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I married early a lady whose views of life were similar to my own ; and though the first rapture of love was quickly over, it was succeeded by a calmer and less tumultuous affection, more happy on the whole, and which has increased with our increasing years. Our mutual habits, or mutual attachments, our fondness for our children, have made us for a long course of time more and more one, and every year rendered dearer that union so long ago formed. My eldest son is now cultivating that profession from which his father has retired. With what joy do I see his talents successful.! with what satisfac. tion do I perceive him improving those lessons I have given him ; and, with the most engaging modesty, advancing much farther than his father's genius entitled him to advance ! This is indeed living twice! With great sincerity, and with hopes that they are prophetic of my situation, can I use those words of Morni, in the poems of Ossian : May the name of Morni be forgot among the people ; may it only be. said, behold the father of Gaul !
My youngest boy is less advanced, but of no less promising parts, nor less amiable dispositions than his brother.
I have four daughters, and I cannot speak of them but with emotions of gratitude. They are obliged to me and to their excellent mother, for the education we have given them ; but how amply have they req paid that obligation! My eldest daughter, now many years married, was before her marriage my companion, and the helpmate of her mother: we used then to call her our little housekeeper. Her own merit, the good education she received, and the inducement of having for a wife the daughter of such a mother as my Hortensia, contributed to make her, the wife of a very respectable man ; and Hortensia and I now, with enraptured hearts, see her eldest child, our grand-daughter, holding the same station in her mother's family that her mother did in ours. After our eldest daughter's marriage, our second succeeded to her place, and she again, upon her marriage, was succeeded in her turn. Our youngest, Maria, is the only one now left to us; and I think,
may say it without vanity, is in no respect inferior to any of the family. Her affection to me seems quickened in proportion to my advance in life; and if I feel any of the infirmities of age, they are much more than counterbalanced by her delicate attention: methinks I would not wish to be younger and stouter than I am, at the expence of losing the assistances of my dear Maria.
It is our custom every Saturday evening to have a general family-party. At tea I have all
my grandchildren round me, and the variety of gratifications I receive from this little society, it is impossible to describe. At supper, my son, my daughters, and their husbands are with us ; and my wife and I, I can assure you, make no unrespectable figure, seated in our elbow chairs. Had I any grievances to complain of through the week, which indeed I have not, this night would fully compensate them.
Amidst the amusements which this evening's party affords, I must mention one, the pleasure which we receive from the perusal of your Lounger. My wife gets it regularly delivered her every morning about nine : but no one is allowed then to read it. She herself carefully deposits it in her scrutoire, and it is not produced till after supper. It is then brought upon the table, and is read by my Maria, who does it all justice in the reading. I am sure it would give you much delight to hear the conversation it occasions; the remarks which are made, without affectation, and with perfect candour, upon the composition, the scenes it describes, the characters it represents, their similarity to other papers of the kind, and the like. Many things are said, which, I ain persuaded, if collected together, would afford matter for a number of papers. One thing I shall mention, which came from Maria last Saturday. She observo ed, that there were many of the papers
which introduced unmarried men and women, and she proposed that we should make up matches between them. This gave occasion to a good deal of pleasantry, most of which I have forgot; but I remember, that among other marriages, it was proposed, that Captain N.should be married to Miss Caustic; though Maria, grasping my hand, the tear half starting in her eye, objected to it, because it would be wrong to deprive the Colonel of his sister. With regard to your cor. respondent Hortensius, the youngest of my married daughters, looking at her husband with inexpressible good humour, said, that if she were not already tied, she believed she could have married him herself.
Another source of our entertainment in reading your papers, is a suspicion which I see prevails in the company,
that some of its members are your correspondents, and have written in the Lounger. This suspicion gives birth to many a joke; and it is divert. ing to see upon whom the conjecture of having written this or that paper falls, and the different devices which are thought of to discover where the truth lies. Little do they imagine that their old father is at this moment employed as your correspondent. But I must conclude ; I am
will have thought that I have one quality of an old man about me, that of being a great talker. I shall only add, that if you think this account of a happy fa. mily worth your insertion, it will afford, on the even. ing of the Saturday on which it is published, a good deal of entertainment to the family-party I have described.
I know not whether it be from vanity, or from some better motive, that I have given this letter to the public. I must own, that I have felt myself very sensibly gratified by the manner in which my papers are received in the family of Aurelius. It is
persons in the ordinary stations of life that the Lounger is addressed. The learned may perhaps think themselves above it ; the vulgar, those who are employed in the servile offices of life, are below it. But as long as I can give one half-hour's amusement, mixed perhaps with a little instruction, to such a family as that of Aurelius, it shall neither be the indifference of the learned, nor the neglect of the multitude whịch shall induce me to discontinue my labours.
N° 58. SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1786.
Inter sylvas Academi querere verum.
To the AUTHOR. of the LOUNGER.
SIR, Among the various complaints which I observe from your papers your correspondents occasionally make to you, you may not, perhaps, have met with any more whimsical, or which at first sight will appear more unjust, than mine. I have, thank God, very few
evils, either real or imaginary, in my lot; I am neither too rich nor too poor to be contented; I am neither so dull as not to be pleased with a good thing, nor so refined as to be proud at finding faults in it ; I am neither nervous in my body, nor tremblingly alive in my mind : one thing only plagues and vexes me, and plagues and vexes the whole family in which I live. The evil of which I complain, Mr. Lounger, is, I am told, one of the first of virtues :'-the evil I complain of is Truth.
You must know 'I have a sister married to a very good and a very learned gentleman, in whose fa. mily, by his and his wife's pressing invitation, I have lived ever since his marriage ; and for several years no set of people could be happier. But of late my brother-in-law has become a philosopher, and is perpetually hunting after truth; and a pretty chace she leads him! His poring over books in quest of her would only weaken his own eyes, and break his own rest; but his running after her whereever she is to be found, at all times, and in all companies, breaks the rest of every body around him. With
my sister and me he has but little play for his humour. His wife indeed is of so gentle and comply: ing a temper, that she never disputes his propositions, as he calls them. I am not quite so yielding; and we have now and then little bouts at an argument : 'but with our guests and visitors he is constantly at it ; and I believe in my conscience he often chuses companies as your chess-players do, because they are nearly matches at their favourite game ; having observed that of late, since he took to this kind of sport, he generally invites these people oftenest who argue stoutest with him when they come. For these same truth-hunters, Mr. Lounger, seem, kke true sportsmen, to find little pleasure in the chace when it is soon run down, or when there are no hazards in