« 上一頁繼續 »
to find that the person, who thus pretends to aristarchize, is so ignorant of the language, that, in the short sentence of French he instances, for, "I do'nt love you," in English, he misplaces the words, saying, Je vous n'aime pas, for Je ne vous aime pas. These absurdities too, he finds are characteristic of the nation, and prove that the French are in want of common
Proof the first is, that the French use the possessive pronoun masculine mon, before a noun feminine beginning with a vowel, for the sake of a better sound: as, mon absence for ma absence. This ingenious critic is not, seemingly, aware, that a sacrifice of reason and grammar has also been made in his own language, in the possessive case too, for the advantage of expression, viz.-an (s), with an apostrophe (a contraction of his), as; the boy's book, for the boy his book; the girl's book, for the girl his book, to avoid saying, the book of the boy, the book of the girl. This deviation in English has, however, sweetness of sound to plead in excuse; as for example: "the princesses' laundresses with their highnesses' sempstresses; that is to say, the princesses his laundresses, with their highnesses his sempstresses.
A senseless Frenchman, that is the dupe of his ears, must envy us these beauties; and, doubtless, those exquisite esseses were one cause of the following Italian observation:
But, do I judge by this of the degree of common sense there is in England, or even of the merits of the English language? By no means. Why? Because I am too well acquainted with the people, the language, and the literature, to form so rash a judgment; and Mr. J. H. Vy, with as much knowledge of what is French, would, perhaps, be more diffident: for national prejudices are no mark of knowledge or wisdom.
Second, Two genders with rules are not peculiar to
the French language; they contribute to perspicuity, and afford other advantages, which, it is plain, J. H. -y knows nothing about.
Third. Ne, without its complement, is but part of a negative.
Fourth. A (t) is introduced in ya-t-il? for the same reason that, in English, an (n) is put after (a), to say an ignoramus.
Thus, without pretending to be a savan, I hope I have answered all J. H. Vy's inquiries to entire satisfaction; and here the discussion ends, with a moral: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
Hull, Oct. 5, 1818.
C. J. L.
ANECDOTE AND WIT.
No. 12.--DAVID HUME.
"NATURE, 1 believe," says Mr. Hardy, 66 formed any man more unlike his real character than David Hume. The powers of physiognomy were baffled by his countenance; neither could the most skilful in that science pretend to discover the smallest trace of the faculties of his mind, in the unmeaning features of his visage. His face was broad and flat, his mouth wide, and without any other expression than that of imbecility. His eyes, vacant and spiritless; and the corpulence of his whole person was far better fitting to communicate the idea of a turtle-eating alderman, than of a refined philosopher. His speech, in English, was rendered ridiculous by the broadest Scotch accent: and his French was, if possible, still more laughable; so that wisdom, most certainly, never disguised herself before in so uncouth a garb. Though now near fifty years old, he was healthy and strong; but his health and strength, far from being advantageous to his figure, instead of manly comeliness, had only the appearance of rusticity. His wearing an uniform added greatly to his natural awkwardness, for he wore it like a grocer of the trained-bands. Sinclair was a lieutenant-general, and was sent to the courts of Vienna and Turin, as a military envoy, to see that their quota of troops was fur
nished by the Austrians and Piedmontese. It was, therefore, thought necessary that his secretary should appear to be an officer, and Hume was accordingly disguised
"Having thus given an account of his exterior, it is but fair that I should state, that of all the philosophers of his sect, none, I believe, ever joined more benevolence to its mischievous principles, than my friend Hume. His love to mankind was universal and vehement; and there was no service he would not cheerfully have done to his fellow-creatures, excepting that of suffering them to save their souls in their own way! He was tender-hearted, friendly, and charitable in the extreme; but the difficulty will now occur, how a man endowed with such qualities could possibly consent to become the agent of so much mischief, as undoubtedly has been done to mankind by his writings; and this difficulty can only be solved by having recourse to that universal passion, which has, I fear, a much more general influence over all our actions than we are willing to confess. Pride, or vanity, joined to a sceptical turn of mind, and to an education which, though learned, rather sipped knowledge than drank it, was, probably, the ultimate cause of this singular phenomenon; and the desire of being placed at the head of a sect, whose tenets controverted and contradicted all received opinions, was too strong to be resisted by a man, whose genius enabled him to find plausible arguments sufficient to persuade both himself and others, that his own opinions were true. A philosophical knight-errant religion was the dragon he had vowed to vanquish, and he was careless, or thoughtless, of the consequences which might ensue from the achievement of the adventure to which he had pledged himself. He once professed himself the admirer of a young, beautiful, and accomplished lady at Turin, who only laughed at his passion. One day he addressed her in the usual common-place strain, that he was abymé, anéanti (undone, annihilated). Oh! pour anéanti,' replied the lady, ce n'est en effet qu'une operation tres naturelle de votre systeme.' (Oh! as to being annihilated, that is, in fact, only a very natural operation of your system!)"
A CURIOUS ACCUSATION.
IN the town of F, in France, when the news of the battle of Trafalgar began to circulate, the prefect ordered a search to be made for the authors of the report. This fact happened six months after the victory. About the same period half-a-dozen English prisoners, upon their parole, were confined, for having dined together in commemoration of that great event. The denunciation of the prefect's police on this occasion, afterwards seen at the municipality, is a curious specimen of the kind. It set forth, 1. That the prisoners had dined in the English fashion. 2. That they had drunk eighteen bottles of wine after dinner. 3. That they had talked politics all the evening. 4. That they had talked a great deal about Lord Nelson. 5. That they had burst out into loud fits of laughter, when they spoke of the French navy. 6. That they had made a great racket, and sung a great deal about two o'clock in the morning. This report, which a country magistrate in England would have laughed out of doors, if presented to him respecting French prisoners, was actually sent up by the prefect, accompanied with notes, to the minister of police, Fouché. But here the farce ended: Fouché saw the ridicule of it, and ordered the prisoners to be released.
IT is recorded of the famous Marshal Turenne, that when he commanded the French army in Germany, deputies from a certain town came to his camp, and offered him a hundred thousand crowns, on condition that he would not march his army through their territory. As your town is not on the route which I intend to take," said he, "I cannot in conscience accept the money you offer."
IN the middle of the third century after Mahomet, one Jacub, from being originally a brazier, had made himself master of some fine provinces, which he governed at will, though professing (like the eastern governors
of late times) a seeming deference to his proper sovereign. The caliph, not satisfied with apparent subinission, sent a legate to persuade him into a more perfect obedience. Jacub, who was then ill, sent for the legate into his presence, and there showed him three things, which he had prepared for his inspection: a sword, some black barley-bread, and a bundle of onions. He then informed the legate, that should he die of his present disorder, the caliph, in such case, would find no further trouble. But, if the contrary should happen, there would be then no arbitrator to decide between them, excepting that, pointing to the sword. He added, that if fortune should prove adverse, should he be conquered by the caliph, and stripped of his possessions, he was then resolved to return to his ancient frugality, pointing to the black bread, and the bundle of onions.
A THEOLOGICAL DECISION.
THE most curious anecdote of chivalry, now on record, occurs in the ecclesiastical history of Spain. Alphonso the ninth, about the year 1214, having expelled the Moors from Toledo, endeavoured to establish the Roman missal in the place of St. Isidore's. This very alarming innovation was obstinately opposed by the people of Toledo; and the king found that his project would be attended with insuperable difficulties. The contest, at length, between the advocates of the two missals grew so serious, that it was mutually resolved to decide the controversy, not by a theological disputation, but by single combat; and, the champion of the Toledo missal proving victorious, the king gave up the point.
AT Lleweni (says Mr. Pennant, in his journey to Snowdon) is the portrait of a lady, exceedingly celebrated in this part of Wales; the famous Catherine Tudor, better known by the name of Catherine of Berain, from her seat in this neighbourhood. She was daughter and heiress of Tudor ap Robert Fycham of Berain. Her first husband was John Salusbury, and, on his death,