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val; and night itself, which gives others rest, only serves to increase the female gamester's industry. I have been told of an old lady in the country, who, being given over by the physicians, played with the curate of her parish to pass her time away: having won all his money, she next proposed playing for her funeral charges; her proposal was accepted; but unfortunately the lady expired just as she had taken in her game.
There are some passions, which, though differently pursued, are attended with equal consequences in every country; here they game with more perseverance, there with greater fury; here they strip their families, there they strip themselves naked. A lady in China, who indulges 'a passion for gaming, often becomes a drunkard ; and by flourishing a dice-box in one hand, she generally comes to brandish a dram cup in the other. Far be it from me to say there are any who drink drams in England; but it is natural to suppose, that when a lady has lost every thing else but her honour, she will be apt to lose that into the bargain; and grown insensible to nicer feeling, behave like the Spaniard, who, when all his money was gone, endeavoured to borrow more, by offer. ing to pawn his whiskers. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO ****, MERCHANT
I HAVE just received a letter from my son, in which he informs me of the fruitlessness of his endeavours to recover the lady with whom he fled from Persia. He ftrives to cover, under the appearance of fortitude, a heart torn with anxiety and disappointment. I have offered little consolation, since that but too frequently feeds the sorrow which it pretends to deplore, and strengthens the impression which nothing but the external rubs of time and accident can thoroughly efface.
He informs me of his intentions of quitting Moscow the first opportunity, and travelling by land to Amster. dam. I must, therefore, upon his arrival, entreat the continuance of our friendship; and beg you to provide him with proper directions for finding me in London. You can scarcely be sensible of the joy I expect upon seeing him once more: the ties between the father and the fon among us of China, are much more closely drawn than with you of Europe.
The remittances sent me from Argun to Moscow came in safety. I cannot fufficiently admire that spirit of honesty which prevails through the whole country of Siberia: perhaps the savages of that desolate region are the only untutored people of the globe that cultivate the moral virtues, even without knowing that their actions merit praise. I have been told surprising things of their goodness, benevolence, and generosity; and the unin. terrupted commerce between China and Russia serves as a collateral confirmation.
" Let us,” says the Chinese law-giver, “ admire the rude virtues of the ignorant, but rather imitate the deli. cate morals of the polite.” In the country where I re. side, though honesty and benevolence be not so conge. nial, yet art supplies the place of nature. Though here every vice is carried to excess, yet every virtue is practised also with unexampled superiority. A city like this is the soil for great virtues and great vices; the villain can soon improve here in the deepest mysteries of de. ceiving; and the practical philosopher can every day meet new incitements to mend his honest intention. There are no pleasures, sensual or sentimental, which this city does not produce; yet, I know not how, I could not be content to reside here for life. There is something so seducing in that spot in which we first had existence, that nothing but it can please ; whatever vi. cissitudes we experience in life, however we toil, or wheresoever we wander, our fatigued wishes still recur to home for tranquillity, we long to die in that spot which gave us birth, and in that pleasing expectation opiate every calamity.
You now, therefore, perceive that I have some intentions of leaving this country; and yet iny designed de. parture fills me with reluctance and regret. Though the friendships of travellers are generally more tranfient than vernal snows, still I feel an uneasiness at breaking the connexions I have formed since my arrival ; particularly I shall have no small pain in leaving my usual companion, guide, and instructor.
I shall wait for the arrival of my son before I set out. He shall be my companion in every intended journey for the future ; in his company I can support the fatigues of the way with redoubled ardour, pleased at once with conveying instruction and exacting obedience. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO FUM HOAM, FIRST
PRESIDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA.
V UR scholars of China have a most profound veneration for forms. A first-rate beauty never studied the decorums of dress with more assiduity ; they may properly enough be said to be clothed with wisdom from head to foot; they have their philosophical caps and phi. losophical whiskers, their philosophical slippers and phi. losophical fans; there is even a philosophical standard for measuring the nails; and yet, with all this seeming wisdom, they are often found to be mere empty pretenders.
A philosophical beau is not so frequent in Europe; yet I am told that such characters are found here. I mean such as punctually support all the decorums of learning without being really very profound, or naturally possessed of a fine understanding, who labour hard to obtain the titular honours attending literary merit, who flatter others, in order to be flattered in turn, and only study to be thought students.
A character of this kind generally receives company in his study, in all the pensive formality of slippers, night-gown, and easy chair. The table is covered with a large book, which is always kept open, and never read; his solitary hours being dedicated to dozing, mending pens, feeling his pulse, peeping through the microscope, and sometimes reading amusing books, which he con. demns in company. His library is preserved with the most religious neatness, and is generally a repository of scarce books, which bear an high price, because too dull or useless to become common by the ordinary methods of publication.
Such men are generally candidates for admittance into literary clubs, academies, and institutions, where they regularly meet to give and receive a little instruction, and a great deal of praise. In conversation they never betray ignorance, because they never seem to receive informa. tion. Offer a new observation, they have heard it be. fore; pinch them in an argument, and they reply with a sneer. " Yet how trifling soever these little arts may appear, they answer one valuable purpose of gaining the practisers the esteem they wish for. The bounds of a man's knowledge are easily concealed, if he has but prudence; but all can readily see and admire a gilt library, a set of long nails, a silver standish, or a well-combed whisker, who are incapable of diftinguishing a dunce.
When Father Matthew, the first European missioner, entered China, the court was informed that he possessed great skill in astronomy; he was therefore sent for and examined. The established astronomers of state under. took this task; and made their report to the emperor, that his skill was but very superficial, and no way comparable to their own. The missioner, however, appealed from their judgment to experience, and challenged them to calculate an eclipse of the moon, that was to happen a few nights following. “ What, (faid fome,) shall a barbarian, without nails, pretend to vie with men in