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reign among them? Obferve how the whole fwarm divide and make way for the pifmire that paffes through them! you must understand he is an emmet of quality, and has better blood in his veins than any pifmire in the molehill. Don't you fee how fenfible he is of it, how flow he marches forward, how the whole rabble of ants keep their distance? Here you may obferve one placed upon a little eminence, and looking down on a long row of labourers. He is the richest infect on this fide the hillock, he has a walk of half a yard in length and a quarter of an inch in breadth, he keeps an hundred menial fervants, and has at least fifteen barleycorns in his granary. He is now chiding and beflaving the emmet that ftands before him, and who, for all that we can discover, is as good an emmet as himself.
But here comes an infect of figure! Don't you take notice of a little white ftraw that he carries in his mouth ? That ftraw, you must understand, he would not part with for the longest track about the mole-hill: did you but know what he has undergone to purchase it! See how the ants of all qualities and conditions fwarm about him. Should this ftraw drop out of his mouth, you would fee all this numerous circle of attendants follow the next that took it up, and leave the difcarded infect, or run over his back to come at his fucceffor.
If now you have a mind to fee all the ladies of the mole-hill, obferve first the pifmire that liftens to the emmet on her left-hand, at the fame time that she seems to turn away her head from him. He tells this pcor infect that he is a goddefs, that her eyes are brighter than the fun, that life and death are at her difpofal. She believes him, and gives herfelf a thoufand little airs upon it. Mark the vanity of the pifmire on your left hand. She can fcarce crawl with age; but you must know fhe values herself upon her birth; and if you mind, fpurns at every one that comes within her reach. The little nimble coquette that is running along by the fide of her, is a wit. She has broke many a pifmire's heart. Do but obferve what a drove of lovers are running after her.
We will here finish this imaginary fcene; but firft. of M 2
all, to draw the parallel clofer, will fuppofe, if you please, that death comes down upon the mole-hill, in the shape of a cock-fparrow, who picks up, without diftinction, the pifmire of quality and his flatterers, the pifmire of fubftance and his day-labourers, the whitetraw officer and his fycophants, with all the goddesses, wits, and beauties of the mole-hill.
May we not imagine that beings of fuperior natures and perfections regard all the inftances of pride and vanity, among our own fpecies, in the fame kind of view when they take a furvey of those who inhabit the earth; or, in the language of an ingenious French poet, of those pifmires that people this heap of dirt, which human vanity has divided into climates and regions.
An allegorical Letter from To-Ŋ A Y.
To the ADVENTURER.
T is the fate of all who do not live in necessary or accidental obfcurity, who neither pafs undistinguifhed through the vale of poverty, nor hide themdelves in the groves of folitude, to have a numerous acquaintance and few friends.
An acquaintance is a being who meets us with a fmile and a falute, who tells us in the fame breath that he is glad and forry for the moft trivial good and ill that befalls us, and yet who turns from us without regret, who fcarce wishes to fee us again, who forfakes us in hopelefs fickness or adverfity, and when we die remembers us no more. A friend is he with whom our interest is united, upon whofe participation all our pleasures depend; who fooths us in the fretfulness of disease, and chears us in the gloom of a prison; to whom, when we die, even our remains are facred, who follows them with tears to the grave, and preferves our image in his heart. A friend our calamities may grieve, and our
wants may impoverish, but neglect only can offend and unkindness alienate. Is it not therefore aftonishing that a friend fhould ever be alienated or offended? and can there be a stronger inftance of the folly and caprice of mankind, than their withholding from thofe upon whom their happiness is confeffed to depend, that civility which they lavish upon others, without hope of any higher reward than a trivial and momentary gratification of their vanity, by an echo of their compliments and a return of their obeyfance?
Of this caprice there are none who have more cause to complain than myself. That I am a perfon of fome importance has never yet been difputed : I am allowed to have great power to please and to instruct: I always contribute to the felicity of those by whom I am well treated; and I must confefs, that I am never abused without leaving marks of my refentment behind me.
I am generally regarded as a friend; and there are few who could think of parting with me for the lat time, without the utmoft regret, folicitude, and reluct ance. I know, wherever I come, that I have been the object of defire and hope; and that the pleasure which I am expected to diffufe, has, like all others, been enjoyed by anticipation. By the young and gay, those who are entering the world either as a fcene of business or pleasure, I am frequently defired with fuch impatience, that although every moment brings on wrinkles and decrepitude with irrefiftible rapidity, that they will be willing that the time of my abfence fhould be annihilated, and the approach of wrinkles and decrepitude rendered yet more precipitate. There cannot furely be ftronger evidence than this of my influence upon their happiness, or of their affection for me: and yet the tranfport with which I am at firft received quickly fubfides; they appear to grow weary of my company, they would again fhorten life to haiten the hour of my departure, and they reflect upon the length of my vifit with regret.
To the aged I confefs I am not able to procure equal advantages, and yet there are fome of these who have been remarkable for their virtue, among whom I expeM 3 rience
rience more conftant reciprocations of friendship. never heard that they expreffed any impatient expectation of me when abfent, nor do they receive me with rapture when I come; but while I ftay they treat me with complacency and good humour; and in proportion as their first addrefs is lefs violent, the whole tenour of their conduct is more equal: they fuffer me to leave them in an evening without importunity to prolong my vifit, and think of my departure with indifference.
You will, perhaps, imagine, that I am diftinguished by fome ftrange fingularity, of which the uncommon treatment that I receive is a confequence. As few can judge with impartiality of their own character, none are believed merely upon their own evidence who affirm it to be good: I will, therefore, defcribe to you the manner in which I am received by perfons of very different ftations, capacities, and employments. The facts fhall be exhibited without falfe colouring; I will neither fupprefs, foften, nor exaggerate any circumftance, by which the natural and genuine ftate of thefe facts may be difcovered, and I know that your fagacity will do me justice.
In fummer I rife very early; and the first person that I fee is a peafant at his work, who generally regards me with a fmile, though he feldom participates of my bounty. His labour is scarce ever fufpended while I am with him; yet he always talks of me with complacency, and never treats me with neglect or indecorum, except perhaps on a holiday, when he has been tippling : and this I can eafily overlook, though he commonly receives a hint of his fault the next morning, that he may be the more upon his guard for the future.
But though in the country I have reafon to be best fatisfied with the behaviour of thofe whom I first fee, yet in my early walks in town I am almoft fure to be infulted. As foon as the wretch, who has paffed the night at a tavern, or a gaming-table, perceives me at a diftance, he begins to mutter curfes against me, though he knows they will be fulfilled upon himself, and is impatient till he can bar his door and hide himself in bed.
I have one fifter, and though her complexion is very dark, yet fhe is not without her charms : fhe is, I con
fefs, faid to look beft by candlelight, in her jewels, and at a publick place, where the fplendor of her dress and the multiplicity of other objects prevent too minute an examination of her perfon. Some good judges have fancied, though perhaps a little whimfically, that there is fomething inexpreffibly pleafing in her by moonlight, a kind of placid eafe, a gentle languor which foftens her features, and gives new grace to her manner: they say too, that the is beft difpofed to be agreeable company in a walk, under the chequered fhade of a grove, along the green banks of a river, or upon the fandy beach by the fea.
My fifter's principles in many particulars differ from mine; but there has been always fuch a harmony between us, that the feldom fmiles upon thofe who have fuffered me to pafs with a contemptuous negligence; much less does the ufe her influence, which is very great, to procure any advantage for those who drive me from their prefence with outrage and abufe; and yet none are more affiduous in their addreffes, nor intrude longer upon her privacy, than thofe who are moft implacably my enemies.
She is generally better received by the poor than the rich; and indeed the feldom vifits the indigent and the wretched, without bringing fomething for their relief; yet thofe who are most follicitous to engage her in parties of pleasure, and are feen longeft in her company, are always fufpected of fome evil defign.
You will, perhaps, think there is fomething enigmatical in all this; and left you should not yet be able to discover my true character fufficiently to engage you in my intereft, I will give you a fhort hiftory of the incidents that have happened to me during the laft eight hours.
It is now four o'clock in the afternoon: about feven I rofe; foon after, as I was walking by the dial in Covent Garden, I was perceived by a man well dreffed, who appeared to have been fleeping under one of the fheds, and whom a watchman had juft told that I was approaching after attempting to fwear feveral oaths, and ftaggering a few paces, he fcowled at me under his M 4 hat,