« AnteriorContinuar »
inquired the cause of that violent sorrow, which seemed to oppress him. « Alas! said the
in the most piteous tone of >> voice, as I was resting here to drink, I drop
ped into the water a casket full of dia
monds, which I was employed to carry to » the Caliph at Bagdat; and I shall be put to » death on the suspicion of having secreted » so valuable a treasure ». Why do not » you jump into the well in search of the » casket » ? cried the peasant, astonished at the stupidity of his new acquaintance. » Because it is deep , » replied the man , » and I can neither dive nor swim. But » will you undertake this kind office for » me, and I will reward you with thirty
pieces of silver » ? The peasant accepted the offer with exultation and whilst he was putting off his cassock, vest, and slippers, poured out his soul in thanksgivings to the holy prophet , for his providential succour. But the moment he plunged into the water, in search of the pretended casket , the man (who was one of the three rogues that had concerted the plan of robbing him ) seized
his garments, and bore them off in security to his comrades.
Thus, through inattention , simplicity
and credulity, was the unfortunate Chaldean duped of all his little possessions ; and he hastened back to his cottage, with no other covering for his nakedness, than a tattered garment which he borrowed on the road.
EXAMPLE OF VERACITY.
A Spanish cavalier , having assassinated a Moorish gentleman , instantly fled from justice. He was vigorously pursued; but availing himself of a sudden turn in the road, he leaped, unperceived , over a garden wall. The proprietor, who was also a Moor, happened to be, at that time, walking in the garden; and the Sparniard fell upon his knees before him, acquainted him with his case, and in the most pathetic manner implored concealment. The Moor listened to him with compassion, and generously promised his assistance. He then locked him in a summer-house, and left him, with an assurance that, when night approached , he would provide for his
escape. A few hours afterwards, the dead body of his son was brought to him; and the description of the murderer exactly agreed with the appearance of the Spaniard, whom he had then in custody. He concealed the horror and suspicion which he felt; and retiring to his chamber, remained there till midnight. Then going privately into the garden , he opened the door of the summerhouse, and thus accosted the cavalier : « Christian , said he, the youth whom you » have murdered was my only son. Your » crime merits the severest punishment. » But I have solemnly pledged my word for » your security ; and I disdain to violate » even a rash engagement with a cruel ene» my ». He conducted the Spaniard to the stables, and furnishing him with one of his swiftest mules, « Fly, said he , whilst the » darkness of the night conceals you. Your » hands are polluted with blood; but God » is just; and I humbly thank him that my » faith is unspotted, and that I have re
signed judgment unto him. »
A certain cardinal, by the multitude of his generous actions, gave occasion to the world to call him, the Patron of the poor. This ecclesiastical.prince had a constant custom, once a week, to give public audience to all indigent people in the hall of his palace, and to relieve every one according to their various necessities, or the motions of his own goodness. One day a poor widow, encouraged by the fame of his bounty, came into the hall of this cardinal, with her only daughter, a beautiful maid, about fifteen years of age. When her turn came to be heard among a crowd of petitioners, the cardinal observing the marks of an extraordinary modesty in her face and carriage, as also in her daughter, encouraged her to tell her wants freely. She blushing, and not without tears, thus addressed herself to him : « My lord, I owe for » the rent of my house five crowns; and ✓ such is my misfortune, that I have no way » left to pay it, except that which would » break my heart, (and my landlord threatens » to force me to it) which is, to prostitute » this my only daughter, whom I have » hitherto with great care educated in the » principles of virtue. What I beg of your » eminence is, that you would be pleased » to interpose your authority, and protect » us from the violence of this cruel man, » till by honest industry we can procure » the money for him. » The cardinal, moved with admiration of the woman's virtue and modest request, bid her be of good courage : then he immediately wrote a billet, and giving it into the woman's hand , « Go, said he , to my steward, and he shall » deliver thee five crowns to pay thy rent. » The widow, overjoyed, and returning the cardinal a thousand thanks, went directly to the steward, and gave him the note. When he had read it, he told out fifty crowns. She, astonished at the circumstance, and not knowing what the cardinal had wrote, refused to take above five crowns, saying , she mentioned no more to his eminence, and she was sure it was some mistake. On the other hand, the steward insisted on his master's order, not daring to call it in question. But all the arguments he could use were