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engraved the law of the ftate, and the limits of the royal authority; and on the other, the duties of kings and of subjects. In front was a woman fuckling a child; a faithful emblem of royalty. The first ftep to the throne, was in form of a tomb. Upon it was wrote in large characters, ETERNITY. Under this step repofed the embalmed body of the last monarch, there to remain till deplaced by his fon. From thence he cried to his heirs, that they were all mortal; that the dream of royalty was near finished; that then nothing would remain to them but their renown.
This vaft place was already filled with people, when I faw the monarch approach, cloathed in a blue mantle that gracefully flowed behind him; his forehead was bound with a branch of olive, that was his diadem; he never appeared in public without this refpectable ornament, which was revered by others and by himself. There were loud acclamations when he mounted the throne, and he did not appear infenfible to the cries of joy. Scarce was he feated, when an awful filence was fpread over the whole affembly. I listened with attention. His minifters read to him, with a loud voice, an account of every thing remarkable that had paffed fince the last audience. If the truth had been disguised, the people were there to confound the detractor. Their demands were not forgot. An account was rendered of the execution of orders before given. This reading always concluded with the daily price of provifions and merchandize. The monarch hears, and approves by a nod, or refers the matter to a more minute examination. But if from the bottom of the hall there fhould be heard a voice complaining, or condemning any one article; though it were that of the meanest citizen, he is brought forward to a little circle formed before the throne; there he explains his ideas; and if he appear to be right, he is attended to, applauded, and thanked; the fovereign regards him with a favourable afpect; but if, on the contrary, he advances nothing to the purpose, or what appears plainly to be founded on private advantage, he is dimiffed with difgrace, and the hoots of the people follow him to the door. Every man may prefent himself without any other apprehenfion than that of incurring the public derifion, if what he propose be unjuft or felf-interested.
Two principal officers of the crown accompany the monarch in all public ceremonies, and walk by his fide; the one carries, on the point of a fpear, an ear of corn, and the other a branch of the vine, which ferve conftantly to remind him that they are the two fupports of the state and the throne. He is followed by the pantler of the crown, bearing a bafket of loaves, which he diftributes to every one that afks. This basket is the fure thermometer of public diftrefs; and when it is found empty, the minifters are difmiffed and punished; the basket, however, conftantly remains full, and declares the public profperity.
This auguft feffion is held every week, and lafts three hours. I went from the hall with a heart filled with complacency, and with the profoundest refpect for this monarch, whom I loved as a father, and revered as a protecting divinity.
"I converfed with feveral perfons on all that I had feen and heard ; they were furprifed at my astonishment; all these things feemed to
them quite fimple and natural.—“Why," faid one of them, "will you have the rathnefs to compare the prefent time to an extravagant and capricious age; that entertained falfe ideas of the moft fimple matters, when pride was greatnefs, when fplendor and oftentation were all, and when virtue was regarded as a phantom, the mere imagination of dreaming philofophers."
• The Evening.
6 The fun was going down. My guide invited me to go with him to the houfe of one of his friends, where he was to fup. I did not want much entreaty. I had not yet feen the infide of their houfes, and that, in my judgment, is the most interefting fight in every city. In reading history, I pafs over many paffages, but am ever curious in examining the detail of domeftic life: that once done, I have no need to learn the reft: I can form a natural conjecture.
On entering, I found none of thofe petty apartments that seem to be cells for lunatics, whofe walls are fcarce fix inches thick, and where they freeze in winter, and fcorch in fummer. The rooms were large and fonorous; you might walk at your eafe. A folid roof guarded them from the piercing cold and the burning rays of the fun; these houfes, moreover, did not grow old with thofe that built them.
I entered the falloon, and prefently diftinguifhed the master of the house. He faluted me without grimace or referve. His wife and children behaved in his prefence in a free but refpectful manner; and Monfieur, or the eldeft fon, did not give me a fpecimen of his wit by ridiculing his father; neither his mother, nor his grand-mother would have been charmed with fuch witticisms. His fifters were neither affectedly polite, nor totally infenfible: they received us in a graceful manner, and resumed their feveral employments; they did not watch all my motions, nor did my great age and broken voice make them once fmile; they difplayed none of that unnatural complaifance, which is fo contrary to true politenefs. This room was not decorated with twenty brittle, taftelefs bawbles. There was no gilding, varnishing, porcelain, or wretched figures. In their place was a lively tapestry, pleafing to the fight, and fome finished prints; a remarkable neatnefs graced this falloon, that of itself was elegant and lightfome.
We joined converfation, but there was no fporting with para doxes; that execrable wit, which was the plague of the age I lived in, did not give falfe colours to things that were by nature perfectly fimple. No one maintained the direct contrary of what was afferted by another, merely to difplay his talents. These people talked from principle, and did not contradict themselves twenty times in a quarter of an hour. The fpirit of this converfation was not directed by ftarts; and without being profufe or dull, they did not pafs, in the fame breath, from the birth of a prince to the drowning of a dog.
The young people did not affect a childish manner, a drawling or lifping language, nor a proud careless alpect and attitude. I heard no licentious propofal, nor did any one declaim in a gloomy, tedious, heavy manner, against thofe confolatory truths, that are the delight and comfort of fenfible minds. The women did not affect a zone by turns languishing and imperious; they were decent, referved,
modeft, and engaged in an eafy and fuitable employment; idlenefs" had no charms for them; they did not rife at noon because they were to do nothing at night. I was highly pleafed with their not propofing cards; that infipid diverfion, invented to amufe an idiot monarch, and which is conftantly pleafing to the numerous herd of dunces, who are thereby enabled to conceal their profound ignorance, had disappeared from among a people who knew too well how to improve the moments of life to waste them in a practice at , once fo dull and faftidious. I faw none of thofe green tables, on which men ruin themselves unpitied. Avarice did not moleft these honest citizens, even in the moments confecrated to leifure. They did not make a fatigue of what fhould be a mere relaxation. If they played, it was at draughts, or chefs, thofe ancient and ftudious games, that offer an infinite variety of combinations to the mind. There were alfo other games they called mathematical recreations, and with which even their children were acquainted.
I obferved that each one followed his inclination, without being remarked by the rest of the company. There were no female fpies, who, by cenfuring others, discharged themfelves of that foul humour which rankles their fouls, and which they frequently owe as much to their deformity as their folly. Thefe converfed, thofe turned over a book of prints, one examined the pictures, and another amufed himself with a book in a corner. They formed no circle to communicate a gaping that runs all round. In a room adjoining was a concert; it was that of fweet flutes united with the human voice. The clanging harpfichord, and the monotonous fiddle, here yielded to the enchanting powers of a fine woman; what inftrument can have greater effect upon the heart? The improved harmonica, however, feemed to difpute the prize; it breathed the most pure, full, and melodious founds that can charm the ear. It was a ravish ing and celeftial mufic, that is far from being rivalled by the clamour of our operas, where the man of tafte and fenfibility feeks for the confonance of unity, but feeks in vain.
I was highly charmed. They did not remain continually feated, nailed to a chair, and obliged to maintain an eternal converfation about nothing, and that too with the utmoft folemnity. The women were not continually wrangling about metaphyfics; and if they spoke about poetry, of dramas, or authors, they conftantly acknowledged themselves, notwithstanding their great abilities, unequal to the fubject.
They defired me to walk into an adjoining room, where fupper was prepared, I looked at the clock with furprize, it was not yet feven. Come, Sir, faid the mafter of the houfe, taking me by the hand, we do not pafs our nights by the light of wax candles. We think the fun fo beautiful, that it is to us a pleasure to see its first rays dart on the horizon. We do not go to bed with a loaded ftomach, to experience broken flumbers, attended by fantastic dreams. We carefully guard our health, as on that the ferenity of the mind depends. We are moreover fond of gay and pleafing dreams.
There was a general filence. The father of the family bleffed the food that was fet before us. This graceful and holy custom was Revived; and it appeared to me important, ás perpetually reminding
us of that gratitude we owe to God, who inceffantly fupplies us with fubfiftence. I was more busy in examining the table than in eating. I fhall not dwell on the neatnefs and elegance that there prevailed. The domeftics fat at the bottom of the table, and eat with their mafters; they had therefore the more refpect for them; they received by this means lefions of probity, which they laid up in their hearts; they thereby became more enlightened, and were not coarfe or infolent, as they were not longer regarded as bafe. Liberty, gaiety, a decent familiarity, dilated the heart and glowed in the front of every gueft. Every one had his mefs placed before him; no one crowded his neighbour; no one coveted a dish that was diftant from him; he would have been reckoned a glutton, who was not content with his portion, for it was quite fufficient. Many people eat exceffively more from habit than real appetite. They had learned to correct that fault without a fumptuary law.
None of the meats I tafted had any difcernable seasoning, for which I was not forry. I found a favour in them, a natural falt, which feemed to me delicious. I faw none of thofe refined dishes that pafs through the hands of feveral fophifticators, of thofe ragouts, thofe inflammatory fauces, rarified in finall but coftly difhes, which haften the destruction of the human race, at the fame time that they burn up the entrails. Thefe were not a voracious people, who devour more than the munificence of nature, with all her generative faculties, can produce. If ever luxury be odious, that of the table is the most deteftable; for if the rich, by an abufe of their wealth, diffipate the nourishing fruits of the earth, the poor mut neceffarily pay the dearer for them, and, what is worfe, frequently not have a competency.
The herbs and fruits were all of the feafon; they knew not the fecret of producing wretched cherries in the midst of the winter; they were not follicitous for the first produce, but left nature to ripen her fruits. The palate was thereby better pleafed, and the body better nourished. They gave us a defert of fome excellent fruit, and fome old wine; but none of thofe coloured liquors diftilled from brandy, fo much in ufe in my time; they were as feverely prohibited as arfe nic. This people were fenfible, that there was no pleasure in procuring a flow and cruel death.
The matter of the houfe faid to me, with a fmile, "You must certainly think this a pitiful defert; here are neither trees, nor caftles, nor wind-mills, nor any other figures of confectionary; that ridiculous extravagance, which could not produce the leaft real pleasure, was formerly the delight of thofe great children that were become dotards. Your magistrates, who, at leaft, ought to have given examples of frugality, and not authorized by their practice, an infolent and pitiful luxury; thofe magiftrates, they fay, thofe fathers of the people, at the commencement of every parliament, were in extafies at the fight of grotefque figures made of fugar; from whence we may eafily judge of the emulation of other ranks to excel the men of the long robe."-You can have but an imperfect idea of our industry, I replied; in my time, they exhibited, on a table ten feet wide, an opera of fweetmeats, with all its machines, decorations, orchestra, actors, and dancers, with the fifting of the fcenes, in the fame
manner as at the theatre of the Palais-Royal. During the exhibition, the whole people befieged the door, to enjoy the great happiness of a glimpse of this fuperb defert, the whole expence of which they certainly paid. The poor people admired the wonderful magnificence of their princes, and thought themfelves very infignificant, when compared with fuch greatnefs.... The whole company laughed heartily; we rofe from table with gaiety; we rendered thanks to God; and none complained of vapours or indigeftion.'
The Tranflator of this work has not, in our opinion, done entire juftice to it. He feldom rifes to the fpirit of his original; he has not fufficiently confulted the idioms of his own language; and he has too frequently ventured to adopt fome particular, and, we think, awkward modes of expreffion.
ART. IV. The Oeconomy of Beauty. In a Series of Fables, addrejed to the Ladies. 4to. 5 s. 3 d. fewed. Wilkie, &c. 1772.
HESE Fables, like thofe of the late ingenious Edward Moore, are peculiarly devoted to the entertainment and fervice of the Fair. They are inferior to Moore's compofitions with respect to the eafe and elegance of the poetry; but the fubjects are not lefs judicioufly chofen, nor is the morality in culcated in them of lefs importance.
The Author profefies that his principal view, in these poems, (the outlines of which are, for the most part, fketched from De la Motte) is to illuftrate and enforce this great truth, That perfonal beauty is, in an high degree, dependent on fentiment and manners; and we think his productions are not ill calculated to answer his laudable defign; unless it fhould be, in any de gree, fruftrated by fomewhat like an air of pedantry, which runs through most of them, and which may poflibly render the perufal of them lefs agreeable to the generality of his female readers, than thofe of Moore, Gay, and fome other modern writers, diftinguished for their excellence in this branch of li
The following Fable, which we have not felected as one of the lowest in the fcale of merit, is lefs liable to the foregoing objection than the reft; and as to the grand point-of moral and benevolent tendency,-too much cannot be faid in its praife:
• The Pelican and the Spider.