Page images

Grim. Thank you! Go on.

Cousin. I mean to; so don't be impatient. If an uncooked potato, or a burnt mutton-chop, happens to fall to your lot at the dinner-table, what a tempest follows! One would think you had been wronged, insulted, trampled on, driven to despair. Your face is like a thunder-cloud, all the rest of the meal. Your poor wife endeavors to hide her tears. Your children feel timid and miserable. Your guest feels as if she would like to see you held under the nose of the pump, and thoroughly ducked.

Grim. The carriage is waiting for you, Miss Somerville, and the driver has put on your baggage.

Cousin. I have hired that carriage by the hour, and so am in no hurry. Your excuse for your irritability will be, I suppose, that it is constitutional, and not to be controlled. A selfish, paltry, miserable excuse! I have turned down a leaf in Dr. Johnson's works, and will read what he says regard to tempers like yours.

Grim. You are always quoting Dr. Johnson! Cousin, I can not endure it! Dr. Johnson is a bore!

Cousin. Oh, yes! to evil-doers,—but to none else. Hear him: “There is in the world a class of mortals known, and contentedly known, by the appellation of passionate men, who imagine themselves entitled, by this distinction, to be provoked on every slight occasion, and to vent their rage in vehement and fierce vociferations, in furious menaces, and licentious reproaches."

Grim. That will do.

Cousin. "Men of this kind," he tells us, "are often pitied rather than censured, and are not treated with the severity which their neglect of the ease of all about them, might justly provoke." But he adds: "It is surely not to be observed without indignation, that men may be found of minds

mean enough to be satisfied with this treatment; wretches who are proud to obtain the privilege of madmen, and

Grim. I will hear no more!

Have done!

Cousin. So the shaft went home! I am not sorry.

Grim. No one but a meddlesome old maid would think of insulting a man in his own house.

Cousin. So, when at a loss for a vindication, you reproach me with being an old maid! Cousin, it does not distress me, either to be an old maid, or to be called one. I must, however, remark, that the manhood that can charge against a woman her single state, either as a matter of ridicule or reproach, is not quite up to my standard.

Grim. Cousin Mary, I ask your pardon! But am I, indeed, the petulant, disagreeable fellow, you would make me out?

Cousin. My dear Caspar, you are generous enough in large things; but, oh! consider that trifles make up a good portion of the sum of life; and so "a small unkindness is a great offense." Why not be cheerful, sunny, genial, in little things? Why not look on the bright side ? Why not present an unruffled front to petty annoyances? Why not labor,-ay, labor,-to have those around you happy and contented, by reflecting from yourself such a frame of mind upon them?

Life is short, at the best; why not make it cheerful? Do you know that longevity is promoted by a tranquil, happy habit of thought and temper'? Do you know that cheerfulness, like mercy, is twice blessed; blessing "him that gives, and him that takes'?" Do you know that good manners, as well as good sense, demand that we should look at objects on their bright side'? Do you know that it is contemptible selfishness in you to shed gloom and sorrow over a whole family by your moroseness and ill-humor'?

[blocks in formation]

Grim. Cousin Mary, the patience with which I have listened to your cutting remarks, will prove to you, I hope, that, notwithstanding my angry retorts, I am convinced there is much truth in what you have said of me. I have a favor to ask. Send away your carriage; stay a week longer,—a month,—a year, if you will. Hold the lash over this ugly temper of mine, -and I give you my word that I will set about the cure of it in earnest.

Cousin. You should have begun earlier,-in youth, when the temper is pliable, and strong impressions can work great changes. But we will not despair. I will tarry with you a while, just to see if you are serious in your wish for a reformation, and to help you bring it about.

Grim. Thank you. We hear of reformed drunkards, and reformed thieves; and why may not a petulant temper be reformed, by a system of total abstinence from all harsh, unkind moods and expressions? Come, we will try.

QUESTIONS.-1. At what was Mr. Grim offended? 2. What did Cousin Mary say would be fortunate for him? 3. What blunder had Mr. Grim made? 4. How did he often behave at the table? 5. What does Dr. Johnson say of such men? 6. What did Cousin Mary finally say to him? 7. Of what was he convinced? 8. What did he resolve to do?



SAC' RI FICE, religious offering.
STRAIGHT, immediately.
SCUR' VY, low; mean.
SCRU PLE, hesitate.

EN DURE', Suffer; tolerate.
IM PURE', filthy; unclean.
UT TER LY, entirely; completely.
BLEM ISH, defect; deformity.

WA' VER ED, hesitated.

IM PARTIAL, just; free from bias.
RE FER', leave to another.
PAR' DON, forgive.

GHEE, kind of butter used in India.
DIS TRUST' ING, suspecting,
PAL' PA BLE, obvious; evident.
LAUD' ING, praising.




1. A BRAHMIN went out, the legends say,

To buy him a sheep a certain day;
For he had solemnly vowed to slay,
In sacrifice, a sheep that day,
And wanted a sheep his vow to pay.
Three neighboring rogues
(The cunning dogs!)

Finding this out,

Went straight about

(Moved, I ween, by the very Old Nick,)
To play the Brahmin a scurvy trick.

2. So one of them met him with the cry:


"O Brahmin! O Brahmin! won't you buy

A beautiful sheep? for here have I

A beautiful sheep for sacrifice,

As ever was seen by mortal eyes."

3. "Where is your sheep?" replied the Brahmin;
Bring him out here, and let me examine.”

With that the wag

Opened a bag,

And out he drew

To públic view

An ugly, dirty, horrible dog!

Blind as a bat, and lame as a frog;

*The fable, here thrown into verse, is related in English prose by Macau say, who says.—"Thus, or nearly thus, if we remember rightly, runs the story of the Sanscrit EsoD."

With a broken leg, climbing a log,

Or limping slowly over a bog.

4. "Wretch!" said the Brahmin indignant, "who Shamelessly utterest things untrue,

And dost without a scruple endure
To handle creatures the most impure,
How darest thou call that cur a sheep'?
Do you think, foul knave, that I'm asleep'?"

5. "Cur'!" said the fellow with steady tone; A sheep it is, and a sheep alone;


A sheep (see here, what a splendid fleece!)
With flesh the sweetest, and fat as grease;
And such a prize

For sacrifice,

As neither gods nor men can despise,

Unless they both have dust in their eyes!"


'Sir," said the Brahmin, surprised to find A person so utterly out of his mind,

Tis certain that you or I am blind.

Then stepping up,

Patting the pup,

Rogue the second, as if amazed,
While on the dog he steadily gazed,
Exclaims aloud:-"The gods be praised!
Since I've no need to market to go
To buy me a sheep; for here's one so
From spot and blemish perfectly free,
That better could not possibly be.
Isn't it nice'?

What's your price` ?"

« PreviousContinue »