« PreviousContinue »
moment; so that at last we fairly stood still, re- the devil in my eating. I'll tell you a pleasant afselving to face what we could not avoid. fair about that: we were a select party of us to
Our pursuer soon came up, and joined us with dine at Lady Grogram's, an affected piece, but let all the familiarity of an old acquaintance. “My it go no farther; a secret: well, there happened to dear Drybone,” cries he, shaking my friend's hand, be no asafætida in the sauce to a turkey, upon "where have you been hiding this half a century? which, says 1, I'll hold a thousand guineas, and say Positively I had fancied you were gone to cultivate done first, that—but dear Drybone, you are an honmatrimony and your estate in the country.” Dur- est creature, lend me half-a-crown for a minute or ing the reply, I had an opportunity of surveying the two, or so, just till —but hearkee, ask me for it appearance of our new companion : his hat was the next time we meet, or it may be twenty to one pinched up with peculiar smartness; his looks were but I forget to pay you.” pale, thin, and sharp; round his neck he wore a When he left us, our conversation naturally broad black riband, and in his bosom a buckle stud- turned upon so extraordinary a character. His ded with glass; his coat was trimmed with tarnished very dress, cries my friend, is not less extraordinary twist; he wore by his side a sword with a black than his conduct. If you meet him this day you hilt: and his stockings of silk, though newly washed, find him in rags, if the next, in embroidery. With were grown yellow by long service. I was so much those persons of distinction of whom he talks so engaged with the peculiarity of his dress, that I at- familiarly, he has scarcely a coffee-house acquainttended only to the latter part of my friend's reply, ance. However, both for the interests of society, in which he complimented Mr. Tibbs on the taste and perhaps for his own, Heaven has made him of his clothes, and the bloom in his countenance : poor, and while all the world perceive his wants, "Pshaw, pshaw, Will,” cried the figure, " no more he fancies them concealed from every eye. An of that if you love me : you know I hate flattery, on agreeable companion, because he understands flatmy soul I do; and yet, to be sure, an intimacy with tery; and all must be pleased with the first part of the great will improve one's appearance, and a his conversation, though all are sure of its ending course of venison will fatten; and yet, faith, I de- with a demand on their purse. While his youth spise the great as much as you do : but there are a countenances the levity of his conduct, he may great many damn'd honest fellows among them; thus earn a precarious subsistence, but when age and we must not quarrel with one half, because comes on, the gravity of which is incompatible the other wants weeding. If they were all such as with buffoonery, then will he find himself forsaken my Lord Mudler, one of the most good-natured by all; condemned in the decline of life to hang creatures that ever squeezed a lemon, I should my- upon some rich family whom he once despised, self be among the number of their admirers. I was there to undergo all the ingenuity of studied conyesterday to dine at the Duchess of Piccadilly's. tempt, to be employed only as a spy upon the serMy lord was there. Ned, says he to me, Ned, vants, or a bugbear to fright the children into obesays he, I'll hold gold to silver I can tell where you dience. Adieu. were poaching last night. Poaching, my lord, says I; faith you have missed already; for I staid at home, and let the girls poach for me.
CHAPTER LV. way; I take a fine woman, as some animals do their prey-stand still, and, swoop, they fall into my mouth."
"Ab, Tibbs, thou art a happy fellow," cried my I am apt to fancy I have contracted a new accompanion, with looks of infinite pity; “I hope quaintance whom it will be no easy matter to shake your fortune is as much improved as your under-off. My little beau yesterday overtook me again standing in such company?" "Improved,” re- in one of the public walks, and slapping me on the plied the other; "you shall know,--but let it go shoulder, saluted me with an air of the most perno farther,-a great secret-five hundred a-year to fect familiarity. His dress was the same as usual, begin with.-My lord's word of honour for it- except that he had more powder in his hair, wore his lordship took me down in his own chariot yes- a dirtier shirt, a pair of temple spectacles, and his terday, and we had a tête-à-tête dinner in the coun- hat under his arm. try, where we talked of nothing else.” “I fancy As I knew him to be a harmless amusing little you forget, sir,” cried I, "you told us but this mo- thing, I could not' return his smiles with any dement of your dining yesterday in town.” “Did I gree of severity; so we walked forward on terms say so ?" replied he, coolly; "to be sure, if I said of the utmost intimacy, and in a few minutes dis80, it was so--dined in town; egad, now I do re-cussed all the usual topics preliminary to particular member, I did dine in town; but I dined in the conversation. country too; for you must know, my boys, I eat The oddities that marked his character, howtwo dinners. By the by, I am grown as nice as ever, soon began to appear; he bowed to several
To the Same.
well-dressed persons, who, by their manner of re- quite high. My Lord Swamp would give ten turning the compliment, appeared perfect strangers. thousand guineas for such a one; but as I someAt intervals he drew out a pocket book, seeming times pleasantly tell him, I always love to keep my to take memorandums before all the company, with prospects at home, that my friends may visit me much importance and assiduity. In this manner the oftener.”, he led me through the length of the whole walk, By this time we were arrived as high as the stairs fretting at his absurdities, and faneying myself would permit us to ascend, till we came to what laughed at not less than him by every spectator. he was facetiously pleased to call the first floor
When we had got to the end of our procession, down the chimney; and knocking at the door, a “Blast me,” cries he, with an air of vivacity, "I voice from within demanded who's there? My connever saw the park so thin in my life before ! there's ductor answered that it was him. But this, not no company at all to-day; not a single face to be satisfying the querist, the voice again repeated the seen.” “No company!" interrupted I, peevishly; demand: to which he answered louder than before;
no company where there is such a crowd? why and now the door was opened by an old woman man, there's too much. What are the thousands with cautious reluctance. that have been laughing at us but company ?” When we were got in, he welcomed me to his "Lord, my dear,” returned he, with the utmost house with great ceremony, and turning to the old good humour, "you seem immensely chagrined; woman, asked where was her lady? “Good troth," but blast me, when the world laughs at me, I replied she, in a peculiar dialect, “she's washing laugh at the world, and so we are even. My Lord your twa shirts at the next door, because they have Trip, Bill Squash the Creolian, and I, sometimes taken an oath against lending out the tub any make a party at being ridiculous; and so we say longer.” “My two shirts,” cried he, in a tone and do a thousand things for the joke's sake. But that faltered with confusion, “what does the idiot I see you are grave, and if you are for a fine grave inean?" "I ken what I mean weel enough,” replied sentimental companion, you shall dine with me and the other; "she's washing your twa shirts at the my wife to-dåy; I must insist on’t: I'll introduce next door, because". "Fire and fury, no more you to Mrs. Tibbs, a lady of as elegant qualifica- of thy stupid explanations,” cried he; " go and intions as any in nature; she was bred, but that's form her we have got company. Were that Scotch between ourselves, under the inspection of the hag to be for ever in my family, she would never Countess of All-night. A charming body of voice; learn politeness, nor forget that absurd poisonous but no more of that, she will give us a song. You accent of hers, or testify the smallest specimen of shall see my little girl too, Carolina Wilhelmina breeding or high life; and yet it is very surprising Amelia Tibbs, a sweet pretty creature! I design too, as I had her from a parliament man, a friend of her for my Lord Drumstick's eldest son ; but that's mine from the Highlands, one of the politest men in friendship, let it go no farther : she's but six in the world; but that's a secret.” years old, and yet she walks a minuet, and plays on We waited some time for Mrs. Tibbs's arrival, the guitar immensely already. I intend she shall during which interval I had a full opportunity of be as perfect as possible in every accomplishment. surveying the chamber and all its furniture: which In the first place, I'll make her a scholar; I'll teach consisted of four chairs with old wrought bottoms, her Greek myself, and learn that language pur- that he assured me were his wife's embroidery; a posely to instruct her; but let that be a secret." square table that had been once japanned; a crade
Thus saying, without waiting for a reply, he in one corner, a lumbering cabinet in the other ; & took me by the arm, and hauled me along. We broken shepherdess, and a mandarine without a passed through many dark alleys and winding head, were stuck over the chimney; and round the ways; for, from some motives to me unknown, he walls several paltry unframed pictures, which, he seemed to have a particular aversion to every fre observed, were all his own drawing. "What do quented street; at last, however, we got to the door you think, sir, of that head in the corner, done in of a dismal-looking house in the outlets of the town, the manner of Grisoni? there's the true keeping in where he informed me he chose to reside for the it; it is my own face, and though there happens to benefit of the air.
be no likeness, a countess offered me a hundred for We entered the lower door, which ever seemed its fellow : I refused her, for, hang it, that would be to lie most hospitably open ; and I began to ascend mechanical, you know.” an old and creaking staircase, when, as he mount- The wife at last made her appearance, at once a ed to show me the way, he demanded, whether I slattern and a coquette; much emaciated, but still delighted in prospects; to which answering in the carrying the remains of beauty. She made twenty affirmative, “Then,” says he, “I shall show you apologies for being seen in such odious dishabille, one of the most charming in the world out of my but hoped to be excused, as she had stayed out all window; we shall see the ships sailing, and the night at the gardens with the countess, who was whole country for twenty miles round, tip top, lexcessively fond of the horns. "And indeed, my
dear,” added she, turning to her husband, “his dices, again renew their hatred to strangers, and lordship drank your health in a bumper.”—"Poor indulge every former brutal excess. So true it is, Jack," cries he, "a dear good-natured creature, 1 that the revolutions of wisdom are slow and diffiknow he loves me: but I hope, my dear, you have cult; the revolutions of folly or ambition precipigiven orders for dinner ; you need make no great tate and easy. We are not to be astonished, says preparations neither, there are but three of us; Confucius,* that the wise walk more slowly in their something elegant and little will do; a turbot, an road to virtue, than fools in their passage to vice; ortolan, a "Or what do you think, my since passion drags us along, while wisdom only dear," interrupted the wife, "of a nice pretty bit points out the way. of ox-cheek, piping hot, and dressed with a little of The German empire, that remnant of the mamy own sauce?”——"The very thing," replies he, jesty of ancient Rome, appears, from your account, " it will eat best with some smart bottled beer: but on the eve of dissolution. The members of its vast be sure to let us have the sauce his grace was so fond body want every tie of government to unite them, of I hate your immense loads of meat, that is and seem feebly held together only by their respect
I country all over ; extremely disgusting to those who for ancient institutions. The very name of counare in the least acquainted with high life.” try and countrymen, which in other nations makes
By this time my curiosity began to abate, and one of the strongest bonds of government, has been my appetite to increase: the company of fools may here for some time laid aside; each of its inhabiat first make us smile, but at last never fails of tants seeming more proud of being called from the rendering us melancholy; I therefore pretended to petty state which gives him birth, than by the recollect a prior engagement, and, after having more well-known title of German. shown my respect to the house, according to the This government may be regarded in the light fashion of the English, by giving the old servant a of a severe master and a feeble opponent. The piece of money at the door, I took my leave; Mrs. states which are now subject to the laws of the Tibbs assuring me, that dinner, if I stayed, would empire are only watching a proper occasion to fling be ready at least in less than two hours. off the yoke, and those which are become too pow.
erful to be compelled to obedience now begin to think of dictating in their turn. The struggles
in this state are, therefore, not in order to preserve, LETTER LVI.
but to destroy the ancient constitution : if one side From Fum Hoam to Altangi, the discontented Wanderer. succeeds, the government must become despotic,
if the other, several states will subsist without even The distant sounds of music, that catch new nominal subordination; but in either case, the sweetness as they vibrate through the long-drawn Germanic constitution will be no more. Falley, are not more pleasing to the ear than the Sweden, on the contrary, though now seemingly tidings of a far distant friend.
a strenuous assertor of its liberties, is probably only I have just received two hundred of thy letters hastening on to despotism. Their senators, while by the Russian caravan, descriptive of the manners they pretend to vindicate the freedom of the peoof Europe. You have left it to geographers to de- ple, are only establishing their own independence. termine the size of their mountains, and extent of The deluded people will, however, at last perceive their lakes, seeming only employed in discovering the miseries of an aristocratical government; they the genius, the government, and disposition of the will perceive that the administration of a society people.
of men is ever more painful than that of one only. În those letters I perceive a journal of the opera- They will fly from this most oppressive of all tions of your mind upon whatever occurs, rather forms, where one single member is capable of conthan a detail of your travels from one building to trolling the whole, to take refuge under the throne, another ; of your taking a draught of this ruin, or which will ever be attentive to their complaints. that obelisk; of paying so many tomans for this No people long endure an aristocratical governcommodity,
or laying up a proper store for the ment when they can apply elsewhere for redress. passage of some new wilderness.
The lower orders of people may be enslaved for a From your account of Russia, I learn that this time by a number of tyrants, but, upon the first opnation is again relaxing into pristine barbarity: portunity, they will ever take a refuge in despotthat its great emperor wanted a life of a hundred ism or democracy. years more, to bring about his vast design. A As the Swedes are making concealed approachsavage people may be resembled to their own es to despotism, the French, on the other hand, forests ; a few years are sufficient to clear away the obstructions to agriculture; but it requires many,
• Though this fine maxim be not found in the Latin edition ere the ground acquires a proper degree of fertili- of the Morals of Confucius, yet we find it ascribed to him by ty: the Russians, attached to their ancient preju- Le Comte. Etal present de la Chine, Vol. I. p.
are imperceptibly vindicating themselves into free- is no bad thing. Immediately the praise is cardom. When I consider that those parliaments ried off by five flatterers to be dispersed at twelve (the members of which are all created by the court, different coffee-houses, from whence it circulates, the presidents of which can act only by immediate still improving as it proceeds, through forty-five direction) presume even to mention privileges and houses, where cheaper liquors are sold; from thence freedom, who, till of late, received directions from it is carried away by the honest tradesman to his the throne with implicit humility; when this is own fire-side, where the applause is eagerly caught considered, I can not help fancying that the genius up by his wife and children, who have been long of freedom has entered that kingdom in disguise. taught to regard his judgment as the standard of If they have but three weak monarchs more suc- perfection. Thus, when we have traced a wide cessively on the throne, the mask will be laid aside, extended literary reputation up to its original and the country will certainly once more be free. source, we shall find it derived from some great
When I compare the figure which the Dutchman, who has, perhaps, received all his education make in Europe with that they assume in Asia, 1 and English from a tutor of Berne, or a dancing am struck with surprise. In Asia, I find them the master of Picardy. great lords of all the Indian seas : in Europe the The English are a people of good sense; and I timid inhabitants of a paltry state. No longer the am the more surprised to find them swayed in sons of freedom, but of avarice; no longer assertors their opinions by men who often, from their of their rights by courage, but by negotiations; very education, are incompetent judges. Men fawning on those who insult them, and crouching who, being always bred in affluence, see the world under the rod of every neighbouring power. With- only on one side, are surely improper judges of out a friend to save them in distress, and without human nature; they may indeed describe a cerevirtue to save themselves; their government is mony, a pageant, or a ball; but how can they prepoor, and their private wealth will serve but to tend to dive into the secrets of the human heart, invite some neighbouring invader.
who have been nursed up only in forms, and daily I long with impatience for your letters from behold nothing but the same insipid adulation England, Denmark, Holland, and Italy; yet why smiling upon every face. Few of them have been wish for relations which only describe new calami- bred in that best of schools, the school of adversities, which show that ambition and avarice are ty; and, by what I can learn, fewer still have been equally terrible in every region! Adieu. bred in any school at all.
From such a description, one would think, that a droning duke, or a dowager duchess, was not
possessed of more just pretensions to taste than LETTER LVII.
persons of less quality; and yet whatever the one
or the other may write or praise, shall pass for From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, First President of the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China.
perfection, without further examination. A no
bleman has but to take a pen, ink, and paper, I have frequently admired the manner of criti- write away through three large volumes, and then cising in China, where the learned are assembleu sign his name to the title .page; though the whole in a body to judge of every new publication; to might have been before more disgusting than his examine the merits of the work, without knowing own rent-roll, yet signing his name and title gives the circumstances of the author; and then to value to the deed; title being alone equivalent to usher it into the world with proper marks of respect taste, imagination, and genius. or reprobation.
As soon as a piece therefore is published, the In England there are no such tribunals erected; first questions are, Who is the author? Does he but if a man thinks proper to be a judge of genius, keep a coach ? Where lies his estate ? What few will be at the pains to contradict his preten- sort of a table does he keep? If he happens to be sions. If any choose to be critics, it is but saying poor and unqualified for such a scrutiny, he and they are critics; and from that time forward; they his works sink into irremediable obscurity; and too become invested with full power and authority over late he finds, that having fed upon turtle is a more every caitiff who aims at their instruction or en- ready way to fame than having digested Tully. tertainment.
The poor devil against whom fashion has set As almost every member of society has, by this its face, vainly alleges, that he has been bred in means, a vote in literary transactions, it is no way every part of Europe where knowledge was to be surprising to find the rich leading the way here, as sold ; that he has grown pale in the siudy of nain other common concerns of life; to see them ture and himself; his works may please upon tho either bribing the numerous herd of voters by their perusal, but his pretensions to fame are entirely interest, or browbeating them by their authority. disregarded; he is treated like a fiddler, whose mu
A great man says at his table, that such a book sic, though liked, is not much praised, because he
lives by it; while a gentleman performer, though priests come in a body once a year to visit him: by the most wretched scraper alive, throws the audi- this means the duty of half a-year is dispatched in ence into raptures. The fiddler indeed may, in a day. When assembled, he asks each in his turn such a case console himself by thinking, that while how they have behaved, and are liked; upon which, the other goes off with all the praise, he runs away those who have neglected their duty, or are diswith all the money; but here the parallel drops ; agreeable to their congregation, no doubt accuso for while the nobleman triumphs in unmerited ap- themselves, and tell him all their faults; for which plause, the author by profession steals off with—he reprimands them most severely. nothing.
The thoughts of being introduced into a comThe poor, therefore, here, who draw their penspany of philosophers and learned men (for as such auxiliary to the laws of their country, must think I conceived them) gave me no small pleasure. I themselves very happy if they find, not fame but expected our entertainment would resemble those forgiveness : and yet they are hardly treated; for sentimental banquets so finely described by Xenoas every country grows more polite, the press be-phon and Plato: I was hoping some Socrates comes more useful; and writers become more neces- would be brought in from the door, in order to sary, as readers are supposed to increase. In a harangue upon divine love; but as for eating and polished society, that man, though in rags, who has drinking, I had prepared myself to be disappointed the power of enforcing virtue from the press, is of in that particular. I was apprised that fasting and more real use than forty stupid brahmins, or temperance were tenets strongly recommended to bonzes, or guebres, though they preached ever so the professors of Christianity, and I had seen the often, ever so loud, or ever so long. That man, frugality and mortification of the priests of the though in rags, who is capable of deceiving even East; so that I expected an entertainment where indolence into wisdom, and who professes amuse- we should have much reasoning and little meat. ment while he aims at reformation, is more useful Upon being introduced, I confess I found no in refined society than twenty cardinals, with all great signs of mortification in the faces or persons their scarlet, and tricked out in all the fopperies of of the company. However, I imputed their florid scholastic finery,
looks to temperance, and their corpulency to a se
dentary way of living. I saw several preparations indeed for dinner, but none for philosophy. The
company seemed to gaze upon the table with siLETTER LVIII.
lent expectation : but this I easily excused. Men To the same.
of wisdom, thought I, are ever slow of speech; they
deliver nothing unadvisedly. Silence, says ConAs the man in black takes every opportunity of fucius, is a friend that will never betray. They' introducing me to such company as may serve to are now probably inventing maxims or hard say. indulge my speculative temper, or gratify my curi- ings for their mutual instruction, when some one osity, I was by his influence lately invited to a shall think proper to begin. tisitation dinner. To understand this term you My curiosity was now wrought up to the highest must know, that it was formerly the custom here pitch; I impatiently looked round to see if any for the principal priests to go about the country were going to interrupt the mighty pause ; when at ance a-year, and examine upon the spot, whether last one of the company declared, that there was a those of subordinate orders did their duty, or were sow in his neighbourhood that farrowed fifteen pigs qualified for the task; whether their temples were at a litter. This I thought a very preposterous kept in proper repair, or the laity pleased with their beginning; but just as another was going to second administration.
the remark, dinner was served, which interrupted Though a visitation of this nature was very use the conversation for that time. ful, yet it was found to be extremely troublesome, The appearance of dinner, which consisted of a and for many reasons utterly inconvenient; for as variety of dishes, seemed to diffuse new cheerfulthe principal priests were obliged to attend at court, ness upon every face; so that I now expected the in order to solicit preferment, it was impossible philosophical conversation to begin, as they imthey could at the same time attend in the country, proved in good-humour. The principal priest, which was quite out of the road to promotion : if however, opened his mouth with only observing, we add to this the gout, which has been time im- that the venison had not been kept enough, though memorial a clerical disorder here, together with the he had given strict orders for having it killed ten bad wine and ill-dressed provisions that must in- days before. “I fear," continued he, "it will be fallibly be served up by the way, it was not strange found to want the true heathy flavour; you will that the custom has been long discontinued. At find nothing of the original wildness in it.” A present, therefore, every head of the church, instead priest, who sat next him, having smelt it, and of going about to visit his priests, is satisfied if his wiped his nose, “Ah, my good lord,” cries he