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I do not tell you that men of genius always gain them; I do not wish to deceive you by such a falsehood; to attain them depends not so much upon merit as upon interest: the unsupported man of genius may toil all his life without obtaining one solitary feather of the meanest colour as a reward for his exertions. Observe, in the second box, that arrogant-looking inan who has such a number in his cap; mark with what disdain he eyes those who have not so many as himself: you may perhaps imagine that his works have informed the minds, or meliorated the situation of the Ibolans; that he has combated against infidelity, or unmasked and exposed to shame the minions of treason. No--this is not the path he has pursued; he has written several diffuse volumes, to prove that a circle is an older figure than a square; that a person cannot be in two places at the same time, and that darkness proceeds from a privation of light. The thin meagre man in the box posite, who is treated by the whole company with such contempt, is a man of the most powerful genius; but not being in possession of a single feather, he has been unable to obtain the notice of the world. He has published several elegant, learned, and correct works, but they have never been read; for his powerful and inveterate rivals made full use of those means, which ma. lice and envy are never at a loss for, to depreciate their value in the eyes of the people. When he shall have ceased to exist, his writings will be sought after with the utmost avidiiy, and his name wili be mentioned with admiration by those who assisted to hunt him out of existence.
It is now near thirty years since a youth of unriyalled powers srove to gain the patronage of the Ibolans; he first applied to greatness, but greatness turned away from him unexpectedly: he appealed to the world
it was deaf to him: he called forth all the va. ried energies of his genius, but unsanctioned by the voice of popular favour-unsupported by the splendour
of a name, they were received with cold, and mortifying indifference. Nobly conscious of his own worth, his feeling soul, ftung by the ingratitude of this world, fought for refuge in a better : his alhes were scarcely deposited in the earth before the Ibolans saw the value of the gem they had given to destruction-unnumbered tears were thed for his untimely fate-unnumbered wreaths were hung around his tomb—but the blow was struck, and those h nours which while he was living might have inspired him to the noblest efforts, were lavished in vain upon his early grave:
16 And this is the reward of genius !” exclaimed I fighing. It is fo,” replied my celestial friend ; " but let us proceed or our obfervations: that groupe of men on the opposite side of the room is composed of antiquarians; they are poring over a fragment which has been lately dug from a ruin. What would you suppose their labours tended to ?” “ To the ascertaining some date, or some fact of consequence in the history of their country,” replied I.
“ No, indeed," rejoined the genius, “ they are in high dispute upon the important question, whether a mark on the stone under examination, was originally intended for che arm of a man, or a distaff; both the parties are fo firmly convinced of the truth of their respective conjectures, that they will separate without receding a tittle from their belief; and the principal men on both sides will each write a long differtation to expose the fallacy of his antagonist's realonings.--Turn your eyes to the man in the next box to the antiquarian, who appears fo overjoyed-he is not a literary man; he is a man of immense property and very fond of litigation : he has this morning had a cause decided in his favour, which had been depending eight years; he is congratulating himself that he has gained it at the expence of only twelve thousand pounds, while his adversary has spent twenty-five thousand pounds in opposing him. But it is now time to leave the coffee-house; we have surveyed all the characters here worthy notice, and will
visit some other į lace, which will afford equal matter for observation. I will conduct you to one of the many focieties in this metropolis where different questions are discuffed.
We quitted the coffee-house, and as I passed along I was very much surprised to see several men, drawing along with great velocity, and with much apparent satisfaction, a carriage containing one man. I looked up to the genius for an explanation. “ This,” said he," is a popular man”—- A popular man,” re. peated I; "he is, I suppose, fome patriot who has saved the liberties of his country from destruction, or fome general or admiral who has hazarded his life to maintain its glory."-" Those certainly,” answered the genius,
may appear to you to be the only paths to popularity, but the popular men of this country obtain their title in an easier manner; it is only necessary in every
instance to oppose with the utmost inveteracy the ruling powers; to be bold in advancing affertions, and steady in supporting them, however untrue they may be ; and incessantly to vociferate in the ears of the Ibolans, that they are utterly and irreparably ruined. The indivi. dual who pursues this plan, however profligate his manners, however despicable his private conduct may be, is certain of being a popular man.” We had scarcely advanced ten paces when we met a crowd confifting of near an hundred persons; every one of them was engaged in making sport of an individual, who feemed to be very much embarrassed by his situation. Upon ask. ing one of the mob for what reason they followed him ; “Why don't you see (antivered he surlily) “that he wears two strings in each fhoe, and that we wear but one ; and that his coat is near a quarter of an inch shorter than any of ours?" As I could not perceive the sufficiency of the reason, and would not venture to ask any more questions, I retired. “You seem to wonder," (said the genius, smiling as he spoke ;) “you will perhaps wonder still more when I tell you, that fome centuries ago, such an appearance would have been sufficient to rouze the whole lunar world to arms. Many thousands have lost their lives, in various and horrid manners, because they would persist in making the tails of their nines, near a twentieth part of an inch longer than their persecutors; the party of the long-tailed nines, when they obtained the ascendancy, retaliated in the same manner, and thus the sword of persecution was never suffered for an instant to repose within its scabbard ; but this spirit is now happily near extinct ; the trifling instance we have just seen is the faint and expiring remains of those prejudices which will never more destroy the peace of nations.”
Here the genius ceased speaking, and I stepped into the shop of an optician for the purpose of purchasing a telefcope to enable me, in my return to my native shores, to discover the two nations of one-eyed and long-tailed men, which, from reading the works of a grave modern philosopher, I was very much inclined to believe had really existence in some part of our globe. I made my purchase, and we proceeded to the place appointed for the debate; we got possession of a very commodious seat, and the debates in a short time commenced; the motions, or rather contortions of the speakers were so various and unnatural, and their speeches either so inflated and in. comprehensible, or fo dull and monotonous, that I could not forbear laughing during the whole time of the exhibition; it was no uncommon thing to hear a speaker in the middle of his speech, contradict what he had asserted at its opening, and conclude it by giving his vote for the opinion he had seemed to controvert. After two hours spent in continued laughter, the assembly broke up and we departed. " Well,” exclaimed my guide, as we quitted the room, " how do you approve of this scene?"2" Very much indeed," replied I, “ I think it a most excellent inftitution-I applaud highly the idea of forming a good orator by displaying to the learners every thing that constitutes a bad one I think the teachers acted inimitably--they could not have selected more appropriate specimens than those we have wit. nessed.” —And so you really suppose," said the genius, “ that they were only acting the wretched orator? —upon my word your judgment is moft terribly erroneous—the persons we have just listened to, conceive their powers of oratory to be of the first order—and they regularly exhibit themselves every week, for the purpose of obtaining the applause of their auditors; it is for this reason that these societies are established; it happens not unfrequently that the greatest part of the speakers are entirely unacquainted with their subject till they enter the room, and until they have proceeded through more than half their speech, are undetermined which fide of the question to espouse."
"For heavens fake, my dear genius," exclaimed I, indignantly, "convey me back to my native planet, I am disgusted bcyond measure at these scenes of absurdity — I have sufficiently feen, and shall be truly grateful to find myself once more safely returned to my own home.” I had no fooner ceased than the genius resumed his original appearance, and clasping my hand, we instantly began our flight: we were in the midway between the earth and moon, when an immense meteor appeared to approach us so rapidly that I fhrieked out, and clinging round the genius, awoke, and found the rays of the sun peeping through my curtains, and my arms firmly encircling my pillow; glad indeed was 1, when I recovered from my surprise, to find myself in a world where religion is respected—where - genius is patronized—and where even amusement is rendered subservient to the interes of morality and virtue.
FERDINAND ST. JULIEN.