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not see from whence it came, addressed us in this manner :

“ If you would find the goddess of grace, seek her not under one form, for the assumes a thousand. Ever changing under the eye of inspection, her variety, rather than her figure, is pleasing. In contemplating her beauty, the eye glides over every perfection with giddy delight, and capable of fixing no where, is charmed with the whole.* She is now contemplation with solemn look, again compassion with humid eye; she now sparkles with joy, soon every feature speaks distress: her looks at times invite our approach, at others repress our presumption ; the goddess cannot be properly called beautiful under any one of these forms, but by combining them all, she becomes irresistibly pleasing.” Adieu.

LETTER LXXVII.

FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST

PRESIDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CH IN A.

I HE shops of London are as well furnished as those of Pekin. Those of London have a picture hung at their doors, informing the passengers what they have to sell, as those at Pekin have a board to assure the buyer that they have no intention to cheat him.

I was this morning to buy silk for a night-cap: immediately upon entering the mercer's shop, the master and

* Vultus nimium lubricus afpici. Hor.

and his two men, with wigs plaistered with powder, ap. peared to ask my commands. They were certainly the civilest people alive; if I but looked, they flew to the place where I cast my eye; every motion of mine fent them running round the whole shop for my satisfaction. I informed them that I wanted what was good, and they shewed me no less than forty pieces, and each was better than the former; the prettiest pattern in nature, and the fittest in the world for night-caps.—My very good friend, faid I to the mercer, you must not pretend to inftruet me in silks, I know these in particular to be no better than your mere flimsey bungees. “ That may be,” cried the mercer, who I afterwards found had never contradicted a man in his life,“ I can't pretend to fay but they may, but I assure you, my lady Trail has had a facque from this piece this very morning.” But friend, said I, though my lady has chosen a sacque from it, I see no necessity I should wear it for a night-cap. " That may be," returned he again, " yet what becomes a pretty lady will, at any time look well on a handsome gentleman.” This short compliment was thrown in fo very feasonably upon my ugly face, that even though I disliked the filk, I desired him to cut me off the pattern of a night-cap.

While this business was consigned to his journey-man, the master himself took down some pieces of silk still finer than any I had yet feen, and spreading them before me, “ There,” cries he, “ there's beauty : my Lord Snakeskin has bespoke the fellow to this for the birthnight, this very morning; it would look charmingly in waistcoats.” But I dont want a waistcoat, replied I: “ Not want a waistcoat,” returned the mercer, then I would advise you to buy one ; when waistcoats are wan

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ted, you may depend upon it, they will come dear. Always buy before you want, and you are sure to be well used, as they say in Cheapside.” There was so much justice in his advice, that I could not refuse taking it ; besides the filk, which was really a good one, increased the temptation, so I gave orders for that too.

As I was waiting to have my bargains measured and cut, which, I know not how, they executed but slowly; during the interval the mercer entertained me with the modern manner of some of the nobility receiving company in their morning gowns; "perhaps, Sir, (adds he,) you have a mind to see what kind of silk is universally worn.” Without waiting for my reply, he spreads a piece before me which might be reckoned beautiful even in China. " If the nobility, (continues he,) were to know I sold this to any under a right honourable, I should certainly lose their custom ; you see it is at once rich, tafty, and quite the thing.”—I am no lord, interrupted 1.-" I beg pardon, (cried he,) but be pleased to remember, when you intend buying a morning gown, that you had an offer from me of something worth money. Conscience, Sir, conscience is my way of deal. ing: you may buy a morning gown now, or you may stay till they become dearer and less fashionable ; but it is not my business to advise.” In short, most reverend Fum, he' persuaded me to buy a morning gown also, and would probably have persuaded me to have bought half the goods in his shop, if I stayed long enough, or was furnished with sufficient money.

Upon returning home, I could not help reflecting with some astonishment, how this very man, with such a confined education, and capacity, was yet capable of turning me as he thought proper, and molding me to his inclinations! I knew he was only answering his own purposes, even while he attempted to appear solicitous about mine; yet, by a voluntary infatuation, a sort of passion, compounded of vanity and good nature, I walked into the same snare with my eyes open, and put myself to future pain, in order to give him immediate pleasure. The wisdom of the ignorant somewhat resembles the instinct of animals; it is diffused in but a very narrow sphere, but within the circle it acts with vi. gour, uniformity, and success. Adieu.

LETTER LXXVIII.

FROM THE SAME.

T' ROM my former accounts, you may be apt to fancy, the English the most ridiculous people under the sun. They are indeed ridiculous : yet every other nation in Europe is equally fo; each laughs at each, and the Afiatic at all. · I may, upon an another occasion, point out what is most strikingly absurd in other countries : I shall at present confine myself only to France. The first national peculiarity a traveller meets upon entering that kingdom, is an odd sort of staring vivacity in every eye, not excepting even the children ; the people, it seems, have got into their heads, that they have more wit than others, and so stare in order to look smart.

I know not how it happens, but there appears a fickly delicacy in the faces of their finest women. This may

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have introduced the use of paint, and paint produces wrinkles ; so that a fine lady shall look like an hag at twenty-three. But as in some measure they never appear young, so it may be equally asserted, that they actually think themselves never old; a gentle miss shall prepare for new conquests at sixty, shall hobble a rigadoon, when she can scarce walk without a crutch, she shall affect the girl, play her fan and her eyes, and talk of sentiments, bleeding hearts, and expiring for love, when actually dying with age. Like a departing philosopher, she attempts to make her last moments the moft brilliant of her life.

Their civility to strangers is what they are chiefly proud of; and to confess sincerely, their beggars are the very politeft beggars I ever knew; in other places a traveller is addressed with a piteous whine, or a sturdy fo. lemnity, but a French beggar shall ask your charity with a very genteel bow, and thank you for it with a smile and shrug.

Another instance of this people's breeding I must not forget. An Englishman would not speak his native language in a company of foreigners, where he was fure. that none understood him; a travelling Hottentot himself would be silent, if acquainted only with the language of his country ; but a Frenchman shall talk to you, whether you understand his language or not, never troubling his head whether you have learned French, still he keeps up the conversation, fixes his eyes full in your face, and asks a thousand questions, which he answers himself for want of a more satisfactory reply.

But their civility to foreigners is not half so great as their admiration of themselves. Every thing that be.

VOL. II.

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