fears to be indulged, I should not at all like your situation, so near the swelling sea, so near the threatened coast: but in what situation are we secure from dangers ? in what situation are we removed from under the immediate eye of a gracious Providence ?
You do not mention having heard any remarkable noise previously to the balancing motion. I suppose; therefore, there either was none, or you did not attend to it. With us, the whole day was immoderately snowy. It gives me pleasure to think, in what excellent employment the shock, had it been greater, would have found you. Most heartily do I wish all possible success to the great pains you have taken with your brother. How important is your task, to form the mind tnat is hereafter to instruct so many! My best wishes attend all you love; and my gratitnde to yourself for permitting to be of that number,
Lambeth, Oct. 19, 1761. I know so much of Mrs. Chapone both from you and Mr. Richardson, that I have sincerely felt her affliction.--I was meditating yesterday upon death, till I was amazed that it is almost the only subject which is never treated of in conversation farther than as a mere uninteresting fact. Were any number of persons intending to embark for a distant, unknown country, of whom some might be called to-morrow, and all must be called soon, would they not, whenever they met as friends and fellow travellers, be inquiring amongst them
selves, how each was provided for the journey; what accounts each had heard of the place; the terms of reception; what interest and hopes each had secured, what treasures remitted, what protection ensured; and would they not excite each other to despatch what was yet possible to be done, and might to-morrow be irretrievably too late ?-I think it would sit pleasingly on the mind, when a friend was vanished out of this visible world to have such conversations to reflect upon! What astonishing scenes are now opened to the minds of many with whom, a few months ago, we used familiarly and triflingly to converse! with whom we have wasted many an inestimable hour! What clear views have they now of those great and important truths, for which the foolish bustle of this world, leaves scarcely any place in the immortal mind! I am interrupted. “Adieu! &c.
Deal, Oct. 30, 1763. By your expectation of hearing from me, I ápprehend that you did not receive a letter which I wrete to you from the Hague. If you did not, I am doubly obliged to you, for giving me the pleasure of a letter from you. Yet the joy which I always feel on every proof of your remembrance, was deadened by the melancholy account which you give me of your friends, and the reflection on the pain which a heart like yours must feel on such an occasion. I well remember the young lady who was with you last winter; and I grieve for your loss of her. Yet that strong sensibility which you mention, though the indication of an amiable disposition, is such a capacity of exquisite suffering, that her early removal from a world like this, may, to herself and to those who best loved her, be a distinguished mercy.
The storms which have produced so sad effects in other places, have been but very little felt on our coast. I believe you guess right, that a taste for the sublime would be very apt to lead me to the full view of a tempest, though I could not stand the shock of seeing any one suffer by it, but I should quit my station, as you would do, in the like case. The person who could sura