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those which he has collected for his pocket, his drawing-room, and his cellar. He has, perhaps, established a kind of commercial treaty with our polite neighbours, and has exchanged simplicity for artifice, candour for affectation, steadiness for frivolity, and principle for libertiuism. If he has continued long among the votaries of fashion, gallantry, and wit, he must be a perfect Grandison if he return not to his native country in manners a monkey, in attainments a sciolist, and in religion a sceptic.
From the expedition of some travellers, we are not to conclude, that knowledge of the world may be caught with a glance; or, in other words, that they are geniuses who “ grasp a system by intui. tion.” They might gain as much information if they skimmed over the continent with a balloon. The various places they fly through appear like the shifting scenes of a pantomime, which just catch the eye, and obliterate the faint impressions of each other. We are told of a noble Roman, who could recollect all the articles that had been purchased at an auction, and the names of the several buyers. The memory of our travellers ought to be of equal capacity and retentiveness, considering the short time they allow themselves for the inspection of curiosities.
The fact is, these birds of passage consult more for their fame than their improvement. To ride post through Europe is, in their opinion, an achievement of no small glory. Like Powel, the celebrated walker, their object is to go and return in the shortest time possible. It is not easy to de
termine how they can more profitably employ their whiffling activity than by commencing jockeys, expresses, or mail-coachmen.
Ignorance of the modern languages, and particularly the French, is a material obstacle against an Englishman's reaping the desired advantages from bis travels. It is a common custom to postpone any application to them until a few months before the grand tour is commenced. The scholar vainly supposes that his own moderate diligence, and his master's compendious mode of teaching, will work wonders, by making him a complete linguist. From a slight knowledge of the customary forms of address, and a few detached words, the French language is supposed to be very easy. No allowance is made for the variety of the irregular verbs, the nice combination of particles, the peculiar turn of fashionable phrases, and the propriety of pronunciation. The great deficiencies in all these particu. lars are abundantly apparent as soon as milord Anglois lands on the other side of the channel. After venturing to tell his friends, to whoni he has letters of recommendation, that he is ravished to see them, his conversation is at an end. His contracted brow, faultering tongue, and embarrassed air, discover that he labours with ideas which he wants words to express. Even the most just remarks, the most brilliant conceptions of wit, are smothered in their birth. To such a distressing case the ohservation of Horace will not apply
Verbaque provisam rem non invita sequentur.
If he can arrive, after much stammering and he
sitation, at the arrangement of a sentence, it abounds with such blunders and anglicisms as require all the politeness even of a Frenchman to excuse. Frequent attempts will, without doubt, produce flu. ency, and constant care will secure correctness; but the misfortune is, that the young traveller is employed by words, when his mind ought to be engaged with things. It is not less upseasonable than ridiculous, that he should be perplexing himself with the distinction between femme suge and sage femme, when he ought to be examining the amphitheatre at Nîmes, or the canal at Languedoc. - Ignorance of the languages is a great inducement to the English to associate together when abroad. The misfortune of this practice is, that they spend their time in poisoning each other's minds with prejudices against foreigners of whom they know little from personal experience, and of whom they have not the laudable ambition of knowing more. Their 'more active employments consist in such diversion as they have transplanted from home. They game, play at cricket, and ride races. The Frenchman grins a contemptuous smile at these exhibitions; and shrewdly remarks, that Monsieur John Bull travels more to divert him than to improve himself. Rather than give occasion for this ridicule, our young gentlemen had better remain at home, upon their paternal estates, and collect their knowledge of other countries from Brydone's Tour, Moore's Travels, or Kearsley's Guides. Q.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1787.
To the Author of the Olla Podrida.
- When I did hear
Shakspeare. SIR, MANY people indulge themselves in the too frequent introduction of what they are pleased to call moral sentiment into their conversation. Whilst they are thus endeavouring, by the trite precepts of dull and sententious gravity, to inculcate the lessons of virtue, they oftentimes put common sense to the blush, and generally make that ridiculous which they wish should appear amiable. I shall endeavour to illustrate my observation, by presenting you with a short sketch of a relation, with whom, as a boy of sixteen, in the intervals of school vacation, I have occasionally spent a week or two.
Mr. Solomon Hatchpenny is an uncle of mine, who being most part of the week a tobacconist in the Borough, is on Saturday and Sunday a country gentleman, dwelling four miles from London. He is a very good sort of man, goes to church every
Sunday, where he shuts his eyes, but declares he never sleeps; has three wigs, pays every one his own, and keeps a four-wheel chaise. His countryhouse, which has been greatly improved since he bought it, by the addition of a bow window and a bench, stands within three yards of the road; and, as he is unwilling to display less grandeur than his neighbours, he has laid out his ground, consisting of a garden of forty-four square feet, with that taste by which the family of the Hatchpennys has erer been distinguished. It contains a basin with the usual compliment of two artificial swans (which my uncle assures me when he bought them were as white as alabaster) and a gravel walk, each end of which is guarded by a pasteboard grenadier. In the middle of his walk is a dial, from which the morning sun is excluded by the grenadier's cap; and upon his house are three weathercocks, each pointing a different way. He generally takes an opportunity to prove to his guests, that his sentinels are as exact representations of live soldiers as can come from the hands of a painter and glazier, by informing them, that a sparrow having settled on the shoulder of one of them, he heard a child, who on passing, exclaimed, “Look, mamma, the corporal has caught a bird." This circumstance is to Mr. Hatchpenny a source of heart-felt satisfaction: he attributes the mistake of the child to his own skill in furnishing the deceit. He is pleased with the idea that he has given proof of his understanding in the very instance which declares his want of it. He is an example of happiness arising from ignorauce, which, contrary to the lot of every other species of happiness, no man envies