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THE MODISH MAN
Is an orthodox gallant, that does not vary in the least article of his life, conversation, apparel, and address, from the doctrine and the discipline of the newest and best-reformed modes of the time. He understands exactly to a day what times of the year the several and respective sorts of coloured ribands come to be in season, and when they go out again. He sees no plays, but only such as he finds most approved of by men of his own rank and quality; and those he is never absent from as often as they are acted; mounts his bench between the acts, pulls off his peruke, and keeps time with his comb and motion of his person, exactly to the music. He censures truly and faithfully, according to the best of his memory, as he has received it from the most modish opinions, without altering, or adding any thing of his own contriving, "So help him God." It costs him a great deal of study and practice to pull off his hat judiciously, and in form, according to the best precedents, and to hold it when it is off without committing the least oversight. All his salutes, motions, and addresses, are, like the French wine, right as they came over, without any mixture or sophistication of his own, "D-n him, upon his honour." His dancing-master does. not teach, but manage him like a great horse; and he is not learnt, but broken to all the tricks and shows. He is as scrupulous as a Catholic of eating any meat that is not perfectly in season, that is, in fashion, and dressed according to the canon of the church, unless it be at a French house, where no sort of meat is at any time out of season, because the place is modish; and the more he pays for it, and is cheated, the better he believes he is treated. He is very punctual in his oaths, and will not swear any thing but what the general concurrence of the most accomplished persons of his knowledge will be ready to make good..
Is a great undertaker, and as great an underperformer; for his business being only to profess, he believes he deals fairly with the world in having done that, and is not engaged to proceed any further; for he takes so much pains to get opinion and belief, that it is not to be expected he should be able, or at leisure to do anything else, as shopkeepers, that sell and put off their wares, and study how to get custom, have no time to work and labour themselves, and commonly understand nothing of the manufacture of that which they deal in ; for to profess much, and perform too, is more than the business of one man. He is so prodigal of his promises, that of so many thousands which he has made, he was never known to keep one: for they are the only commodity he deals in, and he gets his living by putting them off; and the quicker trade he has, the better be thrives, for they drive no mean trade, and live by turnings and windings of their words. All the force of his art and knowledge lies in his face, as Sampson's strength did in his hair; for it is proof against any impression whatever; and though he finds himself detected by the wiser part of the world, he disdains that, and fortifies himself with the better judgment of the ignorant, which he is sure will never fail him. All his abilities consist in his own impudence; and the instrument, with which he does all his feats, like an elephant's proboscis, grows on his face; for he gets employment and credit by giving himself countenance, which h
esteems more honourable than to receive it from another. He never goes without some dull, easy believer, and under-cheat, whose office is to cry him up and lie for him, and with him he stalks as a fowler does with his horse. He will offer great advantages for such slight and trivial consideration, that the very cheapness of his undertakings argues that they are counterfeit, or that he never came honestly by them, otherwise he could not part with them upon such terms. He never shows his judgment more than in his choice of those he has to deal with; for the impostor and gull, when they are fitly matched, draw in one another like the male and female screw, and the one contributes as -much as the other to the business.
Is a merchant adventurer, that trades in the bottom of a dice-box. Three bales of Fulhams and a small stock in cash sets him. He seldom ventures but he insures before-hand. He is but a juggler of the better sort; for the one's box and dice and the other's box and balls are not very unlike; and the slight-of-hand in managing them is the mastery of both their arts. He throws dice for his living, as some condemned to be hanged do for their lives. He pays custom to the box for all he imports; and an ordinary is his port. He shakes his dice like a rattle-snake, and he that he fastens on is sure to be bitten, and sometimes swells till he breaks. He takes infinite pains to render himself able in his calling, and with perpetual practice of his hand and tools, arrives at great perfection, if the hangman do not spoil his palming with an untimely hot iron. His box and dice are his hornring and knife, with which he will dissect an insufficient gamester's pocket alive, and finger his money before his face. He never cuts the cards, but he cuts a purse, and when he deals the cards he sells them. He never stakes any thing but his conscience, which is none of his own; for the devil has the keeping of it, and he ticks with him for it upon reputation. He trusts his false dice to themselves, but never ventures a true one without a slur or topping. The rook is his affidavit-man, and he lets him go half-a-crown now and then, that he may swear it out upon occasion, and judge always upon his side, right or wrong. Besides this his business is to fancy for him, for he is superstitious that way, and will rather bar his own cast than go against the conscience of his fancy. He differs nothing from a common pickpocket, but that he does the same thing by another method, and so much a worse as he picks a man's reason and reputation as well as his pocket. After he has spent all his own time and a great deal of other men's money, he becomes known and so avoided: or else new tricks come in play, which he is too old to learn, and so dwindles to a rook, and at last leaves the world as poor as alms-ace. The cheat and gull with equal hope, for one another's money cope; but the former being of confederacy with the dice, they and he easily run down the other.
Is a water-spaniel that fetches and carries from one country to another. Nature can hide nothing out of his reach, from the bottom of the deepest seas to the tops of the highest rocks, but he hunts it out and bears it away. He ransacks all seas and lands to feed his avarice, as the old Romans did their luxury; and runs to the rainbow to find a bag of gold, as they persuade children. He calls all ships that are
laden, good ships, and all that are rich, good men. He forsakes the dry land, and betakes himself to wind and water, where he is made or marred, like a glass, either blown into a good fortune or broken in pieces. His trade being upon the sea, partakes of the nature of it; for he grows rich no way so soon as by devouring others of his own kind, as fishes use to do, and gains most by losing sometimes, to make others do so that are not able to bear it, and thereby leave the whole trade to him. He calls news advice, which he and his correspondents make by confederacy, to terrify with false alarms of ships lost or cast away that are safe and out of danger, those that have ventures upon them to insure at excessive rates, and pay 30 per cent for taking a commodity of his off his hand; for he always gains more by false news, as well as false wares, than by true, until he is discovered, and then he must think of new ones. The more ignorant and barbarous people are, the more he gets by dealing with them: glass beads and copper rings pass for jewels among the Indians, and they part with right gold for them. He studies nothing (besides his own books) but almanacks and weather-cocks, and takes every point of the compass into serious consideration. His hopes and fears turn perpetually with the wind, and he is sea-sick after a storm, as if he had been in it, and runs to a conjuror to know how the devil has dealt with him, and whether he may be confident and put his trust in him. His soul is so possessed with traffic, that if all churches had not made souls a commodity and religion a trade, he had never been of any; but if the Pope would but give him leave to farm purgatory, he would venture to give more than ever was made of it, and let no soul out, how mean soever, that did not pay double fees. One of the chiefest parts of his ability in his profession consists in understanding when to break judiciously and to the greatest advantage; for by that means, when he has compounded his debts at an easy rate, he is like a broken bone well set, stronger than he was before. As for his credit, if he has cheated sufficiently and to the purpose, he rather improves than lessens it; for men are trusted in the world for what they have, not what they are.
Is a representative by his calling, a person of all qualities; and though his profession be to counterfeit, and he never means what he says, yet he endeavours to make his words and actions always agree. It is his labour to play, and his business to turn passion into action. The more he dissembles, the more he is in earnest, and the less he appears himself, the truer he is to his profession. The more he deceives men, the greater right he does them; and the plainer his dealing is, the less credit he deserves. He assumes a body like an apparition, and can turn himself into as many shapes as a witch. His business is to be somebody else, and he is never himself but when he has nothing to do. He gets all he speaks by heart, and yet never means what he says. He is said to enter when he comes out, and to go out when he goes in. When he is off the stage he acts a gentleman, and in that only makes his own part himself. When he plays love and honour in effigy, the ladies take him at his word, and fall in love with him in earnest; and, indeed, they may be truly said to fall in love, considering how much he is below them. This blows him up with so much vanity, that he forgets what he is, and as he deludes them, so
they do him. He is like a motion made by a clock-work, the poet winds him up, and he walks and moves till his part is run down, and then he is quiet. He is but a puppet in great, which the poet squeaks to and puts in what posture he pleases; and though his calling be but ministerial to his author, yet he assumes a magistery over him, because he sets him on work, and he becomes subordinate accordingly. He represents many excellent virtues as they light in his part, but knows no more of them than a picture does whom it resembles; his profession is a kind of metamorphosis, to transform himself out of one shape into another, like a tailor's sheet of paper which he folds into.
It is not strange that the world is so delighted with figures, and so averse to truth, since the mere imitation of a thing is more pleasant than the thing itself, as a good picture of a bad face is a little better object than the face itself. All ornament aud dress is but disguise, which plain and naked truth does never put on. W— and cutpurses flock to him to ply for employment, and he is as useful to them as a mountebank is to an apple-woman. He is an operator of wit and dramatic poetry, and Jan Fricup [?] to the muses. His prime qualifications are the same with those of a liar- confidence and a good memory; as for wit he has it at second-hand, like his clothes. The ladies take his counterfeit passions in earnest, and accompany him with their devotions, as holy sisters do a gifted hypocrite at his holding forth; and when he gives the false alarm of a fright they are as much concerned as if he were in real danger, or the worst were not past already. They are more taken with his mock love and honour, than if it were real, and, like ignorant dealers, part with right love and honour for it. His applause and commendation is but a kind of manufacture formed by clapping of hands; and though it be no more than men set dogs together by the ears with, yet he takes as a testimony of his merit, and sets a value on himself accordingly. His harvest is the spring and winter, when he gets that which maintains him in the summer and autumn. A great plague is terrible to him, but a thorough reformation much more; in the one he is but suspended, but by the other abolished, root and branch.
FRASER'S JOURNEY TO KHORASAN.*
THERE is not a description of authors that comprehends, under the same name, characters more diametrically opposed to each other than the class of travellers. Whilst some merely defraud the public of its time, money, and patience, and, having been nuisances in the countries where they sojourned, indemnify themselves, on their return home, for the expences of their tour, by putting forth some distorted caricatures of the scenes and persons they have visited in the course of it; there are others that are entitled to rank high among the importers of knowledge and the benefactors of the community. To this latter division Mr. Fraser eminently belongs. Instead of earning cheaply the reputation of a traveller, by exploring some tract of country a thousand
A Journey into Khorasan, &c. by J. B. Fraser, Esq. Author of a Tour to the Himalaya Mountains. London, 1826.
times before visited and described, he has chosen for the subject of his investigations a country little known to Europeans, where, of course, a diligent inquirer might hope to collect much new and useful in formation. At Tehran, which an ordinary traveller would have thought it some merit to have reached, and where he doubtless would have put an end to his journey, Mr. Fraser considered his as only commencing. The object he had in view, to explore the eastern parts of Khorasan and the adjacent countries, implied no inconsiderable portion of enterprise. The Shah, it appears, is jealous of allowing Europeans to deviate to the eastward of the high road from Shiraz to Tehran, either from some vague apprehensions for the safety of his desert dominions, or from a reluctance to expose to a stranger the nakedness of the land. Mr. Fraser had before his eyes the fate of Mr. Brown, the last traveller that had attempted this route, whose murder there is every reason to believe was perpetrated at the king's instigation. The natives themselves gave this out for fact, and stated that a gold chronometer, which Mr. Brown carried with him, found its way into the cabinet of his majesty. In addition to the apprehensions naturally arising from this source, the traveller's proposed route was full of difficulties and hazard. The Turkomans, though, like most other savage tribes, they be famed for hospitality, are by no means a safe people among whom to sojourn, and are in the habit of pouncing, like a hawk upon a sparrow, on the caravans that traverse the districts they infest, and at one fell swoop carrying off both the traveller and his goods. It is thus necessary for persons proposing to cross the desert to collect in considerable numbers, and even then, to watch their opportunity, as the mariners of old used to do the wind, and put out when the passage is understood to be clear. The country appears at this time to have been in a state of particular agitation. Mr. Fraser met a chupper (courier express) going with intelligence to the king, from the court at Mushed, that a body of troops whom the prince, governor of Khorasan, had dispatched to co-operate with Seyed Mahomed Khan, a chief of the country, against the Turkomans, had been surprised by their faithless ally, and made prisoners, with their general, guns, and baggage. In addition to which, whilst waiting at Sharood for the assembling of a cafilah, his jeloodar (equerry) came to him, with a face full of news, to relate how a caravan, on its way from Tursheez, had been chappowed by a party of Turkomans. The intelligence proved to be correct; and other information gave but an alarming picture of the district. The Turkomans, and sundry neighbouring chiefs, were chappowing in different directions; and it was said that the Shah "could call nothing in Khorasan his own beyond Mushed, Nishapore, and Subzawar, and that these were devoured by his servants." When, after waiting a day or two, the travellers had collected in what was thought sufficient strength, it was amusing, though at the same time vexatious, to observe the reluctance of the persons composing the caravan to set out, and how, on the most absurd pretences, the evil hour was deferred from this day to the next, and from one hour to another. "On the morning of the 9th all talked boldly; some were for loading at noon, others in the evening, but none spoke of exceeding that." At noon the word is given to load, the traveller swallows his breakfast in haste, every thing is packed up,