H́nh ảnh trang

lity the curious; their wit is a relief to the learned, and the most vinegar aspect, or torpid risibility, will relax into a smile, at the redundancy of genuine humour, so often found in them; while the universality of matter becomes an irresistable inducement to all.

Amongst the works of this kind, newspapers, to the immortal fame of the inventors, lead the way, in point of antiquity, and may be called the original stem, from whence branched out all the literary Ephemera of succeeding times. The famous spectators &c. &c. are all lineally descended from the parent stock, and the idea was adopted by all the politer nations.

Before newspapers were in use, local knowledge was so circumscribed, that few gentlemen knew more of politics, or cotemporary affairs, than what goverment pleased to discover. All who were not of a studious turn filled up their leisure time with domestic avocations, or rural sports, while their minds remained wholly unadorned. Since then, how much are the arts of life, and the taste for enjoying it improved?

[ocr errors]

These maps of science were first published in the second year of Charles II. by some members of the royal society established in 1662, the oldest in Europe, for the encouragement of natural philosophy. Sir Roger l'Estrange was the first editor, and the first newspaper marked the year 1663, as a memorable epoch in the annals of literature; succeeding papers contained all the supplementary materials to form the manners and the man; and which first gave that literary priority to Englishmen which they are allowed to this day on the continent.

Although this mode of obtaining knowledge can be strictly called no better then a superficial education, yet if we observe how nearly it approaches to what is called

the education of a gentleman as defined by d'Alembert, it will imply more than is at first imagined. He says, that "a gentleman should have a fuperficial knowledge of all things, and be profound in one, namely, his profefsional capacity;" he advises also, in order to fave time, that readers of history should begin from the present time, and advance their studies by retrogradation.

Now though I am not entirely of his opinion, yet we must confefs it a most ingenious one, to abridge the road to learning; I will even go so far as to avow, that a tolerable body of science may be acquired, by a constant perusal of all periodical publications; and we rarely find a person of common capacity, who reads with attention the several newspapers, magazines, parlour-window books, d'c. &c. that is not capable of acquitting himself with decency, and even with eclat, on any topic of general conversation.




Taken from the manuscript journal of a late traveller, with which we have been favoured by a respectable correspondent.


PASSED my time in looking at the dancers, or playing at chefs with some of the Thibetians. The court held about thirty dancers, half of them men, half women. The men were dressed in different and party-coloured clothes, with their large bonnets of sheep's wool, a bit of coloured silk in each hand, and a leather machine, something in shape of, but rather less than a fiddle, at their side; it seemed, however, to be only

used for ornament. The women had their faces washed, and clean clothes,-had abundance of rings on their fingers, and coral or amber beads, bugles, c. on their hands and necks; and each wore a small round hat, the shape and size of those worn by our female stage-dancers, covered with circles of small white shells. They formed a ring; the men and women in opposite semicircles; and five men were in the middle of it. They danced to their own singing, moving slowly round, in a half hopstep, keeping time with their hands, while the five in the centre whirled round and cut capers, with many strangè motions, which I attempt not to describe. The second part of the entertainment was performed by four men with winged rainbow-coloured caps, who jumped and wheeled about to the clashing of cymbals and beating of tabors; among the rest was a merry-andrew, with a a mask stuck over with small shells, and a clown with a large stick in his hand: These two were more agile than the others; they carried on an occasional dialogue, which appeared to afford great entertainment to ̈ those who understood their grimaced gestures; but as I was not so fortunate as to understand them, I was obliged to seek amusement in contemplating the various scene before me, and the effects it produced on the nu merous spectators.



As the following anecdote does honour to humanity, and sheds a milder, tho not less pleasing lustre round nobility, than the pomp of pageantry with which it is usually attended, I hope you will not think it unworthy of insertion in your useful miscellany,



MILD summer morning had invited the late Duke of Bedford to walk abroad, with a book in his hand. His attention was so much engrofsed by the subject, that before he was aware, he had wandered farther from home then he intended. Having stopt of a sudden to see where he was, he observed a women at a little distance from him, wringing her hands, weeping aloud and discovering every mark of the deepest distrefs. Moved with sympathy, he immediately approached her, desired her to dry up her tears, to tell him the cause of her sorrow, and promised to do her all the service in his power. Seeing a man in a plain but genteel drefs, looking at her with an air of benignity, and interesting himfelf in her sufferings; being entirely ignorant of his rank, she communicated her story to him without reserve. “I have (says she) a large family, my husband is sick, and being unable to pay our rent, the Duke of Bedford's steward has seized our stock, and left us nothing but the dismal prospect of unavoidable ruin; and I came out to this field to take my last sad sight of my poor cows, which are still feeding in the park there." Deeply affected with her melancholy tale, he advised her to drive the cows home, and offered to set open the gate to her for that purpose. But at this proposal she started, burst again

into tears, and absolutely refused to meddle with them, "they are no longer my husband's, says she, and if I drive them home, I fhall be looked upon as a thief, and for aught I know may be hanged for it." Forcibly struck with the justnefs of her reasoning, and the honest simplicity of her language, he gave her some money, told her that he heartily pitied her, and would take the liberty to recommend her and her family to the Duke of Bedford, whom he knew to be a good-natured sort of man, and he hoped he would do something valuable for her. Accordingly he desired her to call next day, at Wooburn-Abbey for John Russel, and he would introduce her to the Duke, and speak to him in her behalf. The good woman having returned him many thanks, and promising to meet him at the time and place apointed, they parted. Next day, dressed in her best cloathes she went to the Abbey, and asked for John Rufsel. She was led into a room and told that Mr Rufsel would be with her immediately. She had not waited long when several gentlemen richly drefs'd entered the room. She knew at first sight the features of him who had conversed with her the day before, and, strongly impressed with the idea of his being the Duke himself, was ready to faint with fear and surprise; but his Grace walked up to her with a look of condescension and goodness which reanimated her drooping spirits, while he assured her that she had no cause to be afflicted, but might keep herself perfectly easy. Then he instantly called his steward, ordered him to write her a receipt in full, and to see every thing returned that had been taken from her husband. He put the receipt into her hand, and told her that he had inquired into her husbands character, and heard he was a very honest man, and had been long his tenant. And having given her thirty guineas desir ed her to go home and rejoice with her family.

« TrướcTiếp tục »