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Table-talk; or, Selections from the ana. Containing extracts from the different collections of ana, French, English, Italian, and German (1827) by George Moir is a colllection of ana.

From the introduction[1][2]:

The taste for those collections which, under the title of Ana form so conspicuous and so interesting a portion of French literature, is both of high antiquity, and wide extent. The same blending of moral apothegms, of critical remarks, of serious and comic anecdotes, of scientific or literary information, which distinguishes the French Ana is to be traced, more or less modified by natural habits, and the state of human knowledge in the Nasr Eddin the Bassiri, and Teudai of the Turks and Arabians, in the Memorabilia of Plato and Xenophon, in the Enchiridion of Arrian, and in the Noctes Atticae of Aulus Gellius. The Bons Mots of Cicero we know were compiled by no less a person than Julius Caesar, while another collection of his good things, we are told by Quinctilian, was made by a freedman under the title, De Jocis Ciceronis. Quinctilian himself has favoured us with not a few specimens of the Roman Orator's jocular vein, from which we may fairly conclude, that these collections of his sayings would have borne no inconsiderable resemblance to the comic portion of the Menagiana.
In modern' Italy the taste for such collections seems to have been not less general. Of the older works of this class little is known; though there is every reason to think that the Facetiae Poggiana of Poggio were by no means the earliest works of the kind. Many of the novels of Boccaccio are merely repartees and remarks attributed to celebrated persons, in the style of the Poggiana and the collection attributed to Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini; and nearly one half of the tales of Sacchetti are composed of anecdotes of this kind. The Facetiae of Poggio, however, is the only Italian work of this class which is geperally known. It embodies the scandal of the time, and the coarsely licentious, but often singularly comic tales and anecdotes, with which Poggio and the other clerks of the Roman Chancery used to amuse themselves in an apartment of the Vatican to which they had given the appropriate nam of the Buggiale or as Poggio himself translates it, Mendaciorum Officina. Unfornately, the best articles in that collection so strongly tinctured with coarseness or obscenity, that few specimens of it can be exhibited in translation.

See also

Full text

"^^^^THE TARIOX'S DEPARTMENT^V

LITERATrRE,SCIEyCE,&THE ARTS

TOIL. X. TJtHyL#-TALK.


EBINBrRGH:

PlU:?^TEDyDll CONSTABLE & T? 1827.


TABLE-TALK.





EDlNBUttGH : PRINTED BY BALLANVYNE & CO.


rlv^ C


TABLE-TALK;


OR,


SELECTIONS FROM THE ANA.

CONTAINING

EXTRACTS FROM THE DIFFERENT COLLECTIONS

OF ANA,

FRENCH, ENGLISH, ITALIAN, AND GERMAN.

WITH BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES.



EDINBURGH : "^ PRINTED FOR CONSTABLE AND CO.

1827.


CONTENTS.


Page

PREFACE ...... Vll

PART I. FRENCH.

MENAGIANA 15

HUETIANA ' 47

CHEVRiEANA 65

MARVILLIANA (vIGNEUL) ... 77

VALESIANA 101

MISCELLANEOUS ANA .... 108

SERIOUS AND COMIC ANA . 125

6ASCONIANA 133

COMEDIANA 139

VOLTAIRIANA 148


PART 11. ENGLISH.


SELDENIANA

WALPOLE's REMINISCENCES WALPOLIANA . JOHNSONIANA . OMNIANA (sOUTHEY's) .


165

181 194 231 277


PART III. ITALIAN GERMAN.

TOGGIANA 299

LUTHER'S COLLOaUIA MENSALIA . . 311

ALPHABETICAL INDEX .... 321


PREFACE.


W"i


The taste for those collections which, un- der the title of Ana, form so conspicuous and so interesting a portion of French literature, is both of high antiquity, and wide extent. The same blending of moral apothegms, of critical remarks, of serious and comic anec- dotes, of scientific or literary information, which distinguishes the French Ana, is to be traced, more or less modified by natural ha- bits, and the state of human knowledge, in the Nasr Eddin, the Bassiri, and Teudai of the Turks and Arabians, in the Memorabilia of Plato and Xenophon, in the Enchiridion of Arrian, and in the Noctes Atticce of Au- lus Gellius. The Bons Mots of Cicero we know were compiled by no less a person than Julius Caesar, while another collection of his good things, we are told by Quinctilian, was made by a freedman under the title, De Jo- cis Ciceronis, Quinctilian himself has fa- voured us with not a few specimens of the Roman Orator's jocular vein, from which,-


Vm PREFACE.

we may fairly conclude, that these collec- tions of his sayings would have borne no in- considerable resemblance to the comic por- tion of the Menagiana,

In modern Italy the taste for such collec- tions seems-to have been not less general. Of the older works of this class little is known ; though there is every reason to think that the Facetice and Poggiana, of Poggio were by no means the earliest works of the kind. Many of the novels of Boccaccio are merely repartees and remarks attributed to celebra- ted persons, in the style of the Foggiana, and the collection attributed to J3neas Syl- vius Piccolomini ; and nearly one half of the tales of Sacchetti are composed of anecdotes of this kind. The Facetice of Poggio, how- ever, is the only Italian work of this class which is generally known. It embodies the scandal of the time, and the coarsely licen- tious, but often singularly comic tales and anecdotes, with which Poggio and the other clerks of the Roman Chancery used to amuse themselves in an apartment of the Vatican, to wliich they had given the appropriate name of the Buggiale, or as Poggio himself trans- lates it, Mendaciorum Officina. Unfortu- nately, the best articles in that collection are BO strongly tinctured with coarseness or ob- scenity, that few specimens of it can be ex- hibited in translation.


PREFACE. : IX

In Germany again, the Loci Communes of Melancthon and the Colloquia Mensalia of Luther, though differing in the character of their contents from the coarser works of the Italians, belong also to the class of Ana. The first is remarkable for the theological learn- ing it displays, and the information it com- municates, as to the early state of the re- formed church. The second is a most sin- gular record of the conversations of the reformers; in which learning is strangely blended with gross ignorance on some points, clear and acute reasoning with mysticism, and a vigorous and intrepid spirit of inquiry, with the grossest superstition and credulity.

But it is to France that we are indebted foi; the most interesting, instructive, and amu- sing works of this class. And, accordingly, it is from these sources that the present vo- lume has been principally derived. Of these collections, the earliest, in point of date, is the Scaligerana, which professes to contain the opinions and conversations of Joseph Scaliger, and was published in 1699. But the work is altogether unworthy of that great name, and affords little which is cal- culated to afford either amusement or in- struction. From the remaining collections liberal extracts have been made, particular- ly from the Menagiana, and the Melanges cf Histoire etde Litterature of VigneulMarville,


PREB'ACE.




and short notices of the authors have been prefixed to the selections from each.

English Literature affords but few works of this kind, and it can scarcely be said that any of these possesses distinguished merit. The 2 able-Talk of Selden deriv^es its chief iHterest from the learned name with which it is associated. The Walpoliana is the one which approaches nearest to the character of the French Ana. Some of the most stri- king passages in the conversations of John- son, extracted from Boswell's Life, are added under the head of Johnsoniana ; and a few selections from the valuable, but imperfectly known Omniana of Southey, close the ex- tracts from the English Ana*


Edinburgh, July 1827.


1


TABLE-TALK,


PART I. FRENCH.


TABLE-TALK. MENAGIANA.


tMENAGE was bom at Angers, 15th August 1613, and was the son of an advocate in that city. From his earliest youth he was distinguished by his inclination to study, and a pro- digious memory, which he retained in perfection to the close of his life. He applied himself to the study of law, and was admitted an advocate before the Parliament of Paris in 163^ ; he continued for some time to practise with tolerable suc- cess, but in consequence of a severe attack of rheumatism, he quitted the bar, and became an ecclesiastic. He s^ms to have been led to this step principally by the facilities for study, which this profession afforded, for he now directed his whole attention to literature ; and having soon after- wards acquired the particular friendship of Cardinal de Retz, he accepted of a situation in the household of that prelate, where he continued to enjoy the sweets of study and retin d leisure, with such an admixture of intercourse w^ith the world, and with men of leai-ning, as was most agreeable to his habits. By the death of his father in 1648, hf succt;eded to a considerable fortune, and shortly afterwards was ap- pointed to the Pi'iory of Montdidier, to the emoluments de- rived from -which, -was afterwai'ds added a pension from Cai*- dinal Mazarin. He died in July 1692.

The Menagiana, which is the work by Avhich this learned scholar and wit is best known in England, appeiired at lirst in an imperfect shape soon after his death, in 1693, but was afterwards enlarged, corrected, and republished in four vo- lumes, by the celebrated Bertrand de la Monnoie in 1715. It Is perhaps the most amusing of all the collections of Ana, from the varied and discursive information which it embodies, and the happy mixture of wit, humour, and comic narrative, w^ith the graver elements of criticism, reasoning, and anti- quarian reseai'ch. The additions by La Monnoie, which are, generally speaking, of a more serious nature, and amount to two volumes, are not the least valuable part of the work, particularly from the correcti(ns which they contain of oc- casional errors, into witich Alenage, who perliaps trusted a


16 TABLE-TALK.

little too much to his prodigious memoiy, lias occasionally fallen.]


I. A SELECT AUDIENCE.

I SAID of a professor who had no one In hia class, that this was " the voice of one crying in the desert." This puts me in mind of one who, in or- der to make up an audience, was obliged to request his friends to be present. Happening to ask one of them who had been absent, the reason of his stay, he told him that he was afraid of breaking in upon his solitude.

it; MADAME CORNUEL.

Madame de Ville Savin having died at the age of ninety-three, Madame Comuel, who was only six years younger, observed " Alas I she was the only one left between death and me."

III. IMPROMPTUS.

It is a difficult matter to make a good impromp- tu. I believe, for my own part, that none are good but those that are made at leisure.

IV. THE THREE RACANS.

One of the best of Bois Robert's stories was that of the Three Racans. Two friends of the Marquis de Racan were aware that he intended waiting upon Mademoiselle de Gournai. She was of Gascony, of a temper somewhat lively and pas- sionate ; and being a woman of talent, had express- ed considerable impatience, on arriving at Paris, to be introduced to Racan, whom she had never seen. One of these gentlemen anticipating, by an hour or two, the period of the intended visit, ordered the servant to announce M. Racan. He was received with transport. He talked for a long time of Ma- demoiselle Gournai's works, which he had studied


MENAGIANA. it

on purpose, and took his departure, leaving her quite delighted with the conversation of M. Racan. Scarcely had he gone, when the servant announced another M. Racan. She thought at first that her visitor had forgot something, and had returned on that account. She was just preparing to address him, when a stranger entered and saluted her with much gi'avity. Mademoiselle de Goumai could not help asking him several times over, whether or not he was really Racan, and related to him what had passed. The pretended Racan affected to be very much annoyed by the trick which had been played him, and threatened vengeance against the perpetrator. In fact Mademoiselle de Goumai was still better pleased with this visitor than the last, for he praised her works still more warmly. He had scarcely eflPected his retreat, when the real Racan was announced. The lady lost all patience. " What !" said she, " more Racans still show him up, however." The moment he entered. Made- moiselle de Goumai, assuming a high tone, asked whether he came there for the purpose of insulting her. M. de Racan, who was not a very ready ora- tor, and who had anticipated a very different re- ception, was so confounded, that he could only stammer out a reply. The lady, conceiving that this was really some person who had been sent for the purpose of insulting her, now lost all temper, and pulling off her slipper, belaboured the unfor- tunate author, till he was glad to make a precipi- tate retreat from the house.

V. MOLIERE.

A poet once presented to the Prince an epitaph on Moliere. " I had much rather," said the Prince,

  • ' that it was he that brought me yours."

B 2


\S TABLE-TAL^K,

Vr. A DISAGREEABLE HYPOTHESIS.

Two persons were once engaged in an ai'gu- ment. " Suppose," said one of them, " that you owe me two tliousand crowns." " I wish," replied the other, " that you would suppose some other hypothesis."

VII. M. MARTINON.

M. Martlnon, advocate, was extremely dark. He had his picture painted by Legoux of Angers, and allowed it to remain for a long time with the painter, before he sent for it. Legoux said to him one day, " Sir, I think you had better send for your portrait, for the landlord of the Moor's Head has been applying for it."

VIII. ADAM.

An advocate of Thoulouse, named Adam, was in the habit of composing the speeches delivered by the Advocate General ; but having on one occasion fallen sick, the Advocate General was obliged to make his speech in the best way he could. While he was delivering his oration, a counsellor, who saw that he was terribly at a loss, rose up, and exclaimed, " Adam, where art thou?"

IX. M. DE BAUTRU.

" It is a strange thing," said M. de Bautru, " that the Friars of the Minimes eat nothing but fish, and yet that they always smell of shoulder of mutton."

X. M. LAUNOI.

It is rather odd that Launoi, who was so ex- pert at discovering the dates of antiquity, should have omitted that of his own testament. He in- serted the year, but forgot the day.

Xr. APOFI-EXY.

A Slight touch of apoplexy may be called a re- taining fee on the part of Death.


MENAGIANA. 19

XII. THE LATEST INFORMATION.

M. tie E was relating a story. M. de

B said to him, " That cannot be, for I have

a letter of the 31st, which says the contrary." Ah," replied the narrator, " but mine is of the 32d I"

XIII. IMMORTALITY.

Bautm, in presenting a poet to M. d'Hemery, addressed him, " Sir, I present to you a person who will give you immortality ; but you must give him something to live upon in the meantime."

XIV. THE CURATE OP ANJOU.

A curate in Anjou, a man of very disorderly habits, had a quarrel with a sergeant of the neigh- bourhood. The sergeant having suddenly disap- peared, eveiy one suspected the curate, his avowed enemy, of having made away with him. It hap- pened that a criminal, who had been executed, was exposed on the gallows, within a league or two of the curate's residence. His relations took down the body secretly, and threw it, with the cord about its neck, into a neighbouring pond. Some fisher- men found the body in their nets, and the matter being taken up by the police, every one flocked to see the corpse of the criminal. As it was extreme- ly disfigured, the prejudices which were univer- sally entertained against the curate, led them to believe that this must be the body of the sergeant. The curate was immediately aiTested, tried, and condemned to be hanged. When he saw that death was inevitable, he thus addressed his judges. *< It is true that it was I that murdered the sergeant ; but I am unjustly condemned, and all those who have given evidence against me are false witnesses. The body which you have found, and on account


20 TABLE-TALK.

of which I hare been tried, is not that of the ser geant. The real corpse of the sergeant "nail be found in a certain pai't of my garden, along with that of his dog." The judges immediately instituted a search within the garden of the cure, and everything was found to be as he had described.

XV. THE RETORT COURTEOUS.

M. le Comte de > was, like many others

who take the name of Count, without the property. In a company where I was present, he once endea- Toured to turn into ridicule an abbe, who, accord- ing to custom, had assumed the name, without pos- sessing a benefice. " It is strange," said he, "that we should have known each other so long, and yet that I don't know whereabouts your abbey lies." " What I" said the abbe, " don't you know ? It is within your county."

XVI. AN AGREEABLE ANTAGONIST.

We are never so well pleased with an anta- gonist, as when he raalves an objection to which we are provided with a good answer.

XVII. CASAUBON.

Casaubon being present dm-ing the discussion of a tbesis in the Sorbonne, listened to a very long and stubborn dispute, which was canied on in a style so barbarous and unintelligible to him, that he could not help remarking, as he left the hall, " I never listened to so much Latin before without understanding it I"

XVIII. M. DE L'eSTANG AND MAROLLES.

M. de I'Estang is the author of the Port- royal Regies de bien Traduire. He has selected all his specimens of good translation from the works of Dablancourt or Portroyal, and those of bad translation from the writings of Marolles, who, in


1


1


MENAOIANA. 21

truth, thought rather of making many vohimes than good ones. M. de Marolles was greatly enraged at this, and complained of it loudly, M. de I'Es- tang, anxious to conciliate him, chose for this pur- pose Easter-day, when M. de Marolles was about to receive the sacrament ; and placing^ himself, as he knelt, beside him, " Sir," said he, " you are offended with me, and not without reason; but this is a time for mercy, and I entreat your par- don." " Under such circumstances," replied Ma- rolles, " it is impossible for me to refuse it. Go, sir, I pardon you." Meeting him some days after, Marolles said to him, " Do you think, sir, that we are quit ? You have clieated me out of a par- don which I had no intention of granting to you."

XIX. M. DE BAUTRU.

M. de Bautm had been often pressed by the Queen to show her his wife. At last she told him plainly, that she was determined to be presented to her. Bautru, who had resisted as long as he pos- sibly could, promised to bring her with him after dinner ; " but, please your Majesty," added he, " she is terribly deaf." " O, no matter," said the Queen,

    • I will talk loud." He immediately went home to

prepare his wife for the interview, and warned her to speak as loud as possible, as the Queen would be unable otherwise to understand her. He brought her to the Louvre in the evening, and the Queen im- mediately opened the conference by bawling as loudly as possible, while Madame de Bautni an- swered her in the same tone. The King, who had been apprised of the whole by Bautru, laughed with all his heart at the scene. At last the Queen, who perceived it, said to Madame de Bautni, " Is it not the case that Bautru has made you believe that


22 TABLE-TALK.

I am deaf?" Madame de Bautni admitted that it was so. " All, the villain!" continued the Queen, " he told me the same of you."*

XX. M. DE BAUTRU.

M. de Bautni told me one day, that during his embassy to Spain he went one day to visit the library in the Escurial, and saw at once, from the conversation which he had with the librarian, that he was an extremely ill-informed, and incompetent person for the situation. He was afterwards in- troduced to the King, with whom he talked of the beauties of the palace, and of the choice which he had made of a librarian. He told him he had im- mediately perceived that he was no common per- son, and that, in his opinion, his Majesty would do well to make him superintendant of his finances. Why so ?" said the King. " Sh-e," said Bautru, " as he has taken so little from your books, it is probable he may take as little from your finances."

XXr. M. DE BAUTRU.

Bautru disliked Angely, who was very fond of amusing himself at his expense. One day that Angely was at a party where he was playing the fool in every possible way, Bautru entered. As soon as Angely perceived him, " You are just come in time," said he, " to assist me. I was begin- ning to feel tired of being alone." It is inconcei- vable how much Bautru was annoyed by the re- mark.

XXII. INTENTIONAL ERRATA.

Besides the ordinary mistakes which take place

Brantome, in his Life of the Marechal de Strozzi, re- lates the same story of the wife of Brusquet and Catharine of Medici.


I


MENAGIANA. 23

IB printing, there are others which are some- timcvS purposely committed, in order to have an opportunity of introducing into the EiTata, what could not have been permitted in the body of the work. In those countries, for instance, where the Inquisition exists, and particularly in Rome, the use of the word Fatum^ or jRoto, in any printed work, is forbidden. An author who wished to make use of the latter, adopted this scheme. He printed the word, throughout his book, Facta; and then, in the Enata, he placed a notice. For Facta, read Fata. A similar expedient was resort- ed to by Scarron. He had composed some verses, to which he had prefixed a dedication, in these words : " A Guillemette, chienne de ma soeur." Sometime after, having quarrelled with his sister, just as he was preparing for the press a collection of his poems, he maliciously printed among the Er- rata of the Book, For " Chienne de ma soeur/' read, " Ma chienne de soeur."

XXIII. DOMESTIC ECONOMY.

Some courtiers were talking of their house- hold aj0tairs, and in particular of the wages they gave theii- servants. One of them observed that he gave his maitre d'hotel a hundred pistoles ; a se- cond, that he allowed his six hundred ; " And I," said one, " I go far beyond either of you, for I al- low mine four thousand francs per annum." At first the whole party were astonished at this exorbitant allowance. At last one of them thought of put- ting the question, '< But, do you pay him ?" Oh, no," said he.

XXIV. CARDINAL RICHELIEU.

A gentleman was once talking very loudly to the Prince de Guemene against the Caidinal de


2* TABLE-TALK.

RicJielieu. f* Speak lower," said he ; ** there &ce some of his creatures who may overhear you.' They were poor people who came to receive theii' usual alms.

XXV. CARDINAL RICHELIEU.

Amidst the important occupations of the Car- dinal Richelieu, he generally found time to un- bend a little from the fatigue attendant on the mi- nistry. He was fond of violent exercises, particu- larly after meals, but did not like to be surprised in these moments of amusement and pleasure. M. de Boisrobert, who was constantly with him, told me that one day M. de Grammont, who, at the Palais Royal, was considered as one of the family, (having espoused one of the Cardinal's nieces,) and who, of course, possessed the liberty of free entry at all times, broke in upon the Cardinal after dinner, while amusing himself with leaping in the great gallery, M. de Grammont, like an able courtier, told the Cardinal he could leap much better than, he, and immediately began leaping five or six times. The Cardinal, who was as accom- plished a courtier as himself, perfectly understood iiis meaning, and afterwards distinguished him more than ever by his favour.

XXVI. CARDINAL RICHELIEU.

Richelieu was extremely suspicious. Desnoyers, his valet-de-chambre, was the only person allow- ed to sleep in his apartment, or to awaken him. Before lying down, he was in the custom of in- 6})ecting every comer of the room. One day, while searching under the bed of his valet-de- chambre, he found two bottles of wine, which the servant had placed there in order to quench his thirst during the night. He immediately concei-


MENAGTANA. 85

ved they were poison, and forced bim to drink off both in bis presence.

XXVII. M. SACHOT.

M. Sachot was pleading for a baker, whose nose, or part of it, had been pulled off by a neighbour in a quarrel in the street. The advocate on the other side, who scarcely possessed a nose at all, in the course of his speech, attempted to turn the whole matter into ridicule. " My brother," said Sachot, in his reply, " seems to treat the matter lightly Very probably /le thinks a nose is of no conse- quence."

XXVIir. THE ARCHBISHOP OF LYONS.

The Archbishop of Lyons had his hands com- pletely distorted and disfigured by the gout. Pie was once engaged in play at cards, and had gain- ed a thousand pistoles. " I should not mind it,** said the losing party, " if my money had not got into the ugliest hand in the kingdom." " That is false," said the Archbishop ; " I know one that is still uglier." " I'll wager thirty pistoles you don't," said the other. The Archbishop immedi- ately drew off the glove which covered his left hand, and the gamester acknowledged he had lost his wager.*

XXIX. MADAME DE BOURDONNE.

Madame de Bourdonne, Canoness of Remlre- mont, had been present at a discourse full of fire and eloquence, but deficient in solidity and an*ange- ment. One of her friends, who felt an interest in the preacher, asked her, as she came out of church,

A similar story is related of Quevedo, by his biogra- pher, Don Publo Antonio de Tarsia, p. 106. Vida Ma- drid, 1G83.


ne, ,


26 TABLE-TALK.

how she liked it ? " la it not full of spirit f said she. " So full," replied Madame de Bourdoime, " that I could not perceive any bodi/."

XXX. WHERE TO LIVE AND DTE.

If we were allowed to choose our birth-pla Italy should be our choice, on account of the mil ness of the climate. After being bom there, we must come to France to live, for there alone is the science of good eating fully understood. And when we have enjoyed enough of life, were we to choose a spot to die in, it should be in Spain, which is a gloomy and dreary country, peculiarly fitted to inspire us with reflections suitable to such an event. The Spaniards themselves express this sentiment thus : " Italia para nacer, Francia para vivir, E^panapara morir"

XXXI.

To mark the character of the Italians, Spaniards, and Greeks, it has been said. That one ought to write in Italian, boast in Spanish, and cheat in Greek.

XXXII. RETURNING THANKS.

Nothing is more difficult than to return thanks neatly.

XXXIII. JULIUS CiESAR.

John of Salisbury, Polydore Virgil, and Lipsius, believed that Julius Caesar was not the author of the Commentaries which bear his name, and have attributed them to Julius Celsus, who lived about eight hundred years ago. The cause of this error was, that Julius Celsus was the author of the Life of Julius Csesar, which is prefixed to some copies of the Commentaries.

XXXIV. CICERO.

We have great reason to regret the loss of the


MENAGIANA. 27

Treatises of Cicero, De Gloria, and De Legibus. What we do possess of that great man, only serves to convince us of the extent of our loss. The fragments of the last Treatise which remain, leave no doubt that the work must have been excellent.

The Treatise De Gloria was found entire by Philelphus. He considered this fortunate disco- very only as a means of gaining credit in the world, and acquiring reputation. With this view, he first contemplated publishing it as his own work ; but, apprehensive that this imposture would in time be discovered, he wrote a Treatise, De Contemptu Mundi,* composed entirely of fragments from the work of Cicero, patched together as he could, and then threw the original into the fire ; thus depriving the republic of letters, by this odious action, of a work, where there is every reason to conclude that Cicero was not less eloquent or admirable than in his other productions.

Raimond Soranzo, a celebrated Jurisconsult at the Papal Court at Avignon, about the middle of the fourteenth century, i^'ns in possession of the two books of Cicero de Gloria. He presented them to Petrarch, who valued them highly, and perused them with care. Unfortunately, a coun- tryman of his own, an old man, in very poor cir- cumstances, who had formerly been his preceptor, having borrowed them of him, pledged them, and ha- ving left the country without redeeming them, died shortly afterwards, .without giving Petrarch any in-

The whole of this story is proved to be a mistalce by Bayle ; Article Alcyonius. Varillas, in his Louis XL, was the author of this calumny. Philelphus never wrote a Trea- tise De Contemptu Mundi.


28 TABLE-TALK.

formation with regard to his books. Petrarch, who gives the story at length in his First Epistle, Book XV., Renim Senilium, notwithstanding all his in- quiries, never could recover the books. If we may believe Pauhis Manucius, in his Commentary on the Twenty- Seventh Epistle of Book XV. of Ci- cero to Atticus, the manuscript of the Treatise De Gloria was in the library of a noble Venetian, na- med Bernardo Justiniano, who died towai'ds the close of the fifteenth century. The title was given in the Catalogue, but the library having been be- queathed to the Monlts, the book, when sought for, could not be found. This gave rise to a sus- picion, that Pietro Alcionio, physician to the con- vent, a person not particularly scrupulous, and to whom they had allowed the use of their library, might have carried off the manuscript, particularly as in his two Dialogues, De Exilio, some passages appeared which were obviously above his powers.

XXXV. PROCOPIUS AND QUINCTILIAN.

Leonard Aretin was one of the most distin- guished scholars about the time of the revival of letters, but he was guilty of one action of a disho- nourable nature. He found a Greek manuscript of Procopius, De Bello Gothico. He translated it into Latin,* and passed oflP the work as his own ; but afterwards, other copies of the work of Proco- pius were found, and the imposture of Aretin was discovered, Machiavel managed matters more

This is not strictly correct, for Aretin's is not exactly a translation. He made considerable changes on the work of Procopius. The story of Machiavel is also a nnistake. The Apothegms of PlutMch were well known long before they were introduced by Machiavel in his Life of Castruc- cio. Machiavel has merely done what Manso has done in his Life of Tasso.


I


aiENAGIANA. 89

adroitly in a similar affair. A maimscnpt of Plu- tarch's Apothegms of the Ancients having fallen into his hands, he selected those parts he liked best ; but thinking that a mere translation would do him but little credit, and at the same time an- xious to avoid the clumsy and inartificial imposture of Aretin, he adopted a more refined, but scarcely more conscientious expedient. He wrote a Life of Castruccio Castracani, and introduced into the mouth of his hero the greater part of Plutarch's good things of the- Ancients.

Quinctilian was redeemed from the hands of a parchment-maker at Basle, during the sitting of the Council there. And it is the only manuscript of the original which has yet been seen.* The gover- nor of the late Marquis de Ronville, playing*at rackets near Saumur, happened to read what was ^Titten on the parchment of his rackets, and per- ceived that it was a part of the Second Decade of Livy. He immediately ran to the shop of the ma- ker, who informed him that he had JTist used the last sheet of the manuscript.

XXXVr. FORTUNATE IMPOSSIBILITY.

An Italian, who was very poor, and very much addicted to play^ used to apostrophise Fortune thus : " Treacherous goddess ! Thou canst make me lose, but thou canst not make me pay."

XXXVII. MARY DE MEDICIS.

At an audience which Mary de Medicis gave to the Swiss ambassadors, after the speaker had con- cluded his address, the Queen asked of Melson^

  • Menage must have forgot himself; for, in his Anti-

Baillet, ch. xii. Vol. I. he shows clearly that the MS. of Quinctilian was found during the sitting of the Council of Constance, by Poggio, in an old tower of the Monastery of St Gall.

c2


30 TABLE-TALK.

what had been said, in order that Bhe might re- ply. Melson, who, although he acted as interpret- er, did not understand a word of the Swiss lan- guage, answered boldly, " Madame, these am- bassadors say that your Majesty is the greatest, the most beautiful, and amiable princess in Europe," &c. &c. Those who understood the Swiss lan- guage, astonished at this translation, assured him the ambassadors had said nothing of the kind. The enraged ambassador replied, " Did they not ? Well, if they did not, they ought to have done so."

XXXVIII. SERVANTS.

In France, servants always walk before their masters. It is otherwise in Italy. Masters walk before their servants in summer, on account of the dust, and in winter behind them, on account of the badness of the roads.

XXXIX. BERGERAC.

Bergerac was an admirable fencer. His nose, which was extremely disfigured, had caused the death of several persons. He never allowed any one to look at it without challenging him on the spot. Having quan-elled with Mondori, the actor, he forbade him to make his appearance on the stage, on pain of his displeasure. ^' I interdict you," said he, *< for a month." Two days after, ho went to the Theatre, and found Mondori, who had set the prohibition at defiance, about to commence his part, as usual. Bergerac immediately got up, and ordered him, in presence of the audience, to retire, with so terrible a voice, that Mondori, for fear of worse consequences, was glad to make his exit. Bergerac used to say of Mondori, " The fellow gives himself airs, forsooth, because he is so tall and stout, that one can hardly beat him from head to foot in a da v."


MENAfilANA. 81

XL. CIPHERS.

The Arabian numerals, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, which we at present employ, began to be used in Europe for the first time in 1270, in the Alphonsine Tables, drawn up by order of Alphonso, son of Fer- dinand, King of Castile, who employed for the pur- pose, Isaac Hassan, a Jew, clerk of the SjTiagogue of Toledo, and Aben Ragel, an Arabian. The Arabs borrowed them from the Indians, in the year 900.'* The other western nations soon imported them from the Spaniards. The first Greek writer by whom they are used, is Planudes, in a work which he dedicated to Michael Paleologus, in 1370. Thus the Greeks borrowed not from the Arabs, but from the Latins. The first occasion on which they were used in Paris was in 1256, in the Sphere of Jean de Serbois, (^Sacro-bosco.)

XLI. THE FOUR p's.

Four P's were placed over the gate of the first President of Bourdeaux, whose name was Pi- erre Pontac ; meaning Pierre Pontac, Premier President. A litigant who had one day waited two or three hours in his antechamber, was suqm- eed by the entrance of the President, while atten- tively contemplating these four P's. " Well, my fi-iend," said the President, " what do you suppose these letters mean r" " By my faith," replied the litigant, " they can mean nothing but * Pauvre Plaideury prenez patience* "f

The original article in the Bf enagiana is full of error?, particularly in the dates. The opinion expressed by IMe- nage as to the original derivation of these ciphers from In- dia, is also very successfully combated by Huet and Vos-. sius. Vide the subsequent article in the Huetiana.

+ Poor pleader, practise patience.


32 TABLE-TALK.

XLir. AGESILAUS.

I was once required to write to the President in favour of one of my friends, who was involved in a troublesome aifair. After puzzling myself for a long time how to make the application, I could re- member notliing better than the letter of Agesilaua on a similar occasion. " If Cinias is not guilty, set him at liberty for your own sake ; if he is, for mine : but be it as it may, set liim at liberty."

XLIII. LITERARY ENTERTAINMENTS.

I knew a person who occasionally gave enter- tainments to authors. His fancy was to place them at table, each according to the size and thick- ness of the volumes they had published, commen- cing witli the folio authors, and proceeding through the quarto and octavo, down to the duodecimo, each according to his rank.

XLIV. SCARRON.

M. Scarron was one day attacked so violently by hiccup, that his friends were apprehensive for his life. When the violence of the attack was a little abated, " If I survive," said he, turning to his friends, " if I survive, I shall write a tremendous satire against the hiccup." His friends certainly expected some very different resolution.

A little before his death, seeing his relatives and servants in tears ; " My children," said he, " you Avill never weep so heartily as I have made you laugh."

XLV. PERIPATETIC PHILOSOPHY.

The worst parts in the Peripatetic Philosophy are not the work of Aristotle, but of his disciples, and particularly his modern disciples. The logic of the University of Paris, and others, where Aris- totle is taught, is the art of talking unintelligibly on suljects we know nothing about.


f


MENAGIANA. B3

XL VI. M. d'uSEZ. complaisance.

M. d'Usez was gentleman of lionour to tlie Queen. This Princess one day asked him wliat o'clock it was. He replied, " Madam, any hour your Majesty pleases." *

XLVII. THE JESUIT.

A Jesuit who had been particularly recom- mended to the captain of a vessel, was sailing from France to America. The captain, who saw that a storm was approaching, said to him, " Fa- ther, you are not accustomed to the rolling of a vessel, you had better get down as fast as possible into the hold. As long as you hear the sailors swearing and blaspheming, you may be assured that there are good hopes : but if you should hear them embracing and reconciling themselves to each other, you may make up your accounts with heaven." As the storm increased, the Jesuit, from time to time, dispatched his companion to the hatchway to see how matters went upon deck. " Alas I Father," said he, returning, " all is lost, the sailors are swearing like demoniacs ; their very blasphemies are enough to sink the vessel." " Oh I heaven be praised," said the Jesuit, " then all's right."

XLVIII. PROOF POSITIVE.

M. de . . . . having been wounded in the head at the siege of Rochelle, by a musket ball, the surgeons, as they applied the first dressing, told him the wound was very dangerous, and that they saw the brain distinctly. " Ah 1" said he, " gentlemen, do take out a little of it, wrap it in

A f5imilar story is related of Frederick of Prussia, and it is also introduced by the author of La Fausse Clelie into that work, in another and more ludicrous form.


34. TABLE-TALK.

a cloth, and send it to the Cardinal de Richelieu, for he has told me a hundred times that I never liad any."

XLIX. CLASSICAL APPLICATION.

A person meeting another riding, with his wife behind him, applied to him Horace's line " Post equitem sedet atra cura."*

L. MALHERBE.

Malherbe, at the age of seventy, wishing to revenge the death of his son, who had fallen in a duel with M. D . . . . , sent a challenge to that gentleman. The friends of Malherbe hearing of it, did all they could to prevent him from fighting, to which he replied, " What have I to fear ? The loss could not be so great for me as you suppose. I only hazai'd a shilling against a pound."

LI. RABELAIS.

Rabelais is not always the inventor of the tales he interweaves with his principal fable. He often boiTOws them from other quarters, but he embellishes and renders them his own by his man- ner of narrating them. That of Dodin, and the Cordelier, B. iii. ch. 23, is of this number. The original is to be found in the Latin poems of Ni- cholas Barthelemi. The following is the exact ge- nealogy of the Ring of Hans Carvel.f The inven- tion is due to Poggio, the Florentine^ who died in 1459. It is the 133d of his Facetife, entitled the Vision of Philelphus, for which Rabelais has merely substituted the name of Hans Carvel. It is then to be met with in the eleventh of the Cent Nouvelles, a work which Poggio certainly had not seen, for they were not collected till after the year

Gloomy care sits behind the rider.

f- Imitated ii the well-known tale of Prior.


MENAGIANA. 35

14^1, under the reign of Louis XI., in whose pre- sence they are said to have been related while he was residing as Dauphin at Gueneppe, a castle of the Duke of Burgundy, in Brabant. Ariosto is the third who has introduced the tale, at the end of his fifth Satire, and has given it an air of novel- ty, by the graces which he has added to it. It is also the eleventh of an anonymous collection of novels, published at Lyons in 1555, an imitation and, in fact, a mere modernization of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. Celio Malespini has also introduced the story at page 288 of part second of his Ducento Novelle, printed in 4to, at Venice, in 1609, nearly one-half of which are borrowed, word ^'or word, from the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. La Fontaine, in 1665, turned into elegant verse the prose of Rabelais, believing him really to have been the author of the tale. It has been also very ele- gantly versified in Latin Anacreontics, by La Mon- noye himself.

LIT. ORACLES.

A person who had some dangerous enemies, whom he believed capable of attempting anything, consulted the Oracle to know whether he should leave the country. The answer he obtained was,

  • ' Domine, stes securus ;" a reply which led him to

believe he might safely remain at home. Some days afterwards his enemies set fire to his house, and it was with difiiculty that he escaped with his life. Then recollecting the answer of the Oracle, he perceived, when too late, that the word was not Domine, but Domi ne stes secui^s,

lilll. HENRY IV.

Henry IV. wishing to lower the pride of a Spanish ambassador, told him that if he had a mind to ride, he would go to hear mass at Milan, break-


86 TABLE-TALK.

fest at Rome, and dine at Naples. " Sire," replied the ambassador, " at this rate your Majesty might also contrive to heai- vespers in Sicily." *

LIV. BOUTS RIMES.

Perhaps the most difficult set of rhymes ever given for a Sonnet in Bouts Rimes, is the follow^- ing. The occasion of the Sonnet was this : In the year 1683, a lady, whom we shall call Iris, was lamenting the loss of a cat, which had been stolen from her. To console her, the following Sonnet was composed, the rhymes assigned for which consisted entirely of the names of towns and provinces. The invention was new ; but al- though the difficidty was sufficient to dismay an ordinary sonnetteer, the author of the following seems to have very happily surmounted or eluded it.

Iris, aimable Iris, honneur de la Bourgogne,

Vous pleurez v6tre chat plus que nous Philipsbourgi

Et fussiez vous, je pense, au fond de la Gascogne,

On entendroit de U vos cxis jusqu'ii Fribourg,

Sa peau fut i vos yeux fouxrure de Fologne;

On eut chassd pour lui Titi t de Luxembourg,

II feroifr I'ornement d'un Couvent de Cologne ;

Mais, quoi, Ton vous I'a pris ? on a bien pria Strasbourg.

D'aller pour une perte, Iris, comme la Sienne,

Se percer sottement la gorge d'une Vienne,

11 faudroit que Ton eut la cervelle i 1* Anvers.

Cliez moi le plus beau chat, je vous le dis, ma Bonne,

Vaut moins que ne vaudroit uue orange h NarbonnCf Et qu'ua verre commun ne se vend a Nevers.

LV. CARDINAL GRANVELLE.

Cardinal Granvelle, minister of Philip II. King of Spain, was so exact, that he preserved every

Alluding to the famous massacre of the French, in 1282.

f Mademoiselle D'Orlcans's dog, on whose death tho Abbt* Cotin composed a madrigal.


MENAGIANA. 87

letter written to him. He had left in several chests in his residence at Besancon, a prodigious quantity of these letters, in different languages, all noted, quoted, and underlined with his own hand, with copies of many of his answers. After his death, these valuable documents were placed in a gallery exposed to the rats and the rain ; the ser- vants, and the children of the neighbourhood, help- ed themselves to the papers as they pleased ; the maitre d'hotel sold six of the chests to a confec- tioner, and in order to get rid of the rest, they were destined at once to the water-closet. The Abbe Brisot, who had met with some of them acciden- tally, found means to collect the remainder ; and to prevent these from sharing the fate of the rest, he had them bound in eighty volumes. This collec- tion consists of original letters of the Emperors Charles V., Ferdinand I., Maximilian II., Philip II. of Spain, Mary, Queen of Hungary, Eleanora, Queen of France, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, Christiana of Denmark, Duchess of Lorraine, and the two Margarets of Austria, who governed in the Low Countries, The rest is composed of the letters of different ambassadors, with the answers ; and lastly, of two large volumes of private letters of the Cardinal to M. de Bellefontaine, his rela- tion, and intimate friend, where the Cardinal dis- plays his whole heart without disguise.

LVI. LATIN VERSE. GUALTIER DE LILLE.

It has been long disputed who was the author of the celebrated verse which has become prover- bial,

" Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim.'*

It has subsequently been disco vere<l, that it is


38 TABLE-TALK.

the production of Gualtier de Lille, as had been remarked by Galeotus Martius and Paquier in their Researches. This Gualtier, surnamed Chatillon, jBourished in the 13th century. He is the author of a poem in ten books, called the Alexandrrad ; and the verse in question is the 301st of the 5th Book, where the poet, apostrophising Darius, who in flying from Alexander, fell into the hands of Bessus, expresses himself thus :

" Quo flectis inertem,

Rex periture, fugam ? Nescis, heu, perdite, nescis, Quern fugias ; hostes incurris dum fugis hostem ; Incidis in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim."

LVII. MARY DE MEDICI9.

Fabro Chigi, who was afterwards Pope, un- der the title of Alexander VII., while Nuncio in France, was present at the death of Mary de Me- dicis. He asked her if she pardoned all her ene- mies, and particularly Cardinal Richelieu. She said she did, from her heart. " Madame," said he, " as a mark of reconciliation, will you send him the bracelet you wear on your arm ?" " Nay," replied she, laying her head on the pillow, <^ that is too much !"

LVIir. LOUIS XIV. AND SPINOLA.

Louis XIV., grave and dignified as he was, could not restrain the joy he felt on the birth of the Duke of Burgundy, on the 6th of August 1682. He refused the attendance of his guards, and every one was allowed to address him. As all were ad- mitted to the honour of kissing his hand, the Mar- quis Spinola, in the ardour of his zeal, bit his finger in doing so, and that so sharply that the King was forced to call out. " I beg your Majesty's pardon," said the Marquis ; " if I had not bit your


I


MENAGIANA. 31>

finger, you would not have distinguished me from the crowd."

LIX. PROOF OF NOBILITY.

I know some gentlemen extremely proud of their nobility, who are able to produce no better title to it, than a sentence condemning some of their ancestors to be beheaded.

I>X. FRENCH FANATIC.

In 1424, a female devotee at Bourg, in Bresse, proclaimed that she had been commissioned by God to liberate souls from helJ, and that she had been doing so, for some time, at the rate of three a-day.

LXI. MURETUS.

The scholars of Muretus sometimes made a noise, and interrupted him. As his temper was rather violent, he used to reprove them occasion- ally with ^nolence, and kept them in awe. One day during the lecture, one of them rang a bell which he had brought in his pocket. " Truly," said Mtu-etus, " I should have been astonished, if, among such a flock of sheep, there had not been a bell-wether to lead the rest."

LXII. LOUIS XII. GREY HAIRS.

Louis XII. one day looking at himself in his mirror, was astonished to see a number of grey hairs on his head. " Ah I" said he, " these must be owing to the long speeches I have listened to ; and it is those of M. le in particular, that have ruined my hair."

LXIII. ROLINUS' SERMONS.

The story which is so pleasantly told by Ra- belais, chap. vii. of Book III., and the answer ot Pantagi-uel to Panurge, when he consults him on his intended marriage, are copied from a sermon of John Rolinus, Doctor of Paris, and Monk of


40 TABLE-TALK.

Cluny, on widowhood. The passage appears to me singular enough to deserve translation. He tells us, that a certain widow having gone to ask the advice of her Cure, whether she ought to many again, told him she was without support, and that her servant, for whom she had taken a fancy, was industrious, and well acquainted with her husband's trade. The Cure's answer was, that she ought to marry him. " And yet," said the widow, " I am afraid to do it; for when we marry, we run some risk of finding a master in our servants." " Well, then," said the Cure, " don't take him." " But what shall I do ?" said the widow. " I cannot support the la- bour of my husband's business without assistance." " Marry him, then," said the Cure. " Very well," said the widow ; *' but if he turns out a worthless fel- low, he may get hold of my property and spend it." " Then you need not take him," replied the Cure. In this way the Cure always coincided with the last opinion expressed by the widow ; but seeing, at last, that her mind was really made up, and that she would marry the servant, he told her to take the advice of the bells of the church, and that they would counsel her best what to do. The bells rang, and the widow distinctly heard them say, " Prends ton valet: Prends ton valet"* She accordingly returned and man-ied him immediately. Some time afterwards, however, he drubbed her heartily, and she found, that, instead of being mistress, she had really become the servant. She returned to the Cure, and cursed the moment when she had been credulous enough to act upon his advice.

Take your servant : Take your servant This incident will probably remind our readers of Whittington.


MENAGIANA. 41

" Good woman," said the Cure, " I am afraid you have not rightly understood what the bells said to you." He rang them again ; and then the poor widow heard clearly, "i\e le prends pas : Ne le prends pas ;"* for the drubbing and bad treatment she had received, had opened her eyes.

LXIV. MEDICINE.

Medicine has been defined to be the art or sci- ence of amusing a sick man with frivolous spe- culations about his disorder, and of temporising in- geniously till nature either kills or cures him.

LXV. MARCO DE LODI.

Marco de Lodi, having presented a sonnet of his own composition to Clement VII., the Pope found one of the lines in the first quatrain defi- cient in a syllable. " Do not let that disturb your Holiness," said the poet ; " in the next you will probably find a syllable too much, which will ba- lance the defect."

LXVI. M. DE GRAMMONT.

M. le INlarechal de Grammont having gone, . by order of the King, to visit the minister Morus, who was dangerously ill, the King asked him, on his return, how he found him. The Marechal an- swered, " Sire, I saw him die like a good Hugue- not : what I think is most to be regretted is, that he should have died in a religion which is now as unfashionable as a peaked hat."

LXVII. A MAN OF WORTH.

The Abbe de la Riviere was praising very highly the late Duke of Orleans, the uncle of Louis Xn., in presence of his daughter. Among other things he said, that " he was a very wise and

Don't take him : Don't take him. D 2


42 TArBLE-TALK.

pious prince, and a man of great worth." " True," replied Mademoiselle d'Orleans, " you ought to know that better than any one, for you have sold him often enough."

LXVllT. THE AMBASSADOR OP SIAM.

Madame de Seignelay reproaching the Siam- ese with having a plurality of wives, the ambassa- dor replied, " Madame, if we could find at Siam wives as handsome as yourself, we should have but one; but as that cannot be, we must console ourselves by changing them occasionally."

LXIX. THE CANON OP ANGERS.

A Canon of Angers having invited several per- sons to dine upon a Jour maigre, his servant told him he had been to market, and could find no fish but a salmon, which he had not ventured to take, because it had been bespoken by a counsel- lor. The Canon, placing his purse in his hand, replied, " There go back buy me the sahnon and the counsellor."

LXX. RACAN.

Racan was a man of talent, and frequently said good things ; but his voice was weak, and he spoke rather indistinctly. One day in a numerous company, when he was present, the conversation turned on some subject, which gave an opportu- nity of introducing an agreeable story. When he had finished, seeing that 'the company, who pro- bably had not heard it, did not laugh, he turned to Menage, who was sitting near him, and said, " I see plainly that these gentlemen have not un- derstood me translate me, if you please, into the vulgar tongue."

LXXr. M. DE BASSOMPIERRE.

While M. de BassompieiTe was confined in the


MENAGIANA. 4^3

Bastile, a Marquis, who was his fellow-prisoner, used to amuse him with an accoimt of his exploits. He told him, among other things, that in a naval engagement he had himself killed 300 men in one vessel. " And I," replied Bassompierre, " once slipped down a chimney in Switzerland, to visit a lady with whom I was in love." " How the deuce can that be," said the other, " when there are no chimneys in the country ?" " Ah !" re- torted Bassompiene, "when I allowed you qui- etly to kill your 300 men on board the vessel, you might for once have winked at my slipping down the chimney to visit a lady."

LXXII. CONTRARY WINDS.

A Venetian, who had never been out of Ve- nice, and consequently was a very indifferent ri- der, having mounted, for the first time, on a res- tive horse, who would not advance, notwithstand- ing the application of the spur, pulled his handker- chief out of his pocket, and spreading it to the wind, said, " Ah I I see the reason that we can't get on the wind is against us."*

LXXIir. ALEXANDRINES.

Alexander of Paris, the first person who made use of French verses of twelve syllables, which have retained the name of Alexandrines, lived about the close of the 12th century.

LXXIV. A LUCKY HIT.

Two persons, playing for a considerable sum with a pair of dice, agreed that the person who threw the smallest number should be entitled to the stake. The first threw two aces, and claimed

  • Some such anecdote may have suggested to Smollett

the traverse course steered by Commodore Trunnion on his wedding day.


^^ TABLE-TALK.

the money. The other stopped him, and contri- ved to throw the dice in such a manner, that, the one remaining above the other, only one ace was visible, and thus earned off the prize.

LXXV. PHYSICIANS.

Physicians were formerly ecclesiastics. It was only in 1452 that the Cardinal d'Etouteville, du ring his nunCiate in France, obtamed permission for them to maiTy.

I.XXVI. WALLER.

Waller, the celebrated English poet, compo- sed, in excellent Latin verse, a panegyric upon Cl'omwell during his Protectorate. Charles II. being restored in 1660, Waller went to present to him some verses he had composed in his praise. The King read them, and told him he had compo- sed better verses in praise of Cromwell. " Sire," replied Waller, " we poets always succeed better in fiction than in truth."

LXXVir. M. DE SELLERY.

The King having sent to ask the Chancellor de Sellery, whether he was willing to submit to a trial, the Chancellor requested the person who brought the message to refer the King to the verse of the Psalms, " Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified."

LXXVIIT. ST JOHN AND ST PAUL.

Father .... preaching on the day of St John the Evangelist, said, there was a great differ- ence between St John and St Paul ; that the one was far more open and unresei'ved than the other ; " for," said he, " St Paul affects mystery and concealment, and will communicate nothing of what he learned in heaven, while St John speaks


MENAOIANA. 45

out, and conceals nothing." At these words Ma- dame de Sevigne turned to me, and said, " Me- thinks he places St Paul very low, and St John very high ?" " Oh," said I, " come and hear him on St Paul's day, and you will see that he will put St John low enough ; he will prove to you that St Paul was wise and prudent in concealing the secrets of heaven, and St John very indiscreet in revealing them."

LXXIX. LANGUAGES.

When one has acquired a certain reputation, he should never venture to speak a language he has not been accustomed to use, however well ho may understand it. We lose too much by doing so. A single mistake is sufficient to throw dis- credit on our learning. I have composed several books in Italian, yet I never venture to speak it. I am told that the Emperor understands French perfectly ; but he never speaks it.

LXXX. COUNT DE BRANCAS.

It is said that the Menalcas* of I.a Bmyere's work was the late Count de Brancas. He has forgotten two of the most extraordinary sallies of this man. The first is, that one day the Count de Brancas walking in St Germain de I'Auxerrois, M. de la Rochefoucault presented himself to speak to him. " God help you," said M. de Brancas, and walked on. M. de la Rochefoucault began to laugh, and at the same time prepared to address him again. " Is it not enough," said M. de Bran- cas, " that I have said ' God help you' already ? These beggars are the most troublesome rascals !" Rochefoucault laughed still louder, and after

The Absent Man.


4(J TABLE-TALK.

eome time succeeded in convincing Brancas that lie was no beggar. The second story was this : M. de Brancas was one day sitting by the fireside reading with deep attention, when the gouver- nante of his daughter coming in, he laid down his book, and took the child in his arras. He played with her for some time, when his servant came to announce to him a visit of importance : immedi- ately, forgetting that he had laid down his book, and that it was his daughter that he held, he threw her from him, and walked out of the room. For- tunately the gouvemante saved her life by recei- ving her in her arms.


1


C 47 ]


HUETIANA,


[Pierre Daniel Huet, the author of this collection, was bom at Caen in 1630. Thoijgh his education was at first ne- glected, the native vigour of his mind enabled him to tri- umph over all obstacles, and by the assistance of his tutor, Mambrun, a Jesuit, and of Bochart, the Protestant Minister of Caen, he obtained a complete acquaintance with mathe- matics, and became a most accomplished classical scholar. In 1652, he accompanied Bochart to the Court of Christina Queea of Sweden, who wished to induce him to remain at Stockholm. This, however, he declined, and retiu-ning to France, pub- lished a variety of works, which raised him to a distinguish- ed pJace in the republic of letters. He was appointed in 1678 to the Abbacy of Aunay, in Normandy ; and in 1685, to the See of Soissons, which he afterwards exchanged for that of Avranches. He died in 1721, in his 91st year. His works on the Origin of Romance, and on the Navigation of the An- cients, are those by which he is best known to the foreigrn reader.

The Huetiana, which contains the detached thoughts and criticisms of this learned and amiable man, is of a graver cast than the most of the Ana. It contains few anecdotes or lively tales, such as those which form the staple of tlic Mena- giana, but consists principally of a series of thoughts and criticisms on various topics of moral philosophy and liter- ature, generally longer and more elaborate than the occa- sional articles which occur on such subjects in the other Ana. Some of the Bishop's opinions, as will be seen from om" short selection, are singular enough, and some of his theories not a little visionaiy ; but the book, notwithstand- ing D'Alembert's criticisms, is in general distinguished by the good sense of the articles it contains, and the very great clearness both of thought and language la which they are conveyed.]

LXXXI. MONTAIGNE.

The Essays of Montjugne are genuine 3fon' taniana, that is to say, a Collection of the Thoughts of Montaigne without arrangement or


48 TABLE-TALK.

connexion. This circumstance has, perhaps, con trilmted as much as any to render them favourites with our nation, an enemy to the continued atten- tion which long dissertations demand ; and with the present age, which dislikes the application re- quued in continuous and methodical treatises His freedom of thought, his variety of style, and his metaphorical expressions, have been the chief causes of this celebrity which he has enjoyed du- ring the last century, and which he still possesses ; for he is, as it were, the breviary of indolent and ignorant men of letters, anxious to acquire some slight acquaintance with the world, and some tinctm'e of learning. You will scarcely find a country gentleman without his Montaigne on the chimney-piece. But this liberty, which has its advantages when used within bounds, becomes dangerous when it degenerates into license. Such is that of Montaigne, who has thought himself en- titled to overstep all the laws of modesty and de- corum. The source of this defect in Montaigne lies in his vanity and self-love. He thought his merit entitled him to dispense with rules, to set an example, not to follow one. All his pretended frankness cannot prevent us from perceiving in him a secret vanity of his official situation, of the number of his servants, and of the reputation he had acquired. If we collect all the small hints and occasional touches which he has adroitly intro- duced into his works, we shall find him, on the whole, his own panegyrist. Scaliger might well say, what is it to me whether Montaigne likes white wine or red ? Is it not, in fact, a mere mockery of his readers to amuse them with tliese petty details of his tastes, and his domestic trifles ?


1


HUETIAXA. 49

Scaliger, no doubt, did not talk thus without a little personal feeling in the matter. Montaigne had in his writings assigned to Justus Lipsius the first place in the Empire of Letters; though in this, as in other things, he showed the badness of his taste. When he advances any bold or dispu- table proposition, he says, " I do not give it as a good one, but as mine ;" a matter with which the reader has very little to do ; for his object is to know, not what Michael de Montaigne thought, but what he should have thought, in order to think well. He declares, throughout his work, that he is an- xious to paint himself as he is, to the public. Be- fore adopting such a design, must he not have had a tolerable persuasion that the original of the por- trait was one which deserved to be painted, look- ed at, studied, imitated by all the world ? And could an idea like this spring from any other source than a plentiful supply of self-love ?

His style is of a truly singular turn and original character. His lively imagination furnishes him with a profusion of images on every subject, which he groups into that abundance of agreeable meta- phors, in which he is imequalled by any other writer. It is his favourite figure ; a figure which, according to Aristotle, is the chai-acteristic of a great mind.

LXXXir., VAMPYRES.

There is something evidently singular in the accounts we possesa of the Brucolaca* of the


  • Phlegon de MirabU. c 1. Turquie Chretien ; de la

Croix, liv. 1, c. 25, pp. 1 16, et seq. ; ex Leone AUatro, p.

118. ; et Cassiano, p. 119 ; Etat de I'Eglise Grecque, ch.

25, pp. 78, et seq ; Voyage au Levant, T. 2, ch. 21, p. 320.



50 TABLE-TALK.


Archipelago. We are told that those, who after a wicked life have died impenitent, appear in diffe- rent places with the same forms which they hore when alive ; that they attack the living, striking some and killing others ; sometimes rendering use- ful services, but constantly causing terror and consternation. The Greeks believe that these bo- dies ai-e delivered over to the power of the devil, who preserves and animates them, and employs them to torment mankind. Father Richard,* a Jesuit Missionary to these islands, about fifty years ago, published an account of the Island of Santerini, or St Irene, the Thera of the ancients, of which the famous Cyrene was a colony. He has a long chapter on the History of the Bruco- lacs. He tells us, that when the people are in- fested with these apparitions, they have the bodies disinten-ed, which are found entire and uncorrupt- ed ; that they burn or cut them in pieces, parti- cularly the heart, after which the apparitions cease and the body decays. The word iinicolac comes from the modem Greek fi^ovKog, which signifies mud, and XctJCKog, a ditch, because the tombs in which these bodies are placed are generally found full of mud. I do not at present inquire whether the facts there stated are true, or merely a popular error ; but it is certain that they are related by so many authors of talent and credit, and by so many ocular witnesses, that we ought at least to decide with caution. It is certain also, that this idea, true or false, is extremely ancient, and that the classical authors are full of it. When the an- cients had murdered a person fraudulently, or by

Relation de Santerini du P. Richard, ch. 18, p. 282.


ar Q ^*


HUEWANA. ftl

surprise, they thought tliat they deprived him of the power of taking vengeance upon them, by ctit-. ting off his feet, hands, nose, and ears. (This was called *gft>Tj^<^e<y.) All these they hung round the neck of the victim, or placed them under his arm-pits, fi'om which the word /ixa-^dhi^uv, signify* ing the same thing, is derived. A strong proof of this is to be found in the Greek Scholia of Sopho- cles. It was thus that Menelaus treated Deipho- bus, the husband of Helen, and it was in this state he was seen by iEneas in the Infernal Regions, (Virg. iEn. VI. 494, et. seq.)

The ancients have treated as a fable the history of Hermotimus of Clazomene, whose soul fre- quently forsook his body to wander through dis- tant regions, and to acquire information regarding futurity, which, upon its return, he imparted to his contemporaries ; but at last his enemies having ob- tained permission from his wife to bum his body during one of these mental excursions, his sold finding itself on its return deprived of its usual re- treat, retired for ever.

Suetonius tells us, that after the violent death of Caligula, his body had been but partially burned and superficially interred ; the house in which he was slain, and the gardens where he was burned, were every night haunted by spectres, until the house itself was at last burned, and the last rites properly performed to his remains by the sisters of the deceased. Servius states expressly, that the souls of the dead can find no rest till the body is entirely consumed. The modern Greeks are persuaded that the bodies of excommunicated per- sons never decay, but swell out hke a dram, and sound like one when fitrack or rolled on the


52 TABLE-TALK.

giound. These bodies they call Toupi, which vulgar Greek means " a Drum."

LXXXIII. LETTER READING.

T never read my letters in the evening before going to bed, or in the afternoon before dinner. Let- ters generally contain more bad news than good ; and in reading them, we call up subjects of in- quietude, which disturb our repasts and our re- pose.

LXXXIV. DELPHIN CLASSICS.

The Commentaries on the ancient Latin authors, which were undertaken, by order of the King, for the use of the Dauphin and public utility, were the invention of the Duke of Montausier sJone. He had always loved and cultivated literature ; and employed as much leisure in the perusal of the Classics as his military and political career permit- ted ; but he had frequently found himself embar- rassed by obscurities, for want of Commentaries, for which he was unable to find room in his hmited military equipage. These obscurities were of two kinds, either they consisted in the text and ex- pression of the author, or they regarded points of mythology or history, the understanding of which depended on a perfect acquaintance with antiquity. He attempted a remedy for both obstacles : he thought that an interpretation in the form of a pa- raphrase would clear up the obscurities of the text, and that notes, in the form of Commentaries, would explain such matters as were connected with an- cient erudition. It were to be wished that, in fol- lowing out tliis plan, it had been possible to have met with as many persons profoundly conversant with literature, as it was to meet with authors wor- thy of the task of interpretation and criticism.


1


I


HUETIANA. 5S

But 03 it would have been unjust to have with- drawn fi-om their studies and employments men of genius and learning, without some remuneration, the King took this point into consideration, and, upon the representation of the Duke de Montau* eier, agreed to defray the expense (which, upon a fair calculation, was estimated at about 3 or 400,000 francs) of bringing the plan to perfection. It is highly to the honour of M. Colbert's taste, that he distinguished himself on this occasion, by throwing open the treasury to defray these ex- penses, with liberality and with a good grace. I was employed in the superintendence of the plan, and I fixed at forty the number of the classical au- thors who were to compose the collection ; but in the search which I had next to make, to find as many able critics to put them into the desired shape, I found much greater difficulty. We were obhged to take such as could be met with, who, of course, differed very much from each other in point of ability. This opportimity, however, sug- gested to me the idea of giving to each of these authors an index of all the words which the work contained knowing, as I did, the great advantages derived to literature from the few indexes of the same kind we ah'eady possessed. I even carried my views farther, and proposed to melt all these into one, when finished, so as to compose a gene- ral index, which should contain, and circumscribe, as it were, the limits of the Latin language. By this method, one would be enabled to find at a glance, and with certainty, the birth, age, usage, signification, fortune, duration, decay, and extinc- tion of each word. Never would the language and antiquities of Rome have received a more effectual e2


54 TABLE-TALK.

support, or a more certain preservative against the influence of ignorance and the advances of har barism ; but the length of the enterprise, the lazi ness of those employed, and the marriage of the Dauphin, which occasioned the cessation of his studies, stopt us in the midst of our course; and put an end to the plan.

LXXXV. SAMSON.

I know not how I came to forget, in my Evan- gelical Demonstration, to notice that the fable of Hercules, related by Lycophron, and other ancient writers, that he was swallowed by a sea dog, and retained for three days in his stomach, from which he escaped with only tbe loss of his hair, is just the story of Samson, absorbed by his love of Dalilab, who cut off his hair to deprive him of his strength.*

LXXXVI. ARABIAN NUMERALS.

It is an established opinion, not only among men of literature, but among scholars of the first order, that the numeral characters in use among us, have been introduced into Europe through Spain ; that Spain received them from the Moors, the Moors from the Arabs, and the Arabs from the Indians. I agree with the supposition, that Spain received them from the Moors, and the Moors from the Arabs ; but I cannot admit that the Arabs recei- ved them from the Indians. I maintain, on the contrary, that the Indians received them from the Arabs, and the Arabs from the Greeks, as they have done all their learning; some branches of which they have brought to perfection ; but the greater pait of which they have deteriorated and


The story of Jonah would seem to be as gcrman to that of Hercules.


he U

I


HUETIANA. 55

altered. The numeral characters which they bor- rowed from the Greeks have been subjected to this alteration ; and so effectually, that without parti- cular observation, we can scarcely perceive any traces of their origin. But when we make the comparison carefully, and without prejudice, the traces of the Greek chai-acters are sufficiently ob- rious. The Greek numerals were merely the let- ters of their alphabet. A small comma or line was the mark of unity. The /3, with its extremities cut off, has produced the 2. If we bend the y a little to the left, cuttmg off the foot, and rounding the left horn a little towards the left, we form a 3. The A has produced the 4, by raising the left side of the triangle perpendicularly, prolonging it a lit- tle below the base, and lengthening the base on the left side. The e has formed the 5, by turning the lower semicircle from left to right. The 6 has been formed from the 5, by rounding the bottom, and retrenching the top part. The 7 has been formed from the Z, by cutting off the base. If we connect the four comers of the H, we form an 8, The forms the 9, by slightly opening one of the sides. The cipher was merely a point added to the other units, in order to multiply their value 10 times. It was necessary to mark this point strong- ly ; and in order to form it distinctly, it was first represented by a circle filled up in the middle: afterwards the filling up of the circle was neglect- ed. Theophanes, the historian of Constantinople^ says, in plain terms, that the Arabs retained the Greek letters, having no characters in their lan- guage to mark numbers. The Greeks, in their numbers, retained the decimal progression as the Arabs have done.


56 TABLR-TALK.


LXXXVII. DECIMALS,

It is at first sight surprising, that in the prograiT eion of numbers, and in calculation, the number of ten, and the decimal progression, should have been preferred to all others. The cause of this prefer- ence is, that it corresponds with the number of our fingers, in which all men are accustomed to reckon from their infancy. They count, in the first place, the number of their fingers. When the units exceed the number of their fingers, they pass to a second ten. If the number of tens increases, they count these also on then- fingers ; and when the number of tens exceeds the number of their fingers, they recommence on their fingers a new sort of calculation ; that is to say, of tens of tensj or hundreds ; and afterwards, of thousands, and so on. Thus, it is the number of the fingers with wliich nature has furnished man, as an instrument always ready to assist him in his calculations, which has led to the adoption of this number a number, in other respects less useful, and less fitted for the purpose, than the number of twelve, which is more susceptible of division ; for 10 is divisible only by 2 and by 5, while 12 is divisible by 2, by 3, by 4, and by 6.

The Roman ciphers afford a proof of the origin which I have just stated. They express units by the I's, which represent the fingers. Five is repre- sented by a V, which represents the first and last fingers of the hand. Ten is represented by an X, being two V's united at their bases, and express- ing the contents of both hands. Fifty is marked by an L, the half of the letter E, which is the same as C, and represents a hundred. Five hundred by




HUETIAXA. 57

a D, tlie half of the letter O, which is the same as M, and represents a thousand.

LXXXVIII. THE GARLAND OF JULIA.

Never did love devise a piece of gallantry more ingenious, more refined, or more original than the Duke of Montausier's new-year's-gift to his mis- tress Julia d' Augennes, when he sought her in marriage. He had a selection of the finest flowers painted separately in miniature, on vellum, of the Bame size, by an excellent painter. Beneath each picture he made the artist leave sujSicient space to write a madrigal on the subject of the flower, and in praise of Julia. He prevailed on all the wits of the time, most of whom were his personal friends, to undertake the composition of these little pieces, after reserving a reasonable share of the best sub- jects to himself. He then had the madrigals writ- ten beneath each flower by a person at that time much celebrated for the beauty of his handwriting. The whole was then finely bound. Two copies exactly alike were formed, and each inclosed in a covering of Spanish leather. This was the present which Julia found on her toilet on New-year's-day 1633, or 1634, (for it was shortly after the death of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden.) I no- tice this epoch because it is alluded to in the im- perial crown,* one of the flowers composing this garland. As I had merely heard of its existence by report, I often asked permission to see it ; Ma- dame d' Usez at last procured me this pleasure. She locked me up one afternoon along with the garland ; she afterwards went to attend the Queen,

An elegant madrigal composed by Chapelain, aulhor of *' The Pucelle.'


38 TABLE-TALK.

and did not return to release me till it was almost night. But I never recollect having passed a more agreeable evening.

LXXXIX. MURDER IN STOCKHOLM.

A few days before our journey to Sweden, a strange incident occun-ed in Stockholm. A young man, by no means deficient in fortune, and whose conduct had always appeared extremely correct, laid hold of a child in broad day-light, as it was playing before its father's shop, and cut its throat. He was instantly seized and carried before the judges. Being interrogated as to his motives for the commission of such a crime, " Gentlemen," said he, " I confess my guilt, and admit that I am deserving of death : far from seeking to justify my conduct, or to obtain pardon for my crime, you would yourselves be guilty were you to pardon me. I have looked on life with attention I have studied death. The one appeared to me a source of misery and crime, the other a state of innocence and peace. After much reflection, seeing that I could attain my object only by the commission of a crime, I determined on that which I have perpe- trated, as the most excusable. I have killed a child during his period of innocence, and thereby insured his salvation. I have relieved his father, who is burdened with a numerous family, and has not the means to provide for them. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that I am guilty ; I only hope that the punishment to be inflicted upon me, and the manner in which I shall receive it, will procure from God the pardon of my crime." He went to the scaffold singing, and suffered with a firmness and serenity that astonished every one who was present.


HUETIANA. 59

XC. CONTAGION,

Neither naturalists nor physicians have yet been able to inform us why certain diseases are conta- gions, while others are not so. The gout, the Btone, the epilepsy and apoplexy, are not commu- nicated from one person to another ; the plague, on the contrary, dysentery, flux, small-pox, &c. are easily communicated, become epidemical, and cause the greatest ravages by their infection. Whence does this difference in these effects pro- ceed ? I think I can imagine a cause, which, though not apparent, is yery far from being on that account improbable. I would say, in general, that all those diseases which are contagious, produce certain small insects contained in abscesses, ulcers, or pustules, on the surface of the body, some more, some less, and of different kinds. I do not at pre- sent inquire into the cause that produces these in- sects, but the effect is common, constant, and fre- quently visible. We know that these insects, by a natural revolution, change into flies or gnats. As soon as they can manage their wings, they hasten to use them, and to fly about in the air. Then spreading themselves on all sides, and entering in- to the human body by respu-ation, they carry thi- ther the same venom by which they have been en- gendered, and communicate the corruption which has given them birth. This is the reason why, du- ring great contagions, large fires have been suc- cessfully employed in different places to purify the air. Tliis is done, not by rarefying and changing its constitution, as seems to be imagined, but by burning and destroying these creatures with which the atmosphere is filled, and which, attracted by the glare of the fire, are drawn to death like moths


60 TABLE-TALK.

round a candle. Another cause, totally the reverse of this, produces the same effect, 1 mean severe frost, which either totally, or in a great measure, destroys these insects ; for sometimes their num- ber is so great that some escape the rigour of tlie season, and keep up the contagion, as was the case during the black plague, which desolated Denmark and the neighbouring countries some centuries ago.

XCI. FIDELITY OF A DOG.

In a village between Caen and Vire, called the Bocage, a countryman of a savage temper was in the custom of maltreating his wife so severely, that his neighbours, attracted by her cries, had frequent- ly been obliged to interfere for her assistance. The husband, tired of her society, determined to get rid of her at once. He pretended to be reconciled to her ; changed his conduct entirely, and on holidays indulged her with walks and pleasure parties. One summer day, after severe heat, they sat down to- gether on the brink of a fountain, in a very solitary and retired situation. The husband pretended to be very thirsty, and, attracted by the clearness of the water before them, lay down and drank largely, praising the coolness of the fountain, and wishing his wife to follow his example. She be- lieved him, and had just placed herself in the same situation, when the husband seized hold of her and plunged her head into the water, with the intention of drowning her. She fought hard for life, but would infallibly have perished, but for the assist- ance of her dog, who was greatly attached to her, and had followed her hither. He threw himself upou the husband; seized him by the throat; com-


HUETIANA. 61

pelled him to abandon his hold, and thus saved the life of his mistress.

XCir. THE JUDGE AND THE ADVOCATE.

In legal procedure, the duties of the judge and advocate are opposed in every point to each other. The judge labours to discover the truth ; the ad- vocate to conceal or disguise it. The judge seeks the golden mean, which is the seat of equity ; the advocate the extremes. The judge must be rigid, inflexible ; the advocate ought to be supple, pli- ant, accommodating, entering into the views of his client, and espousing his interests. The judge should be constant, uniform, invariable, walking always in the same path ; the advocate should as- sume all shapes. The judge ought to be passion- less ; the advocate labours to excite the passions, and to appear impassioned even in a cause in which he feels but a slender interest. The judge should hold the balance in equilibrium ; the advocate throws into it the weight which makes his own side preponderate. The judge is armed with the sword of the law; the advocate seeks to disarm him.

XCIII. NORTHERN TRIBES.

The whole of the ancient world is now govern- ed by northern tribes. To begin with the west the Normans and Saxons have rendered themselves masters of Normandy and England ; the Francs, the Goths, the Visigoths, and Vandals, of France, Spain, and Africa. The Ostrogoths conquered Italy ; others, such as the Getse, Cimbri, Scythi- ans, and Bulgarians, subdued Germany : Other Scytliian tribes, the Tartars and Tmks, took pos- session of Greece and the beautiful provinces of Asia Minor. The Persians are also of the Scy-

k'


62 TABLE-TALK.

thlan and Tartar race. Tlie descendants of Ta- merlane, a Tartar prince, reign at this moment in Judea; and the great empire of China has been conquered within a century by the Tartais. The Ciicassian Mamelukes reigned in Egypt when they were conquered by Selim, Emperor of the Turks.

XCIV. SOUND.

Sound is a strong movement of the air, which we perceive by the impression made on the tym- panum of the ear.* When the sonorous body is struck and agitated, it communicates to the sur- rounding air the movement impressed upon it, and this movement takes place by means of undula- tions similar to those which we observe on water when a stone is thrown into it. The quicker and more frequent these undulations are, the acuter the sound is ; as the sound of the treble string of a violin is more acute than the bass, only because, its movements being more rapid, it produces quick- er and more frequent undulations. For if, by re- laxing the cord, we render its movements slower, the undulations it produces will also be slower, and the sound less acute. This being properly understood, it is easy to perceive the causes of consonance and dissonance. When the undula- tions produced by two cords are equal, and coin- cide exactly at the same moment, the result is uni- son, or the most perfect of concords. If they never coincide at all, they produce complete discord. If they occasionally coincide at certain regular inter- vals, they produce the different concords which constitute the charm of music.

We quote this article, not from its novelty, but its clear. nes3 and brevity. , -y. i, .:-jmx' *. -


HUETIANA* 63

XCV. SWALLOWS.

The swallows of Sweden, at the approach of winter, plunge into the lakes, and remain there asleep, and buried under the ice, till the return of spring. Then, awakened by the returning heat, they leave the water, and resume their usual flight. While the lakes are frozen, if the ice be broken in certain places which appear darker than othere, the swallows are found in great quantities, cold, asleep, and half dead. If they are taken out, and \^'armed by the hands or before a fire, they soon begin to exhibit signs of life : they stretch themselves out, shake themselves, and soon fly away. In other places they retire into the caves, or under the rocks. Between the town of Caen and the sea, along the banks of the Ome, there are many of these ca- vemsj where, during the winter, clusters of swal- lows have been found suspended, like bunches of grapes, from the roof of the cavern. The same thing has been long ago observed in Italy.

XCVI. SPOTS IN LEAVES.

In summer, when, after some days of fine wea- ther, a storm happens, accompanied by a slight shower, and the sun appears immediately after- wards resuming his usual strength, his beams pro- duce upon the flowers and leaves an effect similar to that of a burning glass, marking them here and there with round spots. Naturalists have been much puzzled about the cause, but the truth, I think, is this : During fine weather, a certain per* tion of dust is deposited by the wind upon the foliage, as well as on other places. When the shower falls upon the dust, the drops collect toge- ther, and assume a rounded form, as we may ob- serve within doors, on a dusty floor, when we


64 TABLE-TALK.

Bprinkle a little water upon it. Now these little globules of water collecting upon the leaves, act like convex glasses, and produce the same effect. If the shower happens to be heavy, and to last for some time, the same effect is not produced, be- cause the dust is by degrees washed off, and the drops of rain, losing their globular form, spread over the leaf, and cease to exert their caustic effect.

XCVII. LOVE.

Love is not merely a mental affection, but also a bodily malady, like a fever. It has its seat in the blood and animal spirits, which are always ex- tremely agitated ; and may, I have no doubt, be subjected to a methodical treatment ; such as strong eudorifics, and copious bleedings, which, by car- rying off with the humours this irritation of the spirits, would purge the blood, calm its emotion, and restore it to its natural state. An illustrious Prince,* who was seized with a violent attachment to a lady of great merit,f was obliged to set out for the army. During his absence, his passion was kept alive by remembrance and frequent epis- tolary con-espondence, till the close of the cam- paign, when a dangerous malady, which attacked him, reduced him to the last extremity. All the usual remedies, suited to the distemper, were ap- plied, and the prince recovered ; but without re- covering his love, which had been fairly earned off by his medical treatment and an antiphlogistic re- gimen,

  • Conde.

f Mademoiselle Vigean.


[ 65 ]


CHEVRiEANA.


COf the life of Urban Clievreau, the author of this collec- tion, little is known. He was bom at Loudon in 1613, and was afterwards secretary to Christina of Sweden, whom he had tlie art to reconcile to the Catholic faith. After his re- turn fi'om Sweden, he became preceptor to the Duke of Maine, and died in 1701, ag^ed neai-ly 88.

The Chevi'seana, which was published during the author's life, and received liis own conections, has the cliaracter of be- ing more accurate than most works of this class. It contains many valuable corrections of the mistakes of some of its predecessors, and exhibits a very judicious mixture of serious and lively articles. 3


XCVIII. HYPERBOLES.

All the rbetoricians speak of the hyperbole, and if Aristotle is to be believed, it is a figure of speech suited only to a person enraged, or to chiltlren who exaggerate everything. I suppose, according to this maxim, that the man who said that his estate was no larger than a laconic epistle, must be set down either as a child or a very irascible person- age. I remember an acquaintance of M. de Cal- prenede (the author of Cleopatra) remarking to M . de Sercy, the bookseller, who showed him that romance, *' This author boasts of having a large mansion and an extensive forest: I assure you, on my honour that he has not wood enough tc f2


66 TABLE-TALK.

make a tooth-pick, and that a tortoise might make the tour of his house in a quarter of an hour."

XCIX. ANAGRAMS.

The best anagram I have met with, is one which was shown me by the Duchess de la Tremouille. She was the sister of the Duke de Bouillon and of Marshal Turenne, and her name was Marie de la Tour; in Spanish, Maria de la Torre, which a Spanish anagrammatist found to be exactly Amor de la Tierra.

C. SONNET OF PETRARCH.

A physician of Padua, well known for his atten- tion to his woridly interests, meeting a philoso- pher in the street very indifferently dressed, ac- costed him with the well known line of Petrarch,

" Povera e nuda vai Filosofia ;"*

to which the philosopher, without hesitation, an- swered by the succeeding line.

    • Dice la turba al vil guadagno lntesa."t

CI. THE SWISS DOCTOR.

The Duke de Rohan, while travelling in Swit- zerland, found himself indisposed in a village, the name of which I forget, and sent for the most ce- lebrated physician of the Canton. Doctor Thi- baut was immediately called to visit the noble stranger. He entered the Duke's chamber, and sa- luting him, gravely asked him what was the nature of his complaint. M. de Rohan looked at him at- tentively : " Doctor," said he, " I know not how it is, but I have a vague recollection of having seen

Poor and naked dost tliou go, oh Philosophy !

+ Says the crowd, who think of nothing but vile gain.


CHEVn^ANA. 67

you before." " Very probably, Monseigneur," said Doctor Thibaut, gravely, " for I had the ho- nour to be youi- Grace's farrier." " What !" said the Duke, " and you play the physician here ! How do you treat your patients ?" Doctor Thi- oaut replied without hesitation, that he was consi- dered the most eminent physician in the Canton, and that he treated his patients the Swiss, very much in the same manner as he had treated his Excellen- cy's horses ; that, it was tnie, a good many of them died, in consequence of his remedies, but that he had also had the good fortune to effect some cures. He concluded with begging his Grace not to expose him, but to allow him to make his living at the expense of the lives of the Swiss.

CII. SIR THOMAS MORE.

The greatest of men are sometimes seized with strange fancies at the very moment when one would suppose they had ceased to be occupied with the things of this world. Sir Thomas More, at his execution, having laid his head upon the block, and perceiving that his beard was extended in such a manner that it would be cut through by the stroke of the executioner, asked him to adjust it properly upon the block ; and when the execu- tioner told him he need not trouble himself about his beard, when his head was about to be cut off, " It is of little consequence to me," said Sir Thomas, " but it is a matter of some importance to you, that you should understand your profession, and not cut through my beard, when you had orders only to cut off my head."

cm. ELOQUENCE OP CICERO.

Hegesias the philosopher, it is said, one day dis.


60 TABLE-TALK.

coursed so eloquently upon the grievancee of life, and the contempt which we ought to entertain for death, that many of his auditors went home and starved themselves to death. I can conceive that a philosopher, who reasons acutely, may have his dupes among those who are destitute of his infor- mation^ his ability, or his eloquence. But it is a strange thing to see a man of high talent, deeply acquainted with all the subtleties of the rhetorician, and who himself spoke as well as he fought, dis- concerted by a mere harangue. Ligarius, a Roman citizen, had attached himself to the interests and fortunes of Pompey, and after his death had retired, with Scipi'o, into Africa. He did everything in his power against Caesar, who was informed of the whole by Tubero, and who, in consequence, con- ceived so great an aversion against Ligarius, that he thought only of revenge. Cicero imdertook the defence of Ligarius ; and although Csesar at first absolutely refused to listen to him, the other, who was not to be disconcerted by the first rebuff, at last prevailed on him to listen to his justification. Caesar, in fact, entertained no doubt that he would be able to prove his guilt by undoubted documents, and that Cicero would be unable to make any reply. But before Cicero had finished his defence of Ligarius, the letters and memorials had insensi- bly dropt from the hand of Caesar ; he changed liis colour, his resolution, as if he had been under the influence of some charm, and not only granted a free pardon to Ligarius, but admitted him into the list of his particular friends. If we were acquaint- ed with no other proof of Cicero's talent, we might say with Quintilian, " Non immcrito ab homini-


CHEVRiEANA. 69

bus setatis suae regnare in judiciis tlictus est; apud posteros vero id consecutus, ut Cicero jam non ho- minis sed eloquentise nomen habeatur."

CIV. M. DE BASSOMPIERRE.

The Marechal de Bassorapierre used to examine every evening the amount of his expenditure for the day ; and having one day given to his maitre d'hotel a hundred crowns to provide a sumptuous entertainment for seven or eight guests, whom he expected, the maitre d'hotel carried his account to him as usual, at night. On examining it, he found that it amounted only to ninety crowns, and put- ting it into the hand of the maitre d'hotel, he said calmly, " Make the sum even before I vouch it." The servant walked down stairs immediately, and returned in a few minutes with the account, to which he had added at the bottom, " Item, ten crowns to make up the hundred." This puts me in mind of an anecdote of Ismael Bouillan, who had been sent by his father to Paris to study. In the account of his expenditure, which his father demanded of him, in order to see how he employ- ed the money he had given him, the young man, after exaggerating as much as possible the amount of ever)"^ article, down to the minutest trifle, found that a large sum still remained, of which he could give no good account, and therefore added at the close of the account, "Item, father, one must live." CV. IjA mothe le vayer.

The friends of La Mothe le Vayer, who are ac- quainted with his character, are aware that ac- counts of foreign countries were his principal amusement and delight. When on the point of death, and when not a moment was to be lost in endeavouring to prepare himself for the approaching change, he was visited by his friend M. Bemier,


W TABLE-TALK.

the traveller. As soon as he saw him enter, he raised his head, and exckimed, " Well, what news of the Great Mogul ?" These were almost the last words he had strength to utter, for he expired al- most immediately after.

CVI. JULIAN THE APOSTATE.

I have read the works of Julian, with the re- marks of Petau, and putting out of view the apos- tasy of that emperor, I find in his orations and let- ters the marks of the greatest learning and talent. Although I have spoken of him elsewhere, I can- not omit noticing his admirable reply to Delphi- dius, who had accused of bribery Numenus or Numenanus, the former governor of Gaul. Del- phidius, a harsh and vehement speaker, seeing that the proofs were not sufficiently strong to convict Numenanus, exclaimed, as he cast his eyes at Ju- lian, " If a criminal is to be acquitted upon mere denial, who can ever be proved guilty?" Julian immediately answered, " And if he is to be con- demned upon mere assertion, who can ever be proved innocent?"

CVIL PAINTING A FEVER.

I have read somewhere that Raphael and Titian painted a man in a fever, and that the painting was 80 naturally and artfully executed, that a physician, on looking at the picture, declaimed at once, that the original must have been sick of a quartan fe- ver,

CVIII. CHINESE PHYSICIANS.

The physicians of China, to whom we are in- debted for our knowledge of the circulation of the blood, have only to feel the arm of their patient in three places, and to observe the rate of the pulse, to form an opinion on tlie cause, nature, danger,


CHEVRiEANA. 71

and duration of the malady. Without the patient ha- ving occasion to speak at all, they can tell infallibly, what part is attacked, whether the brain, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the intestines, the stomach, the flesh, the bones, and so on. As they are both phy- sicians and apothecaries, and prepare their own me- dicines, they are paid only when they eflfect a cure. If the same rule were introduced with us, I fear we should have fewer physicians.

CIX. CURE OF FEVERS IN SWEDEN.

One thing which I saw in Sweden surprised me. The peasants who have fever, take n. quantity of beer, into which they put ginger, cloves, and cin- namon, and having heated it as much as theii- mouth and stomach will bear, they drink it off. The re- medy is found to be veiy effectual.

They have also another remedy which would appear a stai*tling one to inhabitants of our climate. They have dry stoves which they call Bastou, in- to which they enter naked, and when the perspi- ration is profusely produced on all the body by the heat of the stove, they immediately come out, and lie down among the snow, or, if they can swim, throw themselves into the water. Our physicians may judge how far their aphoiisms agree with the experience of these peasants.

ex. SCEPTICISM.

The sceptics, who doubt of everything, and whom Tertullian calls professors of ignorance, do affirm something, when they say we can affirm no- thing, and admit that something is certain, when they maintain that nothing can be certainly known.

CXI. THE GASCON.

A Gascon officer in the regiment of the Duke de Roquelaure, dming one day with the EKike, the


72 TABLE-TALK.

conversation turned on Aristotle. Some one main- tained, that there were a great many admirable things in Aristotle which were to be found no- where else. " Well," said the Duke, turning to the Gascon, who was the butt of the company, " what do you think of the matter ?" " My opi- nion is," replied the Gascon, " that a great many people talk of having been at Aristotle, who never were there in their lives." He took the philosopher for the name of a town.

CXir. CARMELINE THE DENTIST.

Carmeline, the famous tooth-drawer, and maker of artificial teeth, had his portrait painted and placed in his chamber window, with a motto taken from Virgil's line on the Golden Bough, in the sixth book of the iEneid.

Uno arulso, non deficit alter."*

The application was extremely happy.

CXIII. RUY SOUZA.

The judgment of the people is in their eyes ; the mere appeai'ance of good or evil is sufficient to deceive them. John II., King of Portugal, the son and successor of Alphonso V., was asked by Ruy Souza to have the goodness to speak to him in the street, and the King granted the favour. Souza left the palace in company with the king, who continued talking with him for a considerable time, and then asked him if that honour would suffice. Souza returned him the humblest thanks, and took his leave. The next day, the Portuguese mer- chants, who no longer entertained any doubt, that he was in high favour at comt, lent 5 or 6000

When one is drawn out, another is never wanting.


CHEVR-3EANA. 73

crowns, of which he stood in the greatest need, to liberate him from his embarrassments.

CXIV. A GASCON.

A Gascon, who had gone to a ball, danced so indiiFerently that all the company laughed at his performance. Observing the merriment he had caused, he turned round to a person near him, and said haughtily, that though he might dance indif- ferently, he could fight well. " Then, sir," replied the other, "I would advise you always to fight, and never to dance."

CXV. HELEN.

Every one speaks of the beautiful Helen, but few are aware that she had five husbands, Theseus, Me- nelaus, Paris, Deiphobus, and Achilles ; that she was hanged in the Isle of Rhodes by the servants of Polixo ; and that, in the war of which she was the cause, 886,000 Greeks and 670,000 Trojans lost their lives.

CXVI. LOUIS XII.

The speech of Louis the XII., to those who were apprehensive of punishment for the outrages they had committed against him, under the go- vernment of La Dame de Beaujeu^ when he was only Duke of Orleans, " That the King of France did not remember the injuries of the Duke of Or- leans," is assuredly a noble sentiment, and worthy of a king, whose virtues deservedly acquired him the surname of the Just, and the title of Father of his Country. But it has not, I think, been observed, that the Emperor Hadrian had said nearly the same thing, though in other words, when, after his elevation, he met with one who had been among his chief enemies, while a subject, and said, " Fellow, you are safe, for I am Emperor."


74 TABLE-TALK.


CXVII. A QUID PRO QUO.

Masson, Regent of Trinity College, had aski one of his friends to lend him a book, w wished to consult, and received for answer, " That he never allowed his books to go out of his room, but that, if he chose to come there, he was welcome to read as long as he pleased." Some days afterwards this pedant applied to Masson for the loan of his bellows, who replied, " That he never allowed his bellows to go out of his room, but that, if he chose to come there, he was wel- come to blow as long as he pleased."

CXVIII, BOXHORN.

A gentleman who had studied under Boxhom, in Holland, told me that that professor had the most extraordinary passion for smoking and read- ing. In order to enjoy both at once, he had a hole made in the middle of the brim of his hat, through which he used to stick his lighted pipe when he intended to read or to compose. When it was empty, he refilled it, stuck it into the hole, and smoked away without requiring to put his hand to it ; and this was his occupation almost every hour of the day.

CXIX. M. MARIGNY.

The Greeks used to drink largely after meals, and the same custom is still practised in Germany. Marigny, who perhaps was not aware of it, dining LQ the principal hotel in Frankfort, with five or six persons, was called upon to drink a large bumper to the health of the emperor. He was obliged to comply, and seeing that the debauch was likely to continue, he sent for two or three loaves, and having eaten half a loaf to the health of the King of France, he handed the remaming half to his


1


CHEVII.EANA. t6

ndgfibour, who could not swallow a morsel The others, surprised at this unexpected sally, allowed him to take his own way, and Marigny thus es- caped the consequences which he would other- wise have experienced.

cxx. Solon's philosophy. Solon's Philosophy did not seem to be of a very austere cast, when he said that women, ^vine, and the muses, constituted the pleasures of human life.

CXXI. CHARLES V.

Charles V. used to say, that the Portuguese ap- peared to be fools, and were so ; that the Spaniards appeared wise, and were not so ; that the Italians seemed to be wise, and were so; and that the French seemed fools, and were not so : That the Germans spoke like carters, the English like block- heads, the French like masters, and the Spaniards like kings. The Sicilians used to call him, Scipio Africanus ; the Italians, David ; the French, Her- cules ; the Turks, Julius Csesar ; the Africans, Hannibal ; the Germans, Charlemagne ; and the Spaniards, Alexander the Great.

CXXII. AURELIAN.

Valerius Aurelian was the first of the Roman emperors who encircled his brow with a diadem.

CXXIII. THE GRAVE OF ATTILA AND ALARIC

Attila died in 453, and was buried in the midst of avast plain, in a coffin, the first covering of which was of gold, the second of silver, and the third of iron. Along with the body, were buried all the spoils of his enemies, harnesses enriched with gold and precious stones, rich stuifs, and the most va- luable articles taken from the palaces of the kings which he had pillaged ; and that the place of his interment mjght not be known, the Huns put to


76 TABLE-TALK.

death, without exception, all those who had assist- ed at his funeral.

The Goths had previously done the same for Alaric, who died in the year 410, at Cosenza, a city of Calabria. They turned for some days the course of the river Vasento, and having caused a trench to be dug in its former channel, where the stream was usually most rapid, they buried the king there along with immense treasures. They put to death all those who had assisted in digging the grave, and restored the stream to its former bed.

CXXIV. RATS.

There are no rats in the district of Buchan, in Scotland ;* and if they are brought thither from other places, they do not live. There are no ser- pents nor venomous insects in the Orkneys ; and in the isle of Guernsey, there are no serpents, toads, nor spiders.

CXXV. ANTIPATHIES.

Some natural antipathies are extremely singular. Some faint away at the smell of roses. Erasmus, who was bom in Rotterdam, had such an aversion for fish, that he could not taste it without a fever. The smell of apples was suflScient with Duchesni, secretary to Francis I., to cause a violent discharge of blood from the nose. And a gentleman, at the Court of the Emperor Ferdinand, used to bleed copiously at the nose whenever he heard a cat mew,

The information contained in this article, is probably new to our northern readers.


L '5-7 ]


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA.


[The very Interesting miscellany, entitled Melanges d'Hh- toire et de Litterature, published under the name of Vigneul MarvUie, is the production of a Carthusian Monk, Dom Noel d'Argoime, born at Paris in 163 4-. He is the author also of a very useful work on the reading' of the fathers. His mis- cellany is full of original anecdote^-of interesting critical remarks and ocx",asionally of valuable hlstoi'ical observa- tions. He died in 1705.;]


CXXVI. A PAIB EXCHANGE.

Brebeuf, when young, had no taste for any author but Horace. One of his friends, named Gautier, on the contrary, liked nothing but Lucan. This preference was the cause of frequent disputes. To put an end to these, at last they agreed that each should read the poem which liis companion preferred, examine it, and estimate its merits im- partially. This was done, and the consequence was, that Grautier, having read Horace, was so de- lighted with him, that he scarcely ever left him ; while Brebeuf, enchanted with Lucan, gave him- self so wholly up to the study of his manner, that he carried it to a greater extent than Lucan him- self, as is evident from the translation of that poem which he has left us in French verse. g2


78 TABLE-TALK.

CXXVII. LATE INSTRUCTION.

Socrates, in his old age, learned to play upon a musical instrument. Cato, aged eighty, began to learn Greek ; and Plutai'ch acquired Latin in his old age. John Gelida of Valentia, in Spain, did not begin the study of belles lettres till he was forty years old. Henry Spelman, having neglect- ed the sciences in his youth, resumed them at the age of fifty, with wonderful success. Fairfax, af- ter having been General of the Parliamentary Ar- my in England, went to Oxford, and took his de- gree as Doctor of Law. Colbert, when Minister of State, and almost sixty years old, returned to his Latin and his law, in a situation where he might have been excusable in neglecting both ; and M. Le Tellier, Chancellor of France, resumed the stu- dy of logic, that he might dispute with his grand- children.

CXXVIII. p. CORNEILLE.

Pierre Comeille, who has given such splendour of expression to the thoughts and sentiments of his heroes, had nothing in his external appearance that gave any indication of his talent, and his conver- sation was so tiresome, as to weary every one who listened to it. A gi'eat princess, who had felt a great curiosity to see him, used to say, after the visit was over, that Corneille ought never to bo heard but at the Hotel de Bourgogne.* Nature, which had been so liberal to him in extraordinary gifts, had denied him more common accomplish- ments. When his friends used to remind him of these defects, he would smile gently, and say, " I am not the less Pierre Corneille."


The theatre.


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 79

CXXIX. DEDICATIONS.

Authors are frequently but very ill repaid by those to whom they dedicate their books. The only reward which Theodore Gaza received from Sixtus IV. for his dedication of the Treatise of Aristotle, on the Nature of Animals, was the price of the binding of his book, which the Pope gene- rously repaid to him. Tasso was not more suc- cessful with his dedications. Ariosto, in present- ing his poems to the Cardinal d'Este, was saluted with a sarcasm, which will be remembered as long as his works. Our historian Dupleix, a very fertile author, presenting one of his books to the Duke d'Epernin, that nobleman, turning abruptly towards the Pope's nuncio, who was present, remarked, " This is one of your breeding authors ; he is de- ivered of a book every month,"

CXXX. IMPRISONED AUTHORS.

Numerous examples prove, that confinement is not injurious to study. It was in prison that Boe- thius composed his excellent book on the Conso- lations of Philosophy. Grotius wrote in prison his Commentary on St. Matthew. Buchanan, in the dungeons of a Portuguese monastery, compo- sed his beautiful paraphrase of the Psalms of Da- vid, which Nicholas Bourbon preferred to the Bi- shopric of Paris.* Pelisson, during five years' im- prisonment, resumed his studies in Greek, philo- sophy, and theology, with a diligence which pro- duced the greatest success. It is said that it was on board the galleys in Baibary, that Michael Cer- vantes composed his Don Quixote, the master- piece of Spanish literature.

  • A mistake. Buchanan's psalms were not composed in

prison.


80 TABLE-TALK.

OXXXI. POVEHTY OF AUTHORS.

Rarely does good fortune accompany merit. Ho- mer, poor and blind, recited his verses in squai-es and highways, to gain his bread. Plautus, the co- mic poet, lived by tmning a mill-wheel. Xelander sold, for a little broth, his Commentary upon Dion Cassius. Aldus Manutius was so poor that he was rendered insolvent merely by the small sum he bor- rowed to enable him to transport his library from Venice to Rome. Sigismond Galenius, John Bodi- nus, Lelio Giraldo, Ludovico Castelvetro, Arch- bishop Usher, and a multitude of other learned men, died in poverty. Agrippa died in the hospital ; Cervantes is believed to have died of hunger.* Pa- olo Borghese, who had written a Jerusalem Deli- vered on the plan of Tasso, was acquainted with 14 trades, and could not make a living by them all. Tasso was reduced to such extremity, that he was obliged to borrow a crown from a Mend for his week's subsistence, and to beg his cat, in a pretty sonnet, to lend him the use of her eyes during the night, " Non avendo candele per scriver suoi ver- si." And how melancholy is it to see Cardinal Ben- tivoglio, the ornament of Italy and the belles let- tres, and the benefactor of the poor, after so many important services rendered to the public, by his embassies and his writings, languishing in poverty in his old age, selling his palace to pay his debts, and dying without leaving wherewithal to bury him I

In France, Andre Duchesni, the learned histo- rian ; Vaugelas, one of the most polished of writens, and amiable of men ; Baudoin, of the Academie

Probably a mistake for Camoens. Though Cervantes died in indigence, there Is no reason to think he actually died of hunger.


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 81

Fran^oise, and De I'Etoile, have lived in misery, and died in poverty.

CXXXII. JEAN DE LAUNOI.

Jean de Launoi, Doctor of Paris, died in 1678, after a life spent in continual labour. Few have written more ; for he left 70 volumes of his own composition, almost all written in Latin. He was a critic, terrible both in heaven and earth. He has dethroned more saints than any ten Popes have ever canonized. He investigated the claims of all of them to authenticity, one after the other : and the Curate of St Eustache used to say, " When I meet M. de Launoi, I always bow to the ground, lest he should deprive me of my St Eustache."

CXXXIII. THE FRENCH ACADEMY.

Some learned men used to meet in 1629, to dis- cuss different points of science and literature toge- ther. These were, M. Godeau, afterwards Bishop of Grace, De Gombaut, Geri, Chapelain, Habert, L Abbe Cerisy, Conrart, and Malleville. Some time afterwards they were joined by Faret, Desmarets, and Boisrobert. This last person, who was attach- ed to the household of Cardinal Richelieu, used to report to him the result of these conferences ; and the minister, who saw their importance, resolved to give to these assemblies a more regular form. Such was the origin of the Academic Fran^oise, the number of whose members was fixed at 40, by a royal edict in 1635. At first under the pa- tronage of Richelieu, it passed subsequently under that of the Chancellor Seguier, and Louis the XIV. finally declared himself its patron. The first sit- tings were held in turn at the house of each Aca- demician; the Chancellor Seguier transferred them to his hotel j and when the King became patron of


82 TABLB-TALK.

the Academy, he provided thera with an apartment in the Louvre.

CXXXIV. BIBLIOMANIA.

The Bibliomania has been on the increase among men of letters for a century past : and some wish- ing to form vast libraries, have searched not only the whole of Europe, but also the East, to disco- ver ancient books and rare manuscripts ; which has been the source of many impostures and ridiculous mistakes. Towards the close of last century, some cheats or ignorant persons sent over from India to Paris, a number of Arabian manuscripts, in excel- lent condition, and written in a very beautiful cha- racter. They were received with profound respect by those who knew nothing of the matter ; but as soon as those acquainted with the language cast their eyes upon them, they discovered that these rare volumes were common registers and account- books of Arabian merchants I Risum teneatiSf amicu

CXXXV. CHANCE.

Chance has frequently assisted the progress of the arts and sciences. Father Malebranche is an instance of this. Having finished the usual course of philosophy and theology, without any other view than that of devoting himself to piety, he ne- ver dreamt of the reputation he subsequently ac- quired : but one day turning over some books by chance in a bookseller's shop, Descartes' " Man" fell into his hands. He read part of it, and felt ir- resistibly impelled to read the rest. From this cir- cumstance, he was led to embark in those profound meditations which have given birth to so many no- ble works in physics, metaphysics, and morals, and procured for him the title of the Plato of his age.


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 83

CXXXVI. DYING VERSES.

We have several instances of persons who have evinced their strength of mind, by composing ver- ses when on the point of death. The Emperor Adrian, before expiiing, as everybody knows, com- posed the celebrated epigram, " Animula Vagula Blandula." Salmasius, attacked by a mortal dis- ease, while still young, and while in momentary expectation of death, composed his epitaph in verse. Patris, a celebrated Poet of Caen, seeing himself dying, wrote those beautiful verses, so wor- thy of our attention, " Je songeois cette nuit." Desbarreaux, who had led the life of an Epicurean, composed, before his death, the well-known son- net, " Grand Dieu, tes Jugemens." Margaret of Austria, about to perish in a tempest at sea, com- posed her epitaph in verse. And Mademoiselle de Serment, a learned lady of Grenoble, died while finishing these verses, addressed to Death :

Nectare clausa suo,

Dignum tantorum pretium tulit ilia laborutn.

CXXXVII. ORIGINES.

Paulus Jovius is the first who has introduced Mottoes : Dorat the first who brought Anagrams into fashion. Rabelais is the first who has written Satires in French prose : Etienne Jodelle the first who introduced Tragedies into France. The Car- dinal of Ferrara, Archbishop of Lyons, is the first person who had a Tragi-Comedy performed on our stage, by Italian Comedians. The first Sonnet which appeared in our language, is attributed to Jodelle.

CXXXVIII. VOITURE.

Chavaroche, a Limousin and Intendant of the House of Rambouillet, having a quarrel with Voi-


84 TABLE-TALK.

ture, who continually tormented him, compelled hira one day to draw his sword, and wounded him slightly in the thigh. The quarrel was made up for a time ; but no sooner had Voiture recovered, than he resumed his old habits, by sending a letter to Chavaroche, which began in this way, " Know- ing your gi'eat attachment to law-suits, as well as to myself," &c. assuring him, in conclusion, that he would not call him Hog any longer ; and that he would bestow upon hira the first situation he had in his gift. This was said from his knowledge that Chavaroche was continually hunting after si- tuations of all kinds, and had already contrived to secure several.

CXXXIX. CARDINAL RICHELIEU.

Cardinal Richelieu had composed a comedy, en- titled, Europe ; of which France, Spain, and the other European states composed the characters. This piece, which was entirely of a political na- ture, and ill adapted for the stage, was played at the Hotel de Bourgogne, at the same time with the Cid. At the end of the piece, one of the actors came forward to pronounce a magnificent eulogium upon the piece, and to announce it for representa- tion the next day ; but a murmur was immediately heard through the house, and a general call for the Cid. The Cardinal withdrew his piece, and was 80 much annoyed by this incident, that he imme- diately determined to procure the fall of the Cid, and united all the French Academy in the compo- sition of the celebrated Critique which is known to every one. Before the performance of his Europe, the Cardinal had sent the piece to the Academy, in order that any errors against the rules of the Stage or of poetry might be corrected. The Aca-


VIGNEUL MAIIVILLIANA. 85

ckmy obeyed, and criticised it so severely, that they scarcely left a line unaltered. The Cardi- nal, to whom it was brought back in this condi- tion, was so enraged, that he tore it on the spot, and threw it in pieces into the hearth. This was in summer, and fortunately there was no fire in the hearth. The Cardinal went to bed ; but he felt the tenderness of a father for his dear Europe : he regretted having used it so cruelly ; and calling up his secretary, he ordered him to collect with care the papers from the chimney, and to go and look whether he could find any paste in the house add- ing, that in all probability he would find some starch with the women who took charge of his linen. The secretary went to their apartment ; and having found what he wanted, he spent the greater part of the night with the Cardinal, in trying to paste together the dismembered comedy. Next morn- ing, he had it recopied in his presence, and chan- ged almost every one of the corrections of the Aca- demy, affecting, at the same time, to retain a few of the least important. He sent it back to them the same day by Boisrobert, and told them they would perceive how much he had profited by their criti- cisms ; but as all men were liable to error, he had not thought it necessary to follow them impli- citly. The Academy, who had learned the vexa- tion of the Cardinal, took care not to retouch the piece, and returned it to him with their unanimous approbation. It was in this situation that it was produced on the stage, where it succeeded so ill, that the historian of the French Academy has not thought proper to attribute its composition to the illustrious founder of that institution, but has as- jcribed it to Saint Sorlin, who, in fact, may have had

H


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some share in it, as he was entirely attached to the Cardinal de Richelieu.

CXL. FATHER SIMON.

The celebrated Father Simon, of the Oratoire, had long delayed taking on himself the order of priesthood, on account of his great and profound study ; but in consequence of a peremptory order from his superior, he was at last obliged to leave his house at July, and to set out for Meaux, to receive his ordination. He amved, with two of his com- panions, after the usual hour of examination. M. de Ligny, who was then bishop of the diocese, see- ing these fathers anive at this uncommon hour, thought they must be some ignorant fellows, who had come with the view of annoying him ; and un- der this impression, he recommended to the exa- miner, whom he had kept to dine with him, not to spare them. The signal being given, the exa- miner, turning to M. de Simon, said to him, in a grave tone, " I shall not ask you if you understand Latin ; I know it is taught in yom* college with re- putation. Horace, however, has his difficulties: Will you explain to me the first Satire ?" present- ing to him the book. M. Simon having acquitted himself well, the examiner went on " And Philo- sophy I suppose you are pretty fairly stocked with ?" M. Simon, who was in the practice of teaching it, answered modestly, that he studied it eveiy day. The examiner having stated a captious argmnent, M. Simon escaped adroitly by a " dis- tinguo." " I see," said the examiner, " you know something of Philosophy and Theology, no doubt? a pjiest of the Oratoire without Theology, would be as bad as a cordelier without Latin." With this, the examiner attacked M. Simon on the controver-


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 87

eial questions of the time ; but finding him ortho- dox on them^ he abandoned them for more soliil discussion. " We see enough," said he, " of theo- logians and philosophers in the ecclesiastical state, but we have but few who devote themselves to the study of the Oriental Languages, and read the Scriptures in the original. Ah ! how delightful," sEud he, turning to the bishop, " to read these sa- cred volumes as they were written ! what charms does the Hebrew possess for men of learning !" ITie prelate, casting down his eyes, answered, that he had heard as much from Messieurs de Muys and de Flavigny, both very learned Hebraists. The examiner, returning to M. Simon, asked him if he had any taste for this beautiful language ? M. Simon observed, that he was acquainted mth its elements, and had always had a peculiar plea- sure in the study of the Scriptures in the original.

  • ' How delighted I am to hear it I" said the exa-

miner : " and how seldom do we meet with minds so well-directed as yours! Tell me, however, what is the Hebrew name for Genesis?" "jBc- resithy' replied M. Simon. The field being thus opened, the combat began; both parties became animated ; they declaimed, they argued, they cited polyglots, and Rabbis ancient and modem. The examiner, confounded at such a display of erudi- tion, made but a feeble resistance. M. Simon pressed him, pushed him on all sides, and gave him no quarter. The examiner stumbled at last, and was fairly beaten down, and trampled under foot, by his tremendous antagonist. The bishop, who laughed from his very heart, was delighted to wit- ness and prolong the battle ; but seeing that din- ner was getting cold, and taking pity, too, on the


88 TABLE-TALK.

discomfited examiner, he gave Ins benediction to M. Simon, assuring him that, next day, he and his brethren should be admitted to holy orders without farther examination. The prelate went to dinner, the examiner to dry the perspiration produced by the debate, and M. Simon to his lodging, along with his companions, laughing in his sleeve at the result of the examination.

CXLI. FOUQUET.

The celebrated Fouquet, superintendant of the finances, who experienced so long and so signal a disgrace, was uncommonly fortunate in his friends. Loret, the day after his arrest, proclaimed in the Gazette the obligations he owed to this Maecenas. Pelisson endured imprisonment on his account, and employed all his eloquence to justify him : Mademoiselle Scudery made use of all her talents, and the credit she possessed with persons of in- fluence, to support the sinking reputation of her benefactor and friend. His physician Pecquet was inconsolable ever after, and Brebeuf died of vexa- tion.

CXLII. THE CONSTABLE MONTMORENCY.

The Constable Anne de Montmorency had a sin- gular species of devotion. He was accustomed to count his beads during the march of his army ; and as he fingered them, he would give orders, some- times to set a village on fire sometimes to sur- prise a party, to massacre a garrison, or to hang a soldier. The Constable's chaplet could not have been of coral, or if it was, it certainly did not pre- vent the effiision of blood.*


Alluding to the supposed medical qualities of coraL


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 89

CXLIII. ST BARTHOLOMEW.

After the massacre of St Bartholomew, Charles IX., wishing to throw the odium of this dreadful day upon the Guises, was dissuaded from it by M. de MorvilUer, who had been keeper of the seals, because it would be the means of procuring for these princes the favour of the Catholics, which it was the interest of the king to monopolize for himself. He therefore advised the king openly to avow and justify the massacre, by trying the dead bodies of the Admiral, of Cavagne, and Briqueraaut, whicli was afterwards executed by Morvillier, by the king's order, after a secret communication with the first President de Thou.

CXLIV. CHARLES II. OF SPAIN.

It is related of Chai'les II. King of Spain, that at his birth he was placed in. a box of cotton, being 80 little and so delicate, that they could not ven- ture to swaddle him.

CXLV. LOUIS XI.

When Louis XI. ordered the Count d' Armagnac, lieutenant of the kingdom of Naples, to be behead- ed, he made his children stand beneath the scaf- fold, with their hands joined, and dressed in black, in order that, their habits being stained with blood, this dreadful example might be ever present to their remembrance, and might keep them in awe for life.

CXLVI. THE CONSTABLE OF BOURBON.

After the death of Charles of Bourbon, (the Con- stable,) his gate and the threshold of his hotel in Paris, in ft'ont of the Louvre, were painted yellow. It was formerly the custom, in declaring a person a traitor to his king, to paint his door yellow, and h2


90 TAIiLE-TALK.

SOW salt on the floor of his house ; as was done in the case of the Admiral de Chatillon.

CXLVII. NAVIGATION OF THE ANCIENTS.

The History of the Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, the work of the celebrated Huet, Bishop of Avranches, is most valuable for its erudition, the depth of its researches, its arrange- ment, and completeness. And yet, in the place where he treats of the voyages made by the Car- thaginians, and afterwai'ds by the Greeks and Ro- mans to the East Indies, by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, he has omitted a fact related by Stra- bo, which appears more decisive than anything he says on the subject. This learned geographer re- lates, on the authority of Eratosthenes and Possi- demus, that, during the time that a person of the name of Eudoxus was at the court of Ptolemy Euergetes II., those who guarded the passages of the Arabian Gulf, brought to him an Indian, whom they had found onboai'd avessel, and that the prince, having caused him to be instructed in Greek, learn- ed that he came from India ; and that, if he would give him a vessel and mariners, he could conduct them to his own country. Ptolemy having equip- ped a vessel, sent off the Indian along with Eu- doxus, who had orders to accompany him. The vessel sailed through the Straits of Gibraltai", and having penetrated far into the Eastern Ocean, re- turned loaded with aromatics and precious stones.

After the death of Ptolemy, Cleopatra, his wife, caused another vessel to be equipped, and dispatch- ed the same Eudoxus to the coast of Ethiopia. When he anived there, he found on the sea-shore the wreck of a vessel, and was particularly sur- prised to find that the prow bore the figure of a


VIGNEUL MARVILLIAKA. 91

horse. On inquiring of the inhabitants of the coast from what quarter the vessel had come, he learnt that it had come from the east. Eudoxus carried the prow with him to Alexandria ; and the most experienced pilots having examined it, unanimous- ly reported that it was the wreck of a vessel built at Cadiz, where they had seen vessels with similar prows ; all which talHed exactly with the report of the Ethiopians. This fact, and many others which are to be found in the History of Commerce, prove unanswerably, that the ancients had frequently at- tempted the voyage to India by sea, and had dou- bled the Cape of Good Hope. Eudoxus was but poorly rewarded : he was deprived of the whole produce of the voyage ; and was thus obliged to retire to Cadiz, where he attempted a third time the tour of Africa, as we learn from Pliny.

CXLVIII. DON CARLOS.

Don Carlos, son of Philip H. of Spain, had com- posed a book on the subject of his father's travels, with the title, " The Great and Wondrous Travels of King Philip." As these travels consisted mere- ly of excursions from Madrid to the Escurial, and from the Escurial to Madrid, Philip caused Don Carlos to be tried by the Inquisition. The cause of this imfortunate prince's death is not exactly known. Some say that his father put him to death through jealousy ; others, that it was done in order to be revenged for his railleries and insults ; and others, in order to free the kingdom from a trou- blesome prince. Neither is the manner of his death known whether he died by bleeding, like Seneca, or was suffocated between two mattresses, or strangled by the executioner. After his death, a collection of his extravagancies was made in Spar


92 TABLE-TALK.

iiisli. He possessed talents, but so unregulated by judgment, that it cannot be denied that he was in a great measure the author of his fate.

The little romance of Don Carlos, by the Abb6 St Real, is extremely well written, and paints ex- actly the character of this young prince ; but the truth of history is violated, as is generally the case in such works.

CXLIX. THE FIGHT WITH THE DRAGON".

We find related in histoiy, a very brave action of a knight of St John of Jerusalem, named Gozon. At the time that the island of Rhodes was in pos- session of that order, it was haunted by a dragon of enormous magnitude, residing in a cave, from which he infested the very air by his breath, and committed dreadful ravages in the country, throwing himself indifferently on man and beast. The at- tempts which had been made to destroy him ha- ving failed, and several persons having perished in the enterprise, the Grand Master prohibited all the knights from attempting this perilous adventure, without his permission, on pain of expulsion from the order. Gozon, who had retired to visit his property in Provence, constructed an image of pasteboai'd, exactly resembling a di-agon ; and ha- ving taught his horse to look upon the figure without starting, and two dogs to fight with it, he returned to Rhodes, accompanied by his two dogs and some servants. Having come to a hill near Maupas, in the vicinity of which the dragon had his haunt, he left his domestics there, ordering them to advance if they saw him in danger. He then descended into the plain, armed at all points, and followed by his dogs. The dragon, who perceived his approach, haviag sallied out to seize upon him, was received


VIGNEUL MARYILLIANA. 93

with a stroke of liis lance in the shoulder, which only irritated the monster the more ; but the two dogs, coming up,threwthemselves upon him, seized him by the belly, as they had been taught, and gave time to Gozon to dismount, and to plunge his sword into his throat. The dragon, losing his strength with his blood, fell to the ground, oversetting the brave knight at the same time. The servants, who saw him fall, came up immediately, and finding the monster lifeless, raised up their master, bathed him with water from a rivulet which flowed near, and recovered him from the swoon, which had been caused by fatigue and the stench of the poison. Gozon remounted his horse, and returned to Rhodes, where he related the battle to the Grand Master, begging him to pardon the offence of which he had been guilty, in fighting against his orders. The Grand Master praised his courage ; but, to pu- nish his disobedience, ordered him to be imprison- ed, and deprived of the habit of the Order. The chastisement, however, was a mere formality ; for he was, in a few days, restored to liberty and to his commandry. Gozon was finally elevated to the dignity of Grand Master. He died in 1333. To perpetuate the memory of the defeat of the dragon, the words " Dragonis Extinctor" (the destroyer of the dragon) were placed upon his tomb.*

CL. SUGAR PLUMS.

We meet with extravagances in the world, which we must endure, and, indeed, adopt, while they last. Their absurdity does not completely appear

We need hardly remind our German readers, tliat this incident has been versified by Schiller, in hia beautiful bal- lad of " The Fight with the Dragon.'*


9i TABLE-TALK.

till after they are over. During the reign of Henry III. there was a time when it was thought ini|^H| possible to exist without sugar plums. Every on^HI carried his box of sugar plums in his pocket, as he now does his snuiF-box. It is related in the his- tory of the Duke de Guise, that when he was kill- ed at Blois, he had his comfit-box in his hand.

CLI. DES CARTES.

Des Cartes, when in Holland, had, with a great deal of industry, constructed an automaton girl, (which gave rise to the report that he had a daugh? ter named Franchine,) in order to prove demo strati vely that brutes have no souls, and ai'e mer< ly well constructed machines, which are put in m tion by the impression of external substances t' strike against them, and communicate to them portion of their motion. Having put this machini on board a vessel, the captain had the curiosity to open the chest in which it was packed, and, sur- prised at the appearance of the automaton, which moved like an animated being, he got frightened, and threw it into the sea, thinking it was the devil.

CLII. ERASMUS* COLLOQUIES.

Simon Colinet, a bookseller in Paris, in printing the Colloquies of Erasmus, threw off an impression of 80,000 copies. This number appears surpri- sing ; but we must recollect, that books were then more rare than they now are, and were consequent- ly sought after with more avidity. The bookseller, also, had the address to circulate a report, that the Colloquies had been prohibited, in order to increase the demand a device which was successful.

CLIII, DEODATI AND DUMOULIN.

Deodati, Professor at Geneva, was one day ask- ed what he thought of the preaching of Dumoulin ;



VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 93

to which he answered sneeringly, Clear waters are never deep." Shortly afterwards, Deodati him- self delivered a sermon, and Dumoulin was asked his opinion. Dumoulin, who had learned the re* mark of the critic, parodied the expression, and answered, " Deep waters are never clear."

CLIV. BUSSY RABUTIN.

The Count de Bussy Rabutin, speaking of love, eays, that it frequently occasions worse follies in old persons than in young ones ; and that this pas- sion is like the small-pox, which is always the more destructive the later the disease is caught.

CLV. UGLINESS.

. Pelisson being exceedingly ugly, a lady one day said to him, " In trath, monsieur, you abuse the per- mission which men have, to be ugly."

CLVI. HOW TO CIRCULATE A SATIRE.

Mignot, the famous pastry-cook, having learned that he had been ill treated by Despreaux, in his third Satire, brought an action against him ; but finding that he was merely laughed at, he deter- mined to be more eflfectually revenged. As he was celebrated for the excellence of his biscuits, and all Paris used to send for them to his shop, he caused to be printed, at his own expense, a great many copies of the Abbe Cotin's Satire against iDespreaux, and wrapped them round the biscuits he sold, in order to give them cumulation ; thus as- sociating his own talents with those of the Abbe. His indignation, however, abated, when he found that Boileau's satire, far from being injurious to him, had completely brought him into fashion.

CLVII. FRANCIS I.

Pierre de Castelan, grand almoner of France, having maintained, in the funeral oration of Francis


9Q TABLE-TALK.

I., that that prince enjoyed the happiness of the saints, without ha\'ing passed through the flames of purgatory, the faculty of theology sent deputies to call the grand almoner to account. Jean de Men- doza, to whom the king had refeiTed the deputies, extricated the almoner from the scrape in this way :

  • ' Gentlemen," said he, " I am aware for what pur-

pose you are come. It is to debate with the grand almoner, as to the locality of the soul of the late king, our good master. Now, if you will take my opinion in the matter, who know him as well as 6ny one, I can assure you, he was not likely to stay long in any one place ; so that if ever he was in purgatory at all, depend upon it, he made but a very short stay there." Thus the conference termina- ted ; and the deputation retired, after this grave de- cision.

CLVIII. CHARACTERS IN WRITING.

The characters of writing have followed the ge- nius of the barbarous ages : they are well or ill formed, in proportion as the sciences have flourish- ed more or less. Antiquaries remark, that the me- dals struck during the consulship of Fabius Pictor, about 230 years before Augustus, have the letters better fermed than those of an older date. Those of the time of Augustus, and of the following age, sliow characters of perfect beauty. Those of Dio- cletian and Maximian are worse formed than those of the Antonines ; and, again, those of the Justins and Justinians degenerate into a Gothic taste. But it is not to medals only that these remarks are ap- plicable ; we see the same inferiority of written characters generally following in the train of bar- barism and ignorance. During the first race of our kings, we find no wTiting which is not a mix-


VIGNEUL MARVILLIAXA, 97

ture of Roman and other characters. Under the empire of Charlemagne and of Louis le Debon- naire, the characters returned almost to the same point of perfection which characterised them in the time of Augustus, but in the following age there was a relapse to the former barbaiism ; so that for four or five centuries we find only the Gothic characters in manuscripts; for it is not worth while making an exception for some short periods, which were somewhat more polished, and when there was less inelegance in the formation of the letters.

CLIX. ANTIMONY.

The origin of antimony is singular. Basil Va- lentine, superior of a monastery, having observed the effect of the mineral in fattening hogs, wished to try whether it would produce the same effect on his monks. The result unfortunately was very different, for the monks who took it died soon after ; and hence the origin of the name (Anti- Moine). In spite of this ti'agical experiment, however, Paracelsus resolved upon bringing the mineral into use, thinking he could employ it along with some other preparations ; but neither could he boast of his success. The medical fa- culty of Paris was at first divided into two par- ties on the occasion. Some declared that antimony was a poison ; others, that it was an excellent re- medy. The dispute was not confined to the circle of the faculty, and it became general in Paris ; the Parliament and the Sorbonne took part in it, but in a short time all doubts were at an end, the wonderful effects of the mineral being proved ; and the faculty at length placed it in the list of their most efficient medicines.

I


98 TABLE-TALK. j

CLX. GLASS.

According to Pliny, we are indebted for th%i invention of glass to some merchants who wer jIHI travelling with nitre, and who stopped near a ^ river called Belus, flowing from Mount Caimel. As they could find no stones to support their cooking-pot, they made use of some pieces of the nitre. The action of the fiae mixing the nitre with the sand, produced a transparent substance, which was, in fact, glass.

CLXI. ROMAN CALENDAR.

Most of those who are acquainted with the Ro- man manner of computation by Kalends, Ides and Nones, are ignorant of the reason ; which is this : The ancient Romans at first regulated their months according to the course of the moon, and having observed that it presented three remarkable varie- ties every month, the first, when it is concealed in conjunction with the sun ; the second, when it begins to be seen at setting ; the third, when, op- posite to the sun, it is seen fully illuminated by his rays, they called the first day of the month the KaUndSy from the Latin word Celare, because for this day the planet was concealed ; or, accord- ing to Juba, from the Greek word Kaleiriy because they then assembled the people to announce that the NoneSi that is, the fair or market, would take place on the fifth day after. The day when the moon, beginning to re-appear, was in its first quarter, they called the Noiies, from the Greek NeoSy and the day when it appeared full, the IdeSy from the word Eidos, face, because it was then in its beauty, and showed its entu'e face. From the Idesy till the end of the month, they reckoned U, 13, 12, &c. before the Kaleiids of the follow-


VIGNEUL MARVILLIANA. 99

ing month ; and from the first day of that month till the Nrnies^ the 2d, 3d, 4th, &c. after the Ka- lends.

CLXII. SEPULCHRAL LAMPS.

It happens frequently when antiquaiians are in- specting by torch-light old sepulchres which they have opened, that thick vapours, produced by the decomposition of the bodies, become ignited at the approach of the flame, to the great astonishment of the attendants, who have more than once shouted a miracle. This sudden effect is quite natural ; but it has occasioned the behef that these flames proceed from the perpetual lamps which they pre- tend were placed in the tombs of the ancients, and which they say are extinguished the first moment the external air gains admission into them.

CLXIII. TEARING THE GARMENTS.

It was anciently the custom of the Jews to rend their garments in seasons of grief and affliction. The practice is still kept up among some tribes of the East, when any misfortune befalls them. The Jews mingled a great deal of ceremony with it ; sometimes they made the rent from the top down- wards ; sometimes from the skirt upwards. The requisite length was a hand's-breadth. When made on the occasion of the death of parents, it was not sewed up again ; when for the loss of other persons, it was sewed up at the end of thirty days. It is in reference to this practice that So- lomon has said, " There is a time to rend and a time to sew ;" that is to say, a time to be afflicted, and a time to admit consolation. Accordingly, it may be observed, that the gi'eater number of the observances spoken of in Scripture, which to us


100 TABLE-TALK.

may appear extraordinary, are founded upon some ancient custom of the Jewish nation,

CLXIV. AN EXTEMPORE DISCOURSE.

A young preacher of a prepossessing appear- ance, and an agreeable voice and manner, having mounted the pulpit, was suddenly seized with loss of memory, and completely forgot his sermon. To come down again would have been disgraceful. If he tried to preach, he had nothing to say. What was to be done in this extremity ? He re- solved to stand firm, and to make the most of his voice and gestures, without using any but imperfect or unconnected expressions, such as, in fact, but, if, and again, to conclude, and so on. Never did a preacher appear to possess such fire. He bellow- ed, he uttered pathetic exclamations, he clapped his hands, he stamped with his feet. Everything shook about him, the very vault of the church echoed with his vehemence. The audience re- mained in profound silence ; every one put forward his head, and redoubled his attention, to understand what was perfectly unintelligible. Those who were near the pulpit said, we are too near, we can hear nothing. Those who were farther off, re- gretted the distance at which they sat, thinking they were losing the finest things in the world. In short, the preacher kept his audience on the stretch for three quarters of an hour ; and retired with the applause of the whole audience, each of whom de- termined next time to choose his seat better, ia order not to lose the fruits of such a discourse.


t 101 ]


VALESIANA.


^Adrian de Valois, the author of the Valesiana, was born in 1607. From his great acquaintance with tlie Greek and Latin poets, and more particulai'ly with eveiything* rela- ting to the history of his country, he was appointed Histo- riographer of France, a situation -wliich he filled with great ability. The Valesiana contains many valuable detached historical observations, particularly on the works of Du Cange. He has also left behind him a variety of works, all distinguished by an extensive erudition. He died in 1692.3


CLXV. M. DE VALOIS.

How thankful I ought to he to Heaven ! At eighty years of age I possess all the vigour of youth ; I write and read the smallest characters without the assistance of glasses ; I have never been subject to stone, to gout, to rheumatism, and, with the exception of an occasional cold of eight days' duration, I scarcely know what it is to be indisposed. My memory is as good as ever. I can remember a whole passage, and the place where I have read it fifty years ago. There are but few who can tell the same story, for the mind generally declines with the body at so advanced a period of life. Among my acquaintances, I know only M. Menage who can say as much, and he too has an inconvenience in his lameness, fiom which I am free. In other points, he is as healthy as myself, and possesses a surprising memory, which I 2


102 TABLE-TALK.

enables him alone to entertain a company agree- ably.

I begin, however, to feel one of the inconveni- ences of age. There are few who have had more friends than I, and now I see only five or six of my old acquaintances left around me. This is the evil of living too long. We remain upon the earth only to survive our friends, our relations, and not unfrequently ourselves.

CLXVI. CHAPELAIN.

Chapelain received from the Duke de Longue- ville several donations, and a pension of a thousand crowns for his Pucelle. This lasted a considerable time, till the prince, losing patience at the long de- lay of the poem, cut off a thousand francs annual- ly from the allowance. He had boarded himself with one of his relations, and whenever he dined or supped abroad, he made a proportional deduc- tion from his board. His relation bore all with patience, knowing he could be no loser by it in the end. Duiing the illness of which he died, he had with him in the house more than 130,000 francs in specie, and his amusement consisted in opening his strong-box, which he had placed near his bed, and examining his money-bags one by one, to see whether all was safe or not. On the day he died, the whole of his bags were ranged round his

bed, and M. D , whom I met soon after he

expired, said as he came up to me, " Our friend Chapelain has died like a miller, with all his sacks about him."

CLXVII. ST PAVIN.

M. de St Pavin was one of the disciples of Theophile. The cause of his conversion was that on the night of Theophile's death, St Pavin, who


VALESIANA. 103

was in bed, heard Tlieophile on the stair calling him by name in a loud and terrible voice. St Pa- vin, who knew that Theophile was in the last ex- tremity, was much surprised, and throwing himself out of bed, summoned his valet de chambre, and asked him if he had heard nothing. The servant answered, that he had heard a frightful voice on the stair. " Ah !" said St Pavin, " it is Theophile, come to bid me adieu." Next morning a message came to announce that Theophile had died the night before at eleven o'clock, which was the same hour at which the voice had been heard by St Pavin.

CLXVIII. MONTMAUR.

Professor Mommor (Montmaur) was fond of feasting at other people's expense. He had got ad- mission to the tables of most of the leading men, by occasionally dealing out with a pompous air a few words of Greek and Latin. After eating and drinking his fill, he used to amuse his entertainers by abusing all the learned men who were either alive or dead. Not one escaped. The literary men thought themselves bound to discharge the debt of gratitude, which they owed him, by celebrating him as he deserved. M. Menage was the first to sound the alarm against him. He wrote his life in Latin, and at the end of each chapter inserted a short epigram of five verses, exhorting all the learned to take arms against the common enemy. I was not disposed to be the last to take the field in so agreeable a warfare. I caused two Latin pieces of this professor, the one in prose, the other in verse, to be printed, with notes ; and although the two taken together, amounted only to eight pages, I divided them into two volumes. I added


104 TABLE-TALK.

the life which had been wiitten by Menage, and all the Latin and French verses which I could col- lect on the subject, to which I subjoined a few Latin epigrams as my own contribution to these testimonia. The book was printed at Paris in 1643, in quarto, with this sounding title, " Petri MontraaurijGraecarum Literarum Professoris Regii, Opera, in duos tomos divisa, iterum edita, et notis nunc primum illustrata, a Quinto Januario Fron- tone." The book is now extremely rare.

CLXIX. SINGULAR CONTRACT OF MARRIAGE.

M. Varillas told us the other day of a very sin- gular circumstance that in the year 1297, in the county of Armagnac, a maiTiage was entered into for seven years, between two persons of noble rank, with a reserved power of prolonging the term &t the expiry of that period, if the parties should be found to suit each other. He told us, that it was farther provided by the contract, that, in case of their separation after tliat period, the issue of the marriage, male and female, were to be equally divided between the parties, and in the event of there being an odd number, they should draw lots for the supernumerary child. This contract of marriage, ad tempus, is in the Royal Library, and it was one day that M. de Varillas was in the li- brary in search of some manuscripts which he wanted, that he laid his hands on it.

CLXX. ABSENCE OF MIND.

M. M had his head so full of law and

court forms, that he frequently met his most inti- mate friends without speaking to them, or even saluting them. He never was without five or six litigations of his own, and he applied himself to ihem with such intense ardour, that he almost for-


VALESIANA. 105

got to eat and drink. This attachment to law used occasionally to throw him into such reveries, that liaving one day gone into church and taken the holy water to sprinkle it on his forehead, instead of the usual formula, " In the name," &c., he gravely went on, " Saving and excepting all right of opposition, and appeal competent to the party." These words he pronounced with a grave and audible Toice, to the consternation of all the by- standers.

CLXXI. THE ELEVEN THOUSAND MARTYRS.

There has been, according to the common opi- nion, a St Ursula, who was a martyr, though the time of her existence is not known. As for the eleven thousand virgins, however, I must be ex- cused if I doubt the whole story. The error, ac- cording to the conjecture of the learned Father Simond, arose in this way. The inventors of the story having found in some old manuscripts of martjTology, S. S. Ursula et Undecimilla V. M. t. e. Sanctae Ursula et Undecimilla, Virgines Martyrae ; and taking the Undecimilla V. M. for a contraction of Undecim Millia Virginum Martyr- um, have reared up this wonderful romance out of their ovra mistake. I cannot understand how the doctors of the Sorbonne, among whom there are so many men of ability, should have allowed this host of contraband saints to keep their place in the church, wliile they had so many of undoubted me- rit to choose their hst from.

CLXXir. THE DYING BANKER.

M. P called on me one day, at the time

when daily regulations were taking place in Paris, with regard to the change of the coinage. He told me he bad just been visiting M. de L., a rich


106 TABLE-TALK.

banker, who was on the point of death. The dying man, aftet telling him lie was perfectly reconciled to the will of God, and recommending himself to his prayers, turned to him as he was leaving his bed-side, and said to him, " Well any news <^^| specie to-day ?" ^IH

CLXXIII. COACHES. *^"

Luxury has never been so universal as at pre- sent. The poor attempt to rival the rich ; or the rich to disguise obscurity of birth by the splendour of their establishment and the richness of their dress. People were wiser in my younger days.* There was then no difficulty in walking the streets, for coaches were rare enough. It is astonishing to see how these vehicles have multiplied. The three first coaches which had been seen in Paris, were those of Catherine de Medicis, of Diana, Duchess of Angouleme, and of De Thou, first President of the Parliament. The last had recourse to it only from necessity, on account of the gout, which in- commoded him so much that he could no longer sit upon his mule. All the grandees of the army, and of the long robe, immediately followed his ex- ample ; and now they have grown so common, that the streets seem paved with them. i

CLXXIV. THE RELIGIOUS USURER.

M. F had made a large fortune by lending

money at exorbitant interest. He was occasionally haunted, however, by religious scruples, and at the approach of Easter, was accustomed to pay a visit to all those who had bonowed money of him, to know whether they gave him the interest he ex- acted, freely and voluntarily. This visit he used

fll. Valois was bom in 1607.


VALESIANA. 107

to pay annually to all who dealt with him, during the holy week ; and as they became quite accus- tomed to the call, they used to bawl out to him from a distance, " We give it to you, sir we give it to you." Having thus appeased his conscience, he performed his religious ceremonies with great complacency and comfort,

CLXXV. M. DE LAUNOI.

M. de Launoi, a celebrated Doctor of Theology, had erased from his calendar St Catherine, the Virgin Martyr ; he maintained that her life was a mere fable, and when other people celebrated the feast of this saint, he used to sing an annual re- quiem.


[ 108 ]


MISCELLANEOUS ANA.


CLXXVr. ARABIA.

Perroniana,^ In that part of Tartary which is a dependency of Persia, there is a flourishing uni- versity, in which literature is taught by the Arabs. Giovanni Battista Remondi, who was the first per- son by whom Arabian books were printed in Eu- rope, and who had studied in that university, as- serted that it contained a vast variety of Arabian books, translated from Greek authors, which we no longer possess. It is to the Arabians we are in- debted for the preservation of one of the books of Archimedes, and of several authors who have writ- ten on Mathematics, Apollonius, Pergseus, and lastly, Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen.

CLXXVII. BIBLES.

There are two Bibles, one the Bible of the re- turn, arranged by Esdras, and that of the disper- sion, which the Jews, scattered over the face of the earth, carried with them. The Books of the Maccabees could not be contained in the first, be- cause the Maccabees did not appear till afterwards; but they are found in the other, which has been translated into Greek, and was used by the Apos-

  • Cardinal de Perron, bom in 1556, died at Paris in 1618.

The PerronJana is by no means an interesting collection.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 109

ties. Among the Latins, St Jerome was the first who rejected the Maccabees, in his Prologue (x- leatus. But this opinion he afterwards retracted, in his Commentary upon Isaiah, and admitted them to be canonical.

CLXXVIII. HOW TO TURN THE BRAIN.

Nothing is so likely to turn the brain as intense application directed to one of six things : the quad- rature of the circle ; the multiplication of the cube ; the perpetual motion ; the philosopher's stone ; ju- dicial astrology ; and magic. In youth, we may exercise our imagination upon them, in order to convince ourselves of their impossibility ; but it argues a want of judgment to occupy ourselves with such inquiries at a more advanced age. " Ne- vertheless," says Fontenelle, " the search has its advantages, for we find many things on the way that we never looked for."

CLXXIX. ESDRAS.

It is Esdras who writes the passage at the close of the Books of Moses, which speaks of his death, and which, of couree, could not be written by him. Esdras was the person, who, on the return of the tribes from the Babylonish captivity, collected the scriptures together, correcting them, according to the testimony of some ancient authors, in eighteen places where they had been altered. Many of the Books of the Old Testament are lost, and, some say, more have perished than are now in existence.

CLXXX. PETRARCH.

The verses of Petrarch, which are commonly supposed to be levelled against Rome, are directed only against Avignon. They were written under the initation felt by all the Italians on seeing the Popedom transferred to that city ; and he calls the

K


110 TABLE-TALK.

change the transmigration of Babylon, because the removal lasted as long as that transmigration, and because Avignon is situated upon the waters like Babylon.*

CLXXXI. JULIUS SCALIGER.

Scaligeria7ia.\ Julius Scaliger used to say, that he was ignorant of three things : of the cause of the interval which takes place between the par- oxysms of fever ; how an idea, once forgotten, may be recalled to the memory ; and the cause of the flux and reflux of the sea. Alas ! of how many things was he ignorant of which he says nothing.

CLXXXII. CUJAS.

Cujas is the pearl of jurisconsults ; he wrote only for himself and for the learned ; he has finish- ed what Alciatus began, explaining jurisprudence by itself. When he lectured in public, he did so with his hat on his head. He studied in an odd position, with his belly on the ground, lying on the carpet with his books about him. When Joseph Scaliger left his native place, he was very kindly received at Valentia by Cujas, who re-inspired him with the taste for study.

CLXXXIII. CASTALIO.

Sebastian Castalio, who was originally from Savoy, when at Lyons, in his youth, was called Castalio by mistake, his real name being Castillon. He was well pleased, however, at the change, be-

This theory of the Cardinars, we fear, is irreconci- lable with the expressions of Petrarch. For instance, in Sonnet 107 of Part I., " Gia Roina or Babylonia falsa e rea," is plainly applicable to Rome, and not to Avignon.

-f The Scaligeriana professes to be a report of the con- versations of Joseph Scaliger and his friends, but is altoge- ther unworthy of that great man, from its numerous inac- curacies.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. Ill

cause lie thus seemed to derive its origin from Castalio, the fountain of the Muses.

CLXXXIV. TALMUD.

The Talmud has been composed by certain Jewish Doctors of the kingdom of Pontus, who had been summoned for that purpose by their own nation, in order that they might have something to oppose to the Christians. These Doctors were descendants of the ten tribes of Israel, who were carried into captivity from Samaria by King Psal- manazar, the father of Sennacherib, in the time of Hosea, The Talmud was valued at 100 livres during the time of Joseph Scaliger. This book is a mixture of Syriac, Hebrew, and the Vulgar He- brew, which was the language of the school of the Rabbis, and which differs as much fiom the other as the Latin of Bartolus from that of Cicero.

CLXXXV. THE MASSORA.

Those who have made use of the Massora among the Hebrews, or the Massorites, are the same who are called Critics among the Greeks, viz, those who have arranged the rules of Hebrew grammar, and invented and introduced the points and accents, which are, as it were, the soul of the language. It is this new orthogiaphy in Hebrew which is called Massora.

CLXXXVI. SOCIETi' OF PORT ROYAL.

Matanasiarut,* The society of Port Royal des Champs was so called from a valley near Char- treuse, about six leagues from Paris. In 1637, the celebrated advocate, Le INIaitre, abandoned the bar, and resigned his office of Councillor of State, which his extraordinary merit had procured him at

The work, under an assumed title, of Albert Henri de Sallengre, a laborious writer ; born at tlie Hague in 1C94, and died in 1723.


112 TABLE-TALK.

the age of twenty- eight. His brother, De Seri- com-t, who had followed the profession of armMH quitted it at the same time. Both resolved hence^HI forth to dedicate themselves to God, and retired to a small mansion near Port Royal de Paris. Their brothers De Sacy, De St Elmi, and De Valmont, joined them. After the arrest of the Abbe de St Cyran, which took place in 1638, Francis de Sondy, Archbishop of Paris, intimated to them by order of the court, that they must leave their house. They did so the next day, and went to re- side at Port Royal des Champs, where they had not remained more than two months, when they were again dislodged by order of the court. Thir-i teen months afterwards, however, they were al- lowed to return. Several persons of distinguished merit joined these hermits, and from these, the So- ciety, which afterwards received the title of Port Royal, was formed. Among its members were the celebrated Arnauld, M. de Suylin, M. de Sacy, Arnaud d'Andilly, De Luzanzy, De Pora- ponne, De Beaurepaire, S"^^ Marthe, Nicole, and Lancelot, who afterwards turned Benedictine.

The Society had no rules, no vows, no consti- tution, no cells, nor anything of the kind. They employed themselves assiduously in prayer and study, and in the instruction of youth in the sciences and the practice of virtue, Racine was educated there, and requested to be buried in the cemetery of Port Royal, at the feet of his old mas- ter M. Hamon.

CLXXXVir. SIXTUS V,

Tliuana,* Pope Sixtus V. was so poor when

The Thuana are the detached observations of the cele- brated historian De Thou ; bom 1558, died 1617 They contain little, however, that is generally interesting.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 113

he came to Rome, that he was obliged to ask alms. Having at last saved a small pittance, he delibera- ted with himself for a long time whether he should lay it out in the purchase of something to allay his hunger, or of a pair of shoes, of which he was in extreme want ; and his countenance expressed the deep interest he felt in this consultation. A mer- chant, seeing his embarrassment, asked him the cause, which he ingenuously confessed to him ; and did so in a manner so agreeable, tliat the merchant, perceiving him to be a man of talent, took him home with him to dinner, and thus settled the question. When Sixtus became Pope, he did not forget liis old friend the merchant, but repaid as a prince the service he had received as a beggar.

CLXXXVIII. SIXTUS V. AND THE DEVIL.

The Spaniards, who disliked Sixtus V., circu- lated a report that he had sold himself to the De- vil, on condition of his enjoying the Popedom for six years. Afterwards, said they, it happened that a young man, aged nineteen, committed a murder in Rome, and his judges represented to the Pope, that, though guilty, his execution could not take place, the law requiring twenty years of age before a capital punishment could be inflicted. The Pope, vexed at this disappointment of the ends of jus- tice, answered, without thinking, " O, if that is all, I will lend him one of mine." At the end of five years, Sixtus fell sick ; the Devil appeared, and told him he came to carry him off. Sixtus told him liis time was not come, as only five years out of the six allowed him had elapsed ; but the DevU reminded him of his promise on the execu- tion of the young man, and immediately put an end to his life.

K2



114 TABLE-TALK.

CLXXXIX. TRISTAN l'hERMITE.

Tristan rHermite * was Grand Provost of King during the reign of Louis XI. He was ve celebrated during his life, and left behind him ex- tensive properties, among others the principality of Mortain, in Gascony. If Philippe de Comines does not mention this, may it not be because he had caused him to be shut up in one of those iron cages which constituted the ordinary prison of Louis XI. ?

CXC. MARQUIS PISANI.

The Marquis de Pisani, ambassador from France to the Court of Rome, having displeased Sixtus v., was ordered by him to quit his States in eight days. " Twenty-four hours," said the Marquis, " will be quite enough."f

CXCI. HOW TO LENGTHEN A ROAD.

An old Master of Requests, named Fumee, who was in great favour with Henry III., was sent in- to Gascony to reform the administration of justice there. Having arrived one evening at Port St Marie, he inquired if he was near Agen ; and be- ing told that it was only two leagues oflf, he re- solved to sleep there. He was warned that the road for these two leagues was very bad, but this did not alter his resolution. He set out, and found it in fact so bad, that he did not reach Agen till midnight, which he did, exhausted with fatigue, and full of vexation at this adventure. The next day he made the official people be assembled, and having ordered his commission to be read, he de-

  • Well known, we presume, to our readws, by the deli-

neation in Quentin Durward.

|- Alluding to the smallness of the Ecclesiastical territo- ries. This story has been frequently imitated.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 115

creed, before proceeding farther, that the distance from Port St Marie to Agen should in future be rated at six leagues, and insisted that the decree should forthwith be registered.

CXCII. PHYSICIANS.

Ancilloniana. It has always been observed that physicians from time immemorial have had Yery little religion. It was remarked, as a singu- lar fact, that during the massacre of St Bartholo- mew, although all the Calvinists who were attach- ed to their religion, and known to be so, were marked out as victims, there was not a physician on the list, and, in point of fact, not a physician perished in that dreadful butchery.

CXCIII. QUEEN ELIZABETH.

St Evremondiana. Queen Elizabeth loved the Earl of Essex so tenderly, that in a tender mo- ment she gave him a ring, telling him, that if he ever should be guilty of undertaking anything against the state worthy of death, he had only to send to her that ring, in order to ensm-e his pardon. The Earl of Essex some time afterwards fell in love with another lady, and finally revolted, and was condemned to death. In this last extremity he intrusted the ring to this lady to be conveyed to Elizabeth. As the lady knew the secret connect- ed with the ring, she preferred keeping it, and al- lowing her lover to be beheaded, to mnning the risk of seeing him unfaithful.

CXCIV. WRITERS AGAINST CHRISTIANITY.

NaudceanaJ* When Christianity began to spread, and to efface the Pagan religion, the leai'n- ed men of the latter persuasion wrote against it.

  • Gabriel Naude, bom IGOO, died 1653.


116 TABLE-TALK.

Almost all these works have now been shipwreck- ed in the gulf of time. Some fragments, how- ever, have been collected by an Italian, and pub- lished in a book entitled, Dominici Mellinii, Gui- donis Filii, in veteres quosdam Scriptores Malevo- los Christiani Nominis Obtrectatores.

CXCV. APOLLONIUS TYAN^US.

According to Erasmus, Vives, P. Petan, and other learned men, the Life of Apollonius Tya- nseus, written by Philostratus, is a mere romance, composed with the view of opposing something to the miracles and life of Jesus Christ. It is admit- ted that Apollonius lived, but the prodigies attri- buted to him are very properly rejected. He may have been a wonderful personage, without working any of these pretended miracles. Some modems, such as Grotius in Evang. p. 1052, Dumoulin in Vate, p. 198, and Samuel Mauseus de Antichrist, maintain that these prodigies might have been ef- fected by enchantment ; but this is proving what is uncertain by proofs which are still more so.

CXCVI. GREGORY VII.

We find, in Machiavel and Cardan, that Pope Gregory VII. caused most of the valuable works of the ancients to be burned. It was this Pope who burned the works of the learned Varro, to prevent St Augustin from being accused of pla- giarism, the saint having stolen from him the greater part of his Treatise De Civitate Dei.

CXCVII. ALFONSO, KING OF CASTILE.

S(yrheriana.* Alfonso, King of Castile, was


Samuel Sorbiere, the translator of Sir T. More*s Uto- pia, and the political works of Hobbes ; bom 1615, died 1670.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 117

presented with a list of those eeryants who were useless to him, and whom he ought to dismiss, and with another containing the names of those whom he ought to retain. The King, however, re- solved to retain both, saying, "I have need of these, and the rest have need of me,"

CXCVIII. CHARMS.

I saw two enchanted papers, which had been given to the Rhinegrave in Germany, one of which was to be swallowed whenever he had occasion to face the fire of musketry. They were of white paper, of the size of a wafer, with characters diffi- cult to be traced. Crosses were figured in the centre, surrounded by a triple circle of characters which I could not read.

CXCIX. THE DUTCH.

The Dutch may be compared to their own turf, which kindles and bm-ns slowly, but which, when once kindled, retains its fire to the last.

CC. MENAGE.

The Queen of Sweden (Christina) said of him, after he published his work on the Origin of the French Language, " Menage is undoubtedly a very learned and excellent person, but he is very unac- commodating ; he never will allow a word to pass without its passport ; he must always know whence it comes, and where it is going."

CCI. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AT ONCE.

Shutting one's self up in a convent, marrying, and throwing one's self over a precipice, are three things which must be done without thinking too much about them.


1


118 TABLE-TALK.

CCli. CHAPELAIN.

Carpenteriana* Chapelain, the author of Pucelle, was called by the academicians, th6 Knight of the Order of the Spider, because he wore a coat so patched and pieced, that the stitches exhibited no bad resemblance of the fibres produ- ced by that insect. Being one day present at a large party given by the great Conde, a spider of uncommon size fell from the ceiling upon the floor. The company thought it could not have come from the roof, and all the ladies at once agreed that it must have proceeded from Chapelain's wig ; the wig so celebrated by the well-known parody. He was so avaricious, that though he had an income of 13,000 livies, and more than 240,000 in ready money, he used to wipe his hands on a handful of rushes, in order to save towels. His avarice was the cause of his death ; he preferred crossing the street, while inundated with water, to paying a liaid for the use of a plank which was laid across. He caught a cold and oppression of breathing, of which he died.

CCIII. CALVIN.

Calvin, while minister at Geneva, had a salaiy of 300 livres only. He was subject to eight dif- ferent disorders, which aflSicted liim unceasingly, and rendered his temper almost insupportable ; and induced the Germans to say, that they would ra- ther go to hell with Beza than to heaven with Cal- vin. Every day he taught theology, preached, and held various conferences ; but notwithstanding his diseases and his numerous avocations, he has left

Francoise Charpentier^ member of the French Academy, bam 1620, died 1702.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 119

US nine volumes of his works in folio. Among these, some are very good, such as his work on the Trinity, against Servetus, and that on the twelve lesser Prophets. He was well acquainted with Latin, and was one of the best French writers of his time. He died at Geneva in 1594, aged 55.

CCIV. ROME.

Some one telling the famous Jerome Bignon, that Rome was the seat of faith ; " That is true," said he ; " but then faith is like some people, who are never to be found at home."

CCV. APPREHENSION.

M. de Turenne said of a coward, that, of the tlu-ee operations of the mind, the only one he pos- sessed was apprehension.

CCVI. FINANCIERS.

A person, who had some small interest in the farming of the taxes, was one day pronouncing an eulogium upon the financiers, maintaining that they alone were the support of the State. " Yes," re- plied his antagonist, " as the rope supports the cri- minal by hanging him."

CCVII. PAPER AND PRINTING.

Tjmgueruana.* The use of paper is recent, being of no older date than the time of Philippe de Valois. Before that time, parchment was employ- ed. The Chinese possessed the art of printing long before it was known to us. But their printing is performed by means of entire plates ;f and when


Louis Dufour de Longuerue, bom in 1652 ; died in 1 733, Abbot of Sept Fontaines and lard. + As in stereotype.


120 TABLE-TALK.

a Chinese wishes to have a book printed, he car- ries his manuscript to the printer, and has it done of any size he pleases. The great merit of print- ing, however, consists in the types being move- able an invention which we owe to the city of Constance.

CCVIII. DISEASES.

Every country has diseases peculiar to its own climate. That of Palestine is the leprosy. As hogs are subject to it, and consequently likely to keep up the contagion, it was probably on that ground tliat Moses forbade the use of them to the Israelites. The French, in their frequent voyages to the East during the crusades, contracted the le- prosy, communicated the disease, and rendered it extremely common in these countries. When these expeditions ceased, the disease ceased also, in con- sequence of the remedies applied, and the care which was taken to sequestrate the infected per- sons from communication with othere.

CCIX. THE CRUSADERS.

Our historians of the crusades speak only of Godfrey de Bouillon ; only a few more learned than the rest seem to know that the Count de St Gilles had any share in them ; while in the Sara- cen histories, a great deal is said of the Count de St Gilles, and very little of his rival.

CCX. VOLCANOES.

There is reason to think that Mount Vesuvius, near Naples, and Mount iEtna, in Sicily, are only different portions of the same chain of mountains, which passes under the sea and the Isle of Lipari ; for when one of these mountains is in a state of eruption, the other is also observed to be so, and


MISCELLANEOIFS ANA. 121

the volcano in the island of Lipari to be more agitated than usual.*

CCXI. COLOURS.

The ancients did not possess the secret of oil painting, which was invented by John of Bruges, but their colouring is beautiful and durable. Ours fades considerably in the course of a century. This is said to be the fault of the Dutch, who adulterate the cliemical compositions required ; or perhaps of the Indians, who are as great cheats as themselves. It is said that M. Colbert did everything in his power, but without effect, to procure better mate- rials. The evil, it seems, is general ; for the co- lours in Italy are as bad as our own.

CCXII. YOUNG CARDINALS.

The two youngest Cardinals on record, are Odet de Chatillon, who afterwai'ds became a Calvinist, and the Cardinal Infant. The first was only eleven years old, the second some months younger.

CCXIII. COINS.

It is singular, that, notwithstanding the general circulation of such coins, particularly the latter, no medal of Herod the Great, nor a Daric of Darius, has yet been found. We should be much in- debted to chance, which discovered 200 coins of Seleucus at Vandoeuvre, if she would disclose to us as many coins of Herod or Darius.

CCXIV. LOUIS XIV.

Fureteriana.f A valet de chambre of Louis XIV., who was holding a candle in his hand as the


We suspect the facts on which this theory is founded are more than doubtful.

f Antoine Furetiere, bom 1628, died 1688. Author of the Universal Dictionary of the French Language.


122 TABLE-TALK.

King was retiring to bed, imprudently allowed a drop of boiling wax to fall upon his Majesty's foot. The King merely observed mildly, " I think you might as well have dropped it on the giound as on my foot."

CCXV. LOUIS AND THE PORTER.

A porter of the Park at Versailles, who had been told that the King was to pass by the gate which he kept, happened to be out of the way when his Majesty came up. All the courtiers hurried to seek him, and he soon made his appearance, run- ning as fast as possible ; when every one began to scold him severely for keeping the King waiting. " Gentlemen," said the King, " why should you scold the poor man ? I am sure he is sorry enough already at having made me wait."

CCXVI. GREAT EATERS.

Theodoret relates, that a woman of Syria was in the habit of eating thirty fowls a- day without being satisfied. A person named Phagon, in pre- sence of the Emperor Aurelian, is said to have de- voured a boar, a sheep, and a pig. The Emperor Claudius Albinus eat, one morning at breakfast, five hundred figs, a hundred peaches, ten melons, a hundred becaficos, forty oysters, and a large quantity of raisins. The Emperor Maximian be- came so fat in consequence of excessive eating, that his wife's bracelets only served him for rings.

CCXVII. THE KING OF SIAM's PAVILION.

The King of Siam has, in one of his country seats, a pavilion of a very extraordinary kind. The tables, chairs, and cabinets, with which it is fur- nished, are of crystal ; the walls, roof, and sides, are formed of glass, an inch thick, and a fathom in breadth, and so finely united with mastic, as trans-


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 183

parent as glass itself, that not a drop of water can penetrate the building. There is but one door, which closes so exactly, that it is as impervious to water as the rest of the building. A Chinese en- gineer constructed the pavilion in this manner, as a certain remedy against the insupportable heat of that country. It is twenty-eight feet in length by sixteen in breadth ; and is placed in the midst of H large basin, paved and covered with marble of different colom's. The basin can be filled with water in a quarter of an hour, and emptied as ra- pidly. When those who are to occupy the pavi- lion have entered, the gate is shut, the seams stop- ped with mastic to prevent the entry of water ; and the sluices being opened, the large surround- ing basin is immediately filled to the top, so that the whole pavilion is placed under water, with the exception of the top of the dome, which allows the passage of air for the respiration of those within. Nothing, it is said, can be more delightful than the agreeable coolness enjoyed in this delicious pavi- lion ; while all around is scorched and burnt up by the intolerable heat of the sun.

CCXVIII. BAPTISM AND MARRIAGE.

Ducadana,* On the 18th October 1609, the daughter of the Count de Crequi, aged nine, was married to the Marquis de Rohan, the son of the Duke de Sully. The minister, Dumoulin, seeing the bride approach, said, " Do you present this child to be baptized ?"

CCXIX. A LEGAL AIM.

An advocate of the King, in pleading, used to


Jacob Dachat, bom at Metz 1668, died at Derlto 1733.


124 TABLE-TALK.

put his ai'ms in such a position that he seemed to be levelling a musket at the court. The Presi- dent, a man of humour, tired of this eternal ges- ture, said to him one day, " Raise your piece a little, su' ; you will hurt somebody."

CCXX. FRANCIS I.

Fmncis I. was one day playing at tennis, when a Monk, who was playing on his side, by a suc- cessful stroke, insured the victory to the King's party. " Well done," said the King ; " a brave stroke for a Monk !" " Sire," replied the Monk, " your Majesty can make it the blow of an Abbe when you please." Some days afterwards the Abbacy of Bourmayen became vacant, and the King presented the situation to him.

CCXXI. BENOISE AND HENRY III.

SegrcBsiana.* Benoise, secretary of the ca- binet under Henry III., having one day left his portfolio in the cabinet of the King, the King opened it, and found a piece of paper, on which Benoise, in order to try his pen, had written, " Treasui'er of my privy purse." The King took up the pen, and added, " Pay to the Sieur Be- noise, secretary of my cabinet, the sum of 1000 crowns ;" and then signed it. Benoise, on his re- turn, to his great surprise, found the order, and made his acknowledgments to the King so grace- fully, that the King, thinking the sum too little, asked Iiim for the order, and added a cipher to the 1000, making the gift 10,000 crowns.

CCXXII. CONDE.

In the council of war which was held before the


  • Jean Eenauld de Segrais, the author of Zayde, and

the Princess of Clcves. Died in 1701.


MISCELLANEOUS ANA. 125

battle of Rocroi, the Prince of Conde having sta- ted all the advantages of fighting in the event of victory, the Marechal de Gassion replied, " But if we lose, what is to become of us ?" " I never think of that," said the Prince ; " I shall be dead first.**


SERIOUS AND COMIC ANA.*


CCXXIII. BOSSUET.

M. Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, at eight years of age, preached with grace ; he delivered a sermon at that age at the Hotel de Rambouillet. It was nearly midnight when he closed, and Voiture, who was present, remarked as he rose to go, "I have never heard a sermon so early or so late."

CCXXIV. A BORROWED COUNTENANCE.

A Gascon officer, demanding his salary from the minister of war, maintained that he was in danger of dying of hunger. The minister, who saw that his visage was full and ruddy, told him his face gave the lie to his statement. " Ah I sir," said

L'Art de Desopiler la Rate. A general Collection of Ana, Serious and Comic, in 2 vols. 1.2


126 TABCE-TALK.

the Gascon, " don't trust to that ; this face is not mine. It belongs to my landlord, who has given me credit for a long time past."

CCXXV. M. DE BRISSAC.

M. de Brissac, to whom Henry III. refused the vacant Admiralty, saying that he was worth nothing either on land or at sea, was as much vexed at the reason of the refusal as at the refusal itself. Ha- ving afterwards signalized himself in Paris on the day of the Barricades, he observed, " The King says I am worth nothing at sea or on land ; at least he may admit that I am of some use upon a stone pavement."

CCXXVI. RICHARD I.

Foulques de Neully, a celebrated preacher of his day, addressing himself in a prophetic style to Richard I. King of England, told him he had three daughters to marry, and that, if he did not dispose of them soon, God would punish him severely. " You are a false prophet," said the King ; " I have no daughter." Pardon me, sir," replied the Priest, " your Majesty has three. Ambition, Avarice, and Luxury ; get rid of them as fast as possible, else assuredly some great misfortune will be the consequence." " If it must be so then," said the King, with a sneer, " I give my Ambition to the Templars, my Avarice to the Monks, and my Luxury to the Prelates."

CCXXVII. FINANCIER.

^ rich financier had a pair of dapple horses for his cairiage, very finely matched. One of them dying, the financier sent his coachman to all the stables in Paris to purchase another of the same kind at any price. " Well," said his master to him when he returned, " have you succeeded?"


SERIOUS AND COMIC ANA. \27

" Yes," said the coachman, " I have found your match."

CCXXVIir. THE MARECHAL d'eTREES.

The Marechal d'Etrees, aged 103, heard of the death of the Duke de Tresme at the age of 93. " I am very sorry for it," said the Marechal, " hut not surprised ; he was a poor worn-out creature ; I always said that man would never live long."

CCXXIX. POPE INNOCENT XI.

Pope Innocent XI. was the son of a banker. He was elected on St Matthew's day, and in the evening a pasquinade appeared on the statue : " They found a man sitting at the receipt of cus- tom."

CCXXX. THE BROTHERS.

At the siege of Bommel in 1599, two Spaniards, brothers, who, having been separated in eai'ly life, had never seen each other since that time, sudden- ly met on the field of battle. Having recognised each other, they ran and fell on each other's necks, and while in this close embrace, their heads were at once carried off by a cannon-shot, the bodies falling to the groimd together.

CGXXXI. THE ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM.

An advocate was pleading a case against a Bourgeoise, and as he indulged in a multitude of digressions, the lady lost patience and interrupted him. " My lords," said she, " here is the case in a single word : I engaged to pay to the opposite ^ party a certain sum, for a piece of Flanders tapes- try, with figures as handsome as my Lord the Pre- sident. He attempts to palm off upon me a wretched daub, with figures as ugly as those of the advocate on the other side. Am I not released from my bargain ?" This comparison, which fiat-


128 TABLE-TALK.

tcred the vanity of the President, completely dis- concerted the advocate, who had no reply to make, and the Bourgeoise gained her cauae.

CCXXXII. MATRIMONIAL CONSOLATION.

A younger brother had espoused an old and ill- tempered wife, but extremely rich. He used to say, '* Whenever I find my temper giving way, I retire to my closet, and console myself by reading her marriage settlement."

CCXXXIII. QUANTITY AND QUALITY.

A marquis said to a financier, " I would have you to know that I am a man of quality." " And I," replied the financier, " am a man of quantity."

CCXXXIV. A CONDITIONAL GUARANTEE.

A Norman, who had stolen a horse at Rouen, went to sell him at Falaise. The purchaser having agreed about the price, suspected that the animal might have been stolen, and said to the seller,

  • ' Will you warrant him everywhere ?" *' Every-

where," said the Norman, *< except Rouen ; but I would advise you to steer cleai- of that town."

CCXXXV. LOSS OF TIME.

A female devotee, who confessed the great at- tachment she had to play, was reminded by her confessor of the great loss of time which it occa- sioned. " Ah, true," said she, " there is a deal of time lost in shuffling the cards."

CCXXXVI. CANDOUR.

The first President of the Parliament ot Paris, asked M. Montauban, one day as he rose to speak, whether he would be long. " Very," replied the advocate coolly. " At least," replied the magi- strate, " you are candid."

CCXXXVIL BREVITY.

Henry IV. liked a brief reply. He once met


SERIOUS AND COMIC ANA. 129

an ecclesiastic, to whom he said, " Whence do you come? Where are you going? What do you want ?" The ecclesiastic replied instantly, From

Bourges to Paris a benefice." " You shall have

it," replied the monarch.

CCXXXVIII. BAUTRU.

Bautrn, who had been soundly beaten, had his picture painted with a staff in his hand. Some one asked if it was meant for a truncheon. " Don't you see," said the Duke D'Eperaon, " that he is represented as a martyr, holding the insti*ument of his punishment in his hand ?"

CCXXXIX. SANTEUIL.

Santeuil was crossing the court of the College of Cardinal le Mome, when he met a scholar who was walking up and down, composing his theme, which he held in his hand. Santeuil, guessing what be was employed about, pulled the paper out of his hand with a tremendous expression of counte- nance, translated it instantly into elegant Latin, and returned it to him, saying, " If your Regent asks you who composed this theme, tell him it was the Devil." He then hurried off, making his cloak fly about him, and raising a cloud of dust all about. The terrified student retreated instantly into college, and repeated to the Regent the his- tory of the apparition of the Devil. The Jesuit, who saw that the theme was composed in the most elegant Latin, and that the student told the story with perfect sincerity and good faith, was puzzled what to think of the matter. Soon after, Santeuil was present at a public discussion which took place in the haH of the Jesuits. The scholar re- cognised his old acquaintance, and immediately called out in an agony of fear, " The Devil I the


130 TABLE-TALK.

Devil I" Santeuil, perceiving that he was detect^ ed, related the story, to the infinite amusement of the audience, who found this explanation much more interesting than the former subject of discus-i sion.

CCXL. THE CONJURER.

A commissary in the army, a man of slender talents, transmitted a complaint to M. de Louvois, that a certain officer, whom he named, was a con- jurer. The minister wrote hack, " I have com- municated your information to the King. He di- rects me to say, that if the captain be a conjurer, be is very certain that you are none."

CCXLT. BANAULT.

Emeric Gobier de Banault, while ambassador in Spain, was present at the performance of a piece representing the battle of Pavia, and, seeing a Spa- nish actor beat down the person who played Fran- cis I., set his foot upon his neck, and compel him to ask quarter in the most ignominious terms, was so transported with rage, that he leaped upon the stage, and in the presence of the whole audience, ran his sword through his body.

CCXLII, THE DYING SOLDIER.

A grenadier of the regiment of Champagne was retreating from the ranks mortally wounded. " Where is that grenadier going ?" cried the offi- cer as he passed. " To die," said the soldier, turn- ing round, and expiring as he spoke.

CCXLIII. PAVING THE CHURCH.

A Cure had a dispute with his parishioners, to know at whose expense the church was to be paved. Seeing that the judge was about to decide against him, he thought of quoting in his own fa- vour the passage of Jeremiah** Paveant illi et


SERIOUS AND COMIC ANA. 131

ego non paveam." The judge, coBfounded by the strength of this authority, ordered the parisliioners to pave the church.

CCXLIV. THE WOODEN LEG.

An officer had a wooden leg so exceedingly well made, that it could scarcely be distinguished from a real one. A cannon bullet carried it oflf. A soldier who saw hira fall called out, " Quick, run for the surgeon." " No," replied the officer coolly, " it is the joiner I want."

CCXLV. THE SUN.

Some astronomers, who had been making ob- servations, thought they perceived several spots in the sun. Voitiere happened shortly afterwards to be in a company, where he was asked if there were any news. " None," said he ; " but that I hear very bad reports of the sun."

CCXLVI. THE TWO PRIESTS.

A plague took place at Tunis in 1630, which gave rise to a singular incident. A missionary priest, named Levachir, had with him another priest of the same mission, named Guerin. The first was attacked by the plague, was supposed dead, and was about to be interred. Guerin in consequence wrote to M. Vincent, superior of the mission in France, that it had pleased God to re- move M. Levachir, and that they were just ma- king preparations for his funeral. The letter was immediately consigned to the care of the captain of a vessel about to sail for France. As they were on the point of placing M. Levachir on the bier, he made some movement, which showed that he was not quite dead. He was accordingly taken out of his shroud and placed on his bed. In the meantime, poor Father Guerin was attacked


132 TABLE-TALK.

oy the plague in his turn, so violently, that he died and was buried in the course of a few days after. M. Levachir, who was now recovered, not know- ing anything of Guerin's previous communication, prepared to communicate to Vincent the intelli- gence of his death. The letter was written and delivered to the same captain who had taken charge of the first, and who had been detained waiting for a favourable vsdnd. The voyage was prosperous, and the Superior-general received at the sametime both letters, which differed but very little in date. We may guess what was his sur- prise at receiving letters from two men, each com- municating the account of the other's death in the same way, and under the same circumstances. It was impossible to mistake their hand-writing, or the seal of the mission. In short, he knew not what to make of the adventure, till the mystery was cleaied up some months afterwards.


133


GASCONIANA.


CCXLVII. THE PREACHER.

A Gascon preacher stopped short in the pulpit ; it was in vain that he scratched his head ; nothing would come out. " My friends," said he, as he walked quietly down the pulpit stairs, " my friends, I pity you, for you have lost a fine dis- course."

CCXLVIir. THE CHOICE OF WEAPONS.

A gentleman of Bourdeaux had grossly insult- ed a cavalry officer. The officer resolved to have satisfaction, and allowed him to choose his own mode of fighting. " So you are weary of serving the king," said the gentleman " very well, you shall have satisfaction. I will settle the matter ; and as for the manner, you may have your choice of the weapon, from a pin to a cannon."

CCXLIX. A PREMATURE INTERMENT,

Some one attempted to draw his sword one day upon a Gascon who insulted him. The Gascon called a shoe-black. " There," said he, " there is sixpence for you, run to the nearest church, tell them to ring the bell for the dead, and come and take up the body." But," said the shoe-black,

    • the gentleman is alive and merry ?" " Yes,"

replied the Gascon, " but don't you see he is go- ing to fight with nie T

M


134- TABLE-TALK.

CCL. THE LAME GASCON.

A Gascon, who had one leg shorter than the other, Hmped so much, that at every step he took he appeared to be making a bow. He was walk- ing along the alley of a garden, where a great many people of his acquaintance were seated upon the benches on both sides. " You despise us on this side, I see," said a gentleman who was ac- quainted with him ; " you make all your bows to the other side." " Oh !" replied the Gascon,

    • wait till I return, and you will have your re-

venge."

CCLI. THE LOUVRE.

A young Gascon arrived at Paris for the first time. It was in summer, and he went to see the Tuilleries immediately on his amval. When he "saw the gallery of the Louvre " Upon my ho- nour," said he, " I like it vastly. Methinks I see the back of ray father's stables."

CCLIL A GASCON BED.

A Gascon officer, hearing some one celebrating the exploits of a prince, who, in two assaults upon a town, had killed six men with his own hand : " Bah !" said he, " I would have you to know, that the very mattresses I sleep upon are stuffed with nothing else but the whiskers of those whom I have sent to slumber in the other world."

CCLIII. THE SWORD.

A Gascon being at the play, was seated m the pit, and as he kept constantly fidgetting about, his sword got entangled in the legs of those who sat beside him. " Sir," said an officer, fiercely, whd found it constantly in his way, " Your sword an- Tioys me." Very likely, sir," said the Gascon, coolly ; " I believe it has annoyed a good many."


GASCONIANA. 135

CCLIV. A CONDITIONAL SETTLEMENT.

A Gascon being very ill, his landlord be^ed him to settle the account he owed before his de- parture. The Gascon, who saw that everything was charged exorbitantly high, wrote at the bot- tom of the account, " If I die, let it pass, if I live, for revisal.'*

CCLV. RAPID TRAVELLING.

  • < I came so quick," said an ecclesiastic of Gas-

cony, who had hastened to some work of charity,

    • 1 came so quick, that my guardian angel could

scarcely follow me."

CCLVI. A TERRIBLE GASCONADE.

The Prince of Conde one day, jokingly, asked a witty Gascon to favour him with some Gasconade or other. " No, sir," said the Gascon, " I would not make one at present for a thousand crowns." The prince laughed at this specimen, but asked him for another. " Monseigneur," replied the Gascon, << do not ask me again, else I will make one that will make you tremble"

CCLVII. GASCONADES.

A Gascon said, " I have such a martial air, that when I look into the glass I am afraid of myself."

Another used to say, " The sword of a Gascon is the key to the other world."

CCLVIII. THE GASCON TURNED ARCHITECT.

A Gascon, who was at a loss for a dinner, see- ing Frere Romain, the celebrated aichitect, super- intending the operations of the Bridge of the Tuilleries, determined to dine at his expense. He kept looking attentively at the work, as if he had been a connoisseur muttered between his teeth measured what had been erected walked with greet gravity across-^aud seemed to be engaged


136 TABLE-TALK.

in an elaborate criticism of the whole. Frere Ro- niain, a little uneasy, went up to him, and asked him what he thought of it. " Brother," said the Gascon, " I have some important information to give you about this bridge ; but I am hungry, I must dine firet." The Frere immediately invited him to dine with him. The Gascon did not require much pressing, and acquitted himself at table to admiration. After dinner was over, Romain led him back to the bridge. The Gascon walked up and down for a few minutes, and then turning to his host, observed, " My friend, you have done wisely in building your bridge across the river, for if you had tried to build it the long way, the devil's in it if you would have succeeded." He then made his bow and took leave of the con- founded architect.

CCLIX. LOUIS XIV. AND THE GASCON.

At a review which took place before Louis XIV., the horse of a Gascon reared up so rapidly, that his rider's hat fell off. One of his comrades pre- sented it to him on the point of his sword, <' God bless me !" said the Gascon, " I had rather you had pierced my body than my hat." The King, who heard this reply, asked the meaning of it. " Sire," replied the Gascon, " I have credit with my sur- geon, but none with my hatter."

CCLX. THE GASCON SKATER.

A Gascon went to skate ; some person of his acquaintance pushed him rudely on the ice and overturned him. The Gascon, in a rage, pulled off his skates, went up to the person who had thrown him down, and raising his arm, said, " It is very . lucky for you, sir, that I don't dislike falling,"


GASCONIANA. 137

CCLXI. AN INVISIBLE ANTAGONIST.

A Gascon oflScer, who was present at a skir^ misb, fired a pistol at one of the enemy ; and af- terwards boasted that he had killed him. That can't be," said another, " for not a man was left on the field." Poh I" said the Gascon, don't you see I must have blown him to atoms."

CCLXII. HOW TO PACK A TRUNK.

A Parisian^ accompanied by his servant, who was a Grascon, went to spend some days in the country with a friend. On the morning of his re- turn, as he was on the point of departing, he asb- ed his servant if he had packed his portmanteau. The servant replied that he had. " But," said the master, " have you put in everything that belongs to us ?" " Oh yes, sir," said the servant, " at hast:'

CCLXIII. THE HEART AND THE FACE.

    • My heart," said a Gascon, " is a clock, of

which my countenance is the index,"

CCLXIV. THE CANNON.

A Gascon, a wit by profession, was at an enter- tainment. At first they gave him excellent wine, but after the third or fourth glass, mere vinegar,

    • These good people, I suppose," said he, " take

me for a cannon, which they wash with vinegar, after every two or three rounds.'*

CCLXV. DA GUERRE.

The Prince of Conde, when only Duke d'En- ghien, already enjoyed the high reputation which be afterwards sustained. The celebrated Daguerre, a Gascon officer, of the most daring bravery, was anxious to see this prince. Some friends introdu- ced him while the Prince was at table, and^ while the auestion was under disctission, whether great ^ m2


138 TABLE-TALK.

men in general lived long. Just as all present had come to the conclusion that the life of a great man was genei-ally of short dui*ation, DagueiTe, who was no longer a young man, taking fire at this re- mark, and fixing his eye on the Prince, exclaimed,

  • ' Well, if I am not dead already, is it my fault?"

At these words the Prince, who had never seen him before, exclaimed in his turn, " I wager it is Daguerre who speaks thus ;" and rising from table, he ran to embrace him.

CCLXVI. HOW TO FIGHT WELL.

Some one proposed to a Gascon who had been successful at play, that he should act as second in a duel. " Yesterday," said he,, " I gained a hun- dred louis, and I should fight very ill ; but go and seek the person from whom I won them he will fight like a demon, for he has not a sous left."

CCLXVII. THE GASCON AND HIS HORSE.

A Gascon, on an old broken-down horse, cross- ing the Pont Neuf, met a gentleman upon a beau- tiful steed. " I will lay ten louis," said he to the gentleman, " that I make my horse do what yours won't do." " Well," said the gentleman, looking contemptuously on the Gascon's horse, " I take your wager." The Gascon immediately lifted up his hoi-se, and tumbled him over into the Seine. The gentleman, confounded at this catastrophe, paid the wager.

CCLXVIII. PROOF OF NOBILITY.

A Gascon, in proof of his nobility, asserted that in his father's castle, they used no other firewood but the bntons of the different Mareschals of France of his family.


[ 139 J


COMEDIANA.*


CCLXIX. THE REHEARSAL INTERRUPTED.

In 1747, a comic opera called the Rehearsal In- terrupted, was performed at Brussels, in which a scene was introduced, representing a pretended quarrel between an actor and the prompter. The dispute between them in this case was carried a little too far. The general officer who commanded in the absence of Mareschal de Saxe, having no idea of the nature of the piece, jumped out of his box, called the guard, and sent the two champions, who enjoyed his mistake, to prison, thus exhibiting a scene more amusing than that which was represent- ed on the stage.

CCLXX. THE MISANTHROPE*

It is well known that the Misanthrope of Mo- liere, was at first ill received by the public, and was only tolerated on the stage by the popularity of the Medecin Malgre Lui. At the first representa- tion of this masterpiece of the comic drama, after the reading of Oronte's sonnet, the pit applauded : In the course of the scene, Alceste shows that the /^ sonnet was in the worst possible taste. The public, confounded and ashamed of their mistake, took a dislike from that moment to the piece.

Par Cousin d'AvcUete. Paris, 1801


140 TABLE-TALK.


CCLXXI. LEGBAND.

Legrand, who was both an actor and an au- thor, but a man of a short and disagreeable figure after playing some tragic part, in which he had been ill received, came forward to address the house, and concluded his speech thus : " And in short, gentlemen and ladies, you must see, that it ij8 easier for you to accustom yeurselves to my figure than for me to change it.*'

CCLXXII. BARON.

The celebrated Baron, in the part of Agamem- non, pronouncing the opening verse in a very low voice,* the pit began to call out, Louder, louder I The actor, with great coolness, replied, " If I spoke it louder I should speak it worse," and continued his part.

CCLXXIII. DANCOURT.

When Dancourt gave a new comedy to the pub- lic, if it did not succeed, he was accustomed to console himself by going to sup vtdth some of his friends, at Cheret's. One morning after the re- hearsal of his Agioteurs, which was to be played in the evening for the first time, he thought of ask- ing one of his daughters, who was only ten years old, what she thought of the piece. " Ah, father 1" said the girl, You may go and sup this evening with Cheret."

CCLXXrV. THE GARLAND.

The little opera of the Garland, by Mannontel, is ingenious, but was indifferently received by the public. In 1751, when it was played, this poet had occasion to call a hackney coach. It was the night of the opera" Coachman," said he, afraid

Oui, c'est Agamemnon, c'est ton roi qui t'dveille.


I


COME DIANA. 141

of being detained ; ** avoid the Palais Royal." ' Oh I don't be afraid," said the coachman, " there is no great crowd there they are playing the Garland to-night."

CCLXXV. TALON.

When the Spectacle of the Ambigu Comiqne was removed to the Varietes, the '"omic opera of the Matinee du Comedien happened to be played ; and in one scene, in which two interlocutors ap- peared upon the stage, there was, unfortunately, only one chair to be found. Talon had the pre- sence of mind to say to the other, as he presented to him the chair, " You will excuse us, we have just removed."

CLXXVf. PROMPTING THE PROMPTER.

One of the principal actors at the Gomedle Francaise stopped short in a tragedy at this pas- sage " I was in Rome " It was in vain that

he began the passage several times, he never could get farther than Rome. At last, seeing there was no help for it, and that the prompter, as embarrass- ed as himself, was unable to find the place, or to give him any assistance, he turned his eyes coolly upon him, and said with an air of dignity " Well, sir, what was I doing in Rome ?"

CCLXXVri. VOLTAIRE AKD MONTESQUIEU.

Voltaire having given a representation of his Orphan of China, at the Delices near Geneva, be- fore it appeared in Paris, the President Montes- quieu, who was present, fell fast asleep. Voltaire threw his hat at his head, saying, " He thinks he is in court." " No, no," said Montesquieu, awa- king, " in church."

CLXXVIII. HISSING.

Formerly there was no hissing in the theatre.


^


142 TABLE-TALK.

The benevolent audience were contented to yawn and fall asleep. The invention of hissing is no older than 1680, and took place at the first repre- sentation of Aspar, a tragedy of Fontenelle. So we are told by the poet Roi, in his Brevet de la Calotte, where he says, in speaking of Fontenelle,

" Auteur d'Aspar, ceuvre immortelle^ Par le Sifflet, qui sortit d'elle."

CCLXXIX. BRIOCHE*

The comic opera of Brioche, a parody on the Pygmalion of the Italian Theatre, was played in 1753, and failed. Some one asked the author how he had ventured it upon the stage. " Why," said he, " it is so long since I was tired of Paris and its inhabitants, that I was determined to collect them all, and be revenged on them at once."

CCLXXX. VESTRIS.

Vestris the father, the celebrated opera dancer, used to say, with the most perfect sincerity, " I know only three men in Europe at the present day, who are unique in their way the King of Prna- sia, Voltaire, and myself."

CCLXXXI. VOLANGE.

Volange, it is well known, excelled in the part of Jeannot. The eccentric M. de Brancas had invited him to a large supper party. As soon as his arrival was announced, M. de Brancas advan- ced to meet him, and introduced him to his guests. Gentlemen," said he, " I have the honour of presenting to you M. Jeannot." " M. le Marquis," said the actor, haughtily, " I was Jeannot at the Boulevards, but here I am M. Volange." " Very well," said the Marquis ; " but as we only invited M. Jeannot, we shall take the liberty of taming out M. Volange."


COMEDIANA. 143

CCLXXXII. THE TAILORS.

At the first representation of the Tom Jones of Poinsinet, two persons were obserTed in the pit, one of whom was overheard saying to the other, from time to time, " Shall I cut Shall I cut?" This suspicious phrase attracted attention, and the pair were just on the point of being arrested as pick- pockets. " What hare we done?" said one of them : " We are only tailors, and I have the ho- nour of making clothes for M. Poinsinet, the au- thor of the new play. As I have to furnish him with a dress to appear before the public, which will be sure to demand his appearance at the second representation, and as I know very little of the merits of dramatic works, I have brought with me my principal journeyman, a very clever man, for he makes out all my accounts ; and I was only asking him from time to time, if he would advise me to cut the cloth in question, which must be paid for out of the profits of the play."

CCLXXXIII. SANCHa PANZA.

In Sancho Panza, a comedy in three acts, by Dufreni, the Duke says, at the beginning of the third act, " I begin to get tired of Sancho ;" " So do I," said a wag in the pit, taking his hat and walking out. This sealed the fate of the piece.

CCLXXXIV. MADAME DE LAMBERT.

The author of a tragedy came to read his ma- nuscript to Madame de Lambert. The piece began by a princess saying

De I'Arabie enfin en cea lieux arrivfie. Madame de Lambert interrupted the author by this impromptu

Prinoe^e, asseyez tous, yo\u etes fatigute.


144 TABLE-TALK.

This joke induced the author to alter the com- mencement.

ccLxxxv. Voltaire's marianne. Voltaire's Marianne was at first only once act- ed. It is said, that the public being divided as to the merit of the work, the question was oddly settled. The farce, which happened to be played that evening, was entitled, " The Mourning :" " For the deceased play, I suppose," said a critic in the pit ; and this decided the fate of the piece.

CCLXXXVI. DESESSARTS.

Desessarts, a very able actor, in the company of

the Hague, having one day been caught hunting,

within the preserves of the Stadtholder, escaped

from this scrape by a judicious application of his

dramatic powers. One of the guards, who had

never seen this actor except in the part of princes,

came up to him, and asked by what right he came

to hunt there. The actor, without appearing in

the least disconcerted, turned to the guard with a

tragic gesture, and exclaimed,

    • Du droit qu'un esprit vaste et ferme en ses desseins

A sur I'esprit grossier des \nilgaire8 humaiiis.^

The guard, confounded at the pomp and dignity of this speech, drew back immediately, saying, '< Ah I that is another thing : I beg pardon, sir I was not aware of that."

CCLXXXVII. VALUE OF A VOICE.

A leading actor at the opera having fallen sick, the first night of the representation of a new play, an inferior one was chosen to supply his place. He sang, and was hissed ; but, without being discon-

By the right which a vast and resolute mind has over the grovelling minds of the vulgar.


COMEDIANA. 145

certed, he looked steadfastly at the pit and said, Gentlemen, I don't understand this : Do you think that for 600 livres per annum, which I re- ceive, I can afford to give you a 2000 crowns' voice ?" The public were so pleased with the sally, that the actor was allowed to proceed with great applause.

CCLXXXVIII. MONTFLEURE.

Montfleure, who appeared on the French stage before Baron, died in 1667, of the violent efforts he made in playing Orestes, in Racine's Andro- mache. Guerin, in his Parnassus Reformed, makes the actor say, " If any one wishes to know v/hat I died of, I can tell him it was neither of a fever, nor dropsy, nor gout, but of an Andromache."

CCLXXXIX. BEAUBOURG.

The actor Beaubourg, who was extremely ugly, playing the part of Mithridates, in Racine's play, Madame Leconvreur, who played that of Monirae, said, " Ah, sire, you change countenance ;" a wag in the pit exclaimed, " Let him do so don't stop him."

CCXC. MADEMOISELLE RAUCOURT.

When Mademoiselle Raucourt made her first appearance at the Theatre Fran^ais, in 1772, Ma- demoiselle Vestris stirred up a powerful cabal against this actress, who was a performer of very considerable talent. During the representation of Cinna, a cat, which had somehow got into the thea- tre, commenced mewing at a dreadful rate during the performance of Mademoiselle Raucourt. " I will wager anything," said one of the audience, '* that that cat belongs to Mademoiselle Vestris."

CCXCI. DUFRESNI.

Dufresni composed at first his comedy of the

N


146 TABLP-TALK

Disguised Lover in three acts : the players made him reduce it to one. Those which he wrote in five acts, were uniformly cut down to three. " What I" said he, one day, in a rage, " shall I never succeed in having a five-act play performed ?" " Pardon me," replied the Abbe Pellegiin, " the true way is to write a play in eleven acts ; the players will cut off six, but you will still have five left."

CCXCII. DUFRESNE.

Dufresne, a celebrated actor, playing in tragedy, and speaking in too low a tone, one of the specta- tors called out, " Speak louder ;" the actor proud- ly replied, " Speak lower." The house, indignant at this spirited reply, hissed the actor off the stage. The police took up the matter, and obliged Du- fresne to make an apology to the public. The ac- tor reluctantly obeyed, and, coming forward, com- menced his speech thus, " Gentlemen, I never was so sensible of the degraded nature of my situation, as I am from the appearance I am now compelled to make." The public here interrupted him by ap- plauses, and put an end to this act of humiliation.

CCXCIII. ANTIPATER AND THE BARMACIDES.

Never was a tragedy announced with more eclat than the Antipater of Portelance, and never was any more abundantly hissed. For twenty years afterwards, whenever a piece failed, people would say, " It was hissed like Antipater." The Bar' macides of La Hai-pe came in its place.

CCXCIV. CONSOLATION.

A bad actor, who had been accustomed to be hissed in every town he played in, finding himself one day even worse treated than usual, turned quietly round as he made his exit, and said to the


COMEDIANA. 147

pit, " Gentlemen, you will tire by and by, as others have." The coolness and naivete of the re- mark occasioned a laugh, and the actor in futui'e was favourably received.

CCXCV. AN EVERLASTING WARDROBE.

In a provincial town an actor, who probably felt considerable difficulty in providing the necessary funds for stage dresses, or even clean linen, was play- ing the part of Arbate in Racine's Mithridates ; when Mithridates appears in the third scene of the se- cond act, and s^ys to his confidant,

    • Enfln, apr^s un an, Je te revois, Arbate,"*

a wag in the pit stood up on the seat, and conti-^ nued the speech,

    • Avec les monies bas et la meme cravate," f

which produced a roar of laughter in the house.

CCXCVr. THE GASCON AND THE SINGER.

During the performance of the opera of Aricia, in 1697, an impudent fellow kept singing in the pit, and so loudly that he annoyed all his neigh- bours. One of them, a Gascon, less patient than the rest, stood up and exclaimed, " Turn out the fool the wretched singer ^the noisy blockhead ;" and so on. " Is it to me, sir," said the singer, turn- ing to him, that you speak ?" " Oh, not at all," said the Gascon, " it is to these rascally singers on the stage, who won't let us hear you."

After a year's absence, I see you again, Arbate.

t With the same stocldngs, and that everlasting cravat.


C HS ]


VOLTAIRIANA.


n


CCXCVII. THE ABBE DE VOISENON.

The Abbe de Voisenon was one day in com- pany with Racine the younger, jft; the house of Voltaire, who was reading to them his tragedy of Alzire. Racine, thinking he recognised one of hi own verses, kept repeating between his teeth, ' That verse is mine." The Abbe, growing impa- tient at this continued murmur, went up to Vol- taire and said, " Give him his verse, and let him go-"

CCXCVIII. VOLTAIRE AND TrfE ENGLISHMAN.

An Englishman who stopped at Femey, in his way to Italy, oiFered to Voltaire to bring him from Rome whatever he desired. " Good," said the philosopher, " bring me the ears of the grand In- quisitor." The Englishman, in the course of a fa- miliar conversation with Clement XIV., related to him this piece of pleasantry. " Tell Voltaire from me," answered the Pope, laughing, " that our In- quisitor is no longer possessed of ears."

CCXCIX. IRENE.

Voltaire, the last time he was in Paris in 1778, wholly engi'ossed with bringing out his tragedy of Irene, had settled the distribution of the parts, and superintended all the other arrangements for the performance. With the prompter's copy in his


VOLTAIBIANA. 149

hands, he made the actors repeat their parts before hira, and, dissatisfied with everything, he obliged them to begin again several times ; and, in order to give every one the proper tone, he declaimed the whole tragedy himself, from beginning to end. It was on this occasion that, in a moment of convul- sive rage, he broke out to Madame Vestris, who was to play the principal part, that of Irene, " So I I must have the trouble of making verses of six feet, that you may mince three of them l" ccc. Voltaire's genius. It was observed by Madame Neckar that Vol- taire had extracted from his genius everything of which it was susceptible ; that in his case it was like a sponge, which he had di-ained of its contents to the last drop.

CCCI. THE CAPUCHINS.

A carriage having broken down in a bad stony road, near the small town of Gondecourt, it became necessary to have it repaired. There was a great deal of work and few workmen, and the conse- quence was, that the traveller must make up his mind to a considerable delay, while there was no- thing in the place to relieve the dulness of the in- terruption. The Judge, the Cure, the Bailiff's wife, the Kscal's wife all the good company, in a word, were gone to the country. The traveller ob- serves, in a sufl&ciently agreeable situation, a very modest-looking house, surmounted by a very mo- dest-looking clock; it was a small establishment of Capuchins, so he walks up to it and knocks. The door being opened, the inmates perceive a very thin gentleman, appearing somewhat in dis- tress, but otherwise well to look upon, and very polite, who entreats their hospitality. The bre- N 2



150 TABLE-TALK.

thren have little to give, but what they Iiave is at the stranger's service* After a friendly and atten- tive reception, and when the usual compliments had passed on both sides with equal sincerity, the conversation turns on a variety of subjects ; in the course of which our traveller listens steadily and says little. Next follows a string of questions, which he answers in a very sensible manner. The bell rings. " Will Monsieur say his Ave T asked the fathers ; to which he answers, " Good sirs, that is just what I was going to propose." Then comes the dinner, of an indifferent quality no doubt, but better than usual, since the fathers had been care- ful to provide the best dishes to gratify the taste of their new guest. During dinner they converse about theology, and the stranger seems to know as much on the subject almost as the fathers them- selves, and he is entirely of their opinion. They then speak of the different Capuchin houses in France, Germany, and Italy. Here too the stran- ger acquits himself to advantage, being more deeply skilled in this interesting part of geogra- phy than could have been imagined ; and he praises the particular talent of the children of St Francis, which uniformly leads them to the choice of the best situations. The brethren quote se- veral instances of the humility of their good Saint ; the stranger expresses his admiration, and gives on bis part several others quite new to his friends. By and by they become so fond of their guest, as to applaud their penetration in showing politeness to a man so truly deserving of their attention in every respect ; a man who, in spite of his modesty, seems to have received an ex- cellent education ; who can converse on all subjects,


VOLTAIRIANA. 151

and must have studletl profoundly, since he has understood one or two Latin quotations almost as well as the guardian father himself ; who appears to take a deep interest in everything that concerns the order, and may he qualified one day even to talk with their leading men without offending their patience. From one thing to another, it came to their hinting a wish to engage him in their hrother- hood, and they at length placed before him in pro- spect, the highest dignities, if he would but consent to take the habit of the order. The stranger pro- mises to think of it ; he is sensible, as he ought, of the sentiments they have expressed for him, and, without a positive refusal of their offers, he mo- destly declines so much honour. In the meantime the carriage is announced to be ready ; the whole house regrets the departure of their guest ; but the best of company must part, and they take leave oa. both sides with mutual assurances of esteem and regard. Who was this gentleman who thus gain- ed the hearts of the Capuchins ? No other than Voltaire,

CCCII. VANDUREN.

The bookseller Vanduren came one morning to present an account f(H* books sent to Voltaire thir- teen years before. Vanduren could not see Vol- taire at the time, but he left the account with his secretary. Voltaire having read it, found that the demand was for copies of his own works; he could not contain himself. Tlie bookseller re- turned after dinner. No sooner did Voltaire per- ceive him, than, running up to him with the rapi- dity of light, he struck him a blow, and retired. " This was the only time," says M. Collini, " I ever saw Voltaire strike any one, I found myself



152 TABLE-TALK.

immediately opposite the insulted bookseller, but' what could I say? I attempted to console him the best way I could, but so completely was I taken by surprise, I could say nothing better than that the blow was at least from the hand of a gieat man,"

CCCIII. SHAKSPEARE.

<* Foreigners cannot enjoy our Shakspeare," said Sherlock to Voltaire. " That is ti*ue," replied he ;

  • ' they are acquainted with his plays only through

translations, which retain slight faults, while the gi'eat beauties are lost ; a blind man cannot be per- suaded of the beauty of the rose, when his fingers are pricked by the thorns."

CCCIV. MEDICINE.

A young man intending to study medicine, com- municated his design to Voltaire. '^ What is that you propose doing ?" said he, laughing; "you are going to put drugs, of which you know nothing, into bodies, of which you know still less."

CCCV. HALLER.

Voltaire was one day speaking warmly in praise of the famous physician Haller, in presence of a flatterer who was living in his house. " Ah, sir," said this person, " if M. HaJler would but speak of your works as you speak of his I" Voltaire answered, " Possibly we ai'e both mistaken."

CCCVI. THE PASSIONS.

They talk of men subduing their passions ; at- tempt only to withdraw a man from taking snuff, who has been accustomed to it.

CCCVII. M. PERRONET.

One of Voltaire's friends had altered several verses in the tragedy of Irene. The next day M. Perronet, who had built the magnificent bridge


VOLTAIRIANA. 153

of Neidlly, came to pay a visit to the old man of Ferny. After the customary compliments, Vol- taire said to him, looking to his friend who was present, Ah, M. Penonet, it is well for you

you don't know Monsieur ; he would add

another arch to your bridge."

CCCVIII. THE EAGLE.

The greatest geniuses have always their weak- nesses to connect them with the ordinary race of mankind. Voltaire was not exempt from tliis tri- bute which nature seems to exact from great men, as an expiation for their superiority. The follow- ing anecdote is in point : " Voltaire took great delight in a young eagle which he kept chained in the court of his Chateau at Ferny. One day the eagle fell to fighting with two cocks, and was se- verely wounded. Voltaire, disconsolate, sent an express to Geneva, with directions to bring a man who passed there as a pretty expert animal doctor. In his impatience, he did nothing but move be- tween the cage of the eagle and the window of his apartment, from which he had a view of the great road. At length his courier appeared, and, along with him, the Esculapius so much wished for ; Voltaire raised a cry of joy ; flew to meet him, gave him a most distinguished reception, and lavished on him prayers and promises to interest him for his sick favourite. The man, astonished at a reception to which he was little accustomed, examined the wounds of the eagle. Voltaire, full of anxiety, sought to read in his eyes his hopes and fears. The doctor declared, with the air of a pro- fessor, that he would not venture to pronoimce on the case untd after the first dressing was removed ; but promised to repeat his visit on the morrow,


I54f TABLE-TALK.

and departed, handsomely paid. On the morrow Voltaii-e was on thorns, and at last the decision was, that the physician could not answer for the life of the eagle; a new source of disquietude. Voltaire's first question every morning to one of his servants, named Madeline, whose business it was to wake him, was, " How is my eagle?" "Very

Soorly, sir, very poorly." One day at length ladeline answered, laughing : ** Ah, sir, your eagle is no longer sick." " It is cured then I What happiness I" No ; it is dead I" " Dead ! my eagle dead I and this you tell me laughing?" <* Why, sir, it was so lean, it is all the better dead." " How, lean I" exclaimed Voltaire in a rage ; " an excellent reason, truly I I suppose you must kill me also because I am lean. You bag- gage I to laugh at the death of my poor eagle, be- cause it was lean ! because you are in good con- dition yourself, you think it is only people of your tamp that should have a right to live ? Out of my sight ! begone I" Madame Denis, hearing the noise, ran to her uncle, and asked what had dis- composed him. Voltaire told her the particulars, continuing to repeat : " Lean I lean I So then I

must be killed too ." At length he insisted

that Madeline should be dismissed. His niece^. feigned compliance, and ordered the poor girl to keep herself out of sight in the chateau. And it- was only after two months that Voltaire asked about her. " She is very unfortunate," said Ma- dame Denis, " she has not succeeded in getting a place at Geneva; which happens from its being known that she was turned off from the chateau." " It is all her own fault. Why laugh at the death of my eagle because it was lean ? However, she


VOLTAIRIAN A. 155

ifaust not be allowed to starve ; let her come back, but let her bewai'e of presenting herself before me, do you hear ?" Madame Denis promised she should not, and upon this Madeline came forth from her concealment, but carefully kept out of the way of her master. One day, however, Voltaire rising from table, found her standing opposite to him ; Made- line coloured, and, with downcast eyes, wished to stammer out some excuses : " Not a w ord more of it," said he ; " but mind you at least, that it is not necessary to kill everything which happens to be lean."

CCCIX. ASKING QUESTIONS.

When still a young man and eager for instruc- tion, Voltaire was perpetually putting questions. Despreaux on one occasion reproved him for this propensity, with impatience and something of harsh- ness. At a more advanced age, he held people who are ever asking questions in such aversion, that he has often been known to rise bluntly and leave his place. He said to an inhabitant of Ge- neva, who had furnished him with the idea and model of the interrogating BailiflP in the " Droit du Seigneur," " Sir, I am very well pleased to see you ; but I inform you before-hand, that I know nothing about what you are going to ask."

' CCCX. THE ANTIQUITY OF THE WORLD.

Voltaire was at table one day when the com- pany were conversing on the antiquity of the world. His opinion being asked, he remarked that " the world was like an old coquette who disguised her age."

CCCXI. MARMONTEL.

Voltaire thought much more of the poetics of Marmontel than of his poetry, This author," he


156 TABLE-TALK.

observed, " is like Moses, having conducted others to the promised land, which he was not himself al- lowed to enter."

CCCXII. VOLTAIRE AT THE COURT OF STANIS- LAUS I.

In the history of Stanislaus I. of Poland by the Abbe Proyart, we have the following :

Voltaire had been admitted to the Court of this Prince, but the philosopher's temper was such as to render him a disagi-eeable and even dangerous guest. The difficulty was how to get him to quit Luneville. The King began to treat him with coldness, a sort of language which Voltaire aflfected not to understand. He then consulted Alliot, his intendant, who answered, " Sire, lioc genus dce- moniorum non ejicitur nisi oratione et jejunio.'" Voltaire, whose rations were upon this discon- tinued, wrote to Alliot : " When Virgil was at the court of Augustus, Alliot made it his business that he should want for nothing." The new Maecenas proved insensible to the little flattery of this modern Virgil, so that he was at length obliged to leave the court of Augustus.

CCCXIIL PIRON AND VOLTAIRE.

Piron one morning going into the house of the Marquis de Mimenre, found Voltaire buried to the shoulders in a large chair, his legs spread, and his heels resting one on each arm of the chair. He received Piron with a slight inclination of the head, in return for five or six profound bows. Piron took a chair, and seated himself as near the fire as pos- sible. A dry conversation soon dropped. The one pulled out his watch ; the other his snuflP-box : the one laid hold of the tongs, the other took snufF. Voltaire sneezed ; Piron blew his nose ; the former


VOLTAIRIAN A. 15T

yawned profoundly ; PIron was about to follow in the same way, when Voltaiie drew from his pocket a crust of bread, and began to crunch it between his teeth, with so extraordinary a noise, as to asto- nish his companion. Piron, without loss of a mo- ment, pulled out a flask of wine, and emptied it at a draught. Voltaire lost his temper. " Sir," he said, addressing Piron, " I can take raiUery as well as another, but your pleasantry, if it is such, is very much mistimed." " No raillery," answered Piron ; " all the merest chance." Voltaire interrupted him, saying, he had just escaped from an attack of ill- ness, which had left him with a continual desire to eat. " Eat, sir, by all means eat," repUed the au- thor of Metromaniey " you do right ; and I, sir, have just escaped from Burgundy with a continual desire to drink, and I do dnnk."

CCCXIV. VOLTAIRE AND HIS CUP.

Voltaire, when he was in Paris in 1778, lived in the house of the Marquis de Villette. One day the Marquis had invited a large party to dinner. Coming to table, Voltaire did not find in its place before him his own particular cup, which he had marked with his cachet. " Where is my cup ?" he inquired, his eye sparkling, of a tall simple do- mestic, whose special duty it was to wait upon him. The poor fellow, quite at a loss, stammered out some words. " Enemy of your master !" exclaim- ed the old man in a fury, " go, seek for my cup ; I must have my cup, or / sJmll not dine to-day. The cup could not be found ; and, leaving the table in his passion, he walked ofiP to his apartment and shut himself up. The guests were confounded and disappointed by the scene. At length it was agreed that INIr Villevielle, to whom he was much attach-


158 TABLE-TALK. '

ed, should go to him and try to soothe him. He knocked gently at the door. " Who is there ?" *' It is I, Villevielle." " Ah," opening the door, " it is you, my dear Marquis. What is the puqjose of this visit ?" " I am here in name of all om- friends, who are grieved at your absence, to request you will come do\vn, and to express the regret of M. de Villette, who has dismissed the simpleton who was the cause of your anger." " They invite me to come down ?" " Yes, they implore you." " My friend, I dare not." And why so ?" They must laugh at me below." " Can you admit such a thought ? have we not all our notions in such matters ? has not every one his own glass, his own knife, his o^vn pen ?" " I see very well you are anxious to excuse me. Let us rather allow frank- ly that every one has his weaknesses ; I blush at mine. Do you go down first, and I shall follow." Voltaire re-appeared a few minutes after, and seat- ed himself at table with the awkward timidity of a child who has been detected in something foolish, and fears to be scolded.

CGCXV. CONGREVE.

Congreve, the English dramatist, spoke of his works as trifles, upon which he placed no great account ; which was below him. Voltaire, when he was in England, paid him a visit. Congreve, during the first conversation, made him understand that he wished himself to be looked upon in no other light than as a gentleman who led an easy and simple life. To this announcement Voltaire answered drily : " Had you been so unfortunate as to be nothing more than a gentleman, I should not have given myself the trouble to wait upon you."


VOLTAIRIAN A. 159

CCCXVI. VOLTAIRE.

Two friends, in passing through Geneva, went to visit Vohaire, who, it was well known, did not like contradiction. It was remarked by one of them : " Well ! in place of five hours, I could pass five months with this astonishing man !" " It may be so, my friend," said the other ; " I would not willingly pass five hours with him, for I like to be in the right sometimes."

CCCXVII. POLITICIANS.

Any official underiing, said Voltaire, would be able to overreach Comeille and Newton in business, and yet your politicians imagine themselves men of genius.

CCCXVIII. VOLTAIRE AND DR YOUNG.

Voltaue, jealous of all epic poets, run down, in presence of Dr Young, Milton's talents ; and, par- ticularly, he condemned in Paradise Lost, Death, Sin, and the Devil, personified in that poem. He railed at this invention as extravagant, and made it the principal object of his sarcasms. Young, indignant at this tone of irreverence and levity, addressed him in the following epigram :

    • Thou art so witty, wicked, and so thin,

Thou art at once the Devil, Death, and Sin,"

Voltaire, quite disconcerted by the Doctor's sally, could not stammer out a word in reply, and ab- ruptly left the room. Voltaire had a great regard for the person and works of Metastasio. "When there was sent to him, some time before his death, the prospectus of a new edition of the Abbe's works, " I should wish," he said to the Editor, " that my name could be put to the top of the subscription in spite of the alphabet."


160 TABLE-TALK.


CCCXIX, THOUGHTS OF VOLTAIRE.

A knowledge of Courts is acquired like surgery ; by the wounds of others.

Scepticism destroys all things, and is destroyed by itself, as Samson was crushed by the temple which he overturned.

We judge of ministers as the pit judges of the opera ; without a knowledge of the music.

When the JEsprit des Lois first appeared, Thirot asked Voltaire what he thought of that famous work. The poet was silent, but the question was repeated. " Well, if you insist on knowing what I think," said Voltaire, impatient at his friend's ob- ilinacy, " I think it is Grotius turned Harlequin." Voltaire was a little changeable in his opinions, and made no ceremony of contradicting himself.*

Fontenelle, as he was coming from the first re- piesentation of QEdipus, said to Voltaire, after pay- ing him great compliments on the occasion, " I could have wished you had put less pomp into your verses ; they would have been smoother, more flowing, and more suitable to the tragedy." " Sir," said Voltaire, " that I may correct that fault, I shall on the instant read your pastorals."

CCCXX. VOLTAIRE AND LA MOTTE.

One day Voltaire, when a young man of about twenty-four, read to La Motte, who had a prodi- gious memory, a tragedy which he had written. La Motte listened with the greatest possible at- tention to the end. " Your tragedy is excellent," said he, " and I dare answer beforehand for its suc- cess. Only one thing vexes me ; you have allow-

He had before spoken highly of the work.


I


VOLTAIRIANA. 1^1

etl yourself to bonow, as I can prove to you, from the second scene of the fourth act." Voltaire de- fended himself as well as he could against the charge. " I say nothing," answered La Motte, " which I cannot support, and to prove it I shall recite this same scene, which pleased me so much when I first read it that I got it by heart, and not a word of it has escaped me." Accordingly he repeated the whole without hesitation, and with as much ani- mation as if he had composed it himself. All pre- sent at the reading of the piece, looked at each other and did not know what to think. The author was utterly confounded. After enjoying his em- barrassment for a short time, " Make yourself easy, sir," said La Motte, " the scene is entirely your own, as much your own as all the rest ; but it struck me as so beautiful and touching, that I could not resist the pleasure of committing it to memory."

CCCXXI. ADJECTIVES.

Voltaire amused himself sometimes with the style of certain authors all bristling with epithets ; " If they could only understand," he said, " that adjectives are the greatest enemies of substantives, although they agree in gender, number, and case I"

CCCXXII. TURGOT.

Tni^ot came one day to visit Voltaire in the house of the Marquis de Villette, when he was so much tormented by the gout that he had not the free use of his limbs. " Ah, M. Turgot," said Vol- taire, addressing him, " how do you do ?" " I can scarcely walk for pain." " Gentlemen," cried Voltaire, with enthusiasm, " I never see M. Tur- got but I think I see Nebuchadnezzar's image.**

  • ' Yes," answered the Minister, " feet of clay."

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I


" And the head of gold, the head of gold/' re- plied Voltaire.

CCCXXIII. ALZIRE.

At the first appearance of the tragedy of Alzire, some one maintained in company that the piece was not by Voltaire. " I should wish that were the case, from my heart," said a lady present. " Why ?" " Because," replied she, " we should at least h&ve one great poet more."

CCCXXIV. PELLEGRIN.

One of Voltaire's tragedies happened to meet with indifferent success ; the Abbe Pellegrin com- plained that the poet had appropriated a good many of his verses. " How is it," said he to Vol- taire, " that you, who are so rich in your own re- sources, should lay your hands on the stores of others ?'* " What I I have robbed i/ou T said the author of the Henriadtf ; " I do not wonder then at J the fete of my piece."

CCCXXV. THE BIBLE.

An inhabitant of Lyons, being at the Delices, appeared astonished to find Voltaire with the Bible in his hands, " I am here," said he, " like the counsel in a great cause, examining the pleadings of the opposite party."


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PAKT II. ENGLISH.


[ 165 ]


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SELDENIANA.


[John Selden, the learned author of this collection, was bom In 1684. After distinguishing himself at College, he became a member of the Inner Temple ; and though he seldom appeared at the Bar, was soon in eminent practice as a Chamber Counsel. Into the political events of his life, it Is impossible to enter ; his litei*ary labours were principally of a legal and antiquarian nature. Of these, his Disserta- tion on the Norman Conquest, his History of Tithes, and his Mare Clausum, written in reply to the treatise of Gro- tius, entitled Mare Liberum, are the most distinguished. The Seldeniana are mai-ked by much of the discursive scho- larship, the boldness and occasional coarseness of espression which characterised the man. He died in 1654.3


I. CHRISTMAS.

1. Christmas succeeds the Saturnalia; the same time, the same number of holidays ; then the mas- ter waited upon the servant, like the lord of mis- rule.

2. Our meats and our sports (much of them) have relation to church-works. The cofl&n of our Christmas pies, in shape long, is in imitation of the cratch ; our choosing kings and queens, on Twelfth-night, hath reference to the three kings : 80, likewise, our eating of fritters, whipping of tops, roasting of herrings, Jack of Lents, &c ; they


166 TABLE-TALK.

were all in imitation of chui'ch-works, emblems of martyrdom. Om* tansies, at Easter, have reference to the bitter herbs : though, at the same time, it was always the fasTiion for a man to have a gam- mon of bacon, to show himself to be no Jew.

II. CONSCIENCE.

1. He that hath a scrapulous conscience, is like a horse that is not well weighed ; he starts at every bird that flies out of the hedge.

2. A knowing man will do that which a tender- conscience-man dares not do, by reason of his ig- norance ; the other knows there is no hurt : as a child is afraid to go into the daik, when a man is not, because he knows there is no danger.

3. If we once come to leave that outloose, as to pretend conscience against law, who knows what inconvenience may follow ? for thus, suppose an Anabaptist comes and takes my horse ; I sue him : he tells me he did according to his conscience ; his conscience tells him all things are common amongst the saints ; what is mine is his ; therefore you do ill to make such a law, If any man takes another's horse, he shall be hanged : What can I say to this man ? He does according to his conscience. Why is he not as honest a man as he that pre- tends a ceremony established by law is against his conscience ? Generally to pretend conscience against law is dangerous ; in some cases haply we may.

4. Some men make it a case of conscience, whether a man may have a pigeon-house, because his pigeons eat other folks com. But there is no such thing as conscience in the business ; the mat- ter is, whether he be a man of such quality, that the state allows him to have a dove-house : if so,


SELDENIANA. 167

there is an end of the business ; his pigeons have a right to eat where they please themselves.

III. CONTRACTS.

1. If our fathers have lost their' liberty, why may not we labour to regain it ? Ans. We must look to the contract ; if that be rightly made, we must stand to it ; if we once grant we may recede from contracts upon any inconveniency that may afterwards happen, we shall have no bar- gain kept. If I sell you a horse, and do not like my bargain, I will have my horse again.

2. Keep your contracts : so far a divine goes ; but how to make our contracts is left to ourselves ; and as we agree upon the conveying of this house, or that land, so it must be : if you offer me a hun- dred pounds for my glove, I tell you what my glove is, a plain glove pretend no virtue in it i the glove is my own. I profess not to sell gloves, and we agree for a hundred pounds. I do not know why I may not with a safe conscience take it. The want of that common obvious distinction of jus prceceptivum and jus permissivum, does much trouble men.

3. Lady Kent articled with Sir Edward Her- bert, that he should come to her when she sent for him, and stay with her as long as she would have him ; to which he set his hand : then he ar- ticled with her, that he should go away when he pleased, and stay away as long as he pleased ; to which she set her hand. This is the epitome of all the contracts in the world, betwixt man and man, betwixt prince and subject ; they keep them as long as they like them, and no longer,

IV. DAMNATION.

To preach long, loud, and damnation, is the


168 TABLE-TALK.

way to be cried up : we love a man that damns us, and we run after him again to save us. If a man had a sore leg, and he should go to an honest

i'udicious chirurgeon, and he should only bid him

eep it warm, and anoint with such an oil, an oil

well known, that would do the cure ; haply, he would not much regard him, because he knows the medicine before-hand an ordinary medicine : but if he should go to a chirurgeon that should tell him, " Your leg will gangrene within three days, and it must be cut off, and you will die, unless you do something that I could tell you ;" what listening there would be to this man I " O, for the Lord's sake, tell me what this is ; I will give you any content for your pains."

V. DEVILS.

A person of quality came to my chamber in the Temple, and told me he had two devils in his head, (I wondered what he meant,) and, just at that time, one of them bid him kill me. With that I began to be afraid, and thought he was mad. He said he knew I could cure him, and therefore entreated me to give him something, for he was resolved he would go to nobody else. I perceiving what an opinion he had of me, and that it was only melancholy that troubled him, took him in hand, warranted him, if he would follow my directions, to cure him in a short time. I desired him to let me be alone about an hour, and then to come again which he was very willing to. In the meantime, I got a card, and wrapped it up hand- some in a piece of taffata, and put strings to the taffata; and, when he came, gave it to him, to hang about his neck ; withal charged him, that ho should not disorder himself, neither with eating or


SELDENIANA. 169

drinking, but eat very little of supper, and say his prayers duly when he went to bed ; and I made no question but he would be well in three or four days. Within that time I went to dinner to hia house, and asked him how he did ? He said he was much better, but not perfectly well, for, in truth, he had not dealt clearly with me ; he had four devils in his head, and he perceived two of them were gone, with that which I had given him, but the other two troubled him still. " Well," said I, " I am glad two of them are gone ; I make no doubt to get away the other two likewise." So I gave him another thing to hang about his neck. Three days after he came to me to my chamber, and professed he was now as well as ever he was in his life, and did extremely thank me for the great care I had taken of him. I, fearing lest he might relapse into the like distemper, told him that there was none but myself, and one physician more in the whole town, that could cure the devils in the head, and that was Dr Harvey, (whom I had prepared,) and wished him, if ever he found himself ill in my absence, to go to him, for he could cure his disease as well as myself. The gentleman lived many years, and was never troubled after.

VI. DUEL.

1. A duel may still be granted in some cases by the law of England, and only there. That the church allowed it anciently, appears by this : in their public liturgies, there were prayers appoint- ed for the duellists to say ; the judge used to bid them go to such a church and pray, &c. But whe- ther is this lawful ? If you grant any war lawful, I make no doubt but to convince it. War is law-


170 TABLt:-TALK.

ful, because 'God is the only judge between two, that is supreme. Now, if a difference happen be- tween two subjects, and it cannot be decided by human testimony, why may not they put it to God to judge between them by the permission of the prince ? Nay, what if we should bring it down, for argument's sake, to the swordmen. One gives me the lie ; it is a gi-eat disgrace to take it ; the law has made no provision to give remedy for the injury, (if you can suppose anything an injury for which the law gives no remedy ;) why am not I, in this case, supreme, and may, therefore, right myself ?

2. A duke ought to fight with a gentleman. The reason is this : the gentleman will say to the duke, " It is true, you hold a higher place in the state than I ; there is a great distance between you and me but your dignity does not privilege you to do me an injury : as soon as ever you do me an injury, you make yourself my equal; and as you are my equal, I challenge you :" and in sense the duke is bound to answer him. This will give you some light to understand the quarrel betwixt a prince and his subjects : though there be a vast distance between him and them, and they are to obey him, according to their contract, yet he hath no power to do them an injury ; then they think themselves as much bound to vindicate their right, as they are to obey his lawful commands, nor is there any other measure of justice left upon earth but ai-ms.

VII. EQUITY.

1. Equity in law is the same that the spirit is in religion, what every one pleases to make it ; sometimes they go according to conscience, some


SELDENIANA. 171

times according to law, sometimes according to the rule of court.

2. Equity is a roguish thing ; for law we have a measure know what to trust to ; equity is ac- cording to the conscience of him that is chancel- lor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is equity. It is all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a foot, a chancellor's foot ; what an uncertain measure would this be ! One chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot : it is the same thing in the chancellor's conscience.

3. That saying, " Do as you would be done to," is often misunderstood ; for it is not thus meant that I, a private man, should do to you, a private man, as I would have you do to me, but do as we have agreed to do one to another by public agree- ment. If the prisoner should ask the judge, whe- ther he would be contented to be hanged, were he in his case, he would answer No. ^* Then," says the prisoner, " do as you would be done to." Nei- ther of them must do as private men, but the judge must do by him as they have publicly agreed . that is, both judge and prisoner have consented to a law, that if either of them steal they shall be hanged.

VIII. FREE WILL.

The Puritans, wjio will allow no free will at all, but God does all, yet will allow the subject his li- berty to do, or not to do, notwithstanding the king, the god upon earth. The Arminians, who hold we have free will, yet say, when we come to the king, there must be all obedience, and no liberty to be stood for.


172 TABLE-TALK.


IX. FRIENDS.

Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes ; they were easiest for his feet.

!X. HUMILITY.

Humility is a virtue all preach, none practise, and yet every body is content to hear. The mas- ter thinks it good doctrine for his servant, the laity for the clergy, and the clergy for the laity.

XI. JEWS.

1. God at the first gave laws to all mankind, but afterwards he gave peculiar laws to the Jews, which they were only to observe : just as we have the common law for all England ; and yet you have some corporations, that, besides that, have peculiar laws and privileges to themselves.

2. Talk what you will of the Jews, that they are cursed, they thrive wherever they come ; they are able to oblige the prince of their country by lending him money ; none of them beg; they keep together; and for their being hated, my life for yours, Christians hate one another as much.

XII. INCENDIARIES.

Fancy to yourself a man sets the city on fire at Cripplegate, and that fire continues by means of others, till it comes to Whitefriars, and then he that began it would fain quench it ; does not he deserve to be punished most that first set the city on fire ? So it was with the incendiaries of the state. They that first set it on fire, (by mono- polising, forest business, imprisoning parliament men, tertio Caroli, &c.) are now become regene- rate, and would fain quench the fire: certainly they deserved most to be punished, for being the first cause of- our distraction.


I


SELDENIANA. 173

XIII. JUDGES.

1. W6 see the pageants in Cheapside, the lions, and the elephants, hut we do not see the men that cany them ; we see the judges look big, look like lions, but we do not see who moves them.

2. Little things do great works, when great things will not. If I should take a pin from the ground, a little pair of tongs will do it, when a great pair will not. Go to a judge to do a busi- ness for you ; by no means ; he will not hear of it ; but go to some small servant about him, and he will dispatch it according to your heart's desii-e.

3. There could be no mischief done in the com- monwealth without a judge. Though there be false dice brought in at the groom-porter's, and cheating offered, yet, imless he allow the cheating, and judge the dice to be good, there may be hopes of fair play.

XIV. LANGUAGE.

1. To a living tongue new words may be add- ed, but not to a dead tongue, as Latin, Greek, Hebrew, &c.

2. Latimer is the corruption of Latiner ; it sig- nifies he that interprets Latin : and though he in- terpreted French, Spanish, or Italian, he was called the king's Latiner, that is, the king's interpreter.

3. If you look upon the language spoken in the Saxon time, and the language spoken now, you will find the difference to be just as if a man had a cloak that he wore plain in Queen Elizabeth's days, and since, here has put in a piece of red, and there a piece of blue, and here a piece of green, and there a piece of orange-tawny. We borrow words from the French, Italian, Latin, as every pedantic man pleases.

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174 TABLE-TALK.

4. We have more words than notions ; half-a- dozen words for the same thing : sometimes we put a new signification to an old word, as when we call a piece a gun. The word gun was in use in England for an engine to cast a thing from a man, long before there was any gunpowder found out.

6. Words must be fitted to a man's mouth. It was well said of the fellow that was to make a speech for my lord mayor, he desired to take mea- sure of his lordship's mouth.

XV. LAW.

1. A man may plead not guilty, and yet tell no lie ; for by the law no man is bound to accuse himself : so that when I say, not guilty ^ the mean- ing is, as if I should say by way of paraphrase, I am not so guilty as to tell you ; if you will bring me to a trial, and have me punished for this you lay to my charge, prove it against me,

2. Ignorance of the law excuses no man ; not that all men know the law, but because it is an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to conftite him.

3. The King of Spain was outlawed in West- minster-hall, I being of counsel against him : a merchant had recovered costs against him in a suit, which because he could not get, we advised to have him outlawed for not appearing, and so he was : as soon as Gondimer heard that, he presently sent the money, by reason, if his master had been out- lawed, he could not have the benefit of the law ; which would have been very prejudicial, there being then many suits depending betwixt the King of Spain and our English merchants.

4. Every law is a contract between the king and the people, and therefore to be kept. A hun-


SELDENIANA. 175

dred men may owe me a hundred pounds, as well as any one man, and shall they not pay me because they are stronger than I ? Object, O, but they lose all if they keep that law. Answ. Let them look to the making of their bargain. If I sell my lands, and when I have done, one comes and tells me, I have nothing else to keep me ; I, and my wife, and children, must starve, if I part with my land must I not, therefore, let them have my land that have bought it and paid for it ?

5. The Parliament may declare law, as well as any other inferior court may, viz. the King's Bench. In that or this particular case, the King's Bench will declare unto you what the law is ; but that binds nobody whom the case concerns : so the highest court, the Parliament, may do, but not declare law ; that is, make law that was never heard of before.

XVI. LEARNING.

1. Nd man is the wiser for his learning : it may administer matter to work in, or objects to work upon ; but wit and wisdom are bom with a man.

2. Most men's learning is nothing but history duly taken up. If I quote Thomas Aquinas for some tenet, and believe it, because the schoolmen say so, that is but history. Few men make them- selves masters of the things they write or speak.

3. The Jesuits, and the lawyers of France, and the Low Countrymen, have engrossed all learn- ing : the rest of the world make nothing but ho- milies.

XVII. LIBELS.

Though some may make light of libels, yet you may see by them how the wind sits : as take a straw, and throw it up into the air, you shall see by that which way the wind is, which you


176 TABLE-TALK.

shall not do by casting up a stone : more solid things do not show the complexion of the times so well as ballads and libels.

XVIII. MARRIAGE.

1. Of all actions of a man's life, his maniage does least concern other people ; yet of all actions of our life, it is most meddled with by other people.

2. Marriage is nothing but a civil contract : it is true, it is an ordinance of God : so is every other contract : God commands me to keep it when I have made it.

3. Marriage is a desperate thing. The frogs in ^sop were extreme wise ; they had a gi-eat mind to some water, but they would not leap into the well, because they could not get out again.

4. We single out particulars, and apply God's providence to them : thus when two are married and have undone one another, they cry, " It was God's providence we should come together," when God's providence does equally concur to everything.

XIX. MEASURE OF THINGS.

1. We measure the excellency of other men by some excellency we conceive to be in ourselves, Nash, a poet, poor enough, as poets used to be, seeing an alderman with his gold chain, upon his great horse, by way of scorn, said to one of his companions, " Do you see yon fellow, how good- ly, how big he looks ? Why, that fellow cannot make a blank verse."

2. Nay, we measure the goodness of God from ourselves ; we measure his goodness, his justice, his wisdom, by something we call just, good, or wise in ourselves ; and in so doing, we judge pro- portionably to the country fellow in the play, who


SELDENIANA. 17T

said, if he were a king, he would live like a lord, and have peas and bacon every day, and a whip that cried slash.

XX. MORAL HONESTY.

They that cry down moral honesty, cry down that which is a great part of religion my duty to- wards God, and my duty towards man. What care I to see a man run after a sermon, if he cozen and cheat as soon as he comes home? On the other side, morality must not be without religion ; for if so, it may change, as I see convenience. Re- ligion must govern it. He that has not religion to govern his morality, is not a dram better than my mastiff dog ; so long as you stroke him and please him, and do not pinch him, he will play with you as finely as may be ; he is a veiy good moral mas- tiff : but if you hurt him, he will fly in your face, and tear out your throat.

XXI. NUMBER.

All those mysterious things they observe in numbers come to nothing, upon this very ground ; because number in itself is nothing, has not to do with nature, but is merely of human imposition, a mere sound : for example, when I cry one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, that is but man's divi- sion of time ; the time itself goes on, and it had been all one in nature if those hours had been call- ed nine, ten, and eleven. So when they say the seventh son is fortimate, it means nothing ; for if you count from the seventh backwards, then the first is the seventh : why is he not likewise fortu- nate?

XXII. OATHS.

There is no oath scarcely, but we swear to things we are ignorant of. For example, the oath


178 TABLE-TALK.

of supremacy ; liow many know how the king is king? What are his rights and prerogative? So how many know what are the privileges of the parliament, and the liberty of the subject, when they take the protestation ? But the meaning is, they will defend them when they know them : as if I should swear I would take part with all that weai' red ribbons in their hats it may be I do not know which colour is red but when I do know, and see a red ribbon in a man's hat, then will I take his part.

XXIII. PARSON.

^ 1. Though we write parson diiferently, yet it is but person ; that is, the individual person set apart for the service of such a church, and it is in Latin persona, and personatus is a personage. Indeed, with the canon lawyers, personatus is any dignity or preferment in the church.

2. There never was a meiTy world since the fairies left dancing, and the parson left conjuring ; the opinion of the latter kept thieves in awe, and did as much good in a country as a justice of peace.

XXIV. POETRr.

1. It is a fine thing for children to learn to make verse ; but when they come to be men, they must speak like other men, or else they will be laughed at. It is ridiculous to speak, or write, or preach in verse. As it is good to learn to dance ; a man may learn his leg, learn to go handsomely ; but it is ridiculous for him to dance when he should ^o.

2. It is ridiculous for a lord to print verses : it is well enough to make them to please himself, but to make them public is foolish. If a man, in a private chamber, twirls his band-strings, or plays


SELDENIANA. 179

with a rush to please himself, it is well enough ; but if he should go into Fleet-street, and sit upon a stall, and twirl a band-string, or play ^Wth a rush, then all the boys in the street would laugh at him.

3. Verse proves nothing but the quantity of syl- lables ; they are not meant for logic.

XXV. THE POPE.

1. He was a wise pope, that, when one that used to be merry with him, before he was advan- ced to the popedom, refrained afterwards to come at him, presuming he was busy in governing the Christian world : the pope sends for him bids him come again ; " And," says he, " we will be merry as we were before, for thou little thinkest what a little foolery governs the whole world."

2. The pope in sending relics to princes, does as wenches do by their wassels at New-year's- tide ; they present you with a cup, and you must drink of a slabby stuff; but the meaning is, you must give them moneys, ten times more than it is worth.

XXVI. POWER. STATE.

1. There is no stretching of power : it is a good rule Eat within your stomach ; act within your commission.

2. They that govern most make least noise. You see when they row in a barge, they that do drud- gery work, slash, and puff, and sweat ; but he that governs, sits quietly at the stem, and scarcely is seen to stir.

3. Syllables govern the world.

4. All power is of God, means no more than fides est servanda. When St Paul said this, the

people had made Nero emperor. They agree, he


180 TABLE-TALK.

to command, they to obey ; then God comes in, and casts a hook upon them, keep your faith : then comes in, all power is of God. Never king dropped out of the clouds. God did not make a new emperor, as the king makes a justice of peace.

XXVII. REVERENCE.

It is sometimes unreasonable to look after re- spect and reverence, either from a man's own ser- vant, or other inferioi-s. A great lord and a gen- tleman talking together, there came a boy by, leading a calf with both his hands : says the lord to the gentleman, " You shall see me make the boy let go his calf." With that he came towairds him, thinking the boy would have put off his hat ; but the boy took no notice of him. The lord seeing that, " Sirrah," says he, " do you not know me, that you use no reverence ?" " Yes," says the boy, " if your lordship will hold my calf, I will put off my hat."

XXVIII. STATE.

In a troubled state save as much for your own as you can. A dog had been at market to buy a shoulder of mutton ; coming home he met two dogs by the way, that quarrelled with him; he laid down his shoulder of mutton, and fell to fighting with one of them ; in the mean time the other dog fell to eating his mutton. He seeing that, left the dog ho was fighting with, and fell upon him that was eating ; then the other dog fell to eat : when he perceived there was no remedy, but which of them soever he fought withal, his mutton was in danger, he thought he would have as much of it as he could, and thereupon gave over fighting, and fell to eating himself.


[ 181 ]


WALPOLE'S REMINISCENCES.


[" His Reminiscences of the Reigns of George I. and George II., make us better acqaainted with the manners of these

Srinces and tlieir courts tlian we should be aft-r peinising a undred lieavy historians ; and futurity will long be in- debted to the chance which threw into his vicinity, when age rendered him communicative, the accomplished ladies to whom these Anecdotes were communicated."]

Quarterly Reinew, Sept. 1818.


XXIX. GEORGE I.

As I was the youngest by eleven years of Sir Robert Walpole's children by his first wife, and was extremely weak and delicate, as you see me still, though with no constitutional complaint till I had the gout after forty ; and as my two sisters were consumptive and died of consumptions ; the supposed necessary care of me (and I have over- heard persons saying, " That child cannot possibly live,") so engrossed the attention of my mother, that compassion and tenderness soon became ex- treme fondness : and as the infinite good-nature of my father never thwarted any of his children, he suifered me to be too much indulged, and permit- ted her to gratify the first vehement inclination that ever I expressed, and which, as I have never Q


II

182 TABLE-TALK.

since felt any enthusiasm for royal persons, I must suppose that the female attendants in the family must have put into my head, to long to see the King. This childish caprice was so strong, that my mother solicited the Duchess of Kendal to ob- tain for me the honour of kissing his Majesty's hand before he set out for Hanover. A favour so unusual to be asked for a boy of ten years old, was still too slight to be refused to the wife of the first minister for her darling child ; yet not being proper to be made a precedent, it was settled to be in private and at night.

Accordingly, the night but one before the King began his last journey, my mother carried me at ten at night to the apartment of the Countess of Wal- singham, on the ground-floor towards the garden at St James's, which opened into tliat of her aunt the Duchess of Kendal ; apartments occupied by George II. after his Queen's death, and by his successive mistresses, the Countesses of Siiifolk and Yarmouth.

Notice being given that the King was come down to supper, Lady Walsingham took me alone into the Duchess's anteroom, where we found alone the King and her. I knelt down, and kissed his hand. He said a few words to me, and my con- ductress led me back to my mother.

The person of the King is as perfect in my me- mory as if I saw him but yesterday. It was that of an elderly man, rather pale, and exactly like his pictures and coins ; not tall, of an aspect rather good than august, witli a dark tie-wig, a plain coat, waistcoat, and breeches of snuff-coloured cloth, with stockings of the same colour, and a blue riband over all; So entirely was lie my object


183

that I do not believe I once looked at the Duchess ; but as I could not avoid seeing her on entering the room, I remember that just beyond his Majesty- stood a very tall, lean, ill-favoured old lady ; but I did not retain the least idea of her features, nor know what the colour of her dress was.

My childish loyalty, and the condescension in gratifying it, were, I suppose, causes that contribu- ted very soon afterwards to make me shed a flood of tears for that Sovereign's death, when with the other scholars at Eton college I walked in proces- sion to the proclamation of the successor; and which (though I think they partly fell because I imagined it became the son of a prime-minister to be more concerned than other boys,) were no doubt imputed by many of the spectators who were po- liticians, to my fears of my father's most probable fall, but of which I had not the smallest concep- tion ; nor should have met with any more concern than I did when it really an-ived in the year 1742, by which time I had lost all taste for courts, and princes, and power, as was natural to one who never felt an ambitious thought for himself.

It must not be inferred from her obtaining this grace for me, that the Duchess of Kendal was a friend to my father. On the contrary, at that mo- ment she had been labouring to displace him, and introduce Lord Bolingbroke into the administration ; on which I shall say more hereafter.

It was an instance of Sir Robert's singular for- tune, or evidence of his talents, that he not only- preserved his power under two successive mq- narchs, but in spite of the efforts of both their mis- tresses to remove him. It was perhaps still more remarkable, and an instance unparalleled^ that Sir


184 TABLE-TALK.

Robert governed George the First in Latin, the King not speaking English, and his minister no German, nor even French. It was much talked of, that Sir Robert, detecting one of the Hano- verian ministers in some trick or falsehood before the King's face, had the fiminess to say to the German, " Mentiris, impudentissime I" The good- humoured monarch only laughed, as he often did when Sir Robert complained to him of his Hano- verians selling places, nor would be persuaded that it was not the practice of the English court ; and which an incident must have planted in his mind with no favourable impression of English disinter- estedness. " This is a strange country !" said his Majesty ; " the first morning after my arrival at St James's, I looked out of the window, and saw a park with walks, a canal, &c. which they told me were mine. The next day Lord Chetwynd, the ranger of my park, sent me a fine brace of carp out of my canal ; and I was told I must give five guineas to Lord Chetwynd's servant for bringing me my own carp out of my own canal in my own park I"


George the First, while electoral prince, had married his cousin the Princess Dorothea, only child of the Duke of Zell ; a match of conveni- ence to reunite the dominions of the family. Though she was very handsome, the prince, who was extremely amorous, had several mistresses ; which provocation, and his absence in the army of the confederates, probably disposed the princess to indulge some degree of coquetry. At that mo- ment arrived at Hanover the famous and beautiful Count Konismark, the charms of whose person


walpole's reminiscences. 1&5

ought not to Jiave obliterated the memory of his vile assassination of Mr Thynne. His vanity, the beauty of the electoral princess, and the neglect under which he found her, encouraged his pre- sumption to make his addresses to her, not covert- ly ; and she, though believed not to have trans- gressed her duty, did receive them too indiscreetly. The old elector flamed at the insolence of so stig- matized a pretender, and ordered him to quit his dominions the next day. The princess, surround- ed by women too closely connected with her hus- band, and consequently enemies of the lady they injured, was persuaded by them to sujBfer the count to kiss her hand before his abrupt departure ; and he was actually introduced by them into her bed- chamber the next morning before she rose. From that moment he disappeared ; nor was it known what became of him, till on the death of George I., on his son the new king's first journey to Ha- nover, some alterations in the palace being order- ed by him, the body of Konismark was discovered tmder the floor of the electoral princess's dressing - room the count having probably been strangled there the instant he left her, and his body secreted. The discovery was hushed up ; George II. intmst- ed the secret to his wife Queen Caroline, who told it to my father ; but the King was too tender of the honour of his mother to utter it to his mis- tress ; nor did Lady Suffolk ever hear of it, till I informed her of it several years afterwaids. The disappearance of the count made his murder sus- pected, and various reports of the discovery of his body have of late years been spread, but not with the authentic circumstances. q2


186 TABLE-TALK.


I


I do not know whether it was ahout the same period, that in a tender mood he promised the Duchess of Kendal, that if she survived him, and it were possible for the departed to return to this world, he would make her a visit. The Duchess on his death so much expected the accomplishment of that engagement, that a large raven, or some black fowl, flying into one of the windows of her villa at Isleworth, she was persuaded it was the soul of her departed monarch so accoutred, and received and treated it with all the respect and tenderness of duty, till the royal bird or she took their last flight.

  • * *

On the deatli of George the First, Queen Caro- line found in his cabinet a proposal of the Earl of Berkeley, then, T think. First Lord of the Admiral- ty, to seize the Prince of Wales, and convey him to America, whence he should never be heard of more. This detestable project, copied probably from the Earl of Falmouth's offer to Charles the Second with regai'd to his queen, was in the hand- writing of Charles Stanhope, elder brother of the Earl of Harrington : and so deep was the impres- sion deservedly made on the mind of George the Second by that abominable paper, that all the fa- vour of Lord Harrington, when secretary of state, could never obtain the smallest boon to his bro- ther, though but the subordinate transcriber. George the First was too humane to listen to such an atiocious deed. It was not very kind to the conspirators to leave such an instrument be- hind him ; and if virtue and conscience will not check bold bad men from paying court by detest-


walpole's reminiscences. IBt

able offers, the King's carelessness or indifference in such an instance ought to warn them of the lit- tle gratitude that such machinations can inspire or expect.

Among those who had preferred the service of the King to that of the heir apparent, was the Duke of Newcastle ; who, having married his sister to Lord Townshend, both his Royal Highness and the Viscount had expected woidd have adhered to that connexion and neither forgave his desertion. I am aware of the desultory manner in which I have told my story, having mentioned the recon- ciliation of the King and Prince before I have given any account of then- public rupture. The chain of my thoughts led me into the preceding details, and, if I do not flatter myself, will have let you into the motives of ray dramatis personse better than if I had more exactly observed chronology ; and as I am not writing a regular tragedy, and profess but to relate facts as I recollect them ; or (if you will allow me to imitate French writers of tragedy) may I not plead that I have unfolded my piece as they do, by introducing two courtiers to acquaint one another, and by bricole the audience, with what had passed in the penetralia before the tia- gedy commences ?

The exordium thus duly prepared, you must sup- pose, ladies, that the second act opens with a royal christening. The Princess of Wales had been de- livered of a second son. The Prince had intended his uncle the Duke of York, Bishop of Osnaburg, should with his Majesty be godfathers. Nothing could equal the indignation of his Royal Highness when the King named the Duke of Newcastle for second sponsor, and would hear of no other. The


188 TABLE-TALK.

christening tookj||:>lace as usual in the Princess's bed-cliamber. Lady Suffolk, then in waiting as woman of the bed-chamber, and of most accurate memory, painted the scene to me exactly. On one side of the bed stood the godfathers and godmother ; on the other the Prince, and the Princess's ladies. No sooner had the bishop closed the ceremony, than the Prince, crossing the feet of the bed in a rage, stepped up to the Duke of Newcastle, and, holding up his hand and fore-finger in a menacing attitude, said, " You are a rascal, but I shall find you ;" meaning, in broken English, " I shall find a time to be revenged." " What was my astonish- ment," continued Lady Suffolk, " when going to the Princess's apaitmeut the next morning, the yeo- men in the guard- chamber pointed their halberds at my breast, and told me I must not pass ! I urged that it ^vas my duty to attend the Princess, They said, * No matter; I must not pass that way/"

XXX. GEORGE II.

The unexpected death of George the First on his road to Hanover was instantly notified by Lord Townshend, secretary of state, who attended his Majesty, to his brother Su- Robert Walpole, who as expeditiously was the first to carry the news to the successor, and hail him king. The next step was, to ask who his majesty would please should diaw his speech to the council " Sir Spencer Comp- ton," replied the new monarch. The answer was decisive and implied Su* Robert's dismission. Sir Spencer Compton was Speaker of the House of Com- mons, and treasurer, I think, at that time, to his Royal Highness, who by that first command implied his intention of maldng Sii' Spencer Iiis prime mi-


walpole's reminiscences. 189

nister. He was a worthy man, of exceedingly grave formality, but of no psirts as his conduct imme- diately proved. The poor gentleman was so little qualified to accommodate himself to the grandeur of the moment, and to conceive how a new sove- reign should address himself to his ministers, and he had also been so far from meditating to supplant tlie premier, that in his distress it was to Sir Ro- bert himself he had recourse, and whom he be- sought to make the draught of the King's speech for him. The new Queen, a better judge than her husband of the capacities of the two candidates, and who had silently watched for a moment proper for overturning the new designations, did not lose an instant in observing to the King how prejudicial it would be to his affairs, to prefer to the minister in possession a man in whose own judgment his predecessor was the fittest person to execute his office. From that moment there was no more question of Sir Spencer Compton as prime minister. He was created an earl, soon received the gaiter, and became president of that council, at the head of which he was much fitter to sit than to dii-ect. Fourteen years afterwards he again was nominated by the same prince to replace Sir Robert as first lord of the treasury, on the latter's forced resignation ; but not as prime minister, the conduct of aflfairs being soon ravished from him by that dashing ge- nius the Earl of Granville, who reduced him to a cipher for the little year in which he survived, and in which his incapacity had been obvious.

The Queen, impatient to destroy all hopes of change, took the earliest opportunity of declaring her own sentiments. The instance I shall cite will be a tnie picture of courtiers. Their majesties had


190 TABLE-TALK.

removed from Richmond to their temporary palace in Leicester-fields, on the very evening of their receiving notice of their accession to the crown ; and the next day all the nobility and gentry in town crowded to kiss their hands : my mother amongst the rest, who, Sir Spencer Compton's designation, and not its evaporation, being known, could not make her way between the scornful backs and el- bows of her late devotees, nor could approach nearer to the Queen than the third or fom'th row : but no sooner was she descried by her majesty, than the Queen said aloud, " There I am sm'e I see a fi'ie'nd I" The ton-ent divided and shrunk to either side ; " and as I came away,'* said my mother, " I might have walked over their heads, if I had pleased."

The pre-occupation of the Queen in favour of Walpole must be explained. He had early dis- covered, that in whatever gallantries George Prince of Wales indulged or affected, even the person of his princess was dearer to him than any charms in his mistresses : and though Mrs Howard (after- wards Lady Suffolk) was openly his declared fa- vourite, as avowedly as the Duchess of Kendal was his father's, Sir Robert's sagacity discerned that the power would be lodged with the wife, not with the mistress ; and he not only devoted himself to the princess, but totally abstained from even visiting Mrs Howard ; while the injudicious multitude con- cluded, that the common consequences of an in- constant husband's passion for his concubine would follow; and accordingly warmer, if not public, vows were made to the supposed favomite than to the prince's consort. They, especially, who in the late reign had been out of favour at court, had, to pave


walpole's reminiscences. 191

their future path to favoui-, and to secure the fall of Sir Robert Walpole, sedulously, and no doubt zealously, dedicated themselves to the mistress : Bolingbioke secretly, his friend Swift openly, and as ambitiously, cultivated Mrs Howard : and the neighbourhood of Pope's villa to Richmond facili- tated their intercourse ; though his religion forbade his entertaining views beyond those of serving his friends. Lord Bathurst, another of that connexion, and Lord Chesterfield, too early for his interest, founded their hopes on Mrs Howard's influence ; but astonished and disappointed at finding Walpole not shaken from his seat, they determined on an experiment that should be the touch-stone of Mrs Howard's credit. They persuaded her to demand of the new King an earl's coronet for Lord Bathurst She did the Queen put in her veto and Swift in despair retimied to Ireland, to lament Queen Anne and curse Queen Caroline, under the mask of patriotism, in a country he abhon-ed and des- pised.

To Mrs Howard Swift's ingratitude was base. She indubitably had not only exerted all her interest to second his and his faction's interests, but loved Queen Cai'oline and tlie minister as little as they did. Yet, when Swift died, he left behind him a character of Mre Howard by no means flattering, which was published in his posthumous works. Ou its appearance, Mrs Howard (become Lady Suf- folk) said to me in her calm, dispassionate manner, " All I can say is, that it is very different from one that he drew of me and sent to me many years ago, and which I have, written by his own hand."

  • *

At the first council held by the new sovereign,


192 TABLE-TALK.

Dr Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, produced the will of the late King, and delivered it to the suc- cessor, expecting it would be opened and read in council. On the contrary, his majesty put it into his pocket, and stalked out of the room, without uttering a word on the subject. The poor prelate was thunderstruck, and had not the presence of mind or the courage to demand the testament's being opened, or, at least, to have it registered. Nd man present chose to be more hardy than the person to whom the deposit had been trusted perhaps none of them immediately conceived the possible violation of so solemn an act so notoriously exist- ent. Still, as the King never mentioned the will more, whispers only by degrees informed the pub- lic, that the will was burnt ; at least, that its injunc- tions were never fulfilled.

What the contents were was never ascertained. Report said, that forty thousand pounds had been, bequeathed to the Duchess of Kendal ; and more vague rumours spoke of a large legacy to the Queen of Prussia, daughter of the late King. Of that be- quest demands were afterwards said to have been frequently and roughly made by her son, the great King of Prussia, between whom and his uncle sub- sisted much inveteracy.

The legacy to the duchess was some time after on the brink of coming to open and legal discussion. Lord Chesterfield, marrying her niece and heiress, the Countess of Walsingham, and resenting his own proscription at court., was believed to have insti- tuted, or at least to have tlireatened, a suit for re- covery of the legacy to the Duchess, to which he was then become entitled : and it was as confidently


walpole's reminiscences. 193

believed that he was quieted by the payment of twenty thousand pounds.

But if the archbishop had too timidly betrayed the trust reposed in him, from weakness and want of spirit, there were two other men who had no such plea of imbecility, and who, being independent and above being awed, basely sacrificed their ho- nour and integrity for positive sordid gain. George the First had deposited duplicates of his will with two sovereign German princes I will not specify them, because at this distance of time I do not per- fectly recollect their titles ; but I was actually some years ago shown a copy of a letter from one of our ambassadors abroad to a secretary of state at that period, in which the ambassador said, one of the princes in question would accept the proffered sub- sidy, and had delivered, or would deliver, the du- plicate of the King's will. . The other trustee was no doubt as little conscientious and as corrupt. It is pity the late King of Piaissia did not learn their infamous treachery I

Discoursing once with Lady Suffolk on that Suppressed testament, she made the only plausible shadow of an excuse that could be made for George the Second She told me, that George the First had burnt two wills made in favour of his son. They were probably the wills of the Duke and Duchess of Zell ; or one of them might be that of his mother, the I*riuces8 Sophia.

The crime of the First George could only palli- ate, not justify, the criminality of the Second ; for the Second did not punish the guilty, but the in- nocent. But bad precedents are always dangerous, and too likely to be copied.


C 194, ]


WALPOLIANA.


I


XXXI. ADELA, A TALE.

I have been amusing myself with a history of Picardy, and shall read you off a short tale that struck me.

Thomas de St Valery was travelling with his wife, Adela, daughter of a Count de Ponthieu. They were attacked neai- a forest by eight armed men. St Valery, after a severe struggle, was sei- zed, bound, and thrown into a thicket. His wife was carried off, exposed to the brutality of the banditti, and afterwards dismissed in a state of nudity. She, however, sought for, and found her husband, and they returned together.

They were soon after met by their servants, whom they had left at an inn, and returned to their father's castle at Abbeville. The barbarous Count, full of false ideas of honour, proposed, some days after, to his daughter, a ride to his town of Rue, on the sea-shore. There they entered a bark, as if to sail about for pleasure ; and they had stood out three leagues from the shore, when the Count de Ponthieu, staiting up, said, with a terrible voice, " Lady, death must now efface the shame which your misfortune has brought on all your family."


WALPOLIANA. 195

The sailors, previously instructed, instantly sei- zed her, shut her up into a hogshead, and threw her into the sea, while the bark regained the coast.

Happily a Flemish vessel passing near the coast, the crew observed the floating hogshead, and, ex- pecting a prize of good wine, took it up, opened it, and, with great surprise, found a beautiful woman. She was, however, almost dead, from terror and want of air ; and, at her earnest entreaty, the ho- nest Flemings sent a boat ashore with her. She gained her husband's house, who was in tears for her supposed death. The scene was extremely af- fecting : but Adela only survived it a few hours.

John, Count of Ponthieu, repenting of his crime, gave to the monks of St Valery the right of fishing three days in the year, in and about the spot where his daughter had been thrown overboard.

XXXII. AKENSIDE AND ROLT.

Akenside's Pleasm*es of Imagination attracted much notice on the first appearance, from the ele- gance of its language, and the warm colouring of the descriptions. But the Platonic fanaticism of the foundation injured the general beauty of the edi- fice. Plato is indeed the philosopher of imagina- tion ; but is not this saying that he is no philoso- pher at all ? I have been told that Rolt, who af- terwards wrote many books, was in Dublin when that poem appeared, and actually passed a whole year there, very comfortably, by passing for the author.

XXXIII. ANECDOTES OF THE STREETS.

There is a French book called Anecdotes des Rues de Paris. I had begun a similar work, " Anecdotes of the Streets of London." I intend- ed, in imitation of the French original, to have


196 .TABLE-TALK.

pointed out the streets and houses where any re- markable incident had happened. But I found the labour would be too great, in collecting materials from various resources ; and I abandoned the de- sign, after having written about ten or twelve pages.

XXXIV. ARTFUL QUESTION.

Dominico, the harlequin, going to see Louis XIV. at supper, fixed his eye on a dish of partridges. -The King, who was fond of his acting, said, " Give that dish to Dominico." " And the partridges too, sire?" Louis, penetrating his art, replied, " And -the partridges too." . The dish was gold.

XXXV. AUTHORS AND ARTISTS.

I have always rather tried to escape the acquaint- .ance and conversation of authors. An author, talking of his own works, or censm-ing those of others, is to me a dose of ipecacuanha. I like only a few, who can in company forget their authoi-ship, and remember plain sense.

The conversation of artists is still worse. Vanity and envy are the main ingredients. One detests vanity because it shocks one's own vanity.

Had I listened to the censures of artists, there is not a good piece in my collection. One blames one pait of a picture, another attacks another. Sir Joshua is one of the most candid ; yet he blamed the stiff drapery of my Hemy VIL in the state bed-chamber, as if good drapery could be expected in that age of pamting.

XXXVI. AUTHORS IN FLOWER MYSTERIOUS. MOTHER.

At Strawberry-hill, 19th September, 1784, Mr Walpole remarked that, at a certain time of their -lives, men of genius seemed to be injiower. Gray -was in flower three years, wlien he wrote his Odes,


WALPOLIANA. 197

&c. This starting the idea of the American aloe, some kinds of which are said to flower only once in a centmy, he observed, laughing, that had Gray lived an hundred yeai*s longer, perhaps he would have been in flower again. Sir Charles Haubury Williams bore only one blossom ; he was in flower only for one ode.

Next evening, about eleven o'clock, Mr VVal- pole gave me the Mysterious Mother to read, while he went to Mrs Clive's for an hour or two. The date was remarkable, as the play hinges on an an- niversary twentieth of September.

but often as returns

The twentieth of September, &c.

This odd circumstance conspired, with the complete solitude of the Gothic apai'tments, to lend an ad- ditional impression to the superstitious parts of that tragedy. In point of language, and the true expression of passion and feeling, the new and just delineation of monastic fraud, tyranny, and cruelty, it deserves the greatest praise. But it is surprising that a man of his taste and judgment should have added to the improbability of the tale, instead of mellowing it with softer shades. This might be cured by altering one page of the coun- tess's confession in the last act. The story, as told in Luther's Table Walk, seems more ancient than that in the Tales of the Queen of Navarre.

On Mr Walpole's return, he said he had printed a few copies of this tragedy at Strawberry-hill, to give to his friends. Some of them falling into im- proper hands, two suiTeptitious editions were ad- vertised. Mr W. in consequence, desii'ed Dodsley to print an edition 1781, and even caused it to be advertised. But finding that the stolen impressions r2


198 TABLE-TALK.

were of course dropped, he ordered his not to issued, and none were ever sold.

XXXVII. BEAUTIFUL PROVERBS.

Proverbs not only present " le bo?igros setts qui court les rues" but sometimes are expressed in eleg-ant metaphor. I was stinick with an oriental one of this sort, which I met with in some book of travels : " With time and patience the leaf of the mulberry-tree becomes satin."

XXXVIII. BERNIS AND FLEURY.

Cardinal deBemis, when only an Abbe, solicited Cardinal Fleury, then four- score, for some prefer- ment. Flemy told him fairly, he should never have anything in his time : Bernis replied, " Mon- seigneur y jaltendrai."*

XXXIX. BIOGRAFHIA.

I had happened to say that the Biographia Bri- tannica was an apology for everybody. This reach- ed the ears of Dr Kippis, wIk) v/as publishing a new edition ; and who retorted that the life of Sir Robert Walpole should prove that the Biographia was not an apology for everybody. Soon after I was sui-prised with a visit from the doctor, who came to solicit materials for my father's life. You may guess I veiy civilly refused.

XL. DUCHESS OF BOLTON.

The Duchess Dowager of Bolton, who was na- tural daughter to the Duke of Monmouth, used to divert George I. by aifecting to make blunders. Once when she had been at the play of " Love's Last Shift/' she called it, La derniere Chemise de r Amour, Another time she pretended to come to court in a gieat fright, and the King asking the xause, she said she had been at Mr Whiston's, who

My lord, I shall wait.


^


WALPOLIANA. [Qh

told her the world would be burnt m tluee year$ ; and for her part she was determined to go to Chins.

XLI. BOOKSELLERS.

The manoeuvres of bookselling are now equal in number to the stratagems of wai". Publishers open and shut the sluices of reputation as their various interests lead them; and it is become more and more difficidt to judge of the merit or fame of re- cent publications.

XLII. BRUGES TRAVELS.

Bruce's book is both dull and dear. We join in clubs of five, each pays a guinea, draws lots who shall have it fiist, and the last to keep it for his patience.

Bruce's overbearing manner has raised enmity and prejudice ; and he did wrong in retailing the most wonderful parts of his book in cotnpanies. A story may be credible when attended with circum- stances, which seems false if detached.

I was present in a large company at dinner, when Bruce was talking away. Some one asked him what musical instruments are used in Abyssi- nia ? Bruce hesitated, not being prepaied for tlie question ; and at last said, " I think I saw one Ii/re there." George Selwyn wliispered his next man, " Yes ; and there is one less since he left the country."

XLIII. BURNET.

Bishop Burnet's absence of mind is well known Dining with the Duchess of Marlborough, after her husband's disgi-ace, he compared this gi'eat Ge- neral to Belisarius. " But," said the Duchess, eagerly, " how came it that such a man was so miserable, and universally deserted?" " Ob, ma-


200 TABLE-TALK.

dam," exclaimed the distrait prelate, " he had such a brimstone of a wife I"

XLIV. CAUTION TO YOUNG AUTHORS.

Youth is prone to censure. A young man of genius expects to make a world for himself ; as he gets older, he finds he must take it as it is.

It is imprudent in a young author to make any enemies whatever. He should not attack any li- ving person. Pope was, perhaps, too refined and Jesuitic a professor of authorship ; and his arts to 'establish his reputation were infinite, and some- times perhaps exceeded the bounds of severe inte- grity. But in this he is an example of prudence, that he wrote no satire till his fortune was made.

XLV. CHARLES I.

The best and most undoubted specimen of the mental powers of Charles I. is his conference with Henderson.

XLVI. A COMMANDANT.

The evening before a battle, an ofl&cer came to ask Mai'shal Toiras for permission to go and see his father, who was at the point of death. " Go," said the general, who saw through his pretext;

  • honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days

may be long upon the earth."

XL VII. CONTEMPORARY JUDGMENTS.

Contemporaries are tolerable judges of tempo- rary merit, but often most erroneous in their esti- mate of lasting fame. Burnet, you know, speaks of " one Prior ;" and Whitlocke of " one Milton, a blind man." Burnet and Whitlocke were men of reputation themselves. But what say you of Heath, the obscure chronicler of the civil wars ? He says, " one Milton, since stricken with blind- ness, \^Tote against Salmasius ; anjl composed an


WALPOLIANA. 20\

impudent and blasphemous book, called Icono- clastes."

XLVIII. DEMOCRATS.

A fig for our democrats ! (1792). Barking dogs never bite. The danger in France arose from silent and instantaneous action. They said nothing, and did everything ouis say everything, and will do nothing.

XLIX. EMPHATIC OATH.

Some time after the massacre t)f St Bartholo- mew, the deputies of the reformed were treating with the king, the queen-mother, and some of the council, for a peace. The articles were mutually agreed on ; the question was upon the security for performance. After some particulars propounded and rejected, the queen-mother said, " Is not the word of a king sufficient security ?" One of the deputies answered, " No, by St Bartholomew, madam."

L. PRINCE EUGENE.

Prince Eugene was at one time so great a favour^ ite in England, that an old maid bequeathed to him L.2500 ; nay, a gardener left him L.lOO by his will.

LI. FAME.

Much of reputation depends on the period in which it arises. The Italians proverbially observe, that one half of fame depends on that cause. In dark periods, when talents appeal*, they shine like the sun through a small hole in the window-shut- ter. The strong beam dazzles amid the surround- ing gloom. Open the shutters, and the general dif- fusion of light attracts no notice.

LII. FEMALE QUARRELS.

The spretcE ir^^iria fornuB is the greatest with a


202 TABLE-TALK.

woman. A man of rank, hearing that two of his female relations had quarrelled, asked, " Did they call each other ugly ?" No."-" Well, well ; I shall soon reconcile them."

Llir. THE FIRST STEP.

Urby a que le premier pas qui coute: " The first step is the only difficulty." This proverb was odd- ly applied by a lady, who, hearing a canon in com- pany say that St Piat, after his head was cut off, walked two entire leagues with it in his hand, " Yes, madam, two entire leagues." " I firmly believe it," answered the lady ; " on such an oc- casion the first step is the only difficulty^

LIV. FOLLY OF ERUDITION.

A German has written an elaborate dissertation to prove that Caesar never was in Gaul ! Was it he, or his brother, who attempted to prove that Tacitus did not understand Latin ?

LV. FOX.

What a man Fox is I After his long and ex- hausting speech on Hastings's trial, he was seen handing ladies into the coaches, with all the gaiety and prattle of an idle gallant.

LVI. FRENCH NATIONALITY.

The Abbe Raynal came, with some Frenchmen of rank, to see me at Strawberry-hill. They were standing at a window, looking at the prospect to the Thames, which they found flat, and one of them said in French, not thinking that I and Mr Churchill overheard them, " Everything in Eng- land only serves to recommend France to us the more." Mr Chorchill instantly stepped up, and said, Gentlemen, when the Cherokees were in this country they could eat nothing but train oil."


WALPOLIANA. 203

LVII. NEW PROOF OF FRIENDSHIP.

Sij. *** * * * -jy^as a great amateur, nay, prac- tiser, of boxing and wrestling, and willingly im- parted his knowledge to tbose who consulted him. A lord in his neighbourhood calling on him one day, they walked into the garden, and the baronet started his favourite topic. The peer's politeness leading him to say that he should wish to see a epecimen of the baronet's boasted skill, Sir * * * suddenly seized him from behind, and threw him over his head. Up starts my lord in a rage ; when the baronet addressed him with great gravity, " My lord, this is a proof of my great friendship for you. This master-stroke I have shown to no other per- son living."

LVIII. GEORGE THE FIRST.

I do remember something of George the First. My father took me to St James's while I was a very little boy; after waiting some time in an anteroom, a gentleman came in all dressed in brown, even his stockings ; and with a riband and star. He took me up in his arms, kissed me, and chatted some time.

On a journey to Hanover, the coach of George I. breaking down, he was obliged to take shelter in the next country-house, which belonged to a gen- tleman attached to the abdicated family. The King was of course shown into the best room ; where, in the most honourable place, appeared the por- trait of the Pretender. The possessor, in great confusion, was about to apologise by pleading ob- ligations, &c. when the King stopped him, by say- ing, with a smile of indifference, " Upon my word, it is very like the family."


204 TABLE-TALK.


MX. SIR JOHN GERMAIN".

I shall tell you a very foolish but a tine story. Sir John Germain, ancestor of Lady Betty Ger- main, was a Dutch adventurer, who came over here in tlie reign of Charles II. He Imd an in- trigue with a Countess, who was divorced, and married him. This man was so ignorant, that be- ing told that Sir Matthew Decker WTOte St Mat- thew's Gospel, he firmly believed it. I doubted this tale very much, till I asked a lady of quality, his descendant, about it, who told me it was most true. She added, that Sir John Germain was in conse- quence so much persuaded of Sir Matthew's piety, that, by his will, he left two hundred pounds to Sir Matthew, to be by him distributed among the Dutch paupers in London.

LX. HARDOUIN.

Hardouln was a diverting madman. He thought most of the classics were forged by monks. So wrong-headed he was, that you may be sure that what he asserts is false, and what he attacks is tme. When he was inculcating his new doctrines of literary forgery to a youth, his disciple, the lat- ter asked him what was to be thought of the scrip- tures, the canons, the fathers? After a long si- lence, Hardouin answered, " Only I and God know the force of your objection."

LXI. HEROISM OF A PEASANT.

The following generous action has always struck me extremely ; there is somewhat even of sublime in it.

A great inundation having taken place in the north of Italy, owing to an excessive faU of snow m the Alps, followed by a speedy thaw, the river Adige carried oif a bridge near Vienna, except the


1


WALPOLIANA. 205

middle part, on which was the house of the toll- gatherer, or porter, I forget which ; and who, with his whole family, thus remained imprisoned by the waves, and in momentary danger of destructioui They were discovered from the banks, stretching forth their hands, screaming, and ipiploring suc- cour, while fragments of this remaining arch were continually dropping into the water.

In this extreme danger, a nobleman, who was present, a Count of Pulverini, I think, held out H purse of one hundred sequins, as a reward to any adventurer who would take a boat, and deliver this unhappy family. But the risk was so great of being borne down by the rapidity of the stream, of being dashed against the fragment of the bridge, or of being crushed by the falling stones, that not one, in the vast number of spectators, had courage enough to attempt such an exploit,

A peasant, passing along, was informed of the proposed reward. Immediately jumping into a boat, he, by strength of oars, gained the middle of the river, brought his boat under the pile ; and the whole family safely descended by means of a rope. ' Courage !" cried he. " Now you are safe." By a still more strenuous effort, and great strength of arm, he brought the boat and family to shorci

  • ' Brave fellow," exclaimed the Count, handing the

purse to him, " here is the promised recompense." " I shall never expose my life for money," an- swered the peasant. " My labour is a sufficient livelihood for myself, my wife, and children. Give the purse to this poor family, which has lost all."

LXII. HIEROGLYPHIC.

A farmer of the gabcUe on salt had built a villa s


206 TABLE-TALK.

like a palace. Displaying it to his friends, it was observed, that a statue was wanting for a large niche in the vestibule. " I mean to put there," said the farmer, " some allegoncal statue relating to my business." " You may then put Lot's wife, who was changed to a statue of salt," answered one of his friends.

LXIII. HISTORY.

Smollett's History of England was written in two years, and is very defective.

Thinking to amuse my father once, after his re^ tirement from the ministry, I oflfered to read a book of history. " Anything but history," said he, " for history must be false."

There are three kinds of history all good : the original writers ; full and ample memoirs, compiled from them, and from manuscripts, with great ex- actness ; and histories elegantly written and ar- ranged. The second step is indispensably neces- sary for the third ; and I am more pleased with it than with the third. It has more of trath, which is the essence of history.

LXIV. HUME AND BURNET.

I am no admirer of Hume. In conversation he was very thick ; and 1 do believe hardly understood a subject till he had written upon it.

Burnet I like much. It is observable, that none of his facts have been controverted, except his re- lation of the birth of the Pretender, in which he was certainly mistaken but his very credulity is a proof of his honesty. Burnet's style and manner are very interesting. It seems as if he had just come from the king's closet, or from the apart-* ments of the men whom he describes, and was tell-


WALPOLIANA. 207

ing Lis reader, in plain honest terms, what he had seen and heard.

LXV. HYPERCRITICISM.

Everything has its place. Lord Hailes, who is very accurate himself, observed to me, that the chronology of the Memoires de Grammont is not exact. What has that book to do with chrono- logy?

LXVI. INCREDIBLE FACT.

The Abbe Regnier, secretary of the French aca- -deray, was collecting in his hat from each member a contribution for a certain purpose. The presi- dent Roses, one of the forty, was a great miser, but had paid his quota ; which the abbe not perceiving, he presented the hat a second time. Roses, as was to be expected, said he had already paid. " I be- lieve it," answered Regnier, " though I did not see it." " And I," added Fontenelle, who was beside him, " I saw it, but I do not believe it."

LXVII. INDOLENCE.

When the Duke of Newcastle left the ministry, a whole closet of American dispatches was found unopened.

LXVIII. DR JOHNSON.

I cannot imagine that Dr Johnson's reputation will be very lasting. His Dictionary is a surprising work for one man ; but sufficient examples in fo- reign countries show that the task is too much for one man, and that a society should alone pretend to publish a standard Dictionary. In Johnson's Dictionary, I can hardly find anything I look for. It is full of words nowhere else to be found, and wants numerous words occurring in good authors. In writing it is useful ; as, if one be doubtful, in


'S08 TABLE-TALK.

the choice of a word, it displays the authorities for its usage.

His essays I detest. They are full of what I call triptologi/y or repeating the same thing thrice over, so that three papers to the same effect might be made out of any one paper in the Rambler. He must have had a bad heart his story of the sacri- lege in his voyage to the Western Islands of Scots- land is a lamentable instance.

LXIX. JUNIUS.

I was informed, by Sir John Irwine, that one <lay, when he was at Mr Grenville's, Mr G. told Sir John, that he had that morning received a let- ter from Junius, saying, that he esteemed Mr G. and might soon make himself known to him. This affords me proof positive that the celebrated author of those letters could not be Mr Grenville's secre- tary, as was reported.

I really suspect single-speech Hamilton to have been the author, from the following circumstance. One day, at a house, where he happened to be, he repeated the contents of that day's Junius ; while; in fact, the printer had delayed the publication till next day. Hamilton was also brought forward by Lord Holland ; and it is remarkable, that Lord Hol- land, though very open to censme, is not once mentioned.

Garrick, dining with me, told me, that, having been at Woodfall's, he learned that the Junius of that day would be the last. Upon which, hurrying to St James's, he reported this intelligence to se- veral people. Next day he received a letter from Junius, informing him, that if he used such free- doms a letter to him should appear. From this


WALPOLIANA. 209

Garrick concluded that the author was ahout the

court,

LXX. LEARNING ENCOURAGED.

I was told a droll story concerning Mr Gibbon, t'other day. One of those booksellers in Pater- noster-row, who publish things in numbers, went to Gibbon's lodgings in St Jaraes's-street, sent up his name, and was admitted. " Sir," said he, " I am now publishing a History of England, done by several good hands. I understand you have a knack at them there things, and should be glad to give you every reasonable encouragement."

As soon as Gibbon recovered the use of his legs and tongue, which were petrified with surprise, he ran to the bell, and desired his servant to show this encourager of learning down stairs.

LXXI. DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH.

I am told that the secret letters between Queen Anne and the Duchess of Marlborough, in the first glow of their passion, are still extant in a certain house in the Green Park. They used to correspond under feigned and romantic names. When this in- tense friendship abated, the Duchess was certainly more in fault than the Queen. Such was the equality produced by their intimacy, that almost the sole remaining idea of superiority remained with her who had the advantage in personal charms and in this there was unfortunately no compari- son. The Duchess became so presumptuous that she would give the Queen her gloves to hold, and on taking them again would aifect suddenly to turn her head away, as if her royal mistress had perspi- red some disagreeable effluvia !

LXXII. MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTLAND.

I cannot think that the letter from Marv. Queen

b2 " .


210 TAELE-TALK.

of Scotland, to Elizabeth, about the aniouis of the latter, is genuine. I suppose it a forgery of Bur- leigh, to show Elizabeth, if she had refused to con- demn IMary.

It Avas the interest of Queen Elizabeth's ministers to put Mary to death, 1. as they had gone too far against her to hope for mercy ; and, 2. to secure a protestant succession. The above letter was pub- lished by HajTies, among the Cecil papers preser- ved at Hatfield House. His compilation is executed without judgment.

I have read the apologies for Mary ; but still must believe her guilty of her husband's death. So much of the advocate, so many suppositions, appear in those long apologies, that they show of them- selves that plain truth can hardly be on that side. Suppose her guilty, and all is easy : there is no longer a labyrinth, and a clew : all is in the high- way of human affairs.

LXXIII. MATHEMATICS.

The profound study of mathematics seems to in- jure the more general and useful mode of reason- ing, that by induction. Mathematical truths being, 80 to speak, palpable, the moral feelings become less sensitive to impalpable truths. As when one sense is carried to great perfection, the others are usually less acute, so mathematical reasoning seems, in some degree, to injure the other modes of ratio- cination. Napier (who was not a lord, as I am ad- monished, since I published my Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors,) wrote nonsense on the Revela- tions. So did Newton on the same book, and the Prophecies of Daniel. Now Dr South, you know, used to say that the Revelations either found a man mad, or left him so. I say nothing of Newton's


ITALPOLIANA. 211

Chronology. He builds, 1 believe, upon one Chiron, without proving that Chiron, or the Argonauts, ever existed. Mythology is too profound for me. I know not if Chiron were man or horse, or both. I only know he is no acquaintance of mine.

LXXIV. TWO MINISTERS.

Mr Pitt's plan, when he had the gout, was to have no fire in his room, but to load himself with bed-clothes. At his house at Hayes he slept in a

' long room, at one end of which was his bed, and his lady's at the other. His way was, when he thought the Duke of Newcastle had fallen into any

mistake, to send for him, and read him a lecture. The Duke was sent for once, and came, when Mr Pitt Mas confined to bed by the gout. There was, as usual, no fire in the room ; the day was very cliilly, and the Duke, as usual, afraid of catching cold. The Duke first set doAvn on Mrs Pitt's bed, as the warmest place ; then drew up his legs into it, as he got colder. The lecture unluckily con- tinuing a considerable time, the Duke at length fairly lodged himself under Mrs Pitt's bed-clothes. A person, from whom I had the story, suddenly going in, saw the two ministers in bed, at the two ends of the room ; while Pitt's long nose, and black beard unshaved for some days, added to the gi'o-

tesque of the scene.

LXXV. NEW IDEA OP A NOVEL.

I am firmly convinced that a stoiy might be writ- ten, of which all the incidents should appear super- natural, yet turn out natural.

(This remark was made in 1784.)

LXXVI. THE NEW ROBINSON CRUSOE.

Sir T. Robinson was a tall, uncouth liian, and his btature was often rendered still more remark-


212 TABLE-TALK.

able by his huuting dress, a postilion s cap, a tight green jacket, and buckskin breeches. He was liable to sudden whims ; and once set off on a sudden, in his hunting-suit, to visit his sister, who was mar- ried and settled at Paris.

He airived while there was a large company at dinner. The servant announced M. Robinson^ and he came in, to the great amazement of the guests. Among others, a French abbe thrice lifted his fork to his mouth, and thrice laid it down, with an eager stare of surprise. Unable to restrain his curiosity any longer, he burst out with, " Excuse me, sir. Are you the famous Robinson Cmsoe, so remark- able in history?"

LXXVU. ODD OBLIGATION.

The Duke of Roquelaure was one of those who, as Madame Sevigne says, " abuse the privilege that the men have to be ugly." Accidentally find- ing at court a very ugly country gentleman, who had a suit to offer, the Duke presented him to the King, and urged his request, saying he was under the highest obligations to the gentleman. The King granted the request ; then asked Roquelaure what were those great obligations ? " Ah I Sire, if it were not for him, I should be the very ugliest man in your dominions." This sally excited the royal smile, while the gentleman, with plain good sense, affect- ed not to hear it.

LXXVIII. CASTLE OP OTRANTO.

Lady Craven has just brought me from Italy a most acceptable present, a drawing of the castle of Otranto. Here it is. It is odd that that back- window corresponds with the description in my romance. When I wrote it, I did not even know tbftt there was a castle at Otranto. I wanted a


WALPOLIANA. 213

tname of some place in the south of Italy, and Otranto struck me in the map. ' I wrote the " Castle of Otranto" in eight days, or rather eight nights; for my general hours of composition are from ten o'clock at night till two in the morning, when I am sure not to be disturb- ed by visitants. While I am writing I take seve- ral cups of coffee.

LXXIX. PASSENGERS IN LANDSCAPE.

Once walking in his grounds, the good effect of the passengers, on a footpath beyond, was obser- ved, as figures in the landscape. Mr Walpole an- -swered, " True. I have no objection to passen- gers, provided they pass."

LXXX. PAUW.

Pauw is an ingenious author, but trop tranchant. There are good things in his Recherches sur les -Grecs ; and his idea that Sparta was a mere den of thieves, is certainly just. Their conduct to the Helots shows that they were not only thieves, but assassins ; as their descendants are to this day. I cannot make out what he means when he speaks 4)f Varro's collection of portraits, as having been engraved by that great man, and coloured by a lady called Lala. He quotes Pliny as his autho- rity.

1 LXXXI. PENNANT.

Mr Pennant is a most ingenious and pleasing wi-iter. His Tours display a great variety of know- ledge, expressed in an engaging way. In private life, I am told, he has some peculiarities, and even eccentricities. Among the latter may be classed his singular antipathy to a wig which, however, he can suppress, till reason yields a little to wine.


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But when this is the case, off goes the wig next to him, and into the fire.

Dining once at Chester with an officer who wore a wig, Mr Pennant became half seas over ; and another friend that was in company carefully pla- ced himself between Pennant and wig, to prevent mischief. After much patience, and many a wist- ful look. Pennant started up, seized the wig, and threw it into the fire. It was in flames in a mo- ment, and so was the officer, who ran to his sword. Down stairs runs Pennant, and the officer after him, through all the streets of Chester. But Pen- nant escaped, from superior local knowledge. A wag called this " Pennant's Tour in Chester."

LXXXII. PHYSIOGNOMY.

Lavater, in his Physiognomy, says that Lord Anson, from his countenance, must have been a very wise man. He was one of the most stupid men I ever knew.

LXXXIII. LORD WILLIAM POULET.

Lord William Poulet, though often chairman of committees of the House of Commons, was a great dunce, and could scarce read. Being to read a bill for naturalizing Jemima, Duchess of Kent, he call- ed her, Jeremiah, Duchess of Kent.

Having heard south walls commended for ripen* ing fruit, he showed all the four sides of his garden for south walls.

A gentleman writing to desire a fine horse he had, offered him any equivalent. Lord William re- plied, that the horse was at his service, but he did not know what to do with an elephant.

A pamphlet, called " The Snake in the Grass," being reported (probably in joke) to be wiitten by this Lord William Poulet, a gentleman, abused in


WALPOLIANA. 215

it, sent him a challenge; Lord William professed his innocence, and that he was not the author ; but the gentleman would not be satisfied without a denial under his hand. Lord William took a pen, and began, " This is to scratify, that the buk called the Snak " " Oh, my Lord," said the person, " I am satisfied ; your Lordship has already convinced me you did not write the book."

LXXXIV. PRICE OF MAKING A PARK A GARDEN.

Queen Caroline spoke of shutting up St James's Park, and converting it into a noble garden for the palace of that name. She asked my father what it might probably cost ; who replied, " only three

CROWNS."

LXXXV. PROVINCIAL PROVERB.

Henry, the second Prince of Conde of that name, and father of the great Conde, wishing pri- vately to mortgage his estate of Muret, went in- cognito to an adjacent village, where lived one Amoul, a notary. The notary was at dinner, and his wife waited without in the hall till he had dined. The Prince inquired for Arnoul. The wo- man answered in her patois, " Amoul is at din- ner ; sit you down on the bench there : when Ar-^ noul is at dinner, not a soul can speak with him, i'faith." The Prince patiently sat down, waiting the event of Arnoul's dinner. When it was ended, he was introduced ; the notary drew out the wiiting, leaving the names blank ; and having read it aloud, asked the Prince, whom he did not know either in person or as proprietor of the estate, his name and designation. " They are short," answered the client. " Put Henry of Bourbon, Prince of Conde, first Prince of the Blood, Lord of Muret." Guess tbe poor notary's amazement. Throwing himself


216 TABLE-TALK.

on his knees, he begged pardon for his ignoranw." The Prince raised him, saying, " Fear nothing, my worthy friend Arnoul was at dinner, you know." The story spread, and became a provincial proverb, when one did not choose to be disturbed by an in- trusion, " Arnoul is at dinner."

LXXXVI. REAL APPARITION.

Tlie Castle of Ardivillers, near Breteuil, was re- ported to be haunted by evil spirits. Dreadful noises were heard, and flames were seen by night to issue frorn various apertures. The farmer who was intrusted with the care of the house, in the absence of its owner, the President d' Ardivillers, could alone live there. The spirit seemed to re- spect him ; but any person who ventured to take up a night's lodging in the castle, was sure to bear the marks of his audacity.

Superstition, you know, is catching. By and by the peasants in the neighbourhood began to see strange sights. Sometimes a dozen of ghosts would appear in tlie air above the castle, dancing a brawl. At other times a number of presidents, and coun- cillors in red robes, appeared in the adjacent mea- dow. There they sat in judgment on a gentleman of the country, who had been beheaded for some crime a hundred years before. Another peasant met in the night a gentleman related to the Presi- dent, walking with the wife of a gentleman in the neighbom'hood, who were seen to caress each other, and then vanished. As they were both alive, per-? haps they were obliged to the devil for preventing scandal. In short, many had seen, and all had heard, the wonders of the Castle of Ardivillers. >

This affair had continued four or five years, to the great loss of the President, who had been oblir


WALPOLIANA. 217

ged to let the estate to the farmer at a very low rent. At length, suspecting some artifice, he re- solved to visit and inspect the castle.

Taking with him two gentlemen, his friends, they determined to pass the night in the same apartment, and if any noise or apparition disturbed them, to discharge their pistols at either ghost or sound. As spirits know all things, they were pro- bably aware of these preparations, and not one ap- peared. But in the chamber just above, a dread- ful rattling of chains was heard ; and the wife and children of the farmer ran to assist their lord. They threw themselves on their knees, begging that he would not visit that terrible room. " My lord," said they, " what can human force effect against people of t'other world ? M. de Fecan- cour attempted the same enterprise years ago, and he returned with a dislocated arm. M. D'Ursel- les tried too ; he was overwhelmed with bundles of hay, and was ill for a long time after." In short, so many attempts were mentioned, that the Presi- dent's friends advised him to abandon the design.

But they determined to encounter the danger themselves. Proceeding up stairs to an extensive room, each having a candle in one hand, and a pis- tol in the other, they found it full of thick smoke, which increased more and more from some flames that were visible. Soon after the ghost, or spirit, faintly appeared in the middle : he seemed quite black, and was amusing himself with cutting ca- pers ; but another eruption of flame and smoke hid him from their view. He had horns and a long tail, and was in truth, a dreadful object.

One of the gentlemen found his courage rather fail. " This is certainly supernatural," said he j.

T


218 TABLE-TALK.

" let US retire." The other, endued with more boldness, asserted that the smoke was that of gun- powder, which is no supernatural composition ; " and if this same spirit," added he, " knew his own nature and trade, he should have extinguish- ed our candles."

With these words he jumps amidst the smoke and flames, and pursues the spectre. He soon dis- charged his pistol at his back, and hit him exactly in the middle, but was himself seized with fear, when the spirit, far from falling, turned round and rushed upon him. Soon recovering himself, he re- solved to grasp the ghost, to discover if it were indeed aerial and impassible. Mr Spectre, disor- dered by this new manoeuvre, rushed to a tower, and descended a small staircase.

The gentleman ran after, and never losing sight of him, passed several courts and gardens, still turning as the spirit winded, till at length they en- tered an open bam. Here the pursuer, certain, as he thought, of his prey, shut the door ; but when he turned round, what was his amazement to see the spectre totally disappear !

In great confusion he called to the servants for more lights. On examining the spot of the spirit s disappearance, he found a trap-door, upon raising which several mattresses appeared, to break the fall of any headlong adventurer. Descending, he found the spirit himself the fai'mer himself.

His dress, of a complete bull's hide, had secured him from pistol shot ; and the bonis and tail were not diabolic, but mere natural appendages of the original. The rogue confessed all his tricks, and was paidoned on paying the arrears due for five years, at the old rent of the land.


WALPOLIANA. 219

LXXXVII. DR ROBERTSON.

Dr Robertson called on me t'other day. We talked of some political affairs ; and he concluded his opinion with, " For you must know, sir, that I Jook upon myself as a moderate Whig." My an- swer was, " Yea, Doctor, I look on you as a very moderate Whig."

Dr Robertson's reading is not extensive : he only reads what may conduce to the purpose in hand ; but he uses admirably what he does read. His Introduction to the History of Charles V. abounds with gross mistakes. In mentioning the little in- tercourse among nations, in the middle ages, he says a Prior of Cluny expresses his apprehensions of a journey to St Maur. He supposes the Prior's simplicity a standard of the mode of thinking at that time ! In many other instances he has mis- taken exceptions for rules. Exceptions are re- corded, because they are singular ; what is gene- rally done escapes record. A receipt may be given for an extravagantly dear book, even now ; but that does not imply that books are now very un- common.

LXXXVIII. SENTIMENT.

What is called sentimental writing, though it be understood to appeal solely to the heart, may be the product of a bad one. One would imagine that Sterne had been a man of a very tender heart ; yet I know, from indubitable authority, that his mo- ther, who kept a school, having run in debt, on ac- count of an extravagant daughter, would have rot- ted in jail if tlie parents of her scholars had not raised a subscription for her. Her son had too much sentiment to have any feeling. A dead ass was more important to him than a living mother


220 TABLE-TALK.

LXXXIX. SMART EPISTLE.

The French civil wars often display wit ; ours are dull. The answer of the Captain of Hume Castle to Colonel Fenwicke, who summoned it in the name of Cromwell, is, however, whimsical. I think I can turn to it. Here it is.

" RIGHT HONOURABLE,

"I have received a trumpeter of yours, as he tells me, without your pass, {he had forgot it^ it seems, and left it behind him upon the table,) to render Hume Castle to the Lord General Crom- well. Please you, I never saw your General, nor know your General. As for Hume Castle, it stands upon a rock.

" Given at Hume Castle, this day, before seven o'clock. So resteth, without prejudice of his na- tive country,

" Your humble servant,

" John Cockburn.'* xc. strange tale.

Lord * * * being out of town, his house was left in charge of a female servant. The plate was lod- ged at his banker's. A letter came to say that his Lordship would be in town on such a day, and de- siring that the plate might be got ready the even- ing before. The servant took the letter to ray Lord's brother, who said there was no doubt of the hand-writing. The banker expressed the same certainty, and delivered the plate.

The servant being apprehensive of thieves, spoke to their butcher, who lent her a stout dog, which was shut up in the room with the plate. Next morning a man was found dead in the room, his throat being torn out by the dog ; and upon exami- nation it proved to be my Lord's brother. Tha


WALPOLIANA. 221

matter was carefully hushed, and a report spread that he was gone abroad.

XCI. STUPID STORIES,

A stupid story, or idea, will sometimes make one laugh more than wit. I was once removing from Berkeley Square to Strawberry-hill, and had sent off all my books, when a message unexpec- tedly arrived, which fixed me in town for that af- ternoon. What to do ? I desired my man to rum- mage for a book, and he brought me an old Grub Street thing from the garret. The author, in sheer ignorance, not humour, discoursing of the difficulty ot some pursuit, said, that even if a man had as mauy lives as a cat, nay, as many lives as one Plutarch is said to have bad, he could not accom- plish it. This odd quid pro quo sui-prised me into vehement laughter.

Lady ***is fond of stupid stories. She repeats one of a Welsh scullion weoch, who, on hearing the servants speak of new moons, asked gravely what became of all the old moons.

Miss ***, with a sweet face and innocent mouth, BmgB Jlask'Songs, The contrast is iiTesistible.

XCII. COUNTESS OF SUFFOLK.

This Countess of Sujffblk had married Mr How- ard ; and they were so poor, that they took a re- solution of going to Hanover, before the death of Queen Anne, in order to pay their court to the fu- ture royal family. Such was their poverty, that having invited some friends to dinner, and being disappointed of a small remittance, she was forced to sell her hair to furnish the entertainment. Long wigs were then in fashion ; and her hair, being fine, long, and fair, produced twenty pounds* x2


222 TABLE-TALK.

XCIIL A DAY OF HENRY IV. FROM SULLY. ;

Equally with painted portraits of luemorable persons, I admire written portraits, in wliich the character is traced with those minute touches, which constitute life itself. Of this sort is the do- mestic portrait of Henry IV. of France, delineated in a page or two of the original Memoii-s of Sully*

[The most striking passages follow; but it is impossible for a translation to represent the old emphatic simplicity of the original.]

" You must know, that one day his Majesty being healthy, light-hearted, active, and in good- humour, on account of diverse fortunate incidents in his domestic affairs, and of agreeable news recei- ved from foreign nations, and from the provinces of his kingdom ; and perceiving the morning fine, and every appearance of a serene day, he arose early to kill partridges with his hawks and falcons, with the design of returning ^ soon as to have them dress- ed for his dinner ; for he said he never found them so nice and tender, as when they were thus taken, especiallyaswhenhe himself snatched them from the birds of prey. In which all things having succeed- ed to his wish, he returned when the heat of tlie <lay became troublesome ; so that being come to the Louvre, with the pai-tridges in his hand, and having ascended to the great hall, he perceived at the further end Varenne and Coquet, who were chatting together in expectation of his return, to whom he called aloud, " Coquet, Coquet, you shall have no occasion to pity our dinner, for Ro- quelauj'e, Termes, Frontenac, Harambure, and I, bring wherewith to treat ourselves : quick, quick, order the cook to spit them; and, after giving them their shares, see that there be eight for


WALPOLIANA. 22S

my wife and me. Bonneiiil here sliall cai*ry her share ; and tell her I am going to drink to her health. See that you take for me those that have been a little nipped by the hawks ; for there ai'e three large ones, which I myself took from them, and which are not touched at all."

As the King was talking thus, and seeing the game shared, he saw Clielle come, with his great staff, and by his side Parfait, who bore a large gilt basin, covered with a fair napkin, and who from a distance began to call, " Sire, embrace my thigh ; Sire, embrace my thigh ; for I have got plenty, and nice ones they are." Whicli the King hearing, he said to those around him, " Here comes Parfait in high glee : this, I wanant you, will add another inch of fat to his ribs. I see he brings me excel- lent melons, and am glad of it, for I shall eat a bellyful ; as they do not hurt me when they are very good, when I eat them while I am very hun- gry, and before meat, as my physicians prescribe. But you four shall have your shares. So don't run after your partridges, till you have had your me- lons, which I shall give you, after I have chosen my wife's share and mine, and two which I have promised."

When the King had divided the partridges and melons, he went to his chamber, where he gave two melons to two lads at the door, and whispered some words in their ear. Then passing on, as he was in the midst of his great chamber, he saw come out of the falcon closet, Fourcy, Beringuen, and La Fonts ; the last carrying a jarge parcel wrapped up, to whom he called, " La Fonts, do you too bring me something for my dinner?" " Yes, Sire," ajiswered Beringuen ; " but it is coltf


224 TABLE-TALK.

food, and only fit for the eye." " I want none such," replied the King, " for I am dying with hunger, and must dine before I do anything. Meanwhile I shall sit down to table, and eat my melons, and take a glass of muscat. But, La Fonts, what the deuce have you there, so well wrapped up ?" " Sire," said Fourcy, " they are designs for patterns, of diverse sorts of stuffs, carpets, and ta- pestry, in which your best manufacturers mean to rival each other." " Very good," said the King ; " that will do to show my wife after dinner. And, faith, now I think of a man (Sully) with whom I don't always agree, especially when what he calls baubles and trifles are in question ; and who says often that nothing is elegant that costs double its real value. Go you, Fourcy, send for him now :

let one of my coaches go, or yours."

  • * * * Ht m

" Sire," said Sully to the King, " your majesty speaks to me so kindly, that I see you are in good- humour, and better pleased with me than you were a fortnight ago." " What," answered Henry, " do you still remember that ? That is not my way. Don't you know that our tiffs should never last more than twenty-four hours ? And I know that the last did not prevent you from setting about a good affair for my finances, the very next morning ; which, joined with other things, great and small, which I shall tell you, have put me in this joyous humour. The chief is, that, for these three months, I have not found myself so light and active as to- day ; having mounted my horse without steps or assistance. I have had a fine hunt ; my falcons have flown well, and my greyhounds have run so that they have taken three large hares, I thought


WALPOLIANA. 225

I liad lostmy best goss-hawk ; it was brought back. I have a good appetite; I have eaten excellent melons ; and half a dozen quails have been served up at my table, the fattest and most tender that 1 ever saw. I have intelligence from Provence that the troubles of Marseilles are quite appeased ; and like news from other provinces ; and, besides, that never was year so fertile ; and that my people will be greatly enriched, if I open the exportation. St Anthoine writes to me that the Prince of Wales (Henry, son of James I.) is always talking to liim of me, and promises you his friendship on my ac- count. From Italy I learn that I shall have the sa- tisfaction, the honour, and glory, of reconciling the Venetians with the Pope. Bongars writes to me from Germany, that the new King of Sweden is more and more esteemed by his new subjects ; and that the Landgrave of Hesse gains me every day new friends, allies, and assured servants. Buzenval writes to Villeroy that the event of the sieges of Ostend and Sluys having proved good and evil to both parties, the excessive expenditure of money, the great loss of men, and vast consumption of am- munition, on both sides, have reduced them to such weakness and want, that they will be equally con- strained to listen to a peace or truce, of which I must necessarily be the mediator and guai'dian ; a fair opening to my wishes of composing all diffe- rences between Christian princes.

" Besides," continued the King, " to increase my content in all these good news, behold me at table, surrounded by worthy men, of whose affec- tion I am secme ; and whom you judge capable, I know, of entertaining me with useful and pleasing tonversatioB, which will save me from thoughts of


226 TABLE-TALK.

business, till I have finished my dinner ; for then will I hear everybody, and content them, if reason and justice can."

After this, the King, rising from table, went to meet the Queen, who was leaving her chamber to go to her cabinet. As soon as he saw her at a dis- tance, he called out, " Well, niamiey did not I send you excellent melons, excellent partridges, excellent quails ? If you had as good an appetite as I, you must have done them justice, for I never ate so much, nor for a long time have I been in such good-humour as to-day. Ask Sully ; he will tell you the reason, and will repeat to you all the news I have received, and the conversation that passed between him and me, and three or four others."

" Indeed, Sire," answered the Queen, " then we are all well met to-day, for I never was more gay, nor in better health, nor dined with better appetite. And to prolong your joy and gladness, and mine too, I have prepared for you a ballet and comedy of my invention ; but I will not deny that I have been assisted, for Duret and La Clarelle have not stirred from my side all this morning, while you were at the chase. The ballet will represent, as they have told me, the happiness of the golden age ; and the comedy the most amusing pastimes of the four seasons of the year."

  • ' M'amiey' replied the King, " I am delighted

to see you in such good-humour ; pray let us always live thus. But that your ballet and comedy may be well danced, and well seen, they must be per- formed at Sully's, in the gi-eat hall, which I de* sired him to build expressly for such purposes ;


WALPOLIANA. 227

and he shall see that none are admitted, except those who bring orders to that effect. At present I wish to show you the patterns of tapestry that Fourcy has brought, that you may tell me youi* opinion."

XCIV. SWIFT.

Swift was a good writer, but had a bad heart. Even to the last he was devoured by ambition, which he pretended to despise. Would you be- lieve tliat, after finding his opposition to the mi- nistry fruitless, and, what galled him still more, contemned, he summoned up resolution to wait on Sir Robert Walpole ? Sir Robert, seeing Swift look pale and ill, inquired the state of his health, with his usual old English good-humour and urba- nity. They were standing by a window that look- ed into the court-yard, where was an ancient ivy dropping towards the ground. " Sir," said Swift, with an emphatic look, " I am like that ivy ; I want support." Sir Robert answered, " Why, then, doctor, did you attach yourself to a falling wall ?" Swift took the hint, made his bow, and retired.

XCV. SYMPTOMS OP INSANITY.

My poor nephew, Lord * * *, was deranged. The first symptom that appeared was, his sending a chaldron of coals as a present to the Prince of Wjdes, on learning that he was loaded with debts. He delighted in what he called book-hunting. This notable diversion consisted in taking a volume of a book, and hiding it in some secret part of the li- brary, among volumes of similar binding and sizd When he had forgot where the game lay, he hunt* ed till he found it.

XCVI. TRAGEDY AND COMEDY.

The critics generally consider a tragedy as the


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next effort of the mind to an epic poem. For my^ part, I estimate the difficulty of writing a good comedy to be greater than that of composing a good tragedy. Not only equal genius is required, but a comedy demands a more uncommon assem- blage of qualities -knowledge of the world, wit, good sense, &c. ; and these qualities superadded to those requisite for tragical composition.

Congreve is said to have written a comedy at eighteen. It may be for I cannot say that he has any characteristic of a comic writer, except wit, which may sparkle bright at that age. His charac- ters are seldom genuine and his plots are some- times fitter for tragedy. Mr Sheridan is one of the most perfect comic writers I know, and unites the most uncommon qualities his plots are sufficient- ly deep, without the clumsy entanglement and muddy profundity of Congreve characters strictly in nature Avit without affectation. What talents ! The complete orator in the senate, or in West- minster-hall and the excellent dramatist in the most difficult province of the drama I

XCVII. TIGRE NATIONAL.

After the French Revolution, Lord Orford was particularly delighted with the story of the Tigre National. A man who showed wild beasts at Paris had a tiger from Bengal of the largest species, commonly called The Royal Tiger. But when royalty, and everything royal, was abolished, he was afraid of a charge of incivism ; and, instead of Tigre Royal, put on his sign-board Tigre Na- tional.

The symbol was excellent, as depicting those atrocities which have disgraced the cause of free- dom. 83 much as the massacre of St Bartholomew


WALPOLIANA. 229

did that of religion. Mob of Paris^ what a debt thou owest to humanity !

XCVIII. VALUE OF AN OATH.

A Norman was telling another a great absurdity as a matter of fact. " You are jesting," said the hearer. " Not I, on the faith of a Christian."

    • Will you wager ?" " No, I won't wager ; but

I am ready to swear to it."

XCIX. VOLTAIRE.

Soon after I had published my " Historic Doubts on the Keign of Richard III.," Voltaire, happening to see and like the book, sent me a letter, men- tioning how much the work answered his ideas concerning the uncertainty of history, as expressed in his Histoire Generate, He added many praises of my book; and concluded with entreating my amitie.

As I had, in the preface to the Castle of Otran- to, ridiculed Voltaire's conduct towards IShak- speare, I thought it proper first to send Voltaire that book ; and let him understand, that if, after perusing it, he persisted in offering me his amitie, I had no objections, but should esteem myself ho- noured by the friendship of so great a man.

Some time after, I received, from my acquaint- ance the Duchess of Choiseul, at Paris, a letter, enclosing one from Voltaire to her, wherein he said that I had sent him a book, in the preface of which he was loaded with reproaches, and all on account de son bouffon de Shakspeare. He stated nothing of the real transaction, but only mentioned the sending of the Caitle of Otranto, as if this had been the verj' first step.

C. PATRIOTISM OF WILKES.

Depend upon it, my dear sir, that Wilkes was u


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in the pay of Fmnce, during the Wilkes and li- berty days. Calling one day on the French mi- nister, I observed a book on his table, with Wilkes's name in the first leaf. This led to a conversation, which convinced me. Other circumstances, too long and minute to be repeated, strengthened, if necessary, that conviction. I am as sure of it, as of any fact I know.

Wilkes at first cringed to Lord Bute. The em- bassy to Constantinople was the object of his am- bition. It was refused and you know what fol- lowed.


.[ 231 1


JOHNSONIANA.*


CI. AUTHORS.

In 1745, Johnson published a pamphlet, enti- tied, " Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth, with remarks on Sir T. H.'s (Sir Thomas Hanmer's) Edition of Shakspeare ;" to which he affixed proposals for a new edition of that poet. This pamphlet was highly esteemed, and was fortunate enough to obtain the approba- tion even of the supercilious "VVarburton himself, who, in the preface to his Shakspeare, published two years afterwards, thus mentioned it : " As to all those things which have been published under the titles of Essays, Remarks, Observations, &c. on Shakspeare, if you except some Critical Notes on Macbeth, given as a specimen of a projected edi- tion, and written, as appears, by a man of parts and genius, the rest are absolutely below a serious notice."

Of this flattering distinction shown to him by Warburton, a very grateful remembrance was ever entertained by Johnson, who said, " He praised me at a time when praise was of value to me."

The year 1747 is distinguished as the epoch when Johnson's aiduous work, his Dictionary OF THE English Language, was annomiced to the world by the publication of its Plan, or Pro-

ExtracU'd from Boswell's IJfe of Johnson.


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spectus. The booksellers who contracted with Johnson, single and unaided, for the execution of a work, which, in other countries, has not been ef- fected but by the co-operating exertions of many, were Mr Robert Dodsley, Mr Charles Hitch, Mr Andrew Millar, the two Messieurs Longman, and the two Messieurs Knapton. The price stipulated was fifteen hundred guineas.

The Plan was addressed to Philip Doi*mer, Earl of Chesterfield, then one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State a nobleman who was very ambitious of literary distinction, and who, upon being informed of the design, had expressed him- self in trms very favourable to its success. There is, perhaps, in everything of any consequence, a se- cret history, which it would be amusing to know, could we have it authentically communicated. Johnson told Boswell, " Sir, the way in which the plan of my Dictionary came to be inscribed to Lord Chesterfield, was this : I had neglected to write it by the time appointed ; Dodsley suggested a desire to have it addressed to Lord Chesterfield ; I laid hold of this as a pretext for delay, that it might be better done, and let Dodsley have his de- sire. I said to my friend, Dr Bathurst, * Now, if any good comes of my addressing to Lord Ches- terfield, it will be ascribed to deep policy, when, in fact, it was only a casual excuse for laziness.' "

Dr Taylor told Boswell, that Johnson sent his plan to him in manuscript, for his perusal ; and that when it was lying upon his table, Mr William Whitehead happened to pay him a visit, and being shown it, was highly pleased with such parts of it as he had time to read, and begged to take it home with him, which he was allowed to do ; that from


JOHNSONIANA. 233

bim it got into the hands of a Boble lord, who car- rieil it to Lord Chesterfield. When Taylor obser- ved tliat this might be an advantage, Johnson re- plied, " No, sir, it would have come out with more bloom, if it had not been seen before by anybody."

Dr Adams fomid him one day busy at his Dic- tionary, when the following dialogue ensued : Adams. " This is a- great work, sir : how are you to get all the etymologies ?" Johnson. " Why, sir, here is a shelf with Junius, and Skiauer, and others ; and there is a Welsh gentleman who has published a collection of Welsh proverbs, who will help me with the Welsh." Adams. " But, sir, how can you do this in thiee years ?" Johnson. " Sir, I have no doubt that I can do it in three years." Adams. " But the French Academy, which con- sists of forty members, took forty years to compile their Dictionary." Johnson. " Sir, thus it is ; this is the proportion : let me see forty times forty is sixteen hundred : as three to sixteen hundred, so is the proportion of an Englishman to a Frenchman." With so much ease and pleasantry could he talk of that prodigious labour which he had undertaken to execute.

When the Dictionary was upon the eve of pub- lication, Lord Chesterfield, who, it is said, had flattered himself with expectations that Johnson would dedicate the work to him, attempted, in a courtly manner, to soothe and insinuate himself with the sage, conscious, as it should seem, of the cold indifference with which he had treated its learned author ; and farther attempted to conciliate bim, by writing two papers in The World, in re- commendation of the work : and it must be con- fessed, that they contain some studied compliments^ u2


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80 finely turned, that, if there had been no previous olTence, it is probable Johnson would have been highly delighted. Praise, in general, was pleasing to him ; but, by praise from a man of rank and ele- gant accomplishments, he was peculiarly giatified.

This courtly device failed of its effect. Johnson, who thought that " all was false and hollow," de- spised the honeyed words, and was even indignant that Lord Chesterfield should, for a moment, ima- gine that he could be the dupe of such an artifice. His expression to Boswell concerning Lord Ches^ terfield, upon this occasion, was, " Sir, after ma- king great professions, he had, for many years, ta- ken no notice of me ; but when ray Dictionary was coming out, he fell a-scribbling in The World about it. Upon which I wrote him a letter, expressed in civil terms, but such as might show him that I did not mind what he said or wrote, and that I had done with him.*'

Dr Johnson appeared to have had a remarkable delicacy with respect to the circulation of this let- ter ; for Dr Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury, inform- ed Boswell, that, having many years ago pressed him to be allowed to read it to the second Lord Hardwicke, who was very desirous to hear it, (promising at the same time that no copy of it should be taken,) Johnson seemed much pleased that it had attracted the attention of a nobleman of such a respectable character; but, after pausing some time, declined to comply with the request, fiaying, with a smile, " No, sir, I have hurt the dog too much already ;" or words to this purpose.

Dr Adams expostulated with Johnson, and sug- gested, that his not being admitted when he called on him, to which Johnson had alluded in his letter,


JOHNSONIANA. 235

was probably not to be imputed to Lord Chester- field ; for his Lordship had declared to Dodsley, that " he would have turned off the best servant he ever had, if he had known that he denied hira to a man who would have been always more than wel- come." And in confirmation of this, he insisted on Lord Chesterfield's general affability and easiness of access, especially to literary men. Johnson. " Sir, that is not Lord Chesterfield ; he is the proudest man this day existing." Adams. " No, there is one person, at least, as proud ; I think, by your own account, you are the prouder man of the two." Johnson. " But mine was defensive pride." This, as Dr Adams well observed, was one of those happy turns for which he was so remarkably ready.

Johnson having now explicitly avowed his opi- nion of I-ord Chesterfield, did not refrain from ex- pressing himself concerning that nobleman with pointed fieedom. " This man," said he, " I thought had been a lord among wits, but I find he is only a wit among lords !" And when his letters to his natural son were published, he observed, " They teach the morals of a whore, and the manners of a dancing-master."

In 1776, Boswell showed him, as a curiosity which he had discovered, his Translation of Lobo's Account of Abyssinia, which Sir John Pringle had lent, it being then little known as one of his works. He said, " Take no notice of it," or, " don't talk of it." He seemed to think it beneath him, though done at six-and-twenty. Boswell said to him, " Your style, sir, is much improved since you translated this." He answered, with a sort of tri- umphant smile, " Sir, I hope it is."

Mr, afterwards Dr Bumey, during a visit to the


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capital, bad an interview with him inGough Square, where he dined and drank tea with him, and was introduced to the acquaintance of Mrs Wilhams. After dinner, Dr Johnson proposed to Mr Bur- ney to go up T\dth him into his garret, which being accepted, he tliere found five or six Greek folios, a deal writing-desk, and a chair and a half. John- son, giving to his guest the entire seat, tottered himself on one with only three legs and one arm. Here he gave Mr Burney Mrs Williams' history, and showed him some volumes of his Shakspeare already printed, to prove that he was in earnest. Upon Mr Burney's opening the first volume, at the Merchant of Venice, he observed to him, that he seemed to be more severe on Warburton than Theobald. Johnson. " O, poor Tib I he was ready knocked down to my hands ; Warburton stands between me and him." Burney. " But, sir, you'll have W^arburton upon your bones, won't you ?" Johnson. " No, sir, he'll not come out ; he'll only growl in his den." Burney. " But you think, sir, that Waiburton is a superior critic to Theobald ?" Johnson. " O, sir, he'd make two- and-fifty Theobalds, cut into slices ! The worst of Warburton is, that he has a rage for saying some- thing, when there's nothing to be said." Burney. " Have you seen the letters which W^arburton has written in answer to a pamphlet addressed To the Most Impudent Man alive?" Johnson. "No, sir." Burney. " It is supposed to be written by Mallet." The controversy at this time raged be- tween the friends of Pope and Bolingbroke ; and W^arburton and Mallet were the leaders of the se- veral parties. Mr Burney asked him then if he bad seen Warburton's book against Bolingbroke 'a Phi-


JOHNSONIANA. 23T

losopby ? Johnson. " No, sir, I have never read Bolingbroke's Impiety, and therefore am not inte- rested about its confutation."

Sir Thomas Robinson sitting with Johnson, said, that the King of Prussia valued himself upon three things ; upon being a hero, a musician, and an author. Johnson. " Pretty well, sir, for one man. As to his being an author, I have not look- ed at his poetry ; but his prose is poor stuff : he writes just as you may suppose Voltaire's footboy to do, who had been his amanuensis. He baa such parts as the valet might have, and about as rtiuch of the colouring of the style as might be got by transcribing his works." When Boswell was at Ferney, he repeated this to Voltaire, in order to reconcile him somewhat to Johnson, whom he, in affecting the English mode of expression, had pre- viously characterised as " a superstitious dog ;'* but after hearing such a criticism on Frederick the Great, with whom he was then on bad terms, he exclaimed, " an honest fellow !"

Upon this contemptuous animadversion on the King of Prussia, Bosvv'ell observed to Johnson, " It would seem then, sir, that much less parts are ne- cessary to make a king, than to make an author ; for the King of Pnissia is confessedly the gi-eatest king now in Europe, yet you think he makes a very poor figure as an author."

Of the celebrated Dean of St Patrick's, Johnson said, " Swift has a higher reputation than he de- serves. His excellence is strong sense ; for his humour, though very well, is not remarkably good, I doubt whether the Tale of a Tub be his ; for he never owned it, and it is much above his usual manner."


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Another time, Swift having been mentidned, Johnson, as usual, treated him with little respect as an author. Some of the company endeavoured to support the dean by various arguments ; one, in particular, praised his Conduct of the Allies. John- son. " Sir, his Conduct of the Allies is a perform- ance of very little ability." Dr Douglas. " Sure- ly, sir, you must allow it has strong facts." John- son. " Why, yes, sir ; but what is that to the me- rit of the composition ? In the Sessions-paper of the Old Bailey there are strong facts ; house-break- ing is a strong fact ; robbery is a strong fact ; and murder is a mighty strong fact : but, is great praise <Jue to the historian of those strong facts ? No, sir; Swift has told what he had to tell distinctly enough ; but that is all. He had to count ten, and he has counted it right." Then recollecting that Mr Davies, by actmg as an informer^ had been the occasion of his talking somewhat too harshly to his friend Dr Percy, for which, probably, when the first ebullition was over, he felt some compunction -.he took an opportunity to give him a hit; so add- ed, with a preparatory laugh, " Why, sir, Tom Davies might have written the Conduct of the Al- lies." Poor Tom being suddenly dragged into lu- dicrous notice in presence of the Scottish doctors, to whom he was ambitious of appearing to advan- tage, was grievously mortified. Nor did his pu- nishment rest here; for, upon subsequent occasions, whenever he, " statesman all o'er," assumed a strutting importance, Boswell used to hail him The author of the Conduct of tJie Allies,

Johnson, in high spirits one evening at the club, l^ttacked Swift, as he used to do upon all occa- sions. " The Tale of a Tub is so much superior to


JOHNSON! AN A. 23&

his other writings, that one can hardly believe he was the author of it ; there is in it such a vigour of mind, such a swarm of thoughts, so much of nature, and art, and life." Boswell wondered to hear him say of Gulliver's Travels, " When once you have thought of big men and little men, it is very easy to do all the rest." He endeavoured to make a stand for Swift, and tried to rouse those who were much more able to defend him, but in vain. Johnson, at last, of his own accord, allow- ed very great merit to the inventory of articles found in the pocket of " the Man Mountain," par- ticularly the description of his watch, which it vas conjectured was his god, as he consulted it upon all occasions. He observed, that " Swift put his name to but two things, (after he had a name to put,} The Plan for the improvement of the Eng- lish language, and the last Drapier's Letter."

Johnson laughed heartily when Boswell men- tioned to him a saying of his concerning Mr Tho- mas Sheridan, which Foote took a wicked pleasure to circulate. " Why, sir, TSherry is dull ; natu- rally dull : but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him : such an excess of stupidity, sir, is ijot in nature ; so I allowed him all his own merit."

He now added, " Sheridan cannot bear me. I bring his declamation to a point : I ask him a plain question, ' What do you mean to teach ?' Besides, sir, what influence can Mr Sheridan have upon the language of this great country, by his nan-ow exertions ? Sir, it is burning a farthing can- dle at Dover, to show light at Calais."

Talking of a barrister who had a bad utterance, fiome one, to rouse Johnson, wickedly said, that he


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was unfortunate in not having been tauglit oratofy by Sheridan. Johnson. *' Nay, sir, if he had been taught by Sheridan, lie would have cleared the room." Garrick. " Sheridan has too much vanity to be a good man." We shall now see Johnson's mode of defending a man ; taking him into his own hands, and discriminating. Johnson. "^ No, sir; there is, to be sure, in Sheridan, something to re- prehend, and everything to laugh at ; but, sir, he is not a bad man. No, sir ; were mankind to be divided into good and bad, he would stand consi- derably within the ranks of good ; and, sir, it must be allowed that Sheridan excels in plain declama- tion, though he can exhibit no character."

Of this gentleman, on a subsequent occasion, he remarked, " that he neither wanted parts nor lite- rature ; but his vanity and Quixotism obscured his merits."

Boswell expressed his opinion of his friend Der- rick, as but a poor writer. Johnson. " To be sure, sir, he is ; but you are to consider, that his being a literary man has got for him all that he has ; it has made him king of Bath. Sir, he has nothing to say for himself but that he is a writer ; had he not been a writer, he must have been sweeping the crossings in the streets, and asking halfpence from everybody that passed."

" In justice, however, to the memory of Mr Der rick," adds Boswell, " who was my first tutor in the ways of London, and showed me the town in all its variety of departments, both literary and sport- ive, the particulars of which Dr Johnson advised me to put into writing it is proper to mention what Johnson, at a subsequent period, said of him, both as a writer and an editor : ' Sir, 1 have often


JOHNSONIANA. 241

said, that if Derrick's letters liad been written by one of a more established name, they would have been thought very pretty letters.' And, < I sent Derrick to Dryden's relations, to gather materials for his life ; and I believe he got all that I myself should have got.' "

Johnson said once to Boswell, " Sir, I honour Derrick for his presence of mind. One night, when Floyd, another poor author, was wandering about the streets in the night, he found Derrick fast asleep upon a bulk. Upon being suddenly waked. Der- rick started up : ' IVIy dear Floyd, I am sorry to see you in this destitute state ; will you go home with me to my lodgings f "

One evening, when some of Dr Kenrick's works were mentioned. Goldsmith said he had never heard of them ; upon which Dr Johnson observed, " Sir, he is one of the many who have made themselves public, without making themselves known."

Of Guthrie, he said, " Sir, he is a man of parts. He has no great regular fund of knowledge ; but, by reading so long, and writing so long, he no doubt has picked up a good deal."

He praised Signor Baretti. " His account of Italy is a very entertaining book ; and, sir, I know no man who carries his head higher in conversation than Baretti. There are strong powers in his mind. He has not, indeed, many hooks ; but with what hooks he has, he grapples very forcibly."

Lord Lyttelton's Dialogues he deemed a nuga- tory performance. " That man," said he, " sat down to write a book, to tell the world what the world had all his life been telling him."

Speaking of Boethius, who was the favourite ^yriter of the middle ages, he said it was veiy sur-


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prising, " that upon such a subject, and in such a situation, he should be magis philosophus qimm Christianus^*

Of the late Mr Mallet he spoke with no great respect ; said, he was ready for any dirty job ; that he had written against Byng at the instigation of the ministry, and was equally ready to write for him, provided he found his account in it.

Of Dr Kennicott's Collations he observed, that, though the text should not be much mended there- by, yet it was no small advantage to know that we had as good a text as the most consummate indus- try and diligence could procure.

Speaking of the old Earl of Cork and Orrery, he said, " that man spent his life in catching at an object (literary eminence) which he had not power to grasp."

Of Burke he said, " It was commonly observed, he spoke too often in parliament ; but nobody could say he did not speak well, though too frequently, and too familiarly."

Talking of Tacitus, Boswell hazarded an opinion, that with all his merit for penetration, shrewdness of judgment, and terseness of expression, he was too compact, too much broken into hints, as it were, and therefore too difficult to be understood. Dr Johnson sanctioned this opinion. " Tacitus, sir, seems to me rather to have made notes for a his- torical work, than to have written a history."

He said, " Burnet's History of his own Times is very entertaining : the style, indeed, is mere chit- chat. I do not believe that Burnet intentionally lied ; but he was so much prejudiced, that he took no pains to find out the truth. He was like a man who resolves to regulate his time by a certain watch,


JOHNSONIANA. 243

but will not inquire whether the watch is right or not."

Goldsmith being mentioned Johnson. " It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows : he sel- dom comes where he is not more ignorant than any- one else." Sir Joshua Reynolds. " Yet there is no man whose company is more liked." John- son. " To be sure, sir, when people find a man of the most distinguished abilities as a writer, their inferior while he is with them, it must be highly gratifying to them. What Goldsmith comically says of himself, is very true he always gets the better when he argues alone ; meaning, that he is master of a subject in his study, and can write well upon it ; but when he comes into company, he grows confused, and unable to talk. Take him as a poet, his Traveller is a very fine performance ; ay, and so is his Deserted Village, were it not some- times too much the echo of his Traveller. Whe- ther, indeed, we take him as a poet, as a comic writer, or as an historian he stands in the first class." Boswell. " An historian ! my dear sir, you will not surely rank his compilation of the Ro- man history with the works of other historians of this age ?" Johnson. " Why, who are before him ?" Boswell. " Hume, Robertson, Lord Lyt- telton." Johnson. (His antipathy to the Scotch beginning to rise.) " I have not read Hume ; but doubtless, Goldsmith's History is better than the verbiage of Robertson, or the foppery of Dal- rymple." Boswell. " Will you not admit the Buperiority of Robertson, in whose history we find such penetration such painting ?" John- son. " Sir, you must consider how that penetra- tion and that painting are employed ; it is not his-


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tory, it is imagination. He who describes wfiat he never saw, draws from fancy. Robertson painta minds, as Sir Joshua paints faces in a history piece ; he imagines an heroic countenance. You must look upon Robertson's work as romance, and try it by that standard : history it is not. Besides, sir, it is the great excellence of a writer to put into his book as much as his book will hold. Goldsmith has done this in his history. Now, Robertson might have put twice as much into his book. Robertson is like a man who has packed gold in wool ; the wool takes up more room than the gold. No, sir ; I al- ways thought Robertson would be crushed by his own weight would be buried under his own or- naments. Goldsmith tells you shortly all you want to know : Robertson detains you a deal too long. No man will read Robertson's cumbrous detail a second time ; but Goldsmith's plain narrative will please again and again. I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils : ' Read over your compositions ; and when- ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' Goldsmith's abridge- ment is better than that of Lucius Florus, or Eu- tropius ; and I will venture to say, that if you com- pare him with Vertot, in the same places of the Roman History, you will find that he excels Ver- tot. Sir, he has the art of compiling, and of say- ing everything he has to say in a pleasing manner. He is now writing a Natural History, and will make it as entertaining as a Persian Tale."

Boswell adds, " I cannot dismiss the present topic without observing, that it is probable that Dr Johnson, who owned that he often * talked for vic- tory/ rather urged plausible objections to Dr Ro-


JOHNSONIANA. 243

bertson's excellent historical works, in the ardour of contest, than expressed his real and decided opi- nion ; for it is not easy to suppose that he should 80 widely differ from the rest of the literary world."

Johnson praised John Bunyan highly. " His Pil- grim's Progress has great merit both for invention, imagination, and the conduct of the story ; and it has had the best evidence of its merit, the general and continued approbation of mankind : few books, I believe, have had a more extensive sale. It is remarkable, that it begins very much like the poem of Dante ; yet there was no translation of Dante when Bunyan wrote. There is reason to think that he had read Spenser."

Some of the company expressed a wonder, why the author of so excellent a book as the Whole Duty of Man should conceal himself. Johnson. " There may be different reasons assigned for this, any one of which would be very sufficient. He may have been a clergyman, and may have thought that his religious counsels would have less weight when known to come from a man whose profession was theology. He may have been a man whose practice was not suitable to his principles ; so that his character might injure the effect of his book, which he had written in a season of penitence. Or, he may have been a man of rigid self-denial ; so that he would have no reward for his pious labours while in this world, but refer it all to a future state."

He talked of Isaac Walton's Lives, which was one of his most favourite books : Dr Donne's Life, he said, was the most perfect of them. He ob- served, that " it was wonderful that Walton, who was in a very low situation in life, should have been x2


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familiarly received by so many great men, and that at a time when the ranks of society were kept more eeparate than they are now."

Johnson praised the Spectator, particularly the character of Sir Roger de Coverley. He said, " Sir Roger did not die a violent death, as has generally been fancied : he was not killed ; he died only be- cause others were to die, and because his death af- forded an opportunity to Addison of some very fine writing. We have the example of Cei-vantes making Don Quixote die. I never could see why Sir Roger is represented as a little cracked. It appears to me, that the story of the widow was intended to have something superinduced upon it ; but the super- structure did not come."

Talking of the eminent writers In Queen Anne's reign, he observed, " I think Dr Arbuthnot the first man among them : he was the most universal genius ; being an excellent physician, a man of deep learning, and a man of much humour. Mr Addison was, to be sure, a great man : his learning was not profound ; but his morality, his humour, and bis elegance of writing, set him very high. Addi- son wrote Budgell's papers in the Spectator, at least mended them so much, that he made them almost his own ; and Draper, Tonson's partner, as- sured Mrs Johnson, that the much admired epi- logue to the Distressed Mother, which came out in Budgell's name, was in reality written by Addi- son."

He recommended Dr Cheynels books. BosAvell said, he thought Cheyne had been reckoned whim- sical. Johnson. " So he was in some things ; but there is no end of objections. There are few books to which some objection or other may not be made."


JOHNSONIANA. 24t

He added, " I would not have you read anything else of Clieyne, but his book on Health, and his English Malady."

Fielding being mentioned, Johnson exclaimed, " He was a blockhead :" and, upon Boswell's ex- pressing his astonishment at so strange an assertion, he said, " What I mean by being a blockhead is, that he was a barren rascal." Boswell. " Will you not allow, sir, that he draws very natural pic- tures of human life ?" Johnson. " Why, sir, it is of very low life. Richardson used to say, that had he not known who Fielding was, he should have believed he was an ostler. Sir, there is more know- ledge of the heart in one letter of Richardson's, than in all Tom Jones. I, indeed, never read Jo- seph Andrews." Erskine. " Surely, sir, Rich- ardson is very tedious." Johnson. " Why, sir, if you were to read Richardson for the story, your impatience would be so much fretted, that you would hang yourself : but you must read him for the sentiment, and consider the story as only giving occasion to the sentiment."

A book of travels lately published under the title of Coriat Juyiior, and written by Mr Paterson, was mentioned. Johnson said, this book was in imita- tion of Sterne, and not of Coriat, whose name Pa- terson had chosen as a whimsical one. " Tom Coriat," said he, " was a humourist about the court of James the First. He had a mixture of learning, of wit, and of buffoonery. He first travelled through Europe, and published his travels : he afterwards travelled on foot through Asia, and had made many remarks ; but he died at Mandoa, and his remarks were lost."

Talking of the Irish clergy, he said, " Swift was


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a man of great parts, and the instrument of mucb good to his country ; Berkeley was a profound scho- lar, as well as a man of fine imagination ; but Usher was the great luminary of the Irish church ; and a greater no church could boast of, at least in modem times."

Speaking of Mr Harte, canon of Windsor, and Wi'iter of the History of Gustavus Adolphus, he much commended bira as a scholar, and a man of the most companionable talents he had ever known. He said, the defects in his history proceeded not from imbecility, but from foppery.

He loved, he said, the old black-letter books ; they were rich in matter,, though their style was inelegant ; wonderfully so, considering how con- versant the writers were with the best models of antiquity.

Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, lie said, was the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise.

He frequently exliorted Dr Maxwell to set about writing a history of Ireland, and archly remarked, there had been some good Irish writers, and that one Irishman might at least aspire to be equal to another.

Of Dr John Campbell, the author, he said, " He is a very inquisitive and a very able man, and a man of good religious principles, though I am afraid he has been deficient in practice. Campbell is radi- cally right ; and Ave may hope that in time there will be good practice."

He owned, that he thought Hawkesworth was one of his imitators, but he did not think Goldsmith was. " Goldsmith," he said, " has great merit." Boswell. But, sir, he is much indebted to you


JOHNSON I AN A. 249

for his getting so high in the public estimation." Johnson. " Why, sir, he has, perhaps, got sooner to it by his intimacy with me."

CII. DRAMA.

The Beggar's Opera, and the common question, whether it was pernicious in its effects, having been introduced into conversation ; Johnson. " As to this matter, which has been very much contested, I myself am of opinion, that more influence has been ascribed to The Beggar's Opera, than it, in reality, ever had ; for I do not believe, that any man was ever made a rogue by being present at its representation. At the same time, I do not deny, that it may have some influence, by making the character of a rogue familiar, and in some degree pleasing." Then, collecting himself, as it were, to give a heavy stroke '^ There is in it such a labe^ Jactation of all principles, as may be injurious to morality."

While he pronounced this response, the compa- ny sat in a comical sort of restraint, smothering a laugh which they were afraid might burst out. In his life of Gay, he has been still more decisive as to the inefiiciency of the Beggar's Opera in corrupting society. Yet, the gaiety and heroism of Macheath are very captivating to a youthful imagination ; while the arguments for adventurous depredation ire so plausible, the allusions so lively, and the con- trasts with the ordinaiy and more painful modes of acquiring property are so artfully displayed, that it requires a cool and strong judgment to resist so im- posing an aggregate. Still there is in it so much of real London life, so much brilliant wit, and such a variety of airs, which, from early association of ideas, engage, soothe, and enliven the mind, that it


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will always give pleasure on the stage ; and it con- tains so many sound, moral suggestions, that it may be found an improving, as well as agi'eeable com- panion in the closet.

The late " worthy" Duke of Queensberry, as Thomson, in bis Seasons, justly characterises him, told Boswell, that when Gay showed him the Beg- gar's Opera, his Grace's observation was, " This is a very odd thing, Gay ; I am satisfied that it is either a very good thing or a very bad thing." It proved the former, beyond the warmest expectations of the author or his friends. Mr Cambridge, however, mentioned, that there was good reason enough to doubt concerning its success. He was told by Quin, that during the first night of its appearance it was long in a very dubious state ; that there was a dis- position to damn it, and that it was saved by the song,

O, ponder well! be not severe!

the audience being much affected by the innocent looks of Polly, when she came to those two lines, which exliibit at once a painful and ridiculous image,

For on the rope that hanars my dear. Depends poor Polly's life.

Quin himself had so bad an opinion of it, that he refused the part of Captain Macheath ; and gave it to Walker, who acquired great celebrity by his giave, yet animated performance of it.

Boswell mentioned Mallet's tragedy of Elvira, which had been acted the preceding winter atDrury- Jane, and that the honourable Andrew Erskine, Mr


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Dempster, and self, bad joined in writing a pam- phlet entitled, Critical Strictures, against it; that the mildness of Dempster's disposition had, however, relented ; and he had candidly said, " We have hardly a right to abuse this tragedy ; for, bad as it is, how rain should either of us be, to write one not near as good !" Johnson. " Why, no, sir ; this is not just reasoning. You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables."

Boswell introduced Aristotle's doctrine in his Art of Poetry, of " the KuSx^c-tf rav 7rec6iif(,c6ruv, the purging of the passions," as the purpose of tragedy. " But, how are the passions to be purged by terror and pity ?" (said he, with an assumed air of igno- rance, to incite Johnson to talk, for which it was often necessary to employ some address.) Johnson. " Why, sir, you are to consider what is the mean- ing of purging in the original sense. It is to expel impurities from the human body. The mind is sub- ject to the same imperfection. The passions are the great movers of human actions ; but they are mixed with such impurities, that it is necessary they should 6e purged or refined, by means of terror and pity. For instance, ambition is a noble passion ; but, by seeing upon the stage, that a man who is so exces- sively ambitious as to raise himself by injustice, is punished, we are terrified at the fatal consequences of such a passion. In the same manner, a certain degree of resentment is necessary ; but if we see that a man carries it too far, we pity the object of it, and are taught to moderate that passion."

Boswell observed the great defect of the tragedy


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of Othello was, that it had not a moral ; for that no man could resist the circumstances of suspicion which were artfully suggested to Othello's mind. Johnson. " In the first place, sir, we learn from Othello this very useful moral ; not to make an un- equal match : in the second place, we learn not to yield too readily to suspicion. The handkerchief is merely a trick, though a very pretty trick: but there are no other circumstances of reasonable sus- picion, except what is related by lago of Cassio's warm expressions conceraing Desdemona in his sleep ; and that depended entirely upon the asser- tion of one man. No, sir, I think Othello has more moral than almost any play."

Wlien Garrick was vested with theatrical power by being manager of Drury-lane theatre, he kindly and generously made use of it to bring out Johnson's tragedy, which had long been kept back for want of encouragement : but in this benevolent purpose he met with no small difficulty from the temper of Johnson, which could not brook that a drama, which he had formed with much study, and had been obliged to keep more than the nine years of Horace, should be revised and altered at the pleasure of an actor. Yet Garrick knew well, that without some alterations, it would not be fit for the stage. A vio- lent dispute having ensued between them, Garrick applied to the Reverend Dr Taylor to interpose. Johnson was at first very obstinate. " Sir," said^ he, " the fellow wants me to make Mahomet ruap' mad, that he may have an opportunity of tossing his hands, and kicking his heels." He was, however, at last, with difficulty, prevailed on to comply with Garrick's wishes, so as to allow of some changes ; but still there were not enough.


I


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When asked how he felt upon the ill success of his tragedy, he replied, " Like the Monument ;" mean- ing that he continued firm and unmoved as that co- lumn. And let it be remembered, as an admonition to the genus irritabile of dramatic writers, that this great man, instead of peevishly complaining of the bad taste of the town, submitted to its decision without a murmur. He had, indeed, upon all occa- sions, a great deference for the general opinion : " A man," said he, " who writes a book, thinks himself wiser or wittier than the rest of mankind ; he supposes that he can instruct or amuse them ; and the public, to whom he appeals^ must, after all, be the judges of his pretensions."

Boswell. " Foote has a great deal of humour." Johnson. " Yes, sir." Boswell. " He has a sin- gular talent of exhibiting character." Johnson, " Sir, it is not a talent, it is a vice ; it is what others abstain from. It is not comedy, which exhibits the character of a species, as that of a miser gathered from many misers ; it is farce, which exhibits indi- viduals." Boswell. " Did not he think of exhi- biting you, sir ?" Johnson. " Sir, fear restrained him : he knew I would have broken his bones. I would have saved him the trouble of cutting off a leg ; I would not have left him a leg to cut off." Boswell. " Pray, sir, is not Foote an infidel?" Johnson. " I do not know, sir, that the fellow is an infidel ; but, if he be an infidel, he is an infidel as a dog is an infidel ; that is to say, he has never thought upon the subject." Boswell. " I suppose, sir, he has thought superficially, and seized the first notions which occuired to his mind." Johnson. " Why then, sir, still he is like a dog, that snatches the piece next him. Did you never observe that dogs

Y


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have not the power of comparing ? A dog will take a small bit of meat as readily as a large, when botii are before him."

Boswell found fault with Foote for indulging his talent of ridicule at the expense of his visitors, which he colloquially termed making fools of his company. Johnson. " Why, sir, vv^hen you go to siee Foote, you do not go to see a saint : you go to see a man, who will be entertained at your house,: and then bring you on a public stage ; who will entertain you at his house for the purpose of bring- ing you on a public stage. Sir, he does not make fools of his company ; they whom he exposes are fools already ; he only brings them into action."

Speaking of Arthur Murphy, whom he very much loved, " I don't know," said he, " that Arthur can be classed with the veiy first dramatic wi-iters ; yet at present I doubt much whether we have anything superior to Arthur."

It being mentioned, that Garrick assisted Dr Brown, the author of The Estimate, in some dra- matic composition ; " No, sir," said Johnson ; " he would no more suffer Garrick to write a line in his play, than he would suffer him to mount his pulpit."

Dr Goldsmith's new play. She Stoops to Con- quer, being mentioned Johnson. *' I know of no comedy, for many years, that has so much exhila- rated an audience that has answered so much the great end of comedy making an audience merry."

Goldsmith having said, that Garrick's compliment to the Queen, which he introduced into the play of The Chances, which he had altered and revised this year, was mean and gross flattery Johnson. " Why, sir, I would not write, I would not give solemnly under my hand, a character beyond what I thought


JOHNSONIANA. 255

really ti-ue ; but a speech on the stage, let it flatter ever so extravagantly, is formular. It has always been formular to flatter kings and queens ; so much 80, that even in our church-service, we have ' our most religious king' used indiscriminately, whoever is king. Nay, they even flatter themselves : ' we have been graciously pleased to grant.' No mo- dem flattery, however, is so gi'oss as that of the Augustan age, where the emperor was deified.

  • PrcEsens Divus liahehitur Augustus.^ And as to

meanness, (rising into warmth,) how is it mean in a player, a showman, a fellow who exhibits him- self for a shilling to flatter his queen ? The at- tempt, indeed, was dangerous ; for if it had missed, what became of Garrick, and what became of the Queen ? As Sir William Temple says of a great general, it is necessary not only that his designs be formed in a masterly manner, but that they should be attended with success. Sir, it is right, at a time when the royal family is not generally liked, to let it be seen that the people like at least one of them."

Talking on prologue-writing, he observed, " Dry- den has written prologues superior to any that David Ganick has written ; but David Garrick has wriften more good prologues than Dryden has done. It is wonderful, that he has been able to write such variety of them."

Boswell observing that Garrick, who was about to quit the stage, would soon have an easier life Johnson. " I doubt that, sir." Boswell. " Why,- ^r, he will be Atlas with the burden ofl^ his back*": Johnson, " But I know not, sir, if he will be sq steady without his load. However, he should never play any more, but be entirely the gentleman, and


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not partly the player : he should no longer subject himself to be hissed by a mob, or to be insolently treated by performers whom he used to rule witn a high hand, and who would gladly retaliate*" Boswell. " I think he should play once a-year for the benefit of decayed actors, as it has been said he means to do." Johnson, " Alas, sir ! he will soon be a decayed actor himself."

Boswell mentioned his having introduced to Mr Garrick Count Neni, a Flemish nobleman of great rank and fortune, to whom Garrick talked of Abel Drugger as a small part ; and related, with pleasant vanity, that a Frenchman, who had seen him in one of his low characters, exclaimed, " Comment ! je ne le crois pas. Ce nest pas Monsieur Garrickf ce grand homme /" Garrick added, with an ap- pearance of grave recollection, " If I were to begirt life again, I think, I should not play those low cha- racters." Upon which Boswell observed, *' Sir, you would be in the wrong ; for your great excel- lence is your variety of playing your representing so well chai'acters so very different." Johnson.

    • Garrick, sir, w^as not in earnest in what he said ;

for, to be sure, his peculiar excellence is his va- riety ; and perhaps tliere is not any one character, which has not been as well acted by somebody else, as he could do it." Boswell. " Why, then, sir, did he talk so ?" Johnson. " Why, sir, to make you answer as you did." Boswell. " I don't know, sir ; he seemed to dip deep into his mind for the re- flection." Johnson. " He had not far to dip, sir ; he had said the same thing, probably, twenty times before."

" Garrick," he observed, " does not play the part of Archer, in The Beaux Stiatagem, well.


JOHNSONIANA. 251

rhe gentleman should break out through the foot- man, which is not the case as he does it."

Mrs Pritchard being mentioned, he said, " Her playing" was quite mechanical. It is wonderful how little mind she had. Sir, she had never read the tragedy of iVIacbeth all tlirough. She no more thought of the play out of which her part was ta- ken, than a shoemaker thinks of the skin out of which he makes shoes."

He thus gave his opinion upon the merits of some of the principal performers, whom he remem- bered to have seen upon the stage. " Mre Porter, in the vehemence of rage, and Mrs Clive, in the sprightliness of humour, I have never seen equalled. What Clive did best, she did better than Garrick ; but she could not do half so many things well ; she was a better romp than any I ever saw in nature. Pritchard, in common life, was a vulgar idiot ; she would talk of her gcnonnd ; but when she appear- ed upon the stage, seemed to be inspired by gen- tility and understanding. I once talked with Col- ley Cibber, and thought him ignorant of the prin- ciples of liis art. Garrick, madam, was no de- claim er : there was not one of his own scene-shift- ers who could not have spoken, To be, or not to be, better than he did ; yet he was the only actor I ever saw, whom I could call a master both in tragedy and comedy, though I liked him best in comedy. A time conception of character, and natural ex- pression of it, were his distinguished excellences," Having expatiated with his usual force and elo- quence on Mr Gan-ick's extraordinary eminence as an actor, he concluded with this compliment to bis social talents :^ f* And after all, madam, I Y 2


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thought him less to be envied on the stage than at the head of a table."

Johnson, indeed, had thought more upon the subject of acting than might be generally suppo- sed. Talking of it one day to Mr Kemble, he said, " Are you, sir, one of those enthusiasts who believe yourself transformed into the very charac- ter you represent ?" Upon Mr Kemble's answer- ing, that he had never felt so strong a persuasion himself : " To be sure not, sir," said Johnson ; " the thing is impossible. And if Ganick really believed himself to be that monster, Richard the Third, he deserved to be hanged every time he per- formed it."

Sir Joshua Reynolds. " I do not perceive why the profession of a player should be despised ; for the great and ultimate end of all the employ- ments of mankind is to produce amusement. Gar- rick produces more amusement than anybody." Boswell. " You say, Dr Johnson, that Garrick exhibits himself for a shilling ; in this respect he is only on a footing with a lawyer, who exhibits him- self for his fee, and even will maintain any non- sense or absurdity, if the case require it. Gar- rick refuses a play, or a part which he does not like : a lawyer never refuses." Johnson. '* Why, sir, what does this prove ? only that a lawyer is worse. Boswell is now like Jack in the Tale of a Tub, who, when he is puzzled by an argument, hangs himself. He thinks I shall cut him down, but I'll let him hang." (Laughing vociferously.) Sir Joshua Reynolds. " Mr Boswell thinks, that the profession of a lawyer being unquestionably honourable, if he can show the profession of a


JOHNSONIANA. 259

player to be more honourable, he proves his argu, ment."

cm. BON MOTS.

When Dr Johnson had finished some part of bis tragedy of Irene, he read what he had done to Mr Walmsley, who objected to his having already brought his heroine into great distress ; and asked him, " How can you possibly contrive to plunge her into deeper calamity ?" Johnson, in sly allu- sion to the supposed oppressive proceedings of the court of which Mr Walmsley was registrar, replied, " Sir, I can put her into the Spiritual Court I"

Soon after Edwards's Canons of Criticism came out, Johnson was dining at Tonson the bookseller's, with Hayman the painter, and some more com- pany. Hayman related to Sir Joshua Reynolds, that the conversation having turned upon Edwards's book, the gentlemen praised it much, and Johnson allowed its merit : but when they went faither, and appeared to put that author upon a level with Warburton, " Nay," said Johnson, " he has given him some smart hits to be sure ; but there is no proportion between the two men ; they must not be named together. A fly, sir, may sting a stately horse, and make him wince ; but one is but an in- sect, and the other is a horse still."

On the 6th of March, 1754>, came out Lord Bo- Ungbroke's works, published by Mr David Mallet. Johnson, hearing of their tendency, was roused with a just indignation, and pronounced this me- morable sentence upon the noble author and his editor : " Sir, he was a scoundrel and a coward ; a scoundrel, for charging a blunderbuss against re- ligion and morality ; a coward, because he had not resolution to fire it ofif himself, but left half-a-crown


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to a beggarly Scotchman to draw the trigger after his death !"

" One day," says Boswell, " he read to us a dis- sertation whicJi he was preparing for the press, en- titletl, A History and Chronology of the Fabulous Ages. Some old divinities of Thrace, related to the Titans, and called the Cabin, made a very im- portant part of the theory of this piece ; and in a conversation afterwards, Mr Wise talked much of his Cahiri. As we returned to Oxford in the even- ing, I out'Walked Johnson, and he cried out, Suf- Jiamina, a Latin word which came from his mouth with peculiar grace, and was as much as to say, Put on your drag-clhain. Before we got home, I again walked too fast for him ; and he now cried out, * Why, you walk as if you were pursued by all the Cahiri in a body.' "

When the messenger, who canied the last sheet of Johnson's Dictionary to Millarj returned, John- son asked him, " W^ell, what did he say ?" " Sir," answered the messenger, " he said, * thank God, I Iiave done with him.' " " I am glad," replied John- son, with a smile, " tliat he thanks God for any- thing."

At a gentleman's seat in the west of England, in order to amuse him till dinner should be ready, he was taken out to walk in the garden. The mas- ter of the house, thinking it proper to introduce something scientific into the conversation, address- ed him thus : " Are you a botanist, Dr Johnson?" " No, sir," answered Johnson, " I am not a bo- tanist ; and, (alluding, no doubt, to his near-sight- edness,) should I wish to become a botanist, I must first turn myself into a reptile. i When INIr Davies first introduced Boswell to


JOHiiSONIAKA. 261

Johnson, he was much agitated ; and, recollecting his prejudice against the Scotch, of which he had lieard much, said to Davies, " Don't tell where I come from." " From Scotland," cried Davies, roguishly. " Mr Johnson," said Boswell, " I do indeed come from Scotland, but I can't help it." To which Johnson replied, " That, sir, I find, is what a great many of your countrymen cannot help."

Mr Ogilvie was unlucky enough to choose for the topic of his conversation the praises of his na- tive country. He began with saying, that there was very rich land around Edinburgh. Goldsmith, who had studied physic there, contradicted this very untruly, with a sneering laugh. Disconcert- ed a little by this, Mr Ogilvie then took a new ground, where he probably thought himself per- fectly safe ; for he observed, that Scotland had a great many noble wild prospects. Johnson. " I believe, sir, you have a great many ; Norway, too, has noble wild prospects ; and Lapland is remark- able for prodigious noble wild prospects ; but, sir, let me tell you, the noblest prospect which a Scotch- man ever sees, is the high-road that leads him to England."

Johnson said he had lately been a long while at Litchfield, but had grown very weary before he left it. Boswell. " I wonder at that, sir ; it is your native place." Johnson. " Why, so is Scotland your native place."

An essay, written by Mr Deane, a divine of the chupch of England, maintaining the future life of brutes, by an explication of certain parts of the Scriptures, was mentioned, and the doctrine insist- ed on by a gentleman, who seemed fond of curious


26^ TABLE-TALK.

speculation. Johnson, who did not like to bear of anything concerning a future state, which was not authorized by the regular canons of orthodoxy, dis- couraged this talk ; and being offended at its con- tinuation, he watched an opportunity to give the gentleman a blow of reprehension. So, when the poor speculatist, with a serious metaphysical pen- sive face, addressed him, " But really, sir, when we see a very sensible dog, we don't know what .to think of him," Johnson, rolling with joy at the thought which beamed in his eye, turned quickly round, and replied, " True, sir ; and when we see a very foolish felloWf we don't loiow what to think of him. He tlien rose up, strode to the fire, and stood for some time laughing and exulting.

" The late Alexander, Earl of Eglintouue," says Boswell, " who loved wit more than wine, and men of genius more than sycophants, liad a great admiration of Johnson ; but, from the remarkable elegance of his own manners, was, perhaps, too de- licately sensible of the roughness which sometimes appeai'ed in Johnson's behaviour. One evening, when his lordship did me the honour to sup at my lodgings, with Dr Robertson, and several other men of literary distinction, he regretted that Johnson liad not been educated with more refinement, and lived more in polished society. ' No, no, my lord,' said Signor Baretti, ' do with him what you would, he would always have been a bear.' ' True,' an- swered the Earl with a smile, ' but he would have been a dancing bear.'

" To obviate all the reflections which have gone round to Johnson s prejudice, by applying to him the epithet of lear, let me impress upon my read- ers a just and happy saying of my friend Gold-


JOHNSONIANA. 263

smith, who knew him well : * Johnson, to be sure, has a roughness in his manner, but no man alive has a more tender heart : fie has nothing of the hear but his skin.' "

Goldsmith, to divert the tedious minutes, while waiting- for one of the guests at a dinner-party, strutted about, bragging of his dress, and appeared seriously vain of it (for his mind was wonderfully prone to such expressions) : " Come, come," said Garrick, " talk no more of that : you are, perhaps, the worst eii, eh !" Goldsmith was eagerly at- tempting to interrupt him, when Garrick went on, laughing ironically, " Nay, you will always look like a gentleman ; but I am talking of being well or ill dressed." " Well, let me tell you," said" Goldsmith, " when my tailor brought home my blossom-coloured coat, he said, ' Sir, I have a fa- vour to beg of you : when anybody asks you who made your clothes, be pleased to mention John Filby, at the Harrow, in Water-lane.'" Johnson. " Why, sir, that was because he knew the strange colour would attract crowds to gaze at it, and thus they might hear of him, and see how well he could make a coat even of so absurd a colour."

One day, at Sir Joshoa's table, when it was re- lated that Mrs Montague, in an excess of compli- ment to the author of a modem tragedy, had ex- claimed, " I tremble for Shakspeare ;" Johnson said, " When Shakspeare has got ***** for his ri-, val, and Mrs Montague for his defender, he is in a' poor state indeed."

Speaking of Mr Hanway, who published An Eight Days' Journey from London to Portsmouth, " Jonas," said he, " acquired some reputation by


2G4i TABLE-TALK.

travelling abroad, but lost it all by ti-avellii^ at home."

Somebody observing that the Scotch Highland- ers, in the year 1745, had made surprising efforts, considering their numerous wants and disadvan- ^_| tages '^ Yes, sir," said he, " their wants were nu-r i^H merous ; but you have not mentioned the greatest ^' of them all the want of law."

Being asked by a young nobleman, what wa& be- come of the gallantry and militaiy spirit of the old English nobility, he replied, " Why, my lord, I'll tell you what has become of it ; it is gone into the city to look for a fortune."

Speaking of a dull tiresome fellow, whom he chanced to meet, he said, " That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one." ^

A gentleman having, to some of the usual arguw Jt ments for drinking, added this: " You know, sir, ^ drinking drives away care, and makes us forget whatever is disagreeable ; would not you allow a man to drink for that reason ?" Johnson. " Yes, sir, if he sat next i/ou."

Johnson. " I remember once being with Gold- smith in Westminster abbey. While we surveyed the Poets' Corner, I said to him, from Ovid,

Forsitan et nostrum nomen mificebitur istis.

WTien we got to Temple-bar, he stopped me, point- ed to the heads upon it, and slyly whispered me, Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur isiis."

" At the Literary Cluh,' says Boswell, " before Johnson came in, we talked of liis Journey to the Western Islands, and of his coming away ' willing to believe the second sight,' which seemed to ex-


JOHNSONIANA. 265

cite some ridicule. I was then so impressed with the truth of many of the stories which I had been told, that I avowed my conviction, saying, * He is only willing to believe I do believe ; the evi- dence is enough for me, though not for his great mind. What will not fill a quart bottle will fill a pint bottle ; I am filled with belief.' * Are you ?' said Colman ; < then cork it up.' "

Johnson having gone to Mrs Abington's benefit, at supper, one of the company attempted, with tod much forwardness, to rally him on his late appear- ance at the theatre ; but had reason to repent of his temerity. " Why, sir, did you go to Mrs Ab- ington's benefit ? Did you see ?" Johnson. " No, sir." " Did you hear ?" Johnson. " No, sir." " Why, then, sir, did you go?" Johnson. " Be- cause, sir, she is a favourite of the public ; and when the public cares the thousandth part for you that it does for her, I will go to your benefit too."

Dr Bumey having remarked, that Mr Garrick was beginning to look old, Johnson said, " Why, sir, you are not to wonder at that ; no man's face has had more wear and tear."

Johnson censured Gwyn for taking down a church, which might have stood many years, and building a new one at a different place, for no other reason, but that there might be a direct road to a new bridge ; and his expression was, " You are taking a church out of the way, that the people may go in a straight line to the bridge." Gwyn. " No, sir ; I am putting the chuVch in the way, that the people may not go out of the way." John- son, (with a hearty loud laugh of approbation) " Speak no more ; rest your colloquirf fame upoi^ this."


266 TABLE-TALK.

Being by no means pleased with their iim a^t^ Bristol, Boswell said, " Let us see now how should describe it." Johnson was ready with h raillery. " Describe it, sir ? Why, it was so ba| that Boswell wished to be in Scotland !"

In the autumn of 1783, he received a visit froi the celebrated Mrs Siddons. When she came inl the room, there happened to be no chair ready fq her, which he observing, said, with a smile, " Ms dam, you, who so often occasion a want of seats other people, will the more easily excuse the W of one yourself."

Dr Johnson said to Miss Hannah More, wl had expressed a wonder, that the poet who hg written Paradise Lost, should write such poor soi nets: " JNIilton, madam, was a genius that could cut a Colossus from a rock, but could not carve lieads upon cherry-stones."

Boswell told him, that David Hume had made a short collection of Scotticisms. " I wonder," said Johnson, " that he should find them,"

CIV. LANGUAGE.

Sir Joshua Reynolds once asked Johnson by what means lie had attained his extraordinary ac- curacy and flow of language. He told him, that he had early laid it down as a fixed rule to do his best on every occasion, and in every company ; to impart whatever he knew in the most forcible lan- guage he could put it into : and that by constant practice, and never suifering any careless expres- sions to escape him, or attempting to deliver his thoughts without arranging them in the clearest manner, it became habitual to him.

When Johnson showed Boswell a proof-sheet of tlie character of Addison, in which he so highly ex-


JOHNSONIANA. 267

tols his style, Boswell could not lielp obserdng, that it had not been his own model, as no two styles could differ more from each other. John- son. *^ Sir, Addison had his style, and I have mine." When he ventured to ask him, whether the difference did not consist in this, that Addi- son's style was full of idioms, colloquial phrases, and proverbs ; and his own more strictly gramma- tical, and free from such phraseology and modes of speech as can never be literally translated or understood by foreigners ; he allowed the discri- mination to be just.

Talking of Hume's style : Johnson. " Why, sir, his style is not English ; the structure of his sentences is French. Now the French structure and the English stnicture may, in the nature of things, be equally good ; but if you allow that the English language is established, he is wrong. My name might originally have been Nicholson, as well as Johnson ; but were you to call me Nicholson DOW, you would call me very absurdly."

In 1769, Boswell presented Dr Johnson to Ge- neral Paoli. They met with a manly ease, mutu- ally conscious of their own abilities. The General spoke Italian, and Dr Johnson English, and un- derstood one another very well, with a little of in- terpretation from Boswell, in which he compared himself to an isthmus, which joins two gi-eat con- tinents. Upon Johnson's approach, the General said, " From what I have read of your works, sir, and from what Mr Boswell has told me of you, I have long held you in great veneration." The Ge- neral talked of languages being formed on the par- ticular notions and manners of a people, without knowing which, we cannot know the language.


268 TABLE-TALK.

We may know the direct signification of sin^ words ; but by these no beauty of expression, sally of genius, no wit is conveyed to the mint All this must be by allusion to other ideas. Johi eon. " Sir, you talk of language as if you hs never done anything else but study it, instead governing a nation." Paoli. " Questo e un troj. po gran complimento. This is too great a compUt ment." Johnson. " I should have thought so, " I had not heaid you talk."

Johnson advised Boswell to complete a Di tionary of words peculiar to Scotland, of which had shown him a specimen. '^ Sir," said he, " Rj has made a collection of north-country words ; collecting those of your country, you will do useful thing towards the history of the language."

Talking of language, Johnson observed, that Leibnitz had made some progress in a work tra- cing all languages up to the Hebrew. " Why, sir," said he, " you would not imagine that the French jouTj day, is derived from the Latin dies^ and yet nothing is more certain ; and the interme- diate steps are very clear. From dies comes di" urmis ; diu is, by inaccurate ears, or inaccurate pronunciation, easily confounded with giu ; then the Italians form a substantive of the ablative of an adjective, and thence giumOf or, as they make it, giomo ; which is readily contracted into giour, ovjour," He observed tnat the Bohemian lan- guage was true Sclavonic. Mr Kristrom, a Swede, said it had some similarity with the German. Johnson. " Why, sir, to be sure, such parts of Sclavonia as confine with Gennany will borrow German words ; and such parts as confine with Tartary will borrow Tartar words."


JOHNSONIANA. 269

He said, he never had it properly ascertained, that the Scotch Highlanders and the Irish under- stood each other. Boswell told him that his cou- sin, Colonel Graham, of the Royal Highlanders, whom he met at Drogheda, said they did. John- eon. Sir, if the Highlanders understood Irish, why translate the New Testament into Erse, as was lately done at Edinburgh, when there is an Irish translation ?" Boswell. " Although the Erse and Irish are both dialects of the same language, there may be a good deal of diversity between them, as between the different dialects in Italy."

Sir Alexander Macdonald said to him, "I have been con-ecting several Scottish accents in my friend Boswell. I doubt, sir, if any Scotchman ever attains to a perfect English pronunciation." Johnson. " Why, sir, few of them do, because they do not persevere, after acquiring a certain de- gree of it ; but, sir, there can be no doubt, that they may attain to a perfect English pronunciation, if they will : we find how near they come to it ; and certainly a man who conquers nineteen parts of the Scottish accent, may conquer the twentieth. But, sir, when a man has got the better of nine- tenths, he grows weary, he relaxes his diligence, he finds he has corrected his accent so far as not to be disagreeable, and he no longer desires his friends to tell him when he is wrong ; nor does he choose to be told. Sir, when people watch me nan-owly, and I do not watch myself, they will find me out to be of a paiticular county. In the same manner. Dunning may be found out to be a Devonshire man : So most Scotchmen may be found out. But, sir, little aberrations are of no disadvantage. I never catched Mallet in a Scotch z2


2W TABLE-TALK.

accent ; and yet Mallet, I suppose, wa8 past five- and-twenty before he came to London."

The Earl of Marchmont, with gieat good-hi mour, related, that the master of a shop in Loi don, where he was not known, said to him, "^ suppose, sir, you are an American ?" " Why so, sir?" said his lordship. " Because, sir," replied the shopkeeper, " you speak neither English nor Scotch, but something different from both, which I conclude is the language of America."

Boswell. " It may be of use, sir, to have a Dictionary to ascertain the pronunciation." John- son. " Why, sir, my Dictionary shows you the accents of words, if you can but remember them." Boswell. " But, sir, we want marks to ascertain the pronunciation of the vowels : Sheridan, I be- lieve, has finished such a work." Johnson. " Why, sir, consider how much easier it is to learn a lan- guage by the ear, than by any marks. Sheridan's Dictionary may do very well, but you cannot al- ways carry it about with you ; and when you want the word, you have not the Dictionary. It is like a man who has a sword that will not draw : It is an admirable sword, to be sure, but while your enemy is cutting your throat, you are unable to use it. Besides, sir, what entitles Sheridan to fix the pronunciation of English ? He has, in the first place, the disadvantage of being an Irishman ; and if he says he will &x it after the example of the best company, why, they differ among themselves. I remember an instance : when I published the Plan for my Dictionary, Lord Chesterfield told me that the word ffrecU should be pronounced so as to rhyme to state ; and Sir Wilham Yonge sent me word, that it should be pronounced so as to rhyme


JOHNSONIANA. 211

to seatf and that none but an Irisliman would pro- nounce it grait Now here were two men of the highest rank, the one the best speaker in the House of Lords, the other the best speaker in the House of Commons, differing entirely."

A person was mentioned, who, it was said, could take down in short-hand the speeches in Parliament with perfect exactness. Jolmson. " Sir, it is im- possible. I remember one Angel, who came to me to write for him a preface or dedication to a book Hpon short-hand, and he professed to write as fast as a man could speak. In order to try him, I took down a book, and read while he wrote ; and I fa- voured him, for I read more deliberately than usual. I had proceeded but a very little way, when he begged I would desist, for he could not follow me."

Boswell read to him a letter which Lord Mon- boddo had written, containing some critical re- marks upon the style of his Journey to the West- em Islands of Scotland. His Lordship praised the very fine passage upon landing at Icolmkill : but his own style being exceedingly dry and hard, he disapproved of the richness of Johnson's language, and of his frequent use of metaphorical expres- sions. Johnson. " Why, sir, this criticism would be just, if, in my style, superfluous words, or words too big for the thoughts, could be pointed out ; but this I do not believe can be done. For in- stance, in the passage which Lord Monboddo ad- mires, * We are now treading that illustrious re- gion,' the word illustrious contributes nothing to tbjB mere narration, for the fact might be told without it : but it is not therefore superfluous ; for it wakes the mind to peculiar attention, where


272 TABLE-TALK.

something of more than usual importance is to be presented. ' Illustrious !' for what ? and then the sentence proceeds to expand the circumstances connected with lona. And, sir, as to metaphori-' cal expression, that is a great excellence in style,' when it is used with propriety, for it gives you two ideas for one conveys the meaning more lumi- nously, and generally with a perception of delight."

He found fault with Boswell for using the phrase to malte money. " Don't you see," said he, " tl impropriety of it ? To malie money is to coin it^^B! you should say, get money." The phrase, how- ever, is pretty current. But Johnson was at all times jealous of infi-actions upon the genuine Eng- lish language, and prompt to repress colloquial bar- barisms ; such Q& pledging myself , ioT undertaking ; line, for department or branch, as, the civil line, the hanking line. He was particularly indignant against the almost universal use of the word idea, in the sense of notion, or opinion, when it is clear that idea can only signify something of which an image can be formed in the mind. " We may have an idea or image of a mountain, a tree, abuihling; but we cannot surely have an idea or image of an argument or proposition. Yet we heai* the sages of the law * delivering their ideas upon the ques- tion under consideration ;' and the first spealvers in Parliament ' entirely coinciding in the idea which lias been ably stated by an honourable member ;* or, * reprobating an idea as unconstitutional, and fraught with the most dangerous consequences to a great and free country." Johnson called this '* modern cant." .

E. " The Irish language is not primitive. It i? Teutonic ; a mixture of tlie northern tongues ; it


J0HN8ONIANA. 273

lias much English in it," Johnson. " It may have been radically Teutonic; but English and High Dutch have no similaiity to the eye, though radi- cally the same. Once, when looking into Low Dutch, I found, in a whole page, only one word si- milai' to English ; sfroem, like stream, and it signi- fied tide" E. " I remember having seen a Dutch sonnet, in which I found this word, rosenopies. Nobody would think at first that this could be English ; but when we inquire, we find roeSy rose ; and furpicy knob ; so we have rose-buds"

When Johnson was engaged on the Lives of the Poets, Boswell applied to the Earl of Marchmont, to give him some information concerning Pope. The Earl complied with great readiness, but ask- ed, " Will he write the Lives of the Poets impar- tially ? He was the first that brought Whig and Tory into a Dictionary. And what do you think of his definition of excise 9 Do you know the his- tory of his aversion to the word transpire T Then taking down the folio Dictionary, he showed it, with this censure on its secondary sense : " To escape from secrecy to notice : a sense lately in- novated from France, without necessity." " The truth was," said his Lordship, " Lord Bolingbroke, who left the Jacobites, fiist used it ; therefore it was to be condemned. Pie should have shown what word would do for it, if it was unnecessary." Boswell afterwards put the question to Johnson, " Why, sir," said he, " get abroad." Boswell. " That, sir, is using two words." Johnson. " Sir, \ _ there is no end of this. You may as well insist to have a word for old age." Boswell. " Well, sii*, Senectus" Johnson. " Nay, sir, to insist always that there should be one word to express a thing


274 TABLE-TALK.

in English, because there is one in another lan- guage, is to change the language."

Dr Johnson seemed to take a pleasure in speak- ing in his own style ; for when he had carelessly missed it, he would repeat the thought translat into it. Talking of the comedy of tlie Rehears he said, "It has not wit enough to keep it sweel This was easy ; he therefore caught himself, pronounced a more round sentence " It has n{ vitality enough to preserve it from putrefaction.*

Boswell, talking of translation, said, he could n4 define it, nor could he think of a similitude to H lustrate it ; but that it appeared to him, the trai Jation of poetry could be only imitation. Johnsc " You may translate books of science exacth You may also translate history, in so far as it is not embellished with oratory, which is poetical. Poetry, indeed, cannot be translated ; and, there- fore, it is the poets that preserve languages ; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a lan- guage, if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation : but, as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language ex- cept that in which it was originally written, we learn the language."

Johnson told, in his lively manner, the following literary anecdote " Green and Guthrie, an Irish- man and a Scotchman, undertook a translation of Duhalde's History of China. Green said of Guth- rie, that he knew no English; and Guthrie of Green, that he knew no French ; and these two undertook to translate Duhalde's History of China. In this translation there was found, ' the twenty- sixth day of the new moon.' Now, as the whole age of the moon is but twenty-eight days, the


II


JOHNSONIANA. 275

moon, instead of being new, was nearly as old as it could be. The blunder arose from their mista- king the word neuvieme^ ninth, for nouvelle, or neuve, new."

Mr Wilkes described oratory, as accompanied with all the charms of poetical expression. John- son. " No, sir, oratory is the power of beating down your adversary's arguments, and putting bet- ter in their place." Wilkes. " But this does not move the passions." Johnson. *' He must be a weak man, who is to be so moved." Wilkes, (naming a celebrated orator) " Amidst all the bril- liancy of * * * *'s imagination, and the exuberance of his wit, there is a strange want of taste. It was observed of Apelles's Venus, that her flesh seem- ed as if she had been nourished by roses : his ora- tory would sometimes make one suspect that he eats potatoes and drinks whisky."

Johnson and Boswell were conversing of public speaking. Jolmson. " W^e must not estimate a man's powers by his being able or not able to de- liver his sentiments in public. Isaac Hawkins Browne, one of the first wits of this country, got into Parliament, and never opened his mouth. For my own part, I think it is more disgraceful never to try to speak, than to try it, and fail ; as it is more disgraceful not to fight, than to fight and be beaten." This argument appeared to Boswell fal- lacious ; for if a man has not spoken, it may be said, that he would have done very well if he had tried ; whereas, if he has tried and failed, there is nothing to be said for him : he therefore asked, " Why then is it thought disgraceful for a man not to fight, and not disgraceful not to speak in pub- lic ?" Johnson. " Because there may be other


276 lABLE-TALK.

reasons for a man's not speaking in public, than want of resolution ; he may have nothing to say (laughing) ; whereas, sir, you know course is rec- koned the greatest of all virtues ; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for pre- serving any other."

At Mr Thrale's, one evening, he repeated his usual paradoxical declamation against action in public speaking. " Action can have no effect upon reasonable minds. It may augment noise, but it never can enforce argument. If you speak to a dog, you use action ; you hold up your hand thus, because he is a brute ; and, in proportion as men are removed from brutes, action will have the less influence upon them." Mre Tlirale. " What then, sir, becomes of Demosthenes's saying ^ Action, action, action ?' " Johnson. " Demosthenes, ma- dam, spoke to an assembly of brutes ; to a barbar- ous people,"


1


[277 ] atf


OMNIANA.*


CV. DOGS.

There is a chapter in one of our metaphysical writers, showing how dogs make syllogisms. The illustration is decisive. A dog loses sight of his master, and follows him by scent till the road branches into three ; he smells at the first, and at the second, and then, without smelling farther, gallops along the third. That animals should be found to possess in perfection every faculty which is necessary for their well-being, is nothing won- derful ; the wonder would be if they did not : but they sometimes display a reach of intellect beyond this.

For instance dogs have a sense of time so as to count the days of the week. My grandfather had one, who trudged two miles every Saturday to market, to cater for liimself in the shambles. I know another more extraordinary and well-authen- ticated example: A dog which had belonged to an Irishman, and was sold by him in England, would never touch a morsel of food upon a Fiiday ;, the Irishman had made him as good a Catholic as he was himself. This dog never forsook the sick

By Robert Southey. 1812. 2 A


278 TABLE-TALK.

bed of his last master, and, when he was dead, fused to eat, and died also.

A dog of my acquaintance found a bitch in tl streets who had lost her master, and was ready whelp ; he brought her home, put her in posse sion of his kennel, and regularly carried his foe to her, which it may be supposed he was not si fered to want, during her confinement. For gallantry, his name deserves to be mentioned- was Pincher. Some of his other acquaintan< may remember him. Whenever Pincher saw trunk packing up in the house, he absconded for the next four-and-twenty hours. He was of opi- nion that home was the best place.

CVI. TOMB-FLIES.

When the French, in their war with Pedro of Arragon, took Gerona, a swarm of white flies is said to have proceeded from the body of St Narcis, in the church of St Phelin., (i copy the names as they stand in the Catalan* autnor,) which stung the French, and occasioned such a mortality, that they evacuated the city. This is so extraordinary a miracle, that there is probably some truth in it, because miracle-mongers have never the least in- vention, and because a curious fact in confirmation of it is to be found in the Monthly Magazine for December 1805. " In preparing for the founda- tion of the New Church at Lewes, it became ne- cessary to disturb the mouldering bones of the long defunct, and in the prosecution of that una- voidable business, a leaden coffin was taken up, which, on being opened, exhibited a complete ske- leton of a body that had been interred about sixty

Perc Tomich. fF. 39.


OMNIANA. 27

y6al*9, whose leg and thigh bones, to the utter astonishment of all present, were covered with niyriads of flies, (of a species, perhaps, totally un- known to the naturalist,) as active and strong on the wing as gnats flying in the air, on the finest evening in summer. The wings of this non-de- script are white, and for distinction's sake, the spectators gave it the name of the coffin-fly. The lead was perfectly sound, and presented not the least chink or crevice for the admission of air. The moisture of the flesh had not yet left the bones, and the fallen beard lay on the under jaw." Such a swarm of white flies very probably pro- ceeded from the Saint's cofiin ; that he produced them by virtue of his saintship, and that they pro- duced the infection among the French, would be believed in that age by all parties.

CVII. CLASSIFICATION OF NOVELS.

Novels may be arranged according to the botani- cal system of Linnaeus.

Monandria Monogynia is the usual class, most novels having one hero and one heroine. Sir Charles Grandison belongs to the Monandria Dig\Tiia. Those in which the families of the two lovers are at variance may be called Dioecious, The Cryp- togamia are very numerous, so are the Polygamia. Where the lady is in doubt which of her lovers to choose, the tale is to be classed under the Ico- sandria. Where the party hesitates between love and duty, or avarice and ambition, Didynamia. Many are poisonous, few of any use, and far the greater number are annuals.

CVIII. MUNCHAUSEN.

Who is the author of Munchausen's Travels, a


280 TABLE-TALK.

book which everybody knows, because all boya read it ?

Two of his stories are to be found in a Portu- guese magazine, if so it may be called, published about fourscore years ago, with this title Folheto de Arnbas Lisboas. The seventh number contains a tale of a hunter shooting a wild boar with a peach-stone, because he had exhausted all his ball, and afterwards meeting the same boar with a peach- tree growing out of his loins. The other resem- blance is less striking. A waterman talked one night from the street to a woman at a window, and as neither of them could hear distinctly what the other said, What do you say? was frequently repeated by both. The reason why they could not hear was, that it froze very hard at the time, and in the morning the wall was covered with, What do-you-saysy in ice.

It is not likely that the author of Munchausen shoidd have seen these Folhetos; the low wit which they are filled with could at no time have been well understood beyond the limits of Lisbon, and has long been obsolete there ; and in all probability very few sets have escaped the common fate of worth- less papers, published in loose sheets, and thereby tempting the destruction which they deserve. But it is probable that the Portuguese and English wri- ters both have had recourse to the same store-house of fable.

CIX. SEA-FIRES.

On Saturday, July 1, a.d. 949, a fire is said to have risen from the sea, and consumed many towns on the coast of Spain. It travelled on into the in- terior, and contmued its work, destroying many places entirely, and part of Zamora, Carrion, Cas-


OMNIANA. 281

tro, Xeriz, BurgOB, Birviesca, Calzada, Pancorvo) and Buradon. The Anales Compostelanos, and many other ancient writings, record this phenome- non, which Morales* calls strange and monstrous, and difficult to helieve. Berganzaf thus quotes the original passage from the Memorias de Caide- na : Era 987. Kal Jun. dia de Sahado, a la hora de norm, saliofiama del mar, e encendio mu- chas villas e cibdades, e omes, e bestias, e en este mismo mar eiicendio penas, e en Zamora iin bar- rio, e en Carrion, e en Castro Xeriz, e en JJur- gos, e en Birbiesca, e en la Calgada, e en Pancor- vo, e en Buradoii, e en otras muchas villas.

A similar phenomenon is said to have occurred in our own island at a much later age. " In the year 1694, the country about Harlech in Merion- ethshire, was annoyed about eight months by a fiery exhalation, that was seen only in the night, and consisted of a livid vapour, which rose from the sea, or seemed to come from Carnarvonshire, across a bay of the sea eight or nine miles broad on the west side. It spread from this bay over the land, and set fire to all the barns, stacks of hay and com on its way. It also infected the air, and blast- ed the grass and herbage in such a manner that a great mortality of cattle, sheep, and horses ensued. It proceeded constantly to and from the same place, in stormy as well as in calm nights ; but more fre- quently in the winter than in the following sum- mer. It never fired anything but in the night, and the flames, which were weak and of a bluish co- lour, did no injury to human creatures ; for the in-

L. 16, c. 18, 9.

-|- Antiguidades de Espana, 1. 3, c. lOii 104. 2 A 2


282 TABLE-TALK.

habitants did frequently rush into the middle of them, unhurt, to save their hay and com. This vapour was at length extinguished by ringing bells, tiring guns, blowing horns, and otherwise putting the air into motion whenever it was seen to ap- proach the shore." Entick's present State of the British Empire,

A man of science as well as of philosophic mini would employ himself well in examining those counts of prodigies in the early annalists and chro- niclers, which of late years have been indiscrimi- nately regarded as only worthy of contempt. The most superficial age of intellectual history is that which commenced with Mr Locke's philosophy, and I fear cannot yet be said to have tenninated with the French Revolution.

ex. GROUND-FIRES.

Jacob Bryant refers to the Saxon Chronicles, to Roger de Hoveden, Brompton, and Simon Dunel- mensis for various accounts 6f fires breaking out from the earth in this country during vai'ious earthquakes, which occurred from the year 1032 to 1135, when the last eruption was recorded. " Fires," says Ho- linshed, " burst out of certain riffes of the earth, in so huge flames that neither by water nor other- wise it could be quenched." Bryant would fain prove the impossible authenticity of Rowley's poem by these phenomena, insisting that they are the gronfers which Chatterton interprets fires exhaled from a fen.

The ground-fire of 1048 is said to have burnt towns as well as fields of corn ; villas et segetes mtd' tas ustulavit. Sim. Dun. This broke out in Derby- shire and the adjoining counties ; but it is difficult, if not impossible, to conceive how any volcanic


OMNI AN A. 28:^

flames should have extended to towns, there being no mountain in eniption. The fiery vapour, what- ever it may have been, seems more analogous t& the sea-fire which extended so far into Spain. '

In turning over a most worthless volume, entitled Reflexions sur le Desastre de Lisbonne, an extract from Mezerai reminds me of what I have read in many old historians, that the pestilence which in the 14th century spread fioni the East over the whole of Europe, was believed to have been pro- duced by a fiery vapour, liorriblenientpuaTiie, which issued from tlie earth in the province of Catag, in China, and consumed everything within a circuit of two hundred leagues. I do not knew to wliat authority this news from China is to be traced.

In 1802, a gentleman, who is a native of Llan- trisant, in the county of Glamorganshire, was shoot- ing upon the hills near that town ; he had occasion to pass what appeared to him a patch of red mire, over which one step would have carried him ; but having set his foot on it, it sunk ; he fell, and found his leg burnt through the boot so severely, that he was confined many weeks by the wound. The place is remote from any path, but it was found upon inquiry, that a few old persons knew that such a ground-fire existed there, where it had been burn- ing time out of mind. This is not related upon any doubtful authority. I heard the fact from the person to whom it happened. Seme scientific tra- veller will do well to find out this singular spot, over which, if it were in their country, the Parsees would build a temple.

CXI. FRENCH-ENGLISH.

It is curious to obsei-ve how the English Catho- lics of the 17th century wrote English like men


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who habitually spoke French. Corps is sometimes

used for the living body ; and when they attempt

to versify, their rhymes are only rhymes according

to a French pronunciation.

This path most faire I walking winde

By shadow of my pilgrimage. Wherein at every step I find An heayenly draught and image Of my fraile mortality, Tending to eternity.

  • *

The tree that bringetli nothing else

But leaves and breathing verdure Is fit for fire, and not for fruit,

And doth great wrong to Nature.

  • * *

But the finest specimen of French-English verse is certainly the inscription which M. Girardin pla- ced at Ermenonville to the memory of Shenstone.

This plain stone,

To William Shenstone. '

In his writings he display'd f^

A mind natural. At Leasowes he laid '>'

Arcadian greens rural.

Shenstone used to thank God that his name was not liable to a pun. He little thought it was lia- ble to such a rhyme as this.

CXII. LONGEVITY.

There is nothing in the system of nature which, in our present state of knowledge, appears so un- intelligible as the scale of longevity. It must be admitted, indeed, that our knowledge upon this subject is very imperfect ; but all that is known of domesticated animals, and the accidental facts which have been preserved concerning others, tend to the strange result, that longevity bears no relation ei-^ tlier to strength, size, complexity of organization, or intellectual power. True it is, that birds, which seem to rank higher than beasts in the scale of be-


OMNI AN A. 285

ing, are also oiuch longer lived. Thirty is a great age for a horse ; dogs usually live only from four- teen years to twenty; but it is known that the, goose and the hawk exceed a century. But fish, evidently a lower rank in creation than either, are longer lived than birds : it Ijas been said of soma species, and of certain snakes also, that they grow as long as they live, and, as far as we know, live till some accident puts an end to their indefinite term of life. And the toad I it cannot indeed be said that the toad lives for ever, but many of these animals who were cased up at the general deluge, are likely to live till they are balicd in their cells at the general conflagration.

I have said that birds seem to rank higher tlian beasts in the scale of being, because the f o^yu, W'hich in beasts is confined to the female, extends in birds to both sexes ; and because they have the connu- bial afifection, to which there seems no nearer ap- proach among beasts than the Turk-like polygamy of some of the gregarious species.

CXIII. MODE OF VENTILATING A TOWN.

The town of Montalvan, in Arragon, is ventila- ted in a very simple manner. It stands in a deep valley, surrounded with mountains, and is exposed to excessive heat. Much wine is made in the neighbourhood, and every house has its cellar un- derneath, dug to a great and unusual depth, be- cause of the hot situation. Every cellar has its vent-hole to the street, and from each of them a stream of cold air continually issues out, and cools- the town. There is no doubt that this advantage was not foreseen. Might it not be usefully imita- ted in all hot countries ?

The inhabitants used to say, that wine when


286 TABLE-TALK.

drank fresh from these cellars never intoxicated The reason they assigned was, that it was so cold as to compress the vapours in the stomach, which were thus tempered when they ascended to the brain, instead of being in a burning state. The weakness of the wine is a more obvious solution than the excellence of the cellar ; though, undoubt- edly, hot liquors intoxicate sooner than cold,

This account of Montalvan is as it was two cen- turies ago ; but things have undergone so little teration in Spain, that it probably may still be curate. Miedes, I. 9, c. 23.

Burnet (the Bishop) describes something of tl same kind at Chavennes. The town stands at the very foot of the mountains. " At the roots of the mountains they dig great cellars and grottos, and strike a hole about a foot square, ten or twelve feet into the hill, which all the summer long blows a fresh air into the cellar, so that the wine in those cellars drinks almost as cold as if it were in ice. But this wind-pipe did not blow when I was there, which was toward the end of September ; for the sun opening the pores of the earth and rarefying the exterior air, that which is compressed within the cavities that are in the mountains, rushes out with a constant wind ; but when the operation of the sun is weakened, this course of the air is less sen- sible. Before, or over those vaults, they build lit- tle pleasant houses like summer houses, and in them they go to collation generally at night, in summer." Letters from Switzerland and Italy, Edit. 1687. /?. 76.

CXIV. CORTES.

Diego Velazquez took Cortes with him to Cuba as one of the secretaries, a situation for which he


i


OMNIANA. 287

was not at that time well qualified, being too apt to jest, and too fond of conversation. Whatever the cause may have been, they soon disagreed. Judges of Appeal arrived at Hispaniola, and the malcon- tents in Cuba drew out secretly their complaints gainst the governor. There was no other means of crossing over to present them than in an open canoe, and Cortes undertook this desperate service. Just as he was about to embark he was seized and the papers found upon him, Velazquez at first was about to hang him : but upon intercession, content- ed himself with putting him in irons, and embark- ing him on board ship to send him to Hispaniola. He contrived to rid himself of his fetters, and while the crew were asleep, got overboard, and trusted himself upon a log of wood, for he could not swim : it was ebb tide, and he was carried a league out from the ship ; the flow drove him upon shore, but he was so exhausted that he was on the point of letting loose his hold, and resigning himself to his fate. It was not yet day ; he hid himself, know- ing search would be made for him as soon as he was missed on board ; and when the church doors were opened he took sanctuary.

Near this church there dwelt one Juan Xuares, who had a handsome sister of excellent character. Cortes liked her, and found means to let her know it. Whoever has seen Vertue's print of Cortes, from Titian's picture, will know that of all men he, must have been one of the most beautiful. One day he was slipping out of the church to visit her, an Alguazil watched him, slipt in at another door, came out behind him, caught him behind, and car- ried him to prison.

Velazquez was about to proceed against him


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witli extreme rigour, but this go^^emoi^ W^ of h ge- nerous nature, and was persuaded to forgive him ; Cortes married the girl, and said he was as well contented with her as if she had been the daughter of a duchess. The Alguazil, Juan Escudero, who had entrapped him, was one of the conspirators whom he afterwards hung in New Spain. Her- rera.

Of these singular facts in the history of so ex- traordinary a man, no mention is made by Robert- son. What that author has said of Antonio de So- lis may be applied to himself: " / know no atithor in any langtutge whose literary fame has risen so far beyond his real merit"

CXV. WAR.

It would have proved a striking part of a Vision presented to Adani, the day after the death of Abel, to have brought before his eyes half a million of men crowded together in the space of a square mile. When the first father had exhausted his wonder on the multitude of his offspring, he would then natu- rally inquire of his angelic instructor, for what pur- poses 80 vast a multitude had assembled ? what is the common end ? alas ! to murder each other, all Cains and yet no Abels.

CXVI. TOLERATION.

I dare confess that Mr Locke's treatise oft To- leration appeared to me far from being a full and satisfactory answer to the subtle and oft-times plausible arguments of Bellarmin, and other Ro- manists. On the whole, I was more pleased with the celebrated W. Penn's tracts on the same sub- ject. The following extract from his excellent let- ter to the King of Poland appeals to the heart ra- fllCT than to the head, to the Christian rather than


OMNIANA. 289

to the Philosopher ; and besides, overlooks the os- tensible object of religious penalties, which is not so much to convert the heretic, as to prevent the spread of heresy. The thoughts, however, are so just in themselves, and expressed with so much life and simplicity, that it well deserves a place in the Omniana,

" Now, O Prince ! give a poor Christian leave to expostulate with thee. Did Christ Jesus or his holy followers endeavour, by precept or example, to set up their religion with a carnal sword ? Call- ed he any troops of men or angek to defend him ? Did he encourage Peter to dispute his right with the sword ? But did he not say, Put it up 9 Or did he countenance his over-zealous disciples, when they would have had fire from heaven, to destroy those that were not of their mind ? No I But did not Christ rebuke them, saying. Ye laiow not what spirit ye are of? And if it was neither Christ's spirit nor their own spirit that would have fire from heaven Oh ! what is that Spirit that would kindle Jire on earthy to destroy such as peaceably dissent upon the account of conscience I

" O King! when did the true Religion per- secute ? When did the tnie church offer violence for religion ? Were not her weapons prayers, tears, and patience ? Did not Jesus conquer by these weapons, and vanquish cruelty by suffering ? Can clubs, and staves, and swords, and prisons, and ba- nishments, reach the soul, convert the heart, or convince the understanding of man! When did violence ever make a true convert or bodily pu- nishment a sincere Christian ? This maketh void the end of Christ's coming. Yea, it robbeth God's spirit of its office, which is to convince the world. 2b


290 TABLE-TALK.

That is the Sword by which the ancient Christians overcame,"

The Theory of Persecution seems to rest on the following assumptions. I. A duty implies a riglit. We have a right to do whatever it is our duty to do. II. It is the duty, and consequently the right, of the supreme power in a state, to promote the greatest possible sum of well-being in that state. III. This is impossible without morality. IV. But morality can neither be produced nor preserved in a people at large without true religion. V. Rela- tive to the duties of the legislature or governors, that is the true religion which they conscientiously believe to be so. VI. As there can be but one true religion, at the same time, this one it is their duty and right to authorize and protect. VII. But the established religion cannot be protected and secured except by the imposition of restraints or the influence of penalties on those who profess and propagate hostilities to it. VIII. True religion, consisting of precepts, counsels, commandments, doctrines, and historical narratives, cannot be efT fectually proved or defended, but by a comprehen- sive view of the whole, as a system. Now this cannot be hoped for from the mass of mankind. But it may be attacked, and the faith of ignorant men subverted, by particular objections, by the statement of difficulties without any counter-state- ment of the gi'eater difficulties which would result from the rejection of the former, and by all the other stratagems used in the desultory Avaifare of sectaiies and infidels. This is, however, manifest- ly dishonest, and dangerous; and there must exist therefore a power in the state to prevent, suppress, and punish it. IX. The advocates of toleration


OMNIANA. 291

have never been able to agree among themselves concerning the limits to their own claims ; have never established any clear rules, what shall and what shall not be admitted under the name of reli- gion and conscience. Treason and the grossest in- decencies not only may be, but have been, called bv these names : as among the earlier Anabaptists, X. And last, it is 2l petitio principiiy or begging the question, to take for granted that a state has no power except in case of overt acts. It is its duty to prevent a present evil, as much at least as to punish the perpetrators of it. Besides, preach- ing and publishing are overt acts. Nor has it yet been proved, though often asserted, that a Christian sovereign has nothing to do with the external hap- piness or misery of the fellow-creatures intrusted to his charge.

CXVir. EARTH BATHING.

Dr Graham's earth bath was used as a remedy for drunkenness by the Irish rebel Shane O'Neil, in Elizabeth's days. " Subtle and crafty he was, especially in the morning ; but in the residue of the day very uncertain and unstable ; and much given to excessive gulping, and surfetting. And albeit he had most commonly two hundred tuns of wines in his cellar at Dundrun, and had his full fill thereof ; yet was he never satisfied till he had swal- lowed up marvellous great quantities of Usque- bagh, or Aqua Vitae of that country ; whereof so onmeasurably he would drink and brase, that for the quenching of the heat of the body, which by that means was most extremely inflamed and dis- tempered, he was eftsoones conveyed (as the com- mon report was) into a deep pit, and standing up- right in the same, the earth was cast round about


292 TABLE-TALK.

him up to the hard chin, and there he did remain until such time as his body was recovered to some temperature." Holinshed, vol. vi. p. 331.

CXVIir. ADIPOCIRE.

The nature of this substance must always have been known since men have been buried in churcli- yards, and grave-digging became a regular occupa- tion. " In an hydropical body," says Sir Thomas Brown, " ten years buried in a church-yard, we met with a fat concretion, where the nitre of the earth, and the salt and lixivious liquor of the body, had coagulated large lumps of fat into the consist- ence of the hardest Castile soap." (Hyd/riotaphiaj Chap. 3.) A specimen, he adds, was in his own possession. But even a process by which this substance may be made, was ascertained by Bacon, in his " Experiment Solitary, touching fat diffused in flesh." Sylva Sylvarum, No. 678. " You may tura (almost) all flesh into a fatty substance, if you take flesh, and cut it into pieces, and put the pieces into a glass covered with parchment ; and so let the glass stand six or seven hours in boiling water. It may be an experiment of profit for ma- king of fat or grease for many uses : but then it must be of such flesh as is not edible, as horses, dogs, bears, foxes, badgers," &c.

This great author reminds me of Robin Hood : many men talk of his works. It is odd that he should be so much more talked of than read ; be- cause Bacon would be fine food for those philoso- phers who have a tailor-like propensity for cab- bage.

CXIX. SNAILS.

That Msecenas of Cookery, Sir Kenelm Digby, who is remembered for so many odd things, was


OMNIANA. 293

one of the persons who introduced the great shell* snail into this country as a delicacy. He dispersed the breed about Gothurst, his seat, near Newport Pagnel : but the merit of first importing it is due to Charles Howard, of the Arundel family. The fashion seems to have taken, for that grateful and great master cook, Robert May, has left several receipts for dressing snails among the secrets of his fifty years' experience.

Snails ai'e still sold in Covent-Garden as a re- medy for consumptive people. I remember, Avhen a child, having seen them pricked through the shell to obtain a liquor for this purpose, but the liquor was as inefficacious as the means to obtain it were cruel. They were at that time, I know, eaten by the men who worked at the glass-houses, probably from some notion of their restorative virtue. Shell snails of every kind are rarely found in Cumberland ; the large brown species I have never seen there. The snail is so slow a traveller that it will probably require many centuries before he makes the tour of the island.

CXX. TARRING AND FEATHERING.

Tarring and feathering, it seems, is a European invention as well as a Tupinamban. One of Richard Cceur de Lion's ordinances for seamen was, " that if any man were taken with theft or pickery, and thereof convicted, he should have his head polled, and hot pitch poured upon his pate, and upon that the feathers of some pillow or cushion shaken aloft, that he might thereby be known for , a thief, and at the next amval of the ships to any land, be put forth of the company to seek his ad- venture, without all hope of return unto his fel- lows." Holinshed.

Helix Pomaria. B 2


294 TABLE-TALK.

CXXI. LORD CHIEF JUSTICE HOLT.

When Holt was Lord Cfiief Justice, be com- mitted some enthusiasts to prison. The next day, one Lacy, who ^as of the same persuasion, went to his house, and asked to speak with him. The porter answered, his lordship was not well, and could not be seen. Lacy insisted that he must speak to him, for he was sent to him by the Lord. When this message was delivered, he obtained ad- mittance. " I come," said he, " from the Lord, commanding thee to grant a noli prosequi to his faithful servants, whom thou hast unjustly com- mitted to prison." " Thou canst not certainly have come from the Lord," replied Holt, " for he would have sent thee to the Attorney General, knowing very well that it is not in my power to gi-ant thy demand. Therefore thou art a false prophet, and shalt go and keep thy friends company in prison."

Holt would not have disconcerted this prophet by his logic, if it had not been backed by law. Fa- naticism and bigotry ai'e proof against logic. When the pictures of the Virgin at Rome in 1796 moved their eyes, and all Rome crowded to behold them, one of the pictures squinted, , . . and the squint was admitted to be part of the miracle.

CXXII. GLOW-BEAST.

" The Valley of Calchaquina, running thirty leagues in length from N. to S., is but of a small breadth, and almost enclosed on both sides by high ridges of mountains, that make the borders of Peru and Chili. It is reported that in the night there is a sort of creature seen here which casts a mighty light from its head, and many are of opinion that light is caused by a carbuncle ; but as yet this creature could never be taken or killed, because it


OMKIANA. 295

suddeuly baffles all the designs of men, leaving them in the dark, by clouding that light."*

The existence of this animal is still believed. The Missionary Fr. Narciso y Barcel says, in a letter written in 1791, " I had scarcely reached Manoa before I began the commission with which his Excellency the Viceroy charged me, concern- ing the search of the carbuncle. I foimd a Pagan of the Pira nation, who has not only seen one, but has killed one, and thrown it away, through igno- rance, as a thing of no value. He assured me that there were two kinds, one about a quarter, the other about half a vara high. The curtain, or lid, with which it covers its splendour, is, he says, a thing of exquisite plumage, and that it has on its breast spots of singular beauty. He called it in his Pira language Inuyucoy. He promised to bring me one dead, since it is impossible to take it alive ; I regaled him plentifully for the sake of encoura- ging him, and he set off in full confidence that he should not return without it. As soon as I get this precious jewel, {alhaja^ I will send it to his Excellency." (infer. Pe?-. N. 152.)

D. Joseph Ignacio de Lequanda {Met. Peruaii. N. 249) relates some stories of this carbuncle ani- mal, and evidently believes them. By his account, it opens this eye of light when it is in danger, and dazzles its enemy. At other times the eye is co- vered with its veil, or lid, like Prince Arthur's shield.

The author of the verse-Argentina, D. Martin del Barco, says he had seen this beast, and often hunted it in vain, and that happy man would he be

History of Paraguay, &c. by V. Nicholas del Techo.


296 TABLE-TALK.

who should catch one. Ruy Diaz Melgarejo, he adds, had been thus fortunate. He had caught a carbuncle-beast, and taken out the stone, . . but the canoe in which he embarked with it upset, and the jewel was lost. I, says D. Martin, saw him la- menting his evil fortune, and heard him say, that if he had not lost the carbuncle, he would have presented it to King Philip.*


Argentina, Canto 3.


n


TABLE-TALK,


PART III. ITALIAN. GERMAN.


C 299 ]


TABLE-TALK.


POGGIANA


I. THE MAD^f AN OF MILAN.

A PHYSICIAN at Milan undertook to cure mad- men within a certain time. His plan was, to place the patient in a bath of dirty water up to the knees, or deeper, according to the extent of his disorder, and to leave him there fastened till he showed signs of returning reason. One day a madman was brought to him, whom he put into the water up to the mid- dle. When he had been there a fortnight, he beg- ged the physician to let him out, which he did, on condition that he should not go beyond the court of the house. As he was walking up and down the court, a gentleman rode up, with hawks and hounds. " Would you inform me," said the mad-, man to him, " what is the name of that animal you are sitting upon, and what use you make of him ?" " He is a horse for hunting," said the gentleman. " And the bird you have on your wrist, and these

From the Faceti and Poggiana of Poggio. j


300 TABLE-TALK.


1


creattuea that follow you ?" continued the niadml " These," said the gentleman, " are hawks and hounds for catching game." " And what may be the value of the game which it costs you so much trouble to catch ?" " Why, very little some six or seven ducats." " And the expense of the horses and dogs ?" " Why, fifty perhaps." " Ah !" said the madman, " make off as fast as possible before my physician comes, for if he catch you here, he will put you into the water up to the very chin."

II. LAZINESS.

There was a young Gascon gentleman at Con- stance, named Bonac, who rose every morning very late. As his comrades used to rally him upon his laziness " I am obliged," said he, " to listen every moraing to a long pleading between laziness and diligence. The latter exhorts me to get up, and employ myself in something useful ; the other in- geniously pleads the comfort of a warm bed, and that rest is better than labour. I listen to the pleadings on both sides, till matters are made up ; and this is the cause of my late rising."

III. LENT.

In a email village among the Apennines, the priest was so ignorant, that not being himself aware of the annual feasts, he never announced them to his congregation, fiaving gone to Terranuova one day, and seeing the priests preparing their branches of olive and palm for next day, he found he had totally forgot to announce Lent to his flock. Ha- ving returned eight days afterwards, he made the palm branches be gathered, and, addressing his con- gregation, said, " To-morrow, my friends, is Palm Sunday. Easter will take place next week ; we shall fast during this week only, for Lent baa come


POGGIANA. 301

later this year, in consequence of the cold weather and bad roads." *

IV. NOTHING.

A man who had lost all his money at play, was seen by a comrade shedding tears. He asked him what he had to weep for. " Nothing," replied the gamester. " Why then do you weep ?" said the other. " Simply because I have nothing," replied his friend.

V. A SHORT SERMON.

On St Stephen's day, a monk was appointed to pronounce a long eulogium upon the saint. As the day was pretty well advanced, the priests, who were getting hungiy, and were apprehensive of a tedious panegyiic, whispered to their comrade to be brief. The monk mounted the pulpit, and, after a short preamble, said, " My brethren, it is only about a year since I told you all I knew about St Stephen. As I have heard nothing new with re- gard to him since that time, I shall add nothing to what I said before." And so, making the sign of the cross, he walked off.

VI. ANTONIO LUSCO.

An inhabitant of Ancona, a great talker, one day lamenting, in a very tragic tone, the decline of the Roman empire, as if it had been a recent event, Antonio Lusco, the secretary of Martin V., and friend of Poggio, said to him laughingly, " You put me in mind of the Milanese, who, hearing of tlie death of Orlando some six or seven hundred years before, went immediately to communicate the affecting intelligence to his wife, saying, < Ah I


  • On this anecdote Gresset has founiled his Cartme liii-

romptic.

2c


302 TABLE-TALK.

what a misfortune ; I have just learned the death of Orlando, the champion of the Christians.* "

VII. THE VENETIAN.

Another of Lusco's stories, was that of a Vene- tian who had gone on horseback to Sienna, and happened to lodge at an inn where a large party of horsemen were assembled. Next morning, when they were about to set out, every one mounted ex- cept the Venetian, who sat quietly in his place. Lusco asked him why he kept loitering there, when all the rest were mounted. " Oh !" said the Ve- netian, " I am quite ready to go ; but as I had no chance of finding my horse among so many, I wait- ed till the rest should be mounted, because then the one that is left must be mine."

VIII. THE ORATOR OF PERUGIA.

The town of Perugia having sent deputies to Urban V., who was then at Avignon, they found this pontiff sick in bed. The orator of the embas- sy made him a long speech, without paying any re- gard to his indisposition, and without ever coming to the point. When he had done, the Pope asked them whether they had anything else to state. Seeing that he was heartily tired, they said, " Our instructions are, to declare to your Holiness, that if you do not grant us what we ask, our orator will make his speech over again before we go." The Pope granted the demand instantly.

IX. CONSOLATION.

An inhabitant of Penigia, who was much in debt, was walking along the street with a very me- lancholy air. Some one asked him what was the cause of his melancholy. " I am in debt," said he, " and I have nothing to pay." " Well," said the other, *' let your creditors think of that."


POGGIAKA. 303

X. A DEXTEROUS KNAVE.

A Florentine notary, who liad little employ- ment, bethought himself of the following expedient to raise money. Having called on a young man whose father was lately dead, he asked him whe- ther he had received payment of a certain sum which his father had lent to another person who had also died shortly before. The son told him he had not found any such debt among his father's papers. " I drew the obligation with my own hands," said the notary, " and have it in my pos- session ; you have only to make me a reasonable allowance for it." The young man purchased the forged deed, and cited the son of the alleged debt- or. The defendant maintained, that it appeared by his father's books that he had never borrowed a farthing ; and immediately called on the notary to tax him with the forgery. " Young man," said the notary, " you were not bom Avhen this sum was borrowed ; but your father paid it back at the end of six months, and I am in possession of the dis- charge. You have nothing to do but to make me a reasonable allowance for it." The young man did so, and thus the notary cheated both plaintiff and defendant.

XI. THE CORPULENT MONK.

A monk of extreme corpulence, coming very late one evening to the gates of Florence, asked if he could get in. " Oh, yes," said a countryman, to whom he had put the question, " a cart of hay can get in."

XII. now TO CURE THE SICK.

The Cardinal de Bar had an hospital at Verceil, where a great number of invalids were maintained. The intendant of his finances seeing that the pro-


304. TABLE-TALK.

(ligious increase of the patients was daily diminish- ing his master's fortune, determined to get rid of a few of them. He disguised liimself as a pliysician, made the patients be collected, inspected their wounds, and then told them that the only remedy for them was the application of an ointment made of human fat. *' I leave it to yourselves," said ho, " to decide by lot, who is to be the person that is to be boiled for the benefit of the rest." At these words the patients, terrified to death, deserted the hospital in a body.

Xlir. ANTONIO LUSCO.

Antonio Lusco, the intimate friend of Poggio, was, like himself, secretaiy to Martin V. This pontiff thought so highly of him, that he employed him in the most important negotiations, as in the embassy to Philip, Duke of Milan, in 1423, to pre- vail upon him to make peace with the Kerentines. JNTartin V. having ordered him to compose a letter, and to communicate it to some one in whom the pontiff had great confidence ; Antonio found him at table, and happening to be a little heated with wine at the time, he blamed the composition ra- ther severely, and told him it must be completely altered. " I shall alter it," said Antonio to a friend, " as John Galeazzo's tailor did his robe-de- chambre. The Duke, after a heaity supper, find- ing his robe-de-chambre rather tight, sent for his tailor to have it altered. The tailor took it away, and brought it back next morning without altering a stitch, and the Duke found it fitted admirably. It will be the same with ray letter," said Antonio.

XIV. THE BITER BIT.

There is a small town, near Ancona, where it is the custom to invite the neighbours when a liog


rOGGlANA. 305

18 killed. A countryman, who had a hog to kill, but who was anxious to avoid sharing it with his neighbouis, consulted a friend, who advised him to say, that some one had stolen his hog. The per- son who gave the advice, came at night himself, and carried oflf the hog. The poor countryman who had been robbed, called next morning in great distress, and told him he had lost his hog. " Ex- cellent," said the other, " that will do. I see you have taken my advice; you have only to put a good face upon it, and you will persuade anybody."^

XV. FACING CANE.

A poor man complained to the celebrated mili- tary chief, Facino Cane, that he had been stripped of a cloak by one of his soldiers. Facino seeing that he had a good coat on, asked him if he was dressed in the same way when his cloak was taken. The man answered that he was. " Then get about your business," said Facino ; " the man who rob- bed you is none of my soldiers ; none of them would have left so good a coat upon your back.'*

XVI. THE VENETIAN.

A Venetian mounted his horse to go a journey, his servant following him, behind. Upon the jour- ney, the horse having struck the servant with his heel, he took up a stone, and intending to revenge himself upon him, hit his master upon the back. The foolish Venetian thought his horse had done it. When the servant, who had loitered behind on account of his hurt, came up, his master chid hinl for his laziness. The servant told him the horse had kicked him. " Ah," said he, <' he is a wretch- ed brute ; he has just kicked me on the back."

XVII. SINGULAR PHENOMENON.

In the month of November, this ycai*, in a cer- 2 c 2


306 TABLE-TALK.

tain spot, about a thousand yards beyond Corao, a singular pJienomenon was witnessed before sun- set : an immense multitude of dogs, of a red co- lour, amounting to about 4000, were seen to pass along the road towards Germany. This, which seemed the advanced guard, was followed by a great number of cattle and sheep : after this, horse and foot, divided into troops and companies, some armed with shields, some apparently without heads last came a man of gigantic stature, mounted on a lofty horse, and leading with him a large troop of camels of different kinds. The procession last- ed nearly three hours, spreading over a very large space, and v/as witnessed by a great many specta- tors, who approached close for tliat pui-pose. With the setting of the sun, the whole disappeared.

XVIII. HOW TO PAY FOR A HORSE.

A Florentine wanted a horse ; he found a per- son who was willing to let him have one for 15 )[lucats. " I will pay you 5 down," said he to the owner, " and I will be yom- debtor for the rest." The horse-seller consented. Some days afterwards, however, he came to demand his 10 ducats. " No," said the purchaser, " we must stick to our baigain. I told you I should be your debtor for the rest, and I could not be your debtor if I were to pay you."

XIX. WORDS AND WORKS.

A preacher wishing to make his auditors under- stand, that in order to judge of the conversion of another, it was necessary to look to woi-ks and not to words, related ibis fable. A man who had caught some birds in an aviary, was strangling them with his fingers. He happened to hurt him- self by accident, and began to weep with thf pain.


POGGIANA, 307

One of the birds who saw him, said to his com= rades, " Let us take courage." " Oh," said the oldest, and most experienced among them, " do not look at his eyes, my children, ^look at his hands."

XX. THE TESTAMENT OF THE DOG.

A Priest in Tuscany, possessed of some pro- perty, had a dog which was a particular favourite with him, and which, when dead, he buried in the church. The Bishop happened to hear of it, and having an eye to the Priest's money, immediately called him before him to answer to the charge of sacrilege. The Priest, who had a tolerable idea of the Bishop's motives, put fifty gold pieces in his pocket, and went to the Bishop, who, after char- ging him with the funeral of the dog, ordered him to prison. " Holy Father," said the Priest, " if you only knew the admirable qualities of the dog, you would not be surprised that I thought him deserving of Christian burial ; for in his life, and still more in his death, he was more excellent than most men." " How so ?" said the Bishop. " Why," replied the Priest, " while he was making his will, recollecting your poverty, he has left you fifty- pieces of gold, which I have brought with me." The Bishop immediately ratified both the will and the funeral, took the money, and dismissed the Priest,


[ 308 3


LUTHER'S COLLOQUIA MENSALIA.



J


[The singular work from which the following Extracts are taken, contains the record of the familiar conversations of the Reforaier with his friends Melanchthon, Cruciger, Jo- nas, Eberus, and others, on points connected with Theology and Church Government. It is said to have been originally collected from the mouth of Luther himself, by Dr Anthony Lauterbach, and afterwards digested into its present form by Dr John Aurifaber. The main subjects of discussion are Idolatry, Auricular Confession, Mass, Excommunication, Cle- rical Jurisdiction, General Councils, the Natiu'e of Spiritual Beings and of the Devil in particular, Celibacy of Churchmen, and all the other topics agitated by the reformed Chui'cb in those early periods. With these ai'e intermixed many dia- tribes against Antichrist and Cardinals, and much sarcasm on popish miracles and relics. But the book is principally valuable, not on account of its merits, which, though they appear at one time to have procured for it the title of Divine Discourses, are sufficiently doubtful, but for the singular light which it casts on the character of the great reformer ; and the picture of mingled superstition and daring specula- tion; of abject credulity on some points, and the boldest spirit of investigation on others, which it presents. The short ex- tracts which we have selected from the chapters on angels and the devil, Avill enable our readers to judge how fai* Luther was entitled to smile at the superstitious observances of tho Romish Church, retaining, as he did, a belief in many opi- nions more absurd and monsti'ous than those he rejected.

The translation from which these extracts ai-e taken,* was executed under circumstances as singular as the character of the book itself ; and the account of the matter given by the translator, Captain Heniy Bell, is so curious, that we must make use of the words of the gallant captain himself. The work had been nearly suppressed by Rodolph the Second, at the instigation of Gregory XIII., from the extensive effects it bad ben supposed to produce in the propagation of the

  • The translation bears the date of 1650.


COLLOQUIA MENSALIA. 309

Lutheran doctrines. It was even declared, that any one who should be found with a copy of the obnoxious work in his possession, should be liable to capital punishment. Not- withstandinf? the vigilance of Rodolph, however, one copy escaped the flames in a singular manner. A Gennan, named Caspar Van Sparr, a friend of Captain Bell, happening to dig on the foundation of an old house, found a copy carefully wrapped up in a strong linen cloth, covered over with wax, and perfectly uninjured. Sparr was unwilling to run the risk of publishing the work in Germany, during the reign of Ferdinand II., whose enmity to the Protestants was too well known, and accordingly he transmitted the book to his friend the captain, in England, requesting him to translate it. " Whereupon," says Captain Bell, " I took the said Book before mee, and manie times began to Ti-anslate the same, but alwaies I was hindered therein, beeing called up- on about other business; insomuch, that by no possible means J could remain by that work. Then, about six weeks alter I had received the said Book, it fell out, that I beeing in bed with my wife one night, between twel v and one of the clock, shee beeing asleep, but my self yet awake, there appeared unto mee an antient man, standing at my bed's side, an*aied all in white, having a long and broad white beard, hanging down to his girdle-steed, who, taking mee by my right ear, spake these words following unto mee : * Sirrah .' Will not you take time to Ti-anslate that book which is sent unto you out of Germanic ? I will shortly provide for you both place and time to do it.' And then hee vanisht away out of my sight. Whereupon, beeing much thereby affrighted, I fell Into an extreme sweat, insomuch, that my Wife awaking, and finding mee all over wet, shee asked mee what I ailed ? I told her what I had seen and heard ; but I never did heed nor regard visions nor dreams, and so the same fell soon out of my mind.

" Then al)out a fortniglit after I had seen that Vision, on a Sundaie I went to White-hall to hear the Sennon, after which ended, I returned to my lodging, which was then in King's Street at Westminster, and sitting down to dinner with my Wife, two Messengers were sent from the whole Council-board, with a waiTant to carrie mee to the keeper of the Gatehous, Westminster, there to bee safely kept until far- ther Order from the Lords of the Council, which was don without showing mee any cans at all wherefore I was com- mitted. Upon which said Warrant I was kept there ten whole years close Prisoner, where I spent five yeai-s thereof about the Translating of the said Book : insomuch as I found the words very true which the old man in the foresaid Vision did saie unto mee, 1 will shortly provide for you both time and place to Translate It."']


L 310 ]


COLLOQUIA MENSALIA.


XXI. THAT FAITH OVERCOMETII THE DEVIL.

The devil (said Luther) is a spirit, and a found- er of presumption ; he will not be driven away by an unbelieving, a wild, or a rude Christian, but it is faith that overcometh him. I knew a doc- tor of physic (said Luther) who beheld the bap- tising of a child in the church, and diligently hearkened to the words of the institution in bap- tism, out of which he drew a strong faith, inso- much, that with great joyfulness, he said, " If I knew that I was baptised with these words, like as this child is, then I would stand no more in fear of the devil." Now, as the godfathers, and the rest standing by the christening, told him, that he was even so baptised, and that the same words were also spoken at his christening ; then the said doc- tor apprehended so great a courage and spirit, that he feared no misfortune. Now, not long after this, it happened that the devil appeared to this doctor in the shape of a goat with long honis, and showed himself in such manner upon a wall. The doctor well marked, that it was the devil, plucked up a good heart, took the goat by the horns, and pulled him from the wall, struck the goat upon a table, kept the horns in his hands, and the body vanished. Another person, beholding the same, thought with


COLLOQUIA MENSALIA. 311

liimself, Hath the doctor done this ? so will I also do it. I am baptised as well as he. Now, as the de- vil, in the sliape of a goat, met and appeared like- wise unto him, he attempted also to do this mira- cle, and out of presumption flew upon the horns of the goat, but the devil WTung his neck asunder, and slew him. In such sort goeth it (said Lu- ther) with them that presumptuously will imitate those examples, that only pertain to faith, without which the like is not to be accomplished.

Anno 1521, as I departed from Worms, (said Luther,) and not far from Eisenach, I was taken pri- soner. I was lodged in the castle of Wartburg in Pathmo, in a chamber far from people, where none could have access unto me, but only two boys, that twice a-day brought me meat and drink ; now, among other things, they brought me hazel- nuts, which I put into a box, and sometimes I used to crack and eat of them. In the night time, my gentleman, the devil, came and got the nuts out of the box, and cracked them against one of the bed- posts, making a very great noise and rumbling about my bed; but I regarded him nothing at all: when afterwards I began to slumber, then he kept such a racket and rumbling upon the chamber stairs, as if many empty hogsheads and barrels had been tumbled down ; and although I knew that the stairs were strongly guarded with iron-bars, so that no passage was either up or down, yet I aiose and went towards the stairs to see what the mat- ter was, but finding the door fast shut, I said, " Art thou there ? So be there still." I committed my- self to Christ ray Lord and Saviour, of whom it is written. Omnia suhjecisti pedibus ejus, and then laid me down to rest asrain.


312 TABLE-TALK.

XXII. THAT THE DEVIL MAY BE DRIVEN AWAY BY RIDICULOUS CONTEMNING AND JEERING.

When at the first I began to ^vrite against the Pope, and that the gospel went on, then the devil laid himself strongly therein ; he ceased not to nim- ble and rage about, for he willingly would have preserved purgatory at Magdeburg, et discursum animarum. For there was a citizen, whose child died, for which he refused to have vigilia and soul-masses to be sung ; then the devil played his freaks, came every night, about twelve of the clock, into the chamber where the child died, and made a whining like a young child. The good citizen being therewith full of sorrow, knew not what course to take. The Popish priests cried out, and said, " O, now you see how it goeth when vigils are not held and solemnized," &c. Whereupon the citizen sent to me, (said Luther,) desiring my ad- vice therein, (for my sermon, which lately before I preached, touching this sentence, they have Moses aiid the prophets, was gone out in print, which the citizen had read.) Then I wrote unto him from Wittemberg, and advised him, not to suffer any vigils at all to be held, for he might be fully assu- red, that these were merely pranks of the devil. Whereupon the children and servants in the house jeered and contemned the devil, and said, " What dost thou, Satan ? Avoid, thou cursed spirit, and get th^ gone to the place where thou oughtest to be into the pit of hell," &c. Now, as the devil marked their contempt, he left off his game, and came there no more : Quia est siiperbus spirittis, et non potest ferre conteniptum sui.


COLLOQtriA MENSALIA. 313

XXIII. HOW THE DEVIL CAN DECEIVE PEOPLE.

A gentleman had a fair young wife which died, and was also buried. Not long after, the gentle- man and his sei-vant lying together in one cham- ber, his dead wife in the night-time approached into the chamber, and leaned herself upon the gen- tleman's bed, like as if she had been desirous to speak with him. The servant (seeing the same two or three nights one after another) asked his mas- ter whether he knew, that every night a woman in white apparel came unto his bed. The gentleman said, No : I sleep soundly, (said he,) and see no- thing." When night approached, the gentleman, considering the same, lay waking in bed. Then the woman appeared to him, and came hard to his bed-side. The gentleman demanded who she was? She answered, " I am your wife." He said, " My wife is dead and buried." She said, " True : by reason of your sweaiing and sins I died ; but if you would take me again, and would also abstain from swearing one particular oath, which common- ly you use, then would I be your wife again." He said, " I am content to perform what you desire." Whereupon his dead wife remained with him, ruled his house, lay with him, ate and drank with , him, and had children together. Now, it fell out, that on a time the gentleman had guests, and his wife, after supper, was to fetch out of his chest some banqueting stuff: She staying somewhat long, her husband (forgetting himself) was moved thereby to swear his accustomed oath ; whereupon the woman vanished that instant. Now, seeing she returned not again, they went up into the chamber to see what was become of her. There they found the gown which she wore, half lying within the


314 TABLE-TALK.

chest and half without ; but she was never seen afterwards. Tliis did the devil (saLtl Luther); he can transform himself into the shape of a man or woman.

The Prince Elector of Saxony (John Frederick,) having received advertisement of this strange acci- dent, sent thereupon presently unto me (said Lu- ther,) to have my opinion what I held of that wo- man, and of the children which were begotten of these two persons? Whereupon I wrote to his Highness, that in my opinion, neither that wo- man, nor those children, were right human crea- tures, but devils ; for the devil casteth before the eyes a blaze, or a mist, and so deceiveth the peo- ple ; insomuch that one thinketh he lieth by a right woman, and yet is no such matter ; for, as St Paul saith, the devil is strong by the children of unbe- lief. But inasmuch as children, or devils, are con- ceivedin such sort, the same are very horrible and fearful examples, in that Satan can plague and so torment people, as to beget children. Like unto this is it also with that which they call the iVwr, in the water, who draweth people unto him, a maids and virgins, of whom he begetteth (devils) children. The devil can also steal children away, (as sometimes children within the space of six weeks after their birth are lost,) and other child- ren, called Supposititiiy or Changelings, laid in their places. Of the Saxons they are called Kill- crops,

XXIV. OF A CHANGED CHILD AT DESSAU.

Eight years since (said Luther) at Dessau, I did see and touch such a changed child, which was twelve years of age ; he had his eyes and all mem- bers like another child : He did nothing but feed.


COLLOQOIA MENSALIA. 3J5

and would eat as much as two clowns or thresh- ers were able to eat. When one touched it, then it cried out : When any evil happened in the house, then it laughed and was joyful ; but when all went well, then it cried, and was very sad. I told the Prince of Anhalt, if I were prince of that country, so would I venture Honiicidium thereon, and would throw it into the river Moldaw. I admo- nished the people devoutly to pray to God to take away the devil ; the same was done accordingly, and the second year after, the changeling died.

In Saxonia, near unto Halberstad, was a man that also had a Killcropy who sucked the mother and five other women dry ; and, besides, devoured very much. This man was advised that he should, in his pilgrimage at Halberstad, make a promise of the Killcrop to the Virgin Mary, and should cause him there to be rocked. This ad^dce the man fol- lowed, and carried the changeling thither in a bas- ket. But going over a river, being upon the bridge, another devil that was below in the river called, and said, " Killcrop, Killcrop !" Then the child in the basket, that never before spoke one word, answered, " Ho, ho." The devil in the water ask- ed further, " Whither art thou going ?" The child in the basket said, *' I am going towards Hockle-. slad^ to our loving mother, to be rocked." The man, being much afiFrighted thereat, threw the child, with the basket, over the bridge into the water. Where- upon the two devils flew away together, and cried,

  • ' Ho, ho, ho," tumbling themselves one over an-

other, and so vanished.

Such Changelings and Killcrops (said Luther) supponit Satan iii locum verorum Jiliorum ; for the devil hath this power, that he changeth child-


316 TABLE-TALK.

ren, and in stead thereof, layeth devils in the era* (lies, wliich prosper not, only they feed and suck : But such changelings lire not ahove eighteen or nineteen years.

XXV. CONCERNING SAMUEL, THAT APPEARED

TO KING SAUL.

It was not the Prophet Samuel, which, at Saul's request, the witch caused to appear unto him, but it was a sprite, or an evil spiiit, (said Luther) which hereby is proved : God commandeth in Moses, that the tnith should not be inquired after by the dead, &c. Therefore it was a delusion in the shape and likeness of that man of God. Like as that conjurer (the Abbot of Spanheim) brought to pass, that Maximilian, the Emperor, saw walk- ing in his bed-chamber all the deceased great Hea- then Emperors, and how every one of them in his life time was proportioned and apparelled ; among whom was Alexander the Great, Julius Cffisar, also the spouse of Maximilian, which Charles Gibbosus took away from him.

XXVI. A FEARFUL HISTORY OF A SCHOLAR, WHO GAVE HIMSELF OVER TO THE DEVIL.

Anno 1538, the 1 3th of February, a young stu- dent of Wittemberg, named Valerius, of Leipsic, by myself (said Luther) was absolved in the Sa- cristy, in the presence of the deacon and his tu- tor, George Major. The same was very rude and disobedient to his tutor. At last, being examined and asked, why he lived so lewd and dissolute kind of life, fearing neither God nor man ? He there- fore confessed, that five years past, he had given himself over to the devil witli these words, " I renounce and deny thy faith, O Christ, and hencer forward will be entertained by another Master.'


COLLOQUIA MENSALIA. 3 IT

Touching these words, (said Luther,) I examined him, and chid liim sharply, and I asked him if he had spoken any words more to the devil ? He an- swered, " No." Then I asked him, if he was sorry for it, and if now he would return again to our Sa- viour Christ ? Whereupon he answered, and said,

'" Yea," and earnestly persisted in praying. Then

I laid my hand upon him, and with the rest that were by, I kneeled down, prayed the Lord's prayer, and afterwards said,

" Lord God, Heavenly Father, who, through thy well-beloved Sou, hast commanded us to pray, and in thy holy Christian Church hast ordained and instituted the office of preaching, that with meek spirit we should instruct, and recover again, such of our brethren, which, through some fault, might be overtaken And Christ, thy only Son, himself eaith, I am not come, but only for the cause of sin- ners : wherefore we pray thee, for this thy servant, that thou wouldst pardon and forgive him his sins, and inclose him again in the Article of Remission of Sins, and receive him again into the bosom of thy Holy Church, for thy dear Son's sake, Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen,"

Afterwards I spoke these words following to the youth, in the High German tongue, (which he spoke after me) : " I Valerius, confess before God and all his holy Angels, and before the Assembly of this Church, that I did renounce and deny the faith of my God, and gave myself over to the devil r The same is grievous unto me, and I am heartily sorry : I will henceforward be a professed enemy to the devil, and I will conform myself to the will of my Lord God, and amend myself. Amen"

Hereupon I admonished him to repentance; and 2d2


318 TABLE-TALK.

God's fear, and that henceforth he should m god* liness, civility, and in obedience, live, and should, by faith and prayer, resist the counsels of the de- vil : And when the devil should take hold pn him with wicked cogitations, then should he arm him- self with God's word, and presently should repaii' to his tutor, or minister, discover the same unto him, and should reject the devil, with his counsels and advices. This young student, (said I.uther,) from that time forwai'd, grew and became a very good and godly Christian.

XXVII. OF GOOD AND EVIL ANGELS.

The angels (said Luther) are near unto us, and to those creatures whom, by God's command, they are to keep and preserve, to the end they re- ceive no hurt of the devil, and be made away. And withal, they beheld God's face, and stand before him. Therefore, when the devil intendeth to hurt us, then the loving holy angels do resist and drive him away ; for the angels have long arms, and al- though they stand before the presence of God and his Son Christ, yet, notwithstanding, they are hard by and about us in ouj" affairs, which by God in our vocations we are commanded to take in hand. The devil (said Luther) is also near about us, and every twinkling of an eye deceitfully tracketh after cm' lives, our saving healths, and salvation : But the protection of the holy angels does defend us; from him, insomuch that he is not able to work us such mischief as willingly he would. Many de- vils are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark pooly places, ready to hurt and prejudice people. Some (said Luther) are also in the thick black clouds, which do cause hail, lightning, and thunderings, do poison the air, th^ pastures, and


COLLOQVIA MENSALIA. 319

grounds ; when these things happen, then the phi- losophers and physicians do say, it is natural ; they ascribe it to the planets, and shew I know not what reasons for such misfortunes and plagues as pro- ceed and fall thereout.

XXVm. THAT THE ANGELS ARE LORd's PRO- TECTORS.

It were neither good nor fitting for us to know, how earnestly the holy angels do strive for U8 ^igainst the devils, how hard a strife and combat it is ; for, (said Luther,) if we should see that one only devil made and prepared work for so many imgels, and put them to it, then we should be dis- couraged. Therefore the Holy Scripture, with few nd plain words, saith, " he hath given his angels charge over thee," &c. Also, " tTie angel of the Lord campeth himself round about those that fear him," &c. But, said Luther, thou, whosoever thou art, tliat feareth the Lord, be of good courage, take ^ou no care, neither be faint-heai'ted, nor make any doubt of the angels' waking, watching, and protection ; for most certainly they are about and iy thee, and do carry thee upon their hands. JBut how and in what paanner it is done, take thou no care for that. God saith it, therefore it is most sure and certain. In Job it is written, " Behold, among his servants there is none without wander- ing : And in his messengers, or angels, he find- eth foolishness, namely, in the evil spirits."

Concerning angels (said Luther,) this is my opinion, whereupon I stand stift* and stedfast. I do verily believe, that the angels already are up in arms, they are putting on their harness and girding their swords about them. For (said he) the day of judgment dvaweth near, and the angels prepare


320 TABLE-TALK.

themselves for the fight and combat, and that with- in the space of a few hundred years they will strike down both Turk and Pope into the Bottomless Pit of Hell.

XXIX. HOW AN ANGEL PRESERVED A CHILD.

In a place not far from Zwicka, in Franconia, (said Luther,) where I lay at that time, it happened that a child (which scarcely could go or speak) in winter time lost itself in a wood near unto Zwicka, and was constrained to remain in the wood three nights and two days ; in which time there fell a great snow, insomuch that the child was covered therewith. But every day there came a man, and brcJlight it something to eat, and to drink, and went away again. On the third day, the man came and brought meat, and led the child from the place where it lay, into the road- way, by which means it got home, and told the parents, plainly, what had happened. I heard the child relate it myself, as significantly and plainly, (which neither before, nor in three years' space after that time, spake any word that might well be understood,) as I myself could have related the same. This man (said Luther) that attended on the child, was an angel.




[ 321 ]


INDEX.


PART I. FRENCH.


Ac demy, the French, .


81


Baptism and Marriage,


123


Af'am, ....


18


Baron, ....


140


^iijectives, . . . Alfonso, King of CastUe,


161


Bassompierre, M. de, . 42, 69


116


Batru, M. de, 18, 21, 22, 22, 129


Agesilaus,


32


Beaubourg, . .


145


Aim, a legal.


123


Benoise and Henry III.,


124


Alexandrines,


43


Bergerac,


30


Alzire, ....


162


Bible, the.


162


Anagrams,


66


Bibles, ....


108


Ancients, navigation of the,


90


Bibliomania, .


82


Angers, the Canon of.


12


Bossuet, ....


125


Anjou, Curate of.


19


Bourbon, the Constable of.


89


Antagonist, an agreeable.


20


Bourdonne, Madame de.


25


Antagonist, an invisible.


137


Bouts Rimfe,


36


Antimony,


97


Boxhom, . . .


74


Antipater and Barmacides,


146


Brain, how to turn the.


109


Antipathies,


76


Brancas, Count de.


45


Apollonius Tyanaeus,


116


Brevity,


128


Apoplexy,


18


Brioche,


142


Application, classical.


34


Brissac, M. de.


126


Apprehension,


119


Brothers, the.


127


Arabia, ....


108


Calvin, ....


118


Arabian Numerals,


51


Candour,


128


Argumentum ad Hominem



Cannon, the.


137


the, . . .


127


Capuchins,


148


Attila and Alaric, the Graves


Cardinals, young.


121


of, ... .


75


Carmeline the Dentist, .


72


Audience, a Select,


16


Casaubou,


iff


Aurelian,


75


Castalio, . .


110


Authors, imprisoned.


79


Chance,


82


Authors, poverty of.


80


Chapelain, . . 102


118


Banauk,


130


Charles 11. of Spain,


89


Banker, the dying, .


105


Charles V


75.


322


ISDEX.



PAUR.



TAOK.


Charms,


. 117


Gascon, a, ...


13


Christianity, writeHagaiiwt, J 15


Gasconade, a terrible.


135


Church, paving the.


. 130


Gasconades,


155


Cicero,


i.'6


Gascon and his horse, the


138


Cicero, Eloquence of.


67


Gascon and the singer, the. 147


Ciphers, . . .


31


Gascon bed, a.


134


Coaches, . .


106


Gascon, Louis XIV., and the. 156


Coins,


. 121


Gascon skater, the.


156


Colours,


ib.


Gascon, the.


71


Complaisance,


33


Gascon, the lame, .


151


Condfe,


. 124


Gascon turned architect, the. 155


Congreve,


. 158


Glass, . . .


98


Conjurer, the.


, 130


Grammont, M. de.


41


Consolation, .


146


Granvelle, Cardinal,


36


Contagion,


59


Gregory VII., . .


116


Corneille, P.,


. 78


Grey hairs.


39


Cornuel, Madame de.


16


Guarantee, a conditional.


128


Countenance, a Borrowed


, 125


Haller, . .


152


Crusaders, the.


. 120


Heart and the face, the.


137


Cujas, . . .


110


Helen, ....


73


Dancourt,


. 140


Henry IV., . .


35


Daguerre,


157


Hissing, .

Hit, a lucky, . .


. 141


Decimals,


. 56


4.^


Dedications,


. 79


Hyperboles,


65


Delphiii Classics, .


, 52


Hypothesis, a disagreeable


, lA


Deodati and DumouHn,


94


Immortality, .


19


Descartes,


. 94


Impossibility, fortunate.


29


Desessarts,


144


Impromptus, .


16


D'Etrees. the Marechal,


127


Information, the latest.


19


Discourse, an extempore.


100


Instruction, late.


78


Diseases,


. 12ft


Interment, a premature.


133


Doctor, the Swiss, .


66


Irene,


148


Dog, fidelity of a.


60


Jesuit, the.


53


Domestic Economy,


. 23


Judge and the advocate, the, 61


Don Carlos,


91


Julia, the garland of.


57


Dragon, the fight with th


, 92


Julian the Apostate,


70


Dufresne,


. 146


Julius Ca;sar, .


26


Dufresni,


145


Lambert, Madame de.


143


D'User, M., . .


33


Languages,


4^


Dutch, the.


. 117


Latin verse.


37


Eagle,


153


Launoi, ....


18


Eaters, great.


. 122


Launoi, Jean de.


81


Erasmus' Colloquies,


91


Launoi, M. de.


107


Errata, intentional.


22


Leaves, spots in.


65


Esdras,


l(i9


Legrand,

L'Estang, M. de, and A


140


Exchange, a fair.


77


[a-


Fanatic, French,


39


rolles, ....


20


Fever, painting a, . Fevers, cure of, in Swedei


70


Letter-reading,


52


1, 71


Lille, Gualtier de, . .


37


Fight well, how to, .


138


Literary Entertainments, Lodi, Marco de.


32


Financier,


126


41



119


Louis and the porter.


122


Fouquet, .


88


Louis XL, . . .


8


Four P's, the, .


31


Louis XII.,


39,73


Francis I


95, 124


Louis XIV


121


Garland, the, .


. 140


Louis XiV. and Spinola,


3fi


Gunnentg, tearing the,


99


Louvre, the.


131


INDKX.


323



PAGE.



PAffK.


I-ote,


. 64


Racans, the Three,


16


Lyons, archbishop of.


25


Rats, . . .


76


Malherbe, . .


. o4


Raucourt, Mademoiselle,


145


Marigny. M., . .


74


Rehearsal interrupted, the


, 139


Marmontel, . .


. 155


Retort courteous, the.


21


Marriage.singular contract of,l04 |


Returning thanks.


28


Martinon, M. .


. 18


Richard I., . .


126


Martyrs, the eleven thou- |


Richelieu, Card. 23, 24,


24,84


sand.


. 105


Road, how to lengthen a.


114


Massora, the, .


. Ill


Rolinus' Sermons, .


59


Matrimonial consolation


128


Roman Calendar, .


98


Medicine,


41, 152


Rome, . . . ,


119


Medicis, Mary de, .


29,58


Sachot, M. . . .


25


Menage, .


. 117


Samson, . . . .


54


Mind, absence of, .


. 104


Sancho Panza,


143


Misanthrope, the, .


. 139


Santeuil,


129


Moliere, .


17


Satire, how to circulate a.


95


Montaigne,


. 47


Scaliger, Julius, .


11(


Montfleure,


. 145


Scarron,


52


Montmaur,


. 103


Scepticism, Sellery, M. de.


71


Montmorency, the Constable. 88


44


More, Sir Thomas,


. 67


Sepulchral Lamps,


99


Muretus,


. 39


Servants,


30


National character.


. 26


Settlement, a Conditional


135


Nobility, proof of, .


39, 138


Shakspeare,


. 152


Northern tribes.


61


Siam, the Ambassador of.


42


Oracles, . . .


. 35


Simon, Father,


86


Origines, . . .


. 83


SixtusV.


. 112


Paper and Printing,


. 119


Sixtus V. and the Devil,


115


Passions, the, .


. 152


Soldier, the dying.


. 130


Pavilion, the King of Siam's, 122


Sound, . . .


. 62


Pellegrin,


. 162


Souza, Ruy, .


. 72


Penonet^ M., .


. 152


St Bartholomew,


89


Petrarch,


. 109


St John and St Paul,


44


Petrarch, Sonnet of.


. 66


St Pavin,


. 102


Philosophy, Peripatetic


32


Stockholm, Murder in.


5K


Philosophy, Solon's,


. 75


Sun, the.


. 131


Physicians,


44, 115


Swallows.


65


Physicians, Chinese,


. 70


Sword, the.


. 134


Piron and Voltaire,


. 156


Sugar Plums,


. 93


Pisani, Marquis,


. 114


Tailors, the, . .


. 143


Politicians.


. 159


Talmud,


. Ill


Pope Innocent XI.,


. 127


Talon,


. 141


Port- Royal, Society of.


. Ill


Time, loss of.


. 12R


Preacher, the.


. 133


Travelling, rapid.


. 135


Priests,- the Two,


131


Tristan LHermite,


. 114


Procopius and Quinctilian, 28


Trunk, how to pack a.


157


Prompter, prompting the, 141


Turgot, . .


. 161


Proof-Positive,


33


Uglmess,


. 95


Quantity and Quality, Queen Elizabeth,


. 128


Usurer, the Religious,


106


. 115


Valois. M. dc, .


. lUl


Questions, asking, .


. 155


Vampyres,


49


Quid pro Quo, a.


. 71


Vanduren,


. 151


Rabelais, . .


. 34


Vayer, La Mothe le.


69


Jftabutin, Bussv, Racan,


95

42


Verses, dying, 1 Vestris,



324


INDEX.


Voice, value of a,


PAGE. . 144


Voltaire's gfinlus, .


PAGR. . 149


Voiscnon, the Abbe de.


148


Voltaire's Mariamne,


. 144


Voiture, .


83


Voltaire, thoughts of.


. 160


Volange, .


. 112


V/aller, . . .


44


Volcanoes,


. 120


Wardrobe, an everlasting, 147


Voltaire, . . .


. 159


Weapons, the choice of.


. 135


Voltaire, and Dr Ycung,


. 159


What should be done at once, 1 17


Voltaire and his cup,


. 157


Where to live and die.


26


Voltaire and La Motte,


. 160


Winds, contrary.


43


Voltaire and Montesquieu, 111


Wooden-leg, the.


. 131


Voltaire and the Englishman, H8


World, antiquity of the.


. 156


Voltaire at the Court of Sta-


Worth, a man of, .


41


nislaus I., .


. 156


Writing, characters in.


. 96


PART II.


ENGLISH.



Adela, atalc, .


194


Eugene, Prince,


201


Adipocire,


292


Fact, incredible.


207


Akenside and Rolt,


195


Fame,


201


Apparition, real, .


216


Fox,


202


Authors,


231


French-English, .


283


Authors and Artists,


196


Friends, .


172


Authors, caution U) youn


g. 200


Friendship, new proof of


, 203


Authors in flower, .


196


George I.,


181-203


Bemis and Fleury,


198


George II.,


188


Piographia, . ' .


ib.


Germain, Sir John,


204


Bolton, Duchess of.


ib.


Glow-beast,


294


Bon mots.


259


Ground-fires, .


282


Booksellers, .


199


Hardouin,


204


Brace's travels, . .


ib.


Henry IV., a day of, f


rem


Burnet, ....


ib.


Sully. . . .


222


Charles I.,


200


Hieroglyphic, .


205


Christmas,


165


History, .

Holt, Lord Chief Justice


206


Commandant, a.


200


, 294


Conscience,' .


166


Hume and Burnet, .


206


Contracts,


167


Humility,


172


Cortes, ....


286


Hypercnticism,


207


Damnation,


167


Incendiaries, . ,


172


Democrats,


201


Indolence,


207


Devils, . . .


168


Insanity, symptoms of, .


227


Dogs, . . .


277


Jews, ....


172


Drama, ....


249


Johnson, Dr, .


207


Duel,


169


Judgments, contcmporar


y, 200


Earth-Bathing,


291


Judges, . . .


175


Epistle, smart,


220


Junius, ....


208


Equity


170


Language, . . 1


75, 266


ErudiUon, folly of.


202


Law, . . .


17


INDEX.


325


Learning,

Learning encouraged.

Libels,

Longevity,

Marlborough, Duchess of,

Marriage,

Mary, Queen of Scotland,

Mathematics, .

Measure of things, .

Ministers, two, .

Moral honesty,

Munchausen, .

Mysterious mother.

Nationality, French,

Novel, new idea of a.

Novels, classification of.

Number, .

Oath, emphatic.

Oath, value of an, .

Oaths,

Obligation, odd,

Otranto, Castle of, .

Parson, . . .

Passengers in Landscape,

Pauw,

Peasant, heroism of a.

Pennant, . .

Physiognomy,.

Poetry, . . ,

Pope, the,

PoiUet, Lord William,


PAOB.

175

209 175 284 209 176 209 210 176 211 177 279 197 202 211 279 177 2(H 229 177 212

ib. 178 213

ib. 204

ib. 214 178 179 214


PAGE.

Power, .... 179 Price of making a park a gar- den, . . i . 215 Proverb, provincial, . ib. Proverbs, beautiful, . 198 Quakers, female, . . 201 Quarrels, female, . . 201 Question, artful, . . 19S Reverence, . . .180 Robertson, Dr, . . 219 Robinson Crusoe, the new, 211 Sea-fires, .... 280 Sentiment, . . .219 Snails;, .... 292 State, - . . . 179, 180 Step, the first, . . 292

Stories, stupid, . . 221 Streets, anecdotes of, . 195 Suffolk, Countess of, . 2i'l Swift, ... 227

Tale, strange, . . . 2i;0 Tarring and feathering, . 293 Tigre, national, . . 228 Toleration, ... 288 Tomb-flies, ... 278 Tragedy and Comedy, . 227 Ventilating a town, mode of, 285 VolUire, .... 229 War, .... 288

Wilkes, patriotism of, . 229 WiU, free, ... 171


PART III. ITALIAN.


Biter bit, the, . . .304 Cane, Facino, . . . ib. Consolation, . . .302 Dog, the testament of the, 307 Horse, how to pay for a, 306 Knave, a dexterous, . 303 Laziness, .... 300 Lent, .... ib.


Lusco, Antonio,


301, 304


Madman of Milan, the, 299

Monk, the corpulent, 305

Nothing, .... 302

Perugia, the orator of, . 301

Phenomenon, singular, . 305

Sermon, a short, . . 301

Sick, how to cure the, . 303


Venetian, the Words and Works,


302, 305


GERMAN.

That Faith overcometh the Devil, 310

That the Devil may b driven away by ridiciiIouB con- temning and jeering, . 312


326 INDEX.


How the Devil can deceive people, .... 3 1

Of a changed Child at Dessau, 21

Concerning Sannucl that appeared to King Saul, . .31 A fearful History of a Scliolar who gave himself over

to the Devil, . , . il'

Of good and evil Angels, . . . . ,31 That the Angels are Lord's Protectors, .... 31 How an Angel preserved a Child, 39


F1N1.S,






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