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a quarter of a mile to the left hand, with a great deal ado i prevailed upon the pustillion to turn up to it. The look of the house, and every thing about it, as we diew nearer soon reconciled me to the disaster. It was a little farm house, surrounded with about twenty acres of vineyard, about as much corn ; and close to the house, on one side, was a potagerie of an acre and a half, full of every thing which could make plenty in a French peasant's house; and on the other side, was a liitle wood, which furnished wherewithal to dress it. It was about eight in the evening when I got to the house ; so I left the postillion to manage his point as he could ; and, for mine, I walked directly into the house.
The family consisted of an old gray headed man and his wife, with five or six sons and sons in law, and their several wives, and a joyous genealogy out of them.
They were all sitting down together to their lentil.. soup : : A large wheaten loaf was in the middle of the able ; and a flaggon of wine at each end of it promised Dy through the stages of the repast-it was a feast of
The old man rose up to meet me, and with a respectful cordiality would have me sit down at the table. My heart was sit down the moment I entered the room ; se I sat down at once, like a son of the family; and, to in. vest myself in the character as speedily as I could, I instantly borrowed the old man's knife, and taking up the loaf, cut myself a hearty luncheon ; and, as I did it I saw a testimony in every eye, not only of an honest wel. come but of a welcome mixed with thanks, that I had not seemed to doubt it.
Was it this, or tell me, Nature, what else was it that made this morsel so sweet-and to what magic ! it that the draught I took of their flaggon was so skleli. cious with it, that it remains upon my palate to bour?
If the supper was to my taste, the grace which found lowed was much more so.
When supper was over, the old man gave a knock upon the table with the haft of his knife, to bid then prepare for the dance. The moment the signal was gix
en, the women and girls ran altogether into the back apartments to tie up their hair, and the young men to the door to wash their faces, and chunge their sabots (woodÉn shoes) and in three minutes every soul was ready, upon a little esplanade before the house to begin. The old man and his wife come out last, and, placing me betwixi them, sat down upon a sofa of turf by the door.
The old man bad some fifty years ago, been no mean, performer upon the vielle ; and, at the age he was then. of, touched it well enough for the purpose. His wife sung now and then a little to the tune, then intermitted, and joined herold man again, as their children and grandchildren danced before them.
It was not till the middle of the second dance, when for some pauses in the movement, wherein they all seem ed to look up, I fancied I could distinguish an elevation of spirit, different from that which is the cause or the effect of simple jollity. In a word, I thought I beheld religion mixing in the dance ; but, as I had never seen : her so engaged, 1 should have looked upon it now as one of the illusions of an imagination which is eternally misleading me, had not the old man, as soon as the dance ended, said, that this was their constant way; and that: all his life long, he made it a rule, after supper was over, to call out his family to dance and rejoice ; believing, he said, that a cheerful and contented mind was the best sort of thanks to heaven that an illiterate peasant could. pay.-Or learnerl prelate either, said i.
XVIII.-Rustic Felicity.-B. MANY are the silent pleasures of the honest peasant, who rises cheerfully to his labor.-Look into his dwelling-where the scene of every man's happiness chiefly lies ;-he has the same domestic endearments as much joy and comfort in his children, and as flattering hopes of their doing well-to enliven his hours and gladden his heart,as you would conceive in the most amuent station And I make no doubt, in general, but if the true Account of his joys and sufferings were to be balanced with those of his belters--that the upshot would prove.
to be a little more than this ; that the rich' man had the
more meat--but the poor man the better stomach; the one had nore luxury-more able physicians to aitend and set him to rights ;-the other, more health and soundness in his bones, and less occasion for their help; that. after these two articles betwixt them were balanc, ed-in all other things they stood upon a level that the sun shines as warm--the air blows as fresh, and he earth breathes as fragrant upon the one as the other ;and they have an equal share in all the beauties and real benefits of nature.
XIX. - House of Mourning.-B.
LET vs go into the house of mourning made so by such affictions as have been brought in merely by the common cross accidents and disasters to which cur condition is exposed-where, perhaps, the aged parents sit broken hearted, pierced to their souls, with the folly and indiscretion of a thankless child-th child of their prayers, in whom all their hopes and expectations centered :-Perhaps, a more affecting scene-a virtuous family lying pinched with want, where the unfortunate support of it, having long struggled with a train of misfortunes, and bravely fought up against them, is now piteously borne down at the last overwhelmed with a cruel blow, which no forecast or frugality could have prevented. O God! look upon his afflictions, Behold him distracted with many sorrows, surrounded with the tender pledges of his love; and the partener of his cares without bread to give them ; unable from the remem. brance of better days to dig ;-obeg ashamed.
When we enter into the house of mourning, such as this--it is impossible to insult the unfortunate,even with an improper look. Under whatever levity and dissipation of heart such objects catch our eyes they catch likewise our attentions, collect and call home our scattered thoughts, and exercise them with wisdom. А transcient scene of distress,such as is here sketched, how soon does it furnish materials to set the mind at work ! How necessarily does it engage it to the consideration of the miseriesand misfortunes, the dangers and calamities. to which the life of man is subject! By holding up such
a glass before it, it forces the mind to see and reflect
a moment. Behold the dead man ready to be carried out, the only son of his niother, and she a widow. Perhaps a still more affecting spectacle, a kind and indulgent father of a numerous family lies breathless-snatched away in the strength of his agemtorn, and in an evil hour, from his children, and the bosom of a disconsolate wife. Behold much people of the city gathered together to mix their tears, with settled sorrow in their looks, going heavily along to the house of mourning, to perform that last melancholy office, which when the debt of nature is paid we are called upon to pay to each other. If this sad occasion, which leads him there, has not done it already, take notice to what a serious and devout frame of mind every man is reduced, the moment he enters this gate of afliction. The busy and fluttering spirits, which, in the house of mirth, were wont to transport him from one diverting object to another see how they are fallen ! how peaceably they are laid !. In this gloomy mansion, full of shades and uncomfortable damps to seize the soul-see the light and easy heart, which never knew what it was to think before, how pensive it is now, how soft, how susceptible, how full of religious impressions, how dcep. it is smitten with a sense, and with a love of virtue ! Could we, in this crisis, whilst the empire of reason and religion lasts, and the heart is thus exercised with wisdom, and busied with heavenly contemplationscould we see it naked as it is stripped of its passions, unspotted by the world, and regardless of its pleasures we might then safely rest our cause upon this single evidence, and appeal to the most sensual, whether Sol. omon has not made a just determination here in favor of the house of mourning ? Not for its own sake, but as it is fruitful in virtue, and becomes the. occasion of so much good. Without this end, sorrow, I own, has no use but to shorten a man's days_nor can gravity, with all its studied solemnity of look and carriage, serve any end but to make one half of the world mer: ry, and impose upon the other