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remain in safety till the following day; "and then," continued lhe, "if they shew any inclination to fly off, they may easily be fixed, by beating the frying-pans, as they do to a swarm of bees."
This hint from Miss Ardent, re-kindled the expiring flame of hope in the breasts of the philosophers. Next morning, which proved a very rainy one, word was brought, that a number of the fugitives were seen in a hawthorn-tree, at the bottom of the lawn—thither the philosophers instantly repaired, each armed with some culinary instrument, which, as soon as they reached the place, they began to beat, in such a manner as might have arrested the Sun in the entrance of the jaws of the Crocodile!
Lost was the labour of the philosophers! who, in this instance, exerted their talents in vain. Instead of gathering together in a cluster, as was expected, no sooner did the discordant sounds from the instruments of the philosophers reach the hearing of the sparrows, than away they flew to another tree. Thither they were again pursued, but still the more noise that was made, the less did the sparrows seem inclined to listen. The master of the bees, declared, that he had never seen a swarm so unmanageable!
Wet, and wearied, Sir Caprice and his learned guests, at length returned into the house. Miss Ardent, and Mr. Axiom, thought it a good opportunity to laugh at the system of the young philosopher; who, on his part, defended the infallibility of his Idol, by declaring, that the experiment had not been fully made:—that the habits of old sparrows were not easily conquered;—but that young ones, or young birds of any kind, he was still convinced, if taken before their habits were sufficiently formed, would be found to obey the necessity of existing circumstances, exactly as did the little useful insects, of whose instinctive sagacity, ignorance had said so much.
The hint was not lost upon the Baronet. A reward for nestlings, of every description, was again offered: and again attended with the wished-for success.—Ah! how many loving pairs among the feathered tribes, were, for the fake of this experiment, bereft of their infant families! The groves resounded with the plaints of woe! But little pain did the sorrows of the mourners give to the heart of the young systemist. By his advice, the little birds, after having had their bills rubbed with honey, were shut up in the hive, with a portion of the same sweet food, for their subsistance.
On the evening of the third day, which was the conclusion of their destined term of probation, the entrance to the hive was opened, but not a bird came forth; every method was taken to entice them abroad —but in vain. At length, by the assistance of the servants, their habitation was so far raised, as to enable the philosophers to take a peep within. Sight of horrors! and smell, still worse than the sight! The lifeless corpses of the three hundred half-fledged nestlings lay at the bottom of their hive, in a promiscuous heap—"They have effectually swarmed at last 1" said Mr. Axiom.—Neither the Baronet, nor the young philosopher, staid to make any remark—but every one putting his fingers to his nose—impelled by the necessity of exijiing circumjlaiues, hurried from the dismal scene." ,
Such, Maandaara, are the illusive phantoms which the all pervading spirit, the sovereign Maya, presents to the perception of metaphysical Philosophers!
May Ganesa, averting calamity, preserve to thee the use of thy senses! And may the poojah performed for thy friend, by the holy Bramins of Almora, preserve his mind from the contamination of systems! What can I fay more?
Ly time, for these two past days, has been occupied in a manner, that, I hope, will give pleasure-to Maandaara.
I have been engaged in translating for your perusal, the greatest part of a very long epistle, with which Doctor Severan has had the goodness to favour his unworthy servant.
According to previous agreement, I transmitted to him, all that I had written to you since my arrival at Ardent-Hall; intreating him to favour me with such strictures upon it, as he thought might be necessary, towards giving me more just ideas upon the subjects of which I had treated.
In his observations, the Doctor does not follow me through the particular systems of the philosophers; but speaks, in general terms, of the effects produced, by what he calls Scepticism; which, according to the great English Cosha, is the art of doubting. But you shall have it, as nearly as the different idioms of the two languages will permit, in his own words. Afer opening his letter with the usual exordium, he thus proceeds: "Knowing the ardour with which you pursue knowledge, and the strong inclination that impels you to investigate the causes of the different phenomena which present themselves to your observation, I cheerfully comply with your request.
"The history of Literature is intimately connected with the revolutions of Empires; and among all the rude storms which have assailed it, in none did it suffer more, than in that which it endured, together with the government, of ancient Rome. Literature was, by this event, effectually driven from those countries where it had formerly flourished; and, during a long period (emphatically distinguished by our historians, by the epithet of dark) learning was almost completely obliterated. In this sera of ignorance, superstition established her gloomy reign; and when the attention of men was once more turned to literary pursuits, the objects they had to surmount were new and numerous, and of a nature not very easily to be subdued.
"Instead of that free communication, which had formerly been permitted to men, they were now fettered by the tyrannical edicts of Kings and Priests; the investigation of truth being equally