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pose. But, with all deference to so great an authority, I cannot in every respect coincide with this opinion.
There are several laughs, or modes of laughter. It is one thing to laugh with a man; another to laugh at him. There is a certain laugh of contempt, which even folly itself, unless joined with a degree of vice, or at least of what I may be permitted to call wilful ill-manners, can scarcely justify. It is certain that this laugh has been most prejudicial in occasioning feuds, animosities, and even mortal quarrels; because contempt is looked on by many as worse than hatred, and harder to be forgiven. I could wish those who love peace, and esteem their own tranquillity, to be cautious how they laugh in this manner.
As to laughing at the misfortunes of others, there appears to me so much turpitude in this as I could hardly believe human nature capable of, did not daily experience produce the conviction. In this laughing at infirmities, is included. Such a conduct, the most ridiculous and blameable levity, or the grossest ignorance and stupidity alone can be admitted in palliation of, for nothing can fully excuse this sort of laughter.
The next of kin, perhaps, is that raised by the dialect or manners of foreigners; however it partakes more of folly, and less of wickedness, than the former. The laugh of malice needs only to be mentioned to be reprobated. So much for the unconditional right of laughing, which I confess I never could be brought to allow.
I come next to speak of the laugh of affectation. This is the very child of folly, frequently in alliance with it, generally disgusting, and we should deserve to be laughed at, if we countenanced it.
On the other hand, the laugh that is raised by sallies of wit and harmless humour, not coming under any of these descriptions, will meet with the approbation of all, except those whose gloomy tempers lead them to blame whatever they themselves cannot relish or enjoy.
The laughter of innocent mirth I take to be in some measure the salt of life, the seasoning of youthful existence, and such as is likely to please the good and social; even though they may not always find themselves in a situation to partake of it. Indeed there is generally so much of good nature in a laugh of this kind, that it seldom fails to prove agreeable. Before I conclude, I shall call to the recollection of my readers a few short maxims
Reflections on a Melancholy Event.
worth attending to, for they are, perhaps too good to be new ones: I mean the following:-Besides never laughing much, likewise not to laugh in company at any thing with which all present are not acquainted-for none to laugh at their own story or wit, much less to interrupt their common discourse with laughter, which besides being a proof of levity, is likely to render the matters treated of not very intelligible to the auditors: not to be long or loud, any more than frequent in peals of laugh ter, especially when among superiors,
REFLECTIONS ON A MELANCHOLY EVENT.
Can wisdom lend, with all her heavenly power
I lately read in a Newspaper of a disbanded soldier, who on his way home, and within a short distance from it, lost his road, fell over a precipice and was killed. I laid the paper aside and mused on the melancholy occurrence. I fancied I saw the veteran, who had long braved the battle's danger; and for his country bravely fought and nobly won, now returning after an absence of many years, to spend the sunset of his eventful life, and close his eyes, amidst the friends of his youth, and on the spot of his birth. Methought I saw him with cheerful and hasty step measuring the most pleasant march of his life. His face beamed with gladness, his bosom beat with joy-a little bundle contained his all, and on his manly breast hung pendant the proud reward of his merits, a token of his sovereign's goodness and his country's gratitude. His thoughts outstripped his speed in joyful anticipation. He figured to himself the objects and endearing scenes of his youth, the cheerful fireside of the cottage, where he himself had often listened to the village tale. He saw a friend—a neighbour-a father-a mother-and one still more dear, forming a cheerful little assembly, met to celebrate the soldier's return, and waiting with impatience his protracted arrival,
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold
I next fancied myself a spectator of the cottage of joy-soou,
ah! too soon-to become that of sorrow. I saw the joyful circle as they sat around the blazing hearth, and talked of the adventurous deeds of the young soldier. I could see fond delight pictured on the paternal countenance, and a still softer passion sparkling in the lovely features of the lovely maid-while pleasure sat on the dunny face of the honest swain. They counted the lingering hours as they slipt past, and wondered the cause of delay. They listened at every step and thought it martial. The board was spread with the luxuries of the cottage, and all in anxiety waited the happy moment which was to complete the measure of their happiness in clasping in their arms the long lost soldier.
For him no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Ah cruel fate! If he was thy devoted victim, could he not have fallen in the field of glory, and found an honourable tomb with thousands of his countrymen? Why was thy dart so cruelly aimed at the eventful moment of the consummation of his hopes? But note the lesson the event so forcibly teaches. Your prospects may be unclouded-your hopes sanguine-the object of your wishes within reach of your eye and a few more steps promise to place you in the enjoyment of the object of all your labours. But vicissitude is the lot of humanity-uncertainty the characteristic of all the calculations of man-a precipice--a dreadful precipice may entervene--here you may be awakened from your visions of beatitude-and your prospects-hopes-and wishes share in one common ruin. Though basking in the sun-shine of prosperity-though wallowing in the pleasures and luxuries of earthly grandure-though resting on the utmost security of human calculation-remember the poor soldier!
I have often felt pleasure at observing the embarrassment of an ingenious youth when first ushered into company. The blush which is esteemed by the polite world as the mark of a
Letter from Andrew Ettleweel.
booby, I have ever considered as the best bond which a youth can give to society for his continuance in the paths of modesty and virtue, and has been to me not the least mark of merit. The following Allegory may illustrate this remark.
Youth, Virtue, and Modesty, set out upon a journey. Pleased with each other, for a while the road was pleasant, and the company delightful: in the morning the lark's song awoke them to joy, and the evening star lighted them to undisturbed repose. Thus they travelled; when youth stumbled, Modesty immediately beckoned to Virtue, and Virtue instantly came to his relief. In process of time, Experience, Impudence, and Vice, overtook them; Modesty kept Youth back, and Virtue warned him to beware of their company: but Impudence was not to be shaken off. When Youth stumbled he ran to his relief; and Experience whispered in his ear, that Impudence was a speedier assistant than Modesty. Modesty perceiving her presence was troublesome, retired in disgust; and Virtue the friend of Modesty soon followed her example. Vice the associate of Impudence stepped forward to supply the place of Virtue, assumed the name, and Impudence swore to the reality. Youth, headless and unsuspecting perceived not the deceit, till Old Age, and Remorse stopt his career, and led him captive to the cave of Despair,
TO THE Editor.
A crouse birky frien' o' yours wha ca's himsel' Forceps has fun' faut wi' me in yir num'er fourt for no liftin' a sturdie testimonie again' the Sabbath practices whilk I gied ye an inklin' o' in my last. Ye may tell yir frien' he has mista'en me: for its no my intention to ban an' cry down, wi' red-wud ettle, the kintra fassons whilk I may happen to think's wrang. If a hint gi'en to the common sense o fo'k on errors that requere only to be tauld, that they may be seen and acknowledged-if that 'll no do it's nowther Forceps nor you nor me, wi' a our argumentin' that 'll drive them frae them. Sae no to deteen ye wi' ony thing like a bruillie o' words atween me an Forceps, l'se gang on, wi' yir leave, wi' what I was meanin' to mak the subject o' this ypissle;
Letter from Andrew Ettleweel.
an' that's anent the way the Christenin' o' waens is gane about in our parish here.
I'm sure, Sir, ye'll agree wi' me whan I gi'e't as my opinion that a' the haly Institutions o' our religion sud be conducket wi' a' manner o' devootness an' decencie:No that I'm gaun to say that our kirk in thae days is destitute o' them. Though we ha'e chainged mony things sin' the days o' aul' John Knox, yet I'm blythe to say, Scotland even yet keeps up mony things, though no fashonable now, whilk she prizes as the dautet relics o' her langsyne simplicitie. She still likes the sabbath-day-an' the quateness o' a sabbath-mornin'-an' the pleasures o' the familygatherin' roun' the Ha' bible, whan the guidman raises in his cot the voice o' holy psalmodie: she still likes the soun' o' the Sabbath bell that wairns to the house o' God, whare her sons may worship Him wham their fathers worshippet afore them :-She still leuks. up in reverence an' luve to the Men o' God, wha ha'e been the mean, in the han' o' the almightie, o' makin' her sons a righteous people, an' hersel' the praise an' won'er of the surroun'in' nations.
At the sam time while I say a' this to her credit (an' wael-awat muckle mair could be said) I dinna mean to conceal't that there's things aboot our kirk that's scrimp aneugh o' decencie an' douceness-an' I canna wail out an' instance mair in point than the way the Christenin's are conducket, at least in our parish an' twa-three roun'.-As ye'll aiblins no ha'e min' o't, as it's a lang whyle sin' ye ware amang us, it'll may be enterteen ye to get the account o' a' the proceedin's.-Weel, suppose the minister has gotten his text gi'en out, an's gaun on smoothlie an' bonnilie, unfaldin' the doctrines an' the peeous uses o' his subjeck-Swith! up starts Guy Johnston the Bellman, wha sits in the bunker just anoth the minister; an, wi' his fustlin' an' drivin' about till he gets to the door, disturbs our thochtes an' taks them frae the subjeck in han-He at length gets out an' quateness is again restored. Guy's erran's doon to the Burnfit to Geordie Tamson's, whare the waen's that's to be bapteezed, an' the mither's an' the frien's are sittin' waitin' his summons. Guy gets his pouches stappet fu' o' buns, whilk are his dues-an' awa' the haill gatherin' proceeds to the kirk wi' him at their head. By this time the minister has got to the warmest an' usefu'est pairt o' his sermonan's rousin' up our dead feelin's-or alarmin' our fears-or soothin' an' comfortin' the upricht in heart-an' we a' are arreested by