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plexity in the discharge of the trust which Jupiter had committed to them. They observed that several blessings had degenerated into calamities, and that several calamities had improved into blessings, according as they fell into the possession of wise or foolish men. They often found power, with so much insolence and impatience cleaving to it, that it became a misfortune to the person on whom it was conferred. Youth had often distempers growing about it, worse than the infirmities of old age: wealth was often united to such a sordid avarice, as made it the most uncomfortable and painful kind of poverty. On the contrary, they often found pain made glorious by fortitude, poverty lost in content, deformity beautified with virtue. In a word, the blessings were often like good fruits planted in a bad soil, that by degrees fall off from their natural relish, into tastes altogether insipid or unwholesome; and the calamities, like harsh fruits cultivated in a good soil, and enriched by proper grafts and inoculations, until they swell with generous and delightful juices.
There was still a third circumstance that occasioned as great a surprise to the three sisters as either of the foregoing, when they discovered several blessings and calamities which had never been in either of the tuns that stood by the throne of Jupiter, and were nevertheless as great occasions of happiness or misery as any there. These were that spurious crop of blessings and calamities which were never sown by the hand of the deity, but grow of themselves out of the fancies and dispositions of human creatures. Such are dress, titles, place, equipage, false shame and groundless fear, with the like vain imaginations that shoot up in trifing, weak and irresolute minds.
The Destinies, finding themselves in so great a perplexity, concluded that it would be impossible for them to execute the commands that had been given them, according to their first intention; for which reason they agreed to throw all the blessings and calamities together into one large vessel, and in that manner offer them up at the feet of Jupiter.
This was performed accordingly; the eldest sister presenting herself before the vessel, and introducing it with an apology for what they had done :
O Jupiter, says she, we have gathered together all the good and evil, the comforts and distresses of human life, which we thus present before thee in one promiscuous heap. We beseech thee, that thou thyself wilt sort them out for the future, as in thy wisdom thou shalt think fit. For we acknowledge, that there is none besides thee that can judge what will occasion grief or joy in the heart of a human creature, and what will prove a blessing or a calamity to the person on whom it is bestowed.'
TRAVELLING IN A STAGE COACH.
Some years since I was engaged with a coach-full of friends to take a journey as far as the Land's End. We were very well pleased with one another the first day; every one endeavouring to recommend himself by his goud-humour and complaisance to the rest of the company. This good correspondence did not last long; one of our party was soured the very first evening by a plate of butter which had not been melted to his mind, and which spoiled his temper to such a degree, that he continued upon the fret to the end of our journey. A second fell off from his good humour the next morning, for no other reason, that I could imagine, but because I chanced to step into the coach before him, and place myself on the shady side. This, however, was but my own private guess; for he did not mention a word of it, nor indeed of any thing else, for three days following. The rest of our company held out very near half the way, when on a sudden Mr. Sprightly fell asleep; and, instead of endeavouring to divert and oblige us as he had hitherto done, carried himself with an unconcerned, careless, drowsy behaviour, until he came to our last stage. There were three of us who still held up our heads, and did all we could to make our journey agreeable; but, to my shame be it spoken, about three miles on this side Exeter, I was taken with an unaccountable fit of sullenness that hung upon me for above threescore miles ; whether it were for want of respect, or from an accidental tread upon my foot, or from a foolish maid's calling me “The old gentleman,' I cannot tell. In short, there was but one who kept his good-humour to the Land's End.
There was another coach that went along with us, in which I likewise observed that there were many secret jealousies, heart-burnings, and animosities; for, when we joined companies at night, I could not but take notice that the passengers neglected their own company, and studied how to make themselves esteemed by us, who were altogether strangers to them ; until at length they grew so well acquainted with us, that they liked us as little as they did one another. When I reflect upon this journey, I often fancy it to be a picture of human life, in respect to the several friendships, con
tracts, and alliances, that are made and dissolved in the several periods of it: The most delightful and most lasting engagements are generally those which pass between man and woman ; and yet, upon what trifles are they weakened or entirely broken! Sometimes the parties iy asunder, even in the midst of courtship, and sometimes grow cool even in the very honey-months. Some separate before the first child, and some after the fifth ; others continue good until thirty, others until forty; while some few, whose souls are of a happier make, and better, fitted to one another, travel on together to the end of their journey, in a continual intercourse of kind offices, and mutual endearments.
When we therefore choose our companions for life, if we hope to keep both them and ourselves in good humour to the last stage of it, we must be extremely careful in the choice we make, as well as in the conduct on our part. When the persons to whom we join ourselves can stand an examination, and bear the scrutiny; when they mend upon our acquaintance with them, and discover new beauties the more we search into their characters; our love will naturally rise in proportion to their perfections.
But because there are very few possessed of such accomplishments of body and mind, we ought to look after those qualifications, both in ourselves and others, which are indispensably necessary towards this happy union, and which are in the power of every one to acquire, or at least to cultivate and improve. These, in my opinion, are cheerfulness and constancy. A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good-natured, It will lighten sickness, poverty, and affliction; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity; and render deformity itself agreeable.
Constancy is natural to persons of even tempers and uniform dispositions ; and may be acquired by those of the greatest fickleness, violence, and passion, who consider seriously the terms of union on which they comé together, the mutual interest in which they are engaged, with all the motives that ought to incite their tenderness and compassion towards those who have their dependence upon them, and are embarked with them for life in the same state of happiness or misery. Constancy, when it grows in the mind upon considerations of this nature, becomes a moral virtue, and a kind of goud-nature, that is not subject to any change of health, age, fortune, or any of those accidents which are apt to unsettle the best dispositions that are founded rather in constitution than in reason. Where such a constancy as this is wanting, the most inflamed passion may fall away into coldness and indifference, and the most melting tenderness degenerate into hatred and aversion. I shall conclude this paper with a story that is very well known in the north of England.
About thirty years ago, a packet-boat that had several passengers on board was cast away upon a rock, and in so great danger of sinking, that all who were in it endeavoured to save themselves as well as they could: though only those who could swim well had a bare pose, sibility of doing it. Among the passengers there were two women of fashion, who seeing themselves in such a disconsolate condition, begged for their husbands not to leave them. One of thein chose rather to die with his wife than to forsake her; the other, though he was moved with the utmost compassion for his wife, told her that, for the good of their children, it was better one