Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

No. 2.

A PETITION. To those who have the Superintendency of Education. I ADDREAS myself to all the friends of youth, and conjure them to direct their compassionate regards to my unhappy fate, in order to remove the prejudices of which I am the victim.

There are twin sisters of us; and the two eyes of man do not more resemble, nor are capable of being upon better terms with each other, than my sister and myself, were it not for the partiality of our parents, who made the most injurious distinctions between us. From iny infancy I have been led to consider my sister as a being of a more elevated rank. I was suffered to grow up without the least instruction, while nothing was spared in her education. She had masters to teach her writing, drawing, music, and other accomplishments ; but if by chance I touched a pencil, a pen, or a needle, I was bitterly rebuked ; and more than once I have been beaten for being awkward, and wanting a graceful manner. It is true, my sister associated me with her upon some occasions; but she always made a point of taking the lead, calling upon me only from necessity, or to figure by her side.

But conceive not, sirs, that my complaints are instigated merely by vanity; no; my uneasiness is occasioned by an object much more serious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole business of providing for its subsistence falls upon my sister and myself. If any indisposition should attack my sister and I mention it in confidence upon this occasion, that she is subject to the gout, the rheumatism, and cramp, without making mention of other accidents-what would be the fate of our poor family ?-Must not the regret of our parents be excessive at having placed so great a difference between sisters who are so perfectly equal ? Alas! we must perish from distress : for it would not be in my power even to scrawl a suppliant petition for relief, having been obliged to employ the hand of another in transcribing the request which I have now the honour to prefer to you. · Condescend, sirs, to make my parents sensible of the injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessity of distributing their care and affection among all their children equally,

I am, with a profound respect, Sirs,
Your obedient servant,

The Left HAND.

No. 3.

MORALS OF CHESS.' PLAYING at chess is the most ancient and universal game known among men; for its original is beyond the memory of history, and it has, for numberless ages, been the amusement of all the civilized nations of Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it above a thousand years ; the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins to make its appearance in these States. It is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it; and thence it is never played for money. Those, therefore, who have leisure for such diversions, cannot find one that is more innocent; and the following piece, written with a view to correct (among a few young friends) some little improprieties in the practice of it, shews at the same time, that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely innocent, but advantageous, to the vanquished as well as the victor.

The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement, Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. For life is a kind of chess, in which we have points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a great variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it. By playing at chess, then, we learn,

. I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, considers the consequences that may attend an action : for it is continually occurring to the player, “ If I move this piece, what will be the advantage of my new situation? What use can ny adversary make of it to annoy ine? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks ?"

· II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chess-board, or scene of action, the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may take this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid the stroke, or turn its consequences against him.

III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired by observing strictly the laws of the game, such as, “If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down you must let it stand ;" and it is therefore best that these rules should be observed ; as the game thereby becomes more the image of human life, and particularly of war; in which, if you have incautivusly put yourself into a bad and dangerous position, you cannot obtain your enemy's leave to withdraw your troops, and place them more securely, but you must abide all the consequences of your rashness.

And, lastly, we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one's self from a supposed insurmountable diffi-' culty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hope of victory by our own skill, or at least of giving a stale mate, by the negligence of our adversary. And whoever considers, what in chess he often sees instances of, that particular pieces of success are apt to produce presumption, and its consequent, inattention, by which the loss may be recovered, will learn not to be too much discouraged by the present success of his adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune, upon every little check he receives in the pursuit of it.

That we may, therefore, be induced more frequently to choose this beneficial amusement, in preference to others, which are not attended with the same advantages, every circumstance which may increase the pleasure of it should be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, disrespectful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of both the players, which is to pass the time agreeably. . Therefore, First, If it is agreed to play according to the strict rules, then those rules are to be exactly observed by both parties, and should not be insisted on for one side, wbile deviated from by the other for this is not equitable. .

Secondly, If it is agreed not to observe the rules exactly, but one party demands indulgences, he should then be as willing to allow them to the other.

Thirdly, No false move should ever be made to extricate yourself out of a difficulty, or to gain an advantage. There can be no pleasure in playing with a person once detected in such unfair practices.

· Fourthly, If your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or to express any uneasiness at his delay, You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, nor take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do any thing that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not shew your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness.

Fifthly, You ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes ; for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the game.

Sixthly, You must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor shew too much pleasure, but endeavour to console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself, by every kind of civil expression that may be used with truth; such as, “ You understand the game better than I, but you are a little inattentive; or, you play too fast; or, you had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favour.”

Seventhly, If you are a spectator while others play, observe the most perfect silence. For if you give advice, you offend both parties ; him against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game; and him, in whose favour you give it, because though it be good, and he follows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think until it had occurred to himself. Even after a move, or moves, you must not, by replacing the pieces, shew how it might have been placed better; for that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts about their true situation. All talking to the players lessens or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing. Nor should you give the least hint to either party, by any kind of noise or motion. If you do, you are unworthy to be a spectator. If you have a mind to exercise or show your judgment, do it in playing your own game, when you have an opportunity, not in criticising, or meddling with, or counselling the play of others. · Lastly, If the game is not to be played rigorously, according to the rules above-mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a peril. ous situation, &c. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent, but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection; together with the silent approbation and good-will of impartial spectators.

No. 4.
THE ART OF PROCURING PLEASANT

DREAMS.
Inscribed to Miss ***;

BEING WRITTEN AT her request. As a great part of our life is spent in sleep, during which we have sometimes pleasing and sometimes painful dreams, it becomes of some consequence to obtain the one kind, and avoid the other; for whether real or imaginary, pain is pain, and pleasure is pleasure. If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dreams, it is, as the French say, tant gagné, so much added to the pleasure of life.

To this end it is, in the first place, necessary to be careful in preserving health, by due exercise and great temperance; for, in sickness, the imagination is disturbed ; and disagreeable, sometimes terrible, ideas are apt to present themselves. Exercise should precede meals, not immediately follos them: the first promotes, the latter, unless moderate, obstructs digestion. If after exercise we feed sparingly, the digestion will be easy and good, the body lightsome, the temper cheerful, and all the animal functions performed agreeably. Sleep, when it follows, will be natural and undisturbed. While indolence, with full feeding, occasions nightmares and horrors inexpressible: 'we fall from precipices, are assaulted by wild beasts, murderers, and demons, and experience every variety of distress. Observe, however, that the quantities of food and exercise are relative things: those who move much may, and indeed ought, to eat more; those who use little exercise, should eat little. In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires. Suppers are not bad, if we have not dined ; but restless nights naturally follow hearty suppers, after full

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »