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commonweal. The dullest writer talks of virtue, ley of the Graces: the one adorned with all that and liberty, and benevolence, with esteem; tells his luxuriant nature could bestow; the fruits of vatrue story, filled with good and wholesome advice; rious climates adorned the trees, the grove resoundwarns against slavery, bribery, or the bite of a maded with music, the gale breathed perfume, every dog; and dresses up his little useful magazine of charm that could arise from symmetry and exact knowledge and entertainment, at least with a good distribution were here conspicuous, the whole ofintention. The dunces of France, on the other fering a prospect of pleasure without end. The hand, who have less encouragement, are more vi- Valley of the Graces, on the other hand, seemed by cious. Tender hearts, languishing eyes, Leonora no means so inviting; the streams and the groves in love at thirteen, ecstatic transports, stolen blisses, appeared just as they usually do in frequented are the frivolous subjects of their frivolous memoirs. countries: no magnificent parterres, no concert in In England, if an obscene blockhead thus breaks the grove, the rivulet was edged with weeds, and in on the community, he sets his whole fraternity the rook joined its voice to that of the nightingale. in a roar; nor can he escape, even though he should All was simplicity and nature. fly to nobility for shelter.
The most striking objects ever first allure the Thus even dunces, my friend, may make them- traveller. I entered the Region of Beauty with selves useful. But there are others, whom nature increased curiosity, and promised myself endless has blessed with talents above the rest of mankind; satisfaction in being introduced to the presiding men capable of thinking with precision, and im- goddess. I perceived several strangers, who entered pressing their thought with rapidity; beings who with the same design; and what surprised me not diffuse those regards upon mankind, which others a little, was to see several others hastening to leave contract and settle upon themselves. These deserve this abode of seeming felicity. every honour from that community of which they After some fatigue, I had at last the honour of beare more peculiarly the children; to such I would ing introduced to the goddess who represented give my heart, since to them l am indebted for its Beauty in person. She was seated on a throne, at humanity! Adieu.
the foot of which stood several strangers, lately introduced like me, all regarding her form in ecstasy.
“Ah, what eyes! what lips! how clear her com
plexion! how perfect her shape !" At these excla. LETTER LXXVI.
mations, Beauty, with downcast eyes, would en
deavour to counterfeit modesty, but soon again From Hingpo to Lien Chi Aliangi, by the way of Moscow.
looking round as if to confirm every spectator in I still remain at Terki, where I have received his favourable sentiments; sometimes she would that money which was remitted here in order to re-attempt to allure us by smiles; and at intervals lease me from captivity. My fair companion still im- would bridle back, in order to inspire us with proves in my esteem; the more I know her mind, respect as well as tenderness. her beauty becomes more poignant; she appears This ceremony lasted for some time, and had so charming, even among the daughters of Circassia. much employed our eyes, that we had forgot all
Yet were I to examine her beauty with the art this while that the goddess was silent. We soon, of a statuary, I should find numbers here that far however, began to perceive the defect. “ What!" surpass her; nature has not granted her all the said we, among each other, "are we to have.nothing boasted Circassian regularity of feature, and yet but languishing airs, soft looks, and inclinations she greatly exceeds the fairest of the country in the of the head; will the goddess only deign to satisfy art of seizing the affections. “Whence," have 1 our eyes ?" Upon this one of the company stepped often said to myself, "this resistless magic that at- up to present her with some fruits he had gathered tends even moderate charms? though I regard the by the way. She received the present most sweetly beauties of the country with admiration, every in- smiling, and with one of the whitest hands in the terview weakens the impression, but the form of world, but still not a word escaped her lips. Zelis grows upon my imagination; I never behold I now found that my companions grew weary her without an increase of tenderness and respect. of their homage; they went off one by one, and reWhence this injustice of the mind, in preferring solving not to be left behind, 1 offered to go in my imperfect beauty to that which nature seems to have turn, when, just at the door of the temple, I was finished with care. Whence the infatuation, that called back by a female, whose name was Pride, he whom a comet could not amaze, should be as- and who seemeil displeased at the behaviour of the tonished at a meteor?" When reason was thus company. “Where are you hastening ?” said she fatigued to find an answer, my imagination pursu- to me with an angry air; "the Goddess of Beauty ed the subject, and this was the result.
is here.”_"I have been to visit her, madam,” reI fancied myself placed between two landscapes, plied I, “and find her more beautiful even than this called tho Region of Beauty, and that the Val-/report haul made her."--"And why then will you leave her?” added the female. “I have seen her called beautiful under any one of these forms, but long enough,” returned I, "I have got all her fea. by combining them all she becomes irresistibly tures by heart. Her eyes are still the same. Her pleasing.” Adieu. nose is a very fine one, but it is still just such a nose now as it was half an hour ago: could she throw a little more mind into her face, perhaps I should be for wishing to have more of her company."
LETTER LXXVII. What signifies,” replied my female, "whether From Lien Chi Altangi to Fum Hoam, First President of the she has a mind or not; has she any occasion for a Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. mind, so formed as she is by nature ? If she had a common face, indeed, there might be some reason
The shops of London are as well furnished as for thinking to improve it; but when features are
those of Pekin. Those of London have a picture already perfect
, every alteration would but impair hung at their door, informing the passengers what them. A fine face is already at the point of per- they have to sell
, as those at Pekin have a board, fection, and a fine lady should endeavour to keep to assure the buyer that they have no intention to it so: the impression it would receive from thought
cheat him. would but disturb its whole economy.”
I went this morning to buy silk for a nightcap: To this speech I gave no reply, but made the immediately upon entering the mercer's shop, the best of my way to the Valley of the Graces. Here master and his two men, with wigs plastered with I found all those who before had been my com- powder, appeared to ask my commands. They panions in the Region of Beauty, now upon the were certainly the civilest people alive: if I but same errand.
looked, they flew to the place where I cast my eye; As we entered the valley, the prospect insensibly every motion of mine sent them running round the Jeemed to improve; we found every thing so na
whole shop for my satisfaction. I informed them tural, so domestic, and pleasing, that our minds, that I wanted what was good, and they showed me which before were congealed in admiration, now
not less than forty pieces, and each was better than relaxed into gaiety and good-humour. We had the former, the prettiest pattern in nature, and the designed to pay our respects to the presiding god-fittest in the world for nightcaps. "My very good dess, but she was no where to be found. One of friend,” said I to the mercer, “ you must not preour companions asserted, that her temple lay to the tend to instruct me in silks ; I know these in parright; another, to the left; a third insisted that it ticular to be no better than your mere flimsy Bun was straight before us; and a fourth, that we had gees.”—"That may be," cried the mercer, who left it behind. In short, we found every thing fa- ! afterwards found had never contradicted a man miliar and charming, but could not determine in his life ; “I can not pretend to say but they may; where to seek for the Grace in person.
but, I can assure you, my Lady Trail has had a In this agreeable incertitude we passed several sack from this piece this very morning.”—“But, hours, and though very desirous of finding the god friend,” said I, “ though my lady has chosen a sack dess, by no means impatient of the delay. Every
from it, I see no necessity that I should wear it for part of the valley presented some minute beauty, a nightcap.”—“That may be," returned he again, which, without offering itself, at once stole upon yet what becomes a pretty lady, will at any time the soul, and captivated us with the charms of our look well on a handsome gentleman.” This short jetreat. Still, however
, we continued to search, compliment was thrown in so very seasonably upon and might still have continued, had we not been my ugly face, that, even though I disliked the silk, interrupted by a voice, which, though we could not I desired him to cut off the pattern of a nightcap. see from whence it came, addressed us in this man
While this business was consigned to his journer: "If you would find the Goldess of Grace, neyman, the master himself took down some pieces seek her not under one form, for she assumes a of silk still finer than any I had yet seen, and thousand. Ever changing under the eye of inspec- spreading them before me, "There,” cries he, rion, her variety, rather than her figure
, is pleasing there's beauty; my Lord Snakeskin has bespoke In contemplating her beauty, the eye glides over
the fellow to this for the birthnight this very morn. every perfection with giddy delight, and, capable ing; it would look charmingly in waistcoats.”— of fixing no where, is charmed with the whole.
But I don't want a waistcoat," replied I, "Not She is now Contemplation with solemn look, again want a waistcoat" returned the mercer, "then I Compassion with humid eye; she now sparkles would advise you to buy one; when waistcoats are with joy, soon every feature speaks distress; her wanted you may depend upon it they will come dear. looks at times invite our approach, at others repress Always buy before you want, and you are sure our presumption : the goddess can not be properly to be well used, as they say in Cheapsido." There
was so much justice in his advice, that I could not Vultus nimium lubricus aspici. --llor.
refuse taking it; besides, the silk, which was really
a good one, increased the temptation; so I gave or- vacity in every eye, not excepting even the childders for that too.
ren; the people, it seems, have got it into their As I was waiting to have my bargains measured heads, that they have more wit than others, and so and cut, which, I know not how, they executed but stare in order to look smart. slowly, during the interval the mercer entertained I know not how it happens, but there appears a me with the modern manner of some of the nobility sickly delicacy in the faces of their finest women. receiving company in their morning-gowns; "Per- This may have introduced the use oi paint, and haps, sir,” adds he, "you have a mind to see what paint produces wrinkles ; so that a fine lady shall kind of silk is universally worn.” Without wait- look like a hag at twenty-three. But as, in some ing for my reply, he spreads a piece before me, measure, they never appear young, so it may be which might be reckoned beautiful even in China. equally asserted, that they actually think them“If the nobility," continues he, "were to know 1 selves never old; a gentle miss shall prepare for suld this to any under a Right Honourable, 1 new conquests at sixty, shall hobble a rigadoon blould certainly lose their custom; you see, my when she can scarcely walk out without a crutch; jord, it is at once rich, tasty, and quite the thing." she shall affect the girl, play her fan and her eyes,
-"I am no lord," interrupted I.—"I beg pardon," and talk of sentiments, bleeding hearts, and excried he ; "but be pleased to remember, when you piring for love, when actually dying with age. intend buying a morning-gown, that you had an Like a departing philosopher, she attempts to offer from me of something worth money. Con- make her last moments the most brilliant of her science, sir, conscience, is my way of dealing; you life. inay buy a morning-gown now, or you may stay Their civility to strangers is what they are chieftill they become dearer and less fashionable; but it ly proud of; and to confess sincerely, their beggars is not my business to advise." In short, most are the very politest beggars I ever knew : in other reverend Fum, he persuaded me to buy a morning- places, a traveller is addressed with a piteous whiue, gown also, and would probably have persuaded me or a sturdy solemnity, but a French beggar shall to have bought half the goods in his shop, if I had ask your charity with a very genteel bow, and stayed long enough, or was furnished with suf- thank you for it with a smile and shrug. ficient money.
Another instance of this people's breeding I must Upon returning home, I could not help reflect- not forget. An Englishman would not speak his ing, with some astonishment, how this very inan, native language in a company of foreigners, where with such a confined education and capacity, was he was sure that none understood him; a travelling yet capable of turning me as he thought proper, Hottentot himself would be silent if acquainted and moulding me to his inclinations! I knew he only with the language of his country: but a was only answering his own purposes, even while Frenchman shall talk to you whether you underhe attempted to appear solicitous about mine; yet, stand his language or not; never troubling his head by a voluntary infatuation, a sort of passion, com- whether you have learned French, still he keeps pounded of vanity and good-nature, I walked into up the conversation, fixes his eye full in your face, the snare with iny eyes open, and put myself to and asks a thousand questions, which he answers future pain in order to give him immediate pleasure. himself, for want of a niore satisfactory reply. The wisdom of the ignorant somewhat resembles But their civility to foreigners is not half so great the instinct of animals; it is diffused in but a very as their admiration of themselves. Every thing narrow sphere, but within that circle it acts with that belongs to them and their nation is great, vigour, uniformity, and success. Adieu. magnificent beyond expression, quite romantic!
every garden is a paradise, every hovel a palace, and every woman an angel. They shut their eyes
close, throw their mouths wide open, and cry out LETTER LXXVIII.
in a rapture, "Sacré! what beauty !-O Ciel! what taste !--mort de ma vie! what grandeur!
was ever any people like ourselves? we are the naFrom my former accounts, you may be apt to tion of men, and all the rest no better than twotancy the English the most ridiculous people under legged barbarians.” the sun. They are indeed ridiculous; yet every I fancy the French would make the best cooks other nation in Europe is equally so; each laughs in the world if they had but meat: as it is, they at each, and the Asiatic at all.
can dress you out five different dishes from a nettleI may, upon another occasion, point out what is pot
, seven from a dock-leaf, and twice as many from, most strikingly absurd in other countries; I shall a frog's haunches; these eat prettily enough wher at present confine myself only to France. The one is a little used to them, are easy of digestion, tirst national peculiarity a traveller meets upon en- and seldom overload the stomach with crudities. cering that kingdom, is an odd sort of staring vi- They seldom dine under seven hot dishes: it in
From the Same.
true, indeed, with all this magnificence, they sel- finest manner; one courtesies to the ground, thos dom spread a cloth before the guests ; but in that I other salutes the audience with a smile; one comes can not be angry with them, since those who have on with modesty which asks, the other with bold got no linen on their backs may very well be ex- ness which extorts, applause; one wears powder, cused for wanting it upon their tables.
the other has none; one has the longest waist, but Even religion itself loses its solemnity among the other appears most easy: all, all important them. Upon their roads, at about every tive miles' and serious; the town as yet perseveres in its neuJistance, you see an image of the Virgin Mary, trality; a cause of such moment demands the most dressed up in grim head-clothes, painted cheeks, mature deliberation ; they continue to exhibit, and and an old red petticoat; before her a lamp is often it is very possible this contest may continue to kept burning, at which, with the saint's permission, please to the end of the season. I have frequently lighted my pipe. Instead of the But the generals of either army have, as I am Virgin, you are sometimes presented with a cruci- told, several reinforcements to lend occasional asfix, at other times with a wooden Saviour, fitted sistance. If they produce a pair of diamond buckles out in complete garniture, with sponge, spear, at one house, we have a pair of eyebrows that nails, pincers, hammer, bees' wax, and vinegar-can match them at the other. If we outdo them in bottle. Some of those images, 1 have been told, our attitude, they can overcome us by a shrug; if came down from heaven; if so, in heaven they have we can bring more children on the stage, they can but bungling workmen,
bring more guards in red clothes, who strut and In passing through their towns, you frequently shoulder their swords to the astonishment of every see the men sitting at the doors knitting stockings, spectator. while the care of cultivating the ground and pruning They tell me here, that people frequent the the vines falls to the women. This is, perhaps, theatre in order to be instructed as well as amused. the reason why the fair sex are granted some pe. I smile to hear the assertion. If I ever go to one culiar privileges in this country; particularly, when of their playhouses, what with trumpets, hallooing they can get horses, of riding without a side- behind the stage, and bawling upon it, I am quite saddle
dizzy before the performance is over. If I enter the But I begin to think you may find this descrip-house with any sentiments in my head, I am sure tion pert and dull enough; perhaps it is so, yet, in to have none going away, the whole mind being general, it is the manner in which the French filled with a dead march, a funeral procession, a usually describe foreigners; and it is but just to cat-call, a jig, or a tempest. force a part of that ridicule back upon them which There is, perhaps, nothing more easy than to they attempt to lavish on others. Adieu. write properly for the English theatre; I am amazed
that none are apprenticed to the trade. The author, when well acquainted with the value of
thunder and lightning; when versed in all the mysLETTER LXXIX.
tery of scene-shifting and trap-doors; when skilled in the proper periods to introduce a wire-walker or
a waterfall; when instructed in every actor's peThe two theatres, which serve to amuse the culiar talent, and capable of adapting his speeches citizens here, are again opened for the winter. to the supposed excellence; when thus instructed, The mimetic troops, different from those of the he knows all that can give a modern audience state, begin their campaign when all the others pleasure. One player shines in an exclamation, quit the field; and, at a time when the Europeans another in a groan, a third in a horror, a fourth in cease to destroy each other in reality, they are en- a start, a fifth in a smile, a sixth faints, and a tertained with mock battles upon the stage. seventh fidgets round the stage with peculiar vi
The dancing master once more shakes his quiver- vacity; that piece, therefore, will succeed best, ing feet; the carpenter prepares his paradise of where each has a proper opportunity of shining; pasteboard ; the hero resolves to cover his forehead the actor's business is not so much to adapt himwith brass, and the heroine begins to scour up herself to the poet, as the poet's to adapt himself to the copper tail, preparative to future operations; in actor. short, all are in motion, from the theatrical letter- The great secret, therefore, of tragedy-writing, carrier in yellow clothes, to Alexander the Great at present, is a perfect acquaintance with theatrihat stands on a stool.
cal ahs and ohs ; a certain number of these, interBoth houses have already commenced hostilities. spersed with gods! tortures! racks! and damna. War, open war, and no quarter received or given! tion! shall distort every actor almost into convulTwo singing women, like heralds, have begun the sions, and draw tears from every spectator ; a proper contest; the whole town is divided on this solemn use of these will infallibly fill the whole house with occasion; one has the finest pipe, the other the applause. But, above all, a whining scene must
From the Same.
must strike most forcibly, I would advise, from severe laws, and those too executed with severity my present knowledge of the audience, the two fa- (as in Japan), is under the most terrible species of vourite players of the town to introduce a scene of tyranny; a royal tyrant is generally dreadful to the this sort in every play. Towards the middle of the great, but numerous penal laws grind every rank last act, I would have them enter with wild looks of people, and chiefly those least able to resist opand outspread arms: there is no necessity for pression, the poor. speaking, they are only to groan at each other, they It is very possible thus for a prople to beconie must vary the tones of exclamation and despair slaves to laws of their own enacting, as the Athethrough the whole theatrical gamut, wring their nians were to those of Draco. “It might first figures into every shape of distress, and when their happen,” says the historian, " that men with pe. calamities have drawn a proper quantity of tears culiar talents for villany attempted to evade the i'rom the sympathetic spectators, they may go off ordinances already established: their practices, in dumb solemnity at different doors, clasping their therefore, soon brought on a new law levelled hands, or slapping their pocket holes; this, which against them; but the same degree of cunning may he called a tragic pantomime, will answer which had taught the knave to evade the former every purpose of moving the passions as well as statutes, taught him to evade the latter also; he words could have done, and it must save those ex- flew to new shifts, while Justice pursued with new penses which go to reward an author.
ordinances; still, however, he kept his proper disAll modern plays that would keep the audience tance, and whenever one crime was judged penal alive, must be conceived in this manner; and, in- by the state, he left committing it, in order to pracdeed, many a modern play is made up on no other tise some unforbidden species of villany. Thus plan. This is the merit that lists up the heart, like the criminal against whom the threatenings were opium, into a rapture of insensibility, and can dis- denounced always escaped free, while the simple miss the mind from all the fatigue of thinking: this rogue alone felt the rigour of justice. In the mean is the eloquence that shines in many a long-forgot- time, penal laws became numerous; almost every ten scene, which has been reckoned excessively person in the state, unknowingly, at different times fine upon acting; this is the lightning that flashes offended, and was every moment subject to a mano less in the hyperbolical tyrant "who breakfasts licious prosecution.” In fact, penal laws, instead on the wind," than in little Norval, " as harm- of preventing crimes, are generally enacted after less as the babe unborn." Adieu.
the commission; instead of repressing the growth of ingenious villany, only multiply deceit, by put
ting it upon new shifts and expedients of pracLETTER LXXX.
tising with impunity.
Such laws, therefore, resemble the guards which
are sometimes imposed upon tributary princes, apI Have always regarded the spirit of mercy parently indeed to secure them from danger, but which appears in the Chinese laws with admira- in reality to confirm their captivity. tion. An order for the execution of a criminal is Penal laws, it must be allowed, secure property carried from court by slow journeys of six miles in a state, but they also diminish personal security a-day, but a pardon is sent down with the most in the same proportion: there is no positive law, rapid dispatch. If five sons of the same father be how equitable soever, that may not be sometimes guilty of the same offence, one of them is forgiven, capable of injustice. When a law, enacted to in order to continue the family, and comfort his make theft punishable with death, happens to be aged parents in their decline.
equitably executed, it can at best only guard our Similar to this, there is a spirit of mercy breathes possessions; but when, by favour or ignorance, through the laws of England, which some errone. Justice pronounces a wrong verdict, it then attacks ously endeavour to suppress; the laws, however, our lives, since, in such a case, the whole commu. seem unwilling to punish the offender, or to furnity suffers with the innocent victim : if, therefore, nish the officers of justice with every means of act- in order to secure the effects of one man, I should ing with severity. Those who arrest debtors are make a law which may take away the life of anodenied the use of arms; the nightly watch is per- ther, in such a case, to attain a smaller good, I am mitted to repress the disorders of the drunken guilty of a greater evil; to secure society in the citizens only with clubs; Justice in such a case possession of a bauble, I render a real and valuable seems to hide her terrors, and permits some offend- possession precarious. And indeed the experi ers to escape, rather than load any with a punish- cnce of every age may serve to vindicate the asserment disproportioned to the crime.
tion; no law could be more just than that called • Thus it is the glory of an Englishman, that he iesæ majestatis, when Rome was governed by em. is not only governed by laws, but that these are perors. It was but reasonable, that every conspialsu umjered by mercy; a country restrained by racy against the administration should be detectva
From the Same.