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the room, and that, inſtead of portending one of the company ſhould die, it plainly 1 foretold one of them ſhould be born. Had not my friend found out this expedient to break the omen, I queſtion not but half the women in the company would have fallen ſick that very night.
An old maid, that is troubled with the vapours, produces infinite diſturbances of this kind among her friends and neighbours. I know a maiden aunt, of a great family. who is one of theſe antiquated Sibyls, that forebodes and propheſies from one end of the year to the other. She is always ſeeing apparitions, and hearing death-watches; and was the other day almoſt frighted out of her wits by the great houſe-dog, that howled in the ſtable at a time when ſhe lay ill of the tooth-ach. Such an extravagant caſt of mind engages multitudes of people, not only in impertinent terrors, but in ſupernumerary duties of life; and ariſes from that fear and ignorance which are natural to the soul of man. The horror with which we entertain the thoughts of death, or indeed of any future evil, and the uncertainty of its approach, fill a melancholy mind with innumerable apprehenſions and ſuſpicions, and consequently dispose it to the observa tion of such groundless prodigies and predictions. For as it is the chief concern of wise men to retrench the evils of life by the