« ForrigeFortsæt »
the vineyard has permitted even the unfruitful fig-tree to remain for this year also. Take then a little care, and the blossom will soon appear; it is not so much trouble to attend to it as is pretended, the culture is easy, and it only requires to be looked to morning and night. The lord of the vineyard will then admire the fruitful fig-tree, he will praise it above the others in the vineyard, he will rejoice over it, and allow it to remain to flourish upon earth, until the time when he will transplant it where no chilling blights can hurt it, and where it will bloom in the sunshine of eternal glory.
To unbend from the more serious reflections, a new year's day generally brings with it a variety of new plans, regulations, improvements, and resolutions. It is astonishing how very clever, how very attentive to business, and how very industrious every one intends to be. Tom Drowsy, who is, really, when perfectly awake, the most active and pains-taking fellow in the world, resolves to begin the new year as he ought, and to rise every morning at seven o'clock, and so he does the very first morning. It it pleasant to hear Tom declare how delightful it is to rise early, what spirits it gives a man for business through the day; in short, he is perfectly astonished how any body can endure lying a-bed, and adds the sage observation, that if we lose an hour in the morning, we run after it the whole day, without being able to overtake it. The next morning, the careless stupid servant girl forgets to call Tom as usual, and the night preceding the day after, Tom staid out very late; Tom begins now to say less about rising early, and at length he becomes again what he always was, and I fear ever will be, the same identical Tom Drowsy. Bill Blunder is another of these anniversary reformists; the first day of every new year he buys a new pocket book, with ruled pages for cash, memorandums, &c. in which he is now actually determined to keep clear and correct accompts; and so he does, for in the very first page you may notice—Cash received of Mr. Wilson, five pounds-Cash lent to Mr. Tilson, ten shillings and sixpencebought a new broom for the maids, three shillingsdinner, seven shillings-spent at the play, entrance, six shillings; in the coffee-room, five shillings; incidental expences, three pounds three shillings. However, the next night Bill comes home tipsy, puts off his entries until the next morning, and forgets one half of them; and a day or two after, Bill positively forgets whether he lent Mr. Tilson a two pound, or Mr. Tilson lent it him. Bill's accompts are now become so completely puzzled, that he gives up the attempt to disentangle them, and the remaining pages will, if he chuses to begin afresh, serve for the next year. Tom Tarnish is the next anniversary reformist that I have noticed; he is always resolved upon the first day of a new year to begin the vita perfecta, to forsake all his bad habits, to begin to study hard, and to be discreet and prudent. The first day of the new year, Tom is always found shut up in his chambers, poring over immense folios; he looks wise, and steady; his father and his friends, who happen to call to wish him a happy new year, with difficulty get admittance to see him, and when they enter his room it resembles
from the scenery of the volumes on the floor, Stonehenge. Tom is in the midst, but full of his new scheme; he scarcely notices his father, and they all leave him astonished at the new life he is about to lead. The Friday following, his old school-fellow,Harry Scamper, looks in, asks him to take a walk; Tom leaves the folios on the floor, sallies forth, determined to return immediately; stays out till three o'clock in the morning; comes home drunk in a hackney coach ; has lost his watch and money ; reflects the next day at breakfast, and finds himself the very same Tom Tarnish that he was the last year. Jack Ledger is a very different character to the former; he has actually kept an account for several years of all his comings in and goings out. Jack Ledger can tell to a shilling his balance at the year's end, and can fill up the schedule of the income tax without a moment's hesitation. There never was a man so correct as Jack Ledger ; but, alas, Jack's mind is a mere waste book, in which nothing has been set down but buying and selling, cash received, and cash paid. Jack's ideas are ruled for pounds, shillings, and pence; and it would not be at all surprising, after dissection, to find his brain a complete numeration table; in short, there is nothing of value to Jack, but value received. This, now, is a truly methodical character, and every new year will begin with as much correctness, and continue as correct as the former..
Nothing can be more pleasant than to be clear and consistent without the slavish exactness of the common trader. Let us endeavour to be as correct and
just as we can, and though folly may sometimes fill up a place in the journal, we may indulge the hope, that the balance may nevertheless be in our favour ; since, in a just accompt, the debtor and creditor's sides are added up. Do not let us despair even of overcoming the habits that have interfered with our book-keeping; or, above any thing, allow one interruption or neglect to dishearten us from going on in general correctness, nor let us confine the recommencement of our resolutions to a new year's day. Every, or any day will serve to begin a good work; and if we are not perfectly correct, we may be so much so as to inform us within a little of the state of our accompt. It is the bad man alone who commences his course again, with new oppressions and extortions, who has entirely to change the character of his mind; for weaknesses and foibles, though it is our duty to overcome and forsake them, are within the meaning of that forgiveness which knows the nature of human infirmity, and which will not set down in the great account of all those errors which bring their punishment with them, in the same page with the complicated enormities of the wicked, which poison and destroy the happiness of their fellow creatures, and which are perhaps past atonement.
"Who can but love the sex? whoever hates it, is a stranger to virtue, grace, and humanity.”
Saturday, 7th Jan. 1804.
I HAVE just received a very serious remonstrance from Miss Arabella Lively; which, as it also conveys something like a hint for a little mischief, I shall give it in her own words, that her friends may know to whom they are indebted for my animadversions on the
MY DEAR MR. MAN IN THE MOON, “ What can you possibly have been thinking of all, this time? you certainly have forgotten like true man the promise you made in one of your very first Numbers, that the affairs of the ladies should sometimes be attended to. Instead of which, your Paper contains nothing but dull politics, purity, morals, Buonaparte, Newfoundland dogs, &c. &c. but not one single word about Madame Lanchester, fashions, thin drapery, ridicules, &c.; and then your characters are man people, as if we were not as busy and as conspicuous as they are in society. But, perhaps, you are of the same opinion with Mr. Pope, who said, “ most wo