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a prince who reigned upon the banks of the Ganges. I here lived in great honour for several years, but by degrees lost all the innocence of the Brachman, being obliged to rifle and oppress the people to enrich my sovereign; till at length I became so odious that my master, to recover his credit with his subjects, shot me through the heart with an arrow as I was one day addressing myself to him at the head of his
Upon my next remove I found myself in the woods, under the shape of a jackal, and soon listed myself in the service 10 of a lion. I used to yelp near his den about midnight, which was his time of rousing and seeking after his prey. He always followed me in the rear, and when I had run down a fat buck, a wild goat, or an hare, after he had feasted very plentifully upon it himself, would now and then throw me a bone that was but half picked for my encouragement; but upon my being unsuccessful in two or three chases, he gave me such a confounded grip in his anger, that I died of it.
In my next transmigration I was again set upon two legs, and became an Indian taxgatherer; but having been guilty of 20 great extravagances, and being married to an expensive jade of a wife, I ran so cursedly in debt, that I durst not shew my head. I could no sooner step out of my house, but I was arrested by somebody or other that lay in wait for me. As I ventured abroad one night in the dusk of the evening, I was taken up and hurried into a dungeon, where I died a few months after.
My soul then entered into a flying-fish, and in that state led a most melancholy life for the space of six years. Several fishes of prey pursued me when I was in the water, and if I 30 betook myself to my wings, it was ten to one but I had a flock of birds aiming at me. As I was one day flying amidst a fleet of English ships, I observed a huge sea-gull whetting his bill and hovering just over my head: upon my dipping into the water to avoid him, I fell into the mouth of a monstrous shark that swallowed me down in an instant.
I was some years afterwards, to my great surprise, an eminent banker in Lombard-street; and remembering how I had formerly suffered for want of money, became so very sordid and avaricious, that the whole town cried shame of me. I was a miserable little old fellow to look upon, for I had in a manner starved myself, and was nothing but skin and bone when I died.
I was afterwards very much troubled and amazed to find myself dwindled into an emmet. I was heartily concerned to 10 make so insignificant a figure, and did not know but some time or other I might be reduced to a mite if I did not mend my manners. I therefore applied myself with great diligence to the offices that were allotted me, and was generally looked upon as the notablest ant in the whole molehill. I was at last picked up, as I was groaning under a burden, by an unlucky cock-sparrow that lived in the neighbourhood, and had before made great depredations upon our commonwealth.
I then bettered my condition a little, and lived a whole summer in the shape of a bee; but being tired with the 20 painful and penurious life I had undergone in my two last transmigrations, I fell into the other extreme, and turned drone. As I one day headed a party to plunder an hive, we were received so warmly by the swarm which defended it, that we were most of us left dead upon the spot.
I might tell you of many other transmigrations which I went through: how I was a town-rake, and afterwards did penance in a bay gelding for ten years; as also how I was a tailor, a shrimp, and a tom-tit. In the last of these my shapes I was shot in the Christmas holidays by a young jack-a-napes, 30 who would needs try his new gun upon me.
But I shall pass over these and other several stages of life, to remind you of the young beau who made love to you about six years since. You may remember, madam, how he masked, and danced, and sung, and played a thousand tricks to gain you; and how he was at last carried off by a cold that he got under your window one night in a serenade. I
was that unfortunate young fellow, whom you were then so cruel to. Not long after my shifting that unlucky body, I found myself upon a hill in Æthiopia, where I lived in my present grotesque shape, till I was caught by a servant of the English factory, and sent over into great Britain; I need not inform you how I came into your hands. You see,
madam, this is not the first time that you have had me in a chain I am, however, very happy in this my captivity, as you often bestow on me those kisses and caresses which I would have given the world for when I was a man. I hope 10 this discovery of my person will not tend to my disadvantage, but that you will still continue your accustomed favours to "Your most devoted humble servant,
"P.S.-I would advise your little shock-dog to keep out of my way; for as I look upon him to be the most formidable of my rivals, I may chance one time or other to give him such a snap as he won't like."
I HAVE lately received the following letter from a country gentleman.
"The night before I left London I went to see a play, called The Humorous Lieutenant. Upon the rising of the curtain I was very much surprised with the great consort of cat-calls which was exhibited that evening, and began to
think with myself that I had made a mistake, and gone to a music-meeting instead of the play-house. It appeared, indeed, a little odd to me, to see so many persons of quality of both sexes assembled together at a kind of caterwauling; for I cannot look upon that performance to have been anything better, whatever the musicians themselves might think of it. As I had no acquaintance in the house to ask questions of, and was forced to go out of town early the next morning, I could not learn the secret of this matter. What 10 I would therefore desire of you, is, to give some account of this strange instrument, which I found the company called a cat-call; and particularly to let me know whether it be a piece of music lately come from Italy. For my own part, to be free with you, I would rather hear an English fiddle; though I durst not show my dislike whilst I was in the playhouse, it being my chance to sit the very next man to one of the performers.
"I am, sir,
"Your most affectionate friend and servant, "JOHN SHALLOW, Esq."
In compliance with Squire Shallow's request, I design this paper as a dissertation upon the cat-call. In order to make myself a master of the subject, I purchased one the beginning of last week, though not without great difficulty, being informed at two or three toy-shops that the players had lately bought. them all up. I have since consulted many learned antiquaries in relation to its original, and find them very much divided among themselves upon that particular. A Fellow of the Royal Society, who is my good friend, and a great proficient 30 in the mathematical part of music, concludes from the simplicity of its make, and the uniformity of its sound, that the cat-call is older than any of the inventions of Jubal. observes very well, that musical instruments took their first rise from the notes of birds, and other melodious animals ; and what, says he, was more natural than for the first ages of mankind to imitate the voice of a cat that lived under the
same roof with them? he added, that the cat had contributed more to harmony than any other animal; as we are not only beholden to her for this wind-instrument, but for our string music in general.
Another virtuoso of my acquaintance will not allow the cat-call to be older than Thespis, and is apt to think it appeared in the world soon after the ancient comedy; for which reason it has still a place in our dramatic entertainments nor must I here omit what a curious gentleman, who is lately returned from his travels, has more than once 10 assured me, namely, that there was lately dug up at Rome the statue of a Momus, who holds an instrument in his right hand very much resembling our modern cat-call.
There are others who ascribe this invention to Orpheus, and look upon the cat-call to be one of those instruments which that famous musician made use of to draw the beasts about him. It is certain, that the roasting of a cat does not call together a greater audience of that species, than this instrument, if dexterously played upon in proper time and place.
But notwithstanding these various and learned conjectures, I cannot forbear thinking that the cat-call is originally a piece of English music. Its resemblance to the voice of some of our British songsters, as well as the use of it, which is peculiar to our nation, confirms me in this opinion. It has at least received great improvements among us, whether we consider the instrument itself, or those several quavers and graces which are thrown into the playing of it. Every one might be sensible of this, who heard that remarkable overgrown cat-call which was placed in the centre of the pit, and 30 presided over all the rest at the celebrated performance lately exhibited in Drury Lane.
Having said thus much concerning the original of the cat. call, we are in the next place to consider the use of it. The cat-call exerts itself to most advantage in the British theatre : it very much improves the sound of nonsense, and often goes