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the books you published; may Ibe so bold as to ask | "I once had an author who never left the least a sight of some of those intended publications which opening for the critics! close was the word, always are shortly to surprise the world? "As to that, very right, and very dull, ever on the safe side of an sir," replied the talkative bookseller, "I only draw argument; yet with all his qualifications incapable out the plans myself; and, though I am very cau- of coming into favour. I soon perceived that his tious of communicating them to any, yet, as in the bent was for criticism; and, as he was good for noend I have a favour to ask, you shall see a few of thing else, supplied him with pens and paper, and them. Here, sir, here they are; diamonds of the first planted him at the beginning of every month as a water, I assure you. Imprimis, a translation of censor on the works of others. In short, I found him several medical precepts for the use of such physi-a treasure; no merit could escape him : but what is cians as do not understand Latin. Item, the young most remarkable of all, he ever wrote best and bitclergyman's art of placing patches regularly, with terest when drunk." But are there not some a dissertation on the different manners of smiling works, interrupted I, that from the very manner without distorting the face. Item, the whole art of their composition, must be exempt from critiof love made perfectly easy, by a broker of 'Change cism; particularly such as profess to disregard Alley. Item, the proper manner of cutting black- its laws? "There is no work whatsoever but what lead pencils, and making crayons; by the Right Hon. he can criticise," replied the bookseller; "even the Earl of ***. Item, the muster-master-general, though you wrote in Chinese he would have a pluck or the review of reviews-" Sir, cried I, inter- at you. Suppose you should take it into your head rupting him, my curiosity with regard to title- to publish a book, let it be a volume of Chinese letpages is satisfied; I should be glad to see some ters, for instance: write how you will, he shall longer manuscript, a history or an epic poem. show the world you could have written better. "Bless me," cries the man of industry, "now you Should you, with the most local exactness, stick to speak of an epic poem, you shall see an excellent the manners and customs of the country from farce. Here it is; dip into it where you will, it whence you come; should you confine yourself to will be found replete with true modern humour. the narrow limits of Eastern knowledge, and be Strokes, sir; it is filled with strokes of wit and perfectly simple, and perfectly natural, he has then satire in every line." Do you call these dashes the strongest reason to exclaim. He may with a of the pen, strokes, replied I, for I must confess I sneer send you back to China for readers. He may can see no other? "And pray, sir," returned he, observe, that after the first or second letter, the "what do you call them? Do you see any thing iteration of the same simplicity is insupportably tegood now-a-days, that is not filled with strokes—dious; but the worst of all is, the public in such a and dashes?—-Sir, a well-placed dash makes half case will anticipate his censures, and leave you, the wit of our writers of modern humour. I bought with all your uninstructive simplicity, to be mauled a piece last season that had no other merit upon at discretion."
earth than nine hundred and ninety-five breaks, Yes, cried I, but in order to avoid his indigseventy-two ha ha's, three good things, and a gar-nation, and what I should fear more, that of the ter. And yet it played off, and bounced, and public, I would, in such a case, write with all the cracked, and made more sport than a fire-work." knowledge I was master of. As I am not possessed I fancy, then, sir, you were a considerable gainer? of much learning, at least I would not suppress "It must be owned the piece did pay; but upon what little I had; nor would I appear more stupid the whole, I can not much boast of last winter's than nature has made me. "Here then," cries success: I gained by two murders; but then I lost the bookseller, "we should have you entirely by an ill-timed charity sermon. I was a considera- in our power: unnatural, uneastern; quite out of ble sufferer by my Direct Road at an Estate, but character; erroneously sensible would be the whole the Infernal Guide brought me up again. Ah, sir, cry; sir, we should then hunt you down like a rat." that was a piece touched off by the hand of a mas- Head of my father! said I, sure there are but two ter; filled with good things from one end to the ways; the door must either be shut, or it must be other. The author had nothing but the jest in open. I must be either natural or unnatural. view; no dull moral lurking beneath, nor ill-natur-" Be what you will, we shall criticise you,” returned satire to sour the reader's good-humour; he ed the bookseller, "and prove you a dunce in spite wisely considered, that moral and humour at the of your teeth. But, sir, it is time that I should same time were quite overdoing the business." To come to business. I have just now in the press a hiswhat purpose was the book then published? "Sir, tory of China; and if you will but put your name to the book was published in order to be sold; and it as the author, I shall repay the obligation with no book sold better, except the criticisms upon it, gratitude." What, sir, replied I, put my name to which came out soon after; of all kind of writings a work which I have not written! Never, while 1 chat goes off best at present; and I generally fasten retain a proper respect for the public and myself a criticism upon every selling book that is published. The bluntness of my reply quite abated the ardour
of the bookseller's conversation; and after about| half an hour's disagreeable reserve, he with some ceremony, took his leave, and withdrew. Adieu.
To the Same.
My friend in black, indeed, did not behave with the same deference, but contradicted the finest of them all in the most peremptory tones of contempt. But I had scarcely time to wonder at the imprudence of his conduct, when I found occasion to be equally surprised at the absurdity of theirs; for, upon the entry of a middle-aged man, dressed in a cap, dirty shirt, and boots, the whole circle seemed diminished of their former importance, and contended who should be first to pay their obeisance to the stranger. They somewhat resembled a circle of Kalmucs offering incense to a bear. Eager to know the cause of so much seeming
In all other countries, my dear Fum Hoam, the rich are distinguished by their dress. In Persia, China, and most parts of Europe, those who are possessed of much gold or silver, put some of it upon their clothes; but in England, those who contradiction, I whispered my friend out of the carry much upon their clothes are remarked for having but little in their pockets. A tawdry outside is regarded as a badge of poverty; and those who can sit at home, and gloat over their thousands in silent satisfaction, are generally found to do it in plain clothes.
room, and found that the august company consisted of no other than a dancing-master, two fiddlers, and a third-rate actor, all assembled in order to make a set at country-dances; and the middle-aged gentleman whom I saw enter was a 'squire from the country, and desirous of learning the new manner of footing, and smoothing up the rudiments of his rural minuet.
This diversity of thinking from the rest of the world which prevails here, I was at first at a loss to account for; but am since informed, that it was I was no longer surprised at the authority which introduced by an intercourse between them and my friend assumed among them, nay, was even their neighbours the French; who, whenever they displeased (pardon my Eastern education) that he came in order to pay these islanders a visit, were generally very well dressed, and very poor, daubed with lace, but all the gilding on the outside. By this means, laced clothes have been brought so much into contempt, that at present even their mandarines are ashamed of finery.
I must own myself a convert to English simplicity; I am no more for ostentation of wealth than of learning: the person who in company should pretend to be wiser than others, I am apt to regard as illiterate and ill-bred; the person whose clothes are extremely fine, I am too apt to consider as not being possessed of any superiority of fortune, but resembling those Indians who are found to wear all the gold they have in the world, in a bob at the nose.
had not kicked every creature of them down stairs. "What," said I, "shall a set of such paltry fellows dress themselves up like sons of kings, and claim even the transitory respect of half an hour! There should be some law to restrain so manifest a breach of privilege; they should go from house to house, as in China, with the instruments of their profession strung round their necks; by this means we might be able to distinguish and treat them in a style of becoming contempt." Hold, my friend, replied my companion, were your reformation to take place, as dancing-masters and fiddlers now mimic gentlemen in appearance, we should then find our fine gentlemen conforming to theirs. A beau might be introduced to a lady of fashion, with a fiddle-case hanging at his neck by a red riband; I was lately introduced into a company of the and instead of a cane, might carry a fiddle-stick. best dressed men I have seen since my arrival. Though to be as dull as a first-rate dancing-master, Upon entering the room, I was struck with awe at might be used with proverbial justice; yet, dull as the grandeur of the different dresses. That per- he is, many a fine gentleman sets him up as the sonage, thought I, in blue and gold, must be some proper standard of politeness; copies not only the emperor's son; that in green and silver, a prince pert vivacity of his air, but the flat insipidity of his of the blood: he in embroidered scarlet, a prime conversation. In short, if you make a law against minister; all first-rate noblemen, I suppose, and dancing-masters imitating the fine gentleman, you well-looking noblemen too. I sat for some time should with as much reason enact, that no fine with that uneasiness which conscious inferiority gentleman shall imitate the dancing-master. produces in the ingenuous mind, all attention to After I had left my friend, I made towards home, their discourse. However, I found their conversa- reflecting as I went upon the difficulty of distintion more vulgar than I could have expected from guishing men by their appearance. Invited, howpersonages of such distinction: if these, thought I ever, by the freshness of the evening, I did not re to myself, be princes, they, are the most stupid turn directly, but went to ruminate on what had princes I have ever conversed with : yet still I continued to venerate their dress; for dress has a kind of mechanical influence on the mind.
passed in a public garden belonging to the city Here, as I sat upon one of the benches, and felt the pleasing sympathy which nature in bloom in
spires, a disconsolate figure, who sat on the other imagination, even beyond the efforts of the Chinese end of the seat, seemed no way to enjoy the sereni- themselves. How were we enraptured with those ty of the season.
His dress was miserable beyond description: a threadbare coat of the rudest materials; a shirt, though clean, yet extremely coarse; hair that seemed to have been long unconscious of the comb; and all the rest of his equipage impressed with the marks of genuine poverty.
bold figures which sent every sentiment with force to the heart. How have we spent whole days together, in learning those arts by which European writers got within the passions, and led the reader as if by enchantment.
But though we have learned most of the rhetorical figures of the last age, yet there seems to be one As he continued to sigh, and testify every symp- or two of great use here, which have not yet traveltom of despair, I was naturally led, from a motive led to China. The figures I mean are called of humanity, to offer comfort and assistance. You Bawdry and Pertress: none are more fashionable; know my heart; and that all who are miserable none so sure of admirers; they are of such a namay claim a place there. The pensive stranger ture, that the merest blockhead, by a proper use of at first declined my conversation; but at last, per- them, shall have the reputation of a wit; they lie ceiving a peculiarity in my accent and manner of level to the meanest capacities, and address those thinking, he began to unfold himself by degrees. passions which all have, or would be ashamed to I now found that he was not so very miserable disown. as he at first appeared; upon my offering him a It has been observed, and I believe with some truth, small piece of money, he refused my favour, yet that it is very difficult for a dunce to obtain the rewithout appearing displeased at my intended gener-putation of a wit; yet, by the assistance of the osity. It is true, he sometimes interrupted the figure Bawdry, this may be easily effected, and a conversation with a sigh, and talked pathetically of bawdy blockhead often passes for a fellow of smart neglected merit; yet still I could perceive a serenity parts and pretensions. Every object in nature in his countenance, that, upon a closer inspection, helps the jokes forward, without scarcely any effort bespoke inward content. of the imagination. If a lady stands, something Upon a pause in the conversation, I was going very good may be said upon that; if she happens to take my leave, when he begged I would favour to fall, with the help of a little fashionable prurienhim with my company home to supper. I was cy, there are forty sly things ready on the occasurprised at such a demand from a person of his sion. But a prurient jest has always been found appearance, but willing to indulge curiosity, I ac- to give most pleasure to a few very old gentlemen, cepted his invitation; and, though I felt some re- who, being in some measure dead to other sensapugnance at being seen with one who appeared so feel the force of the allusion with double very wretched, went along with seeming alacrity. violence on the organs of risibility. Still as he approached nearer home, his good huAn author who writes in this manner is generalmour proportionably seemed to increase. At last ly sure therefore of having the very old and the he stopped, not at the gate of a hovel, but of a mag- impotent among his admirers; for these he may nificent palace! When I cast my eyes upon all the properly be said to write, and from these he ought sumptuous elegance which every where presented to expect his reward; his works being often a very upon entering, and then when I looked at my seem- proper succedaneum to cantharides, or an asafœtiing miserable conductor, I could scarcely think that da pill. His pen should be considered in the same all this finery belonged to him; yet in fact it did. light as the squirt of an apothecary, both being Numerous servants ran through the apartments directed to the same generous end. with silent assiduity; several ladies of beauty, and magnificently dressed, came to welcome his return; a most elegant supper was provided: in short, I found the person whom a little before I had sincerely pitied, to be in reality a most refined epicure, -one who courted contempt abroad, in order to feel with keener gust the pleasure of pre-eminence
From the Same.
But though this manner of writing be perfectly adapted to the taste of gentlemen and ladies of fashion here, yet still it deserves greater praise in being equally suited to the most vulgar apprehensions. The very ladies and gentlemen of Benin or Caffraria are in this respect tolerably polite, and might relish a prurient joke of this kind with critical propriety; probably too with higher gust, as they wear neither breeches nor petticoats to intercept the application.
It is certain I never could have thought the ladies here, biassed as they are by education, capable at once of bravely throwing off their prejudices, and not only applauding books in which this figure How often have we admired the eloquence of makes the only merit, but even adopting it in their Europe! that strength of thinking, that delicacy of own conversation.
Yet so it is: the pretty inno
cents now carry those books openly in their hands, of ingenuity, no other mechanical help but downwhich formerly were hid under the cushion: they right obscenity will suffice. By speaking of some now lisp their double meanings with so much grace, peculiar sensations, we are always sure of exciting and talk over the raptures they bestow with such laughter, for the jest does not lie in the writer, but little reserve, that I am sometimes reminded of a in the subject. custom among the entertainers in China, who think it a piece of necessary breeding to whet the appetites of their guests, by letting them smell dinner in the kitchen, before it is served up to table.
The veneration we have for many things, entirely proceeds from their being carefully concealed. Were the idolatrous Tartar permitted to lift the veil which keeps his idol from view, it might be a certain method to cure his future superstition: with what a noble spirit of freedom, therefore, must that writer be possessed, who bravely paints things as they are, who lifts the veil of modesty, who displays the most hidden recesses of the temple, and shows the erring people that the object of their vows is either, perhaps, a mouse or a monkey!
But Bawdry is often helped on by another figure, called Pertness; and few indeed are found to excel in one that are not possessed of the other.
As in common conversation, the best way to make the audience laugh is by first laughing yourself; so in writing, the properest manner is to show an attempt at humour, which will pass upon most for humour in reality. To effect this, readers must be treated with the most perfect familiarity: in one page the author is to make them a low bow, and in the next to pull them by the nose; he must talk in riddles, and then send them to bed in order to dream for the solution. He must speak of himself, and his chapters, and his manner, and what he would be at, and his own importance, and his mother's importance, with the most unpitying prolixity; and now and then testifying his contempt for all but himself, smiling without a jest, and without
However, though this figure be at present so much in fashion; though the professors of it are so much caressed by the great, those perfect judges of literary excellence; yet it is confessed to be only wit professing vivacity. Adieu. a revival of what was once fashionable here before. There was a time, when by this very manner of writing, the gentle Tom Durfey, as I read in English authors, acquired his great reputation, and became the favourite of a king.
From the Same.
The works of this original genius, though they never travelled abroad to China, and scarcely have THOUGH naturally pensive, yet I am fond of gay reached posterity at home, were once found upon company, and take every opportunity of thus disevery fashionable toilet, and made the subject of missing the mind from duty. From this motive, polite, I mean very polite conversation. "Has your I am often found in the centre of a crowd; and grace seen Mr. Durfey's last new thing, the Oylet wherever pleasure is to be sold, am always a purHole? A most facetious piece!-Sure, my lord, chaser. In those places, without being remarked all the world must have seen it; Durfey is cer- by any, I join in whatever goes forward; work my tainly the most comical creature alive. It is im- passions into a similitude of frivolous earnestness, possible to read his things and live. Was there shout as they shout, and condemn as they happen ever any thing so natural and pretty, as when the to disapprove. A mind thus sunk for a while be'Squire and Bridget meet in the cellar? And low its natural standard, is qualified for stronger then the difficulties they both find in broaching flights, as those first retire who would spring forthe beer-barrel are so arch and so ingenious: We ward with greater vigour. have certainly nothing of this kind in the language." In this manner they spoke then, and in this manner they speak now; for though the successor of Durfey does not excel him in wit, the world must confess he outdoes him in obscenity.
Attracted by the serenity of the evening, my friend and I lately went to gaze upon the company in one of the public walks near the city. Here we sauntered together for some time, either praising the beauty of such as were handsome, or the There are several very dull fellows, who, by a dresses of such as had nothing else to recommend few mechanical helps, sometimes learn to become them. We had gone thus deliberately forward for extremely brilliant and pleasing, with a little dex- some time, when stopping on a sudden, my friend terity in the management of the eyebrows, fingers, caught me by the elbow, and led me out of the and nose. By imitating a cat; a sow and pigs; by public walk. I could perceive by the quickness of a loud laugh, and a slap on the shoulder, the most his pace, and by his frequently looking behind, that ignorant are furnished out for conversation: But he was attempting to avoid somebody who followed: the writer finds it impossible to throw his winks, we now turned to the right, then to the left; as we his shrugs, or his attitudes, upon paper; he may went forward he still went faster, but in vain; the borrow some assistance, indeed, by printing his face person whom he attempted to escape hunted us at the title-page; but without wit, to pass for a man through every doubling, and gained upon us each
moment; so that at last we fairly stood still, re-the devil in my eating. I'll tell you a pleasant afsolving to face what we could not avoid. fair about that: we were a select party of us to
Our pursuer soon came up, and joined us with dine at Lady Grogram's, an affected piece, but let all the familiarity of an old acquaintance. "My it go no farther; a secret: well, there happened to dear Drybone," cries he, shaking my friend's hand, be no asafœtida in the sauce to a turkey, upon "where have you been hiding this half a century? which, says 1, I'll hold a thousand guineas, and say Positively I had fancied you were gone to cultivate done first, that—but dear Drybone, you are an honmatrimony and your estate in the country." Dur- est creature, lend me half-a-crown for a minute or ing the reply, I had an opportunity of surveying the two, or so, just till—but hearkee, ask me for it appearance of our new companion: his hat was the next time we meet, or it may be twenty to one pinched up with peculiar smartness; his looks were but I forget to pay you." pale, thin, and sharp; round his neck he wore a When he left us, our conversation naturally broad black riband, and in his bosom a buckle stud- turned upon so extraordinary a character. His ded with glass; his coat was trimmed with tarnished very dress, cries my friend, is not less extraordinary twist; he wore by his side a sword with a black than his conduct. If you meet him this day you hilt: and his stockings of silk, though newly washed, find him in rags, if the next, in embroidery. With were grown yellow by long service. I was so much those persons of distinction of whom he talks so engaged with the peculiarity of his dress, that I at- familiarly, he has scarcely a coffee-house acquainttended only to the latter part of my friend's reply, ance. However, both for the interests of society, in which he complimented Mr. Tibbs on the taste and perhaps for his own, Heaven has made him of his clothes, and the bloom in his countenance: poor, and while all the world perceive his wants, "Pshaw, pshaw, Will,” cried the figure, "no more he fancies them concealed from every eye. An of that if you love me : you know I hate flattery, on agreeable companion, because he understands flatmy soul I do; and yet, to be sure, an intimacy with tery; and all must be pleased with the first part of the great will improve one's appearance, and a his conversation, though all are sure of its ending course of venison will fatten; and yet, faith, I de- with a demand on their purse. While his youth spise the great as much as you do: but there are a countenances the levity of his conduct, he may great many damn'd honest fellows among them; thus earn a precarious subsistence, but when age and we must not quarrel with one half, because comes on, the gravity of which is incompatible the other wants weeding. If they were all such as with buffoonery, then will he find himself forsaken my Lord Mudler, one of the most good-natured by all; condemned in the decline of life to hang creatures that ever squeezed a lemon, I should my- upon some rich family whom he once despised, self be among the number of their admirers. I was there to undergo all the ingenuity of studied conyesterday to dine at the Duchess of Piccadilly's. tempt, to be employed only as a spy upon the serMy lord was there. Ned, says he to me, Ned, vants, or a bugbear to fright the children into obesays he, I'll hold gold to silver I can tell where you dience. Adieu.
were poaching last night. Poaching, my lord, says
I; faith you have missed already; for I staid at home, and let the girls poach for me.
That's my way; I take a fine woman, as some animals do their prey-stand still, and, swoop, they fall into my mouth."
To the Same.
"Ah, Tibbs, thou art a happy fellow," cried my] I AM apt to fancy I have contracted a new accompanion, with looks of infinite pity; "I hope quaintance whom it will be no easy matter to shake your fortune is as much improved as your under-off. My little beau yesterday overtook me again standing in such company?" "Improved," re- in one of the public walks, and slapping me on the plied the other; "you shall know, but let it go shoulder, saluted me with an air of the most perno farther, a great secret-five hundred a-year to fect familiarity. His dress was the same as usual, begin with.-My lord's word of honour for it-except that he had more powder in his hair, wore his lordship took me down in his own chariot yes- a dirtier shirt, a pair of temple spectacles, and his terday, and we had a tête-à-tête dinner in the coun- hat under his arm. try, where we talked of nothing else." "I fancy
As I knew him to be a harmless amusing little you forget, sir," cried I, "you told us but this mo- thing, I could not return his smiles with any dement of your dining yesterday in town." "Did I gree of severity; so we walked forward on terms say so?" replied he, coolly; "to be sure, if I said of the utmost intimacy, and in a few minutes disso, it was so dined in town; egad, now I do re- cussed all the usual topics preliminary to particular meraber, I did dine in town; but I dined in the conversation.
country too; for you must know, my boys, I eat The oddities that marked his character, howtwo dinners. By the by, I am grown as nice as ever, soon began to appear; he bowed to several