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"consulted nobody but Ruralinda's mother, and she longed to see her fair daughter the lady of the manor: He hath spent a deal of money to make all this appearance, for money will do any thing; I only wait here to see her come by, and then farewell to the hills and dales." Cupid bade him not be rash, and left him. “This is another of Hymen's tricks," quoth Cupid to himself, "he hath frequently served me thus, but I'll hasten to him and have it out with him." So saying, he repaired to the mansion. Every thing there had an air of grandeur rather than of joy, sumptuous but not serene. The company were preparing to walk in procession to the temple. The lord of the manor looked like the father of the village, and the business he was upon gave a foolish awkwardness, to his age and dignity. Ruralinda smiled, because she would smile, but in that smile was sorrow. Hymen with a torch faintly burning on one side only stood ready to accompany them. The gods when they please can converse in silence, and in that language Cupid began on Hymen.
"Know Hymen," said he, "that I am your master. Indulgent Jove gave you to me as a clerk, not as a rival, much less a superior. 'Tis my province to form the union, and your's to witness it. But of late you have treacherously assumed to set up for yourself. Tis true you may chain couples together like criminals, but you cannot yoke them like lovers; besides you are such a dull fellow when I am not with you, that you poison the felicities of life. You have not a grace but what is borrowed from me. As well may the moon attempt to enlighten the earth without the sun, as you to bestow happiness when I am absent. At best you are but a temporal and a temporary god, whom Jove has appointed not to bestow, but to secure happiness, and restrain the infidelity of mankind. But assure yourself that I'll complain of you to the synod."
"This is very high indeed," replied Hymen," to be called to an account by such a boy of a god as you are. not of such importance in the world as your vanity thinks; for my own part I have enlisted myself with another master, and can very well do without you. Plutus* and I are greater than Cupid; you may complain and welcome, for Jove himself descended in a silver shower and conquered : and by the same power the lord of the manor hath won a damsel, in spite of all the arrows in your quiver."
Cupid incensed at this reply, resolved to support his
*God of riches.
authority, and expose the folly of Hymen's pretensions to independance. As the quarrel was carried on in silence the company were not interrupted by it. The procession began to set forward to the temple, where the ceremony was to be performed. The lord of the manor led the beautiful Ruralinda like a lamb devoted to sacrifice. Cupid immediately dispatched a petition for assistance to his mother on one of the sun-beams, and the same messenger returning in an instant, informed him that whatever he wished should be done. He immediately cast the old Lord and Ruralinda into one of the most extraordinary sleeps ever known. They continued walking in the procession, talking to each other, and observing every ceremony with as much order as if they had been awake; their souls had in a manner crept from their bodies, as snakes creep from their skin, and leave the perfect appearance of themselves behind. And so rapidly does imagination change the landscape of life, that in the same space of time which passed over while they were walking to the temple, they both run through, in a strange variety of dreams, seven years of wretched matrimony. In which imaginary time, Gothic experienced all the mortification which age wedded to youth must expect; and she all the infelicity which such a sale and sacrifice of her person justly deserves.
In this state of reciprocal discontent they arrived at the temple: Cupid still continued them in their slumber, and in order to expose the consequences of such marriages, he wrought so magically on the imaginations of them both, that he drove Gothic distracted at the supposed infidelity of his wife, and she mad with joy at the supposed death of her husband; and just as the ceremony was about to be performed, each of them broke out into such passionate soliloquies, as threw the whole company into confusion. He exclaiming, she rejoicing; he imploring death to relieve him, and she preparing to bury him; gold, quoth Ruralinda, may be bought too dear, but the grave has befriended.The company believing them mad, conveyed them away, Gothic to his mansion, and Ruralinda to her cottage. The next day they awoke, and being grown wise without loss of time, or the pain of real experience, they mutually declined proceeding any farther.-The old Lord continued as he was, and generously bestowed a handsome dowry on Ruralinda, who was soon after wedded to the young shepherd, that had so piteously bewailed the loss of her. The authority of Cupid was re-established, and Hymen ordered never more to appear in the village, unless Cupid introduced him.
TO A FRIEND IN PHILADELPHIA.
Paris, March 16, 1789.
I LEAVE this place to-morrow for London: I go expressly for the purpose of erecting an iron bridge, which Messrs. Walkers, of Rotheram, Yorkshire, and I have constructed, and is now ready for putting together. It is an arch of one hundred and ten feet span, and five feet high, from the chord line. It is as portable as common bars of iron, and can be put up and taken down at pleasure, and is, in fact, rendering bridges a portable manufacture.
With respect to the French revolution, be assured that every thing is going on right. Little inconveniencies, the necessary consequences of pulling down and building up, may arise; but even these are much less than ought to have been expected. Our friend, the Marquis, is like his patron and master, General Washington, acting a great part. I take over with me to London the key of the Bastile, which the Marquis intrusts to my care as his present to General Washington, and which I shall send by the first American vessel to New York. It will be yet some months before the new Constitution will be completed, at which time there is to be a procession, and I am engaged to return to Paris to carry the American flag.
In England the ministerial party oppose every iota of reformation: the high beneficed clergy and bishops cry out that the church is in danger; and all those who were interested in the remains of the feudal system join in the clamour. I see very clearly that the conduct of the British government, by opposing reformation, will detach great numbers from the political interests of that country; and that France, though the influence of principles and the divine right of men to freedom, will have a stronger party in England than she ever had through the Jacobite bugbear of the divine right of kings in the Stuart line.
I wish most anxiously to see my much loved America. It is the country from whence all reformation must originally spring. I despair of seeing an abolition of the infernal traffic in negroes. We must push that matter further on your side of the water. I wish that a few well instructed could be sent among their brethren in bondage; for until they are enabled to take their own part, nothing will be done.
With many wishes for your happiness,
Your affectionate friend,
TO SIR GEORGE STAUNTON, BART.
As I know you interest yourself in the success of the useful arts, and are a member of the society for the promotion thereof, I do myself the pleasure to send you an account of a small experiment I have been making at Messrs. Walkers' iron works at this place. You have already seen the model I constructed for a bridge of a single arch to be made of iron, and erected over the river Schuylkill, at Philadelphia; but as the dimensions may have escaped your recollections, I will begin with stating those particulars.
The vast quantities of ice and melted snow at the breaking up of the frost in that part of America, render it impracticable to erect a bridge on piers. The river can conveniently be contracted to four hundred feet, the model, therefore, is for an arch of four hundred feet span; the height of the arch in the centre, from the chord thereof, is to be about twenty feet, and to be brought off on the top, so as to make the ascent about one foot in eighteen or twenty. The judgment of the Academy of Sciences at Paris bas been given on the principles and practicability of the construction. The original, signed by the Academy, is in my possession; and in which they fully approve and support the design. They introduce their opinion by saying,
"Il est sur que lors qu'on pense au projet d'une arche en fer de 400 pieds d'overture, et aux effets qui peuvent resulter d'une arche d'une si vaste étendue, il est difficile de ne pas élever des doutes sur le succès d'une pareille enterprise, par les difficultés qu'elle presente au prémieré apperçu. Mais si telle est la disposition des parties, et la manière dont elles sont reunis qu'il result de cet assemblage un tout trés ferme et trés solide, alors on n'aura plus les memes doutes sur la reussite de ce projet."*
It is certain that when such a project as that of making an iron arch of four hundred feet span is thought of, and when we consider the effects resulting from an arch of such vast magnitude, it would be strange if doubts were not raised as to the success of
The Academy then proceed to state the reasons on which their judgment is founded, and conclude with saying,
"Nous concluons de tout ce que nous venons d'exposer que la pont de fer de M. Paine est ingenieusement imaginé, que la construction en est simple, solide, et propre à lui donner la force necessaire pour résister aux effets resultans de sa charge, et qu'il merite qu'on en tente l'execution. Enfin, qu'il pourra fournira un nouvel exemple de l'application d'un métal dont on n'a pas jusqu'ici fait assez d'usage en grand, quoique dans nombre d'occasions il est peut être employé avec plus grand succès."*
As it was my design to pass some time in England before I returned to America, I employed part of it in making the small essay I am now to inform you of.
My intention, when I came to the iron works, was to raise an arch of at least two hundred feet span, but as it was late in the fall of last year, the season was too far advanced to work out of doors, and an arch of that extent too great to be worked within doors, and as I was unwilling to lose time, I moderated my ambition with a little common sense, and began with such an arch as could be compassed within some of the buildings belonging to the works. As the construction of the American arch admits, in practice, of any species of curve with equal facility, I set off in preference to all others, a catenarian arch of ninety feet span, and five feet high. Were this arch converted into an arch of a circle, the diameter of its circle would be four hundred and ten feet. From the ordinates of the arch taken from the wall where the arch was struck, I produced a similar arch on the floor whereon the work was to be fitted and framed, and there was something so apparently just when the work was set out, that the looking at it promised success.
such an enterprize, from the difficulties which at first sight present themselves. But if such be the disposition of the various parts, and the method of uniting them, that the collective body should present a whole both firm and solid, we should then no longer have the same doubts of the success of the plan.
* We conclude from what we have just remarked that Mr. Paine's Plan of an Iron Bridge is ingeniously imagined, that the construction of it is simple, solid, and proper to give it the necessary strength for resisting the effects resulting from its burden, and that it is deserving of a trial. In short, it may furnish a new example of the application of a metal which has not hitherto been used in any works on an extensive scale, although on many occasions it is employed with the greatest success.