Page images

self-lové, regulated by prudence, and restrained by principle, produced peaceable subjects and good citizens; while in Fan, tom a boundless selfishness and inordinate vanity converted a discontented trader into a turbulent politician.

There was, however, one member of the Cat and Bagpipes whose fociety he could not resolve to give up, though they seldom agreed, as indeed no two men in the same class and habits of life could less resemble each other. Mr. Trueman was an honest, plain, simple-hearted tradesman of the good old cut, who feared God and followed his business; he went to church twice on Sundays, and minded his shop all the week, spent frugally, gave liberally, and saved moderately. He loft, however, some ground in Mr. Fantom's esteem, because he paid his taxes without difputing, and read his Bible without doubting.

Mr. Fantom now began to be tired of every thing in trade except the profits of At; for the niore the word benevolence


[ocr errors]


was in his mouth, the more did selfishness gain dominion in his heart. He, however, resolved to retire for a while into the country, and devote his time to his new plans, schemes, theories, and projects for the public good. A life of talking, and reading, and writing, and disputing, and teaching, and profelyting now struck him as the only life; so he soon set out for the country with his family; for unhappily Mr. Fantom had been the husband of a very worthy woman many years before the new philosophy had discovered that mar. riage was a shameful infringement on human liberty, and an abridgment of the rights of man. To this family was now added his new footnian, William Wilson, whom he had taken with a good character out of a sober family. Mr. Fantom was no sooner settled than he wrote to invite Mr. Trueman to come and pay him a visit, for he would have burst if he could not have got some one to whom he might display his new knowledge; he knew that if



[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

on the one hand Trueman was no scholar, yet on the other he was no fool; and though he despised his prejudices, yet he thought he might be made a good decoy duck; for if he could once bring Trueman over, the whole club at the Cat and Bagpipes might be brought to follow his example; and thus he might see himself at the head of a fociety of his own proselytes; the supreme object of a philofopher's ambition. Trueman came accordingly. He foon found that however he might be shocked at the impious doctrines his friend maintained, yet that an important lesson might be learned even from the worst enemies of truth; namely, an ever wakeful attention to their grand object. If they fet out with talking of trade or politics, of private news or public affairs, still Mr. Fantom was ever on the watch to hitch in his darling doctrines; whatever he began with, he was sure to end with a pert squib at the Bible, a vapid jest on the clergy, the miseries of superstition, and the bless

ings of philosophy. “Oh!" said Trueman to himself, « when shall I fee “ Christians half so much in earnest ? 16 Why is it that almost all zeal is on the

wrong side?"

« Well, Mr. Fantom," said Trueman one day at breakfast, “ I am afraid you « are leading but an idle sort of life here."

"Idle, fir !” said Fantom; “I now first .66 begin to live to some purpose; I have - indeed lost too much time, and wasted “ my talents on a little retail trade, in 6 which one is of no note; one can't “ distinguish one's self.”—“ So much the “ better,” said Trueman; “ I had rather “ not distinguish myself, unless it was by “ leading a better life than my neighbours. “ There is nothing I should dread more " than being talked about. I dare say “ now heaven is in a good measure filled “ with people whose names were never 6 heard out of their own street and village. “ So I beg leave not to distinguish myself.” -“ Yes, but one may, if it is only by

“ figning « signing one's name to an essay or para“ graph in a newspaper,” said Fantom. “ Heaven keep John Trueman's name out “ of a newspaper," interrupted he in a fright; “ for if it be there, it must either “ be found in the Old Bailey or the Bank“ rupt List, unless indeed I were to remove “ shop, or sell off my old stock. Well, but, “ Mr. Fantom, you, I suppose, are now as “happy as the day is long?"_“ O yes,replied Fantom with a gloomy sigh, which gave the lie to his words, “perfectly happy! “ I wonder you do not give up all your for. “ did employments, and turn philosopher!” --- Sordid indeed!" said Trueman; “ do “ not call names, Mr. Fantom; I shall « never be ashamed of my trade. What " is it has made this country so great ? a “ country whose merchants are princes ? “ It is trade, Mr. Fantom, trade. I can“ not say indeed, as well as I love busi“ ness, but now and then, when I am “ over-worked, I wish I had a little more $s time to look after my soul ; but the fear

« that

« PreviousContinue »