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man's family, when their countenances immediately brightened into smiles, and they made the most profound and elegant courtesies; which were returned in a manner that showed they were but slight acquaintances.
I must not forget the two sons of this aspiring citizen, who came to church in a dashing curricle, with outriders. They were arrayed in the extremity of the mode, with all that pedantry of dress which marks the man of questionable pretensions to style. They kept entirely by themselves, eyeing every one askance that came near them, as if measuring his claims to respectability; yet they were without conversation, except the exchange of an occasional cant phrase. They even moved artificially; for their bodies, in compliance with the caprice of the day, had been disciplined into the absence of all ease and freedom. Art had done every thing to accomplish them as men of fashion, but nature had denied them the nameless grace. They were vulgarly shaped, like men formed for the common purposes of life, and had that air of supercilious assumption which is never seen in the true gentleman.
I have been rather minute in drawing the pictures of these two families, because I considered them specimens of what is often to be met with in this country—the unpretending great, and the arrogant little. I have no respect for titled rank, unless it be accompanied with true nobility of soul; but I have remarked in all countries where artificial distinctions exist, that the very highest classes are always the most courteous and unassuming. Those who are well assured of their own standing, are least apt to trespass on that of others; whereas, nothing is so offensive as the aspirings of vulgarity, which thinks to elevate itself by humiliating its neighbour.
As I have brought these families into contrast, I must notice their behaviour in church. That of the nobleman's family was quiet, serious, and attentive, Not that they appeared to have any fervour of devotion, but rather a respect for sacred things, and sacred places, inseparable from good breeding. The others, on the contrary, were in a perpetual flutter and whisper; they betrayed a continual consciousness of finery, and a sorry ambition of being the wonders of a rural congregation.
The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to the service. He took the whole burden of family devotion upon himself, standing bolt upright, and uttering the responses with a loud voice that might be heard all over the church. It was evident that he was one of those thorough church and king men, who connect the idea of devotion and loyalty; who consider the Deity, somehow or other, of the government party, and religion “a very excellent sort of thing, that ought to be countenanced and kept up.”
When he joined so loudly in the service, it seemed more by way of example to the lower orders, to show them, that, though so great and wealthy, he was not above being religious; as I have seen a turtle-fed Alderman swallow publicly a basin of charity soup, smacking his lips at every mouthful, and pronouncing it “excellent food for the poor.”
When the service was at an end, I was curious to witness the several exits of my groups. The young noblemen and their sisters, as the day was fine, preferred strolling home across the fields, chatting with the country people as they went. The others departed as they came, in grand parade. Again were the equipages wheeled up to the gate. There was again the smacking of whips, the clattering of hoofs, and the glittering of harness. The horses started off almost at a bound; the villagers again hurried to right and left; the wheels threw up a cloud of dust; and the aspiring family was wrapt out of sight in a whirlwind.
FROM MUSTAPHA RUB-A-DUB KELI-KHAN,
To Asem Hacchem, principal Slave-driver to his
Highness the Bashaw of Tripoli.
SWEET, O Asem! is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow ray of a departing sun, it falls tenderly yet şadly on the heart. Every hour of absence from my native land rolls heavily by, like the sandy wave of the desert; and the fair shores of my country rise blooming to my imagination, clothed in the soft illusive charms of distance. I sigh, yet no one listens to the sigh of the captive: I shed the bitter tear of recollection, but no one sympathizes in the tear of the turbaned stranger!--Think not, however, thou brother of my soul, that I complain of the horrors of my situation; think not that my captivity is attended with the labours, the chains, the scourges, the insults, that render slavery, with us, more dreadful than the pangs of hesitating, lingering death. Light, indeed, are the restraints on the personal freedom of thy kinsman; but who can enter into the afflictions of the mind? who can describe the agonies of the heart? They are mutable as the clouds of the air; they are countless as the waves that divide me from my native country.
I have, of late, my dear Asem, laboured under an inconvenience singularly unfortunate, and am reduced to a dilemma most ridiculously embarrassing.' Why should I hide it from the companion of my thoughts, the partner of my sorrows and my joys? Alas! Asem, thy friend Mustapha, the invincible captain of a ketch, is sadly in want of a pair of breeches! Thou wilt, doubtless, smile, 0 most grave Mussulman, to hear me indulge in such ardent lamentations about a circumstance so trivial, and a want apparently so easy to be satisfied: but little canst thou know of the mortifications attending my necessities, and the astonishing difficulty of supplying them. Honoured by the smiles and attentions of the beautiful ladies of this city, who have fallen in love with my whiskers and my turban;-courted by the bashaws and the great men, who delight to have me at their feasts; the honour of my company eagerly solicited by every fiddler who gives a concert; think of my chagrin at being obliged to decline the host of invitations that daily overwhelm me, merely for want of a pair of breeches! Oh, Allah! Allah! that thy disciples could come into the world all be-feathered like a bantam, or with a pair of leathern breeches like the wild deer of the forest; surely, my friend, it is the destiny of man to be for ever subjected to petty evils, which, however · trilling in appearance, prey in silence on this little pittance of enjoyment, and poison these moments of sunshine, which might otherwise be consecrated to happiness.
The want of a garment, thou wilt say, is easily supplied; and thou mayest suppose need only be mentioned, to be remedied at once by any tailor of the land. Little canst thou conceive the impediments which stand in the way of my comfort, and still less art thou acquainted with the prodigious great scale on which every thing is transacted in this country. The nation moves majestically slow and clumsy in the most trivial affairs, like the unwieldy elephant which makes a formidable difficulty of picking up a straw! When I hinted my necessities to the officer who has charge of myself and my companions, I expected to have been forthwith relieved; but he made an amazingly long face-told me that we were prisoners of state-that we must therefore be clothed at the expense of the government; that as no provision
has been made by the Congress for an emergency of the kind, it was impossible to furnish me with a pair of breeches, until all the sages of the nation had been conyened to talk over the matter, and debate upon the expediency of granting my request. Sword of the immortal Khalid, thought I, but this is great! this is truly sublime! All the sages in an immense logocracy assembled together, to talk about my breeches!—Vain mortal that I am! I cannot but own I was somewhat reconciled to the delay which must necessarily attend this method of clothing me, by the consideration that if they made the affair a national act, my "name must, of course, be imbodied in history,” and myself and my breeches flourish to immortality in the annals of this mighty empire!
“But pray, sir," said I,“ how does it happen that a matter so insignificant should be erected into an object of such importance as to employ the representative wisdom of the nation? and what is the cause of their talking so much about a trifle!"-"Oh,” replied the officer, who acts as our slave-driver; " it all proceeds from economy. If the government did not spend ten times as much money in debating whether it was proper to supply you with breeches as the breeches themselves would cost, the people, who go- . vern the bashaw and his divan, would straightway begin to complain of their liberties being infringedthe national finances squandered—not a hostile slangwhanger throughout the logocracy but would burst forth like a barrel of combustion--and ten chances to one but the bashaw and the sages of his divan would all be turned out of office together. My good Mussulman," continued he, “the administration have the good of the people too much at heart to trifle with their pockets; and they would sooner assemble and talk away ten thousand dollars than expend fifty silently out of the treasury-such is the wonderful spirit of economy, that pervades every branch of this government." "But,” said I, “ how is it possible