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pass at the foot of the Alps, found himself at last in a country where the inhabitants had each a large excrescence depending from the chin, like the pouch of a monkey. This deformity, as it was endemic, and the people little used to strangers, it had been the custom, time immemorial, to look upon as the greatest ornament of the human visage. Ladies grew toasts from the size of their chins ; and none were regarded as pretty fellows, but such whose faces were broadest at the bottom. It was Sunday, a country church was at hand, and our traveller was willing to perform the duties of the day. Upon his first appearance at the church-door, the eyes of all were naturally fixed upon the stranger ; but what was their amazement, when they found that he actually wanted that emblem of beauty, a pursed chin! This was a defect that not a single creature had sufficient gravity (though they were noted for being grave) to withstand. Stifled bursts of laughter, winks and whispers, circulated from visage to visage, and the prismatic figure of the stranger's face was a fund of infinite gaiety ; even the parson, equally remarkable for bis gravity and chin, could hardly refrain joining in the good-humour. Our traveller could no longer patiently continue an object for deformity to point at. “Good folks,” said he, “I perceive that I am the unfortunate cause of all this good-humour. It is true, I may have faults in abundance ; but I shall never be induced to reck. on my want of a swelled face among the num
which has excited either attention or praise, has owed part of its success to merit, and part to a happy concurrence of circumstances in its favour. Had Cæsar or Cromwell exchanged countries, the one might have been a sergeant, and the other an exciseman. So it is with wit, which generally succeeds more from being happily addressed, than from its native poignancy. A bon mot, for instance, that might be relished at White's, may lose all its flavour when delivered at the Cat and Bagpipes in St. Giles's. A jest, calculated to spread at a gaming-table, may be received with a perfect neutrality of face, should it happen to drop in a mackerel-boat. We have all seen dunces triumph in such companies, when men of real humour were disregarded, by a general combination in favour of stupidity. To drive the observation as far as it will go, should the labours of a writer, who designs his performances for readers of a more refined appetite, fall into the hands of a devourer of compilations, what can he expect but contempt and confusion ? If his merits are to be determined by judges, who estimate the value of a book from its bulk, or its frontispiece, every rival must acquire an easy superiority, who, with persuasive eloquence, promises four extraordinary pages of letter-press, or three beautiful prints, curiously coloured from nature.
But to proceed : though I cannot promise as much entertainment, or as much elegance, as others have done, yet the reader may be assured, he shall have as much of both as I can. He shall, at least, find me alive while I study his entertainment; for I solemnly assure him, I was never yet possessed of the secret at once of writing and sleeping
During the course of this paper, therefore, all the wit and learning I have are heartily at his service ; which if, atter so candid a confession, he should, notwithstanding, still find intolerably dull, low, or sad stuff, this I protest is more than I know. I have a clear conscience, and am entirely out of the secret.
Yet I would not have him, upon the perusal of a single paper, pronounce meincorrigible; he may try a second, which, as there is a studied difference in subject and style, may be more suited to his taste ; if this also fails, I must refer him to a third, or even to a fourth, in case of extremity. If he should still continue to be refractory, and find me dull to the last, I must inform him, with Bays in the Rehearsal, that I think him a very odd kind of a fellow, and desire no more of his acquaintance.
It is with such reflections as these I endeavour to fortify myself against the future contempt or neglect of some readers, and am prepared for their dislike by mutual recrimination. If such should impute dealing neither in battles nor scandal to me as a fault, instead of acquiescing in their censure, I must beg leave to tell them a story. A traveller, in his way to Italy, happening to
Our Theatres are now opened, and all Grubstreet is preparing its advice to the managers. We shall undoubtedly hear learned disquisitions on the structure of one actor's legs, and another's eye. brows. We shall be told much of enunciations, tones, and attitudes ; and shall have our liglitest pleasure commented upon by didactic dulness. We shall, it is feared, be told, that Garrick is a fine actor ; but then as a manager, so avaricious! That Palmer is a most surprising genius, and Ilol
* Dr. Goldsmith inserted this Introduction, with a few tritling alterations, in the volume of Essays he published in the year 1765.
land likely to do well in a particular cast of cha lighted up for his wedding; he flies, and turns one racter. We shall have them giving Shuter instruc of them into the socket : it is, however, lighted up tions to amuse us by rule, and deploring over the again ; he then steals to it, and privately crams it ruins of desolated majesty at Covent-Garden. As into his pocket. The Mock-Doctor was lately I love to be advising too, for advice is easily given, played at the other house. Here again the comeand bears a show of wisdom and superiority, I dian had an opportunity of heightening the ridimust be pernitted to offer a few observations upon cule by action. The French player sits in a chair our theatres and actors, without, on this trivial with a high back, and then begins to show away occasion, throwing my thoughts into the formality by talking nonsensc, which he would have thought of method.
Latin by those who he knows do not understand There is something in the deportment of all our a syllable of the matter. At last he grows enthuplayers infinitely more stiff and formal than among siastic, enjoys the admiration of the company, the actors of other nations. Their action sits un tosses his legs and arnis about, and, in the midst easy upon them; for, as the English use very little of his raptures and vociferation, he and the chair gesture in ordinary conversation, our English-bred fall back together. All this appears dull enough actors are obliged to supply stage gestures by their in the recital, but the gravity of Cato could not imagination alone. A French comedian finds stand it in the representation. In short, there is proper models of action in every company and in hardly a character in comedy to which a player of every coffee-house he enters. An Englishman is any real humour might not add strokes of vivacity obliged to take his models from the stage itself; that could not fail of applause. But, instead of he is obliged to imitate nature from an imitation this we too often see our fine gentlemen do noof nature. I know of no set of men more likely thing, through a whole part, but strut and open their to be improved by travelling than those of the snuff-box; our pretty fellows sit indecently with theatrical profession. The inhabitants of the con their legs across, and our clowns pull up their tinent are less reserved than here ; they may be breeches. These, if once, or even twice repeated, seen through upon a first acquaintance; such are might do well enough ; but to see them served up the proper models to draw from ; they are at once in every scene, argues the actor almost as barren striking, and are found in great abundance. as the character he would expose.
Though it would be inexcusable in a comedian The magnificence of our theatres is far superior to add any thing of his own to the poet's dialogue, to any others in Europe, where plays only are actyet, as to action, he is entirely at liberty. By this ed. The great care our performers take in painthe may show the fertility of his genius, the poig ing for a part, their exactness in all the minutiæ of nancy of his humour, and the exactness of his dress, and other little scenical properties, have been judgment : we scarcely see a coxcomb or a fool in taken notice of by Ricoboni, a gentleman of Italy, common life, that has not some peculiar oddity in who travelled Europe with no other design but to his action. These peculiarities it is not in the remark upon the stage ; but there are several impower of words to represent, and depend solely proprieties still continued, or lately come into upon the actor. They give a relish to the humour fashion. As, for instance, spreading a carpet of the poet, and make the appearance of nature punctually at the beginning of the death scene, in more illusive. The Italians, it is true, mask some order to prevent our actors from spoiling their characters, and endeavour to preserve the peculiar clothes ; this immediately apprises us of the tragehumour by the make of the mask ; but I have dy to follow ; for laying the cloth is not a more sure seen others still preserve a great fund of humour in indication of dinner, than laying the carpet of the face without a mask ; one actor, particularly, bloody work at Drury-Lane. Our little pages also, by a squint which he threw into some characters with unmeaning faces, that bear up the train of a of low life, assumed a look of infinite stolidity. | weeping princess, and our awkward lords in waitThis, though upon reflection we might condemn, ing, take off much from her distress. Mutes of yet immediately upon representation we could not every kind divide our attention, and lessen our avoid being pleased with. To illustrate what I sensibility ; but here it is entirely ridiculous, as we have been saying by the plays which I have of see them seriously employed in doing nothing. If late gone to see : in the Miser, which was played we must have dirty-shirted guards upon the theaa few nights ago at Covent-Garden, Lovegold ap tres, they should be taught to keep their eyes fixed pears through the whole in circumstances of ex on the actors, and not roll them round upon the aggerated avarice; all the player's action, there audience, as if they were ogling the boxes. fore, should conspire with the poet's design, and Beauty, methinks, scems a requisite qualificarepresent him as an epitome of penury. The tion in an actress. This seems scrupulously obFrench comedian, in this character, in the midst served elsewhere, and, for my part, I could wish of one of his most violent passions, while he ap to see it observed at home. I can never conceive pears in an ungovernable rage, feels the demon of a hero dying for love of a lady totally destitute of avarice still upon him, and stoops down to pick up beauty. I must think the part unnatural; for I a pin, which he quilts into the flap of his coat cannot bear to hear him call that face angelic, pochet with great assiduity. Two candles are where even paint cannot hide its wrinkles. Imust
condemn him of stupidity, and th: 2 person whom I An exultation in his own happiness, or his be. can accuse for want of taste, will seldom become ing unable to enjoy any satisfaction without making the object of my affections or admiration. But if his friend Septimius a partner, prevailed upon him this be a defect, what must be the entire perver to introduce his mistress to his fellow-studeni, sion of scenical decorum, when, for instance, we which he did with all the gaiety of a man who see an actress, that might act the Wapping land found himself equally happy in friendship and love. lady without a bolster, pining in the character of But this was an interview fatal to the peace of Jane Shure, and while unwieldy with fat, endea both. Septimius no sooner saw her, but he was vouring to convince the audience that she is dying smitten with an involuntary passion. He used with hunger !
every effort, but in vain, to suppress desires at once For the future, then, I could wish that the parts so imprudent and unjust. He retired to his apartof the young or beautiful were given to performers ment in inexpressible agony; and the emotions of of suitable figures; for I must own, I could rather his mind in a short time became so strong, that see the stage filled with agreeable objects, though they brought on a fever, which the physicians they might sometimes bungle a little, than see it judged incurable. crowded with withered or misshapen figures, be During this illness, Alcander watched him with their emphasis, as I think it is called, ever so proper. all the anxiety of fondness, and brought his misThe first may have the awkward appearance of tress to join in those amiable offices of friendship. new raised troops; but in viewing the last, I can The sagacity of the physicians, by this means, soon not avoid the mortification of fancying myself discovered the cause of their patient's disorder; placed in an hospital of invalids.
and Alcander, being apprized of their discovery, at length extorted a confession from the reluctant dying lover.
It would but delay the narrative to describe the
conflict between love and friendship in the breast THE STORY OF ALCANDER AND SEPTIMIUS. of Alcander on this occasion; it is enough to say,
that the Athenians were at this time arrived to Translated from a Byzantine Historian. such refinement in morals, that every virtue was
carried to excess. In short, forgetful of his own ATHENS, even long before the decline of the
felicity, he gave up his intended bride, in all her Roman empire, still continued the seat of learning, charms, to the young Roman. They were married politeness, and wisdom. The emperors and gene privately by his connivance; and this unlooked-for rals, who in these periods of approaching ignorance, change of fortune wrought as unexpected a change still felt a passion for science, from time to time in the constitution of the now happy Septimius. added to its buildings, or increased its professor In a few days he was perfectly recovered, and set ships. Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, was of the num out with his fair partner for Rome. Here, by an ber; he repaired those schools, which barbarity exertion of those talents of which he was so emiwas suffering to fall into decay, and continued nently possessed, he in a few years arrived at the those pensions to men of learning, which avari highest dignities of the state, and was constituted cious governors had monopolized to themselves. the city judge, or prætor.
In this city, and about this period, Alcander Meanwhile, Alcander not only felt the pain of and Septimius were fellow-students together. The being separated from his friend and mistress, but a one the most subtle reasoner of all the Lyceum ; prosecution was also commenced against hiin by the other the most eloquent speaker in the academic the relations of Hypatia, for his having basely given grove. Mutual admiration soon begot an ac. her up, as was suggested, for money. Neither his quaintance, and a similitude of disposition made innocence of the crime laid to his charge, nor his them perfect friends. Their fortunes were nearly cloquence in his own defence, was able to wathequal, their studies the same, and they were na stand the influence of a powerful party. He was tives of the two most celebrated cities in the world; cast, and condemned to pay an enormous fine. for Alcandar was of Athens, Septimius came from Unable to raise so large a sum at the time apRome.
pointed, bis possessions were contiscated, himself In this mutual harmony they lived for some time stripped of the habit of freedom, exposed in the together, when Alcander, after passing the first market-place, and sold as a slave to the highest part of his youth in the indolence of philosophy, bidder. thought at length of entering into the busy world, A merchant of Thrace becoming his purchaser, and as a step previous to this, placed his affections Alcander, with some other companions of distress, on llypatia, a lady of exquisite beauty. Hypatia was carried into the region of desolation and steshowed no dislike to his addresses. The day of rility. His stated employment was to follow the their intended nuptials was fixed, the previous herds of an imperious master; and his skill in ceremonies were performed, and nothing now rc hunting was all that was allowed him to supply a mained but her being conducted in triumph to the precarious existence. Condemned to hopeless apartment of the intended bridegroom.
servitude, every morning waked him to a renewal
of famine or toil, and every change of season serv ing him in such circumstances. Thus agitated by ed but to aggravate his unsheltered distress. No contending passions, he few from his tribunal, and thing but death or flight was left him, and almost falling on the neck of his dear benefactor, burst certain death was the consequence of his attempt into an agony of distress. The attention of the ing to fly. After some years of bondage, however, multitude was soon, however, divided by another an opportunity of escaping offered; he embraced it object. The robber who had been really guilty, with ardour, and travelling by night, and lodging was apprehended selling his plunder, and struck in caverns by day, to shorten a long story, he at with a panic, confessed his crime. He was brought last arrived in Rome. The day of Alcander's ar bound to the same tribunal, and acquitted every rival, Septimius sat in the forum administering other person of any partnership in his guilt. Need justice; and hither our wanderer came, expecting the sequel be related ? Alcander was acquitted, to be instantly known, and publicly acknowledged. shared the friendship and the honours of his friend Here he stood the whole day among the crowd, Septimius, lived afterwards in happiness and ease, watching the eyes of the judge, and expecting to and left it to be engraved on his tomb, “ That no be taken notice of; but so much was he altered by circumstances are so desperate which Providence a long succession of hardships, that he passed en
may not relieve.” tirely without notice; and in the evening, when he was going up to the prætor's chair, he was brutally repulsed by the attending lictors. The attention of the poor is generally driven from one A LETTER FROM A TRAVELLER. ungrateful object to another. Night coming on, he now found himself under a necessity of seeking
Cracow, August 2, 1758. a place to lie in, and yet knew not where to apply. All emaciated and in rags as he was, none
MY DEAR WILL, of the citizens would harbour so much wretched You see by the date of my letter that I am arness, and sleeping in the streets might be attend rived in Poland. When will my wanderings be ed with interruption or danger: in short, he was at an end ? When will my restless disposition obliged to take up his lodging in one of the tombs give me leave to enjoy the present hour ? When without the city, the usual retreat of guilt, poverty, at Lyons, I thought all happiness lay beyond the or despair.
Alps : when in Italy, I found myself still in want In this mansion of horror, laying his head upon of something, and expected to leave solicitude bean inverted urn, he forgot his miseries for a while hind me by going into Romelia ; and now you in sleep; and virtue found, on this flinty couch, find me turning back, still expecting ease every more ease than down can supply to the guilty. where but where I am. It is now seven years
It was midnight when two robbers came to make since I saw the face of a single creature who carthis cave their retreat, but happening to disagree ed a farthing whether I was dead or alive. Scabout the division of their plunder, one of them cluded from all the comforts of confidence, friendstabbed the other to the heart, and left him welter- ship, or society, I feel the solitude of a hermit, but ing in blood at the entrance. In these circum not his ease. stances he was found next morning, and this natu The prince of *** has taken me in his train, so rally induced a further inquiry. The alarm was that I am in no danger of starving for this bout. spread, the cave was examined, Alcander was The prince's governor is a rude ignorant pedant, found sleeping, and immediately apprehended and and his tutor a battered rake; thus, between two accused of robbery and murder. The circum such characters, you may imagine he is finely instances against him were strong, and the wretched structed. I made some attempts to display all the ness of his appearance confirmed suspicion. Mis little knowledge I had acquired by reading or obfortune and he were now so long acquainted, that servation ; but I find myself regarded as an ignohe at last became regardless of life. He detested a rant intruder. The truth is, I shall never be able world where he had found only ingratitude, false to acquire a power of expressing myself with ease hood, and cruelty, and was determined to make no in any language but my own; and, out of my own defence. Thus, lowering with resolution, he was country, the highest character I can ever acquire, dragged, bound with cords, before the tribunal of is that of being a philosophic vagabond. Septimius. The proofs were positive against him, When I consider myself in the country which and he offered nothing in his own vindication; the was once so formidable in war, and spread terror judge, therefore, was proceeding to doom him to a and desolation over the whole Roman empire, I most cruel and ignominious death, when, as if illu can hardly account for the present wretchedness mined by a ray from Heaven, he discovered, and pusillaninity of its inhabitants : a prey to through all his misery, the features, though dim every invader ; their cities plundered without an with sorrow, of his long-lost, loved Alcander. It is enemy ; their magistrates secking redress by coniimpossible to describe lus joy and his pain on this plaints, and not by vigour. Every thing conspires strange occasion; happy in once more seeing the to raise my compassion for their miscries, were person he most loved on earth, distressed at find not my thoughts too busily engaged by my own.
The whole kingdom is in a strange disorder : The romantic system of Descartes was adapted to when our equipage, which consists of the prince the taste of the superficial and the indolent; the and thirteen attendants, had arrived at some foreign universities had embraced it with ardour, towns, there were no conveniences to be found, and and such are seldom convinced of their errors till we were obliged to have girls to conduct us to the all others give up such false opinions as untenable. next. I have seen a woman travel thus on horse The philosophy of Newton, and the metaphysics back before us for thirty miles, and think herself of Locke, appeared ; but, like all new truths, they highly paid, and make twenty reverences, upon were at once received with opposition and conreceiving, with ecstacy, about twopence for her tempt. The English, it is true, studied, undertrouble. In general, we were better served by stood, and consequently admired them ; it was the women than the men on those occasions. very different on the continent. Fontenelle, who The men seemed directed by a low sordid interest seemed to preside over the republic of letters, unalone : they seemed mere machines, and all their willing to acknowledge that all his life had been thoughts were employed in the care of their hor
spent in erroneous philosophy, joined in the unises. If we gently desired them to make more versal disapprobation, and the English philosospeed, they took not the least notice ; kind lan phers seemed entirely unknown. guage was what they had by no means been used Maupertuis, however, made them his study ; to. It was proper to speak to them in the tones
he thought he might oppose the physics of his of anger, and semetimes it was even necessary to country, and yet still be a good citizen ; he deuse blows, to excite them to their duty. How fended our countrymen, wrote in their favour, and different these from the common people of Eng. at last, as he had truth on his side, carried his land, whom a blow might induce to return the af cause. Almost all the learning of the English, till front seven fold! These poor people, however, very lately, was conveyed in the language of from being brought up to vile usage, lose all the France. The writings of Maupertuis spread the respect which they should have for themselves.
reputation of his master, Newton, and, by a hapThey have contracted a habit of regarding con py fortune, have united his fame with that of our straint as the great rule of their duty. When human prodigy. they were treated with mildness, they no longer The first of his performances, openly, in vindicontinued to perceive a superiority. They fan cation of the Newtonian system, is his treatise, cied themselves our equals, and a continuance of entitled, Sur la figure des Astres, if I remember our humanity might probably have rendered them right; a work at once expressive of a deep geinsolent ; but the imperious tone, menaces and ometrical knowledge, and the most happy manner blows, at once changed their sensations and their of delivering abstruse science with ease. This ideas; their ears and shoulders taught their met with violent opposition from a people, though souls to shrink back into servitude, from which fond of novelty in every thing else, yet, however, they had for some moments fancied themselves
in matters of science, attached to ancient opinions disengaged.
with bigotry. As the old and obstinate fell away, The enthusiasm of liberty an Englishman feels the youth of France embraced the new opinions, is never so strong, as when presented by such and now seem more eager to defend Newton than prospects as these. I must own, in all my indi even his countrymen. gence, it is one of my comforts (perhaps, ir.deed, The oddity of character which great men are it is my only boast,) that I am of that happy coun sometimes remarkable for, Maupertuis was not try; though I scorn to starve there ; though I do entirely free from. If we can believe Voltaire, he not choose to lead a lite of wretched dependence, once attempted to castrate himself ; but whether or be an object for my former acquaintance to this be true or no, it is certain he was extremely point at. While you enjoy all the ease and ele whimsical. Though born to a large fortune, when gance of prudence and virtue, your old friend employed in mathematical inquiries, he disregardwanders over the world, without a single anchor ed his person to such a degree, and loved retireto hold by, or a friend except you to confide in.* ment so much, that he has been more than once
Yours, etc. put on the list of modest beggars by the curates
of Paris, when he retired to some private quarter of the town, in order to enjoy his meditations without interruption. The character given of him by one of Voltaire's antagonists, if he can be
depended upon, is much to his honour. “You,” Mr. Maupertuis lately deceased, was the first
says this writer to Mr. Voltaire, “ were entertainto whom the English pbilosophers owed their be
ed by the King of Prussia as a buffoon, but Mauing particularly admired by the rest of Europe.
pertnis as a philosopher.” It is certain, that the
preference which this royal scholar gave to Mau* The sequel of this correspondence to be continued occasionally. I shall alter nothing either in the
pertuis was the cause of Voltaire's disagreement style or substance of these letters, and the reader may
with him. Voltaire could not bear to see a man depend on their being genuine.
whose talents he had no great opinion of preferred
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