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DI A LOGU E.
V Y friend, Palamedes, who is as great a rambler in his principles as in his person, who has run over, by study and travel, almost every region of the intellectual and material world, surprized me lately with an account of a nation, with whom, he told me, he had passed a considerable part of his life, and whom, he found, in the main, a' people extremely civilized and intelligent.
There is a country, said he, in the world, called Fourli, no matter for its longitude or latitude, whose inhabitants have ways of thinking, in many things, particularly in morals, diametrically opposite to ours. When I came among them, I found that I must submit to double pains; first to learn the meaning of the terins in their language, and then to know the import of those terms, and the praise or blame attached to them. After a word had been explained to me, and the character, which it expressed, had been defcribed, I concluded, that such an epithet must necessarily be the greatest reproach in the world; and was extremely surprized to find one in a public company, apply it to a person, with whom he lived in the itrictest intimacy and friendship.
rou You fancy, said I one day, to an acquaintance, that Changuis is your mortal enemy: I love to extinguish quarrels; aud I must, therefore, tell you, that I beard bim talk of you in tbe most obliging manner. But to my great astonishment; when I repeated Changuis's words, though I had both remembered and understood them perfectly, I found, that they were taken for the most mortal affront, and that I had very innocently rendered the breach between these persons altogether irreparable.
As it was my fortune to come among this people on a very advantageous footing, I was immediately introduced to the best company; and being desired by Alcheic to live with hiin, I readily accepted of his invitation; as I found hiin universally esteemed for his personal merit, and indeed regarded by every one in Fourli, as a perfect character.
One evening he invited me, as an amusement, to bear hiin company in a serenade, which he intended to give to Gulki, with whom, he told me, he was extremely enamoured; and I soon found that his taste was not singular: For we met many of his rivals, who had come on the fame errand. I very naturally concluded, that this mistress of his inust be one of the finest women in town; and I already felt a secret inclination to see her, and be acquainted with her. But as the moon began to rise, I was much surprized to find, that we were in the midft of the university, where Gulki studied: And I was somewhat ashamed for having attended my friend, on such an errand.
I was afterwards told, that Alcheic's choice of Gulki was very much approved of by all the good company in town; and that it was expected, while he gratified his own passion, he would perform to that young man the same good of. fice, which he had himself owed to Elcouf. It seems Alcheic had been very handsome in his youth, had been courted by many lovers; but had
bestowed his favours chiefly on the fage Elcoulf; to whom he was supposed to owe, in great measure, the astonishing progress which he had made in philosophy and virtue...
le gave me some surprize, that Alcheic's wife (who by-the-bye happened also to be his lifter) was no wise scandalized at this species of infidelity.
Much about the same time I discovered (for it was not attempted to be kept a secret from me or any body) that A:lcheic was a murderer and a parricide, and had put to death an innocent person, the most nearly connected with him, and whom he was bound to protect and defend by all the ties of nature and humanity. When I ; asked, with all the caution and deference imaginable, what was his motive for this action; he replied coolly, that he was not then so much at ease in his circumstances as he is at present, and that he had acted, in that particular, by the advice of all his friends.
Having heard Alcheic's virtue so extremely celebrated, I pretended to join in the general voice of acclamation, and only asked, by way of curiosity, as a stranger, which of all his noble actions. was most highly applauded; and I soon found, that all sentiinents were united in giving the preference to the assassination of Usbek. This Usbek had been to the last moment Alcheic's intimate friend, had laid many high obligations upon him, had even saved his life on a certain occasion, and had, by his will, which was found after the murder, made him heir to a considerable part of his fortune. Alcheic, it seems, conspired with about twenty or thirty more, most of them also Usbek's friends; and falling all together on that unhappy man, when he was not aware, they had torne him with a hundred wounds; and given him that reward for his past favours
and obligations. Usbek, said the general voice of the people, had many great and good qualities: His very vices were shining, magnificent, and generous: But this action of Alcheic's sets him far above Usbek in the eyes of all judges of merit; and is one of the noblest that ever perhaps the sun shone upon.
Another part of Alcheic's conduct, which I also found highly applauded, was his behaviour ; towards Calish, with whom he was joined in a project or undertaking of some importance. Calish, being a passionate man, gave Alcheic, one day, a sound drubbing; which he took very patiently, waited the return of Califh's good-humour, kept still a fair correspondence with him; and by that means brought the affair, in which they were joined, to a happy issue, and gained to himself immortal honour by his remarkable temper and moderation.
I have lately received a letter., from a corres. pondent in Fourli, by which I learn, that, since my departure, Alcheic, falling into a bad state of health, has fairly hanged himself; and has died universally regretted and applauded in that country. So virtuous and noble a life, says each Fourlian, could not be better crowned than by so noble an end; and Alcheic has proved by this, as well as by all his other actions, what he boasted of near his last moments, that a wise man is scarcely inferior to the great god, Vitzli. This is the name of the supreme deity among the Fourlians.
The notions of this people, continued Palamedes, are as extraordinary with regard to goodmanners, and sociableness, as with regard to inorals. My friend Alcheic formed once a party for iny entertainment, composed of all the prime wits and philosophers of Fourli; and each of us brought his mess along with him to the place