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frequently happens that one of his little so many employed in producing a comadmirers sits down, big with the important modity with which the market is already subject, and is delivered of the history of overstocked-and with goods also better his life and writings. This may probably than any of modern manufacture ?” be called the revolutions of a life between What at first view appeared an inconthe fireside and the easy chair. In this sistence, is a proof at once of this people's we learn the year in which he was born, wisdom and refinement. Even allowing at what an early age he gave symptoms the works of their ancestors better written of uncommon genius and application, to- than theirs, yet those of the moderns acgether with some of his smart sayings, quire a real value, by being marked with collected by his aunt and mother while yet the impression of the times. Antiquity but a boy. The next book introduces him has been in the possession of others; the to the university, where we are informed present is our own : let us first, therefore, of his amazing progress in learning, his learn to know what belongs to ourselves, excellent skill in darning stockings, and and then, if we have leisure, cast our rehis new invention for papering books, flections back to the reign of Shonou, who to •save the covers. He next makes his governed twenty thousand years before the appearance in the republic of letters, and creation of the moon. publishes his folio. Now the colossus is ! The volumes of antiquity, like medals, reared; his works are eagerly bought ' may very well serve to amuse the curious; up by all the purchasers of scarce books. but the works of the moderns, like the The learned societies invite him to be current coin of a kingdom, are much better - come a member: he disputes against some for immediate use : the former are often foreigner with a long Latin name, conquers prized above their intrinsic value, and kept in the controversy, is complimented by with care; the latter seldom pass for more several authors of gravity and importance, than they are worth, and are often subject is excessively fond of egg-sauce with his to the merciless hands of sweating critics pig, becomes president of a literary club, and clipping compilers: the works of antiand dies in the meridian of his glory. quity are ever praised, those of the moderns Happy they who thus have some little read: the treasures of our ancestors have faithful attendant, who never forsakes our esteem, and we boast the passion; them, but prepares to wrangle and to praise those of contemporary genius engage our against every opposer; at once ready to heart, although we blush to own it. The increase their pride while living, and their visits we pay the former resemble those we character when dead! For you and I, pay the great,--the ceremony is trouble. my friend, who have no humble admirer some, and yet such as we would not choose thus to attend us; we, who neither are, to forego: our acquaintance with modern nor never will be, great men, and who do books is like sitting with a friend, - our not much care whether we are great men pride is not flattered in the interview, but or no; at least let us strive to be honest it gives more internal satisfaction. men, and to have common sense. --Adieu. . In proportion as society refines, new
books must ever become more necessary. LETTER LXXV.
Savage rusticity is reclaimed by oral admo.
nition alone; but the elegant excesses of To the same.
refinement are best corrected by the still There are numbers in this city who live voice of studious inquiry. In a polite age by writing new books; and yet there are almost every person becomes a reader, and thousands of volumes in every large library receives more instruction from the press unread and forgotten. This, upon my than the pulpit. The preaching bonze arrival, was one of those contradictions may instruct the illiterate peasant; but which I was unable to account for. “Is nothing less than the insinuating address it possible,” said I, “that there should be of a fine writer can win its way to an heart any demand for new books, before those already relaxed in all the effeminacy of already published are read? Can there be refinement. Books are necessary to cor
rect the vices of the polite; but those vices superstition, and hopeless slavery. In are ever changing, and the antidote should England, where there are as many new be changed accordingly-should still be books published as in all the rest of Europe
together, a spirit of freedom and reason Instead, therefore, of thinking the num- reigns among the people: they have been ber of new publications here too great, I often known to act like fools; they are could wish it still greater, as they are the generally found to think like men. most useful instruments of reformation. The only danger that attends a multiEvery country must be instructed either by plicity of publications is, that some of writers or preachers : but as the number them may be calculated to injure rather of readers increases, the number of hearers than benefit society. But where writers is proportionally diminished ; the writer are numerous, they also serve as a check becomes more useful, and the preaching upon each other; and perhaps a literary bonze less necessary.
inquisition is the most terrible punishInstead, therefore, of complaining that ment that can be conceived to a literary writers are overpaid, when their works transgressor. procure them a bare subsistence, I should But, to do the English justice, there are imagine it the duty of a state, not only to but few offenders of this kind; their pubencourage their numbers, but their industry. lications, in general, aim either at mending A bonze is rewarded with immense riches the heart
, or improving the common weal. for instructing only a few, even of the The dullest writer talks of virtue, and most ignorant of the people; and sure the liberty, and benevolence, with esteem; poor scholar should not beg his bread, tells his true story, filled with good and who is capable of instructing a million. wholesome advice; warns against slavery,
Of all rewards, I grant, the most pleas- bribery, or the bite of a mad dog; and ing to a man of real merit is fame; but a dresses up his little useful magazine of polite age, of all times, is that in which knowledge and entertainment at least scarcely any share of merit can acquire it with a good intention. The dunces of What numbers of fine writers in the latter France, on the other hand, who have less empire of Rome, when refinement was encouragement, are more vicious. Ten. carried to the highest pitch, have missed der hearts, languishing eyes, Leonora in that fame and immortality which they had love at thirteen, ecstatic transports, stolen fondly arrogated to themselves! How blisses, are the frivolous subjects of their many Greek authors, who wrote at that frivolous memoirs. In England, if a period when Constantinople was the re- bawdy blockhead thus breaks in fined mistress of the empire, now rest, the community, he sets his whole fratereither not printed or not read, in the libra- nity in a roar; nor can he escape, even ries of Europe! Those who came first, though he should fly to nobility for while either state as yet was barbarous, shelter. carried all the reputation away. Authors, Thus, even dunces, my friend, may as the age refined, became more numerous, make themselves useful. But there are and their numbers destroyed their fame. others, whom nature has blessed with It is but natural, therefore, for the writer, talents above the rest of mankind ; men when conscious that his works will not capable of thinking with precision, and procure him fame hereafter, to endeavour impressing their thought with rapidity ; to make them turn out to his temporal beings who diffuse those regards upon interest here.
mankind, which others contract and settle Whatever be the motives which induce upon themselves. These deserve every men to write, whether avarice or fame, honour from that community of which the country becomes most wise and happy they are more peculiarly the children ; in which they most serve for instructors. to such I would give my heart, since to The countries where sacerdotal instruction them I am indebted for its humanity.-alone is permitted remain in ignorance, Adieu.
that of the nightingale. All was simplicity LETTER LXXVI.
and nature. From Hingpo to Lien Chi Altangi, by the way The most striking objects ever first of Moscow.
allure the traveller. I entered the Region I still remain at Terki, where I have of Beauty with increased curiosity, and received that money which was remitted promised myself endless satisfaction in here in order to release me from captivity. being introduced to the presiding goddess. My fair companion still improves in my I perceived several strangers, who entered esteem ; the more I know her mind, her with the same design ; and what surprised beauty becomes more poi nant : she me not little was, to see several others appears charming, even
among the hastening to leave this abode of seeming daughters of Circassia.
felicity. Yet, were I to examine her beauty with After some fatigue, I had at last the the art of a statuary, I should find num- honour of being introduced to the godbers here that far surpass her ; nature dess who represented Beauty in person. has not granted her all the boasted She was seated on a throne, at the foot Circassian regularity of feature, and yet of which stood several strangers, lately she greatly exceeds the fairest of the introduced like me, all regarding her country in the art of seizing the affections. form in ecstasy. “Whence," have I often said to myself, “Ah, what eyes ! what lips ! how clear “this resistless magic that attends even her complexion ! how perfect her shape !” moderate charms? Though I regard the At these exclamations Beauty, with beauties of the country with admiration, downcast eyes, would endeavour to every interview weakens the impression ; counterfeit modesty, but soon again lookbut the form of Zelis grows upon my ing round as if to confirm every specimagination-I never behold her without tator in his favourable sentiments : somean increase of tenderness and respect. times she would attempt to allure us by Whence this injustice of the mind, in smiles; and at intervals would bridle preferring imperfect beauty to that which back, in order to inspire us with respect nature seems to have finished with care? as well as tenderness. Whence the infatuation that he whom This ceremony lasted for some time, a comet could not amaze, should be and had so much employed our eyes that astonished at a meteor ?” When reason we had forgot all this while that the was thus fatigued to find an answer, my goddess was silent. We soon, however, imagination pursued the subject, and this began to perceive the defect. What, was the result.
said we, among each other, I fancied myself placed between two have nothing but languishing airs, soft landscapes, this called the Region of looks, and inclinations of the head ? Beauty, and that the Valley of the Graces: Will the goddess only deign to satisfy the one adorned with all that luxuriant our eyes ? Upon this, one of the comnature could bestow; the fruits of various pany stepped up to present her with some climates adorned the trees- the grove fruits he had gathered by the way. She resounded with music—the gale breathed received the present most sweetly smiling, perfume-every charm that could arise and with one of the whitest hands in the from symmetry and exact distribution world, but still not a word escaped her lips. were here conspicuous,-the whole offer- I now found that my companions grew ing a prospect of pleasure without end. weary of their homage; they went off one The Valley of the Graces, on the other by one, and resolving not to be left hand, seemed by no means so inviting; the behind, I offered to go in my turn, when, streams and the groves appeared just as just at the door of the temple, I was they usually do in frequented countries : called back by a female whose name was no magnificent parterres, no concert in Pride, and who seemed displeased at the the grove, the rivulet was edged with behaviour of the company.
" Where are weeds, and the rook joined its voice to you hastening ?" said she to me with an
are we to
angry air ; here."
“the goddess of Beauty is stole upon the soul, and captivated us
“I have been to visit her, with the charms of our retreat. Still, madam,” replied I, “and find her more however, we continued to search, and beautiful even than report had made her.” might still have continued, had we not
“And why then will you leave her ?” been interrupted by a voice, which, added the female. —"I have seen her though we could not see from whence it long enough," returned I; “I have got came, addressed us in this manner :-“If all her features by heart. Her eyes are you would find the goddess of Grace, seek still the same. Her nose is a very fine one, her not under one form, for she assumes but it is still just such a nose now as it a thousand. Ever changing under the was half an hour ago : could she throw a eye of inspection, her variety, rather than little more mind into her face, perhaps I her figure, is pleasing. In contemplating should be for wishing to have more of her her beauty, the eye glides over every
“What signifies,” replied perfection with giddy delight, and capable my female, “ whether she has a mind or of fixing nowhere, is charmed with the not? has she any occasion for a mind, so whole. She is now Contemplation with formed as she is by nature ? If she had solemn look, again Compassion with a common face, indeed, there might be humid eye; she now sparkles with joy, some reason for thinking to improve it ; soon every feature speaks distress ; her but when features are already perfect, looks at times invite our approach, at every alteration would but impair them. others repress our presumption : the godA fine face is already at the point of per- dess cannot be properly called beautiful fection, and a fine lady should endeavour under any one of these forms, but by comto keep it so: the impression it would bining them all she becomes irresistibly receive from thought would but disturb pleasing."--Adieu. its whole economy. To this speech I gave no reply, but
LETTER LXXVII. made the best of my way to the Valley of From Lien Chi Altangi to Fum Hoam, First the Graces. Here I found all those who President of the Ceremonial Academy at before had been my companions in the
Pekin in China. Region of Beauty, now upon the same The shops of London are as well furnished errand.
as those of Pekin. Those of London As we entered the valley, the prospect have a picture hung at their door, inform. insensibly seemed to improve ; we found ing the passengers what they have to sell, everything so natural, so domestic, and as those at Pekin have a board to assure pleasing, that our minds, which before the buyer that they have no intent to were congealed in admiration, now relaxed cheat him. into gaiety and good-humour. We had I was this morning to buy silk for a designed to pay our respects to the pre- nightcap. Immediately upon entering siding goddess, but she was nowhere to the mercer's shop, the master and his be found. One of our companions two men, with wigs plastered with powder, asserted that her temple lay to the right, appeared to ask my commands. They another to the left, a third insisted that it were certainly the civillest people alive; was straight before us, and a fourth, that if I but looked, they flew to the place we had left it behind. In short, we where I cast my eye ; every motion of found everything familiar and charming, mine sent them running round the whole but could not determine where to seek for shop for my satisfaction. I informed the Grace in person.
them that I wanted what was good, and In this agreeable incertitude we passed they showed me not less than forty pieces, several hours, and though very desirous and each was better than the former, the of finding the goddess, by no means prettiest pattern in nature, and the fittest impatient of the delay. Every part of in the world for nightcaps. "My very the valley presented some minute beauty, good friend,” said I to the mercer, “you which, without offering itself, at once must not pretend to instruct me in silks ;
I know these in particular to be no better lord, it is at once rich, tasty, and quite than your mere flimsy bungees.”—“That the thing.”—“I am no lord,” interrupted may be,” cried the mercer, who, I after- I.—“I beg pardon,” cried he; but be wards found, had never contradicted a pleased to remember, when you intend man in his life: “I cannot pretend to say buying a morning gown, that you had an but they may ; but I can assure you, my offer from me of something worth money. Lady Trail has had a sack from this piece Conscience, sir, conscience is my way of this very morning.”—“ But, friend,” said dealing; you may buy a morning gown I, “though my lady has chosen a sack now, or you may stay till they become from it, I see no necessity that I should dearer and less fashionable ; but it is not wear it for a nightcap.'
.”—“That may be," my business to advise.” In short, most returned he again; “yet what becomes reverend Fum, he persuaded me to buy a a pretty lady, will at any time look well morning gown also, and would probably on a handsome gentleman." This short have persuaded me to have bought half compliment was thrown in so very season- the goods in his shop, if I had stayed ably upon my ugly face, that even though long enough, or was furnished with sufI disliked the silk, I desired him to cut ficient money. me off the pattern of a nightcap.
Upon returning home, I could not help While this business was consigned to reflecting, with some astonishment, how his journeymen, the master himself took this very man, with such a confined edudown some pieces of silk still finer than cation and capacity, was yet capable of any I had yet seen, and spreading them turning me as he thought proper, and
* There,” cries he, " there's moulding me to his inclinations. I knew beauty ; my Lord Snakeskin has bespoke he was only answering his own purposes, the fellow to this for the birthnight this even while he attempted to appear sovery morning ; it would look charmingly licitous about mine: yet, by a voluntary in waistcoats.”—“But I don't want a infatuation, a sort of passion, compounded waistcoat,” replied I. “Not want a of vanity and good-nature, I walked into waistcoat!” returned the mercer: “then the snare with my eyes open, and put I would advise you to buy one; when myself to future pain in order to give him waistcoats are wanted, you may depend immediate pleasure. The wisdom of the upon it they will come dear. Always ignorant somewhat resembles the instinct buy before you want, and you are sure to of animals; it is diffused in but a very be well used, as they say in Cheapside." narrow sphere, but within that circle it There was so much justice in his advice, acts with vigour, uniformity, and success. that I could not refuse taking it ; besides, --Adieu. the silk, which was really a good one,
LETTER LXXVIII. increased the temptation ; so I gave orders for that too.
As I was waiting to have my bargains From my former accounts you may be measured and cut, which, I know not apt to fancy the English the most ridicuhow, they executed but slowly, during the lous people under the sun. They are interval the mercer entertained me with indeed ridiculous; yet every other nation the modern manner of some of the no- in Europe is equally so; each laughs at bility receiving company in their morning each, and the Asiatic at all. gowns.
Perhaps, sir,” adds he, “ you I may upon another occasion point have a mind to see what kind of silk is out what is most strikingly absurd in universally worn.” Without waiting for other countries; I shall at present confine my reply, he spreads a piece before me, myself only to France. The first national which might be reckoned beautiful even ' peculiarity a traveller meets upon entering in China. “ If the nobility,” continues that kingdom is an odd sort of staring he,
were to know I sold this to any vivacity in every eye, not excepting even under a Right Honourable, I should cer- the children; the people, it seems, have tainly lose their custom; you see, my got it into their heads, that they have
To the same.