Слике страница


to persuade him, but that a man was companion, “but it is a very pretty cerehappier who had four wives at his com- mony; for, seriously, sir, I see no reason mand, than he who had only one. " It why a man should not be as grateful in is true,” cries he, “ your men of fashion in : une situation as in the other. Upon the East are slaves, and under some ter- honour, I always find myself much more rors of having their throats squeezed by a disposed to gratitude on the couch of a bowstring; but what then? they can find fine woman, than upon sitting down to a ample consolation in a seraglio ; they sirloin of beef.” make, indeed, an indifferent figure in con- Another ceremony,” said I, resuming versation abroad, but then they have a the conversation,“ in favour of the sex, seraglio to console them at home. I am amongst us, is the bride's being allowed told they have no balls, drums, nor operas, after marriage her three days of freedom. but then they have got a seraglio ; they During this interval a thousand extravamay be deprived of wine and French gances are practised by either sex. The cookery, but they have a seraglio : a sera- lady is placed upon the nuptial bed, and raglio—a seraglio, my dear creature, wipes numberless monkey tricks are played off every inconvenience in the world ! round to divert her. One gentleman

Besides, I am told your Asiatic beau. smells her perfumed handkerchief, another ties are the most convenient women alive; attempts to untie her garters, a third pulls for they have no souls : positively there is off her shoe to play hunt the slipper, nothing in nature I should like so much another pretends to be an idiot, and enas ladies without souls; soul here, is the deavours to raise a laugh by grimacing ; utter ruin of half the sex. A girl of in the meantime the glass goes briskly eighteen shall have soul enough to spend about, till ladies, gentlemen, wife, husa hundred pounds in the turning of a band, and all

, are mixed together in one trump; her mother shall have soul enough inundation of arrack punch.' to ride a sweepstake match at a horse- Strike me dumb, deaf, and blind," race ; her maiden aunt shall have soul cried my companion, “but that's very enough to purchase the furniture of a pretty! there's some sense in your Chinese whole toy-shop; and others shall have ladies' condescensions; but among us, soul enough to behave as if they had no you shall scarce find one of the whole sex souls at all.”

that shall hold her good-humour for three “ With respect to the soul,” interrupted days together. No later than yesterday, I, “the Asiatics are much kinder to the I happened to say some civil things to a fair sex than you imagine : instead of one citizen's wife of my acquaintance, not soul, Fohi, the idol of China, gives every because I loved her, but because I had woman three; the Brahmins give them charity; and what do you think was the fifteen ; and even Mahomet himself no- tender creature's reply? Only that she where excludes the sex from Paradise. detested my pig-tail wig, high-heeled Abulfeda reports, that an old woman one shoes, and sallow complexion! That is day importuning him to know what she all ! Nothing more!—Yes, by the Heavens, ought to do in order to gain Paradise, though she was more ugly than an un*My good lady,' answered the prophet, painted actress, I found her more insolent ‘old women never get there.' What! than a thoroughbred woman of quality!" never get to Paradise ?' returned the He was proceeding in this wild manner, matron, in a fury. "Never,' says he ; when his invective was interrupted by the for they always grow young by the way: Man in Black, who entered the apartment, No, sir,” continued I; “the men of Asia introducing his niece, a young lady of exbehave with more deference to the sex quisite beauty. Her very appearance was than you seem to imagine. As you of sufficient to silence the severest satirist of Europe say grace upon sitting down to the sex ; easy without pride, and free withdinner, so it is the custom in China to say out impudence, she seemed capable of sup. grace, when a man goes to bed to his plying every sense with pleasure. Her wife.”—“And may I die,” returned my looks, her conversation, were natural and



unconstrained; she had neither been taught merited bounty of another, if he has any to languish nor ogle, to laugh without a sensibility, suffers the worst of servitude: jest, or sigh without sorrow. I found the shackled slave may murmur without that she had just returned from abroad, reproach, but the humble dependant is and had been conversant in the manners taxed with ingratitude upon every symptom of the world. Curiosity prompted me to of discontent; the one may rave round the ask several questions, but she declined walls of his cell, but the other lingers in them all. I own I never found myself so all the silence of mental confinement. To strongly prejudiced in favour of apparent increase his distress, every new obligation merit before, and could willingly have but adds to the former load, which kept prolonged our conversation; but the com- the vigorous mind from rising; till at last, pany after some time withdrew. Just, elastic no longer, it shapes itself to conhowever, before the little Beau took his straint, and puts on habitual servility. leave, he called me aside, and requested It is thus with a feeling mind : but there I would change him a twenty pound bill; are some who, born without any share of which as I was incapable of doing, he was sensibility, receive favour after favour, and contented with borrowing half-a-crown. still cringe for more; who accept the offer -Adieu.

of generosity with as little reluctance as

the wages of merit, and even make thanks LETTER C.

for past benefits an indirect petition for From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, by the way new: such, I grant, can suffer no debaseof Moscow.

ment from dependence, since they were FEW virtues have been more praised by originally as vile as was possible to be ; moralists than generosity; every practical dependence degrades only the ingenuous, treatise of ethics tends to increase our sen- but leaves the sordid mind in pristine sibility of the distresses of others, and to

In this manner, therefore, long relax the grasp of frugality. Philosophers continued generosity is misplaced, or it is that are poor praise it, because they are injurious ; it either finds a man worthless, gainers by its effects; and the opulent or it makes him so; and true it is, that Seneca himself has written a treatise on the person who is contented to be often benefits, though he was known to give obliged, ought not to have been obliged nothing away.

But among many who have enforced the Yet, while I describe the meanness of a duty of giving, I am surprised there are life of continued dependence, I would not none to inculcate the ignominy of receiv- be thought to include those natural or ing; to show that by every favour we political subordinations which subsist in accept we in some measure forfeit our every society; for in such, though depennative freedom; and that a state of con- dence is exacted from the inferior, yet the tinual dependence on the generosity of obligation on either side is mutual. The others is a life of gradual debasement. son must rely upon his parent for support,

Were men taught to despise the receiv- but the parent lies under the same obligaing obligations with the same force of tions to give that the other has to expect; reasoning and declamation that they are the subordinate officer must receive the instructed to confer them, we might then commands of his superior, but for this see every person in society filling up the obedience the former has a right to demand requisite duties of his station with cheerful an intercourse of favour. Such is not the industry, neither relaxed by hope, nor sullen dependence I would deprecate, but that from disappointment.

where every expected favour must be the Every favour a man receives in some result of mere benevolence in the giver, measure sinks him below his dignity; and, where the benefit can be kept without in proportion to the value of the benefit, or remorse, or transferred without injustice. the frequency of its acceptance, he gives The character of a legacy hunter, for inup so much of his natural independence. stance, is detestable in some countries, He, therefore, who thrives upon the un- I and despicable in all; this universal con.

at all.

tempt of a man who infringes upon none of the laws of society some moralists have

LETTER CI. arraigned as a popular and unjust preju- From Lien Chi Altangi to Fum Hoam, First dice; never considering the necessary de

President of the Ceremonial Academy at

Pekin in China. gradations a wretch must undergo, who previously expects to grow rich by benefits, In every society some men are born to without having either natural or social teach, and others to receive instruction ; claims to enforce his petitions.

some to work, and others to enjoy in idleBut this intercourse of benefaction and ness the fruits of their industry; some to acknowledgment is often injurious even govern, and others to obey. Every people, to the giver, as well as the receiver. A how free soever, must be contented to give man can gain but little knowledge of him- up part of their liberty and judgment to self, or of the world, amidst a circle of those who govern, in exchange for their those whom hope or gratitude has gathered hopes of security; and the motives which round him; their unceasing humiliations first influenced their choice in the election must necessarily increase his comparative of their governors should ever be weighed magnitude, for all men measure their own against the succeeding apparent inconsis. abilities by those of their company: thus tencies of their conduct. All cannot be being taught to overrate his merit, he in rulers, and men are generally best governed reality lessens it ; increasing in confidence, by a few. In making way through the but not in power, his professions end in intricacies of business, the smallest obempty boast, his undertakings in shameful stacles are apt to retard the execution of disappointment.

what is to be planned by a multiplicity It is perhaps one of the severest mis- of counsels; the judgment of one alone fortunes of the great, that they are, in being always fittest for winding through general, obliged to live among men whose the labyrinths of intrigue, and the obstrucreal value is lessened by dependence, and tions of disappointment. A serpent which, whose minds are enslaved by obligation. as the fable observes, is furnished with one The humble companion may have at first head and many tails, is much more capable accepted patronage with generous views; of subsistence and expedition than another but soon he feels the mortifying influence which is furnished with but one tail and of conscious inferiority, by degrees sinks many heads. into a flatterer, and from flattery at last Obvious as these truths are, the people degenerates into stupid veneration. To of this country seem insensible of their remedy this, the great often dismiss their force. Not satisfied with the advantages old lependants and take new. Such of internal peace and opulence, they still changes are falsely imputed to levity, false- murmur at their governors, and interfere hood, or caprice in the patron, since they in the execution of their designs, as if may be more justly ascribed to the client's they wanted to be something more than deterioration.

happy. But as the Europeans instruct No, my son, a life of independence is by argument, and the Asiatics mostly generally a life of virtue. It is that which by narration, were I to address them, fits the soul for every generous flight of I should convey my sentiments in the humanity, freedom, and friendship. To following story :give should be our pleasure, but to receive, * Takupi had long been prime minister our shame: serenity, health, and affluence of Tipartala, a fertile country that stretches attend the desire of rising by labour; along the western confines of China. misery, repentance, and disrespect, that of During his administration whatever adsucceeding by extorted benevolence: the vantages could be derived from arts, man who can thank himself alone for the learning and commerce, were seen to bless happiness he enjoys is truly blest; and the people ; nor were the necessary prelovely, far more lovely, the sturdy gloom cautions of providing for the security of of laborious indigence, than the fawning the state forgotten. It often happens, simper of thriving adulation. -Adieu. however, that when men are possessed of

all they want, they then begin to find tor- two former offences; but this last was ment from imaginary afflictions, and lessen considered as so gross an injury to the sex, their present enjoyments, by foreboding and so directly contrary to all the customs that those enjoyments are to have an end. of antiquity, that it called for immediate The people now, therefore, endeavoured justice. • What !' cried the Queen, 'not to find out grievances; and, after some suffer a woman to burn herself when she search, actually began to think themselves thinks proper? The sex are to be pretaggrieved. A petition against the enor- tily tutored, no doubt, if they must be mities of Takupi was carried to the throne restrained from entertaining their female in due form ; and the Queen who governed friends now and then with a fried wife, the country, willing to satisfy her subjects, or roasted acquaintance. I sentence the appointed a day in which his accusers criminal to be banished my presence should be heard, and the minister should for ever, for his injurious treatment of stand upon his defence.

the sex.? “The day being arrived, and the minister "Takupi had been hitherto silent, and brought before the tribunal, a carrier, who spoke only to show the sincerity of his supplied the city with fish, appeared among resignation. “Great Queen,' cried he, ‘I the number of his accusers. He ex- acknowledge my crime; and since I am claimed, that it was the custom, time to be banished, I beg it may be to some immemorial, for carriers to bring their fish ruined town, or desolate village, in the upon a horse in a hamper; which being country I have governed. I shall find placed on one side, and balanced by a some pleasure in improving the soil, and stone on the other, was thus conveyed bringing back a spirit of industry among with ease and safety; but that the prisoner, the inhabitants.' His request appearing moved either by a spirit of innovation, or reasonable, it was immediately complied perhaps bribed by the hamper makers, with; and a courtier had orders to fix had obliged all carriers to use the stone upon a place of banishment answering the no longer, but balance one hamper with minister's description. After some months' another; an order entirely repugnant to search, however, the inquiry proved fruit. the customs of all antiquity, and those of less; neither a desolate village nor a ruined the kingdom of Tipartala in particular. town was found in the whole kirgdom.

"The carrier finished, and the whole ‘Alas,' said Takupi then to the Queen, court shook their heads at the innovating 'how can that country be ill governed minister; when a second witness appeared. which has neither a desolate village nor a He was inspector of the city buildings, and ruined town in it?' The Queen perceived accused the disgraced favourite of having the justice of his expostulation, and the given orders for the demolition of an minister was received into more than ancient ruin, which obstructed the passage former favour.” through one of the principal streets. He

LETTER CII. observed, that such buildings were noble monuments of barbarous antiquity; con

To the same. tributed finely to show how little their The ladies here are by no means such ancestors understood of architecture; and ardent gamesters as the women of Asia. for that reason such monuments should In this respect I must do the English be held sacred, and suffered gradually justice ; for I love to praise where apto decay:

plause is justly merited. Nothing is “The last witness now appeared. This more common in China than to see two was a widow, who had laudably attempted women of fashion continue gaming till to burn herself upon her husband's funeral one has won all the other's clothes, and pile. But the innovating minister had pre stripped her quite naked ; the winner vented the execution of her design, and thus marching off in a double suit of was insensible to her tears, protestations, finery, and the loser shrinking behind in and entreaties.

the primitive simplicity of nature. "The Queen could have pardoned the No doubt you remember when Shang,

Merchant in

our maiden aunt, played with a sharper. There are some passions which, though First her money went ; then her trinkets differently pursued, are attended with were produced; her clothes followed equal consequences in every country: piece by piece soon after ; when she had here they game with more perseverance, thus played herself quite naked, being a there with greater fury; here they strip woman of spirit, and willing to pursue their families, there they strip themselves her own, she staked her teeth : fortune naked. A lady in China who indulges was against her even here, and her teeth a passion for gaming, often becomes a followed her clothes. At last she played drunkard; and by flourishing a dice-box for her left eye, and, oh! hard fate, this in one hand, she generally comes to too she lost : however, she had the con- brandish a dram-cup in the other.

Far solation of biting the sharper, for he be it from me to say there are any who never perceived that it was made of glass drink drams in England; but it is natural till it became his own.

to suppose, that when a lady has lost How happy, my friend, are the English everything else but her honour, she will ladies, who never rise to such an in- be apt to toss that into the bargain, and ordinance of passion! Though the sex grown insensible to nicer feelings, behave here are generally fond of games of like the Spaniard, who, when all his chance, and are taught to manage games money was gone, endeavoured to borrow of skill from their infancy, yet they never more by offering to pawn his whiskers. pursue ill fortune with such amazing in- -Adieu. trepidity. Indeed, I may entirely acquit them of ever playing—I mean of playing

LETTER CIII. for their eyes or their teeth.

From Lien Chi Altangi to It is true they often stake their fortune,

Amsterdam. their beauty, health, and reputation, at a I have just received a letter from my gaming table. It even sometimes happens, son, in which he informs me of the fruitthat they play their husbands into a gaol; lessness of his endeavours to recover the yet still they preserve a decorum unknown lady with whom he fled from Persia. He to our wives and daughters of China. I strives to cover, under the appearance of have been present at a rout in this country, fortitude, a heart torn with anxiety and where a woman of fashion, after losing disappointment. I have offered little her money, has sat writhing in all the consolation, since that but too frequently agonies of bad luck, and yet, after all, feeds the sorrow which it pretends to never once attempted to strip a single deplore, and strengthens the impression petticoat, or cover the board, as her last which nothing but the external 'rubs of stake, with her head-clothes.

time and accident can thoroughly efface. However, though I praise their mode- He informs me of his intentions of ration at play, I must not conceal their quitting Moscow the first opportunity, assiduity. In China our women, except and travelling by land to Amsterdam. upon some great days, are never per- I must, therefore, upon his arrival, entreat mitted to finger a dice-box; but here the continuance of your friendship, and every day seems to be a festival, and beg of you to provide him with proper night itself

, which gives others rest, only directions for finding me in London. You serves to increase the female gamester's can scarcely be sensible of the joy I industry. I have been told of an old lady expect upon seeing him once more : the in the country who, being given over by ties between the father and the son among the physicians, played with the curate of us of China are much more closely drawn her parish to pass the time away : having than with you of Europe. won all his money, she next proposed The remittances sent me from Argun playing for her funeral charges : her to Moscow came in safety. I cannot proposal was accepted; but unfortunately sufficiently admire that spirit of honesty the lady expired just as she had taken in which prevails through the whole country

of Siberia : perhaps the savages of that

her game.

« ПретходнаНастави »