« 上一頁繼續 »
Hebrew, too, and Latin—and with a knowledge of the Latin, the French, Spanish and Italian may each be read in a few months without much labour.
Here. they may learn that much-lauded, and-among a money
making people—the chief of sciences, vulgar arithmetic--in such manner too as would rejoice the heart of any merchant, banker or usurer in Christendom, Here the whole range of Mathematics, theoretic and practical, up to the ne plus ultra of West Point perfection, may be gone over by the aspiring tyro with as much facility and delight as the boarding school Miss runs through the last Waverley.
Here the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life-or the best substitute for both-will be put into the hands (or the upper stories) of all the clever lads who shall be duly initiated into the higher or esoteric mysteries by the long-headed magician of the laboratory.
Here, in short, lawyers, doctors, parsons, merchants, farmers, mechanics, artists, schoolmasters, surveyors, engineers, politicians, statesmen, judges, editors, poets, orators, Jackson men and Clay men—may all be trained up for their several destinations, and be fitted to act well their parts upon the grand theatre of human selfishness, intrigue, ambition and littleness; or in the humble vale of innocence, peace, benevolence, kindness and charity. And cheaply, I ween, will ye buy your whistles.
MERRY Old England is said to be the most gullible country in the world.
And London is the very paradise of quacks, empirics, mountebanks, rogues, fanatics, impostors and vagabonds of all sorts and degrees. · We seem to have inherited the facile and credulous temperament which has characterized worthy John Bull in all ages. Our happy republic is an asylum not merely for the miserable and oppressed, but for the refuse of every prison and gallows in the whole world. Now and then a pirate or murderer is caught and hanged to be surebut the chances of escape are as ten to one in favour of the cunning foreigner, whatever may have been his crimes or his occupation. If a London banking house, or jeweler's shop, the boudoir of a Dutch princess or Parisian belle, happen to be robbed—why, to this land of promise and charitable oblivion, the lucky swindlers instantly direct their flight, as if assured of a safe and honourable retreat. They have only to assume big names, to show off and spend their shiners freely, and they presently become all the rage. Our ladies never fail to smile graciously on wealth and family from abroad. A German baron, an Italian count, a Spanish don, an English sir, a French marquis—sweet creatures —they have only to say the word, and our blushing fair ones will accompany them forthwith to Hymen’s altar, with all the confidence of young affection and romantic inspiration. Although it does occasionally turn out, that before the honey moon is well over, some unmannerly Hays gets the gemman by the collar and straight conducts him nolens volens to ready furnished lodgings in Bridewell.
* Printed in the National Banner, December 16, 1831, over the signature of G. F. G.
Well, I have seen Manchester clerks and travellers in our Eastern cities, assuming all the airs and knowing self-sufficiency and supercilious bearing of my lord's valets and footmen. I have seen them looked up to, and stared at, and run after, and caressed and feasted, and toasted, as veritable English lions—by our great folks. When will American republicans learn to respect themselves, and be too proud to be dazzled and befooled by the shadows and apery of glittering titles, which may be prefixed or appended to the names or tails of the veriest simpletons, blockheads or libertines in Christendom?
But, ad rem. Our country is infested with a legion of impudent foreign beggars, who are prowling about like hungry wolves, and preying upon the very vitals of the body politic. They are absolutely extorting our hard earned dollars by the cart loads, and under the most absurd and mendacious pretexts.
One day comes a Turk, shipwrecked on the coast of Labrador or Cape Horn-no matter where—the further off the better. He can't speak a word of English, of
He thrusts a paper into your face, stands pensively mute, looks wise and prepossessing, and mighty honest. You read his tale of wo, certified by sundry well-known civil magistrates and learned professors-give him a dollar, and receive his silent but expressive benediction --and next day read in the gazette that the said forlorn, wandering, pennyless Turk is a downright, full-blooded, native Vermonter! He passes on however, from village to village, and enacts the same part everywhere with equal success. He is proclaimed as an impostor in every newspaper. Still, from Bennington to St. Louis, he contrives to cheat every man he meets with. He was here in Nashville about eighteen months ago, and honoured my lonely cottage with a call; and though I had read all about his Turkship a year before, yet I could not prevail on my lady purse-keeper to withhold the customary dollar. He seemed so ingenuous, so friendly, so like a Turk, so un-American, there was no resisting his appeal direct to the purse. His lingo too, when he did speak, was pure classical Arabic, as anybody could perceive — consequently he was well educated. He was perfectly genteel, and utterly above the servile artifices of vulgar beggars;—ergo, he was a son of the Grand Sultan, or a pasha (pacha) with three tails at least. And he might condescend to carry off a dozen or score of our lovely damsels to enliven his princely harem in the proud City of Constantine-and who could withstand such eloquent pretensions?
True, this pretty exquisite was but a home-bred
Yankee after all. Still, Yankee-like, he understood the foible of his countrymen, and knew precisely in what garb to address himself to their sympathies and to their vanity. He therefore went forth to seek adventures as a foreigner of rank. And he is probably going the rounds at this day.-If not as a Turkish heir apparent, yet as a Chinese Mandarin, or Hindu Pundit, or Egyptian Sheik, or Grecian Hospodar, or Wallachian Vaivode, or Polish General just escaped from the tender mercies of a Russian Court-martial.
Italian and Sicilian beggars have been traversing our country for some thirty years past. I have encountered the same individuals repeatedly. They are always provided with the most satisfactory and well-authenticated testimonials- of which, by-the-way, there is said to be a regular manufactory in Philadelphia, where all sorts of signatures and seals may be procured for a trifle. Their usual pretext is, that a village or convent has been destroyed by fire, an avalanche, a volcano, or an earthquake, and that they are deputed to solicit charity for the wretched survivors.
I was once waited on by a Russian (so he professed himself) whose papers were duly endorsed by the Mayor of New York-setting forth that a vessel, containing a number of his relatives and friends, had been captured in the Mediterranean and carried into Algiers, where they were sold as slaves, and urging every kind-hearted American to contribute his mite towards their redemption. He got a dollar from each of us—about a dozen at dinner at the time, and just after the first six bottles