« PreviousContinue »
$ 115. Cantroversy seldom decently conducted. hope of contributing reciprocally to the
'Tis no uncommon circumstance in con- entertainment of the company. Merritroversy, for the parties to engage in all ment extorted by fallies of imagination. the fury of difputation, without precisely prightlinels of remark, or quickness of inftructing their readers, or truly knowing reply, is toonften what the Latins call, the themselves, the particulars about which
Sardinian laughter, a distortion of face they differ. Hence that fruitless parade without gladnels of the heart. of argument, and those opposite pretences
For this reason no itile of conversation is to demonftration, with which most de
more extensively acceptable than the narbates, on every subject, have been infefted, rative. He who has fored his memory Would the contending partics first besure
with flight anecdotes, private incidents, and of their own meaning, and then communi perfonal peculiarities, seldom fails to find cate their sense to others in plain terms
his audience favourablc. Almost every and fimplicity of heart, the face of contro
man listens with eagerness to extemporary verly would soon be changed, and real
history; for almott every man has some knowledge, inftead of imaginary conquest,
helt real or imaginary connection with a celewould be che noble reward of literary toil.
brated character, fome desire to advance **Browne's Elias or oppose a rising name. Vanity often co
operates with curioîty. He that is a hearer § 116. How to please in Conversation.
in Concuerfation in one place, qualifies himself to become a
speaker in another; for though he cannot None of the desires dicated by vanity is comprehend a series of argument, or transmore general, or less blameable than that port the volatile spirit of wit without evaof being distinguished for the arts of con- poration, yet he thinks himself able to versation. Other accomplishments may be treasure up the various incidents of a story, poffefied without opportunity of exerting and pleases his hopes with the informathem, or wanted without danger that the tion which he thall give to some inferior defect can often be remarked ; but as no suciety. man can live otherwise than in an hermi- Narratives are for the most part heard tage without hourly pleasure or vexation, without envy, because they are not fup. froin the fondness or neglect of those about posed to imply any intellectual qualities him, the faculty of giving pleasure is of above the common rate. To be acquaintcontinual use. Few are more frequently ed with facts not yet echoed by plebeian envied than those who have the power of mouths, may happen to one man as well forcing attention wherever they come, as to another, and to relate them when whose entrance is considered as a promise they are known, has in appearance so very of felicity, and whose departure is lament- little difficulty, that every one concludes ed, like the recess of the sun from northern himself equal to the task. Rambler. climates, as a privation of all that enlivens fancy and inspires gaiety.
$117. The various Faults in Conversation It is apparent that to excellence in this
and Behaviour pointed out, valuable art, some peculiar qualifications are necessary; for every man's experience I shall not attempt to lay down any parwill inform him, that the pleasure which ticular rules for conversation, but rather men are able to give in cinversation holds point out such faults in discourse and beno flated proportion to their knowledge or haviour, as render the company of half their virtue. Many find their way to the mankind rather tedious than amusing. It tables and the parties of those, who never is in vain, indeed, to look for conversation, consider them as of the least importance in where we might expect to find it in the any other place; we have all, ac or,e time greatest perfection, among perfons of or other, been content to love those whom falhion : there it is almoit annihilated by we could not ctleem, and been persuaded to , universal card-playing : insomuch that I try the dingerous experiment of admitiing have heard it given as a reason, why it is him for a cumpanion whom we know tube impossible for our present writers to suc. too ign rant for a cownicilor, and too trea. ceed in the dialogue of genteel comedy, cherous for a friend.
that our people of quality carce ever meet He that would please must rarely aim at but to game. All their discourse turns such excellence as de presses his hearers in upon the odd trick and the four honours : their own opinion, or debars them froin the and it is no less 2 inaxim wich the votaries
of whist than with those of Bacchus, that force of expression : they dwell on the imtalking spoils company.
portant particles of and the, and the figniEvery one endeavours to make himself ficant conjunctive and; which they seem as agreeable to society as he can; but it to hawk up, with much difficulty, out of often happens, that those who moft aim at thcir own throats, and to cram them, with fhining in conversation), over-shoot their no less pain, into the ears of their auditors. mark. Though a man succeeds, he should There should be suffered only to fyringe not (as is frequently the case) engross the (as it were) the ears of a deaf man, through whole talk to himself ; for that destroys an hearing-trumpet : though I must conthe very eflence of conversation, which is fels, that I am equally offended with the talking together. We should try to keep Whisperers or Low Speakers, who seem to up convertation like a ball bandied to and fancy all their acquaintance deaf, and come fro from one to the other, rather than seize up so close to you, that they may be said it all to ourselves, and drive it before us to measure noses with you, and frequentlike a foot-ball. We should likewise be ly overcome you with the full exhalations eautious to adapt the matter of our dif- of a stinking breath. I would have these course to our company; and not talk Greek oracular gentry obliged to talk at a dirbefore ladies, or of the last new furbelow tance through a speaking-trumpet, or apto a meeting of country justices.
ply their lips to the walls of a whispering But nothing throws a more ridiculous gallery. The Wits, who will not conde. air over the whole conversation, than cer- fcend to utter any thing but a bon mct, and tain peculiarities, easily acquired, but very the Whistlers or Tune-hummers, who never difficultly conquered and discarded. In articulate at all, may be joined very agreeorder to display their absurdities in a truer ably together in concert; and to those tinklight, it is my present purpose to enume- ling cymbals I would also add the foundrate such of them, as are most commonlying brass, the Bawler, who enquires after to be met with; and first to take notice of your health with the bellowing of a town. those buffoons in society, the Attitudina- crier. rians and Face-makers. These accompany The Tatiers, whose pliable pipes are every word with a peculiar grimace or admirably adapted to the “ soft parts of gesture: they affent with a shrug, and con. conversation," and sweetly “prattling out tradiêt with a twisting of the neck: are of fashion,” make very pretty music from angry with a wry mouth, and pleased in a a beautiful face and a female tongue; but caper of a minuet-step. They may be con- from a rough manly voice and coarse feafidered as speaking harlequins; and their tures, mere nonsense is as harsh and dissorules of eloquence are taken from the pof- nant as a jig from a hurdy-gurdy. The ture-master. These should be condemned Swearers I have spoken of in a former pato converse only in dumb-thew with their per; but the Hall-swearers, who split, and own persons in the looking-glass; as well mince, and fritter their oaths into gad's as the Smirkers and Smilers, who so pret- bud, ad's fish, and demme; the Gothic fily set off their faces, together with their humbuggers, and those who “nick-name words, by a je-ne-scai-quoi between a grin God's creatures," and call a man a caband a dimple. With these we may like- bage,'a crab, a queer cub, an odd fish, wise rank the affected tribe of Mimics, ard an unaccountable mulkin, should never who are constantly taking off the peculiar come into company without an interpreter. tone of voice or gesture of their acquaint. But I will not fire my reader's patience by ance: though they are such wretched imia pointing out all the pefts of conversation: tators, that (like bad painters) they are nor dwell particularly on the Sensibles, who frequently forced to write the name under pronounce dogmatically on the most trivial the picture, before they can discover any points, and speak in sentences; the Woolikeness,
derers, who are always wondering what Next to these, whose elocution is ab. o'clock it is, or wondering whether it will forbed in action, and who converse chiefly rain or no, or wondering when the moon with their arms and legs, we may consider changes, the Phraseologists, who explain the professed Speakers. And first, the a thing by all that, or enter into particu. emphatical; who squeeze, and press, and lars with this and that and t'ather; and yanı down every fyllable with exceflive ve- lantly, the Silent Men, who seem afraid of hemence and energy. These orators are opening their mouths, left they should remarkable for their distiret elocution and catch cold, and literally observe the pre
cept cept of the gospel, by letting their conver- dertake a long voyage to some strange resation be only yea yea, and nay nay. gion, where the natives were as different • The rational intercourse kept up by con- from the inhabitants of his own city as the versation, is one of our principal diftinc- most diftant nations. He accordingly takes tions from brutes. We should therefore boat, and is landed at a village about a endeavour to turn this peculiar talent to league from the capital. When he is fct our advantage, and consider the organs of on thore, he is amazed to see the people speech as the instruments of understanding: speak the same language, wear the same we should be very careful not to use them dress, and use the same customs with himas the weapons of vice, or tools of folly, self. He, who had spent all his life within and do our utmost to unlearn any trivial or the fight of Pont Neuf, looked upon every ridiculous habits, which tend to lessen the one that lived out of Paris as a foreigner; value of such an inestimable prerogative. and though the utmo't extent of his travels It is, indeed, imagined by some philofo. was not three miles, he was as much surphers, that even birds and beasts (though prized, as he would have been to meet with without the power of articulation) perfect. a colony of Frenchmen on the Terra Inly understand one another by the sounds cognita. they utter; and that dogs, cats, &c. have in your late paper on the amusements of each a particular language to themselves, Sunday, you have set forth in what manlike different nations. Thus it may be ner our citizens pass that day, which moit Supposed, that the nightingales of Italy of them devote to the country; but I wish have as fine an ear to their own native you had been more particular in your dewood- notes, as any fignor or signora for fcriptions of those elegant rural mansions, an Italian air ; that the boars of Westpha- which at once shew the opulence and the lia gruntle as expresively through the nose taste of our principal merchants, mechanics, as the inhabitants in High-German ; and and artificers. that the frogs in the dykes of Holland I went last Sunday, in compliance with croak as intelligibly as the natives jabber a most pressing invitation from a friend, to their Low-Dutch. However this may be, spend the whole day with him at one of we may consider those, whose tongues hard- these lir le 1eats, which he had fitted out ly seem to be under the influence of reason, for his retirement once a week from bufi. and do not keep up the proper conversa. ness. It is pleasantly situated about three tion of human creatures, as imitating the miles from London, on the side of a public language of different animals. Thus, for road, from which it is separated by a dry instance, the affinity between chatterers ditch, over which is a little bridge, confiftand monkeys, and praters and parrots, is too ing of two narrow planks, leading to the obvious not to occur at once: Grunters and house. From the lower part of the house Growlers may be juftly compared to bogs: there is no prospect; but from the garrets, Snarlers are curs, that continually shew their indeed, one may see two men hanging ia teeth, but never bite; and the spitfire paí- chains on Kennington-cominon, with a dirfionate are a sort of wild cats, that will not tant view of St. Paul's cupola enveloped bear stroking, but will pur when they are in a cloud of smoke. I set out in the mornpleased. Complainers are screech-owls; ing with my friend's book-keeper, who was and story-tellers, always repeating the same my guide. When I came to the house, I dull note, are cuckoos. Poets that prick found my friend in a black velvet cap fitup their ears at their own hideous braying, ting at the door smoaking; he welcomed are no better than asses: Critics in general me into the country ; and after having are venomous serpents, that delight in made me observe the turnpike on my left, hissing; and some of them, who have got and the Golden Sheaf on my right, he conby heart a few technical terms without ducted me into his house, where I was reknowing their meaning, are no other than ceived by his lady, who made a thousand magpies.
Connoisseur. apologies for being catched in such a disha
bille. $ 118. A Citizen's Country House d'escribed. The hall (for so I was taught to call it)
had its white wall almost hid by a curious I remember to have seen a little French collection of prints and paintings. On one novel, giving an account of a citizen of fide was a large map of London, a plan Paris making an excurfion into the coun- and elevation of the Manfion House, with try. He imagines himself about to un- several lesser views of the public buildings
and halls : on the other, was the Death of ler, or a Roman pastry-cook? Or could the Stag, finely coloured by Mr. Overton: any of their shoe-makers or taylors boalt close by the parlour-door there hung a pair a villa with his tin cascades, paper statues, of itag's horns; over which there was laid and Gothic root-houses! Upon the above across a red roquelo, and an amber-headed principles we may expect, that posterity cane. Over the chimney-piece was my will perhaps see a cheesemonger's apiafriend's picture, who was drawn bolt ûp- rium at Brentford, a poulterer's theriotroright in a full-bottomed perrinig, a laced phium at Chiswick, and an ornithon in a cravat with the fringed ends appearing fishmonger's garden at Putney, through a button-hols, a snuif.coloured
Connoisseur. velvet coat with gold buttons, a red velvet waistcoat trinimed with gold, one hand 6 110. Humorous Scene between DENNIS stuck in the bosom of his Thirt, and the
the Critic (Jatirically represented by SWIFT other holding out a letter with this super.
as mad) and the Doctor. 'scription : “To Mr. ,common-council-man of Farringdon-ward without."
Scene Dennis's Garret. My eyes were then directed to another figure in a scarlet gown, who I was inform- DENNIS, Doctor, NURSE, LINTOT ed was my friend's wife's great great uncle, the Bookseller, and another Ausbor. and had been sheriff and knighted in the reign of king James the First. Madam her- DENNIS. I Looking wife, and bringing of self filled up a pannel on the opposite side, bis words forely and formally.) in the habit of a shepherders, smelling to
ling to Beware, Doctor, that it fare not with a nolegay, and stroking a ram with gilt you, as it did with your predecessor, the fa. horns.
mous Hippocrates, whom the mistaken ciI was then invited by my friend to see
tizens of Abdera sent for, in this very manwhat he has pleased to call bis garden, ner. to curi
en, ner, to cure the philosopher Democritus. which was nothing more than a yard about He returned full of admiration at the wilthirty feet in length, and contained about dom of the person whom he had supposed a dozen little pots ranged on each side with
t a lunatic. Behold, Doclor, it was thus
lungria lilies and coxcombs, supported by some old
that Aristotle himself, and all the great anlaths painted green, with bowls of tobacco
cients, spent their days and nights wrapped pipes on their tops. At the end of this
is up in criticism, and beset all round with garden he bade me take notice of a little
le their own writings. As for me, be assured, Aquare building surrounded with filleroy, I have
heroy, I have no disease besides a swelling in my which he told me an alderman of great leos.. taste had turned into a temple, by erecting may farther certify you.
an of great legs, of which I say nothing, since your art some battlements and spires of painted Dosler. Pray, Sir, how did you contract wood on the front of it: but concluded this fwelling?" with a hint, that I might retire to it upon Dennis. By criticism. occasion.
Doctor. By criticism ! that's a diftemAs the riches of a country are visible in
in per I have never heard nor read of. the number of its inhabitants, and the ele- - Dennis. Death. Sir! a diftemper! it gance of their dwellings, we may venture is no diftemper: but a noble art. I have to say that the present state of England is
1 fat fourteen hours a day at it: and are
for four very flourishing and prosperous ; and if
you a doctor, and don't know that there's our taste for building encreases with our
a communication between the brain and opulence, for the next century, we fhall be
the legs? able to boast of finer country-feats belong
Dotior. What made you sit so many ing to our shopkeepers, artificers, and other hours. Sir?
other hours, Sir? plebeians, than the moit pompous descrip
Dennis. Cato, Sir. tions of Italy or Greece have ever record
Doctor. Sir, I speak of your distempci. el. We read, it is true, of country seats
What gave you this tumour ? belonging to Pliny, Hortenfus, Lucullus,
Dennis. Cato, Cato, Cato*. and other Romans. They were patricians Nuole. For God's sake. Doctor, name of great rank and fortune : there can there
not this evil spirit; it is the whole cause of fore be no doubt of the excellence of their villas, But who has ever read of a Chinele. He oublished Remarks on Cato, in the year bridge belonging to an Attic tallow-chand. 1712.
his madness. Alas! poor master will have loft: O destruction! perdition ! cursed his fits again.
[Almoft crying, opera! confounded opera*! as poetry Lintot. Fits ! with a pox! a man may once raised critics, so, when poetry fails, well have fits and swelled legs, that fits critics are overturned, and the world is writing fourteen hours in a day. The no more. Remarks, the Remarks, have brought all Doctor. He raves, he raves. He must his complaints upon him.
be pinioned, he must be ftrait-waistcoated, Dretor. The Remarks! what are they? that he may do no mischief.
Dennis. Death! have you never read Dennis. O I am fick! I am fick to my Remarks ? I'll be hang'd if this nig- death! gardly bookseller has advertised the book Doctor. That is a good fymptom, a as it should have been
very good fymptom. To be fick to death, Lintot. Not advertise it, quoth'a ! pox! (says the modern theory) is Symptoma I have laid out pounds after pounds in ad. præclarum. When a patient is sensible of vertising. There has been as much done his pain he is half-cured. Pray, Sir, of for the book as could be done for any book what are you fick! in Christendom.
Dennis.' Of every thing. Of every Doctor. We had better not talk of books, thing, I am sick of the sentiments, of the Sir, I am afraid they are the fuel that feed diction, of the protafis, of the epitafis, and his dilirium. Mention books no more. the catastrophe. --Alas! for the lost drama!
I defire a word in private with this the drama is no more! gentleman. I suppose, Sir, you are his Nurse. If you want a dram, Sir, I will apothecary.
bring you a couple of penn'orths of gin in Gent. Sir, I am his friend.
a minute. Mr. Lintot has drank the last Doctor. I doubt it not. What regimen of the noggin. have you observed since he has been under Dennis. O scandalous want! O shameyour care? You remember, I suppose, the ful omiffion! By all the immortals, here is passage in Celsus, which says, “ if the pa- not the shadow of a päripatia! no change « tient on the third day have an interval, of fortune in the tragedy ! " suspend the medicines at night." Let Nurse. Pray, Sir, don't be unceasy about fumigations be used to corroborate the change. Give me the fixpence, and I'll brain. I hope you have upon no account get you change immediately at the ginpromoted fternutation by hellebore, thop next door.
Gent. Sir, you mistake the ma:ter Doflor. Hold your peace, good woman. quite.
His fit increases. 'We mult call for help. Do&tor. What! an apothecary cell a Mr. Lintot, a hold him, pray. [Dostor physician he mistakes! you pretend to dif- gets behind Lintot.] pute my prescription ! Pharmacopola come L intot. Plague on the man! I am afraid ponant. Medicus folus prascribat. Fumi. he is really mad. And if he be, who the gate him, I say, this very evening, while devil will buy the remarks ? I wish [Scratchhe is relieved by an interval.
ing his head] he had been besh-t, rather Dennis. Deach, Sir, do you take my than I had meddled with his Remarks. friend for an apothecary! a man of genius " Doctor. He must use the cold bath, and and learning for an apothecary! Know, be cupped on the head. The fyinptoms Sir, that this gentleman profesies, like my seem desperate. Avicen says, “ If learnfelf, the two noblest sciences in the universe, « ing be mixed with a brain tbat is not of criticism and poetry. By the immortals, “a contexture fit to receive it, the brain he himself is author of three whole para. « ferments till it be totally exhaulted.” graphs in my Remarks, had a hand in my We must endeavour to eradicate these inPublic Spirit, and a flisted me in my defcrio. digested ideas out of the pericranium, and tion of the furies and infernal regions in to restore the patient to a compent know: my Appius.
ledge of himself. Lintot. He is an author. You mistake, Dennis. Caitiffs, stand off! anhand me, the gentleman, Doétor. He has been an miscreants ! [The Doctor, the Nurse, and author these twenty years, to his booksel. Lintot, run out of the room in a hurry, and ler's knowledge, if to no one's else. umble down the garret-ffairs all together.]
Dennis. Is all the town in a combina- Is the man, whose labours are calculated tion ? Mall poetry fall to the ground? must He wrote a treatise to prove, that the decay our reputation in foreign countries be quite of public spirit proceeds from the Italian opera.