« AnteriorContinuar »
mony," says he, "and are charmed with music. I Whether this contention between three carts of do not blame you for hearing a fine voice, when different parishes was promoted by a subscription you are in your closet, with a lovely parterre under among the nobility, or whether the grand jury, in your eye, or in the night-time, while perhaps the council assembled, had gloriously combined to enmoon diffuses her silver rays. But is a man to car- courage plaustral merit, I can not take upon me to ry this passion so far as to let a company of come-determine; but certain it is, the whole was condians, musicians, and singers, grow rich upon his ducted with the utmost regularity and decorum, exhausted fortune? If so, he resembles one of those and the company, which made a brilliant appeardead bodies, whose brains the embalmer has picked ance, were universally of opinion, that the sport out through the ears." Adieu.
was high, the running fine, and the riders influenced by no bribe.
It was run on the road from London to a village LETTER LXXXVI.
called Brentford, between a turnip-cart, a dust-cart,
and a dung-cart; each of the owners condescendFrom the Same.
ing to mount, and be his own driver. The odds, Of all the places of amusement where gentlemen at starting, were Dust against Dung, five to four; and ladies are entertained, I have not been yet to but after half a mile's going, the knowing ones visit Newmarket. This, I am told, is a large field, found themselves all on the wrong side, and it was where, upon certain occasions, three or four horses Turnip against the field, brass to silver. are brought together, then set a-running, and that Soon, however, the contest became more doubtborse which runs swiftest wins the wager. ful; Turnip indeed kept the way, but it was per
This is reckoned a very polite and fashionable ceived that Dung had better bottom. The road amusement here, much more followed by the no-re-echoed with the shouts of the spectators——" Dung bility than partridge fighting at Java, or paper against Turnip! Turnip against Dung!" was now kites in Madagascar; several of the great here, I the universal cry; neck and neck; one rode lighter, an told, understand as much of farriery as their but the other had more judgment. I could not but grooms; and a horse, with any share of merit, can particularly observe the ardour with which the fair Rever want a patron among the nobility. sex espoused the cause of the different riders on
We have a description of this entertainment al- this occasion; one was charmed with the unwashmost every day in some of the gazettes, as for in- ed beauties of Dung; another was captivated with stance: “On such a day, the Give and Take the patibulary aspect of Turnip; while in the mean Plate was run for between his Grace's Crab, his time, unfortunate gloomy Dust, who came whipping Lordship’s Periwinkle, and 'Squire Smacken's behind, was cheered by the encouragement of some, Slamerkin. All rode their own horses. There and pity of all. was the greatest concourse of nobility that has been The contention now continued for some time, known here for several seasons. The odds were in without a possibility of determining to whom vicfavour of Crab in the beginning; but Slamerkin, tory designed the prize. The winning post apafter the first heat, seemed to have the match hol-peared in view, and he who drove the turnip-cart low; however, it was soon seen that Periwinkle assured himself of success; and successful he might improved in wind, which at last turned out ac- have been, had his horse been as ambitious as he; cordingly; Crab was run to a stand-still, Slamer- but upon approaching a turn from the road, which kin was knocked up, and Periwinkle was brought led homewards, the horse fairly stood still, and rein with universal applause.” Thus, you see, Peri- fused to move a foot farther. The dung-cart had winkle received universal applause, and, no doubt, scarcely time to enjoy this temporary triumph, his lordship came in for some share of that praise when it was pitched headlong into a ditch by the which was so liberally bestowed upon Periwinkle. wayside, and the rider left to wallow in congenial Sun of China! how glorious must the senator ap- mud. Dust, in the mean time, soon came up, and pear in his cap and leather breeches, his whip not being far from the post, came in, amidst the crossed in his mouth, and thus coming to the goal, shouts and acclamations of all the spectators, and amongst the shouts of grooms, jockeys, pimps, sta- greatly caressed by all the quality of Brentford. ble-bred dukes, and degraded generals !
Fortune was kind only to one, who ought to have From the description of this princely amusement, been favourable to all; each had peculiar merit, now transcribed, and from the great veneration 1 each laboured hard to earn the prize, and each richhave for the characters of its principal promoters, 1 ly deserved the cart he drove. make no doubt but I shall look upon a horse-race I do not know whether this description may not with becoming reverence, predisposed as I am by a have anticipated that which I intended giving of similar amusement, of which I have lately been a Newmarket. I am told, there is little else to be spectator; for just now I happened to have an op- seen even there. There may be some minute difportunity of being present at a cart-race. |ferences in the dress of the spectators, but none at
all in their understandings; the quality of Brent prompted, they might then be able to deluge the ford are as remarkable for politeness and delicacy whole western world with a barbarous inundation. as the breeders of Newmarket. The quality of Believe me, my friend, I can not sufficiently conBrentford drive their own carts, and the honour- temn the politicians of Europe, who thus make able fraternity of Newmarket ride their own horses. this powerful people arbitrators in their quarrel. In short, the matches in one place are as rational The Russians are now at that period between reas those in the other; and it is more than probable, finement and barbarity, which seems most adapted that turnips, dust, and dung, are all that can be to military achievement; and if once they happen found to furnish our description in either. to get footing in the western parts of Europe, it is
Forgive me, my friend, but a person like me, not the feeble efforts of the sons of effeminacy and bred up in a philosophic seclusion, is apt to regard, dissension that can serve to remove them. The perhaps with too much asperity, those occurrences fertile valley and soft climate will ever be sufficient which sink man below his station in nature, and inducements to draw whole myriads from their diminish the intrinsic value of humanity. Adieu. native deserts, the trackless wild, or snowy moun
History, experience, reason, nature, expand the
book of wisdom before the eyes of mankind, but LETTER LXXXVII.
they will not read. We have seen with terror a
winged phalanx of famished locusts, each singly From Fum Hoam, to Lien Chi Altangi.
contemptible, but from multitude become hideous, You tell me the people of Europe are wise; but cover, like clouds, the face of day, and threaten the where lies their wisdom? You say they are valiant whole world with ruin. We have seen them too; yet I have some reasons to doubt of their settling on the fertile plains of India and Egypt, valour. They are engaged in war among each destroying in an instant the labours and the hopes other, yet apply to the Russians, their neighbours of nations; sparing neither the fruit of the earth and ours, for assistance. Cultivating such an al- nor the verdure of the fields, and changing into a liance, argues at once imprudence and timidity. frightful desert landscapes of once luxuriant beauty. All subsidies paid for such an aid in strengthening We have seen myriads of ants issuing together the Russians, already too powerful, and weakening from the southern desert, like a torrent whose the employers, already exhausted by intestine com- source was inexhaustible, succeeding each other motions.
without end, and renewing their destroyed forces I cannot avoid beholding the Russian empire as with unwearied perseverance, bringing desolation the natural enemy of the more western parts of wherever they came, banishing men and animals, Europe; as an enemy already possessed of great and, when destitute of all subsistence, in heaps instrength, and, from the nature of the government, fecting the wilderness which they had made! every day threatening to become more powerful. Like these have been the migrations of men. This extensive empire, which, both in Europe and When as yet savage, and almost resembling their Asia, occupies almost a third of the old world, was, brute partners in the forest, subject like them only about two centuries ago, divided into separate king- to the instincts of nature, and directed by hunger doms and dukedoms, and, from such a division, alone in the choice of an abode, how have we seen consequently feeble. Since the time, however, of whole armies starting wild at once from their forests Johan Basilides, it has increased in strength and and their dens! Goths, Huns, Vandals, Saracens, extent; and those untrodden forests, those innumer-Turks, Tartars, myriads of men, animals in human able savage animals, which formerly covered the form, without country, without name, without laws, face of the country, are now removed, and colonies overpowering by numbers all opposition, ravaging of mankind planted in their room. A kingdom cities, overturning empires, and, after having dethus enjoying peace internally, possessed of an un-stroyed whole nations, and spread extensive deso bounded extent of dominion, and learning the lation, how have we seen them sink oppressed by military art at the expense of others abroad, must some new enemy, more barbarous and even more every day grow more powerful; and it is probable l'unknown than they! Adieu. we shall hear Russia in future times, as formerly, called the Officina Gentium.
It was long the wish of Peter, their great monarch, to have a fort in some of the western parts of
LETTER LXXXVIII Europe; many of his schemes and treaties were directed to this end, but, happily for Europe, he From Lien Chi Altangi to Pum Hoam, Fint President of the
Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. failed in them all. A fort in the power of this people would be like the possession of a flood- As the instruction of the fair sex in this country gate ; and whenever ambition, interest, or necessity lis entirely committed to the care of foreigners; as
their language-masters, music-masters, hair-friz- coast while her children as yet were infants, who, ærs and governesses, are all from abroad, I had of consequence, though grown up, were entirely come intentions of opening a female academy my- unacquainted with man. Yet, inexperienced as self
, and made no doubt, as I was quite a foreigner, the young ladies were in the opposite sex, both of meeting a favourable reception.
early discovered symptoms, the one of prudery, the In this, I intended to instruct the ladies in all the other of being a coquette. The eldest was ever conjugal mysteries; wives should be taught the art learning maxims of wisdom and discretion from of managing husbands, and maids the skill of her mamma, while the youngest employed all her properly choosing them; I would teach a wife how hours in gazing at her own face in a neighbouring far she might venture to be sick, without giving fountain. disgust; she should be acquainted with the great Their usual amusement in this solitude was benefits of the cholic in the stomach, and all the fishing: their mother had taught them all the sethorough-bred insolence of fashion; maids should crets of the art; she showed them which were the learn the secret of nicely distinguishing every com- most likely places to throw out the line, what baits petitor; they should be able to know the difference were most proper for the various seasons, and the between a pedant and a scholar, a citizen and a best manner to draw up the finny prey, when they prig, a squire and his horse, a beau and his monkey; had hooked it. In this manner they spent their but chiefly, they should be taught the art of time, easy and innocent, till one day, the princess managing their smiles, from the contemptuous being indisposed, desired them to go and catch her simper to the long laborious laugh.
a sturgeon or a shark for supper, which she fancied But I have discontinued the project ; for what might sit easy on her stomach. The daughters would signify teaching ladies the manner of govern- obeyed, and clapping on a gold fish, the usual bait ing or choosing husbands, when marriage is at on those occasions, went and sat upon one of the present so much out of fashion, that a lady is very rocks, letting the gilded hook glide down with the well off who can get any husband at all? Celibacy stream. now prevails in every rank of life: the streets are On the opposite shore, farther down, at the crowded with old bachelors, and the houses with mouth of the river, lived a diver for pearls, a youth ladies who have refused good offers, and are never who, by long habit in his trade, was almost grown likely to receive any for the future.
amphibious; so that he could remain whole hours The only advice, therefore, I could give the fair at the bottom of the water, without ever fetching ker, as things stand at present, is to get husbands breath. He happened to be at that very instant as fast as they can. There is certainly nothing in diving when the ladies were fishing with the gildthe whole creation, not even Babylon in ruins, ed hook. Seeing therefore the bait, which to him more truly deplorable than a lady in the virgin had the appearance of real gold, he was resolved to bloom of sixty-three, or a battered unmarried beau, seize the prize, but both his hands being already who squibs about from place to place, showing his filled with pearl oysters, he found himself obliged pigtail wig and his ears. The one appears to my to snap at it with his mouth: the consequence is imagination in the form of a double night-cap, or a easily imagined ; the hook, before unperceived, was toll of pomatum, the other in the shape of an instantly fastened in his jaw, nor could he, with electuary, or a box of pills.
all his efforts or his floundering, get free. I woulu once more, therefore, advise the ladies "Sister," cries the youngest princess, “I have to get husbands. I would desire them not to dis- certainly caught a monstrous fish; I never perceived card an old lover without very sufficient reasons, any thing struggle so at the end of my line before ; nor treat the new with ill-nature till they know him come and help me to draw it in." They both now, false ; let not prudes allege the falseness of the sex, therefore, assisted in fishing up the diver on shore; coquettes the pleasures of long courtship, or parents but nothing could equal their surprise upon seeing the necessary preliminaries of penny for penny. I him. “Bless my eyes,” cries the prude, “what have reasons that would silence even a casuist in have we got here? this is a very odd fish to be this particular. In the first place, therefore, I sure; I never saw any thing in my life look so divide the subject into fifteen heads, and then sic queer : what eyes, what terrible claws, what a argumentor.—But not to give you and myself monstrous snout ! I have read of this monster somethe spleen, be contented at present with an Indian where before, it certainly must be a Tanlang that tale.
eats women; let us throw it back into the sea where In a winding of the river Amidar, just before it we found it.” falls into the Caspian Sea, there lies an island un- The diver, in the mean time, stood upon the frequented by the inhabitants of the continent. In beach at the end of the line, with the hook in his this reclusion, blessed with all that wild uncultiva- mouth, using every art that he thought could best ted nature could bestow, lived a princess and her excite pity, and particularly looking extremely two daughters. She had been wrecked upon the tender, which is usual in such circumstances.
The coquette, therefore, in some measure influenc-| Another shall swell his works with a description ed by the innocence of his looks, ventured to con- of the plumage on the wing of a butterfly; a third tradict her companion. “Upon my word, sister," shall see a little world on a peach leaf, and pablish says she, “I see nothing in the animal so very ter- a book to describe what his readers might see more rible as you are pleased to apprehend; I think it clearly in two minutes, only by being furnished may serve well enough for a change. Always with eyes and a microscope. sharks, and sturgeons, and lobsters, and crawfish, I have frequently compared the understandings make me quite sick. I fancy a slice of this, nicely of such men to their own glasses. Their field of grilladed, and dressed up with shrimp sauce, would vision is too contracted to take in the whole of any be very pretty eating. I fancy mamma would like a but minute objects; they view all nature bit by bit with pickles above all things in the world; and bit; now the proboscis, now the antennæ, now the if it should not sit easy on her stomach, it will be time the pinnæ, of—a fea! Now the polypus comes enough to discontinue it when found disagreeable, to breakfast upon a worm; now it is kept up to see you know." "Horrid !" cries the prude, "would how long it will live without eating; now it is the girl be poisoned? I tell you it is a Tanlang; turned inside outward, and now it sickens and I have read of it in twenty places. It is every dies. Thus they proceed, laborious in trifles, con where described as the most pernicious animal that stant in experiment, without one single abstrac ever infested the ocean I am certain it is the most tion, by which alone knowledge may be properly insidious ravenous creature in the world; and is said to increase; till at last their ideas, ever em certain destruction if taken internally.” The ployed upon minute things, contract to the size of youngest sister was now therefore obliged to sub-the diminutive object, and a single mite shall fill mit: both assisted in drawing the hook with some the whole mind's capacity. violence from the diver's jaw; and he, finding him- Yet, believe me, my friend, ridiculous as these self at liberty, bent his breast against the broad men are to the world, they are set up as objects of wave, and disappeared in an instant.
esteem for each other. They have particular Just at this juncture the mother came down to places appointed for their meetings; in which one the beach, to know the cause of her daughters shows his cockle-shell, and is praised by all the delay; they told her every circumstance, describ- society; another produces his powder, makes some ing the monster they had caught. The old lady experiments that result in nothing, and comes off was one of the most discreet women in the world; with admiration and applause: a third comes out she was called the black-eyed princess, from two with the important discovery of some new process black eyes she had received in her youth, being a in the skeleton of a mole, and is set down as the little addicted to boxing in her liquor. “Alas, my accurate and sensible; while one, still more fortachildren," cries she, "what have you done? the nate than the rest, by pickling, potting, and prefish you caught was a man-fish; one of the most serving monsters, rises into unbounded reputation. tame domestic animals in the world. We could The labours of such men, instead of being calhave let him run and play about the garden, and culated to amuse the public, are laid out only in he would have been twenty times more entertain- diverting each other. The world becomes very ing than our squirrel or monkey."
."_"If that be little the better or the wiser, for knowing what is all,” says the young coquette, “we will fish for the peculiar food of an insect, that is itself the him again. If that be all, I'll hold three tooth- food of another, which in its turn is eaten by a picks to one pound of snuff, I catch him when-third; but there are men who have studied them ever I please." Accordingly they threw in their selves into a habit of investigating and admiring line once more, but with all their gilding, and such minutiæ. To these such subjects are pleasing, paddling, and assiduity, they could never after catch as there are some who contentedly spend whole the diver. In this state of solitude and disappoint-days in endeavouring to solve enigmas, or disenment, they continued for many years, still fishing, tangle the puzzling sticks of children. but without success; till at last the Genius of But of all the learned, those who pretend to inthe place, in pity to their distresses, changed the vestigate remote antiquity have least to plead in prude into a shrimp, and the coquette into an their own defence, when they carry this passion to oyster. Adieu.
a faulty excess. They are generally found to supply by conjecture the want of record, and then by
perseverance are wrought up into a confidence of LETTER LXXXIX
the truth of opinions, which even to themselves at first appeared founded only in imagination.
The Europeans have heard much of the kingdom I am amused, my dear Fum, with the labours of of China : its politeness, arts, commerce, laws, and some of the learned here. One shall write you a morals, are, however, but very imperfectly known whole folio on the dissection of a caterpillar. among them. They have even now in their Indian
From the Same.
From the Same.
warehouses numberless utensils, plants, minerals, sincrustated, it was clothed with verdure: this was a and machines, of the use of which they are entirely fine unembarrassed road for Noah to fly from his ignorant: nor can any among them even make a wicked children; he therefore did fly from them, probable guess for what they might have been de- and took a journey of two thousand miles for his signed. Yet though this people be so ignorant of own amusement: therefore Noah and Fohi are the present real state of China, the philosophers 1 the same. am describing have entered into long, learned, la- Another sect of literati, for they all pass among borious disputes about what China was two thou- the vulgar for very great scholars, assert, that the sand years ago.
China and European happiness Chinese came neither from the colony of Sesosare but little connected even at this day; but Eu-tris, nor from Noah, but are descended from Maropean happiness and China two thousand years gog, Meshec, and Tubal, and therefore neither Seago have certainly no connexion at all. However, sostris, nor Noah, nor Fohi, are the same. the learned have written on and pursued the sub- It is thus, my friend, that indolence assumes the ject through all the labyrinths of antiquity: though airs of wisdom, and while it tosses the cup and the early dews and the tainted gale be passed away, ball with infantine folly, desires the world to look though no footsteps remain to direct the doubtful on, and calls the stupid pastime philosophy and chase, yet still they run forward, open upon the learning. Adieu. uncertain scent, and though in fact they follow nothing, are earnest in the pursuit. In this chase, however, they all take different ways. One, for example, confidently assures us, that China was
LETTER XC. peopled by a colony from Egypt. Sesostris, he observes, led his army as far as the Ganges; therefore, if he went so far, he might still have gone as When the men of this country are once turned far as China, which is but a thousand miles from of thirty, they regularly retire every year at proper thence; therefore he did go to China; therefore intervals to lie in of the spleen. The vulgar, unChina was not peopled before he went there; furnished with the luxurious comforts of the soft therefore it was peopled by him. Besides, the cushion, down bed, and easy chair, are obliged, Egyptians have pyramids; the Chinese have in when the fit is on them, to nurse it up by drinklike manner their porcelain tower: the Egyptians ing, idleness, and ill-humour. In such disposiused to light up candles upon every rejoicing; the tions, unhappy is the foreigner who happens to Chinese have lanterns upon the same occasion : cross them; his long chin, tarnished coat, or pinchthe Egyptians had their great river; so have the ed hat, are sure to receive no quarter. If they Chinese. But what serves to put the matter past meet no foreigner, however, to fight with, they a doubt is, that the ancient kings of China and are in such cases generally content with beating those of Egypt were called by the same names. each other. The Emperor Ki is certainly the same with King The rich, as they have more sensibility, are opeAtoes; for if we only change K into A, and i into rated upon with greater violence by this disorder. toes, we shall have the name Atoes; and with Different from the poor, instead of becoming more equal ease Menes may be proved to be the same insolent, they grow totally unfit for opposition. A with the Emperor Yu; therefore the Chinese are general here, who would have faced a culverin a colony from Egypt.
when well, if the fit be on him, shall hardly find But another of the learned is entirely different courage to snuff a candle. An admiral, who could from the last; and he will have the Chinese to be have opposed a broadside without shrinking, shall a colony planted by Noah just after the deluge. sit whole days in his chamber, mobbed up in douFirst, from the vast similitude there is between the ble night-caps, shuddering at the intrusive breeze, name of Fohi, the founder of the Chinese monar- and distinguishable from his wife only by his black chy, and that of Noah, the preserver of the human beard and heavy eyebrows. race ; Noah, Fohi, very like each other truly; they In the country, this disorder mostly attacks the have each but four letters, and only two of the four fair sex; in town, it is most unfavourable to the happen to differ. But to strengthen the argument, men. A lady, who has pined whole years amidst Fohi
, as the Chinese chronicle asserts, had no cooing doves and complaining nightingales, in rural father, Noah, it is true, had a father, as the Eu- retirement, shall resume all her vivacity in one Topean Bible tells us; but then, as this father was night at a city gaming-table ; her husband, who probably drowned in the flood, it is just the same roared, hunted, and got drunk at home, shall grow as if he had no father at all; therefore Noah and splenetic in town in proportion to his wife's goodPohi are the same. Just after the flood the earth humour. Upon their arrival in London they exwas covered with mud; if it was covered with change their disorders. In consequence of her mud, it must have been incrustated mud; if it was parties andexcursions, he puts on the furred cap and