Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the most eminent masters are happy enough to hit off her difficult face exactly !

Every person of taste would have been - certain that Mr. Holwell was one of the sufferers in the black hole, only from the short passage I have noticed.

Robinson Crusoe now-what nature! It affects us throughout, exactly in the way

you mentioned.

But, shall I finish my dissertation? Come -as writing to you gives me so much pleasure, and as I can't do any thing to you but write this morning I know you'll excuse me.

Did you ever hear to what Crusoe owed his existence? You remember Alexander Selkirk's strange sequestration at Juan Fernandez. It is mentioned, I believe, in Walter's account of Anson's Voyage. When Captain Woodes Rogers met with him and brought him to England, he employed the famous Daniel de Foe to revise his papers. That fertile genius improved upon his materials, and composed the cele

brated

[ocr errors]

brated story of Robinson Crusoe. The consequence was that Selkirk, who soon after made his appearance in print, was collsidered as a bastard of Crusoe, with which spurious offspring the press too often teems. In De Foe, undoubtedly, this was not honeft. Had Selkirk given him his papers, there could have been no harm in working them up his own way. I can easily conceive a writer making his own use of a known fact, and filling up the outlines which have been sketched by the bold and hasty hand of fate. A moral may be added, by such means, to a particular incident; characters may be placed in their juft and proper lights; mankind may be amused, (and amusements sometimes

prevent crimes) or, if the story be criminal mankind may be bettered, through the channel of their curiosity. But, I would not be dishonest, like De Foe ; nor would I pain the breast of a single individual connected with the story.

To explain what I mean by a criminal story.--Faldoni and Teresa might have

been

[ocr errors]

been prevented from making proselytes, if they ever have made any, by working up their most affecting story so as to take off the edge of the dangerous example. But not in the way Mr. Jerningham has done it; who tells us, not less intelligibly than pathetically,

[ocr errors]

All-ruling love, the god of youth possess’d
Entire dominion of Faldoni's breast :
An equal flame did symphany impart
(A flame destructive) to Teresa's heart :
As on one stem two opening flowers re-

spire,
So grew their life (entwin'd) on one desire.

Are you not charmed? Perhaps you never saw the poem. I have it here and will bring it you as a curiosity': the melancholy tale will not take up three words, though Mr. J. has bestowed upon it 335 melancholy lines. The catastrophe happen'd near Lyons, in the month of June, 1770. Two lovers (Faldoni and Teresa

Meunier) Meunier) meting with an invincible obstacle to their union, determined to put an end to their existence with piftols. The place they chose for the execution of their terrible project was a chapel that stood at a little distance from the house. They even decorated the altar for the occasion.

They paid a particular attention to their own dress. Teresa was dressed in white, with rose-coloured ribbands. The fame coloured ribbands were tied to the pistols. Each held the ribband that was fastened to the other's trigger, which they drew at a certain signal.

Arria and Pætus (says Voltaire) set the example, but then it must be considered they were condemned to death by a tyrant. Whereas love was the only inventor and perpetrator of this deeed.

Yet, while I talk of taking off the dangerous edge of their example, they have almost listed me under their bloody ban

ners.

On

On looking over the sermon I have written, I recollect a curious anccdote of Selkirk.

(By the bye, Wilkes, I suppose, would fay, that none but a Scotchman could have lived so many years upon a desart island.)

He tamed a great number of kids for fociety, and with them and the numerous offspring of two or three cats that had been left with him, he used often to dance. From all which my inference is this---M. will not surely deprive herself of H's society; but will let him find her there tomorrow. Especially, since, in Mr. J.’s.expresive language,

[ocr errors]

As on one ftem two opening flowers

respire, So grow our lives entwin'd on one desire.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »