Book of Fate.
Translated from the
——Quo fata trahunt, retrahuntque sequamur. Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum, Tendimus in Latium.——VIRG.
Printed for IOHN BRINDLEY, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, in New Bond-Street.
The 18th of the Month Scheval, in the Year of the Hegira, 837.
Thou Joy of ev'ry Eye! Thou Torment of every Heart! Thou Intellectual Light! I do not kiss the Dust of thy Feet; because thou seldom art seen out of the Seraglio, and when thou art, thou walkest only on the Carpets of Iran, or on Beds of Roses.
I here present you with a Translation of the Work of an ancient Sage, who having the Happiness of living free from all Avocations, thought proper, by Way of Amusement, to write the History of Zadig; a Performance, that comprehends in it more Instruction than, 'tis possible, you may at first be aware of. I beg you would indulge me so far as to read it over, and then pass your impartial Judgment upon it: For notwithstanding you are in the Bloom of your Life; tho' ev'ry Pleasure courts you; tho' you are Nature's Darling, and have internal Qualities in proportion to your Beauty; tho' the World resounds your Praises from Morning till Night, and consequently you must have a just Title to a superior Degree of Understanding than the rest of your Sex; Yet your Wit is no ways flashy; Your Taste is refin'd, and I have had the Honour to hear you talk more learnedly than the wisest Dervise, with his venerable Beard, and pointed Bonnet: You are discreet, and yet not mistrustful; you are easy, but not weak; you are beneficent with Discretion; you love your Friends, and create yourself no Enemies. Your most sprightly Flights borrow no Graces from Detraction; you never speak a misbecoming Word, nor do an ill-natur'd Action, tho' 'tis always in your Power. In a Word, your Soul is as spotless as your Person. You have, moreover, a little Fund of Philosophy, which gives me just Grounds to hope that you'll relish this Historical Performance better than any other Lady of your Quality would do.
It was originally compos'd in the Chaldean Language, to which both you and my self are perfect Strangers. It was translated, however, into Arabic, for the Amusement of the celebrated Sultan OULOUG-BEG. It first appear'd in Public, when the Arabian and Persian Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, and One Thousand and One Days, were most in Vogue: OULOUG chose rather to entertain himself with the Adventures of Zadig. The Sultanas indeed were more fond of the former. How can you, said the judicious OULOUG, be so partial, as to prefer a Set of Tales, that are no ways interesting or instructive, to a Work, that has a Variety of Beauties to recommend it? Oh! replied the Sultanas, the less Sense there is in them, the more they are in Taste; and the less their Merit, the greater their Commendation.
I flatter my self, thou Patroness of Wisdom, that thou wilt not copy after those thoughtless Sultanas, but give into the Sentiments of OULOUG. I am in hopes likewise, when you are tir'd with the Conversation of such as make those senseless Romances abovemention'd their favourite Amusements, you will vouchsafe to listen for one Minute or two, to the Dictates of solid Sense. Had you been Thalestris in the Days of Scander, the Son of Philip; had you been the Queen of Sheba, in the Reign of Solomon, those Kings would have been proud to have taken a Tour to visit you.
May the Celestial Virtues grant, that your Pleasures may meet with no Interruption; your Charms know no Decay; and may your Felicity be everlasting!
I, Who have subscrib'd my Name hereto, ambitious of being thought a Man of Wit and Learning, have perus'd this MANUSCRIPT, which I find, to my great Mortification, amusing, moral, philosophical, and fit to be read, even by those who have an utter Aversion to Romances; for which Reason, I have depretiated it, as it deserves, and have in direct Terms told the CADI-LESQUIER, that 'tis a most detestable Performance.
CHAP. I. The blind Eye CHAP. II. The Nose CHAP. III. The Dog and the Horse, &c. CHAP. IV. The Envious Man CHAP. V. The Force of Generosity CHAP. VI. The Just Judge CHAP. VII. The Force of Jealousy CHAP. VIII. The Thresh'd Wife CHAP. IX. The Captive CHAP. X. The Funeral Pile CHAP. XI. The Evening's Entertainment CHAP. XII. The Rendezvous CHAP. XIII. The Free-booter CHAP. XIV. The Fisherman CHAP. XV. The Basilisk CHAP. XVI. The Tournaments CHAP. XVII. The Hermit CHAP. XVIII. The Riddles, or AEnigmas
The Blind EYE.
In the Reign of King Moabdar, there was a young Man, a Native of Babylon, by name Zadig; who was not only endowed by Nature with an uncommon Genius, but born of illustrious Parents, who bestowed on him an Education no ways inferior to his Birth. Tho' rich and young, he knew how to give a Check to his Passions; he was no ways self-conceited; he didn't always act up to the strictest Rules of Reason himself, and knew how to look on the Foibles of others, with an Eye of Indulgence. Every one was surpriz'd to find, that notwithstanding he had such a Fund of Wit, he never insulted; nay, never so much as rallied any of his Companions, for that Tittle Tattle, which was so vague and empty, so noisy and confus'd; for those rash Reflections, those illiterate Conclusions, and those insipid Jokes; and, in short, for that Flow of unmeaning Words, which was call'd polite Conversation in Babylon. He had learned from the first Book of Zoroaster, that Self-love is like a Bladder full blown, which when once prick'd, discharges a kind of petty Tempest. Zadig, in particular, never boasted of his Contempt of the Fair Sex, or of his Facility to make Conquests amongst them. He was of a generous Spirit; insomuch, that he was not afraid of obliging even an ungrateful Man; strictly adhering to that wise Maxim of Zoroaster. When you are eating, throw an Offal to the Dogs that are under the Table, lest they should be tempted to bite you. He was as wise as he could well be wish'd; since he was fond of no Company, but such as were distinguish'd for Men of Sense. As he was well-grounded, in all the Sciences of the antient Chaldeans, he was no Stranger to those Principles of Natural Philosophy, which were then known: And understood as much of Metaphysics as any one in all Ages after him; that is to say, he knew little or nothing of the Matter. He was firmly convinc'd, that the Year consisted of 365 Days and an half, tho' directly repugnant to the new Philosophy of the Age he liv'd in; and that the Sun was situated in the Center of the Earth; And when the Chief Magi told him, with an imperious Air, that he maintain'd erroneous Principles; and that it was an Indignity offered to the Government under which he liv'd, to imagine the Sun should roll round its own Axis, and that the Year consisted of twelve Months, he knew how to sit still and quiet, without shewing the least Tokens of Resentment or Contempt.
As Zadig was immensely rich, and had consequently Friends without Number; and as he was a Gentleman of a robust Constitution, and remarkably handsome; as he was endowed with a plentiful Share of ready and inoffensive Wit: And, in a Word, as his Heart was perfectly sincere and open, he imagin'd himself, in some Measure, qualified to be perfectly happy. For which Purpose he determin'd to marry a gay young Lady (one Semira by name) whose Beauty, Birth and Fortune, render'd her the most desirable Person in all Babylon. He had a sincere Affection for her, grounded on Honour, and Semira conceiv'd as tender a Passion for him. They were just upon the critical Minute of a mutual Conjunction in the Bands of Matrimony, when, as they were walking Hand in Hand together towards one of the Gates of Babylon, under the Shade of a Row of Palm-trees, that grew on the Banks of the River Euphrates, they were beset by a Band of Ruffians, arm'd with Sabres, Bows and Arrows. They were the Guards, it seems, of young Orcan (Nephew of a certain Minister of State) whom the Parasites, kept by his Uncle, had buoy'd up with a Permission to do, with Impunity, whatever he thought proper. This young Rival, tho' he had none of those internal Qualities to boast of that Zadig had, yet he imagin'd himself a Man of more Power; and for that Reason, was perfectly outrageous to see the other preferr'd before him. This Fit of Jealousy, the Result of mere Vanity, prompted him to think that he was deeply in Love with the fair Semira; and fir'd with that amorous Notion, he was determin'd to take her away from Zadig, by Dint of Arms. The Ravishers rush'd rudely upon her, and in the Transport of their Rage, drew the Blood of a Beauty, the Sight of whose Charms would have soften'd the very Tigers of Mount Imaues. The injur'd Lady rent the very Heavens with her Exclamations. Where's my dear Husband, she cried? They have torn me from the Arms of the only Man whom I adore. She never reflected on the Danger to which she was expos'd; her sole Concern was for her beloved Zadig. At the same Time, he defended her, like a Lover, and a Man of Integrity and Courage. With the Assistance only of two domestic Servants, he put those Sons of Violence to Flight, and conducted Semira, bloody as she was, and in fainting Fits, to her own House. No sooner was she come to her self, but she fix'd her lovely Eyes on her Dear Deliverer. O Zadig, said she, I love thee as affectionately, as if I were actually thy Bride: I love thee, as the Man, to whom I owe my Life, and what is dearer to me, the Preservation of my Honour. No Heart sure could be more deeply smitten than that of Semira. Never did the Lips of the fairest Creature living utter softer Sounds; never did the most enamoured Lady breathe such tender Sentiments of Love and Gratitude for his signal Service; never, in short, did the most affectionate Bride express such Transports of Joy for the fondest Husband. Her Wounds, however, were but very superficial, and she was soon recover'd. Zadig receiv'd a Wound that was much more dangerous: An unlucky Arrow had graz'd one of his Eyes, and the Orifice was deep. Semira was incessant in her Prayers to the Gods that they might restore her Zadig. Her Eyes were Night and Day overwhelm'd with Tears. She waited with Impatience for the happy Moment, when those of Zadig might dart their Fires upon her; but alas! the wounded Eye grew so inflam'd and swell'd, that she was terrified to the last Degree. She sent as far as Memphis for Hermes, the celebrated Physician there, who instantly attended his new Patient with a numerous Retinue. Upon his first Visit, he peremptorily declared that Zadig would lose his Eye; and foretold not only the Day, but the very Hour when that woful Disaster would befal him. Had it been, said that Great Man, his right Eye, I could have administred an infallible Specific; but as it is, his Misfortune is beyond the Art of Man to cure. Tho' all Babylon pitied the hard Case of Zadig, they equally stood astonish'd at the profound Penetration of Hermes. Two Days after the Imposthume broke, without any Application, and Zadig soon after was perfectly recover'd. Hermes thereupon wrote a very long and elaborate Treatise, to prove that his Wound ought not to have been heal'd. Zadig, however, never thought it worth his while to peruse his learned Lucubrations; but, as soon as ever he could get abroad, determin'd to pay the Lady a Visit, who had testified such uncommon Concern for his Welfare, and for whose Sake alone he wish'd for the Restoration of his Sight. Semira he found had been out of Town for three Days; but was inform'd, by the bye, that his intended Spouse, having conceived an implacable Aversion to a one-ey'd Man, was that very Night to be married to Orcan. At this unexpected ill News, poor Zadig was perfectly thunder-struck: He laid his Disappointment so far to Heart, that in a short Time he was become a mere Skeleton, and was sick almost to death for some Months afterwards. At last, however, by Dint of Reflection, he got the better of his Distemper; and the Acuteness of the Pain he underwent, in some Measure, contributed towards his Consolation.
Since I have met with such an unexpected Repulse, said he, from a capricious Court-Lady, I am determin'd to marry some substantial Citizen's Daughter. He pitch'd accordingly upon Azora, a young Gentlewoman extremely well-bred, an excellent Oeconomist, and one, whose Parents were very rich.
Their Nuptials accordingly were soon after solemniz'd, and for a whole Month successively, no two Turtles were ever more fond of each other. In Process of Time, however, he perceiv'd she was a little Coquettish, and too much inclin'd to think, that the handsomest young Fellows were always the most virtuous and the greatest Wits.
One Day Azora, as she was just return'd home from taking a short Country airing, threw herself into a violent Passion, and swell'd with Invectives. What, in God's Name, my Dear, said Zadig, has thus ruffled your Temper? What can be the Meaning of all these warm Exclamations? Alas! said she, you would have been disgusted as much as I am, had you been an Eye-witness of that Scene of Female Falshood, as I was Yesterday. I went, you must know, to visit the disconsolate Widow Cosrou, who has been these two Days erecting a Monument to the Memory of her young deceased Husband, near the Brook that runs on one side of her Meadow. She made the most solemn Vow, in the Height of her Affliction, never to stir from that Tomb, as long as ever that Rivulet took its usual Course.—Well! and wherein, pray, said Zadig, is the good Woman so much to blame? Is it not an incontestable Mark of her superior Merit and Conjugal-Affection? But, Zadig, said Azora, was you to know how her Thoughts were employ'd when I made my Visit, you'd never forget or forgive her. Pray, my dearest Azora, what then was she about? Why, the Creature, said Azora, was studying, to be sure, to find out Ways and Means to turn the Current of the River.
Azora, in short, harangu'd so long, and, was so big with her Invectives against the young Widow, that her too affected, vain Shew of Virtue, gave Zadig a secret Disgust.
Zadig had an intimate Friend, one Cador by Name, whose Spouse was perfectly honest, and had in reality a greater Regard for him, than all Mankind besides: This Friend Zadig made his Confident, and bound him to keep a Project of his entirely a Secret, by a Promise of some valuable Token of his Respect. Azora had been visiting a Female Companion for two Days together in the Country, and on the third was returning home: No sooner, however, was she in Sight of the House, but the Servants ran to meet her with Tears in their Eyes, and told her, that their Master dy'd suddenly the Night before; that they durstn't carry her the doleful Tidings, but were going to bury Zadig in the Sepulchre of his Ancestors, at the Bottom of the Garden. She burst into a Flood of Tears; tore her Hair; and vow'd to die by his Side. As soon as it was dark, young Cador came, and begg'd the Favour of being introduc'd to the Widow. He was so, and they wept together very cordially. Next Day the Storm was somewhat abated, and they din'd together; Cador inform'd her, that his Friend had left him the much greater Part of his Effects, and gave her to understand, that he should think himself the happiest Creature in the World, if she would condescend to be his Partner in that Demise. The Widow wept, sobb'd, and began to melt. More Time was spent in Supper than at Dinner. They discoursed together with a little more Freedom. Azora was lavish of her Encomiums on Zadig; but then, 'twas true, she said, he had some secret Infirmities to which Cador was a Stranger. In the Midst of their Midnight Entertainment, Cador all on a sudden complain'd that he was taken with a most violent pleuretic Fit, and was ready to swoon away. Our Lady being extremely concern'd, and over-officious, flew to her Closet of Cordials, and brought down every Thing she could think of that might be of Service on this emergent Occasion. She was extremely sorry that the famous Hermes was gone from Babylon, and condescended to lay her warm Hand upon the Part affected, in which he felt such an agonizing Pain. Pray Sir, said she, in a soft, languishing Tone, are you subject to this tormenting Malady? Sometimes, Madam, said Cador, so strong, that they bring me almost to Death's Door; and there is but one Thing can infallibly cure me; and that is, the Application of a dead Man's Nose to the part affected. An odd Remedy truly, said Azora. Not stranger, Madam, said he, than the Great *Arnon's infallible Apoplectic Necklaces.
* There was at this Time in Babylon, a famous Doctor, nam'd Arnon, who both cur'd Apoplectic Fits, and prevented them from affecting his Patients, as was frequently advertiz'd in the Gazettes, by a little never-failing Purse that he hung round their Necks.
This Assurance of Success, together with Cador's personal Merit, determin'd Azora in his Favour. After all, said she, when my Husband shall be about to cross the Bridge Tchimavar, from this World of Yesterday, to the other, of To-morrow, will the Angel Asrael, think you, make any Scruple about his Passage, should his Nose prove something shorter in the next Life than 'twas in this? She would venture, however, and taking up a sharp Razor, repair'd to her Husband's Tomb; water'd it first with her Tears, and then intended to perform the innocent Operation, as he lay extended breathless, as she thought, in his Coffin. Zadig mounted in a Moment; secur'd his Nose with one Hand, and the Incision-Knife with the other. Madam, said he, never more exclaim against the Widow Cosrou. The Scheme for cutting my Nose off was much closer laid than hers of throwing the River into a new Channel.
The DOG and the HORSE.
Zadig found, by Experience, that the first thirty Days of Matrimony (as 'tis written in the Book of Zend) is Honey-Moon; but the second is all Wormwood. He was oblig'd, in short, as Azora grew such a Termagant, to sue out a Bill of Divorce, and to seek his Consolation for the future, in the Study of Nature. Who is happier, said he, than the Philosopher, who peruses with Understanding that spacious Book, which the supreme Being has laid open before his Eyes? The Truths he discovers there, are of infinite Service to him. He thereby cultivates and improves his Mind. He lives in Peace and Tranquility all his Days; he is afraid of Nobody, and he has no tender, indulgent Wife to shorten his Nose for him.
Wrapped up in these Contemplations, he retir'd to a little Country House on the Banks of the Euphrates; there he never spent his Time in calculating how many Inches of Water run thro' the Arch of a Bridge in a second of Time, or in enquiring if a Cube Line of Rain falls more in the Mouse-Month, than in that of the Ram. He form'd no Projects for making Silk Gloves and Stockings out of Spiders Webbs, nor of China-Ware out of broken Glass-Bottles; but he pry'd into the Nature and Properties of Animals and Plants, and soon, by his strict and repeated Enquiries, he was capable of discerning a Thousand Variations in visible Objects, that others, less curious, imagin'd were all alike.
One Day, as he was taking a solitary Walk by the Side of a Thicket, he espy'd one of the Queen's Eunuchs, with several of his Attendants, coming towards him, hunting about, in deep Concern, both here and there, like Persons almost in Despair, and seeking, with Impatience, for something lost of the utmost Importance. Young Man, said the Queen's chief Eunuch, have not you seen, pray, her Majesty's Dog? Zadig very cooly replied, you mean her Bitch, I presume. You say very right Sir, said the Eunuch, 'tis a Spaniel-Bitch indeed.—And very small said Zadig: She has had Puppies too lately; she's a little lame with her left Fore-foot, and has long Ears. By your exact Description, Sir, you must doubtless have seen her, said the Eunuch, almost out of Breath. But I have not Sir, notwithstanding, neither did I know, but by you, that the Queen ever had such a favourite Bitch.
Just at this critical Juncture, so various are the Turns of Fortune's Wheel! the best Palfrey in all the King's Stable had broke loose from the Groom, and got upon the Plains of Babylon. The Head Huntsman with all his inferior Officers, were in Pursuit after him, with as much Concern, as the Eunuch about the Bitch. The Head Huntsman address'd himself to Zadig, and ask'd him, whether he hadn't seen the King's Palfrey run by him. No Horse, said Zadig, ever gallop'd smoother; he is about five Foot high, his Hoofs are very small; his Tail is about three Foot six Inches long; the studs of his Bit are of pure Gold, about 23 Carats; and his Shoes are of Silver, about Eleven penny Weight a-piece. What Course did he take, pray, Sir? Whereabouts is he, said the Huntsman? I never sat Eyes on him, reply'd Zadig, not I, neither did I ever hear before now, that his Majesty had such a Palfrey.
The Head Huntsman, as well as the Head Eunuch, upon his answering their Interrogatories so very exactly, not doubting in the least, but that Zadig had clandestinely convey'd both the Bitch and the Horse away, secur'd him, and carried him before the grand Desterham, who condemn'd him to the Knout, and to be confin'd for Life in some remote and lonely Part of Siberia. No sooner had the Sentence been pronounc'd, but the Horse and Bitch were both found. The Judges were in some Perplexity in this odd Affair, and yet thought it absolutely necessary, as the Man was innocent, to recal their Decree. However, they laid a Fine upon him of Four Hundred Ounces of Gold, for his false Declaration of his not having seen, what doubtless he did: And the Fine was order'd to be deposited in Court accordingly: On the Payment whereof, he was permitted to bring his Cause on to a Hearing before the grand Desterham.
On the Day appointed for that Purpose he open'd the Cause himself, in Terms to this or the like Effect.
Ye bright Stars of Justice, ye profound Abyss of universal Knowledge, ye Mirrors of Equity, who have in you the Solidity of Lead, the Hardness of Steel, the Lustre of a Diamond, and the Resemblance of the purest Gold! Since ye have condescended so far, as to admit of my Address to this August Assembly, I here, in the most solemn Manner, swear to you by Orosmades, that I never saw the Queen's illustrious Bitch, nor the sacred Palfrey of the King of Kings. I'll be ingenuous, however, and declare the Truth, and nothing but the Truth. As I was walking by the Thicket's Side, where I met with her Majesty's most venerable chief Eunuch, and the King's most illustrious chief Huntsman, I perceiv'd upon the Sand the Footsteps of an Animal, and I easily inferr'd that it must be a little one. The several small, tho' long Ridges of Land between the Footsteps of the Creature, gave me just Grounds to imagine it was a Bitch whose Teats hung down; and for that Reason, I concluded she had but lately pupp'd. As I observ'd likewise some other Traces, in some Degree different, which seem'd to have graz'd all the Way upon the Surface of the Sand, on the Side of the fore-Feet, I knew well enough she must have had long Ears. And forasmuch as I discern'd; with some Degree of Curiosity, that the Sand was every where less hollow'd by one Foot in particular, than by the other three, I conceiv'd that the Bitch of our most august Queen was somewhat lamish, if I may presume to say so.
As to the Palfrey of the King of Kings, give me leave to inform you, that as I was walking down the Lane by the Thicket-side, I took particular Notice of the Prints made upon the Sand by a Horse's Shoes; and found that their Distances were in exact Proportion; from that Observation, I concluded the Palfrey gallop'd well. In the next Place, the Dust of some Trees in a narrow Lane, which was but seven Foot broad, was here and there swept off, both on the Right and on the Left, about three Feet and six Inches from the Middle of the Road. For which Reason I pronounc'd the Tail of the Palfrey to be three Foot and a half long, with which he had whisk'd off the Dust on both Sides as he ran along. Again, I perceiv'd under the Trees, which form'd a Kind of Bower of five Feet high, some Leaves that had been lately fallen on the Ground, and I was sensible the Horse must have shook them off; from whence I conjectur'd he was five Foot high. As to the Bits of his Bridle, I knew they must be of Gold, and of the Value I mention'd; for he had rubb'd the Studs upon a certain Stone, which I knew to be a Touch-stone, by an Experiment that I had made of it. To conclude, by the Prints which his Shoes had left of some Flint-Stones of another Nature, I concluded his Shoes were Silver, and of eleven penny Weight Fineness, as I before mention'd.
The whole Bench of Judges stood astonish'd at the Profundity of Zadig's nice Discernment. The News was soon carried to the King and the Queen. Zadig was not only the whole Subject of the Court's Conversation; but his Name was mention'd with the utmost Veneration in the King's Chambers, and his Privy-Council. And notwithstanding several of their Magi declar'd he ought to be burnt for a Sorcerer; yet the King thought proper, that the Fine he had deposited in Court, should be peremptorily restor'd. The Clerk of the Court, the Tipstaffs, and other petty Officers, waited on him in their proper Habit, in order to refund the four Hundred Ounces of Gold, pursuant to the King's express Order; modestly reserving only three Hundred and ninety Ounces, part thereof, to defray the Fees of the Court. And the Domesticks swarm'd about him likewise, in Hopes of some small Consideration.
Zadig, upon winding up of the Bottom, was fully convinc'd, that it was very dangerous to be over-wise; and was determin'd to set a Watch before the Door of his Lips for the future.
An Opportunity soon offer'd for the Trial of his Resolution. A Prisoner of State had just made his Escape, and pass'd under the Window of Zadig's House. Zadig was examin'd thereupon, but was absolutely dumb. However, as it was plainly prov'd upon him, that he did look out of the Window at the same Time, he was sentenc'd to pay five Hundred Ounces of Gold for that Misdemeanor; and moreover, was oblig'd to thank the Court for their Indulgence; a Compliment which the Magistrates of Babylon expect to be paid them. Good God! said he, to himself, have I not substantial Reason to complain, that my impropitious Stars should direct me to walk by a Wood's-Side, where the Queen's Bitch and the King's Palfrey should happen to pass by? How dangerous is it to pop one's Head out of one's Window? And, in a Word, how difficult is it for a Man to be happy on this Side the Grave?
The ENVIOUS MAN.
As Zadig had met with such a Series of Misfortunes, he was determin'd to ease the Weight of them by the Study of Philosophy, and the Conversation of select Friends. He was still possess'd of a little pretty Box in the Out-parts of Babylon, which was furnish'd in a good Taste; where every Artist was welcome, and wherein he enjoy'd all the rational Pleasures that a virtuous Man could well wish for. In the Morning, his Library was always open for the Use of the Learned; at Night his Table was fill'd with the most agreeable Companions; but he was soon sensible, by Experience, how dangerous it was to keep learned Men Company. A warm Dispute arose about a certain Law of Zoroaster; which prohibited the Eating of Griffins: But to what Purpose said some of the Company, was that Prohibition, since there is no such Animal in Nature? Some again insisted that there must; for otherwise Zoroaster could never have been so weak as to give his Pupils such a Caution. Zadig, in order to compromize the Matter, said; Gentlemen, If there are such Creatures in Being, let us never touch them; and if there are not, we are well assur'd we can't touch them; so in either Case we shall comply with the Commandment.
A learned Man at the upper End of the Table, who had compos'd thirteen Volumes, expatiating on every Property of the Griffin, took this Affair in a very serious Light, which would greatly have embarrass'd Zadig, but for the Credit of a Magus, who was Brother to his Friend Cador. From that Day forward, Zadig ever distinguish'd and preferr'd good, before learned Company: He associated with the most conversible Men, and the most amiable Ladies in all Babylon; he made elegant Entertainments, which were frequently preceded by a Concert of Musick, and enliven'd by the most facetious Conversation, in which, as he had felt the Smart of it, he had laid aside all Thoughts of shewing his Wit, which is not only the surest Proof that a Man has none, but the most infallible Means to spoil all good Company.
Neither the Choice of his Friends, nor that of his Dishes, was the Result of Pride or Ostentation. He took Delight in appearing to be, what he actually was, and not in seeming to be what he was not; and by that Means, got a greater real Character than he actually aim'd at.
Directly opposite to his House liv'd Arimazes, one puff'd up with Pride, who not meeting with Success in the World, sought his Revenge in railing against all Mankind. Rich as he was, it was almost more than he could accomplish, to procure ev'n any Parasites about him. Tho' the rattling of the Chariots which stopp'd at Zadig's Door was a perfect Nuisance to him; yet the good Character which every Body gave him was still a higher Provocation. He would sometimes intrude himself upon Zadig, and set down at his Table without any Invitation; when there, he would most certainly interrupt the Mirth of the Company, as Harpies, they say, infect the very Carrion that they eat.
Arimazes took it in his Head one Day to invite a young Lady to an Entertainment; but she, instead of accepting of his Offer, spent the Evening at Zadig's. Another Time, as Zadig and he were chatting together at Court, a Minister of State came up to them, and invited Zadig to Supper, but took no Notice of Arimazes. The most implacable Aversions have frequently no better Foundations. This Gentleman, who was call'd the envious Man, would have taken away the Life of Zadig if he could because most People distinguish'd him by the Title of the Happy Man. "An Opportunity of doing Mischief, says Zoroaster, offers itself a hundred Times a Day; but that of doing a Friend a good Office but once a Year."
Arimazes went one Day to Zadig's House, when he was walking in his Garden with two Friends, and a young Lady, to whom he said Abundance of fine Things, with no other Design but the innocent Pleasure of saying them. Their Conversation turn'd on a War that the King had happily put an End to, between him and his Vassal, the Prince of Hyrcania. Zadig having signaliz'd himself in that short War, commended his Majesty very highly, but was more lavish of his Compliments on the Lady. He took out his Pocket Book, and wrote four extempore Verses on that Occasion, and gave them the Lady to read. The Gentlemen then present begg'd to be oblig'd with a Sight of them, as well as the Lady, But either thro' Modesty, or rather a self-Consciousness that he hadn't happily succeeded, he gave them a flat Denial. He was sensible, that a sudden poetic Flight must prove insipid to every one but the Person in whose Favour it is written, whereupon he snapt the Table in two whereon the Lines were wrote, and threw both Pieces into a Rose-bush, where they were hunted for, but to no Purpose. Soon after it happened to rain, and all the Company flew into the House, but Arimazes. Notwithstanding the Shower, he continued in the Garden, and never quitted it, till he had found one Moiety of the Tablet, which was unfortunately broke in such a Manner, that even the half Lines were good sense, and good Metre, tho' very short. But what was still more remarkably unfortunate, they appear'd at first View, to be a severe satyr upon the King: The Words were these:
To flagrant Crimes His Crown he owes; To peaceful Times The worst of Foes.
This was the first Moment that ever Arimazes was happy. He had it now in his Power to ruin the most virtuous and innocent of Men. Big with his execrable Joy, he flew to his Majesty with this virulent Satyr of Zadig's under his own Hand. Not only Zadig, but his two Friends and the Lady were immediately close confin'd. His Cause was soon over; for the Judges turn'd a deaf Ear to what he had to say. When Sentence of Condemnation was pass'd upon him, Arimazes, still spiteful, was heard to say, as he went out of Court, with an Air of Contempt, that Zadig's Lines were Treason indeed, but nothing more. Tho' Zadig didn't value himself on Account of his Genius for Poetry; yet he was almost distracted to find himself condemn'd for the worst of Traitors, and his two Friends and the Lady lock'd up in a Dungeon for a Crime, of which he was no ways guilty. He wasn't permitted to speak one Word for himself. His Pocket-Book was sufficient Evidence against him. So strict were the Laws of Babylon! He was carried to the Place of Execution, through a Croud of Spectators, who durstn't condole with him, and who flock'd about him, to observe whether his Countenance chang'd, or whether he died with a good Grace. His Relations were the only real Mourners; for there was no Estate in Reversion for them; three Parts of his Effects were confiscated for the King's Use, and the fourth was devoted, as a Reward, to the use of the Informer.
Just at the Time that he was preparing himself for Death, the King's Parrot flew from her Balcony, into Zadig's Garden, and alighted on a Rose-bush. A Peach, that had been blown down, and drove by the Wind from an adjacent Tree, just under the Bush, was glew'd, as it were, to the other Moiety of the Tablet. Away flew the Parrot with her Booty, and return'd to the King's Lap. The Monarch, being somewhat curious, read the Words on the broken Tablet, which had no Meaning in them as he could perceive, but seem'd to be the broken Parts of a Tetrastick. He was a great Admirer of Poetry; and the odd Adventure of his Parrot, put him upon Reflection. The Queen who recollected full well the Lines that were wrote on the Fragment of Zadig's Tablet, order'd that Part of it to be produc'd: Both the broken Pieces being put together, they answered exactly the Indentures; and then the Verses which Zadig had written, in a Flight of Loyalty, ran thus,
Tyrants are prone to flagrant Crimes; To Clemency his Crown he owes; To Concord and to peaceful Times, Love only is the worst of Foes.
Upon this the King order'd Zadig to be instantly brought before him; and his two Friends and the Lady to be that Moment discharg'd. Zadig, as he stood before the King and Queen, fix'd his Eyes upon the Ground, and begg'd their Majesty's Pardon for his little worthless, poetical Attempt. He spoke, however, with such a becoming Grace, and with so much Modesty and good Sense, that the King and the Queen, ordered him to be brought before them once again. He was brought accordingly, and he pleas'd them still more and more. In short, they gave him all the immense Estate of Arimazes, who had so unjustly accus'd him; but Zadig generously return'd the wicked Informer the Whole to a Farthing. The envious Man, however, was no ways affected, but with the Restoration of his Effects. Zadig every Day grew more and more in Favour at Court. He was made a Party in all the King's Pleasures, and nothing was done in the Privy-Council without him. The Queen, from that very Hour, shew'd him so much Respect, and spoke to him in such soft and endearing Terms, that in Process of Time, it prov'd of fatal Consequence to herself, her Royal Consort, to Zadig, and the whole Kingdom. Zadig now began to think it was not so difficult a Thing to be happy as at first he imagin'd.
The Force of Generosity.
The Time now drew near for the Celebration of a grand Festival, which was kept but once in five Years. 'Twas a constant Custom in Babylon at the Expiration of the Term above-mention'd, to distinguish that Citizen from all the Rest, in the most solemn Manner, who had done the most generous Action; and the Grandees and Magi always sat as Judges. The Satrap inform'd them of every praise-worthy Deed that occurr'd within his District. All were put to the Vote, and the King himself pronounc'd the Definitive Sentence. People of all Ranks and Degrees came from the remotest Part of the Kingdom to be present at this Solemnity. The Victor, whoever he was, receiv'd from the King's own Hand a golden Cup, enrich'd with precious Stones, and upon the Delivery, the King made use of the following Salutation. Receive this Reward of your Generosity, and may the Gods grant me Thousands of such valuable Subjects!
Upon this memorable Day, the King appear'd in all the Pomp imaginable on his Throne of State, surrounded by his Grandees, the Magi, and the Deputies, from all the surrounding Nations, of every Province that attended these public Sports, where Honour was to be acquir'd, not by the Velocity of the best Race-Horse, or by bodily Strength, but by intrinsic Merit. The principal Satrap proclaim'd, with an audible Voice, such Actions as would entitle the Victor to the inestimable Prize; but never mention'd one Word of Zadig's Greatness of Soul, in returning his invidious Neighbour all his Estate, notwithstanding he would have taken away his Life: That was but a Trifle, and not worth speaking of.
The first that was set up for the Prize, was a Judge, that had occasion'd a Citizen to lose a very considerable Cause, through some Mistake, for which he was no ways responsible, and made him Restitution out of his private Purse.
The next Candidate was a Youth, that tho' violently in Love with one that he intended shortly to make his Spouse, yet resign'd her to his Friend, who was just expiring at her Feet; and moreover, gave her a Portion at the same Time.
After this appear'd a Soldier, who, in the Hyrcanian War, had done a much more glorious Action than the Lover. A Gang of Hyrcanians having taken his Mistress from him, he fought them bravely, and rescued her out of their Hands: Soon after, he was inform'd, that another Band of the same Party had hurried away his Mother to a Place not far distant; he left his Mistress, all drown'd in Tears, and ran to his Mother's Assistance: After that Skirmish was over, he returned to his Sweet-heart, and found her just expiring. He would fain have plung'd a Dagger into his Heart that Moment; but his Mother remonstrated to him, that, should he die, she should be entirely helpless, and upon that Account only he had Courage to live a little longer.
The Judges seem'd very much inclin'd to give their Votes for the Soldier; but the King prevented them, by saying, that the Soldier's Action was praise-worthy enough, and so were those of the rest, but none of them give me any Surprize. What Zadig did Yesterday perfectly struck me with Astonishment. I'll mention another Instance. I had some few Days ago, as a Testimony of my Resentment, banish'd my Prime-Minister, and Favourite Coreb from the Court. I complain'd of his Conduct in the warmest Terms; and all my Sycophants about me, told me that I was too merciful; and loaded him with the sharpest Invectives. I ask'd Zadig what his Opinion was of Coreb; and he dar'd to give him the best of Characters. I must confess, I have read in our publick Records, indeed, of Instances where Restitution have been generally made, for Injuries committed by Mistake; where a Mistress has been resign'd; and where a Mother has been preferr'd to a Mistress; but I never read of a Courtier, that would speak to the Advantage of a Minister in Disgrace, and against whom the Sovereign was highly incens'd. I'll give 20,000 Pieces of Gold to every Candidate that has been this Day proclaim'd, but I'll give the Cup to no one but Zadig.
Sire, said Zadig, 'tis your Majesty alone, that deserves the Cup; 'tis you alone who have done an Action of Generosity, never heard of before; since you, who are King of Kings, wasn't exasperated against your Slave, when he contradicted you in the Heat of your Passion. Every Body gaz'd with Eyes of Admiration on the King and Zadig. The Judge, who had generously made Restitution for his Error; the Lover, who had married his Mistress to his Friend; the Soldier, who had preferr'd the Welfare of his Mother to that of his Mistress; received the promis'd Donation from the Monarch, and saw their Names register'd in the Book of Fame: But Zadig had the Cup. The King got the universal Character of a good Prince, which he did not long preserve. This joyful Day was solemniz'd with Festivals beyond the Time by Law establish'd. Tragedies were acted there that drew Tears from the Spectators; and Comedies that made them laugh; Entertainments, that the Babylonians were perfect Strangers to: The Commemoration of it is still preserv'd in Asia. Now, said Zadig, I am happy at last; but he was grosly mistaken.
Young as Zadig was, he was constituted chief Judge of all the Tribunals throughout the Empire. He fill'd the Place, like one, whom the Gods had endow'd with the strictest Justice, and the most solid Wisdom. It was to him, the Nations round about were indebted for that generous Maxim; that 'tis much more Prudence to acquit two Persons, tho' actually guilty, than to pass Sentence of Condemnation in one that is virtuous and innocent. It was his firm Opinion, that the Laws were intended to be a Praise to those who did well, as much as to be a Terror to Evildoers. It was his peculiar Talent to render Truth as obvious as possible: Whereas most Men study to render it intricate and obscure. On the very first Day of his Entrance into his High Office, he exerted this peculiar Talent. A rich Merchant, and a Native of Babylon, died in the Indies. He had made his Will, and appointed his two Sons Joint-Heirs of his Estate, as soon as they had settled their Sister, and married her with their mutual Approbation. Moreover, he left a specific Legacy of 30,000 Pieces of Gold to that Son, who should, after his Decease, be prov'd to love him best. The Eldest erected to his Memory a very costly Monument: The Youngest appropriated a considerable Part of his Bequest to the Augmentation of his Sister's Fortune: Every one, without Hesitation, gave the Preference to the Elder, allowing the Younger to have the greatest Affection for his Sister. The Legacy therefore was doubtless due to the Eldest.
Their Cause came before Zadig, and he examin'd them apart. To the former, said Zadig, Your Father, Sir, is not dead, as is reported, but being happily recover'd, is on his Return to Babylon. God be praised, said the young Man! but I hope the Expence I have been at in raising this superb Monument will be consider'd. After this, Zadig repeated the same Story to the Younger. God be praised, said he! I will immediately restore all that he has left me; but I hope my Father will not recal the little Present I have made my Sister. You have nothing to restore, Sir; you shall have the Legacy of the thirty thousand Pieces; for 'tis you that have the greatest Veneration for your deceased Father.
A young Lady that was very rich, had entred into a Marriage-Contract with two Magis; and having receiv'd Instructions from both Parties for some Months, she prov'd with Child. They were both ready and willing to marry her. But, said she, he shall be my Husband, that has put me into a Capacity of serving my Country, by adding one to it. 'Tis I, Madam, that have answered that valuable End, said one; but the other insisted 'twas his Operation. Well! said she, since this is a Moot-point, I'll acknowledge him for the Father of the Child, that will give him the most liberal Education. In a short Time after, my Lady was brought to Bed of a hopeful Boy. Each of them insisted on being Tutor, and the Cause was brought before Zadig. The two Magi were order'd to appear in Court. Pray Sir, said Zadig to the first, what Method of Instruction do you propose to pursue for the Improvement of your young Pupil? He shall first be grounded, said this learned Pedagogue, in the Eight Parts of Speech; then I'll teach him Logic, Astrology, Magick, the wide Difference between the Terms Substance and Accident, Abstract and Concrete, &c. &c. As for my Part, Sir, I shall take another Course, said the second; I'll do my utmost to make him an honest Man, and acceptable to his Friends. Upon this, Zadig said, you, Sir, shall marry the Mother, let who will be the Father.
There came daily Complaints to Court against the Itimadoulet of Media, whose Name was Irax. He was a Person of Quality, who was possess'd of a very considerable Estate, notwithstanding he had squander'd away a great Part of it, by indulging himself in all Manner of expensive Pleasures. It was but seldom that an Inferior was suffer'd to speak to him; but not a Soul durst contradict him: No Peacock was more gay; no Turtle more amorous; and no Tortoise more indolent and inactive. He made false Glory and false Pleasures his sole Pursuit.
Zadig, undertaking to cure him, sent him forthwith, as by express Order from the King, a Musick-Master with twelve Voices, and 24 Violins, as his Attendants; a Head Steward, with six Men Cooks, and 4 Chamberlains, who were never to be out of his Sight. The King issued out his Writ for the punctual Observance of his Royal Will; and thus the Affair proceeded.
The first Morning, as soon as the voluptuous Irax had open'd his Eyes, his Musick-Master, with the Voices and Violins, entred his Apartment. They sang a Cantata, that lasted two Hours and three Minutes. Every three Minutes the Chorus, or Burthen of the Song, was to this Effect.
Tisn't in Words to speak your Praise; What mighty Honours are your Due! To worth like yours we Altars raise, No Monarch's happier, Sir, than you.
After the Cantata was over, the Chamberlain address'd him in a formal Harangue for three Quarters of an Hour without ceasing; wherein he took Occasion to extol every Virtue to which he was a perfect Stranger; when the Oration was over, he was conducted to Dinner, where the Musicians were all in waiting, and play'd, as soon as he was seated at his Table. Dinner lasted three Hours before he condescended to speak a Word. When he did; you say Right, Sir, said the chief Chamberlain; scarce had he utter'd four Words more, but Right, Sir, said the second. The other two Chamberlain's Time was taken up in laughing with Admiration at Irax's Smart Repartees, or at least such as he ought to have made. After the Cloth was taken away, the adulating Chorus was repeated.
This first Day Irax was all in Raptures; he imagin'd, that this Honour done him by the King of Kings, was the sole Result of his exalted Merit. The second wasn't altogether so agreeable; The third prov'd somewhat troublesome; the fourth insupportable; the fifth was tormenting; and at last, he was perfectly outrageous at the continual Peal in his Ears of No Monarch's happier Sir, than you, You say right, &c. and at being daily harangu'd at the same Hour. Whereupon he wrote to Court, and begg'd of his Majesty to recal his Chamberlain, his Musick-Master, and all his Retinue, his Head Steward and his Cooks, and promis'd, in the most submissive Manner, to be less vain, and more industrious for the future. Tho' he didn't require so much Adulations, nor such grand Entertainments, he was much more happy; for, as Sadder has it, One continued Scene of Pleasure, is no Pleasure at all.
Zadig every Day gave incontestable Proofs of his wondrous Penetration, and the Goodness of his Heart; he was ador'd by the People, and was the Darling of the King. The little Difficulties that he met with in the first Stage of his Life, serv'd only to augment his present Felicity. Every Night, however, he had some unlucky Dream or another, that gave him some Disturbance. One while, he imagin'd himself extended on a Bed of wither'd Plants, amongst which there were some that were sharp pointed, and made him very restless and uneasy; another Time, he fancied himself repos'd on a Bed of Roses, out of which rush'd a Serpent, that stung him to the Heart with his envenom'd Tongue. Alas! said he, waking, I was one while upon a Bed of hard and nauseous Plants, and just this Moment repos'd on a Bed of Roses. But then the Serpent.—
The Force of JEALOUSY.
The Misfortunes that attended Zadig proceeded, in a great Measure, from his Preferment; but more from his intrinsic Merit. Every Day he had familiar Converse with the King, his Royal Master, and his august Consort, Astarte. And the Pleasure arising from thence was greatly enhanc'd from an innate Ambition of pleasing, which, in regard to Wit, is the same, as Dress is to Beauty. His Youth, and graceful Deportment, had a greater Influence on Astarte, than she was at first aware of. Tho' her Affection for him daily encreas'd; yet she was perfectly innocent. Astarte would say, without the least Reserve or Apprehension of Fear, that she was extreamly pleas'd with the Company of one, who was, not only a Favourite of her Husband, but the Darling of the whole Empire. She was continually speaking in his Commendation before the King: He was the Subject of her whole Discourse amongst her Ladies of Honour, who were as lavish of their Praises as herself. Such repeated Discourses, however innocent, made a deeper Impression on her Heart, than she at that Time apprehended. She would every now and then send Zadig some little Present or another; which he construed as the Result of a greater Value for him than she intended. She said no more of him, as she thought, than a Queen might innocently do, who was perfectly assur'd of his Attachment to her Husband; sometimes, indeed, she would express her self with an Air of Tenderness and Affection.
Astarte was much handsomer than either his Mistress Semira, who had such a natural Antipathy to a one-eyed Lord, or Azora, his late loving Spouse, that would innocently have cut his Nose off. The Freedoms which Astarte took, her tender Expressions, at which she began to blush, the Glances of her Eye, which she would turn away, if perceiv'd, and which she fix'd upon his, kindled in the Heart of Zadig a Fire, which struck him with Amazement. He did all he could to smother it; he call'd up all the Philosophy he was Master of to his Aid; but all in vain, for no Consolation arose from those Reflections.
Duty, Gratitude, and an injur'd Monarch, presented themselves before his Eyes, as avenging Deities: He bravely struggled; he triumph'd indeed; but this Conquest over his Passions, which he was oblig'd to check every Moment, cost him many a deep Sigh and Tear. He durst not talk with the Queen any more, with that Freedom which was too engaging on both Sides; his Eyes were obnubilated; his Discourse was forc'd and unconnected; he turn'd his Eyes another Way; and when, against his Inclination, they met with those of the Queen, he found, that tho' drown'd in Tears, they darted Flames of Fire: They seem'd in Silence to intimate, that they were afraid of being in love with each other; and that both burn'd with a Fire which both condemn'd.
Zadig flew from her Presence, like one beside himself, and in Despair; his Heart was over-charg'd with a Burthen, too great for him to bear: In the Heat of his Conflicts, he disclos'd the Secrets of his Heart to his trusty Friend Cador, as one, who, having long groan'd under the Weight of an inexpressible Anguish of Mind, at once makes known the Cause of his Torments by the Groans, as it were, extorted from him, and by the Drops of a cold Sweat, that trickled down his Cheeks.
Cador said to him; 'tis now some considerable Time since, I have discover'd that secret Passion which you have foster'd in your Bosom, and yet endeavour'd to conceal even from your self. The Passions carry along with them such strong Impressions, that they cannot be conceal'd. Tell me ingenuously Zadig; and be your own Accuser, whether or no, since I have made this Discovery, the King has not shewn some visible Marks of his Resentment. He has no other Foible, but that of being the most jealous Mortal breathing. You take more Pains to check the Violence of your Passion, than the Queen herself does; because you are a Philosopher; because, in short, you are Zadig; Astarte is but a weak Woman; and tho' her Eyes speak too visibly, and with too much Imprudence; yet she does not think her self blame-worthy. Being conscious of her Innocence, to her own Misfortune, as well as yours, she is too unguarded. I tremble for her; because I am sensible her Conscience acquits her. Were you both agreed, you might conceal your Regard for each other from all the World: A rising Passion, that is smother'd, breaks out into a Flame; Love, when once gratified, knows how to conceal itself with Art. Zadig shudder'd at the Proposition of ungratefully violating the Bed of his Royal Benefactor; and never was there a more loyal Subject to a Prince, tho' guilty of an involuntary Crime. The Queen, however, repeated the Name of Zadig so often, and her Cheeks glow'd with such a red, when ever she utter'd it; she was one while so transported, and at another, so dejected, when the Discourse turn'd upon him in the King's Presence; she was in such a Reverie, so confus'd and stupid, when he went out of the Presence, that her Deportment made the King extremely uneasy. He was convinc'd of every Thing he saw, and form'd in his Mind an Idea of a thousand Things he did not see. He observ'd, particularly, that Astarte's Sandals were blue; so Zadig's were blue likewise; that as the Queen wore yellow Ribbands, Zadig's Turbet was of the same Colour: These were shocking Circumstances for a Monarch of his Cast of Mind to reflect on! To a Mind, in short, so distemper'd as his was, Suspicions were converted into real Facts.
All Court Slaves, and Sycophants, are so many Spies on Kings and Queens: They soon discover'd that Astarte was fond, and Moabdar jealous. Arimazius, his envious Foe, who was as incorrigible as ever; for Flints will never soften; and Creatures, that are by Nature venemous, forever retain their Poison. Arimazius, I say, wrote an anonymous Letter to Moabdar, the infamous Recourse of sordid Spirits, who are the Objects of universal Contempt; but in this Case, an Affair of the last Importance; because this Letter tallied with the baneful Suggestions that Monarch had conceiv'd. In short, his Thoughts were now wholly bent upon Revenge. He determin'd to poison Astarte on a certain Night, and to have Zadig strangled by Break of Day. Orders for that Purpose were expressly given to a merciless, inhuman Eunuch, the ready Executioner of his Vengeance. At that critical Conjuncture, there happen'd to be a Dwarf, who was dumb, but not deaf, in the King's Apartment. Nobody regarded him: He was an Eye and Ear-witness of all that pass'd, and yet no more suspected than any irrational Domestic Animal. This little Dwarf had conceiv'd a peculiar Regard for Astarte and Zadig: He heard, with equal Horror and Surprize, the King's Orders to destroy them both. But how to prevent those Orders from being put into Execution, as the Time was so short, was all his Concern. He could not write, 'tis true, but he had luckily learnt to draw, and take a Likeness. He spent a good Part of the Night in delineating with Crayons, on a Piece of Paper, the imminent Danger that thus attended the Queen. In one Corner, he represented the King highly incens'd, and giving his cruel Eunuch the fatal Orders; in another, a Bowl and a Cord upon a Table; in the Center was the Queen, expiring in the Arms of her Maids of Honour, with Zadig strangled, and laid dead at her Feet. In the Horizon was the rising Sun, to denote, that this execrable Scene was to be exhibited by Break of Day. No sooner was his Design finish'd, but he ran with it to one of Astarte's Female Favourites, then in waiting, call'd her up, and gave her to understand, that she must carry the Draught to Astarte that very Moment.
In the mean Time, the Queen's Attendants, tho' it was Dead of Night, knock'd at the Door of Zadig's Apartment, wak'd him, and deliver'd into his Hands a Billet from the Queen. At first he could not well tell whether he was only in a Dream or not, but soon read the Letter, with a trembling Hand, and a heavy Heart: Words can't express his Surprise, and the Agonies of Despair which he was in upon his perusal of the Contents. Fly, said she, Dear Zadig, this very Moment; for your Life's in the utmost Danger: Fly, Dear Zadig, I conjure you, in the Name of that fatal Passion, with which I have long struggled, and which I now venture to discover, as I am to make Atonement for it, in a few Moments, by the Loss of my Life. Tho' I am conscious to myself of my Innocence, I find I am to feel the Weight of my Husband's Resentment, and die the Death of a Traitor.
Zadig was scarce able to speak. He order'd his Friend Cador to be instantly call'd, and gave him the Letter the Moment he came, without opening his Lips. Cador press'd him to regard the Contents, and to make the best of his Way to Memphis. If you presume, said he, to have an Interview with her Majesty first, you inevitably hasten her Execution; or if you wait upon the King, the fatal Consequence will be the same: I'll prevent her unhappy Fate, if possible; you follow but your own: I'll give it out, that you are gone to the Indies: I'll wait on you as soon as the Hurricane is blown over, and I'll let you know all that occurs material in Babylon.
Cador, that Instant, order'd two of the fleetest Dromedaries that could be got, to be in readiness at a private Back-Door belonging to the Court; he help'd Zadig to mount his Beast, tho' ready to drop into the Earth. He had but one trusty Servant to attend him, and Cador, overwhelm'd with Grief, soon lost Sight of his dearly beloved Friend.
This illustrious Fugitive soon reach'd the Summit of a little Hill, that afforded him a fair Prospect of the whole City of Babylon: But turning his Eyes back towards the Queen's Palace, he fainted away; and when he had recover'd his Senses, he drown'd his Eyes in a Flood of Tears, and with Impatience wish'd for Death. To conclude, after he had reflected, with Horror, on the deplorable Fate of the most amiable Creature in the Universe, and of the most meritorious Queen that ever liv'd; he for a Moment commanded his Passion, and with a Sigh, made the following Exclamations: What is this mortal Life! O Virtue, Virtue, of what Service hast thou been to me! Two young Ladies, a Mistress, and a Wife, have prov'd false to me; a third, who is perfectly innocent, and ten thousand Times handsomer than either of them, has suffer'd Death, 'tis probable, before this, on my Account! All the Acts of Benevolence which I have shewn, have been the Foundation of my Sorrows, and I have been only rais'd to the highest Spoke of Fortune's Wheel, for no other Purpose than to be tumbled down with the greater Force. Had I been as abandon'd as some Miscreants are, I had like them been happy. His Head thus overwhelm'd with these melancholy Reflections, his Eyes thus sunk in his Head, and his meagre Cheeks all pale and languid; and, in a Word, his very Soul thus plung'd in the Abyss of deep Despair, he pursu'd his Journey towards Egypt.
The Thrash'd WIFE.
Zadig steer'd his Course by the Stars that shone over his Head. The Constellation of Orion, and the radiant Dog-star directed him towards the Pole of Canope. He reflected with Admiration on those immense Globes of Light, which appear'd to the naked Eye no more than little twinkling Lights; whereas the Earth he was then traversing, which, in Reality, is no more than an imperceptible Point in Nature, seem'd, according to the selfish Idea we generally entertain of it, something very immense, and very magnificent. He then reflected on the whole Race of Mankind, and look'd upon them, as they are in Fact, a Parcel of Insects, or Reptiles, devouring one another on a small Atom of Clay. This just Idea of them greatly alleviated his Misfortunes, recollecting the Nothingness, if we may be allow'd the Expression, of his own Being, and even of Babylon itself. His capacious Soul now soar'd into Infinity, and he contemplated, with the same Freedom, as if she was disencumber'd from her earthly Partner, on the immutable Order of the Universe. But as soon as she cower'd her Wings, and resumed her native Seat, he began to consider that Astarte might possibly have lost her Life for his Sake; upon which, his Thoughts of the Universe vanish'd all at once, and no other Objects appear'd before his distemper'd Eyes, but his Astarte giving up the Ghost, and himself overwhelm'd with a Sea of Troubles: As he gave himself up to this Flux and Reflux of sublime Philosophy and Anxiety of Mind, he was insensibly arriv'd on the Frontiers of Egypt: And his trusty Attendant had, unknown to him, stept into the first Village, and sought out for a proper Apartment for his Master and himself. Zadig in the mean Time made the best of his Way to the adjacent Gardens; where he saw, not far distant from the High-way, a young Lady, all drown'd in Tears, calling upon Heaven and Earth for Succour in her Distress, and a Man, fir'd with Rage and Resentment, in pursuit after her. He had now just overtaken her, and she fell prostrate at his Feet imploring his Forgiveness. He loaded her with a thousand Reproaches; nor did he spare to chastise her in the most outrageous Manner. By the Egyptian's cruel Deportment towards her, he concluded that the Man was a jealous Husband, and that the Lady was an Inconstant, and had defil'd his Bed: But when he reflected, that the Woman was a perfect Beauty, and to his thinking something like the unfortunate Astarte, he perceiv'd his Heart yearn with Compassion towards the Lady, and swell with Indignation against her Tyrant. For Heaven's sake, Sir, assist me, said she, to Zadig, sobbing as if her Heart would break, Oh! deliver me out of the Hands of this Barbarian: Save, Sir, O save my Life. Upon these her shocking Outcries, Zadig threw himself between the injur'd Lady and the inexorable Brute. And as he had some smattering of the Egyptian Tongue, he expostulated with him in his own Dialect, and said: Dear Sir, if you are endow'd with the least Spark of Humanity, let me conjure you to have some Pity and Remorse for so beautiful a Creature; have some Regard, Sir, to the Weakness of her Sex. How can you treat a Lady, who is one of Nature's Master-pieces, in such a rude and outrageous Manner, one who lies weeping at your Feet for Forgiveness, and one who has no other Recourse than her Tears for her Defence? Oh! Oh! said the jealous-pated Fellow in a Fury to Zadig, What! You are one of her Gallants, I suppose. I'll be reveng'd of thee, thou Villain, this Moment. No sooner were the Words out of his Mouth, but he quits hold of the Lady, in whose Hair he had twisted his Fingers before, takes up his Lance in a Fury, and endeavours to the utmost of his Pow'r to plunge it in the Stranger's Heart: Zadig, however, being cool, warded the intended Blow with Ease. He laid fast hold of his Lance towards the Point. One strove to recover it, and the other to snatch it away by Force. They broke it between them. Whereupon the Egyptian drew his Sword. Zadig drew his: They fought: The former made a hundred rash Passes one after another, which the latter parried with the utmost Dexterity. The Lady sat herself upon a Grass-plat, adjusting her Head-dress, and looking on the Combatants. The Egyptian was too strong for Zadig, but Zadig was more nimble and active. The latter fought as a Man whose Hand was guided by his Head; the former as a Mad-man who dealt about his Blows at random. Zadig took the Advantage, made a Plunge at him, and disarm'd him. And forasmuch as he found that the Egyptian was hotter than ever, and endeavour'd all he could to throw him down by Dint of Strength, Zadig laid fast hold of him, flew upon him, and tripp'd up his Heels: After that, holding the Point of his Sword to his Breast, like a Man of Honour, gave him his Life. The Egyptian, fir'd with Rage, and having no Command of his Passion, drew his Dagger, and wounded Zadig like a Coward, whilst the Victor generously forgave him. Upon that unexpected Action, Zadig, being incens'd to the last Degree, plung'd his Sword deep into his Bosom. The Egyptian fetch'd a hideous Groan, and died upon the Spot. Zadig then approach'd the Lady, and with a kind of Concern, in the softest Terms told her, that he was oblig'd to kill her Insulter, tho' against his Inclinations. I have aveng'd your Cause, and deliver'd you out of the merciless Hands of the most outrageous Man I ever saw. Now, Madam, let me know your farther Will and Pleasure with me. You shall die, you Villain! You have murder'd my Love. Oh! I could tear your Heart out. Indeed, Madam, said Zadig, you had one of the most hot-headed, oddest Lovers I ever saw. He beat you most unmercifully, and would have taken away my Life because you call'd me in to your Assistance. Would to God he was but alive to beat me again, said she, blubbering and roaring; I deserv'd to be beat. I gave him too just Occasion to be jealous of me. Would to God that he had beat me, and you had died in his Stead! Zadig more astonish'd, and more exasperated than ever he was in all his Life, said to her: Really, Madam, you put on such extravagant Airs, that you tempt me, pretty as you are, to thresh you most cordially in my Turn; but I scorn to concern my self any more about you. Upon this, he remounted his Dromedary, and made the best of his Way towards the Village: But before he had got near a hundred Yards, he return'd upon an Out-cry that was made by four Couriers from Babylon. They rode full Speed. One of them, spying the young Widow, cried out. There she is, That's she. She answers in every Respect to the Description we had of her. They never took the least Notice of her dead Gallant, but secur'd her directly. Oh! Sir, cried she to Zadig, again and again, dear Sir, most generous Stranger, once more deliver me from a Pack of Villains. I most humbly beg your Pardon for my late Conduct and unjust Complaint of you. Do but stand my Friend, at this critical Conjuncture, and I'll be your most obedient Vassal till Death. Zadig had now no Inclination to fight for one so undeserving any more. Find some other to be your Fool now, Madam; you shan't impose upon me a second Time. I'll assure you, Madam, I know better Things. Besides he was wounded; and bled so fast that he wanted Assistance himself: And 'tis very probable, that the Sight of the Babylonian Couriers, who were dispatch'd from King Moabdar, might discompose him very much. He made all the Haste he could towards the Village, not being able to conceive what should be the real Cause of the young Lady's being secur'd by those Babylonish Officers, and as much at a Loss, at the same Time, what to think of such a Termagant and a Coquet.
No sooner was Zadig arriv'd at the Egyptian Village before-mention'd, but he found himself surrounded by a Croud. The People one and all cried out! See! See! there's the Man that ran away with the beauteous Lady Missouf, and murder'd Cletofis. Gentlemen, said he, God forbid that I should ever entertain a Thought of running away with the Lady you speak of: She is too much of a Coquet: And as to Cletofis, I did not murder him, but kill'd him in my own Defence. He endeavour'd all he could to take my Life away, because I entreated him to take some Pity and Compassion on the beauteous Missouf, whom he beat most unmercifully. I am a Stranger, who am fled hither for Shelter, and 'tis highly improbable, that upon my first Entrance into a Country, where I came for Safety and Protection, I should be guilty of two such enormous Crimes, as that of running away with another Man's Partner, and that of clandestinely murdering him on her Account.
The Egyptians at that Time were just and humane. The Populace, tis true, hurried Zadig to the Town-Goal; but they took care in the first Place to stop the Bleeding of his Wounds, and afterwards examin'd the suppos'd Delinquents apart, in order to discover, if possible, the real Truth. They acquitted Zadig of the Charge of wilful and premeditated Murder; but as he had taken a Subject's Life away, tho' in his own Defence, he was sentenc'd to be a Slave, as the Law directed. His two Beasts were sold in open Market, for the Service of the Hamlet; What Money he had was distributed amongst the Inhabitants; and he and his Attendant were expos'd in the Market-place to public Sale. An Arabian Merchant, Setoc by Name, purchas'd them both; but as the Valet, or Attendant, was a robust Man, and better cut out for hard Labour than the Master, he fetch'd the most Money. There was no Comparison to be made between them. Zadig therefore was a Slave subordinate to his Valet; they secur'd them both, however, by a Chain upon their Legs; and so link'd they accompanied their Master home. Zadig, as they were on the Road, comforted his Fellow-Slave, and exhorted him to bear his Misfortunes with Patience: But, according to Custom, he made several Reflections on the Vicissitudes of human Life. I am now sensible, said he, that my impropitious Fortune has some malignant Influence over thine; every Occurrence of my Life hitherto has prov'd strangely odd and unaccountable. In the first Place, I was sentenc'd to die at Babylon, for writing a short Panegyrick on the King, my Master. In the next, I narrowly escap'd being strangled, for the Queen his Royal Consort's speaking a little too much in my Favour; and here I am a joint-Slave with thy self; because a turbulent Fellow of a Gallant would beat his Lady. However, Comrade, let us march on boldly; let not our Courage be cast down; all this may possibly have a happier Issue than we expect. 'Tis absolutely necessary that these Arabian Merchants should have Slaves, and why should not you and I, as we are but Men, be Slaves as Thousands of others are? This Master of ours may not prove inexorable. He must treat his Slaves with some Thought and Consideration, if he expects them to do his Work. This was his Discourse to his Comrade; but his Mind was more attentive to the Misfortunes of the Queen of Babylon.
Two Days afterwards Setoc set out with his two Slaves and his Camels, for Arabia Deserta. His Tribe liv'd near the Desert of Horeb. The Way was long and tedious. Setoc, during the Journey, paid a much greater Regard to Zadig's Valet, than to himself; because the former was the most able to load the Camels; and therefore what little Distinctions were made, they were in his Favour. It so happen'd that one of the Camels died upon the Road: The Load which the Beast carried was immediately divided, and thrown upon the Shoulders of the two Slaves; Zadig had his Share. Setoc, couldn't forbear laughing to see his two Slaves crouching under their Burthen. Zadig took the Liberty to explain the Reason thereof; and convinc'd him of the Laws of the Equilibrium. The Merchant was a little startled at his philosophical Discourse, and look'd upon him with a more favourable Eye than at first. Zadig, perceiving he had rais'd his Curiosity, redoubled it, by instructing him in several material Points, which were in some Measure, advantageous to him in his Way of Business: Such as, the specific Weight of Metals, and other Commodities of various Kinds, of an equal Bulk; the Properties of several useful Animals, and the best Ways and Means to make Such as were wild, tame by Degrees, and fit for Service: In short, Zadig was look'd upon by his Master, as a perfect Oracle. Setoc now thought the Master the much better Man of the two. He us'd him courteously, and had no Room to repent of his Indulgence towards him.
Being got to their Journey's End, the first Step that Setoc took was to claim a Debt of five hundred Ounces of Silver of a Jew, who had borrow'd it in the Presence of two Witnesses; but both of them were dead; and as the Jew was conscious he couldn't be cast for Want of Evidence, appropriated the Merchant's Money to his own Use, and thank'd God that it lay in his Power for once to bite an Arabian with Impunity. Setoc discover'd to Zadig the unhappy Situation of his Case, as he was now become his Confident. Where was it, pray, said Zadig, that you lent this large Sum to that ungrateful Infidel? Upon a large Stone, said the Merchant, at the Foot of Mount Horeb. What sort of a Man is your Debtor, said Zadig? Oh! he is as errand a Rogue as ever breath'd, reply'd Setoc. That I take for granted; but, says Zadig, is he a lively, active Man, or is he a dull heavy-headed Fellow? He is one of the worst of Pay-masters in the World, but the merriest, most sprightly Fellow I ever met with. Very well! said Zadig, let me be one of your Council when your Cause comes to be heard. In short, he summon'd the Jew to attend the Court; where, when the Judge was sat, Zadig open'd the Cause: Thou impartial Judge of this Court of Equity, I am come here, in behalf of my Master, to demand of the Defendant five hundred Ounces of Silver, which he refuses to pay, and would fain traverse the Debt. Have you, Friend, your Witnesses ready to prove the Loan, said the Judge? No, they are dead; but there is a large Stone still subsisting, on which the Money was deposited; and if your Excellence, will be pleas'd to order the Stone to be brought in Court, I don't doubt but the Evidence it will give, will be Proof sufficient of the Fact. I hope your Excellence will order, that the Jew and myself shall be oblig'd to attend the Court, till the Stone comes, and I'll dispatch a special Messenger to fetch it, at my Master's Expence. Your Request is very reasonable, said the Judge. Do as you propose; and so call'd another Cause.
When the Court was ready to break up, Well! said the Judge to Zadig, is your Stone come yet? The Jew, with a Sneer, replied, your Excellence may wait here till this Time To-morrow, before the Stone will appear in Court; for 'tis above six Mile off, and it will require fifteen Men to remove it from its Place. 'Tis well! replied Zadig. I told your Excellence that the Stone would be a very material Evidence. Since the Defendant can point out the Place where the Stone lies, he tacitly confesses, that it was upon that Stone the Money was deposited. The Jew thus unexpectedly confuted, was soon oblig'd to acknowledge the Debt. The Judge order'd that the Jew should be tied fast to the Stone, without Victuals or Drink, till he should advance the five hundred Ounces of Silver, which were soon paid accordingly, and the Jew releas'd. The Slave Zadig, and this remarkable Stone-Witness, were in great Repute all over Arabia.
The FUNERAL PILE.
Setoc, transported with his good Success, of a Slave made Zadig his Favourite Companion and Confident; he found him as necessary in the Conduct of his Affairs, as the King of Babylon had before done in the Administration of his Government; and lucky it was for Zadig that Setoc had no Wife.
He discover'd, that his Master was in his Temper benevolent, strictly honest, and a Man of good natural Parts. Zadig was very much concern'd, that One of so much Sense should pay divine Adoration to a whole Host of created, tho' Celestial Beings, that is to say, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, according to the antient Custom of the Arabians. He talk'd, at first, to his Master, with great Precaution on so important a Topick. But at last told him, in direct Terms, that they were created Bodies, as others, tho' of less Lustre, and that there was no more Adoration due to them, than to a Stock or a Stone. But, said Setoc, they are eternal Beings to whom we are indebted for all the Blessings we enjoy; they animate Nature; they regulate the Seasons; they are, in a Word, at such an infinite Distance from us, that it would be downright impious not to adore them. You are more indebted, said Zadig, to the Waters of the Red Sea, which transport so many valuable Commodities into the Indies. Why, pray, may not they be deem'd as antient as the Stars? And if you are so fond of paying your Adoration on Account of their vast Distance; why don't you adore the Land of the Gangarides, which lies in the utmost Extremities of the Earth. No, said Setoc, there is something so surprisingly more brilliant in the Stars than what you speak of; that a Man must adore them whether he will or not.
At the Close of the Evening, Zadig planted a long Range of Candles in the Front of his Tent, where Setoc and he were to sup that Night: And as soon as he perceiv'd his Patron to be at the Door, he fell prostrate on his Knees before the Wax-Lights. O ye everlasting, ever-shining Luminaries, be always propitious to your Votary, said Zadig. Having repeated these Words so loud as Setoc might hear them, he sat down to Table, without taking the least Notice of Setoc. What! said Setoc, somewhat startled at his Conduct, art thou at thy Prayers before Supper? I act just as inconsistently, Sir, as you do; I worship these Candles; without reflecting on their Makers, or yourself, who are my most beneficent Patron.
Setoc took the Hint, and was conscious of the Reproof that was conceal'd so genteely under a Vail. The superior Wisdom of his Slave enlightned his Mind; and from that Hour he was less lavish than ever he had been, of his Incense to those created Beings, and for the future, paid his Adoration to the eternal God who made them.
At that Time there was a most hideous Custom in high Repute all over Arabia, which came originally from Scythia; but having met with the Sanction of the bigotted Brachmans, threatn'd to spread its Infection all over the East. When a married Man happen'd to die, if his dearly beloved Widow ever expected to be esteem'd a Saint, she must throw herself headlong upon her Husband's Funeral-Pile. This was look'd upon as a solemn Festival, and was call'd the Widow's Sacrifice. That Tribe which could boast of the greatest Number of burnt-Widows, was look'd upon as the most meritorious. An Arabian, who was of the Tribe of Setoc, happen'd just at that Juncture, to be dead, and his Widow (Almona by Name) who was a noted Devotee, publish'd the Day, nay, the Hour, that she propos'd to throw herself (according to Custom) on her deceased Husband's Funeral Pile, and be attended by a Concert of Drums and Trumpets. Zadig remonstrated to Setoc, what a shocking Custom this was, and how directly repugnant to human Nature; by permitting young Widows, almost every Day, to become wilful Self-Murderers; when they might be of Service to their Country, either by the Addition of new Subjects, or by the Education of such as demanded their Maternal Indulgence. And, by arguing seriously with Setoc for some Time, he forc'd from him at last, an ingenuous Confession, that the barbarous Custom then subsisting, ought, if possible, to be abolish'd. 'Tis now, replied Setoc, above a thousand Years since the Widows of Arabia have been indulg'd with this Privilege of dying with their Husbands; and how shall any one dare to abrogate a Law that has been establish'd Time out of Mind? Is there any Thing more inviolable than even an antient Error? But, replied Zadig, Reason is of more antient Date than the Custom you plead for. Do you communicate these Sentiments to the Sovereigns of your Tribes, and in the mean while I'll go, and sound the Widow's Inclinations.
Accordingly he paid her a Visit, and having insinuated himself into her Favour, by a few Compliments on her Beauty, after urging what a pity it was, that a young Widow, Mistress of so many Charms, should make away with herself for no other reason but to mingle her Ashes with a Husband that was dead; he, notwithstanding, applauded her for her heroic Constancy and Courage. I perceive, Madam, said he, you was excessively fond of your deceased Spouse. Not I truly, reply'd the young Arabian Devotee. He was a Brute, infected with a groundless Jealousy of my Virtue; and, in short, a perfect Tyrant. But, notwithstanding all this, I am determin'd to comply with our Custom. Surely then, Madam, there's a Sort of secret Pleasure in being burnt alive. Alas! with a Sigh, cried Almona, 'tis a Shock indeed to Nature; but must be complied with for all that. I am a profess'd Devotee, and should I shew the least Reluctance, my Reputation would be lost for ever; all the World would laugh at me, should I not burn myself on this Occasion: Zadig having forc'd her ingenuously to confess, that she parted with her Life more out of Regard to what the World would say of her, and out of Pride and Ostentation, than any real Love for the deceas'd, he talk'd to her for some considerable Time so rationally, and us'd so many prevailing Arguments with her to justify her due Regard for the Life which she was going to throw away, that she began to wave the Thought, and entertain a secret Affection for her friendly Monitor. Pray, Madam, tell me, said Zadig, how would you dispose of yourself, upon the Supposition, that you could shake off this vain and barbarous Notion? Why, said Dame, with an amorous Glance, I think verily I should accept of yourself for a second Bed-fellow.
The Memory of Astarte had made too strong an Impression on his Mind, to close with this warm Declaration: He took his leave, however, that Moment, and waited on the Chiefs. He communicated to them the Substance of their private Conversation, and prevailed with them to make it a Law for the future, that no Widow should be allow'd to fall a Victim to a deceased Husband, till after she had admitted some young Man to converse with her in private for a whole Hour together. The Law was pass'd accordingly, and not one Widow in all Arabia, from that Day to this, ever observ'd the Custom. 'Twas to Zadig alone that the Arabian Dames were indebted for the Abolition, in one Hour, of a Custom so very inhuman, that had been practis'd for such a Number of Ages. Zadig, therefore, with the strictest Justice, was look'd upon by all the Fair Sex in Arabia, as their most bountiful Benefactor.
The Evening's Entertainment.
Setoc, who would never stir out without his Bosom-Friend (in whom alone, as he thought, all Wisdom center'd) resolv'd to take him with him to Balzora Fair, whither the richest Merchants round the whole habitable Globe, us'd annually to resort. Zadig was delighted to see such a Concourse of substantial Tradesmen from all Countries, assembled together in one Place. It appear'd to him, as if the whole Universe was but one large Family, and all happily met together at Balzora. On the second Day of the Fair, he sat down to Table with an Egyptian, an Indian, that liv'd on the Banks of the River Ganges, an Inhabitant of Cathay, a Grecian, a Celt, and several other Foreigners, who by their frequent Voyages towards the Arabian Gulf, were so far conversant with the Arabic Language, as to be able to discourse freely, and be mutually understood. The Egyptian began to fly into a Passion; what a scandalous Place is this Balzora, said he, where they refuse to lend me a thousand Ounces of Gold, upon the best Security that can possibly be offer'd. Pray, said Setoc, what may the Commodity be that you would deposit as a Pledge for the Sum you mention. Why, the Corpse of my deceased Aunt, said he, who was one of the finest Women in all Egypt. She was my constant Companion; but unhappily died upon the Road. I have taken so much Care, that no Mummy whatever can equal it: And was I in my own Country, I could be furnish'd with what Sum soever I pleas'd, were I dispos'd to mortgage it. 'Tis a strange Thing that Nobody here will advance so small a Sum upon so valuable a Commodity. No sooner had he express'd his Resentment, but he was going to cut up a fine boil'd Pullet, in order to make a Meal on't, when an Indian laid hold of his Hand, and with deep Concern, cried out, For God's Sake what are you about? Why, said the Egyptian, I design to make a Wing of this Fowl one Part of my Supper. Pray, good Sir, consider what you are doing, said the Indian. 'Tis very possible, that the Soul of the deceas'd Lady may have taken its Residence in that Fowl. And you wouldn't surely run the Risque of eating up your Aunt? To boil a Fowl is, doubtless, a most shameful Outrage done to Nature. Pshaw! What a Pother you make about the boiling of a Fowl, and flying in the Face of Nature, replied the Egyptian in a Pet; tho' we Egyptians pay divine Adoration to the Ox; yet we can make a hearty Meal of a Piece of roast Beef for all that. Is it possible, Sir, that your Country-men should act so absurdly, as to pay an Ox the Tribute of divine Worship, said the Indian? Absurd as you think it, said the other, the Ox has been the principal Object of Adoration all over Egypt, for these hundred and thirty five thousand Years, and the most abandon'd Egyptian has never been as yet so impious as to gain-say it. Ay, Sir, an hundred thirty five thousand Years, say you, surely you must be out a little in your Calculation. 'Tis but about fourscore thousand Years, since India was first inhabited. Sure I am, we are a more antient People than you are, and our Brama prohibited the eating of Beef long before your Nation ever erected an Altar in Honour of the Ox, or ever put one upon a Spit. What a Racket you make about your Brama! Is he able to stand the least in Competition with our Apis, said the Egyptian? Let us hear, pray, what mighty Feats have been done by your boasted Brama? Why, replied the Bramin, he first taught his Votaries to write and read; and 'tis to him alone, all the World is indebted for the Invention of the noble Game of Chess. You are quite out, Sir, in your Notion, said a Chaldean, who sat within Hearing: All these invaluable Blessings were deriv'd from the Fish Oannes; and 'tis that alone to which the Tribute of divine Adoration is justly due. All the World will tell you, that 'twas a divine Being whose Tail was pure Gold, whose Head resembled that of a Man, tho' indeed the Features were much more beautiful; and that he condescended to visit the Earth three Hours every Day, for the Instruction of Mankind. He had a numerous Issue, as is very well known, and all of them were powerful Monarchs. I have a Picture of it at Home, to which, as in Duty I ought, I Say my Prayers at Night before I go to Bed, and every Morning that I rise. There is no Harm, Sir, as I can conceive, in partaking of a Piece of roast Beef; but, doubtless, 'tis a mortal Sin, a Crime of the blackest Dye, to touch a Piece of Fish. Besides, you cannot justly boast of so illustrious an Origin, and you are both of you mere Moderns, in Comparison to us Chaldeans, You Egyptians lay claim to no more than 135,000 Years, and you Indians, but of 80,000. Whereas we have Almanacks that are dated 4000 Centuries backwards. Take my Word for it; I speak nothing but Truth; renounce your Errors, and I'll make each of you a Present of a fine Portrait of our Oannes.