"Now, France (continued he) France, with all her balmy breezes —the hilarity of her chearful children—the reſiſting ſpirit of joy which they profeſs, to repel the invaſions of that diſconſolation which would otherwiſe ſeiſe upon the heart—and [Page 3] the attracting novelties of a journey ſo ſalient, and undertaken at a ſeaſon of the year, in which a bloſſom is peeping from almoſt every buſh to ſalute thee—France, I ſay, whoſe patient ſons, and light-hearted daughters, like thy own philoſopher Lemuel*, always take things as they find them—ſuch an excurſion to ſuch a country, might—.
The prolixity of this advice— firſt ſhewing me the object, and then artfully adorning it — now tempting my curioſity, and now [Page 4] firing my fancy, did the buſineſs ten times better than all the downright perſuaſions in the world. In truth, advice of every kind is phyſical, and muſt, before it can be received without diſguſt, be purged of its natural bitterneſs, ſmoothed, ſoftened and prepared, with the moſt delicate ſkill of compoſition.
The doſe, now gently adminiſtered by my phyſician, was perfectly palatable. It was made up by one of the beſt and gentleſt of the human race, and, as a proof that I diſcovered nothing of the medicinal in it, which, whether in cathartics [Page 5] of the ſoul or body, are equally hateful and recoiling, I was ſo eager to take it off hand, that I interrupted him towards the cloſe of his ſentence, and prematurely drew the inference from a competent knack which belongs to me of tranſlating his looks.
I am poſitive my tranſlation was true to the letter and ſenſe of the original; for, as my phyſician talked upon the benefits of a tour to the Continent, there were ſo many points ſymptomatic of his meaning that any man, very moderately ſkilled in phyſiognomy, muſt have interpreted correctly. The ſymptoms [Page 6] were theſe: a ſparkling eye— an expanded brow — brightened features, and over his face, particularly in the center of the cheeks, that gentle diffuſion of blood, which is the genuine tincture of a pleaſure ſtreaming from the heart, and characteriſes the moment of entire complacency.
Entering therefore into the ſpirit of tranſlation, I drew my concluſion in the following manner—France, you would ſay, aſſiſted by her train of ſalutary airs, ſongs, ſerenades, and dances, might reſtore nature to her healthy tone again. — There, you imagine I might breathe a more [Page 7] benignant temperature — there reeſtabliſh that ſhattered ſyſtem of the nerves which has long been ſubjected to the whimſical ſhocks of a leſs genial element.
"The very idea of this excurſion, (ſaid he) hath been friendly to the pulſations of this little pendulum of life.—Its movements approximate much more to what they ſhould be, than before thou wert journeying in imagination.
"I will ſet off directly (ſaid I); one ounce of that health which I originally enjoyed, turns the tremblings of the balance againſt all the mines that are encloſed within the bowels of the earth. Ah, invaluable treaſure! — thou, who giveſt freſh luſtre to the beams of the ſun, and freſh radiance to the ſkies of Heaven!—who beſtoweſt a more balmy odour on the breath of morning, and deepeneth the richneſs of that tincture which fluſhes over [Page 9] the roſe!—Ah Health, thou prime ſource of pleaſure, and vivifying ſoul of every felicity beneath the moon—for thee, and thy inſpiring influence, I would travel, were I aſſured of meeting thy rewarding ſmiles, into the heart of the moſt uncheary and unpeopled climes. Inſtead of going forth amidſt the fragrancies, and fertilities of France, I would be contented to purſue thy footſteps through the burning ſhores of Africa, or through the depth of thoſe ſterile regions, which deform Arabia. With what a fervent alacrity doth the ſick man leave even his velvet couch, and downy pillow, to court thoſe breezes and thoſe vales, [Page 10] however diſtant and obſcure, which thou deigneſt to frequent. No deſert can long deſerve that name, or long remain barren which is honoured by thy radiating preſence. Wherever thou journeyeſt, plenty and pleaſure are thy harbingers — the thorn is ſoftened to a flower, and from the barren rock iſſues at thy bidding the moſt copious ſtreams of running water. In thy train are all the graces, and the gayeſt aſſemblage of thoſe enchanting ideas, which thoſe graces inſpire. Imagination, fancy, poeſy, and every power belonging to her divine and ingenious ſiſters, are thine — They deſcribe, ſing, deſign, paint, and regulate [Page 11] their ſeperate arts, each allied to the other, only under thy immediate auſpices.
If then thou art to be found, oftener in the kingdoms of Louis of Bourbon, than of George of Britain, I riſe with all the ſtrength and energy that nature hath left me to carry this perſon nearer to the Seine. With the bleſſings of health come, ſpontaneouſly, the bleſſings of correcter remark—the eye acquires a clearer light of its object—the intellect is cleanſed of thoſe cloudy films which before entangled it—and the ways of men—their manners—and their hearts, are more eaſily read, and [Page 12] more eaſily written upon.—In ſhort, the longer I contemplate this journey, the more comforts ſhall I find ariſing from it, and ſo, to cut ſhort the whole matter, by one deciſive ſentence—I will ſet off for Dover this very evening.
Nothing could poſſibly be a ſtronger teſtimony of genuine good-nature, than what was now exhibited by my phyſician, who, with incredible temper, ſat out my apoſtrophe, and, I doubt not would have ſuffered me to figure away uninterruptedly had I gone on to the laſt tick of the twelfth hour; although he held in his hand, and [Page 13] once or twice put to his ear, one of thoſe machines which reminds every man how much time remains for him to do his buſineſs. Apoſtrophies, however, and more eſpecially, where imagination is invited to dreſs up, and trick out, any amiable images, are too delightful to admit any thing that diminiſhes their lovelineſs, or robs them of the beauty which they acquire from ornamental perſonification.
If I were not in a violent hurry to get forward in my journey, I could, here, ſay a great many things on the art of perſonifying and apoſtrophiſing; but as theſe points [Page 14] may, perhaps, come in, ſufficiently a-propos, in any other part of theſe travels (which I hope ſo to write, as to make the heart of every reader, of every ſex and complexion, go willingly along with me) whether I lead him firſt to the confines of France, from thence to the foot of the Pope, and then onward, as far as foot, either of man or horſe can journey, I ſhall reſt contented, at preſent, with firſt noteing that in theſe caſes, when a man warms in his apoſtrophe—when—moreover— he kindles in the courſe of perſonifying an object ſo attracting as the goddeſs of health, all human things around him, are, for the time being, [Page 15] compleatly annihilated; and the apoſtrophiſer obliviates every article in the place where his body happens to be—his ſoul is on the wing—whether thoſe articles are of wood or ſtone, or brick or mortar, or fleſh or blood.
My phyſician, recollecting the happineſs I was enjoying in theſe briſk ſallies of the imagination, and well aware of the fine activity in which all the veſſels, that either feed, or are fed by the heart, were voluptuouſly regaled, ſat quiet, and when I finiſhed, examined once more the flutterings of the pulſe; after which ceremony, being the [Page 16] third of the ſame ſort, he left me with an aſſurance that, I had only to think myſelf happy, and to be ſo; for that he cordially congratulated me on ſafely diſmounting, after ſo ſucceſsful a gallop, through the plains of fancy.—He ſtopped, however, and turned ſhort round as he got to the door juſt to beg of me not to uſe the whip and ſpur with too much energy at firſt ſetting off, ſince, it was eaſy to perceive, if I went on upon the ſtretch as I began, all the terra firma, as well as all the water in the univerſe, muſt be overtraverſed after a few airings, and I ſhould get to the end of the world ideally, before I had, [Page 17] according to the ſlow order of actual travel, turned round my chaiſe and firſt given the gehew.
A NEW ſcheme, aptly projected, and in the right moment, is as the morning ſun which brighteneth more and more unto the perfect day. From the time it takes poſſeſſion, fancy begins the buſineſs of decoration, and mixes up her moſt beautiful colours with the niceſt art and ingenuity. Every body who hath either a head to conceive, or a heart to feel, can tell, fancy is a fine though a flattering painter; but then her portraits, like thoſe of the artiſt who pleaſed every-body, become [Page 19] delightful from the delicacy of certain adulatory touches which throw an air of complacency into them, ſo that it is impoſſible for any one to be diſguſted, but thoſe ſurly and ſordid mortals who are only to be ſatisfied by the downright full-length drawings of reaſon —an artiſt who piques herſelf upon etching correctly from the life, but whoſe pictures, nevertheleſs, like the unſeaſonable truths which run at random from the lips of blunt and ill-bred people, offend even from their very accuracy. Fancy, on the contrary, ſoftens the rigid, and improves the elegant. At leaſt, ſhe was now in the humour to oblige [Page 20] in the greateſt degree, and threw figures into ſuch attitudes, poſtures, and poſitions, that hypochondriaciſm, fleeted away like the dreary ſhadows of the December night, and ſpleen withdrew to that Erebus in which ſhe was engendered.
Many things contributed to this unuſual gaiety of heart. At the corner of a little apartment, I at this time occupied, ſtood a ſmall cabinet inlaid with ebony, and ſlips of cedar—It deſcended to me in a right line from the male part of my anceſtors, and had been preſerved entire, with all that caution which we beſtow upon a favourite. [Page 21] It became, now, not only a relick of family, but a curioſity from its antiquity. Both theſe adjoined to ſome other circumſtances traditionally tender—ſuch as its having contained in one of the drawers thoſe little golden circles, which united three of my relations, from whoſe fingers they were taken after death had diſſolved the connection—locks of hair alſo cut, with a trembling hand, by the diſconſolate ſurvivors, as a laſt teſtimony of conjugal recollection.—Theſe circumſtances I ſay, and ten thouſand more which belong to the heart, made this little pittance of patrimony ſo inexpreſſibly dear to me, that whether [Page 22] I reſided in town or country, and indeed whitherſoever I went, this was ſure to be my travelling companion. Its ſize was, luckily, favourable to ſuch purpoſes; but notwithſtanding this avowed partiality, it never would have been brought forward to the notice of the world, had it not been neceſſary to introduce ſomething for the heart.
In the centre drawer of this little cabinet was depoſited, in a caſe of velvet, the portrait of a lady, dear to me by every ſenſibility that attracts one heart to another. I drew it from the caſe, where, [Page 23] with all the jealouſy of paſſion, it was concealed, equally, from the breath of Heaven, and the duſt of the earth. To tell you that the original was abſent, and then that I kiſſed the reſemblance, would be too cold, too common, and too unimpaſſioned a relation of the fact, unleſs I acquainted you with all the tender ceremonies that preceded ſuch a ſalutation; and yet to make you acquainted with theſe, is ſo far beyond the ſcope of any language in which I have any ſkill, and, I much fear, ſo much beyond the ſcope of any language now in uſe amongſt men, that I ſhall not rob the beſt of ſenſations in the ſofteſt [Page 24] of moments by any deſcription whatever.
Be aſſured, the ſalutation was of that ſort, my eyes were darted upon the fair ſimilitude with ſuch a fervour, and it was preſſed to my boſom, which throbbed at the junction, with a feeling ſo far above the things of this world, that nothing but the power who allowed the ſenſation, could create words to expreſs it.
WHEN the doctor ſaw me enter with an air of chearfulneſs, he again felt the pulſe, whoſe beatings he liked ſo well, that he left me to pack up my things, under a perſuaſion, that the ſooner I was gone, and the more I engaged in theſe little ſallies of activity — in which hand, head, and heart are all at work—the better.
But when a nervous mortal ſets out in a hurry, he runs himſelf down—like a watch, injured in [Page 27] thoſe ſprings which ſuſtain the wheels on their centre—long before the twelve hours, and the tranſactions belonging to ſuch a quantity of life, are duly noted and performed.
Laſſitude of body, produces fatigue of ſoul. After all this vehement agitation, forcibly carried on for more than ſixty minutes, in which I had more precipitately beſtired myſelf than was either neceſſary to the occaſion, or conſiſtent with the peace and quietneſs of any man's fibres — unleſs they had been bound up with bracings of iron — after all this, I ſay, heavineſs came upon me, and I [Page 28] had ſudden recourſe to that benign Power who repairs this fragil tenement of nature, which we carry about us; a power whoſe obliviating draught every ſon of Adam, and every being on the mortal ſcale, whether an atom or a giant, fondly thirſts for. But even the ſlumbers of wearineſs are not ſound; and extreme laſſitude is inconſiſtent with that ſerenity which produces, after the decays and waſte of the day, a perfect repoſe.
Be my body, however, in whatever ſtate it might, my mind aſſerted its immortality, and, aſſiſted by imagination, carried me in a [Page 29] viſion of the night, from one room to another, from the top of the houſe to the bottom of it—from the drawer which contained my treaſure in a ſmall ſilken purſe, to that which held my apparel, till I had fairly filled to the brim a reſponſible travelling trunk; which being ſo well ſtudded with nails, and preſerved by iron and leather-work, looked as if it belonged rather to my Lord Anglois than to an author.
In the hey-day of this viſionary and violent exerciſe, juſt upon the point, as it were, of raviſhing the maidenhead of a nouvelle purſuit, I repreſented the luggage as faſtening [Page 30] before me on the chaiſe, into which I got with the diſpatchful ſtep of eager reſolution.
Methought the carriage was infinitely too large—too commodious —too roomy—it appeared to my fancy, like entering alone into a prodigious apartment without a ſingle piece of valuable furniture. It wanted ſomething — I rocked myſelf backwards and forwards upon the ſeat, till the whole machine toſſed upon its traces, like a veſſel in a tempeſt. Never ſurely was there a more melancholy moment of ſee-ſaw—What can poſſibly [Page 31] be the matter with this ſtrange confound—
"What can poſſibly be the matter (ſaid I) with this con-found-ed— rumb-ling — miſ-e-rable-hung — vil-lain of a chaiſe? — It is like taking a journey on the rack!" I bid the poſtillion go forwards a little — Worſe and worſe — The ſwing of the vehicle ſhook me to pieces. What was before tedious, was now unſupportable. In hopes [Page 32] that after I had paſſed the rugged ſtones of London, all would go on ſmoothly, I directed the driver to proceed.
I reached a road more level than the green ſward. Still ſhocking— and nothing in proſpect, but rock, moraſs, and deſart. Unable to find out the cauſe, I grew angry, as moſt people do, I could not tell why, and chooſing to impute the whole matter to the carriage itſelf, I inſiſted upon getting out, and having it immediately changed: ſo without more ado, I opened the door myſelf, and then ſhut or rather ſlapped it too, as the only reaſoning animal [Page 33] does when he is in a paſſion; after which pleaſant teſtimony of the ſtate of my temper, and the amendment of my nerves, I walked home, with a ſpeed, which ſtill farther ſignified that if a man had any little addreſs to make to my heart, he had better keep out of the way. Juſt as fancy who had been playing theſe vagaries with a poor fellow who never offended her—conducted me to the door of my apartment; I was ſo thoroughly vexed with the ſee-ſaw of that ſame infamous machine—with the caitiff of an artizan who put it ſo pitifully together— and with the proprietor at the livery ſtables, who could have the heart [Page 34] and conſcience to ſend an hypochondriacal man, the firſt ſtage of a long journey, in a vehicle, which muſt, inevitably, knock him up at once, that I ſtamped my right foot againſt the floor till I fairly awoke; and in waking, lo—It was a dream.
Wearineſs is not very delicate in the choice of her reſting-place, any [Page 35] more than hunger is preciſe in the choice of her viands. The one cloſes her eye upon the firſt ſhelter ſhe can find, as the other diets contentedly upon whatever preſents itſelf. I had thrown myſelf, upon the departure of my phyſician, upon a ſmall ſopha, which not allowing me to extend myſelf, in all the luxury of a bed, at full length, I was obliged to contract myſelf till my head hung uneaſily over the edges of the ſopha.
Readers who are punctilious, will inſiſt on being informed how I came to know this, when I tell them that I neither recollect the poſture [Page 36] in which I lay down, and that, I did not find myſelf in the poſition above deſcribed when I got up. In all my writings it has been a maxim to requeſt the reader will allow me the reaſonable priviledge of telling a ſtory, introducing a circumſtance, and relating a fact, my own way; promiſing, not ultimately to leave him in the dark, although it might not be expedient to throw at firſt ſight ſo much commentary on the text as he might imagine neceſſary. This priviledge I ſtill claim, and, indeed, cannot find it in my heart to give it up, but with the faculty which enables [Page 37] me to fabricate the ſentiments, and ſet it down upon paper.
I remain, moreover, more and more convinced, that, in adhering to this practice, I equally conſult my own eaſe, as well as that of the reader. Now, had I told him, for inſtance, that ſome time after my waking from ſo perturbed a ſlumber, I learned from the lips of that excellent creature (from whoſe native graces were copied the fainter traits of the miniature in the velvet caſe) that I was, a little while ago, found ſleeping without a pillow, or wherewithal to lay the head of an invalid—Had I told the reader ſuch [Page 38] a tale, without telling him, at the ſame time, or even, previouſly, that out of ſuch diſquieting attitudes I was removed by the tender care of that very lady who had laid my head upon her arm, and was ſurveying me in a ſilent fondneſs, which characteriſes the tenderneſs of a young mother, when ſhe ſuperintends the ſlumbers of her ſleeping ſon.
[Page 39] "Beſhrew me (ſaid I) if all the faults I imputed to the chaiſe, were not to be imputed to myſelf—to my own imprudence in entering it alone! alone! ah—fooliſh idea— the chariot of the clouds—even that which Jupiter is wont to mount in his progreſs through the ſkies, muſt have been uneaſy, unleſs the divine Juno was ſitting beſide him—Albeit, that illuſtrious dame, is ſaid to have pealed in his celeſtial ears the domeſtic thunder of a wife—ſtill it was ſociety—it was ſtill better than cutting through the other in ſolitary majeſty!"
[Page 40] And was I, even though in viſion, about to traverſe through unknown countries, without ſociety—without that ſociety which was moſt dear to me — without one kind boſom to ſoothe me in the hours of accident or anxiety, ſhould either of them befal me on the way; or one gentle ſoul to ſhare my pleaſures, ſhould pleaſures be beſtowed! how forlorn is the path of the traveller in the gayeſt and moſt chearful climes!— How barren are proſpects of the moſt ample expanſion, and moſt florid aſpect, if they are ranged over alone!—Every heart hath ſome delicate attractions, on which it [Page 41] relies in every ſituation of joy or ſorrow for relief! ſmiles and tears —the ſunſhine and the ſhowers, of life, muſt all be divided. It may, indeed, ſometimes be allowable to ſeek out a corner wherein to weep, for there is a delicacy to be obſerved in the communication of diſtreſs; but he who is a niggard of his joy, and can be avaricious in his happier ſenſations, is unfit for the more elegant connections, and deſerves to have his dreams invaded, and his ſlumbers diſturbed by diſagreeable ſee-ſaws all the days of his pilgrimage through the difficult journey of life.
[Page 42] This ejaculation, ſupported as it was by the ſmiling countenance that was before me, and by a touch of the hand that thrilled a feeling felicity to the very end of the fingers, put the whole matter into a new train, and made the ſecond excurſion of fancy, when ſhe was broad awake, ſo inexpreſſibly pleaſing that ſhe once more tript with me into one of thoſe carriages, which ſhe hath always ready harneſſed at a moment's warning;—indeed it was the ſame I had before execrated, and, methought, no chaiſe was ever hung on its ſprings ſo eaſily, nor did I ever anticipate any thing with [Page 43] ſo true a reliſh of expected pleaſure, as the moment of ſetting off upon a journey of near three hundred miles.
THE reader hath now been brought as a witneſs, that the perſon who ſat for the picture, was no longer abſent, and that ſhe was certainly to be the companion of my migrations to whatever ſhores they were directed. Freſh matter of ſurpriſe will it, therefore, be to him, if he happens not to be quite ſo retrogade in his motions as the author of theſe pages; againſt the likelihood of which, indeed, the odds are conſiderable. He will wonder at that ſpirit of Quixotiſm [Page 45] which enabled me to proceed in my plan, without informing of it the only perſon who was not only moſt nearly intereſted in this event, but in every turn, twiſt, and angle I ſhould make, in the journey of life.
Peradventure, the matter will appear even more myſterious yet, ſhould I, with any face of ſeriouſneſs, aſſert, which here I ſolemnly do, that I took, propenſly, the opportunity of this dear perſon's going out on a viſit, to pack up my travelling parcels, and go on, in the ſame ſnug, obſcure way, even [Page 46] to the laſt preparation of ordering a chaiſe to receive them.
Curioſity, whoſe eyes, ears, and mouth are always open, would like to know the reaſon of this. Now, theſe pages being addreſſed to the heart, I ſhall, for the ſole uſe of ſtudents therein, enter into an elaborate diſſertation, in which I ſhall diſſect that irregular part of humanity, and by ſo doing, ſettle the intricacy that ſeems to be involved round the enigma before us. To ſuch, however, as know any thing about nature, or can any way account for the thouſand whimſical traits which go to the making up a [Page 47] ſingle man's character—and of all others that of an Engliſhman—it will ſeem no enigma at all. But my pen itches to begin the anatomy; and I invite every ſtripling, who is beginning to ſtudy the heart, to be very attentive to the lecture, which I am now going to read upon it.
Minds there be, to whom a ſcheme is delicious. There is more of ſoul than body in it; and very frequently the principal pleaſure of it is, carrying it on progreſſively, to the concluſion, with as much ſecrecy, care, and circumſpection, as would be neceſſary to carry on a [Page 48] conſpiracy. It is amongſt the chief of natural curioſities, to take a view of a perſon engaged in a buſineſs of this kind. Every faculty, from the blood which flows, to the heart which beats, hath ſomething to do, and puts forth the beſt ability to the work—The idea once born, with what parental vigilance a man cheriſhes the new creation! How fondly he feeds it with the pap of imagination—How aſſiduouſly he nurſes it into ſtrength and activity, and how enchantingly does he adorn the full-blown folly with fragrance and with flowers that bloom for ever. I wiſh with all my ſoul I could do perfect juſtice [Page 49] to a delicate part of my ſubject which I am about to treat—namely the doctrine of pleaſing ſurpriſes, to manage which, as they conſtitute the chief happineſs of life, demands a nicety and addreſs to which few of either ſex are equal.
The moſt charming circumſtances, are, generally, the moſt unexpected. Thoſe which have been anticipated are deſpoiled of their virgin beauties, and are ſadly tarniſhed before they come into poſſeſſion; but in the true criſis, to come upon the heart, when perhaps it declines from the deſireable medium, and gravitates towards the extreme of ſorrow—in [Page 50] ſuch a ſeaſon, to ſteal imperceptibly upon the ſenſes and gladden them with an unlooked-for enjoyment, eclipſes in luſtre all the formal preliminaries, and cold expectancies of a propoſed pleaſure, that ever were made. A long antidated pleaſure, dimly ſeen at a diſtance, tedious in its advances, and all its novelty gone before it comes within reach, is the dulleſt of all things which are unworthily thruſt into the liſt of delights: it is like the certainty of the ſun ſhining with uniform radiance through the year; in which caſe his orb might riſe and ſet without the leaſt regard or homage. The hearts for which I [Page 51] am writing revolt from tranſports ſo villainouſly foreſtalled. "Give me (ſay they)—I ſhall truly tranſlate their beating — give us the luſtre which breaks upon us unawares— Let us reliſh the bleſſing of that glorious luminary who is paramount lord of the aether, when the ſtorm, the tempeſt, the cloud impends horridly over our heads—juſt in the moment when we have given up a proſpect of pleaſure which depended on the elements. When the rain and hail of diſappointment deſcends upon us, then let his beams produce his lucid wonders to diſpel the collected gloom, and ſhew us that [Page 52] the homage of the human heart is enſured by ſurpriſe."
I no ſooner diſcovered myſelf ſupported by the lady as above deſcribed, than, depending fully upon the ſucceſs of ſurpriſe, I began a congratulation on the near proſpect of a trip to Paris — "A trip, dear lady (ſaid I, elevating my tones in conformity to the charms of the intelligence; for more than half, whether of joyful or ſad tidings, depends upon the tones—) a trip, dear lady, for the tender feelings— [Page 53] an excurſion, purely calculated to draw forth all the finer affections— an excurſion, moreover, in which, though we omit the deſcription of hotels, and ſtreets and towns, and towers, with all the tireſome etcetera of the plodding traveller—all that is novelle, characteriſtic, and curious —all that is allied to the movements —ſtops and meanders of the heart, ſhall attract us on the way."
I need not have rambled into ſuch a length of recommendation: dear lady, let us make a tour to Paris, would have been enough. Never was idea more complexed; and faſhion hath now aſſociated with [Page 54] the very name of that city ſuch ſoothing opinions with reſpect to the urbanity, ſmoothneſs, politeſſe, and courteſy of its people, that a journey thither might have drawn a Penelope from her web, and made her a downright goſſip. The moſt mild and moderate women in Chriſtendom might be allowed ſome emotions upon ſo apt a piece of news, coming too with ſuch a direct ſtroke upon the nerves; the more particularly as, in the criſis of general vegetation, when every part of nature acquires freſh ſenſibility, one is more inclined to perigrinate.
[Page 55] Let it not therefore be turned or twiſteſt by any mortal who is hackneyed in crooked ways of miſrepreſentation—ah, let it not be turned againſt the gentle ſex, if in the candour of my fidelity towards the reader—with whom I reſolve to deal, notwithſtanding that I am on my travels, according to the entire truth that is in me—let it not, I, a third time charge the reader, be turned againſt the faireſt and beſt part of the creation, ſhould I obſerve that this notion of a trip to Paris was received with one of thoſe jumps of ineffable approbation and acquieſcence, in which every limb, [Page 56] artery, fibre, and membrane leaps in concert—in one ſentence, every atom that makes up the woman danced in tune to the harmony of the propoſal.
Readers, unacquainted with the heart, may, nevertheleſs, imagine, there was an objection againſt this propoſal on account of its inſtantaniety; although ſo much pains hath already been taken to make it palpable as the light of Heaven, that ſuddenneſs, is the very ſublime of a ſurpriſe. To know the heart is as difficult a ſcience as ever was ſtudied. Fine-ſpun, ſubtle, and delicate are the intellectual threads [Page 57] which faſten and connect the correſponding thoughts one to another. In a female ſubject, theſe threads are ſo extremely fine, that, although every link is diſtinctly ſeparated, yet the whole chain which wreaths itſelf round the heart, ſeems, at firſt ſight, a chaos of confuſed matter, unadjuſted by any ſort of oeconomy. But to have any ſound notion of this philoſophical anatomy, in which neither Galen, Hippocrates, or Machaon, appear to have been adequate adepts, it is neceſſary to know, firſt, that the ſenſibilities of the beautiful ſex are not only more tranſparent and impreſſive than thoſe of the male [Page 58] part of the human ſpecies, but lie, as it were, in a train—are engaged in the cloſeſt union, and reciprocally maintain the moſt harmonious alliance.
Thus, for inſtance, if a lover looks ſombre, a lap-dog is ſick, or a ruffle is lacerated, that nerve, upon which, as upon a main ſpring, [Page 60] is hinged the painful aſſociations, begins to diſtreſs the poor lady, till a ſofter ſtroke on the nerve which directs the affections on the oppoſite ſide of the heart, ſtrikes up a tune of gayer emotions, and makes all that was jarring again concordant. Hence it appears as plain as the page which you are now reading, that women require none of thoſe tedious preparations which throw a damp over the face of enjoyment, and which men of books and buſineſs too often demand before their ſluggiſh, abſtract, or Change-alley hearts into feelings ſuitable to a pleaſurable ſurpriſe. And, herein conſiſts the indiſcribeable [Page 61] ſuperiority of the female organization. Every artery, about them, is hung more airily; the avenues which nature hath opened to the heart, though perhaps more involved in mazes, are yet ſo like a wilderneſs of ſweets, that we have many more inducements to clear the way, and examine them: add to all this that certain voluptuous particles ſwim along the beautiful labyrinths that are formed by the veins, and always fit them for a ſpirited propoſal at a moment's notice.
The per contra of this argument may, even yet, furniſh corroborations ſtill more indiſputable. Had a [Page 62] London-bred, Lombard-ſtreet citizen, fluſh from the Change, been accoſted with a direct invitation to ſtep into a poſt-chaiſe to make an excurſion to Paris, thoſe who have ſeen the workings of a merchant's heart will repreſent him as dropping his jaw, uplifting his eyes, and opening his mouth, as if his whole ſordid body of negociation was put to a ſilent ſtand.—"To Paris (when he recovered that breath which ſurpriſe had alarmed) he would exclaim, Paris!—God of my fathers—what do you take me for! Leave my own incomparable country!—the country in which I was begat, in which I was born, in which I grew, in [Page 63] which I proſpered!—Leave my gettings, my gleanings, my clubs, my meetings, my friends!—Leave the Change, the Jeruſalem coffee-houſe, Lombard-ſtreet, and London! —Leave England, the unparalleled England—the nonpareil of nations —a land flowing with milk and honey!—Leave all theſe joys and advantages, for Paris — a city of whip ſillabubs—the capital of coxcombs—a tawdry town made up of tinſel, pomatum, paint, and petits maitres!—and would you perſuade me to go from hence to ſuch a country?—no, no, no,—England, England, Old England for ever!"
[Page 64] Oh Prejudice, Prejudice—what a monſter art thou!—How blind— how low-thoughted! uglier even than thy ſiſter Partiality—Thou haſt the vanity and ignorance to think, that the handful of inhabitants ſcattered over the ſurface of thy own country are only in favour with the god of all countries, and that all the other parts of the world are the wretched offals of nature, unworthy the protection of providence. Moſt irreligious ſuggeſtion! — moſt unbenevolent, and unmanly! Does nature bloom into luxuries? Does ſpring burſt into verdure, and ſummer ripen into [Page 65] bloſſoms for only one of the moſt diminutive proportions of the univerſe? In what abject corner of thy heart didſt thou find, lurking, this miſerable ſyſtem? Be certain, that the great Governor of Nature deſpiſes every illiberal tenet, and thou canſt not do better than to root it out of thy boſom for ever. The bounties of Heaven and earth circumſcribed by ſuch an atom upon the ſcale, as thou art, forſooth! The very mite that engenders in the pores of thy ſkin, for whoſe banqueting thy perſonal beauties were partly made, might laugh thee to ſcorn for ſuch preſumption. Does not the ſun, with a luſtre equally [Page 66] laviſh, and luxuriant, invigorate the vegetation? Do not ſpirits equally cordial and cheary, do not hopes and wiſhes, equally ardent, inſpire and adorn other places and other people beſide thee and thine? Try a little, I prithee, to enlarge and to expand thy heart. Venture, for once, to let thy fancy, or thy reaſon, or what elſe it is, by which thou art diſtinguiſhed as amongſt the order of rationals, to make an excurſion beyond the confines of thy own kingdom. Walk onward to the beach that preſents to you the beginnings of that ocean which divides one part of the human race from common intercouſe with another, [Page 67] and then caſting thine eye — the eye of the ſoul—beyond the waters, be liberal in thy concluſions. People of all manners, all modes, and all perſuaſions, as well as of all languages, paſs in proſpect before thee —the Turks—the Jew—the Capodocian—the Neopolitan—the Genoeſe — the Tartan — the Swiſs— the Spaniard—the Frenchman—the Laplander—the Hottentot, and the Arab. Moſt of theſe differ from thee in ceremonies, in habits, in cuſtoms peculiar either to place, or people; but the great characters of the heart admit of ſmall variations: they all, like thee, have friends who are dear, and foes who are [Page 68] obnoxious: their anxiety is expreſſed by tears, and their felicity is marked by a ſmile. Gentle tempers are every where complacent, elegant, ſocial and pathetic; and Fury is true to her characteriſtics, and hath her eye of fire, her tongue of venom, and her arm of vengeance in all countries of the world. Every heart too in every clime is ſuſceptible of that ſofter ſenſation which not only draws body to body, but ſoul to ſoul. The tender ſighs of paſſion, the languor of diſappointed love, the agony of hope deferred, ſeizes with equal force upon the Greenlander in his hut that is hemmed in by the ice, and the panting [Page 69] Indian who is buried in the foliage of his foreſt to avoid the burnings of the ſun. The ties of friendſhip too have a reſiſtleſs magnetic power throughout the globe. Charity, philanthrophy, good-will alſo, abound wherever men have aſſembled, and wherever they have fixed only a temporary reſidence.
No degradation to thy native land to ſay this. Thy native land is diſtinguiſhed by many excellencies. Her ſoil is fruitful, her ſons are generous, and her daughters are fair—but what of that? Neither fertility, nor generoſity, nor beauty are confined to her alone. How [Page 70] might the God of all government be accuſed! How would the natives of other nations riſe up with unanimous rebuke againſt him if he had limited his benignity in the manner thou would'ſt inſinuate? Nay how much reaſon would the tender-hearted even of thine own country, have to complain were this the caſe? The ſtubborn trader that hangs about thy heart, is, I ſhould in charity hope, by this time ſoftened. The man of the world, and the ruggedneſs which is contracted by the purſuit of money, is, perhaps, worn ſmooth by the force of ſocial arguments, and upon this perſuaſion, I will venture to [Page 71] aſk thee whether even thou couldſt avoid murmuring againſt ſuch partial diſtributions? Could'ſt thou withhold thy tears? Nay, couldſt thou enjoy the ſmiles of proſperity, were it poſſible for thee, ſeriouſly, to ſuppoſe that all that is good, and fair, and happy, and amiable, was reſident only in Britain, and, conſequently, that all the other diviſions of the globe were deſerted by nature, and abandoned by her director? I make a ſolemn appeal to thy heart, man of gain, to know if thou could'ſt enjoy this?—
"For the joys of wealth, I could:" replies my hero of the Royal [Page 72] Exchange — "For Lombard-ſtreet, London, and the roaſt beef of Old England, ſo could I;" echoes one of thoſe chimney-corner characters who hath cultivated the clods from whence he grew, and to which he ſhall return after fifty years inſenſibility, juſt as wiſe as liberal, and as ſerviceable as he was born.
Fie, fie, and a thouſand bluſhes upon ſuch for the poorneſs of their heads, and the pityleſsneſs of feelings —but I am writing for the heart, and have therefore no leiſure to addreſs thoſe who are without one.
Had I talked to eternity with the eloquence of a Seraph, nothing could have been ſo perfectly argumentative as the advances of this chaiſe at this period.—It did not leave a ſingle word more to be ſaid upon the ſubject. As Heaven would have it too, the evening ſun ſhot his rays more merrily upon us, and at the back of all this entered a perſon, who, by way of one of thoſe ſurpriſes I have juſt celebrated, paid me in the lawful money of [Page 75] Great Britain, ſufficient of itſelf to weigh down all ſcruples had there been any feathers of objection remaining. I could eaſily ſee that, that ſide of the heart was touched which contains thoſe veſſels that feed the paſſions of pleaſure—I ſaw conſent bloomingly written on every feature—I took my little cabinet under my arm, handed Amelia into the chaiſe, and heard, with pleaſure, the wheels rattle over the pavement.
ONE can ſcarce look attentively at any object in nature, if we have but the policy to turn it in on all ſides, and place it in every point of view where it may be fairly ſeen, without finding ſufficient ſcope to engage the heart and its affections. To ſuch as are willing to exerciſe their better ſenſibilities, there is not room in the whole univerſe for ſo much blank as might be crouded (ſpeaking figuratively) upon the point of a needle. Every part of the globe, and all which it inherits, [Page 77] teems with ſubjects of meditation; and I pity from my ſoul that poor creature who goes to ſleep in his arm-chair of indolence upon the falſe pretence of filling up the hiatus, which he would perſuade us, opens its jaws before him.
Let no man, therefore, ſay, I have been too tedious in my outſet. He who travels for the benefit of the human heart, and deſigns to ſee how it beats, what it is propenſe to, and againſt what it recoils, in the boſoms of a ſtrange people, muſt take care what he is about. Beſides which, it is to be noted, that although I was a little agitated ſo [Page 78] that the nerves could ſcarce bear the concuſſion of the firſt idea of ſuch a journey, yet, when one is cool enough to put circumſtances into a regular train, the neceſſity of "haſtening ſlowly" is more obvious.
I do not deny having made large ſtrides towards the middle of the firſt volume of my travels before I have made any great progreſs towards the firſt place of my deſtination: nay, I farther own, that the chaiſe is only now wheeling from the door—but what of all this? The preparations of the heart are manifold: eſpecially when it bids [Page 79] adieu to its native country. Thoſe preparations, however, are all intereſting, and, if related in a tolerable manner, can leave no room for diſcontent. Common journeys, indeed, whether to the fartheſt inn, or to the neareſt cake-houſe, undertaken upon the common principles of perigrination, have few matters to ſettle beſides the folding of ſilks, emboxing of laces, diſpoſition of trinkets, and other flattering fripperies which belong to the paraphernalia of trifling people. All theſe are too ſuperficial, and ſkim about on the ſurface of the fluids, without affecting the ſolids of a philoſophical heart. This laſt [Page 80] ſentence is by no means expreſſed to my wiſh, but it may do to ſhew, that I have not lingered unneceſſarily. On the contrary, I hope, the knowledge of the heart hath been manifeſt in every minute circumſtance which hath interrupted me. It is no ſmall matter to fit out the heart of man for a long journey, however it may, at firſt, leap at the notion of travel. In one part of his houſe he ſees one thing which preſſes hard upon his affections—in another part he obſerves ſomething elſe which, whether dead or alive, lays claim to his laſt attentions—the cat purs for notice, the dog fondles for his ſhare of [Page 81] courteſy—the domeſtics, which are left behind, will, at ſuch a time, venture to tug a little boldly, at the feelings, and the very houſehold furniture ſeems to ſay unto us, as it ſtands diſordered about the rooms, "God ſend thee a ſafe deliverance to the land of thy fathers!" The tender impediments which happened to me, I have honeſtly and frankly related. I am now taking—you will allow me the retroſpect—I am now taking my farewell of the beautiful Thames from the elevation of one of the nobleſt bridges of the world, which I am juſt mounting; and if the reader is conſiderate enough to be ſatisfied, that it was impoſſible [Page 82] for me, with any decency, to get any farther, I ſhall now invite him to let his heart travel with mine and Amelia's upon that road, which leads to one of the boundaries of the Britiſh empire.
I HAVE already celebrated the beauty of the evening in which we ſet out. Nature and art appeared, indeed, to be contending for the maſtery, and in the ſtruggles of this very contention, the elegancies of both became more apparent. Who will not, therefore, forgive me, if even yet I detain him with that animated apoſtrophe which broke from me at a time when I was leaving my native country?
[Page 84] Farewell beautiful villages—ſcenes of luxuriant herbage — pleaſing proſpects, and magnificent manſions!—Farewell too to thee, imperial London!—to thy gorgeous edifices, cloud-capped towers, ample ſtreets, and multiplied amuſements —oh farewell!
The ſpectator who hath not uſed his eyes to a keen purpoſe, and who hath not, indeed, travelled far enough into the labyrinths of human nature, or gone cloſe to the confines of the heart, can have no conception, how much thoſe clouds which either beautify or deform our day, depend [Page 85] upon accidents the moſt adventitious, and circumſtances the moſt minute. One mal-a-propos ſyllable, is ſufficient to turn ſmiles into tears, and change the entire countenance of ſociety. Prithee reader, grudge not the time thou wilt be taken up, in looking into this ſubject of the heart. Thoſe partitions which ſeperate felicity from woe, are ſo tranſparently thin; and the powers — the genii — the paſſions—the deities—the demons, or whatever they really be, which preſide over the miſery and the joy of life, are ſo conſtantly at work, that they alternately have their triumphs and their diſgraces ſo often, there ſeems to be, in fact, [Page 86] no poſitive ſeparation at all. In the gayeſt moment of pleaſure, while we are yet plucking the roſe, which, if it ever blooms at all, blooms more charmingly in the May of our exiſtence, than at any later period, how cautious ſhould we be even in the act of cropping it, leaſt the thorns which are beneath it, diminiſh not our ideas of its fragrance. If I could either ſatisfy myſelf, or thoſe good people who may hereafter travel with me through theſe pages, I would not fail to introduce in this place a chapter upon words. Even as it is, I muſt throw out a few hints, juſt to put the reader's mind [Page 87] into a track, which may then be better purſued by himſelf.
That which, in the phraſe of eccleſiaſtics, is deſigned by the government of the tongue, comes the neareſt to what I would ſay upon the matter. Let us ſuppoſe ourſelves ſitting at a banquet where feſtivity, and hoſpitality have joined every hand and united every heart. The tender careſs, the ſentiments of [Page 88] cordiality, and the ſmiles of the face produced by thoſe of the heart, are before us. What a feaſt were this for a man of any goodneſs or good-nature!
He will not look, upon ſuch an occaſion, too near; at leaſt he will not ſeem to look too near to that ſource from whence flow the ſtreams of pleaſure and of▪ pain. He will not, in ſuch a caſe, anatomiſe. The general aſpect of benignity which brightens around him, he will kindly imagine to be ſincere—and that—at leaſt till the banquet is over—anxiety of every ſort, is, [Page 89] with the duſky robe of drudgery, hung up at home, and forgotten.
Let the man of mere goodneſs and good nature I ſay, take all this for granted, and let his ſoul ſit down amongſt them in perfect felicity. Hark—hark! as the generous ſpirit of Bacchus begins to ſparkle, the wit, and hilarity which he inſpires becomes proportionably brilliant. If haply, the ſable wing of ſorrow hovered over any heart before, all is now well again, and the plumes of the dove cannot be more ſoft or more fair than the preſent moments: but every moment beyond theſe—however white theſe [Page 90] may be—may become a moment of agony: and to prevent their really being ſuch require the moſt delicate ſkill, as well as the moſt conſummate diſcretion, in the uſe of words.
At this criſis, juſt as the hilarity of the circle is mantling to the brim, without overflowing, let the ſage—but without a ſage's brow— who travels for the information of the heart—enter into the ſociety as a willing and invited gueſt. So long as the harmony laſts, every key that winds up the feelings of ſympathy, muſt needs be in tune. But alas! how ſoon do the notes begin to jar, the ſound to flatten, [Page 91] and the ſtrings to fly, till the whole inſtrument becomes an inſtrument of diſcord. Perhaps in leſs time than I am obliged to employ in the ſentence that relates it, one friend may wound another in the moſt intolerable part — the peace of a father—the honour of a ſon—the purity of a daughter—the continence of a wife may be deſtroyed—The credit of a merchant may be tainted, and thoſe hands which were before joined in friendly unanimity, as if, in the embrace they grew together, may be ſtained with blood.
Now all theſe misfortunes, which very well might happen, and a [Page 92] thouſand ſimilar to them which do come to paſs, all—or by much the greateſt part — proceed from not underſtanding the uſe of words. Amongſt all our dictionaries, we have not yet one for the heart. Ingenuity and exceſſive labour have employed themſelves to inſtruct the illiterate world in the neceſſary points of verbal criticiſm; and the arts have all been aſſiſted by ſuch means. Human nature only hath been neglected, and yet even Locke could not have engaged his abilities in a better cauſe.
As words are to convey thoughts, and as thoughts come from the heart, [Page 93] every pain or pleaſure produced by words, in fact, originates from the heart. Indeed! how much, and how often, then, gracious God, are we in the power of each other!— What delicacy, what oeconomy, what conduct, ſhould we uſe in the arrangement of every ſentence!
Does the happineſs of any man's heart—does the character of any woman's fame—do their purſuits— ſucceſſes—diſgraces, depend on me? —Have I all their hopes and fears, as it were at will, and can I diſpenſe, to the firſt, joy, or to the laſt anxiety, only by the proper or the malicious turn of an expreſſion?
[Page 94] If this be the caſe, ſhould there not be one more dictionary ſtill added to the liſt—tediouſly long as it is—in order to explain the language of the heart; or rather, to ſhew what terms it can, and what terms it cannot bear. To genius, rather than to labour, is this work recommended. He who undertakes it, muſt have mixed amongſt men, muſt have noted manners, and muſt be at no loſs to account for a thouſand ſeeming contradictions that happen in ſociety. Thus equipped for the taſk, he might enter upon the ſubject with all the addreſs and nicety which it deſerves. Might it [Page 95] not purſue ſome ſuch plan as the following, which I offer by way of hints? Let us firſt touch upon the article honour, and our explanations of this, as well as of all other words, muſt be exactly ſuited to the cuſtoms of the climate, and the feelings of the heart. For inſtance
The heart takes this word in ſeveral ſenſes, though they all have a correſpondence. I. With the hearts of young men, it implies a quick ſenſe of reſentment with which is connected an high notion of dignity, [Page 96] independence, &c. &c. It muſt always be uſed with great caution in the company of military people, and in converſation about women: nay the very tone with which it is articulated, muſt be correctly and complacently in tune, otherwiſe many fatal accidents may happen. II, The heart takes this word to imply, amongſt perſons in buſineſs, a ſenſe of probity, integrity, fair-dealing, and common honeſty; ſo that it ſhould, in this caſe, be always pronounced with a full, copious, unſuſpicious and liberal utterance; as the leaſt reſerve in the pronunciation may be attended with the deſtruction of the object whom [Page 97] it deſcribes. The adoption of any expreſſions like thoſe which are uſed by Hamlet, ſuch as, we could an we would, a ſignificant wag of the finger, an arch turn of the eye, or a ſhake of the head as much as to ſay we know what we know, —any of theſe, at the time of pronouncing the word honour, is enough to make it neceſſary to take out a commiſſion of bankruptcy.—
THE ideas which the heart aſſociates with this word, are complex; ſometimes conſidering it as extending largely to the whole ſpecies, and ſometimes to a few beloved individuals whom opportunity, and the affections of the heart, have ſelected from the reſt. It alſo ſignifies that convivial circle which, bound by the moſt chearful cement, is cloſely compacted for now and then an occaſional hour, merely to diſſipate the cares of life, and lay its ruggedneſs level by ſporting [Page 99] relaxations. But, in which ever import it is underſtood, the greateſt delicacy, both in the choice and arrangement of words as well as in their application, and the tones in which they are delivered, is neceſſary. As in the caſe of Honour, ſo in the preſent of Society, a ſyllable too much or too little, a wink, a nod, a look, the hundredth part of a falſe cadence, or the moſt trifling variation from the key-note of philanthropy, good will, politeneſs or propriety, are more than ſufficient to ruin the ſyſtem of the moſt agreeable ſociety that ever was formed. Nay, farther ſtill, thoſe who would deſire to have preciſe [Page 100] notions of the word Society, ſhould take care to enter fully into all the niceties proper to be uſed in articulating the word.
BY which, the heart comprehends, not only the different theories of Religion, Politics, Theology, Mathematics and Philoſophy, but alſo different Syſtems of Taſte, Pain, Pleaſure, Temper, Humour, Inclination, Genius, &c. &c. &c. Every man breathing hath his Syſtem, and ſcarce two men in the univerſe—and not by any means two women in it—agree in their Syſtems exactly. One man delights for inſtance in the ſlim, genteel ſhape of his miſtreſs, and admires [Page 102] her for a faint and voluptuous languor that he ſees in her features: another perhaps finds attraction in the ſame ſort of form, but then inſtead of a languid delicacy, he chooſes to have it animated by a vivacious and briſk power of the eye. Lucius one day ſuddenly met Avarus, who bore ſuch an affection for Lucius, that he found more pleaſure in ſerving him whenever his ſituation called for accommodation, even than in hoarding up his money in an iron cabinet, that he venerated to the ruſt that was contracted over its ſurface. It was, therefore, you ſee his Syſtem to oblige Lucius. Lucius one day ſent to his friend, at half [Page 103] an hour's warning, for a ſupply of caſh to the amount of an hundred and ſixteen pounds, which Avarus complied with in the following way —to wit—One hundred pounds by bank bill, another bill of fifteen pounds payable at ſight, half a guinea in gold, nine ſhillings in ſilver, fourpence in copper, and the reſidue in farthings.
To ſcrutinize this mode of making up a ſum through the formal ſpectacles of buſineſs, it might certainly be cenſured as fantaſtical: but, beſides that Lucius had no right to look with ſo accurate an [Page 104] eye at a favour, I ſhall enter a ſubſtantial caveat againſt all future objections, by obſerving that it was conſiſtent with the lender's Syſtem to pay it in this way; and if it had contained two thouſand times as many diviſions, ſubdiviſions, halveings, and quarterings more, till the whole ſum was frittered into farthings, ſtill, I ſay, Lucius was the laſt man upon earth to croſs his friend's humour. He ſhould have received the purſe gratefully—tell it over not with extreme caution, unleſs he ſuſpected the meſſenger— never have the baſeneſs but for the ſame reaſon to put a ſingle guinea [Page 105] into the ſcale, and feaſted his heart upon the firmneſs of a friendſhip ſo dear to him. We are now coming to the criſis.
It happened that in the fraction of the copper, Avarus had made a miſtake; for by the account of Lucius there was an extra farthing: and the interview which Avarus now had with Lucius, was the firſt ſince the miſtake was committed—
[Page 106] "How much have you obliged me, my very dear Avarus, in that laſt ſupply: it has anſwered all my exigences, and made me entirely an eaſy man; but, apropos, I muſt ſet you right in your calculation. There is a ſmall balance in your favour and I muſt inſiſt upon giving it you—"
Avarus, who although a miſer to all the reſt of the world, was to the laſt degree generous to Lucius, becauſe it belonged to his Syſtem ſo to be, imagined there might have been ſome miſcount of the black word that characterizes [Page 107] the value of a Britiſh bank bill, for which reaſon (but even then not in the tone of eager apprehenſion) he requeſted to be ſet right.
Lucius, for the want of a Dictionary of the Heart to ſet him right (putting his hand into his breeches pocket, but forgetting to put upon his face a ſmile at the ſame time, which would at worſt have compromiſed the matter with his friend's heart) replied, ‘"A farthing is coming to you."’
He preſented it to Avarus, who ſtarted two ſteps back, lifting up [Page 108] both his hands and throwing them forward in the attitude of declining an offer— ‘"A farthing coming to me! (ſaid Avarus:) a farthing!"—’
Nothing in the whole world— not the moſt induſtrious efforts which malice could have uſed, could have torn up a man's Syſtem ſo entirely by the roots. Had Lucius made a ſudden retreat into another country; had he pretended that the draft upon the banker was five inſtead of fifteen pounds; had he ſpurred liberality by a freſh application; in ſhort had he done or ſaid [Page 109] any thing but what he did ſay and do, the Heart, poſſibly, might, by ſome courteous interpretations, have found a palliative if not a pardon: but, as it was, aſſiſted too, by an half note of triumph as to the point of calculation, ſome degree of ridicule and irony in the tones, and an undue ſtreſs upon the firſt ſyllable of the word far-thing—conſidering, I ſay, all theſe heightenings, the whole tranſaction was unpardonable.
"A ſarthing did you ſay, coming to me (exclaimed Avarus in rather a bolder note, and with ſomewhat of a ſeverer emphaſis!) A FARTHING! [Page 110] Unhappy Lucius! How could'ſt thou have been ſo ignorant of an old friend's Syſtem! Better hadſt thou buried the paltry, the pitiful ballance in the bowels of the earth. What inacquaintance with every finer operation of the heart—nay what poverty in the circumſtances that paſs within thy own breaſt not to know that ſo wretched a punctilio —ſo ungenerous an exactneſs, at ſuch a period, muſt inflame every principle, and every ſentiment againſt thee! A farthing!—Oh God of caution; was there ever ſhewn from friend to friend, ſo little policy, or ſo large an inſult!"
[Page 111] The will of Avarus was, in the ampleſt degree, in favour of Lucius. "A farthing coming to me (repeated he, as he went home, after his interview with Lucius!) neither more nor leſs than a farthing!" Upon his arrival, he twitched up a pen, and with a hand of hurry, wrote as follows:
This is written to acquaint you that the ſums of money you have from time to time had of me, are diſcharged. You will conſider [Page 112] this letter, therefore, firſt, as a ſolemn deed of ſettlement which cloſes our connection; and ſecondly, as a receipt in full for the ſums above alluded to. That you may not be put upon my account to a FARTHING'S expence I ſend this, by an eſpecial meſſenger.
I am, Sir, Your humble ſervant, AVARUS.
Some few years after this tranſaction, the writer of this letter died. His heart was ſo ſorely hurt, and his Syſtem ſo ſhaken, that he [Page 113] recollected Lucius amidſt the afflictions of a tormenting diſtemper. Yet he pitied his condition, which, after the quarrel, became more wretched: yet his ſenſe of the injury ſtruggled with the emotions of his pity. He gratified, however, upon his death-bed, both the paſſions that were contending in his heart. Two diſtinct codicils, for this purpoſe, were added to his will, and thus they ran:
[Page 114] II. For being too good a mathematician, and not ſuffering an old friend to do a tolerable action his own way, I bequeath to the ſaid Lucius, one farthing ſterling, of the lawful money of Great Britain, bearing date on the impreſſion 1721, in the reign of George the firſt; to be paid to him the ſaid Lucius, preciſely at three quarters and three clicks lacking of twelve o'clock at night, by my gold repeater, which I alſo bequeath him.
I CONFESS the preceding chapter is a very long one, but I deny that it is a digreſſion. On the contrary, it is perfectly in point; and I deſire your patience only for five minutes to prove this. Allow me to ſtep back a few pages.
"Farewell beautiful villages — ſcenes of luxuriant herbage—pleaſing proſpects, and magnificent manſions!—Farewell too to thee, imperial London!—to thy gorgeous edifices, cloud-capped towers, ample [Page 116] ſtreets, and multiplied pleaſures— oh farewell!"
In the courſe of theſe fervent compliments to my country, I was unlucky enough to kindle as I went along, till towards that part of them which addreſſes an adieu, not only to the capital, but the various pleaſures in it, I became perfectly enthuſiaſtic.
A glowing exclamation in the harmonious moment, when every body within reach of it enjoys a benign tranquility, is enchanting. It may then be conſidered as an ardour of the ſoul aſpiring beyond [Page 117] the clouds; but when it burſts forth, as it did in the preſent caſe, unſeaſonably, nothing can be more irkſome.
As I articulated the tender word farewell, there was more of the pathetic in the tones, and more of regret in the motion of my left-hand—which I waved in ſalutation, as if addreſſing myſelf to the little hedgerow that was vegetating on the left-hand ſide of me — than either prudence or the ſeaſon in which the thing was done, could fairly allow. The epithets alſo, as well as the images which they were calculated to embelliſh, were exceedingly [Page 118] mal-a-propos. To mend the matter, they began with a degree of attracting moderation, and went on in an aſcending ſeries of eulogy, forming in the end a ſort of complimental climax, which, when the ſummit was once gained, no mortal ſoul could reſiſt. The tranſient reader, who is in a hurry to get to the end of his ſtage, that he may have the pride and pleaſure of ordering freſh horſes to carry him towards Paris, miſſes all theſe ſtrokes, although they belong as truly to the heart, and an hundred times better diſcover whereabout it beats, than all the precipitation, ſcamper, or wear and tear of wheels [Page 119] in the univerſe. Now a deliberate traveller, who, whether he journeyeth in books or otherwiſe, hath the patience to go as his driver, or his author chooſes; he can accommodate himſelf with perfect eaſe to all the accidents and events of travel. He knows very well that, when heart and body ſet out together to make an excurſion, though it were but the tour of a week, much more is to be done than if a man travelled in the ordinary way, with the light luggage of a ſhallow head, and animal carcaſe. He knows, likewiſe, that when two hearts and two bodies incorporate and conſolidate, as was the preſent truth, attention becomes [Page 120] more complex, and to expect a full gallop with ſuch a weight, were to believe it impoſſible for a couple of ſpiders to twiſt their threads into traces, and, ſo harneſſed, run off with the dome of that celebrated St. Peter, whoſe temple, before my return, I am reſolved to ſee.
No bad hint this, methinks, to the public, who will, by this time, gueſs, I ſhall not ſuffer any thing to eſcape me—I mean ſo far as objects belong to the heart—that I deem worthy their notice or protection.
[Page 121] I muſt farther obſerve, that, the kind of deliberate traveller I have juſt ſpoken about, will not only take into conſideration all the above circumſtances, but many other equally cogent, in order to account for the many ſtops and ſtays that attack him. He is not ignorant that where the heart is much gratified, the check-ſtring is pulled without any ceremony, and the proſpect is analized acre by acre, and hedge by hedge, let the poſtilion think what he pleaſes about it. The heart is caught by innumerable ſmall, ſweet incidents, which paſs wholly unobſerved by the ſchool-boy, who is [Page 122] ſent into a foreign country, as a ſpecimen of the worſt and moſt unfiniſhed crudities of our own. The body of a Britiſh booby who is thrown into this world to tarniſh a title, though his mouth is uſually as wide open as his eyes, and who is all a-gape for to ſee a fine town, is ten times blinder than the mole, and crawls in a more abject manner on the ground; at moſt, he juſt earths the ſurface. He traverſes the faireſt climes, and is, from top to toe, corporeal—not one ray of heart ever illumined him. Like a being compounded of mere fleſh and blood, and on whom fortune hath laviſhed her favours, in ſome meaſure to [Page 123] compenſate the deſertion of nature, he is drawn about the globe in a glittering equipage, in which he either lolls with ridiculous ſupineneſs, or ſits upright with pert and perpendicular vacuity.
Aſk him upon his return to his native country, with the worſt of coxcombries collected from the traſh of every different place through which he has paſt, what he has ſeen? ‘'He hath ſeen the world.'’ So ſeeth a fly, ſeated upon one of the ſhelves of a library, all the [Page 124] ſcience and learning it contains, without comprehending a letter: as to that inſect, the whole alphabet is a chaos, which he can by no means call into ſufficient order to ſpell his own name; ſo to ſuch a traveller, the road from the ſpot on which I am now writing, although it is blooming with all the odours of May, to that which leads into countries infinitely fairer ſtill, is all an immeaſurable ſweep of heath-ground, where the eye, when diſguſted with ſterility, is relieved by the verdure of nettle-beds, and, when weary of that, muſt ſeek a laſt reſource in the famine-ſtruck [Page 125] flowers which eject in ragged bloſſoms from the rocks.
Not ſo the traveller of temper and deliberation. His heart beats "tremblingly alive" to every thing which he meets upon the way. Does the poor ſhoeleſs creature ſhrink as he preſſes his tender foot upon that earth which hath wounded him? Happily a very moderate covering of ſome ſort may lie at the top of the trunk, and, even if it lay at the bottom, would not the heart direct the hand to take it out? Would any reader be angry at this delay, even though he ſhould be ſo far benighted before [Page 126] he got to the end of the firſt ſtage, and to double down the leaf, and ſleep upon the road till the next morning? If, peradventure, he ſhould be apt to indulge fancy in viſion with the laſt thing which occured in the day—and that laſt ſhould chance to be ſuch a thing as this—what an elyſium dream would reward him!
Is the traveller attacked by a poor wanderer, who toils through the glow of noon upon the ſtony pavement of France, with an infant clinging to her boſom; and hath the traveller's heart nothing to ſay or to do upon ſuch an occaſion?
[Page 127] Shall it be minute and extreme to mark what ſhe hath done amiſs? Shall it be either laſciviouſly or inſolently inquiſitive who begat the child, and whether it claimed protection by being born in wedlock, or whether, on the contrary, virtue was to frown upon its birth, and paſs on for the love of chaſtity?
Vile curioſity! Is poverty and miſchance the leſs pitiable, then, becauſe they have not had either luck or the prudence to eſcape the ſnare, which deſign is always ſetting againſt the ſimplicity of a woman? Is ſhe to be rejected becauſe ſhe [Page 128] wants that ſenſe of triumphant reſiſtance which could alone ſupport the fallen? Bring me, oh God of mercy! theſe taunters into ſituations equally ſevere; try them but a little by the magic wand of temptation; throw in their way but one delightful treſpaſs; ſet for them, thou power of trial, but a ſingle net, only taking care that it be ſpread out by the hand of pleaſure, with threads of ſilk, and knots of gold, and then, if theſe boaſters glide not into it, with the moſt eaſy captivity, I will then believe thou can'ſt forgive the traveller who paſſes on, without one moment's pauſe of pity and redreſs, when the [Page 129] charity of his heart is commanded by ſuch a form, to deliver what the condition of his life and fortunes permit him to beſtow.
The man who goes upon a Tour of the Heart, hath alſo many oddities, as well as many ſenſibilities to indulge. He hath his ſyſtem to thwart, which is to deſtroy his happineſs and croſs him for the whole journey.
There are, upon a juſt calculation, taking one man with another, pretty nearly an equal number of ſingularities and virtues in the beſt and brighteſt characters; and, indeed, [Page 130] generally ſpeaking, the better and the brighter, the more ſingular the ſingularity. People who ſtay at home ſhew off theſe only to friends, and, as the world goes, he who is not content to take a virtue and an oddity together, when his heart is trafficking for an honeſt bargain, deſerves to be cheated.
Travellers have a multitude of opportunities to gratify every trait with which their characters may happened to be tinctured. In one intercourſe with men, he who imagines he ſhall be able, either by his circumſpection, his cunning, or his experience, to purchaſe the pure [Page 131] gold of virtue, without ſome ſmall droſſy particles of peculiarity, which eternally ſtick, more or leſs, to the figure of the character, and indeed, upon the impreſſion which God himſelf hath made upon the man's heart, is too great a fool to have any dealings with; and I would not be condemned to trade with his heart for a ſingle courteſy, though he were a monarch.
No!—Such crowned ſkulls (I dare not ſo far violate truth as to talk about heads); ſuch regal caput mortuums, having nothing to recommend them within, are very properly decorated without; and [Page 132] when tricked off, like the maukin of a milliner, for mere ſpectacle, are mighty pretty, gay-looking things, to which, in their proper places, at due and decent diſtance, I have no ſort of objection. On the contrary mine eyes have very great reſpect unto them as objects of ſhine and ſhew, nor ever did mortal, I truſt, make a more loyal or eſſential difference or draw a deeper and broader line of diſtinction than myſelf, betwixt ſuch gentlefolks of greatneſs, and glitter, and thoſe qualities which go in my leſs glaring idea of the things finite, to the making up of a—man—with—a heart.
[Page 133] As, furthermore, to the matter of that mixture of ſingularity, and virtue, it is too much in grain ever to rub out, while we are on this imperfect ſide of the ſun. Nor is it at all neceſſary. A virtuous man hath no vicious ſingularity; nay, very often the oddities and greatneſſes, which, like the ſilk and worſted of different colours, which are woven together into the web of tapeſtry-work, are abſolutely neceſſary to the beauties of the figure. For my part I would not give a ſingle ſixpence for a character all of one colour. I had rather ſee him, ſo as he keeps out the black— [Page 134] which neither in a moral or natural ſenſe, can be ranked as any colour at all—I had rather ſee him, I ſay, of all the hues in which Iris is habited, when ſhe ſhews herſelf to us after a ſhower! There is, in every character as in every picture, light and ſhade; and lights and ſhades too of different degrees. If there does not ſeem to be theſe, depend on it there is ſome of the tints bad at the bottom: they may be wiped out with a wet finger. Let us be indebted to the goddeſs Iris a little longer. Her bow is the apteſt that could poſſibly be made uſe of. I deſire my reader to ſelect from his friends, the moſt perfect [Page 135] man he knows, and to place him in his imagination, immediately under this moſt beautiful arching, as it takes its ſweeping ſemicircle acroſs the Heavens.
Well; you have placed him in all the poſitions of which he is ſuſceptible; you have allowed proper ſcope for the different attitudes of his heart, and looked keenly at the colourings of his character.
[Page 136] Now then tell the where is the difference betwixt the man and the rainbow? Both are of all hues: ſome are more amiable than others: ſometimes they blend, and aſſiſt the brightneſs of each other: now they diſunite, and now again they mix rays: the blueiſh tints are touched more elegantly by ſtill bluer: the fervid red is ſoftened by a fainter roſe colour: here a few ſtreaks leave, as it were, the overcaſting-work of a thin cloud: they may now and then, poſſibly, aſſume an unwonted gloom: they may be every thing but poſitively dark: but it is all the works of a moment; [Page 137] the gloom paſſeth away, and is no more. The compariſon is exact.
Bleſſed be that benign providence who hath beſtowed upon me, a moſt plentiful variety of theſe ſingularities: they are as the balm to lighten the lump of exiſtence, which, but for theſe, would, ſometimes, be intolerably heavy. I cheriſh them as I cheriſh the ſenſibilities upon [Page 138] which they attend. I take them with me in all my migrations, and conſider them not leſs neceſſary to me than my little patrimonial cabinet. They have, I acknowledge, detained me upon the road, to ſurvey objects which others might have ſuffered to elude their examination. Peradventure they ſhall detain me ſtill; and if they ſhould, I ſhall never loſe ſight of the amuſement of the heart; which, after what has been ſaid, is ſurely a promiſe that will reconcile the reader to my ſyſtem of travelling.
ACCORDING to the order of common journals, I ſhould have compleated all that related to the title of one chapter before I proceeded to another; but as my ſyſtem of travelling is ſomewhat peculiar, and, as the reader very well knows, ſubject to a few ſingularities, he muſt not deem it ſtrange, if, in obedience to the prevailing pulſation of the moment, I ſhould, ſometimes, break off abruptly, or pauſe on the middle of a hill, or make a dead ſtop in a valley, or turn ſhort round [Page 140] a cramp corner, when the level road ſeemed to allure me right on. The reader's heart would be poorly entertained by my ſenſibility, if he was not a little ſupported in his progreſs by my ſingularity.
A few chapters backward, ſhewed me happy in the reſolution of purſuing my journey. The buſineſs of the laſt chapter ſet out very calmly to account for a relapſe in this reſoluion! The wanderings of the heart took me conſiderably out of the road. I made a digreſſion, or rather interwove, liberally into my plan of pleaſing the heart, all the variety of the rainbow. But [Page 141] curioſity hath had her vagarie, and, if any of my fellow travellers think it demands an apology, I here, not only ſeriouſly aſk it, but turn the rein, and promiſe to offend no more.
The relapſe which threw my reſolutions ſo much off their centre, and which threw my fair fellow traveller ſo much farther ſtill off hers, was, as before obſerved, brought about by that ill-timed ejaculation of the heart, made ſo much worſe by animated emphaſis.
"Farewell beautiful villages — ſcenes of luxuriant herbage—pleaſing proſpects—magnificent manſions!— Farewell too to thee, imperial London! —to thy gorgeous edifices, cloud capped towers, ample ſtreets, and multiplied pleaſures—oh, farewell."
[Page 143] The wrong ſide of the heart was ſmitten; every veſſel confeſſed the blow; the veins were affected through all their labyrinths, and at length the ideas, which preſſed hard for gratification, burſt forth into language.
"Pleaſures, my good God! Pleaſures!—the Pleaſures of London!— of that ſuperb city to whoſe ſhining countenance we have juſt bidden an adieu. Wherefore talkeſt thou of villages — ſylvan ſcenes, or ample proſpects. What are theſe, but the mere avenues to thoſe ten thouſand more enchanting pleaſures to which [Page 144] they lead? Why ſhould I diſtract my memory, or diſtreſs my heart by breaking in upon the charming catalogue?—Why in ſo perfect a paradiſe ſhould I enumerate any particular beauty? Why ſpeak of the heavenly round of Ranelagh? —The parading of the Park—the magic novelties of the ingenious Cornely's — the Pantheon — Almack's—or the delicious indolence, and cell of luxury peculiar to the Playhouſe?—Why to theſe ſhould I ſubjoin that radiant etcetera, which, like the glittering ſparks in the train of a meteor, all depend on theſe — wherefore, I ſay, ſhould theſe elegant certainties all be quited [Page 145] for a country unknown, and a people that are bound to my intereſt by no tie either of tenderneſs or nations.—Ah, England, England, Old England for ever!
Now, although the hero of the Royal Exchange diſplayed more the heart of buſineſs than that of pleaſure, in his arguments, againſt this Pariſian expedition, thoſe arguments were not more characteriſtic of that wonderful whimſicalneſs which belongs to human nature, than Amelia's; the only indifference, indeed, was, the merchant betrayed the variableneſs of man, and the lady the variableneſs of [Page 146] woman. It is a moſt intereſting ſpeculation to look at nature in theſe her fantaſtical operations. Perhaps thoſe philoſophers may imagine they have hit off this ſame Human Nature to a nicety; who aſſure us that, though the heart is an inconſiſtent thing, providence hath given an adequate ſtrength of reaſon at all times able to correct it. This is Reaſon, ſay they, which, like an expert ballance-maſter, can, if ſhe is ſeriouſly called upon, ſuſtain, as a monarch, all the ſubject paſſions on their proper equilibrium. I ſhall not be ſo diſloyal as to advance a ſyllable againſt the ſway or ſovereignty of Reaſon, much leſs [Page 147] ſhall I preſume to diſpute the truth of theſe carpenter-like philoſophers, who meaſure the lengths and breadths of the heart, by the rule and ſquare of profeſſional formality: for ought I know to the contrary they may be very good workmen, and labour in their vocation with diligence and ſucceſs. Heaven fore-fend that I ſhould gainſay ſo large and reſpectable a body. It is only my humble wiſh, in theſe Travels, to obſerve, that, Human Nature is, after all the exertions of Reaſon, as conſtant to her objects as the wind of Heaven to any ſingle point in the thirty-two of the compaſs; that the heart of man, woman, and [Page 148] child, like a bee in ſummer, flies briſkly through the garden of life, haſtily extracts what it is pleaſed to call honey, from every flower, of every colour, without ever ſetling upon any; and laſtly, that, this very heart, which is ſo wiſely governed by the edicts of Reaſon, is neither to be limited by land or water, but without ſo much as aſking a furlow of abſence, leaves Reaſon to enjoy her crown and ſceptre in ſome obſcure corner, while it traverſes the moſt ſplendid parts of the globe with a gayer companion, and as if it was perfectly its own maſter, doth,
[Page 149]This, I readily allow is very rebellious, and enough to make this ſame ill-treated Majeſty hang up the human heart, and that human nature, which ſo taints its allegiance, as incorrigible traitors. The truth is, beſides that Reaſon is ſomewhat too frigid, and the heart which ought to be ſubject to her, is too ardent; beſides this conſtitutional difference, by which is deſtroyed that moſt cordial and excellent medium of excellent properties, of which temperament the elements [Page 150] are compoſed, ſuch as well-contrived portions of air, fire, earth and water; Reaſon, by ſome means or another, hath, from the beginning of her reign, which we are told was ſoon after the beginning of the world (and I much fear will ſo continue to the end thereof) been obnoxious to all the ſubjects of her realm. The parliament of the paſſions are alſo flat againſt her, and, though theſe paſſions are the very powers, when ſhe was chiefly created, and enthroned, to diſcipline, reform and regulate, yet there is ſcarce one of them who does not, ſo far from obeying, oppoſe her edicts, and laugh at her laws: [Page 151] nay, ſo utterly is all the authority of this imperial dictatreſs renounced, that each paſſion propenſely abjures her council, and, though its rigid propriety is often confeſſed, it will even ſuffer all the pains and penalties, as well as the pleaſures, of diſloyalty, rather than ſubmit."Like the poet's eye, in a fine phrenzy rolling,Glance quick from Heaven to earth, from earth to Heaven."
Love, contrary to the admonitions of Reaſon, even though in the form, and with the tenderneſs of a parent, yields up the melting heart to irreſiſtible affection. Nature with all her addreſs, her force, her enchantment, firſt ſhews the virgin the Paradiſe: ſhe is delighted at the proſpect: one figure from all the [Page 152] millions that ſwarm upon the earth, appears, all accompliſhed, before her. Nature threw them in each other's company. Nature and even Reaſon, ſuggeſts they are of different ſexes. Nature commanded their eyes to meet. Every interview is more charming. The gentle languor of the eye; the fine ſuffuſion of brighter bluſhes that paſs over the countenance, refuſing long to tarry, or to be long abſent; the delicate and ſtolen touch of the hand which ſets the whole heart a trembling; the half-look; the whiſper that ſends forth the ſoul and all its wiſhes in one eloquent ſigh; the diſagreements; the reconciliations; [Page 153] the tranſports and terrors which all happen in him; "ah, theſe ſymptoms (I ſay) and many more, too delicate for deſcription, too refined for language, and only to be felt, betray how far Nature hath carried on her intrigue. Preſently the moment arrives, when the paſſion is grown to its utmoſt maturity, and admits no longer delay. Every artery labours for enjoyment. Nature now colours the proſpect brighter ſtill. Inſtead of a gentle languor, ſhe arms the eyes of the lovers, with animated fire: the ſigh, which before was conveyed in a whiſper ſcarcely to be heard, now burſts violently forth, as if the heart [Page 154] were breaking: the blood which before courſed over the cheek in ſtreams of ſerene ruby, with untumultuous emotions, now aſſumes a greater vehemence, and ruſhes along in a tide of deeper crimſon: the ſtolen touch too, which thrilled only a ſoft ſenſation to the ſource of feeling, while the paſſion was yet growing, now flings a feveriſh agony from its contact, and is no longer to be endured.
Poor victims of Nature what ſhall ye do, or whether ſhall ye fly for relief in this exigence? To enjoyment? Ah, no: Reaſon with a frown upon her brow, and a rod [Page 155] of iron in her hand, forbids it. But Nature, ſay you, made us; Nature miſled us; and Nature muſt anſwer for whatever guilt, it is poſſible there ſhould be, in yielding to the tenderneſſes of love. For our parts we are determined to be as happy as love can make us. If we are right, ſo much the better: if wrong; be it at the peril of Nature!
Reaſon now aſſumes greater ſeverity: ſhe threatens infamy, diſinheritance, loſs of honour and the hiſſes of ſociety. The children of Nature are obſtinately deaf to all her remonſtrances, and, while the ſun is yet looking upon them in [Page 156] full luſtre from the Heavens, they determine to give Reaſon the ſlip. Love is ingenious, and the following appointment is ſealed with a kiſs.
On the left ſide of that field waving with the wheat (luckily for our privacy, not yet ripe for the ſickle) is a grove, which that Nature whom they find ſuch fault with, hath, juſt at this period, imbelliſhed with the moſt beautiful arborage you ever ſaw. The trees, my dear, form themſelves into ſo thick an alcove, and the boughs meet, ſalute, and throw their arms about each other with ſo amorous a luxuriance, that it ſeems the love-ſcene of vegetation [Page 157] itſelf. Beſides this, did you not obſerve, when ſometime ago, we walked here, arm in arm with Nature—don't bluſh, fair creature— ſhe commanded us to walk arm in arm—a little to the right of a cluſter of May-buſhes, we ſaw a bank of ſo peculiar a verdure, and made ſo fragrant by the primroſe and violet, that Nature ſaid, we might reſt upon it awhile: as we were doing this—don't you recollect the accident that happened?—Was there not a lamb ſporting with its mother juſt before us, and did you not ſay, in a whiſper, that next to thoſe beautiful babes which are the [Page 158] riches of happy parents, lambs were the ſweeteſt—the prettieſt—
To this grove, then, let us ſecretly repair. Nature ſhall be our guide; and as for Reaſon, even if ſhe ſhould ſuſpect us, ſhe is ſo ſlow a traveller that we ſhall have followed the adviſe of Nature before our enemies arrival, let her advice be ever ſo difficult.
Ah, fatal aſſignation: Reaſon is told of it. The world is made acquainted with the tale. All the menaces come to paſs in agonizing ſucceſſion; and as to Nature, barbarous nature, the crimes of the [Page 159] parent are viſited upon her children, to the ſeventh generation.
But love is not the only paſſion whom Nature cauſes to revolt from the empire of Reaſon. Revenge dies her hands in the blood of a brother, and ſhews Reaſon either to be on a journey, or in a ſleep, or else preſent, and powerleſs. The poor Maniac, ſhe gives, voluntarily over to the whip, the iron cage, and the bed of ſtraw. Jealouſy, defies reaſon, and ſtabs her whom he loves to the heart, and often for no better reaſon than that "he ſuſpects, for that he ſuſpects." Ah cruel Reaſon, why would'ſt thou not ſet [Page 160] Nature right in ſuch a caſe? How many lives might by ſo courteous an act be ſaved! Hate alſo, in deſpite of Reaſon ſeiſes her victim; and the whole truth of the matter is, that it were to be wiſhed, nature was leſs cunning, Reaſon leſs weak, and Paſſion leſs ſtrong.
This alſo accounts for the Doctrine of Relapſes; for none of the paſſions are conſiſtent even with themſelves. The lover's heart, though raging before, often changes its object. The revengeful man kills his friend, and then kills himſelf to ſhew his remorſe. Jealouſy throws his bleeding boſom upon that of [Page 161] his injured wife, and Madneſs ſometimes recovers its ſenſes, till it has more to do with Reaſon than any of the reſt.
[Page 162] "At this rate (ſaid I) if we pay ſtrict attention to ſuch a pack of raſcally buts and ifs, whys, and wherefores, we ſhall never be able to get on, Amelia. Let us be at leaſt ſilent upon the ſubject, and turn it over and over again in our minds, without ſaying another word, or communicating another idea, till we get to Dover, and then let us calmly diſcuſs the whole matter over a diſh of coffee, at the inn; where we will freely impart our ſentiments to each other, and either go quick back again, or elſe proceed in our journey, very much contented with having, even in the courſe of leſs [Page 163] than eighty miles, ſeen the heart in to many different poſitions."
The propoſition was pleaſing, and the bargain ſtruck upon the ſpot. It would have been humourous enough for a third perſon to ſee the trial which we had impoſed on ourſelves, puſhed at by miſchievous Nature with all her adroitneſs of beſieging, in order to throw us from our guard. We never had ſo much inclination to break a treaty, or to talk, in our whole lives. A thouſand little arguments, which were not ſtarted before the inhibition took place, now occurred. The muſcles of Garrick were never [Page 164] more legible than ours at this juncture. Every look might have been tranſlated to the correctneſs of a ſyllable; and, as all other intercourſe was forbidden, we had ingenuity enough to ſit parallel, as well as the ſeat would allow, and in this ſituation our faces entered into a very long and ſerious dialogue.
The articles were preſerved entire till we got to Canterbury, where it was contrived by our luckleſs ſtars, to dine upon one of thoſe joints, to which an Engliſh appetite beats the alarm of gratification. To give it all the graces of my native [Page 165] language, never did a fine buttock of beef appear at ſo critical a period. The Corn, Wine, and Oil of Old England were viſible in the very grain of it. I recollected that France had no idea of ſuch over-ſized, and under-roaſted enjoyments. If I had made a contract with Heaven, I doubt this would have been the time in which it muſt have gone hard with my fidelity. As it was only a mortal promiſe, it returned to the mortal duſt of which it was formed.
"And ſo this, then (ſaid I); this is the laſt fat of the land, I am for ſome time to behold in Canaan!" [Page 166] All the horrors of famine and ſoup-maigre were in the thought; and Amelia, without thinking about the treaty, contributed her ſhare to its deſtruction—"Eat then (replied ſhe); eat heartily of that which the Lord hath commanded to be received to-day; for if we journey on, peradventure to-morrow we look in vain for the luxuries of Canterbury."
After dinner, as we were ſitting in oppoſite chairs, upon the very edge of ordering our rout to be changed, He who hath the directing of all things, in all places, decreed, that we ſhould receive no benefit from banqueting ſo largely on the Corn, Wine, and Oil of Old England. Providence, in the ſhape of a deep ſleep — the conſequence of theſe things—, came ſuddenly upon us; and, when we awoke, the point was ſettled ſo perfectly, that all our former objections were as vapours before the dawn, and as ſhadows that glide away with the glooms of [Page 168] the night. A ſickneſs like that of indigeſtion ſucceeded ſleep, and this brought on a train of phyſical reflections—
"This vile practice (cried we with ſome degree of aſperity in the tones); this vile practice which the Engliſh have got of feeding on ſuch groſs, canibal food, certainly brings about ten thouſand diſtempers. We live in a nation of Hottentots! Would we were in France; for her ſons, like our firſt parents in Paradiſe, are
—Airy lightFrom pure digeſtion bred.
[Page 169] The rebuking watch furthermore —for arguments love to come in a body—informed us, that we had cloſed our eyes on more ſunſhine, than would have been neceſſary to carry us to the next ſtage. Convictions of this ſort, which, although the honey of truth is in their lips, the ſting of remorſe is in their tail, never pleaſe us; and, when we are not pleaſed with ourſelves, Heaven take into its tender mercies, and keep from the frown of our diſpleaſure, thoſe about us, eſpecially ſuch as might ſeem to lead us into the error. We could have quarrelled with our teeth for eating, [Page 170] our eyes for cloſing, and our watches for both as exactly, as provokingly, agreeing in the ſame ſtory; yea, even to the tenth part of a click. "A few of theſe farewell dinners (ſaid I, giving my watch chain an angry ſhake) would oblige us to take our leave of Old England with a vengeance!"
"And of the great globe itſelf too:" replied Amelia revenging herſelf upon a poor innocent fly, which ſhe briſkly filliped from a flower on her apron, where it had, for the curioſity of its little heart, juſt ſettled.
[Page 171] The ball of retort being now up, and the heart in a right humour to bandy it about ſtoutly to and fro, we found it in the end, a very ſalutary exerciſe; for, beſides that it brought round our powers to their proper tone, a moral reverberated from every ſtroke—"If thou would'ſt avoid both ill-nature, and ill-humour, eat not too heartily either of the boiled or the roaſt beef of Old England: ſaid one— "If thou would be chearful and lively, indulge not ſleep after dinner in Old England:" echoed a ſecond— "Beware of a dropſy:" cried a third— "The food of France is better becauſe [Page 172] cauſe it is not ſo good:" exclaims a fourth.
To conclude the whole, never were two hearts more firmly perſuaded that a ride in a chaiſe to the next ſtage would ſet all right again. Aſtoniſhing as it may ſeem, the heart neither of man nor woman, experienced a ſingle wandering from its point, in travelling ſixteen miles, which is preciſely the diſtance from Canterbury to Dover.
Whether Amelia cloſed her laſt ſentence ſo ardently, and in ſuch terms for the ſake of the alliteration, or becauſe it came from her heart, I know not; but there was a ſomething in the wording of it, which threw all former objections at a diſtance; and ſo, without attempting [Page 174] tempting to anſwer it, I walked about the parlour or the inn, humming a tune of acquieſcence, and, in the very next minute, looking through the window, obſerved that the pendants of the veſſels which were ranged along the quay, were pointed to the ſhore of Calais.
NEVER were the Heavens bluer, the breezes milder, the face of the earth more verdant, nor did the ſun ever go down to the weſtward in more ſerenity, than upon my arrival at Dover! I walked forth upon the quay to take a ſurvey of that water, which divides the ſhore of France from that of England. Curioſity, or, perhaps, ſome more contemplative principle, induced me to borrow a glaſs from a gentleman who ſtood near me. I levelled my eye to the [Page 176] mirrour, and either diſcerned, or imagined that I diſcerned, the ſpires of Calais.
The intelligence was that moment conveyed with inconceivable rapidity from the eye to the heart, which had a great deal to ſay upon the ſubject. I directly interpreted its vibrations. Thus it beat—The land of an old and very formidable enemy to thy native country is before thee! The towers of thoſe temples that are conſecrated to a form of devotion, and in which are practiſed ceremonies diſſimilar to thine, are in proſpect. That cluſtering miſt, which, like a vapouriſh exhalation, ſeems [Page 177] to riſe from the earth and ſettle on the ſhore, is the ſmoke of houſes inhabited by (to thee) an unknown people, who ſpeak a different language, and are ſubject to different laws, purſuits, and manners. The land from whence the eye is now taking its ſurvey, and that which it is ſurveying, are both defended by garriſons, fortified by men of arms, who conſtantly keep a jealous and wary eye, upon the motions of each other—
Here the heart required a pauſe; and I returned the glaſs to its owner, that I might, leiſurely, take a circuit round the quay alone. [Page 178] Five ſeconds of ſolitude at ſuch a period, when every thing about one conſpires to nurſe the multiplying images that are ariſing, are worth a whole year of vacant ſociety, where there is not even room enough to think. If there ever was a goddeſs of contemplation, ſhe muſt now have ſwum upon the ſtill air, with her ſerene wings expanded directly over my head. ‘"To ſail or not to ſail was now the queſtion."’ I could not have deſired a fairer opportunity, to enter into all the niceties of this queſtion, which, inſtead [Page 179] of putting to the purſe, I put immediately to the heart.
The grey ſobriety of twilight came on apace; the ſun had left in the element only a few ſcattered fluſhings, to welcome in the moon; and even the moon was unuſually ſoftened into a lanquor, that, in the contraſt, made her more femininely fair; ſo that the heart had every help, with reſpect to ſcenery, it could poſſibly wiſh.
Upon a ſolitary angle that jutted from the quay, apparently intended as a covering for the mariner upon his landing, I ſat me down. There [Page 180] was an arching of ſtone over my head in the ſtyle of a rude ſhell-work. Every minute circumſtance propitiated meditation more and more. On the one hand the diſtant daſhing of an oar, harmonious by the regularity of its ſtrokes, played in perfect tune, upon the ear; on the other, the waves, which were ſaluted by the ſea-breeze, ſported with an air of friendlineſs, as if to ratify the bonds of peace which were now enjoyed by the neighbouring nations.
"Yonder veſſel (ſaid I) which is now riding calmly at its anchor, whoſe ſails ſhall preſently be looſened to the gale, and whoſe pennant is now ſtreaming in paſſive obedience to the whimſies of the wind; yonder veſſel, perhaps, is deſtined to carry me from England to France—
France—from England to France! and wherefore did theſe ample beds of water divide one land from another, but to divide alſo people from people, man from man, and [Page 182] beaſt from beaſt. What hath the elephant to do in the groves of the Engliſh linnet, or what abſurd principle would direct the Britiſh wren to the foreſt or cavern which is governed by the African lyon? Why then, I ſay, this ſeparation, but to ſerve as a water-mark, in order to keep ſacred that tract of territory which the author, both of earth and ocean, hath allotted to different nations? Wherefore too, this difference of religious opinion? Why—although the Proteſtant and the Roman, are kept aſunder by only a ſlight arm of the ſea;— why all this diſſimilarity of devotional ceremony? A thin, tranſparent [Page 183] partition of property, this, to occaſion ſuch a change even in points of faith! But there is yet another article of this queſtion to be examined. Wherefore, in the ſpace of twenty-one miles, all this confuſion of tongues? Wherefore but to confine the wanderings of the heart, and make every man contented with the ſociety, laws, cuſtoms, and religion of the country in which he was born?
See we not, alſo, that ſtorms, and calms, rocks, quickſands, and a thouſand other perils, daily happen to alarm thoſe who have the hardineſs to venture upon the boſom of [Page 184] the capricious deep? May not this ariſe in providential puniſhment of that curioſity, and of that ridiculous ambition, which can neither be bounded by the ſcope of a nation, extending, even in length, ſeveral hundred miles, nor terrified by the dangers of penetrating into the property of a foreign people?"
I had worked myſelf up ſo exceedingly near to the top, that I looked at the packet, which now began to toſs with the return of the tide, till I heartily deſpiſed the very idea of tumbling about thoſe different parts of the watery world, where I had no actual buſineſs, in [Page 185] a wooden vehicle merely to have the pride of ſaying
Let no dog bark when I ſpeak,For I am a traveller.
I caſt my eyes, after theſe reflections, upon the waves, and, when I had liſtened a moment with ears which were prepared to be diſguſted, I imagined their ſportive murmurs were augmented into roarings to reproach me.
"Pſhaw, pſhaw; beſhrew the folly of travel, ſaid I,—early convinced of the vanity and vexation of it, I thank Heaven for the [Page 186] impreſſions of patriotiſm, and propriety that are written upon my heart, and I will return quietly back to my own chimney-corner! Yes, yes, there is ſunſhine enough in my native country, to warm into bloſſoms, and ripen into fruitage, the few wholeſome vegetables of which I ſhall at any time be maſter. In any part of the empire, I ſhall find a little cultivated corner, not utterly barren of arborage. A ſmall ſhrub-berry is eaſily twiſted into a bower. The pagle, the violet and the primroſe, flouriſh under the humbleſt hedge: haply too, ſome plumy friends, neither contemptible in feather nor ſong, may both build [Page 187] and warble round my cottage. There too, imagination may have, as an aſſociate, the faireſt of the fair! Good God! how ſhe will add her enchantments to the ſcene! It is now blooming full upon me. I approve its proper diſtance from the din of London. The cottage looks down from the ſlopings of a gentle hill. Sweet is the ſalutary breeze, that, embalmed by the breath of the morning, comes freſh from the Heavens. I riſe with the ſun, and feel his reſtoring ray animate my frame. The honeyſuckle and woodbines, are precipitating their growth, and promiſe peculiar fragrance, as if anxious to [Page 188] make the ſoil on which they grow, agreeable to my heart. And ſhall I quit a ſcene like this? A ſcene which a very ſmall expenditure might procure me? Shall I quit it too, for ſtorm, and rock, a ſhip, a long journey, and the hurry of a huge city at the end of it?
No, no! I am reſolved upon a wiſer conduct. France quotha! Not a foot farther will I advance towards thee; and as to the portion of waſte-money that hath taken unto itſelf wheels and run away, in order to bring us to this limit of England, I calmly ſet it down to the account of that quantum of caſh, [Page 189] which every man ſhould keep in his purſe to defray the abſurdities of the year. Indeed, to pay ſomewhat ſmartly for having done a very fooliſh thing is not unreaſonable. Satisfied that the offence deſerves the puniſhment, I ſubmit to it with the beſt grace imaginable. I have only gone to the laſt limit of my native land. I have not yet gone beyond it. Happy is he who only treads upon the border of a bad action. It is like walking on the extremeſt verge of a precipice. The eye diſcovers the danger, and we cautiouſly turn away the foot to prevent it."
SHE ſaw ſolicitude in my air, on my entrance into the room of the inn, and, with a tenderneſs which was peculiar to her, enquired into the cauſe. On my coming into the room, ſhe was employed at the fire in warming a wrapping cloak, in which, ſhe inſiſted upon it, I was to enfold myſelf when I got into the ſhip. A cap too, which ſhe had been airing, would, ſhe ſaid, be abſolutely neceſſary. A ſmall bottle of cordials to recover the agitated or exhauſted ſpirits [Page 192] after ſickneſs, her caution had likewiſe provided; as it had, alſo, drops of hartſhorn to remove thoſe faintings to which I was ſubject.
All theſe little preparations of her tenderneſs were, like ſo many fair and favourable breezes, ſpread forth, to tempt me to the enterprize, and waft over my heart. To ſtrengthen the whole, in came the captain of the packet-boat, with all that hardy-hood, and jolly roughneſs in the tones of his voice, as well as that tar-like twiſt in the tie of his ſilk-handkerchief, which ſufficiently mark thoſe who are ſeaſoned to that element, which nature ſeems to have [Page 193] prepared rather for fiſhes than men.
Never was any thing—not abſolutely uttered—more near to the tip of the tongue than a flat refuſal to go along with him. The picture of the heart muſt have been admirable. What a pity it is, Reynolds was not at my elbow to copy it! I began with ſubſtantially [Page 194] purſeing my front into the deepeſt wrinkles of denial, reſolved to cut my way through all arguments and temptations. When I had thrown as much ruggedneſs and ſeverity as I thought proper into my features, I turned round, juſt upon the edge of declaring that I ſhould not go!
Amelia was, at that very moment, pouring ſome of the hartſhorn drops upon the handkerchief which might refreſh me in caſe of any ſickneſs! What a check was here to a man's intentions! I felt the contracted muſcles unbend, and relax into the yielding ſoftneſs of [Page 195] compliance. The heart was going as faſt as it could, to give up the point; but, after much ſuſpicious ſtammer and heſitation, it juſt allowed me fortitude enough to ſay to Amelia "I think, my good girl, we had better have the prudence to — TO — TO — I ſay my dear traveller, I do take upon me to ſay, that—THAT—THAT—"
[Page 196] Immediately parallel to my eye hung a map of the continent of France, and a little above that a chart of Paris, with all its ſcenery, gaieties and attracting magnificence. The eye treacherouſly dwelt upon theſe proſpects; now ſurveying the city, and now the luxuriances of a new and fruitful country. It was ſcarce a moment's buſineſs— for the heart (which with the wings of imagination travels with the rapidity of light) to paſs through all the land that is governed by Louis. I ſaw the grapes ripen under the ſun that glows upon the vineyards of Burgundy. As I traced the [Page 197] courſe of different countries, as they were marked by meandering lines upon the map, I beheld the cluſters of Champaigne burniſh around me. I felt alſo the atmoſphere gradually brighten into benignity, and all that can gladden the heart of an invalid, as I penetrated into the ſoftneſs of the ſouth; and after I had taken into my proſpect all the beauties of the Seine and Loire, omitting not whatever fancy imagined might contribute to the flowers and buildings which embelliſh their banks, I looked for ſome relief from theſe inſupportable temptations, at the face of Amelia. There, however, [Page 198] inſtead of relief, I was attacked by the artillery of arguments ſtill more potent. Her eyes ſparkled, as I ran my fore finger along the map, as much as to ſignify, if this is only the beautiful ſhadow, how delicious muſt be the ſubſtance! I wiſh it was the moment of departure with all my heart.
A fig for the world's opinion of my weakneſs. There are times and ſeaſons when weakneſs is graceful. I believe, about this period, my face was as ſmooth as the lucid ſtream in which Eve ſurveyed herſelf: but, had a few ſtoic wrinkles ſtill preſerved their inflexibility, [Page 199] they would have been preſently erazed by one of thoſe ſmiles, which, from the beginning of the world to this very hour, have decided the moſt difficult points in an inſtant. And as if all this was not enough, ſhe added the reinforcement of that eloquence, which, when it flows from a thin and rubied lip, talks down every trace of the moſt abſtract philoſophy.
"What pleaſure ſhall I enjoy, (ſaid my fair fellow traveller, gently, and as a friend, preſſing my right hand, which was next to her); what pleaſure ſhall I indeed enjoy, if in our tour to this paradiſaical [Page 200] land of promiſe, health ſhould deign to be the companion of our journey! The ſame beams which are darted upon the grape, and make it ſo much richer and brighter, than the ſcanty vintage which clings reluctant to the walls of Britain, may animate alſo the declining man! Added to this, how agreeable will it be to look at the cuſtoms, and general air, of a country ſo conſpicuous, and which makes ſo brilliant a figure in the map of the world, as France: but, what is yet more—to have viſited the metropolis of that gay country! To have been at Paris: at Paris, my dear Sir, which is the ſeat of [Page 201] entertainment, the circuit of delight, the centre of ſoftneſs, elegance, pleaſure, politeſſe, and the Heaven of women! Oh that the packet was this moment under ſail! I can ſcarce bear the delay! Sure this is the longeſt night in the year! Ah my friend, try to take from the hours ſome part of the anguiſh which I feel from their delay! Fill up the horrid interval with ſomething that may draw upon the treaſury of our future amuſements! Let every deity, who delights in water, be invoked to favour our paſſage. Supplicate Neptune, Thetis, with all the Tritons, [Page 202] Amphitritons, Naiads, Neriads, and Sea-nymphs in their train! Promiſe, even now, while the prayer may be beſt formed in the enthuſiaſm of the heart, to erect temples of unparelled ſhell-work to the dewy-locked Sabrina! Promiſe to rebuild her chariot of entire pearl on our ſafe arrival! Pray with ſtill greater fervor that the demon Hypochondriaſis may be the only thing which is thrown overboard in our paſſage, and, that none of the powers may want the homage or the deference which is due to them, petition the gentle Zephyrus, and all his breezy companions, to [Page 203] ſpread out our canvaſs, and indulgently direct us to the port of Calais!"
So much am I the child of nature and the heart, that, ſo far from checking this torrent of a rhapſody, like a man who had made up his mind upon the ſubject, that I was almoſt as much affected as the ſpeaker of it. Towards the middle of the invocation to the ſea-gods, I gave three jumps with the agility of a Frenchman, and I think my nerves were all the better for the concuſſion!
[Page 204] When ſhe pointed to the environs of Paris, as if to the text of her voluptuous commentary upon the charms of that city, eſpecially as her wriſt was not without a bracelet, and that bracelet not without a flattering figure, by no means in the attitude of refuſal, the animal ſpirits courſed along the veins with ſuch celerity, that I felt them throb at the very ends of my fingers; and, at the concluſion, every thing within me played a tune ſo briſk and vivacious, that, had every wave been a rock, I do verily think, ſo wrought upon [Page 205] as I was, I could not have thrown the cold water of refuſal, upon the beautiful warm blood which glowed on the face of theſe animated hopes of the heart.