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“One of these men is genius to the other."
Comedy of Errors.
Messer BASILIO, of Milan, who had fixed his residence in Pisa, on his return from Paris, where he had pursued the study of physic, having accumulated, by industry and extraordinary skill, a good fortune, married a young woman of Pisa, of very slender fortune, and fatherless and motherless; by her he had three sons, and a daughter who in due time was married in Pisa ; the eldest son was likewise married, the younger one was at school ; the middle one, whose name was Lazarus, although great sums had been spent upon his education, made nothing of it; he was naturally idle and stupid, of a sour and melancholy disposition ; a man of few words, and obsti, nate to such a degree, that if once he had said no to apy thing, nothing upon earth could make him alter his mind. His father, finding him so extremely troublesome, determined to get rid of him, and sent him to a beautiful estate he had lately bought at a small distance
from town. There he lived contented, more proud of the society of clowns and clodpoles than the acquaintance of civilized people. While Lazarus was thus living quietly in his own way, there happened about ten years after a dreadful mortality in Pisa; people were seized with a violent fever, they then fell into a sleep suddenly, and died in that state. The disease was catching; Basilio, as well as other physicians, exerted their utmost skill, as well for their own interest as the general good; but ill fortune would have it that he caught the infection and died. The contagion was such that not one individual of the family escaped death, except an old woman
The raging disease having ceased at last, Lazarus was induced to return to Pisa, where he inherited the extensive estates and riches of his father. Many were the efforts made by the different families to induce him to marry their daughters, notwithstanding they were aware of his boorish disposition; but nothing would avail. He said he was resolved to wait four years before he would marry; so that his obstinate disposition being well known, they ceased their importunities. Lazarus, intent upon pleasing himself alone, would not associate with any living soul. There was, however, one poor man, named Gabriel, who lived in a small house opposite to him, with his wife Dame Santa. This poor fellow was an excellent fisherman and bird-catcher, made nets, &c., and what with that, and the assistance of his wife, who spun, he made shift to keep his family,
d of aintving
which Gabriel said he was very willing, ånd it being a
consisting of two children, a boy of five, and a girl of three
years old. Now it happened that this Gabriel was a perfect likeness of Lazarus; both were red haired, had the same length of beard, every feature, size, gait, and voice so perfectly alike, that one would have sworn they were twins; and had they both been dressed alike, cers tainly no one but would have mistaken the one for the
the wife herself would have been deceived but for the clothes, those of Lazarus being fine cloth, and her husband's of coarse wool of a different colour. Lazarus, observing this extraordinary resemblance, could not help fancying that there must be something in it, and began to familiarise himself with his society, sent his wife presents of eatables, wines, &c., and often invited Gabriel to dinner or supper with him, and couversed with him. Gabriel, though poor and untaught, was shrewd and sagacious, and knew well how to get on the blind side of any one ; he so humoured him, that at last Lazarus could not rest an instant without his company. One day, after dinner, they entered into conversation on the subject of fishing, and the different modes of catching fish, and at last came to the fishing by diving with small nets fastened to the neck and arms; and Gabriel told him of the immense numbers of large fish which were caught in that manner, insomuch that Lazarus became very anxious to know how one could fish diving, and begged of him to let hinu see how he did it. Upon
hot summer's day, they might easily take the sport, if he too were willing. Having risen from table, Gabriet marched out, fetched his nets, and away they went. They arrived on the borders of the Arno, in a shady place surrounded by elders ; there he requested Lazarus to sit and look on. After stripping, and fastening the nets about him, he dived in the river, and being very expert at the sport, he soon rose again with eight or ten fish of terrible size in his nets. Lazarus could not think how it was possible to catch sơ many fish under water ; it so astonished him, that he determined to try it himself. The day was broiling hot, and he thought it would cool him. By the assistance of Gabriel he undressed, and the latter conducted him in at a pleasant part of the shore, where the water was scarcely knee-deep. There he left him with nets, giving him charge not to go farther than the stake which he pointed out to him. Lazarus who had never before been in the water, was delighted at its coolness, and observing how often Gabriel rose up with nets full of fish, bethought himself, one must see under as well as above water, otherwise it would be impossible to catch the fish in the dark; therefore, in ordes to ascertain the point, without thinking of consequences, he put his head under water, and dashed forward beyond the stake. Down he went like a piece of lead; not aware he should hold his breath, and knowing nothing of swimming, he struggled hard to raise himself above the surface. He was almost stifled with the water he
dived into the water, and tied him fast with the nets to
had swallowed, and was carried away by the current, so that he very shortly lost his senses. Gabriel, who was very busy catching a great deal of fish in a very good place, did not care to leave it; therefore poor Lazarus, · after rising half dead two or three times, sunk at last never to rise again. Gabriel, after he had got as much fish as he thought would do for him, joyfully turned round to show Lazarus his sport; he looked round and did not see him ; he then sought him everywhere, but not finding him, he became quite alarmed, and terrified at the sight of the poor fellow's clothes that were laid on the bank. He dived, and sought the body, and found it at last driven by the current on the beach ; at the sight he almost lost his senses ; he stood motionless, not knowing what to do, for he feared, that in relating the truth people would think it was all a lie, and that he had drowned him himself, in order to get his money. Driven thus almost to despair, a thought struck him, and he determined to put it in instant execution. There was no witness to the fact, for every one was asleep, it being the heat of the day; he therefore took the fish, and put them safe in a basket, and for that purpose took the dead body on his shoulders, heavy as it was, laid him on some grass, put his own breeches on the dead limbs, untied the nets from his own arms, and tied them tight to the arms of the corpse. This done, he took hold of him,
the stake under water. He then came on shore, slipped