網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

more.

We were allowed to look upon them no longer. firmly around us. More was added, until our Suddenly jerked upon our backs, our wrists were shoulders were covered up, and only our heais once more staked to the ground, and we were left appeared above ground. in our former recumbent attitudes.

The position was ludicrous enough, and we might Painful as were our reflections, we were not allowed have laughed at it, but that we knew we were in car to indulge in them alone. The mulatto continued to graves. The fiendish spectators regarded us with stand over us, taunting us with spiteful words, and, yells of laughter. worse than all, making gross allusions to my sister What next? Was this to be the end of their and Viola. Oh, it was horrible to hear! Molten lead proceedings ? Were we to be thus left to perish poured into our ears could scarcely have tortured us miserably and by inches ? Hunger and thirst would

in time terminate our existence, but oh, how many It was almost a relief when he desisted from speech, hours was our anguish to last ! Whole days of and we saw him commence making preparations for misery we must endure before the spark of life should our execution. We knew that the hour was nigh—forsake us—whole days of horror and — Ha! they for he himself said so, as he issued the orders to his have not yet done with us! fellows. Some horrible mode of death had been No-a death like that we had been fancyinz promised; but what it was, we were yet in ignorance. appeared too easy to the monster who directed them.

Not long did we remain so. Several men were seen The resources of his hatred were far from being approaching the spot, with spades and pickaxes in exhausted-he had still other and far keener pangs in their hands. They were negroes-old field-hands— store for us. and knew how to use such implements.

Carajo / it is good!' cried he, as he stood admiring They stopped near us, and commenced digging up the work done. Better than tie to tree-good fix, the ground. O God! were we to be buried alive? eh? No fear 'scape—carrai, no. Bring fire! This was the conjecture that first suggested itself. Bring fire! It was to be fire then the extreme

If true, it was terrible enough ; but it was not instrument of torture. We heard the word that true.

word of fearful sound. We were to die by fire! The monster had designed for us & still more Our terror had reached its highest. horrible death!

It rose no higher when we saw fagots brought Silently, and with the solemn air of grave-diggers, forward, and built in a ring around our heads; it the men worked on. The mulatto stood over direct- rose no higher when we saw the torch applied and the ing them. He indulged in high glee, occasionally dry wood catching the flame; it rose no higher as calling to us in mockery, and boasting how skilfully the blaze grew red and redder, and we felt its angry he should perform the office of executioner. The glow upon our skulls, soon to be calcined like the women and savage warriors clustered round, laughing sticks themselves. at his sallies, or contributing their quota of grotesque No-we could suffer no more. Our agony had wit, at which they uttered yells of demoniac laughter. reached the acme of endurance, and we longed for We might easily have fancied ourselves in the infernal death to relieve us. If another pang had been posregions, in the midst of a crowd of gibbering fiends, sible, we might have suffered it on hearing those cries who every moment bent over, grinning down upon us, from the opposite side of the camp. Even in that as if they drew delight from our anguish.

dread hour, we could recognise the voices of my We noticed that few of the men were Seminoles. sister and Viola. The unmerciful monster bal Indians there were, but these were of dark com- brought them back to witness the execution. We plexion-nearly black. They were of the tribe of saw them not; but their wild plaints proved that Yamassees-a race enslaved by the Seminoles, and they were spectators of the scene. long ingrafted into their nation. But most of those we saw were black negroes, zamboes and the flames—my hair crisped and singed at the fiery

Kotter and hotter grew the fire, and nearer licked mulattoes descendants of Spanish maroons, or contact. ‘runaways' from the American plantations. There Objects swam dizzily before my eyes—the trees were many of the latter, for I could hear English tottered and reeled-the earth went round with a spoken among them. No doubt, there were some of whirling motion. my own slaves mixing with the motley crew, though My skull ached as if it would soon split open-my none of these came near, and I could only note the brain was drying up-my senses were forsaking me! faces of those who stood over me.

In about half an hour the diggers had finished their work. Our stakes were now drawn, and we were PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF AUGUSTE dragged forward to the spot where they had been

COMTE. engaged.

As soon as I was raised up, I bent my eyes upon As through the narrow portal, the poet approaches the camp, but my sister was no longer there. Viola the Elysian fields, so in seeking to give a slight too was gone. They had been taken, either inside sketch of one of the greatest intellects of his generathe tents, or back among the bushes. they were not there. They would be spared the pang of his own insignificant existence.

I was glad tion, the writer is forced to refer to circumstances of a horrid spectacle-though it was not likely that from such motive the monster had removed them.

In 1836, when the world was still young to me, or I Two dark holes yawned before us, deeply dug into to it—algebraically if not otherwise identical positions the earth. They were not graves; or if so, it was —fretting under the fancied insufficiency of private intended our bodies should be placed vertically

in tuition in England, with hard prayers I wrung from them. But if their shape was peculiar, so too was the my parents permission to continue the studies prepare purpose for which they were made.

It was soon ratory to going to the university, in Paris. Here, in explained. We were conducted to the edge of the cavities, with no sparing hand, I was consigned to the came

each branch of the education sketched out for me seized by the shoulders, and plunged in, each into the one that was nearest. They proved just deep of the first professors of the day. Long afterwards, I enough to bring our throats on a level with the learned with what difficulty the lessons of one of these , as

had been obtained, but youth though I then was,

tutor, whose last mathematical pupil I was, was repented since--and I was seldom in bed till after Auguste Comte.

midnight. One black wintry morning, after harder Daily as the clock struck eight on the horloge of the work than usual, I nodded over the lecture. With Luxembourg, while the ringing of the hammer on the no straining of the ears, could I drink in the sense ; bell was yet audible, the door of my room opened, and with no forcing of the eyelids, keep them open. I then entered a man, short, rather stout, almost what dared not rise and take a few turns in the room, for one might call sleek, freshly shaven, without vestige this would have been a violation of our habits. So I of whisker or moustache. He was invariably dressed sat till the humming of the voice, and the scraping of in a suit of the most spotless black, as if going to the pen, acted like a lullaby, and I was already three a dinner-party; his white neckcloth was fresh from the parts asleep, when suddenly a change of tone aroused laundress's hands, and his hat shining like a racer's me, and the words, ‘But you sleep,' recalled me to coat. He advanced to the arm-chair prepared for myself, only to see my tutor stalking out of the room, him in the centre of the writing-table, laid his hat on while I vainly tried to catch and appease him. The the left-hand corner, his snuff-box was deposited next day, he resumed the lesson where he had left off on the same side, beside the quire of paper placed on the one previous to my nap, but not a word of in readiness for his use, and dipping the pen twice reproach was uttered, or of apology allowed, by the into the ink-bottle, then bringing it to within an inch insulted sage. of his nose, to make sure that it was properly filled, he

From that day, I began to love him. Cold or broke silence: “We have said that the chord AB, &c.' abstracted as he seemed, the intellectual giant henceFor three-quarters of an hour he continued his demon-forth won almost imperceptibly on the youth. I stration, making short notes as he went on, to guide could not feel, much less measure his greatness, but I the listener in repeating the problem alone; then acquired an interest in the dry science he taught me; taking up another cahier which lay beside him, he and had I continued under his charge, I might have went over the written repetition of the former lesson. become a mathematician. I had been taught to fear, He explained, corrected, or commented, till the clock not to revere my masters ; if I had a liking for struck nine; then, with the little finger of the right any, it had been in proportion to his laxness; and I hand, brushing from his coat and waistcoat the shower now found myself half unconsciously, and quite unacof superfluous snuff which had fallen on them, he countably, gliding into a sort of affection for the most

unapproachable, the most uncongenial of them all. I pocketed his snuff-box, and resuming his hat, he as was then the most unreasonable of boy-mortals. I silently as when he came in, made his exit by the cannot, therefore, suppose that this feeling was due door, which I rushed to open for him. This man to the sway of pure reason over my mind; I can only of few words was the Aristotle or Bacon of the think that it arose from an instinctive perception of nineteenth century.

the smothered kindliness which entered so largely

into his composition. Thus for a year I daily sat a listener, not always attentive, and to the last but dimly conscious of the myself to a new range of studies—stigmatised, I

I returned to England to 'keep halls, and devote value of lessons which I can never forget in their believe, by my masters and pastors as pure idleness, higher meaning, though the angles and curves which because not set down in their books; and it was two they explained have long since become to me more years before I was again in Paris. By that time I meaningless than hieroglyphics.

had become acquainted with what was published of One would think that such a teacher, gliding in that my old tutor was a great man, though hardly yet

the Philosophie Positive. From its pages I had learned and out like a piece of clock-work, without an inter

a celebrated one. I had learned to contrast his change of any of the gentle courtesics of life, would earnestness with the laissez faire of others; and a raise only a repulsive feeling in his pupil

. It was in visit to him was one of the first pleasures which I vain I tried to break through the coldness of our promised myself in the capital most fertile in pleasure relations, to establish that little preliminary gossip in to youthful visitors. Mindful of the showers of snuff which I have found some teachers too ready to employ which had too often attacked my sternutatory all the time of their lesson ; he seemed to say that he muscles, I carried him a Cumnock snuff-box, with had nerved himself to a disagreeable duty, and that one of our Ayrshire pebbles in the lid, and was nothing should turn him from it. Only twice did I at once into a drawer of his writing-table, and then

delighted to find it graciously accepted. He put it even succeed in gaining proof that he had something told me that he had given up the use of snuff. He mortal in his composition. I had been six weeks said that he had withdrawn entirely from the world, under his tuition, and still persisted, with more, per- to devote himself without distraction to the politics of haps, of malice than of ignorance, in using the most his philosophy—that he no longer even read the abominably ungrammatical French in my written newspapers, and had weaned himself from every repetitions of his lectures. One morning he lost superfluity. patience at some solecism more excruciating than then the acknowledged chief of a school, and renowned,

It was not till 1851 that I again saw him. He was usual ; and laying down his pen, he turned to me, if not admired, among all thinkers. I had some little and said : "Why do you persevere in writing such trouble in finding his abode, and it was with a beating barbarisms ?' 'You know I am a foreigner,' said heart that I pulled the bell-string. An old gentleI; “how should I do better ?' “You can at least do man in a dressing-gown, with a black neckerchief better than this: write as you speak;' and he resumed strung round his throat, opened the door. I almost his pen, correcting every fault of language. From thought I had misunderstood the porter's directions. that day, there were few grammatical blunders in my

Monsieur Comte?' I inquiringly said.

It is I, sir,' was the answer. papers. Once again, and this time less wilfully, I

The change in his appearance intimidated me, and encountered the same mild anger. I was at the I hesitatingly mentioned my name. At once he put time studying very hard, generally thirteen hours out his hand and drew me into his sitting-room. a day of book-work-a folly bitterly expiated and Here I was able to remark the wonderful change

met.

which had come over his expression since we had last days, nothing can be more striking than the terms in

He now reminded me of one of those medieval which he writes of all these in the preface to his Pos. pictures which represent St Francis wedded to tivism ; his self-reproaches for his want of tendernes Poverty. There was a mildness in those attenuated -he had never failed in duty-towards his mother, features that might be called ideal rather than his unbounded veneration for his St Clotilde, and li human; through the half-closed eyes there shone the respect for the enlightened ignorance of his unlettere. very soul of him who had doubted whether he had servant, afford a psychological study as curious as it anything more than intellect. 'I did not recognise is touching. you,' he said, opening a drawer; 'but I think of you In the beginning of last September, I was again ia almost daily. See, I still have your box, and I keep Paris. As soon as I had fixed myself in lodgings is my seals in it, so that I am often reminded of you.' the same studious quarter in which I had first knon He spoke unreservedly of the honourable poverty to him, I sought out the abode of my old master. I which the last revolution, in depriving him of his was an autumn evening when I stumbled into the modest competence, had reduced him, and he told gloomy porte cochère of his house. The porter was me how the generous sacrifices of some of his disciples sitting on the sill of his lodge, knitting a worsted had relieved him of the cares of material existence. stocking in the twilight. "Is it here that Monsieur

He indulged me with a long conversation, every Comte lives ?' was my question. “Yes, sir,' answered word of which filled me with fresh wonder. He was the man without rising or lifting his eyes from his no longer the rigid thinker, regular and passionless as work. “Is he at home?' • He was buried this mechanism; he seemed to have renewed his youth, afternoon.' to have added something to his former self, but how I never received a greater or more unexpected or what, I could not at the time imagine. In terms shock. His temperament and his healthy habits unintelligible to me, he referred to relations which seemed to promise a long career; and the last time I had given impulse to his affections; he spoke with had talked with him, he had been speaking of the enthusiasm of the Italian poets, and of Shakspeare employments he had marked for his old age, when and Milton, whose works he had learned to read in lie should be no longer capable of working at lais the original; and–O surprise l-taking from his philosophy, for he had rigorously determined the chimney-piece a well-thumbed copy of the Imitation, period when he should retire from what he considered he said: "I read some pages of this book every his apostolate. morning.'

I shall neither defend nor criticise his system. I I already had had cause to suspect that under that is a subject too abstruse for these pages, and to which frigid mask which he wore in earlier years, an impul. I could not do justice. That it contains many truths

, sive nature and warm affections were concealed; I that it is a wonderful monument of a wonderful mini, had heard at the time that the little keepsake I had few or none will deny, but fewer still will be found brought had pleased him so much, that in speaking of to accept his philosophy as a whole. He looks onls it a few days afterwards his eyes glistened, I under- on the positive, that is, the material side of nature, stood, therefore, that far within him was a loving he has no tolerance either for spiritual weaknesses or soul; and I now learned, from a book which he gave spiritual aspirations. He is a system-maker

, and in me, the story of how he had found and lost the his love for his system, he is unjust both to his kind counterpart, the other half, which he had so long and to himself

. A true child of the Revolution, the sought. The history of the platonic love to which qualities which he possesses and which he wants are he owed the late development of his affections, is a equally striking; but I do not fear to say that what strange one, and the story of its heroine one of the ever pure morality and true conceptions abound in saddest in the history of crime.

Jis works are the genuine productions of Auguste Madame Clotilde de Vaux was the wife of a man Comte, while the childishness and pedantry which whose misconduct had brought upon him a condem- also distinguish them may be laid at the door of the nation to the galleys for life. If not the original of conventional Frenchman. the Maitre d'Ecole in the Mysteries of Paris, his career had been too similar to the one so hideously drawn by the novelist. This lady united to youth and an

SNOW-DRIFT. unspotted reputation, a poetic temperament and literary talents of a high" order. She was pining

Winter's white banner waves on every bough, in cheerless solitude, neither wife nor widow, a state

The summer flowers and fruits died long ago, void of hope, and incapable of forgetfulness, when

Their
grace

is she met Auguste Comte, the man of austere morals

With tablets of pure snow. and unengaging manners, but towards whom she felt the secret attraction I lave spoken of. The acquaint- And hopes and joys, sweet blossoms of the heart. 11 ance quickly ripened into a friendship, which before And griefs that only human hearts can know, long became an absorbing though platonic passion. In space as brief have lived, but to depart It was she who had opened to him the treasures of

And hide 'neath mem'ry's snow. poetry, she was the Beatrix who awoke in him the feelings of affection, and under whose_guidance he I would not sing of these; my cheerful verse trod the ideal world of Shakspeare and Dante.

Can find a happier emblem, as I go So greatest and most glorious things on ground

'Mid brier and bramble, nature's primal curse, May often need the help of weaker hand.

All beautified with snow. It was a friendship late found and early lost, for the Methinks, there springs no root of bitterness,' lady was cut off in the prime of her years. But hier No stinging care, no thorny shape of wo, influence did not cease with life; her image haunted him like a celestial vision for the remainder of his

But love may clothe it in a fairer dress, days. In her he imagined that he had seen humanity

gone, their

graves are covered not

As these are clothed with snom. carried to that highest perfection which he believed to be the end of our destiny, and he united her in his prayers with his mother and a female servant who | Printed and Published by W. & R, CHAMBERS, 47 Paternaster waited on him to the last.

Row, LONDOX, and 339 High Street, EDINBURGH. Also sold To one who liad known Auguste Comte in former

WILLIAM ROBERTSON, 23 Upper Sackville Street, DrBLIX, and

J. J.

all Booksellers

POPULARI

LITERATURE

[blocks in formation]

a matter of course, but as one about which, on the THE GENTLE READER.

contrary, there existed no little suspicion : he is ILAVING written a good deal for the general public regarded with an eye not so much of respect as of a without receiving any acknowledgment from that certain affectionate watchfulness, and his supposed particular member of it, the Gentle Reader, I, for scruples are combated with a sort of tender authority, one, am not going to flatter him any longer. It is as though the author were his father-in-law, and an my private belief that he never purchased a book in archbishop. In battle-scenes, again, and stirring inci. his life. I doubt whether he ever even went so far as dents of that kind, this slave of literature is commonly to subscribe to a library. I believe him to be a sort carried to a slight acclivity, commanding not only a of person who borrows volumes from the book-shelves good general view of what is going forward, but-to of his friends, and writes in pencil his idiotic remarks judge by what he is made to see-a very particular upon the margins of them. It is exceedingly improb- one also; and I have even known the Gentle Reader, able, if he does buy books, that he ever bought any upon one occasion, to have been shamefully inveigled of mine, because, in plain truth, the Gentle Reader is into a tree, under promise of becoming spectator of a unavoidably a fool. Otherwise, would authors, who deadly combat, only to be compelled to listen to some are conscious of having been insufferably stupid and heroic verses of the seducer, who, taking advantage prosy, or of being about to become so in their next of the poor fellow's stationary position, inflicted a chapter, so unanimously appeal to his good-nature good thrce dozen. Nobody but a very weak-minded and foolish forbearance? They take such liberties person, indeed, would suffer himself to be treated in with him, and place him in suclı positions as would this manner more than once, whereas there is no be resented by any person of proper sense and feeling. more cessation than limit to the persecution of the When a love-scene is about to be described at any Gentle Reader. That he is put upon thus remorseintolerable length, the Gentle Reader is commonly lessly, and attacked with this impunity, that every lugged in as a third party, and made a confidant of, scribbler hails him as his friend, and leads him whether he will or no, by the two silly young folks. through all the stupidest scenes by the button-hole,

It is, first of all, fawningly insinuated that he, the is, no doubt, because of his gentleness. The Gentle Gentle Reader, knows all about it, being, as he is, so Reader is unable to say no, or bo to a goose-quill. fascinating an individual, and having been the object No author dares to treat the Reader-pure and simple of adoration of so many hearts; and then the whole -in any such way. On the contrary, his connection tedious matter is laid before him in all its turtle-dove with that gentleman is wholly of a business character, monotony, while the melancholy details are dwelt upon and no obligation is supposed to be upon either side. with a sentimental distinctness, to which impropriety The Courteous Reader, eren, is not so great a ninny itself would be almost preferable.

as the subject of this paper, and is addressed, with hat In descriptions of scenery especially, this patron of in hand, indeed, but yet as a reasonably ill-tempered the novelists has to go through a very great deal for individual with whom absurd liberties are not to be their sweet sakes; he has to accompany them, if he taken. Our Fair Readers—who are always in the will be so good, to inaccessible heights, where the plural, and, I think, supposed to be the sharers of an foot of man has never before trodden, and where the eternal friendship which has lasted thirteen weeks at shiriek of the goshawk, or other bird unknown except a boarding-school, and who lean over the same pages to ornithologists, alone is heard; or he has to wander with arms round each other's necks, and in mutual among hanging woodlands, hand in hand with the tears--are trifled with somewhat, and not set at a very writer, until he is deposited upon a dampish bank, by high intellectual estimate; but still they have not that the side of a stream, whose course is presently com- catholicism of character which admits of their being pared, at prodigious length, to the life of man. When so continuously ill-treated as the Gentle Reader. The the novelist, indeed, is inclined to moralise, the Gentle Dear Reader is only apostrophised by female writers, Reader is apostrophised as though he were Lord who endeavour by that unjustifiable emollient to Bacon, or Dr Paley, and made accessory to the most blind the judgment and enlist the affections on uninteresting and illogical sentiments of the author's, their side. respecting being and human responsibility. If religion The General Reader is at the head of a totally be the subject, the Gentle Reader is made a party to different class. He is, in the author's eyes, the ringthe strangest 'views, and that sometimes by no leader of the unappreciating and illiterate mob; of means in the pleasantest manner; liis opinions being that faction-and it is sometimes considerable—which taken to be identical with those of the writer, not as I is sure to decline to read, and far more to buy, his

sun.

book. When a chapter is about to be devoted to brows, I hereby declare that I do not care three a subject which the writer does not quite understand, halfpence-the absurdly ridiculous price of this or is about to be filled with got-up and unnecessary superlative periodical—whether this paper of mine technical expressions, the General Reader is warned shall please the Gentle Reader or not. off in the opening sentences, as by a trespass-board. He is recommended, in a foot-note, to buy another THE GARDEN OF FLOWERS.' work of the author's, written in a more popular style, The eager craving after knowledge evinced by all and not to read any more of that which he has in his classes of the community, has, in these latter days hand, because he won't understand it. The Intelligent of the world's liistory, summoned into existence an Reader, and the like, are, at the same time, flatteringly immense number of books treating of every science beckoned on, it is true; but everybody knows pretty and art, from astronomy to angling, in what is generwell what is coming, and skips the chapter. This ally termed a popular manner. A popular work on notice to the General Reader is the first open declara- science, however, is not the one thing new under the

A certain Antonio Torquemada wrote and tion of that contempt which the author secretly enter- published a book of this description in Spain, as far tains for many even of his own clients. A sneering back as the middle of the sixteenth century; and it reference to the Casual Reader speedily follows. The achieved a very widely extended popularity for itself. Casual Reader will not peruse, and will not understand It was translated into nearly, if not quite, all of the if he does peruse; will not be entertained, and if he European languages; bibliographers reckon its ediis entertained where no entertainment is meant, tions by hundreds. Nor need we be surprised at the ought to be ashamed of himself; will fail to mark, or, general favour in which it was held. To an attractive having marked, will not be able to carry it in his title, The Garden of Flowers, it added about six

hundred of the most marvellous stories, selected from mind to the place where it will be useful to him; will the various authors then considered the standards of skim too hastily-in fact, the Casual Reader is peri- scientific knowledge. These metaphorical flowers of phrastically informed that he had better shut up the the garden of science are pleasingly and appropriately book, go home, and get to bed. Having thus lashed introduced to the reader as the conversation of three himself into fury, and the worst passions of his pro- friends—Antonio, Bernardo, and Ludovico-in a real fessional nature being fully aroused, the author garden decorated with natural flowers. In most

he adds his flower or story throws aside the last rag of courtesy, and falls tooth- instances, each speaker, and-nail and steel-pen upon the Vapid and Irreflective Pliny hath it, as it is written in Solinus,'as it may

to the collection, assigns his authority, saying—as Reader himself. He has been waiting for him for be seen in Olaus Magnus,' and so forth; the fathers some considerable time. The bonds of sympathy of the Church, too, are frequently quoted in a similar between the writer and the public have been long fashion, and the whole forms a very remarkable reflex gradually loosening, and are now utterly dissolved. of the state of general and natural science at the Scarcely anybody is ignorant that, under the name of period in which it was compiled. the Vapid and Irreflective Reader, the author is, in

Like the progress of an explorer of a new country, reality, anathematising everybody. Upon that unfor- the world's advance in knowledge can only be tunate subject he avenges himself, with a hideous left on the ground already passed over. Than the

correctly estimated by looking back to the landmarks malice, for the servile adulation which he has lavished, Garden of Flowers, we could not have a better landin other places, upon the Gentle Reader, and others of mark for this purpose. It was long the companion of that kidney. The slave, as generally happens, is now the grave and learned, and was dedicated to a ripe become the tyrant. Growing duller and duller in the scholar, Sarmento de Soto Mayor, bishop of Astorgas, matter of the work he is composing — and what rejoicing in as many other names, designations, and is more, being well aware of it himself-he waxes titles as none other than a Spaniard could possibly fierce and more intolerant against that increasing possess. Let us then, hand-in-hand, friendly reader, majority of the reading public who are unlikely to enter this antique garden, and discover what was the read him. The only person, indeed, who can be general knowledge among men of learning about three compared to the Vapid and Irreflective Reader as a hundred years ago. type of all that is base and foolish, is that equally The three friends, having met in the garden, sit denunciated individual, the Sinner, who is the target down, under the shade of a tuft of trees, on the bank of the divines. In the latter case, by some fortunate of a river; and soothed with the pleasing sound of the arrangement of our ideas, we rarely associate the clear stream and murmuring of the green leares, object of so much invective with ourselves; but, in contemplate the flowers—so diverse in form, so the former, we cannot fail to recognise some of our dainty in colour, as if nature had used her extreme own familiar lineaments. Still, there is in this an industry to shape, paint, and enamel them.' This honest outspeaking and an acknowledged misunder- naturally leads the conversation to the works of standing between the author and his unappreciators, nature in general, which forms the first day's diswhich is to me infinitely preferable to that hypo- course or chapter, entitled, “Many things worthy of critical deference be pays to the Gentle Reader. Any admiration, which nature hath wrought, and daily allusion to him-and, indeed, to any Reader-only worketh in men, contrary to her common and ordinhelps to destroy what little reality the writer may ary course of operation. Here we read of whole have had the good-furtune to invest his scenes with, nations having heads like dogs, and feet like oxen; of and to break that web of fancy which, Apollo knows, a tribe of one-footed people, and of several varieties it is hard enough for him to weave. Moreover, oftailed men-some having tails like those of as I have said--and this consideration has much peacocks; others whose vertebral terminations reweight with me-there is little or nothing to be got sembled those of horses; while a third had thick out of the Gentle Reader. The very mention of him, bushy tails like foxes. Indeed, there could be no indeed, is a literary toadyism ; from the practice of doubt about the latter, for Bernardo speaks of a race which, as of all other toadyisms, no true benefit can of fox-tailed men that then existed in Spain. Their be ever possibly derived. Therefore, though my ancestors had offended a certain St Torobius, who brethren of the pen may tremble at my audacity, thus punished them in secula seculorum. It may not and the unaccustomed public knit its indignant be generally known that a similar story is still told of

« 上一頁繼續 »