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liked her, and sighed for hundreds who , books every day, not one of which but despised her, she found herself insensibly contains all the good things that ever were deserted : at present she is company only said or written. for her aunts and cousins, and sometimes And yet I know not how it happens, makes one in a country-dance, with only but the English are not, in reality, so one of the chairs for a partner, casts off learned as would seem from this calcula. round a joint-stool, and sets to a corner tion. We meet but few who know all cupboard. In a word, she is treated with arts and sciences to perfection; whether it civil contempt from every quarter, and is that the generality are incapable of such placed, like a piece of old-fashioned extensive knowledge, or that the authors lumber, merely to fill up a corner. of those books are not adequate instruc

“But Sophronia, the sagacious Sophro- tors. In China the emperor himself takes nia, how shall I mention her? She was cognizance of all the doctors in the kingtaught to love Greek and hate the men dom who profess authorship. In England from her very infancy; she has rejected every man may be an author that can fine gentlemen because they were not pe- write; for they have by law a liberty, not dants, and pedants because they were not only of saying what they please, but of fine gentlemen; her exquisite sensibility being also as dull as they please. has taught her to discover every fault in Yesterday I testified my surprise to the every lover, and her inflexible justice has Man in Black, where writers could be prevented her pardoning them : thus she found in sufficient number to throw off rejected several offers, till the wrinkles of the books I daily saw crowding from age had overtaken her; and now, without the press. I at first imagined that their one good feature in her face, she talks learned seminaries might take this method incessantly of the beauties of the mind.”- of instructing the world. But, to obviate Farewell.

this objection, my companion assured me, LETTER XXIX.

that the doctors of colleges never wrote,

and that some of them had actually forgot To the same.

their reading; “but if you desire,” conWERE we to estimate the learning of the tinued he, " to see a collection of authors, English by the number of books that are I fancy I can introduce you this evening every day published among them, perhaps to a club, which assembles every Saturday no country, not even China itself, could at seven, at the sign of the Broom, near equal them in this particular. I have Islington, to talk over the business of the reckoned not less than twenty-three new last and the entertainment of the week books published in one day, which, upon ensuing.” I accepted his invitation : we computation, makes eight thousand three walked together, and entered the house hundred and ninety-five one year.

some time before the usual hour for the Most of these are not confined to one company assembling. single science, but embrace the whole My friend took this opportunity of circle. History, politics, poetry, mathe- letting me into the characters of the prin. matics, metaphysics, and the philosophy cipal members of the club, not even the of nature, are all comprised in a manual host excepted, who, it seems, was once an not larger than that in which our children author himself, but preferred by a bookare taught the letters. If, then, we sup- seller to this situation as a reward for his pose the learned of England to read but former services. an eighth part of the works which daily “The first person,” said he, "of our come from the press, (and sure none can society is Doctor Nonentity, a metaphy, pretend to learning upon less easy terms) sician. Most people think him a profound at this rate every scholar will read a scholar; but, as he seldom speaks, I canthousand books in one year. From such not be positive in that particular: he a calculation you may conjecture what an generally spreads himself before the fire, amazing fund of literature a man must be sucks his pipe, talks little, drinks much, possessed of, who thus reads three new and is reckoned very good company. I'm

told he writes indexes to perfection ; he that you may receive a large number of makes essays on the origin of evil, philo- letters at once. In them you will find sophical inquiries upon any subject

, and rather a minute detail of English pecudraws up an answer to any book upon liarities, than a general picture of their twenty-four hours' warning: You may manners or dispositions. Happy it were distinguish him from the rest of the com for mankind, if all travellers would thus, inpany by his long gray wig and the blue stead of characterising a people in general handkerchief round his neck.

terms, lead us into a detail of those minute “The next to him in merit and esteem circumstances which first influenced their is Tim Syllabub, a droll creature: he opinion. The genius of a country should sometimes shines as a star of the first be investigated with a kind of experimental magnitude among the choice spirits of the inquiry: by this means we should have age; he is reckoned equally excellent at more precise and just notions of foreign a rebus, a riddle, a bawdy song, and an nations, and detect travellers themselves hymn for the Tabernacle. You will know when they happened to form wrong him by his shabby finery, his powdered conclusions. wig, dirty shirt, and broken silk stockings. My friend and I repeated our visit to

After him succeeds Mr. Tibbs, a very the club of authors; where, upon our useful hand: he writes receipts for the bite entrance, we found the members all of a mad dog, and throws off an Eastern assembled, and engaged in a loud debate. tale to perfection; he understands the The poet in shabby finery, holding a business of an author as well as any man, manuscript in his hand, was earnestly enfor no bookseller alive can cheat him. deavouring to persuade the company to You may distinguish him by the peculiar hear him read the first book of an heroic clumsiness of his figure and the coarseness poem, which he had composed the day of his coat; however, though it be coarse, before. But against this all the members (as he frequently tells the company,) he very warmly objected. They knew no has paid for it.

reason why any member of the club should Lawyer Squint is the politician of the be indulged with a particular hearing, society: he makes speeches for Parlia. when many of them had published whole ment, writes addresses to his fellow-sub- volumes which had never been looked in. jects, and letters to noble commanders; They insisted that the law should be ob. he gives the history of every new play, served, where reading in company was and finds seasonable thoughts upon every expressly noticed. It was in vain that the occasion." My companion was proceed poet pleaded the peculiar merit of his ing in his description, when the host came piece; he spoke to an ssembly insensible running in, with terror on his countenance, to all his remonstrances: the book of law's to tell us that the door was beset with was opened, and read by the secretary, bailiffs. “ If that be the case, then,” says where it was expressly enacted, That my companion, “we had as good be going; whatsoever poet, speech-maker, critic, or for I am positive we shall not see one of historian, should presume to engage the the company this night.” Wherefore, dis- company by reading his own works, he appointed, we were both obliged to return was to lay down sixpence previous to openhome-he to enjoy the oddities which com ing the manuscript, and should be charged pose his character alone, and I to write one shilling an hour while he continued as usual to my friend the occurrences of reading: the said shilling to be equally the day.--Adieu.

distributed among the company, as a

recompense for their trouble. LETTER XXX.

Our poet seemed at first to shrink at the

penalty, hesitating for some time whether To the same.

he should deposit the fine or shut up the By my last advices from Moscow I find poem ; but, looking round, and perceiving the caravan has not yet departed for | iwo strangers in the room, his love of China: I still continue to write, expecting fame outweighed his prudence, and laying

pagne

rug.

down the sum by law established, he and found all, however, ready to applaud. insisted on his prerogative.

One swore it was inimitable, another said A profound silence ensuing, he began it was damned fine, and a third cried out by explaining his design. Gentlemen,” | in a rapture, Carissimo! At last, addresssays he, “ the present piece is not one of ing himself to the president, “ And pray, your common epic poems, which come Mr. Squint,” says he, “let us have your from the press like paper-kites in summer: opinion.”—“Mine!"answered the presithere are none of your Turnuses or Didos dent, taking the manuscript out of the in it; it is an heroical description of nature. author's hand,“ may this glass suffocate I only beg you'll endeavour to make your me, but I think it equal to anything I have souls' unison with mine, and hear with seen: and I fancy,” continued he, doubling the same enthusiasm with which I have up the poem and forcing it into the author's written. The poem begins with the de- pocket, “that you will get great honour scription of an author's bedchamber: the when it comes out; so I shall beg leave picture was sketched in my own apart- to put it in. We will not intrude upon ment; for you must know, gentlemen, that your good-nature, in desiring to hear more I am myself the hero.” Then, putting him- of it at present; ex ungue Herculem, we self into the attitude of an orator, with all are satisfied, perfectly satisfied.”

The the emphasis of voice and action he pro- author made two or three attempts to pull ceeded :

it out a second time, and the president Where the Red Lion, flaring o'er the way,

made as many to prevent him. Thus, Invites each passing stranger that can pay; though with reluctance, he was at last Where Calvert's butt and Parson’s black cham- obliged to sit down, contented with the

commendations for which he had paid. Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury Lane: There, in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug,

When this tempest of poetry and praise The Muse found Scroggen stretched beneath a was blown over, one of the company A window, patched with paper, lent a ray,

changed the subject, by wondering how That dimly showed the state in which he lay; any man could be so dull as to write poetry The sanded floor, that grits beneath the tread; at present, since prose itself would hardly The humid wall, with paltry pictures spread; pay. “Would you think it, gentlemen,' The royal game of goose was there in view, And the twelve rules the Royal Martyr drew;

continued he, I have actually written The Seasons, framed with listing, found a place, last week sixteen prayers, twelve bawdy And brave Prince William showed his lamp-black jests, and three sermons, all at the rate of

face. The morn was cold; he views with keen desire sixpence a-piece; and, what is still more The rusty grate, unconscious of a fire:

extraordinary, the bookseller has lost by With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scored, the bargain. Such sermons would once And five cracked teacups dressed the chimney have gained me a prebend's stall; board.

alas ! we have neither piety, taste, nor A night-cap decked his brows instead of bay ; A cap by night-a stocking all the day!

humour among us.

Positively, if this With this last line he seemed so much season does not turn out better than it has elated, that he was unable to proceed. blunders to furnish us with a new topic of

begun, unless the ministry commit some “There, gentlemen!” cries he, "there is a description for you; Rabelais' bed- abuse, I shall resume my old business of chamber is but a fool to it.

working at the press, instead of finding

it employment. A cap by night-a stocking all the day! The whole club seemed to join in conThere is sound, and sense, and truth, and demning the season, as one of the worst nature in the trifling compass of ten little that had come for some time: a gentleman syllables.”

particularly observed that the nobility were He was too much employed in self- never known to subscribe worse than at admiration to observe the company, who present. "I know not how it happens,' by nods, winks, shrugs, and stifled laugh- said he, “though I follow them up as close ter, testified every mark of contempt. He as possible, yet I can hardly get a single turned severally to each for their opinion, subscription in a week. The houses of

but now,

the great are as inaccessible as a frontier much for the confusion of us authors as garrison at midnight. I never see a noble. the catch-pole. I'll tell you a story, genman's door half opened, that some surly tlemen, which is as true as that this pipe porter or footman does not stand full in is made of clay :--When I was delivered the breach. I was yesterday to wait with of my first book, I owed my tailor for a a subscription proposal upon my Lord suit of clothes ; but that is nothing new, Squash, the Creolian. I had posted my- you know, and may be any man's case as self at his door the whole morning, and well as mine. Well, owing him for a suit just as he was getting into his coach, thrust of clothes, and hearing that my book took my proposal snug into his hand, folded up very well, he sent for his money,and insisted in the form of a letter from myself. He upon being paid immediately. Though I just glanced at the superscription, and, was at that time rich in fame-for my not knowing the hand, consigned it to his book ran like wild-fire-yet I was very valet-de-chambre; this respectable per short in money, and, being unable to satisfy sonage treated it as his master, and put it his demand, prudently resolved to keep into the hands of the porter; the porter my chamber, preferring a prison of my grasped my proposal frowning; and, own choosing at home to one of my tailor's measuring my figure from top to toe, put choosing abroad. In vain the bailiffs used it back into my own hands unopened.” all their arts to decoy me from my citadel;

“To the devil I pitch all the nobility,” in vain they sent to let me know that a cries a little man, in a peculiar accent; gentleman wanted to speak with me at "I am sure they have of late used me the next tavern ; in vain they came with most scurvily. You must know, gentle an urgent message from my aunt in the men, some time ago, upon the arrival of country; in vain I was told that a partia certain noble duke from his travels, I cular friend was at the point of death, sat myself down, and vamped up a fine and desired to take his last farewell: Í flaunting poetical panegyric, which I had was deaf, insensible, rock, adamant; the written in such a strain, that I fancied it bailiffs could make no impression on my would have even wheedled milk from a hard heart, for I effectually kept my liberty

In this I represented the whole by never stirring out of the room. kingdom welcoming his grace to his native “This was very well for a fortnight ; soil, not forgetting the loss France and when one morning I received a most Italy would sustain in their arts by his splendid message from the Earl of Doomsdeparture. I expected to touch for a bank- day, importing, that he had read my book, bill at least ; so, folding up my verses in and was in raptures with every line of it; gilt paper, I gave my last half-crown to a

he impatiently longed to see the author, genteel servant to be the bearer. My and had some designs which might turn letter was safely conveyed to his grace, out greatly to my advantage. I paused and the servant, after four hours' absence, upon the contents of this message, and during which time I led the life of a fiend, found there could be no deceit, for the card returned with a letter four times as big as was gilt at the edges, and the bearer, I mine. Guess my extasy at the prospect was told, had quite the looks of a gentleof so fine a return. I eagerly took the man. Witness, ye powers, how my heart packet into my hands, that trembled to triumphed at my own importance ! I saw receive it. I kept it some time unopened a long perspective of felicity before me ; before me, brooding over the expected I applauded the taste of the times which treasure it contained ; when opening it, never saw genius forsaken: I had prepared as I hope to be saved, gentlemen, his a set introductory speech for the occasion; grace had sent me, in payment for my five glaring compliments for his lordship, poem, no bank-bills, but six copies of and two more modest for myself. The next verses, each longer than mine, addressed morning, therefore, in order to be punctual to him upon the same occasion."

to my appointment, I took coach, and “A nobleman,” cries a member who ordered the fellow to drive to the street had hitherto been silent, “is created as and house mentioned in his lordship’s

mouse.

me.

address. I had the precaution to pull up scarcely conceive my meaning, when I say the window as I went along, to keep off that there is scarce a garden in China the busy part of mankind, and, big with which does not contain some fine moral, expectation, fancied the coach never went couched under the general design, where fast enough. At length, however, the one is taught wisdom as he walks, and wished-for moment of its stopping arrived: feels the force of some noble truth, or this for some time I impatiently expected, delicate precept, resulting from the disand letting down the window in a trans- position of the groves, streams, or grottos. port, in order to take a previous view of his Permit me to illustrate what I mean by a lordship's magnificent palace and situation, description of my gardens at Quamsi. My I found-poison to my sight !-I found heart still hovers round those scenes of myself not in an elegant street, but a former happiness with pleasure ; and I paltry lane; not at a nobleman's door, but find a satisfaction in enjoying them at this the door of a spunging-house : I found distance, though but in imagination. the coachman had all this while been You descended from the house between driving me to gaol; and I saw the bailiff, two groves of trees, planted in such a with a devil's face, coming out to secure manner, that they were impenetrable to

the eye; while on each hand the way To a philosopher no circumstance, was adorned with all that was beautiful however trifling, is too minute; he finds in porcelain, statuary, and painting. This instruction and entertainment in occur- passage from the house opened into an rences which are passed over by the rest area surrounded with rocks, flowers, trees, of mankind as low, trite, and indifferent; and shrubs, but all so disposed as if each it is from the number of these particulars, was the spontaneous production of nature. which to many appear insignificant, that As you proceeded forward on this lawn, he is at last enabled to form general to your right and left hand were two gates, conclusions : this, therefore, must be my opposite each other, of very different archiexcuse for sending so far as China accounts tecture and design; and before you lay a of manners and follies, which, though temple, built rather with minute elegance minute in their own nature, serve more than ostentation. truly to characterise this people, than The right hand gate was planned with histories of their public treaties, courts, the utmost simplicity, or rather rudeness : ministers, negotiations, and ambassadors. ivy clasped round the pillars, the baleful -Adieu.

cypress hung over it; time seemed to have

destroyed all the smoothness and regularity LETTER XXXI.

of the stone ; two champions, with lifted

clubs, appeared in the act of guarding its To the same.

access; dragons and serpents were seen THE English have not yet brought the art in the most hideous attitudes, to deter of gardening to the same perfection with the spectator from approaching; and the the Chinese, but have lately begun to perspective view that lay behind seemed imitate them. Nature is now followed dark and gloomy to the last degree; the with greater assiduity than formerly : the stranger was tempted to enter only from trees are suffered to shoot out into the the motto, -PERVIA VIRTUTI. utmost luxuriance; the streams, no longer The opposite gate was formed in a very forced from their native beds, are per different manner : the architecture was mitted to wind along the valleys ; spon- light, elegant, and inviting ; flowers hung taneous flowers take place of the finished in wreaths round the pillars; all was parterre, and the enamelled meadow of finished in the most exact and masterly the shaven green.

manner; the very stone of which it was Yet still the English are far behind us built still preserved its polish ; nymphs, in this charming art : their designers have wrought by the hand of a master, in the not yet attained the power of uniting in- most alluring attitudes, beckoned the struction with beauty. An European will stranger to approach; while all that lay

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