« VorigeDoorgaan »
"Where the Red Lion flaring o'er the way, Invites each passing stranger that can pay; Where Calvert's butt, and Parson's black champaigne,
ject, by wondering how any man could be so dull
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury-lane;
The muse found Scroggen stretch'd beneath a rug; and what is still more extraordinary, the bookseller
A window patch'd with paper lent a ray,
has lost by the bargain. Such sermons would
The morn was cold, he views with keen desire
The whole club seemed to join in condemning the season as one of the worst that had come for some time: a gentleman particularly observed that the nobility were never known to subscribe worse than at present. "I know not how it happens," said he, "though I follow them up as close as pos sible, yet I can hardly get a single subscription in a week. The houses of the great are as inaccessible as a frontier garrison at midnight. I never see a nobleman's door half-opened, that some surly porter or footman does not stand full in the breach. I was yesterday to wait with a subscription-proposal upon my Lord Squash the Creolin. I had posted myself at his door the whole morning, and just as he was getting into his coach, thrust my proposal snug into his hand, folded up in the form of a letter from myself. He just glanced at the
A cap by night-a stocking all the day! There is sound, and sense, and truth, and nature, in the trifling compass of ten syllables."
He was too much employed in self-admiration to observe the company; who by nods, winks, superscription, and not knowing the hand, conshrugs, and stifled laughter, testified every mark signed it to his valet de chambre; this respectable of contempt. He turned severally to each for their personage, treated it as his master, and put it into opinion, and found all, however, ready to applaud. the hands of the porter; the porter grasped my proOne swore it was inimitable; another said it was posal frowning; and measuring my figure from damn'd fine; and a third cried out in a rapture, top to toe, put it back into my own hands unCarissimo. At last, addressing himself to the opened." president, "And pray, Mr. Squint," says he, "let us have your opinion." "Mine!" answered the president (taking the manuscript out of the author's hand), "May this glass suffocate me, but I think it equal to any thing I have seen; and I fancy (continued he, doubling up the poem and forcing it into the author's pocket) that you will get great panegyric, which I had written in such a strain, honour when it comes out; so I shall beg leave to that I fancied it would have even wheedled milk put it in. We will not intrude upon your good- from a mouse. In this I represented the whole king. nature, in desiring to hear more of it at present; dom welcoming his grace to his native soil, not ex ungue Herculem, we are satisfied, perfectly forgetting the loss France and Italy would sustain satisfied." The author made two or three attempts in their arts by his departure. I expected to to pull it out a second time, and the president made touch for a bank-bill at least; so folding up my as many to prevent him. Thus, though with re-verses in gilt paper, 1 gave my last half-crown to luctance, he was at last obliged to sit down, con- a genteel servant to be the bearer. My letter was tented with the commendations for which he had safely conveyed to his grace, and the servant, after paid. four hours' absence, during which time I led the When this tempest of poetry and praise was life of a fiend, returned with a letter four times an blown over, one of the company changed the sub-l big as mine. Guess my ecstasy at the prospect of
"To the devil 1 pitch all the nobility," cries a little man in a peculiar accent, "I am sure they have of late used me most scurvily. You must know, gentlemen, some time ago, upon the arrival of a certain noble duke from his travels, I sat myself down, and vamped up a fine flaunting poetical
A night-cap deck'd his brows instead of bay,
With this last line he seemed so much elated, that he was unable to proceed. There, gentlemen," cries he, "there is a description for you;
Rabelais' bed-chamber is but a fool to it.
so fine a return. I eagerly took the packet into ever, the wished-for moment of its stopping ar my hands, that trembled to receive it. I kept it rived: this for some time I impatiently exper some time unopened before me, brooding over the and letting down the window in transport, in expected treasure it contained; when, opening it, order to take a previous view of his lordship's as I hope to be saved, gentlemen, his grace had magnificent palace and situation, 1 found, poisent me in payment for my poem, no bank-bills, son to my sight! 1 found myself, not in an but six copies of verse, each longer than mine, ad- elegant street, but a paltry lane; not at a noble dressed to him upon the same occasion." man's door, but at the door of a sponging house: I found the coachman had all this while been just driving me to gaol; and I saw the bailiff, with a devil's face, coming out to secure me."
To a philosopher, no circumstance, however trifling, is too minute; he finds instruction and en
"A nobleman," cries a member, who had hitherto been silent, "is created as much for the confusion of us authors, as the catch-pole. I'll tell you a story, gentlemen, which is as true as that this pipe is made of clay. When I was delivered of my first book, I owed my tailor for a suit of tertainment in occurrences which are passed over clothes; but that is nothing new, you know, and by the rest of mankind as low, trite, and indiffermay be any man's case, as well as mine. Well, ent; it is from the number of these particulars, owing him for a suit of clothes, and hearing which to many appear insignificant, that he is at that my book took very well, he sent for his mo- last enabled to form general conclusions: this, ney, and insisted upon being paid immediately: therefore, must be my excuse for sending so far as though I was at that time rich in fame, for my China, accounts of manners and follies, which, book ran like wild-fire, yet I was very short in though minute in their own nature, serve more money, and being unable to satisfy his demand, truly to characterize this people than histories of prudently resolved to keep my chamber, preferring their public treaties, courts, ministers, negotiations, a prison of my own choosing at home, to one of and ambassadors. Adieu.
my tailor's choosing abroad. In vain the bailiffs used all their arts to decoy me from my citadel; in vain they sent to let me know that a gentleman wanted to speak with me at the next tavern; in vain they came with an urgent message from my aunt in the country; in vain I was told that a particular friend was at the point of death, and desired to take his last farewell;-I was deaf, insensible, rock, adamant; the bailiffs could make no impression on my hard heart, for I effectually kept my liberty by never stirring out of the room.
"This was very well for a fortnight; when one luxuriance; the streams, no longer forced from their morning I received a most splendid message from native beds, are permitted to wind along the valthe Earl of Doomsday, importing, that he had read leys; spontaneous flowers take place of the finished my book, and was in raptures with every line of it; parterre, and the enamelled meadow of the shaven he impatiently longed to see the author, and had green. signs which might turn out greatly to my Yet still the English are far behind us in this advantage. I paused upon the contents of this charming art; their designers have not yet attained message, and found there could be no deceit, for a power of uniting instruction with beauty. A the card was gilt at the edges, and the bearer, I European will scarcely conceive my meaning, when was told, had quite the looks of a gentleman. I say that there is scarcely a garden in China Witness, ye powers, how my heart triumphed at which does not contain some fine moral, couched my own importance! I saw a long perspective of under the general design, where one is taught wisfelicity before me; I applauded the taste of the dom as he walks, and feels the force of some noble times which never saw genius forsaken; I had pre- truth, or delicate precept, resulting from the dispared a set introductory speech for the occasion; position of the groves, streams, or grottos. Permit five glaring compliments for his lordship, and two me to illustrate what I mean by a description of my more modest for myself. The next morning, gardens at Quamsi. My heart still hovers round therefore, in order to be punctual to my appoint- those scenes of former happiness with pleasure; ment, I took coach, and ordered the fellow to drive and I find a satisfaction in enjoying them at this to the street and house mentioned in his lordship's distance, though but in imagination. address. I had the precaution to pull up the win- You descended from the house between two dow as I went along, to keep off the busy part of groves of trees, planted in such a manner, that mankind, and, big with expectation, fancied the they were impenetrable to the eye; while on each coach never went fast enough. At length, how-hand the way was adorned with all that was beau
From the Same.
THE English have not yet brought the art of gardening to the same perfection with the Chinese, but have lately begun to imitate them; nature is now followed with greater assiduity than formerly; the trees are suffered to shoot out into the utmost
tiful in porcelain, statuary, and painting. This and the imprudence of his choice, I brought him by passage from the house opened into an area sur- a hidden door a shorter way back into the area rounded with rocks, flowers, trees, and shrubs, but from whence at first he had strayed. all so disposed as if each was the spontaneous pro- The gloomy gate now presented itself before the duction of nature. As you proceeded forward on stranger; and though there seemed little in its apthis lawn, to your right and left hand were two pearance to tempt his curiosity, yet, encouraged by gates, opposite each other, of very different archi- the motto, he generally proceeded. The darkness tecture and design, and before you lay a temple. of the entrance, the frightful figures that seemed to built rather with minute elegance than ostenta- obstruct his way, the trees, of a mournful green, tion. conspired at first to disgust him; as he went forward, however, all began to open and wear a more pleasing appearance; beautiful cascades, beds of flowers, trees loaded with fruit or blossoms, and un. expected brooks improved the scene: he now found that he was ascending, and, as he proceeded, all nature grew more beautiful, the prospect widened as he went higher, even the air itself seemed to become more pure. Thus pleased and happy from unexpected beauties, I at last led him to an arbour,
The right hand gate was planned with the utmost simplicity, or rather rudeness: ivy clasped round the pillars, the baleful cypress hung over it; time seemed to have destroyed all the smoothness and regularity of the stone; two champions with lifted clubs appeared in the act of guarding its access; dragons and serpents were seen in the most hideous attitudes, to deter the spectator from approaching; and the perspective view that lay behind, seemed dark and gloomy to the last degree; from whence he could view the garden, and the the stranger was tempted to enter only from the motto-PERVIA VIRTUTI.
whole country around, and where he might own, that the road to VIRTUE terminated in HAPPINESS. The opposite gate was formed in a very different Though from this description you may imagine, manner; the architecture was light, elegant, and that a vast tract of ground was necessary to exhibit inviting; flowers hung in wreaths round the pil- such a pleasing variety in, yet be assured, I have lars; all was finished in the most exact and mas-seen several gardens in England take up ten times terly manner; the very stone of which it was built the space which mine did, without half the beauty. still preserved its polish; nymphs, wrought by the A very small extent of ground is enough for an hand of a master, in the most alluring attitudes, elegant taste; the greater room is required if magbeckoned the stranger to approach; while all that nificence is in view. There is no spot, though lay behind, as far as the eye could reach, seemed ever so little, which a skilful designer might not gay, luxuriant, and capable of affording endless thus improve, so as to convey a delicate allegory, pleasure. The motto itself contributed to invite and impress the mind with truths the most useful him; for over the gate were written these words-and necessary. Adieu. FACILIS DESCENSUS.
By this time I fancy you begin to perceive, that the gloomy gate was designed to represent the road to Virtue; the opposite, the more agreeable passage to Vice. It is but natural to suppose, that the spectator was always tempted to enter by the gate which offered him so many allurements. I always in these cases left him to his choice; but generally try, a gentleman with a blue riband tied round his
From the Same.
In a late excursion with my friend into the coun
found that he took to the left, which promised most entertainment.
shoulder, and in a chariot drawn by six horses, passed swiftly by us, attended with a numerous train of captains, lacqueys, and coaches filled with
Immediately upon his entering the gate of Vice, the trees and flowers were disposed in such a man-women. When we were recovered from the dust ner as to make the most pleasing impression; but raised by this cavalcade, and could continue our as he walked farther on, he insensibly found the discourse without danger of suffocation, I observed garden assume the air of a wilderness, the land- to my companion, that all this state and equipage, scapes began to darken, the paths grew more intri- which he seemed to despise, would in China be recate, he appeared to go downwards, frightful rocks garded with the utmost reverence, because such disseemed to hang over his head, gloomy caverns, un- tinctions were always the reward of merit; the expected precipices, awful ruins, heaps of unburied greatness of a mandarine's retinue being a most bones, and terrifying sounds, caused by unseen wa- certain mark of the superiority of his abilities or ters, began to take place of what at first appeared virtue.
so lovely; it was in vain to attempt returning, the The gentleman who has now passed us, replied labyrinth was too much perplexed for any but my-my companion, has no claims from his own merit self to find the way back. In short, when suffi- to distinction; he is possessed neither of abilities ciently impressed with the horrors of what he saw, nor virtue; it is enough for him that one of his an
The pitiful humiliations of the gentlemen you are now describing, said I, puts me in mind of custom among the Tartars of Koreki, not entirely dissimilar to this we are now considering. The
cestors was possessed of these qualities two hun-taste upon every occasion, to tag all his stupid obdred years before him. There was a time, indeed, servations with a very true, to praise his stable, and when his family deserved their title, but they are descant upon his claret and cookery. long since degenerated; and his ancestors, for more than a century, have been more and more solicitous to keep up the breed of their dogs and horses than that of their children. This very nobleman, simple as he seems, is descended from a race of states- Russians, who trade with them, carry thither a kind men and heroes; but, unluckily, his great-grand- of mushrooms, which they exchange for furs of father marrying a cook-maid, and she having a squirrels, ermines, sables, and foxes. These mushtrifling passion for his lordship's groom, they some- rooms the rich Tartars lay up in large quantities how crossed the strain, and produced an heir, who for the winter; and when a nobleman makes a took after his mother in his great love to good eat-mushroom-feast, all the neighbours around are ining, and his father in a violent affection for horse-vited. The mushrooms are prepared by boiling, flesh. These passions have for some generations by which the water acquires an intoxicating qualipassed on from father to son, and are now become ty, and is a sort of drink which the Tartars prize the characteristics of the family; his present lord-beyond all other. When the nobility and ladies ship being equally remarkable for his kitchen and are assembled, and the ceremonies usual between his stable. people of distinction over, the mushroom-broth goes freely round; they laugh, talk double entendre, grow fuddled, and become excellent company. The
But such a nobleman, cried I, deserves our pity, thus placed in so high a sphere of life, which only the more exposes to contempt. A king may con-poorer sort, who love mushroom-broth to distraction fer titles, but it is personal merit alone that ensures as well as the rich, but can not afford it at the first respect. I suppose, added I, that such men are hand, post themselves on these occasions round the despised by their equals, neglected by their infe- huts of the rich, and watch the opportunities of the riors, and condemned to live among involuntary ladies and gentlemen as they come down to pass dependants in irksome solitude. their liquor; and holding a wooden bowl, catch the delicious fluid, very little altered by filtration, being still strongly tinctured with the intoxicating quality. Of this they drink with the utmost satisfaction, and thus they get as drunk and as jovial as their betters.
You are still under a mistake, replied my companion; for though this nobleman is a stranger to generosity; though he takes twenty opportunities in a day of letting his guests know how much he despises them; though he is possessed neither of taste, wit, nor wisdom; though incapable of im- Happy nobility! cries my companion, who can proving others by his conversation, and never fear no diminution of respect, unless by being seized known to enrich any by his bounty; yet, for all with strangury, and who when most drunk are this, his company is eagerly sought after: he is a most useful. Though we have not this custom lord, and that is as much as most people desire in among us, I foresee, that if it were introduced, we a companion. Quality and title have such allure-might have many a toad-eater in England ready to ments, that hundreds are ready to give up all their drink from the wooden bowl on these occasions, own importance, to cringe, to flatter, to look little, and to praise the flavour of his lordship's liquor. and to pall every pleasure in constraint, merely to As we have different classes of gentry, who knows be among the great, though without the least hopes but we may see a lord holding the bowl to a minof improving their understanding, or sharing their ister, a knight holding it to his lordship, and a generosity: they might be happy among their simple 'squire drinking it double distilled from equals, but those are despised for company where loins of knighthood? For my part, I shall never they are despised in turn. You saw what a crowd for the future hear a great man's flatterers harangu of humble cousins, card-ruined beaux, and captains ing in his praise, that I shall not fancy I behold on half-pay, were willing to make up this great the wooden bowl; for I can see no reason why a man's retinue down to his country-seat. Not one man, who can live easily and happily at home, of all these that could not lead a more comfortable should bear the drudgery of decorum, and the imlife at home, in their little lodging of three shillings pertinence of his entertainer, unless intoxicated a-week, with their lukewarm dinner, served up be with a passion for all that was quality; unless tween two pewter plates from a cook's shop. Yet, he thought that whatever came from the great was poor devils! they are willing to undergo the imper-delicious, and had the tincture of the mushroom in tinence and pride of their entertainer, merely to be it. Adieu.
thought to live among the great: they are willing • Van Stralenberg, a writer of credit, gives the same ac to pass the summer in bondage, though conscious count of this people. See an Historico-Geographical Descrip they are taken down only to approve his lordship'a tion of the north-eastern parts of Europe and Asia, p. 397.
From the Same.
tertainer, I think I have some reasons to fancy my. self a judge of these matters; in short, the Chinese never eat beef; so that I must be permitted to recommend the Pilaw. There was never better dressed at Pekin; the saffron and rice are well boiled, and the spices in perfection.
I ▲м disgusted, O Fum Hoam, even to sickness disgusted. Is it possible to bear the presumption of those islanders, when they pretend to instruct I had no sooner begun to eat what was laid beme in the ceremonies of China! They lay it down fore me than I found the whole company as much as a maxim, that every person who comes from astonished as before; it seems I made no use of my thence must express himself in metaphor; swear chop-sticks. A grave gentleman, whom I take to by Alla, rail against wine, and behave, and talk, be an author, harangued very learnedly (as the and write, like a Turk or Persian. They make company seemed to think) upon the use which was no distinction between our elegant manners, and made of them in China. He entered into a long the voluptuous barbarities of our Eastern neigh- argument with himself about their first introduction, bours. Wherever I come, I raise either diffidence without once appealing to me, who might be supor astonishment: some fancy me no Chinese, be-posed best capable of silencing the inquiry. As cause I am formed more like a man than a monster; the gentleman therefore took my silence for a mark and others wonder to find one born five thousand of his own superior sagacity, he was resolved to miles from England, endued with common sense. pursue the triumph: he talked of our cities, mounStrange, say they, that a man who has received tains, and animals, as familiarly as if he had been his education at such a distance from London, born in Quamsi, but as erroneously as if a native should have common sense: to be born out of Eng- of the moon. He attempted to prove that I had Jand, and yet have common sense! Impossible! nothing of the true Chinese cut in my visage; He must be some Englishman in disguise; his showed that my cheek-bones should have been very visage has nothing of the true exotic barbari- higher, and my forehead broader. In short, he ty. almost reasoned me out of my country, and effect
I yesterday received an invitation from a lady of ually persuaded the rest of the company to be of
distinction, who it seems had collected all her knowledge of Eastern manners from fictions every day I was going to expose his mistakes, when it was propagated here, under the titles of Eastern tales insisted that I had nothing of the true Eastern and Oriental histories; she received me very polite- manner in my delivery. This gentleman's conly, but seemed to wonder that I neglected bringing versation (says one of the ladies, who was a great opium and a tobacco-box; when chairs were drawn reader) is like our own, mere chit-chat and comfor the rest of the company, I was assigned my mon sense: there is nothing like sense in the true place on a cushion on the floor. It was in vain Eastern style, where nothing more is required but that I protested the Chinese used chairs as in Eu- sublimity. Oh! for a history of Aboulfaouris, the rope; she understood decorums too well to entertain grand voyager, of genii, magicians, rocks, bags of me with the ordinary civilities. bullets, giants, and enchanters, where all is great, I had scarcely been seated according to her di- obscure, magnificent, and unintelligible !—I have rections, when the footman was ordered to pin a written many a sheet of Eastern tale myself, innapkin under my chin: this I protested against, as terrupts the author, and I defy the severest critic being no way Chinese; however, the whole com- to say but that I have stuck close to the true manpany, who it seems were a club of connoisseurs, ner. I have compared a lady's chin to the snow gave it unanimously against me, and the napkin upon the mountains of Bomek; a soldiers sword, was pinned accordingly. to the clouds that obscure the face of heaven. If riches are mentioned, I compared them to the flocks
It was impossible to be angry with people, who seemed to err only from an excess of politeness, that graze the verdant Tefflis; if poverty, to the and I sat contented, expecting their importunities mists that veil the brow of mount Baku. I have were now at an end; but as soon as ever dinner used thee and thou upon all occasions; I have dewas served, the lady demanded, whether I was for scribed fallen stars and splitting mountains, not a plate of Bears' claws, or a slice of Birds' nests? forgetting the little Houries, who make a pretty As these were dishes with which I was utterly un- figure in every description. But you shall hear acquainted, 1 was desirous of eating only what I how I generally begin: "Eben-ben-bolo, who was knew, and therefore begged to be helped from a the son of Ban, was born on the foggy summits of piece of beef that lay on the side-table: my request Benderabassi. His beard was whiter than the at once disconcerted the whole company. A Chi- feathers which veil the breast of the penguin; his nese eat beef! that could never be! there was no eyes were like the eyes of doves when washed by local propriety in Chinese beef, whatever there the dews of the morning; his hair, which hung like might be in Chinese pheasant. Sir, said my en- the willow weeping over the glassy stream, was so