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meditated a new scheme of happiness; the only bar to the execution of which, for some time after the conception of it, being that it would confer happiness on others, a thing he never by any chance intended. He had for years shut himself up within his own domain, and had mostly taken his exercise by nightfall. In these nightly excursions he visited the owls, and the owls visited him, and they were mutually satisfied that they had no other society. It occurred to him that the monks of La Trappe must be an improvement on them, inasmuch as there must be less noise in the convent. He formed, therefore, the scheme to become a member of their or some other monkish order. Whither he retired is not known. He left his beautiful domains, just at the moment his extensive lands and gardens were putting on their best summer looks, and gently breathing in every wind “ enjoy."
This invitation was too much for him, for he was determined not to enjoy any thing. So he departed, ostensibly to pass a few months on the Continent. Thither he went, taking with him only one old faithful domestic. He proceeded to the town of B— Having been there a few weeks, he opened his scheme to this old and tried servant, and made him solemnly swear to keep the secret, and perform his part in the scheme to give out that he was dead-and to procure a mock funeral. And to secure his fidelity, he showed him a very beneficial codicil in his will, not available but in case of his real or supposed death. I pass over the condition of the poor old domestic -he had served his master too long to dispute his will and now there was a lurking wish that nobody else would dispute it. It had been law to him, and might be in the eyes of others. The plan is agreed upon. The old domestic becomes acquainted with some of the under attendants at the hospital of and by their means, under pretence that his master is a Professor of Anatomy, procures a body-conveys it to the lodgingsmand, all minor matters prepared for the deception, tells the people of the house that a friend of his master's had died suddenly while paying him a morning visit. The body under the real name of his master is coffined, and mag
nificent orders given for the interment. Things being in this state, the domestic writes to the next heir an account of his master's sudden death; that he had been obliged to deposit the body in lead, and all was ready for the funeral, and “waiting further orders,” &c. &c.
The heir arrives, with little show of sorrow, and, strange to say, this rather amused than offended the old gentleman, Sir Giles, who now under the disguise of a red wig and other ways and means of metamorphosis at the recommendation of his servant to the undertaker, has become one of the official attendants upon his own funeral. Every thing was magnificently ordered, as becoming the rank of so considerable a man.
In his capacity of assistant undertaker, he was initiated into the mysteries, was even pleased with the sober riot and licentious decorum, the cheating, the pilfer, the knavery, and felt a new joy in his misanthropy. “Hung be the heavens with black.” Though the undertaker spread showers of silk, and suspended as clouds his sombre broad cloth, they were to him but as Xerxes' arrows, that shut out the day, but did not hit the sun of happiness that now, for the first time, shone in his heart. Happy to him was the day of his death, but far happier that of his burial. He looked upon his heir as the fool that had taken the burden of his station and property off his shoulders; and as he would only have hated him the more had he shown any feeling on the occasion, he was quite indifferent to the degree of sorrow he affected or omitted to affect. After the funeral he walked away, no one ever knew whither, bequeathing, as he fully believed, to his heir, all the miseries of prosperity unalloyed. Among his papers was found his epitaph: * παντα κονις και παντα το μηδεν.” The old domestic has recently died, and bequeathed his money to the Ebenezer Chapel at T-, and had disclosed, before his death, to relieve his conscience, so much as has enabled me to tell you the story. I have only a word or two to add to this long letter, that, in my spleen against all undertakers, that they may more effectually mourn in their professional calling, and get their “forty per cent" with entire impunity, I will remind them of the ancient discipline of their tribe among the Scythians, and sincerely wish they would return to it. Herodotus tells us, that when the king died, the undertakers who attended him (I will use the words of the historian), “ cut off part of one ear, shave their heads, wound themselves on the arms, forehead and nose, and pierce the left hand with an arrow. Having done this, they accompany the chariot to another district, and this manner is observed in every province, till, having carried the dead body of the king through all his dominions, they bury him in the country of the Garrbians." There is scarcely an undertaker's array, provided he be of any note, and has been long in the trade, that would not furnish the following list to be strangled—"a concubine to be strangled, with a cupbearer, a cook, a groom, a waiter, a messenger, certain horses.” A royal funeral in those days was something worth seeing—for, not satisfied with the above, “they took the king's ministers, fifty in number, and strangled them; and with them the king's stud, fifty beautiful horses, and after they have emptied and cleansed their bellies (the king's ministers, they having been supposed to have filled them extraordinarily,) they fill them with straw, and sew them up again. Then they lay two planks of a semicircular form upon four pieces of timber, placed at a convenient distance, with the half circle upwards; and when they have erected a sufficient number of these machines, they set the horses upon them, spitted with a strong pole, quite through the body to the neck; and thus one semicircle supports the shoulders of the horse, the other his flank, and his legs are suspended in the air. After this they bridle the horses, and, hanging the reins at full length upon posts erected to that end, mount one of the fifty they have strangled, upon each horse, and fix him in the seat by driving a straight stick upwards from the end of the back-bone to his head, and fastening the the lowest part of that stick in an aperture of the beam that spits the horses. Then, placing these horsemen quite round the monument, they all depart; and this is the manner of the king's funeral.” The Scythians were a sensible people.
When Dr. Prideaux offered to the publisher his connexion of the Old and New Testament, the bookseller remarked that it was a dry subject, and he could not safely print it, unless he could enliven_it with a little humour. Perhaps, my dear Eusebius, you will charge me with making such an attempt upon a grave subject. Be that as it may, I know very well that if I do not make you laugh, you will laugh without me.
A PASSAGE OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
IN A LETTER TO EUSEBIUS,
(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1838.)
I SUPPOSE the "mens sana in corpore sano," the sound mind in a sound constitution, would be proof at least against weather, and elastic through all the wear and tear of life. The spirits of some are ever alert, and guard every avenue through which care may enter. With others the five senses are all traitors, and ready to let the enemy into the citadel of the heart at the shortest notice. Some grow demented under the charm of music-a gentle touch will thrill over the whole frame of youth. My danger and my delight are both in the sense of seeing. The eye is the most sensitive organ. There are certain moments every day that a feeling of uncomfortableness comes over me--frequently positive melancholy; and it is from that which many people love, so that I am left to wonder at our different natures. The effect of twilight distresses me—the light of departing day. It is not because the light is small in quantity; it is in its quality. Not the quantity; for exclude, in ever so great a degree, the light of day, reduce it by shutters and blinds as much as may be, I am rather pleased, certainly unaffected by any touch of melancholy. But in a moment, when I may be engaged busily, and my understanding unconscious of the hour, as the declining sun has reached a certain point, a sense of misery comes over me. I frequently shut my eyes at the instant of the sensation, but that is not enough; there is an impression through the eyelidsand, what is strange, it is not dissipated by candles, until the light of day, if it may so be called, is completely ex