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should be some law to restrain so manifest a breach of privilege; they should go from house to house, as in China, with the instruments of their profession strung round their necks; by this means we might be able to distinguish and treat them in a style becoming contempt.” “Hold, my friend," replied my companion, “ were your reformation to take place, as dancing-masters and fiddlers now mimic gentlemen in appearance, we should then find our fine gentlemen conforming to theirs. A beau might be introduced to a lady of fashion with a fiddle-case hanging at his neck by a red ribbon, and instead of a cane might carry a fiddle-stick. Though to be as dull as a first-rate dancing master might be used with proverbial justice; yet, dull as he is, many a fine gentleman sets him up as the proper standard of politeness, copies not only the pert vivacity of his air, but the flat insipidity of his conversation. In short, if you make a law against dancing-masters imitating the fine gentleman, you should with as much reason enact that no fine gentleman shall imitate the dancing-master.”
After I had left my friend, I made towards home, reflecting as I went upon the difficulty of distinguishing men by their appearance. Invited, however, by the freshness of the evening, I did not return directly, but went to ruminate on what had passed in a public garden belonging to the city. Here, as I sate upon one of the benches, and felt the pleasing sympathy which nature in bloom inspires, a disconsolate figure, who sate on the other end of the seat, seemed no way to enjoy the serenity of the season.
His dress was miserable beyond description ; a threadbare coat of the rudest materials; a shirt, though clean, yet extremely coarse ; hair that seemed to have been long unconscious of the comb; and all the rest of his equipage impressed with the marks of genuine poverty.
As he continued to sigh, and testify every symptom of despair, I was naturally led, from a motive of humanity, to offer comfort and assistance. You know my heart; and that all who are miserable may claim a place there. The pensive stranger at first declined my conversation ; but at last perceiving a peculiarity in my accent and manner of thinking, he began to unfold himself by degrees.
I now found that he was not so very miserable as he at first appeared ; upon my offering him a small piece of money, he refused my favour, yet without appearing displeased at my intended generosity. It is true he sometimes interrupted the conversation with a sigh, and talked pathetically of neglected merit: still I could perceive a serenity in his countenance, that upon a closer inspection bespoke inward content.
Upon a pause in the conversation I was going to take my leave, when he begged I would favour him with my company home to supper. I was surprised at such a demand from a person of his appearance, but willing to indulge curiosity, I accepted his invitation ; and though I felt some repugnance at being seen with one who appeared so very wretched, went along with seeming alacrity.
Still as he approached nearer home, his good humour proportionably seemed to increase. At last he stopped, not at the gate of a hovel, but of a magnificent palace! When I cast my eyes upon all the sumptuous elegance which everywhere presented itself upon entering, and then when I looked at my seeming miserable conductor, I could scarcely think that all this finery belonged to him; yet in fact it did. Numerous servants ran through the apartments with silent assiduity ; several ladies of beauty, and magnificently dressed, came to welcome his return; a most elegant supper was provided ; in short, I found the person, whom a little before I had sincerely pitied, to be in reality a most refined epicure; one who courted contempt abroad, in order to feel with keener gust the pleasure of pre-eminence at home.
Goldsmith, (Citizen of the World.)
WAKEN, lords and ladies gay!
On the mountain dawns the day, All the jolly chase is here, With hawk, and horse, and hunting-spear ; Hounds are in their couples yelling, Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling, Merrily, merrily, mingle they, “Waken, lords and ladies gay.”
Waken, lords and ladies gay!
Waken, lords and ladies gay!
Louder, louder chant the lay,
Sir Valter Scott.
THE PLEASURE OF STUDY.
CAN wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle, but of
all others, a scholar; in so many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts: other artizans do but practise, we still learn ; others run still in the same gyre to weariness, to satiety; our choice is infinite ; other labours require recreation ; our very labour recreates our sports; we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How numberless are the volumes which men have written of arts, of tongues! How endless is that voluine which God hath written of the world! wherein every creature is a letter, every day a new page. Who can be weary of cither of these? To find wit in poetry; in philosophy, profoundness; in mathematics, acuteness; in history, wonder of events; in oratory, sweet eloquence; in divinity, supernatural light and holy devotion; as so many rich metals in their proper mines; whom would it not ravish with delight ? Aster all these, let us but open our eyes, we cannot look beside a lesson, in this universal book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle? what event doth not challenge his observation? How niany busy tongues chase away good hours in pleasant chat, and complain of the haste of night! What ingenious mind can be sooner weary of talking with learned authors, the most harmless and sweetest companions? Let the world contemn us; while we have these delights we cannot envy them ; we cannot wish curselves other than we
Besides, the way to all other contentrnents is troublesome; the only recompense is in the end. But very search of knowledge is delightsome. Study itself is our life; from which we would not be barred for a world. How much sweeter then is the fruit of study, the conscience of knowledge ! In comparison whereof the soul that hath once tasted it, easily contemns all human comforts.