Графични страници
PDF файл

There seems very little difference between a

rather a surdei. than an advantage to them; rather| a diminution of their strength than an increase of Dutch bridegroom and a Dutch husband. Both power. It is in the politic as in the human consti- are equally possessed of the same cool unexpecting tution: if the limbs grow too large for the body, serenity; they can see neither Elysium nor Paratheir size, instead of improving, will diminish the dise behind the curtain; and Yiffrow is not more vigour of the whole. The colonies should always a goddess on the wedding-night, than after twenty bear an exact proportion to the mother country; years matrimonial acquaintance. On the other hand when they grow populous, they grow powerful, many of the English marry in order to have one and by becoming powerful, they become inde- happy month in their lives; they seem incapable pendent also; thus subordination is destroyed, and of looking beyond that period; they unite in hopes a country swallowed up in the extent of its own of finding rapture, and disappointed in that, disdominions. The Turkish empire would be more dain ever to accept of happiness. From hence we formidable, were it less extensive; were it not for see open hatred ensue ; or what is worse, concealed those countries which it can neither command, nor disgust under the appearance of fulsome endeargive entirely away; which it is obliged to protect, ment. Much formality, great civility, and studied but from which it has no power to exact obedience. compliments are exhibited in public; cross looks, Yet, obvious as these truths are, there are many sulky silence, or open recrimination, fill up their Englishmen who are for transplanting new colo- hours of private entertainment. nies into this late acquisition, for peopling the de- Hence I am taught, whenever I see a newserts of America with the refuse of their country-married couple more than ordinarily fond before men, and (as they express it) with the waste of an faces, to consider them as attempting to impose exuberant nation. But who are those unhappy upon the company or themselves; either hating creatures who are to be thus drained away? Not each other heartily, or consuming that stock of love the sickly, for they are unwelcome guests abroad as in the beginning of their course, which should well as at home; nor the idle, for they would serve them through their whole journey. Neither starve as well behind the Apalachian mountains side should expect those instances of kindness as in the streets of London. This refuse is com- which are inconsistent with true freedom or hap posed of the laborious and enterprising, of such men as can be serviceable to their country at home, of men who ought to be regarded as the sinews of the people, and cherished with every degree of political indulgence. And what are the commodities which this colony, when established, are to Choang was the fondest husband, and Hansi, produce in return? why, raw silk, hemp, and to- the most endearing wife in all the kingdom of Kobacco. England, therefore, must make an ex-rea: they were a pattern of conjugal bliss; the in change of her best and bravest subjects for raw habitants of the country around saw, and envied silk, hemp, and tobacco; her hardy veterans and their felicity; wherever Choang came, Hansi was honest tradesmen must be trucked for a box of sure to follow; and in all the pleasures of Hansi, snuff and a silk petticoat. Strange absurdity! Choang was admitted a partner. They walked Sure the politics of the Daures are not more strange hand in hand wherever they appeared, showing who sell their religion, their wives, and their liber- every mark of mutual satisfaction, embracing, ty, for a glass bead, or a paltry penknife. Fare- kissing, their mouths were forever joined, and, to well.


From the Same.

piness to bestow. Love, when founded in the heart, will show itself in a thousand unpremeditated sallies of fondness; but every cool deliberate exhibition of the passion, only argues little understanding, or great insincerity.

speak in the language of anatomy, it was with them one perpetual anastomosis.

Their love was so great, that it was thought nothing could interrupt their mutual peace; when an accident happened, which, in some measure,

THE English love their wives with much pas-diminished the husband's assurance of his wife's sion, the Hollanders with much prudence; the fidelity; for love so refined as his was subject to a English, when they give their hands, frequently thousand little disquietudes. give their hearts; the Dutch give the hand but Happening to go one day alone among the tombs keep the heart wisely in their own possession. that lay at some distance from his house, he there The English love with violence, and expect vio- perceived a lady dressed in the deepest mourning lent love in return; the Dutch are satisfied with (being clothed all over in white), fanning the wet the slightest acknowledgment, for they give little away. The English expend many of the matrimonial comforts in the first year; the Dutch frugally husband out their pleasures, and are always constant because they are always indifferent.

clay that was raised over one of the graves with a large fan which she held in her hand. Choang, who had early been taught wisdom in the school of Lao, was unable to assign a cause for her present employment: and coming up civilly demanded

the reason.

Alas! replied the lady, her eyes law for his interment. In the meantime, Hansi bathed in tears, how is it possible to survive the and the young disciple were arrayed in the most loss of my husband, who lies buried in this grave! magnificent habits; the bride wore in her nose a he was the best of men, the tenderest of husbands; jewel of immense price, and her lover was dressed with his dying breath he bid me never marry again in all the finery of his former master, together with till the earth over his grave should be dry; and here a pair of artificial whiskers that reached down to you see me steadily resolving to obey his will, and his toes. The hour of their nuptials was arrived; endeavouring to dry it with my fan. I have em- the whole family sympathized with their approachployed two whole days in fulfilling his commands, ing happiness; the apartments were brightened up and am determined not to marry till they are punc-with lights that diffused the most exquisite pertually obeyed, even though his grave should take fume, and a lustre more bright than noon-day. up four days in drying. The lady expected her youthful lover in an inner Choang, who was struck with the widow's beau- apartment with impatience; when his servant, apty, could not, however, avoid smiling at her haste proaching with terror in his countenance, informed to be married; but concealing the cause of his her, that his master was fallen into a fit which mirth, civilly invited her home, adding, that he had would certainly be mortal, unless the heart of a man a wife who might be capable of giving her some lately dead could be obtained, and applied to his consolation. As soon as he and his guest were re-breast. She scarcely waited to hear the end of his turned, he imparted to Hansi in private what he story, when tucking up her clothes, she ran with a had seen, and could not avoid expressing his uneasiness, that such might be his own case if his dearest wife should one day happen to survive him.


mattock in her hand to the coffin where Choang
lay, resolving to apply the heart of her dead hus-
band as a cure for the living. She therefore struck
the lid with the utmost violence. In a few blows
the coffin flew open, when the body, which to all
appearance had been dead, began to move.
rified at the sight, Hansi dropped the mattock, and
Choang walked out, astonished at his own situa-
tion, his wife's unusual magnificence, and her more
amazing surprise. He went among the apart-
ments, unable to conceive the cause of so much

It is impossible to describe Hansi's resentment at so unkind a suspicion. As her passion for him was not only great, but extremely delicate, she employed tears, anger, frowns, and exclamations, to chide his suspicions; the widow herself was inveighed against; and Hansi declared, she was resolved never to sleep under the same roof with a wretch, who, like her, could be guilty of such barefaced inconstancy. The night was cold and stormy; splendour. He was not long in suspense before however, the stranger was obliged to seek another lodging, for Choang was not disposed to resist, and Hansi would have her way.

his domestics informed him of every transaction since he first became insensible. He could scarcely believe what they told him, and went in pursuit The widow had scarcely been gone an hour, of Hansi herself, in order to receive more certain when an old disciple of Choang's whom he had not information, or to reproach her infidelity. But she seen for many years, came to pay him a visit. He prevented his reproaches: he found her weltering was received with the utmost ceremony, placed in in blood; for she had stabbed herself to the heart, the most honourable seat at supper, and the wine being unable to survive her shame and disappointbegan to circulate with great freedom. Choang ment. and Hansi exhibited open marks of mutual tender- Choang, being a philosopher, was too wise to ness, and unfeigned reconciliation: nothing could make any loud lamentations: he thought it best to equal their apparent happiness; so fond a husband, bear his loss with serenity; so, mending up the old so obedient a wife, few could behold without re-coffin where he had lain himself, he placed his gretting their own infelicity: when, lo! their hap- faithless spouse in his room; and, unwilling that piness was at once disturbed by a most fatal acci- so many nuptial preparations should be expended dent. Choang fell lifeless in an apoplectic fit upon in vain, he the same night married the widow the floor. Every method was used, but in vain, for with the large fan. his recovery. Hansi was at first inconsolable for his death: after some hours, however, she found spirits to read his last will. The ensuing day, she began to moralize and talk wisdom; the next day, she was able to comfort the young disciple, and, on the third, to shorten a long story, they both agreed to be married.

As they both were apprised of the foibles of each other beforehand, they knew how to excuse them after marriage. They lived together for many years in great tranquillity, and not expecting rapture, made a shift to find contentment. Farewell.


To the Same.

There was now no longer mourning in the apartments; the body of Choang was now thrust into an old coffin, and placed in one of the meanest rooms, there to lie unattended until the time prescribed by companion through Westminster Abbey, came yes

THE gentleman dressed in black, who was my

terday to pay me a visit ; and after drinking tea, we such delinquents? Psha, man, replied he, smiling, both resolved to take a walk together, in order to en- if every delinquent among us were to be treated in joy the freshness of the country, which now begins your manner, one-half of the kingdom would flog to resume its verdure. Before we got out of the the other. suburbs, however, we were stopped in one of the I must confess, my dear Fum, that if I were an streets by a crowd of people, gathered in a circle English husband, of all things I would take care round a man and his wife, who seemed too loud not to be jealous, nor busily pry into those secrets and too angry to be understood. The people were my wife was pleased to keep from me. Should I highly pleased with the dispute, which, upon in- detect her infidelity, what is the consequence? If quiry, we found to be between Dr. Cacafogo, an I calmly pocket the abuse, I am laughed at by her apothecary, and his wife. The doctor, it seems, and her gallant; if I talk my griefs aloud, like a coming unexpectedly into his wife's apartment, tragedy hero, I am laughed at by the whole world. found a gentleman there, in circumstances not in The course then I would take would be, whenever the least equivocal. I went out, to tell my wife where I was going, lest The doctor, who was a person of nice honour, I should unexpectedly meet her abroad in comparesolving to revenge the flagrant insult, imme-ny with some dear deceiver. Whenever I returndiately flew to the chimney-piece, and taking down ed, I would use a peculiar rap at the door, and give a rusty blunderbuss, drew the trigger upon the de-four loud hems as I walked deliberately up the filer of his bed: the delinquent would certainly have staircase. I would never inquisitively peep under been shot through the head, but that the piece had her bed, or look under the curtains. And, even not been charged for many years. The gallant though I knew the captain was there, I would made a shift to escape through the window, but calmly take a dish of my wife's cool tea, and talk the lady still remained; and as she well knew her of the army with reverence. husband's temper, undertook to manage the quar- Of all nations, the Russians seem to me to be. rel without a second. He was furious, and she have most wisely in such circumstances. The loud; their noise had gathered all the mob, who wife promises her husband never to let him see her charitably assembled on the occasion, not to pre-transgressions of this nature; and he as punctually vent, but to enjoy the quarrel. promises, whenever she is so detected, without the

Alas! said I to my companion, what will become least anger, to beat her without mercy; so they of this unhappy creature thus caught in adultery? both know what each has to expect; the lady Believe me, I pity her from my heart; her hus- transgresses, is beaten, taken again into favour, band, I suppose, will show her no mercy. Will and all goes on as before.

they burn her as in India, or behead her as in Per- When a Russian young lady, therefore, is to be sia? Will they load her with stripes as in Tur- married, her father, with a cudgel in his hand, asks key, or keep her in perpetual imprisonment as the bridegroom, whether he chooses this virgin for with us in China? Prithee, what is the wife's his bride? to which the other replies in the affirmpunishment in England for such offences? When ative. Upon this, the father, turning the lady a lady is thus caught tripping, replied my com- three times round, and giving her three strokes panion, they never punish her, but the husband. with his cudgel on the back, My dear, cries he, You surely jest, interrupted I; I am a foreigner, these are the last blows you are ever to receive and you would abuse my ignorance! I am really from your tender father: I resign my authority, serious, returned he; Dr. Cacafogo has caught his and my cudgel, to your husband; he knows betwife in the act; but as he had no witnesses, his ter than me the use of either. The bridegroom small testimony goes for nothing: the consequence, knows decorum too well to accept of the cudgel therefore, of his discovery will be, that she will be abruptly; he assures the father that the lady will packed off to live among her relations, and the never want it, and that he would not for the world, doctor must be obliged to allow her a separate make any use of it; but the father, who knows maintenance. Amazing! cried I; is it not enough what the lady may want better than he, insists that she is permitted to live separate from the ob- upon his acceptance; upon this there follows a ject she detests, but must he give her money to scene of Russian politeness, while one refuses, and keep her in spirits too? That he must, said my the other offers the cudgel. The whole, however, guide, and be called a cuckold by all his neigh- ends with the bridegroom's taking it; upon which bours into the bargain. The men will laugh at the lady drops a courtesy in token of obedience, him, the ladies will pity him: and all that his and the ceremony proceeds as usual. warmest friends can say in his favour will be, that There is something excessively fair and open in the poor good soul has never had any harm in this method of courtship: by this, both sides are him. I want patience, interrupted I; what! are prepared for all the matrimonial adventures that Chere no private chastisements for the wife; no are to follow. Marriage has been compared to a schools of penitence to show her folly; no rods for game of skill for life. it is generous thus in both

parties to declare they are sharpers in the begin- |son, or horse-flesh, when they can get it; but in ning. In England, I am told, both sides use every cases of necessity, lying in wait to devour each art to conceal their defects from each other before other. While they have new books to cut up, they marriage, and the rest of their lives may be regard- make a hearty meal; but if this resource should ed as doing penance for their former dissimulation. unhappily fail, then it is that critics eat up critics, Farewell. and compilers rob from compilations.


From the same.

Confucius observes, that it is the duty of the learned to unite society more closely, and to persuade men to become citizens of the world; but the authors I refer to, are not only for disuniting society but kingdoms also: if the English are at

The Republic of Letters, is a very common ex-war with France, the dunces of France think it pression among the Europeans; and yet, when ap- their duty to be at war with those of England. plied to the learned of Europe, is the most absurd Thus Freron, one of their first-rate scribblers, that can be imagined, since nothing is more unlike thinks proper to characterize all the English wria republic than the society which goes by that name. ters in the gross: "Their whole merit (says he) From this expression, one would be apt to imagine consists in exaggeration, and often in extravagance: that the learned were united into a single body, correct their pieces as you please, there still rejoining their interests, and concurring in the same mains a leaven which corrupts the whole. They design. From this, one might be apt to compare sometimes discover genius, but not the smallest them to our literary societies in China, where each share of taste: England is not a soil for the plants acknowledges a just subordination, and all contri- of genius to thrive in." This is open enough, with bute to build the temple of science, without at- not the least adulation in the picture: but hear tempting, from ignorance or envy, to obstruct each other.

what a Frenchman of acknowledged abilities says upon the same subject: "I am at a loss to deterBut very different is the state of learning here: mine in what we excel the English, or where they every member of this fancied republic is desirous excel us: when I compare the merits of both in of governing, and none willing to obey; each looks any one species of literary composition, so many upon his fellow as a rival, not an assistant in the reputable and pleasing writers present themselves same pursuit. They calumniate, they injure, they from either country, that my judgment rests in susdespise, they ridicule each other; if one man writes pense: I am pleased with the disquisition, without a book that pleases, others shall write books to show finding the object of my inquiry." But lest you that he might have given still greater pleasure, or should think the French alone are faulty in this should not have pleased. If one happens to hit respect, hear how an English journalist delivers his upon something new, there are numbers ready to sentiments of them: "We are amazed (says he) assure the public that all this was no novelty to to find so many works translated from the French, them or the learned; that Cardanus, or Brunus, while we have such numbers neglected of our own. or some other author too dull to be generally read, In our opinion, notwithstanding their fame throughhad anticipated the discovery. Thus, instead of out the rest of Europe, the French are the most uniting like the members of a commonwealth, they contemptible reasoners (we had almost said wriare divided into almost as many factions as there ters) that can be imagined. However, nevertheare men and their jarring constitution, instead of less, excepting," etc. Another English writer, being styled a republic of letters, should be entitled Shaftesbury if I remember, on the contrary, says an anarchy of literature. that the French authors are pleasing and judicious, more clear, more methodical and entertaining, than those of his own country.

It is true, there are some of superior abilities who reverence and esteem each other; but their mutual admiration is not sufficient to shield off the From these opposite pictures, you perceive, that contempt of the crowd. The wise are but few, and the good authors of either country praise, and the they praise with a feeble voice; the vulgar are bad revile each other; and yet, perhaps, you will many, and roar in reproaches. The truly great be surprised that indifferent writers should thus be seldom unite in societies; have few meetings, no the most apt to censure, as they have the most to cabals; the dunces hunt in full cry, till they have apprehend from recrimination: you may, perhaps, run down a reputation, and then snarl and fight imagine, that such as are possessed of fame themwith each other about dividing the spoil. Here selves, should be most ready to declare their opiyou may see the compilers and the book-answerers nions, since what they say might pass for decision. of every month, when they have cut up some re- But the truth happens to be, that the great are sospectable name, most frequently reproaching each licitous only of raising their own reputations, while other with stupidity and dulness; resembling the the opposite class, alas! are solicitous of bringing wolves of the Russian forest, who prey upon veni-every reputation down to a level with their own.

But let us acquit them of malice and envy. A The rich in general were placed in the lowest critic is often guided by the same motives that di- seats, and the poor rose above them in degrees prorect his author. The author endeavours to per-portioned to their poverty. The order of precesuade us, that he has written a good book; the dence seemed here inverted; those who were uncritic is equally solicitous to show that he could dermost all the day, now enjoyed a temporary emiwrite a better, had he thought proper. A critic is nence, and became masters of the ceremonies. It a being possessed of all the vanity, but not the ge- was they who called for the music, indulging every nius of a scholar; incapable, from his native weak- noisy freedom, and testifying all the insolence of ness, of lifting himself from the ground, he applies beggary in exaltation. to contiguous merit for support; makes the spor- They who held the middle region seemed not so tive sallies of another's imagination his serious riotous as those above them, nor yet so tame as those employment; pretends to take our feelings under below to judge by their looks, many of them his care; teaches where to condemn, where to lay seemed strangers there as well as myself: they the emphasis of praise; and may with as much were chiefly employed, during this period of exjustice be called a man of taste, as the Chinese pectation, in eating oranges, reading the story of who measures his wisdom by the length of his the play, or making assignations. nails.

Those who sat in the lowest rows, which are If, then, a book, spirited or humorous, happens called the pit, seemed to consider themselves as to appear in the republic of letters, several critics judges of the merit of the poet and the performers; are in waiting to bid the public not to laugh at a they were assembled partly to be amused, and single line of it; for themselves had read it, and partly to show their taste; appearing to labour unthey know what is most proper to excite laughter. der that restraint which an affectation of superior Other critics contradict the fulminations of this discernment generally produces. My companion, tribunal, call them all spiders, and assure the pub- however, informed me, that not one in a hundred lic that they ought to laugh without restraint. of them knew even the first principles of criticism; Another set are in the mean time quietly employed that they assumed the right of being censors bein writing notes to the book, intended to show the cause there was none to contradict their pretenparticular passages to be laughed at: when these sions; and that every man who now called himself are out, others still there are who write notes upon a connoisseur, became such to all intents and purnotes: thus a single new book employs not only poses. the paper-makers, the printers, the pressmen, the Those who sat in the boxes appeared in the book-binders, the hawkers, but twenty critics, and most unhappy situation of all. The rest of the as many compilers. In short, the body of the audience came merely for their own amusement; learned may be compared to a Persian army, where these, rather to furnish out a part of the entertainthere are many pioneers, several sutlers, numberless servants, women and children in abundance, and but few soldiers. Adieu.


ments themselves. I could not avoid considering them as acting parts in dumb show-not a courtesy or nod that was not the result of art; not a look nor a smile that was not designed for murder. Gentlemen and ladies ogled each other through spectacles; for my companion observed, that blindness was of late become fashionable; all affected indifference and ease, while their hearts at the same time burned for conquest. Upon the whole, the THE English are as fond of seeing plays acted lights, the music, the ladies in their gayest dresses, as the Chinese; but there is a vast difference the men with cheerfulness and expectation in their in the manner of conducting them. We play our looks, all conspired to make a most agreeable picpieces in the open air, the English theirs under ture, and to fill a heart that sympathizes at human cover; we act by daylight, they by the blaze of torch-happiness with inexpressible serenity.


To the Same.

One of our plays continues eight or ten days The expected time for the play to begin at last successively; an English piece seldom takes up arrived; the curtain was drawn, and the actors above four hours in the representation. came on. A woman, who personated a queen,

My companion in black, with whom I am now came in courtseying to the audience, who clapped beginning to contract an intimacy, introduced me their hands upon her appearance. Clapping of a few nights ago to the play-house, where we hands, is, it seems, the manner of applauding in placed ourselves conveniently at the foot of the England; the manner is absurd, but every country, stage. As the curtain was not drawn before my you know, has its peculiar absurdities. I was arrival, I had an opportunity of observing the behaviour of the spectators, and indulging those reflections which novelty generally inspires.

equally surprised, however, at the submission of the actress, who should have considered herself as a queen, as at the little discernment of the audience

« ПредишнаНапред »