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sions of the mob, intrigued lied, sometimes they would put a woman in wrangled, and tried to swindle each a tub and set her rolling down a hill; other out of power.
others would place her on her head Private minners were as lovely as with her feet in the air; some would public. As a rule the reigning king Aatten the nose of the wretch whom detested his son ; this son got into they had caught, and press his eyes out debt, asked Parliament for an increased of their sockets. Świft, the comic allowance aid himself with his fa. writers, the novelists, have painted the !her's enemies. George I. kept his wife baseness of this gross debauchery in prison thirty-two years, and got craving for riot, living in drunkenness drunk every night with his two ugly revelling in obscenity, issuir.g io mistresses. George II., who loved cruelty, ending by irreligion and athe his wife, took mistresses to keep up ism.* This violent and excessive mood appearances, rejoiced at his son's death, requires to occupy itself proudly and upset his father's will. His eldest son daringly in the destruction of what cheated at cards, * and one day at Ken- men respect, and what institutions sington, having borrowed five thousand protect. These men attack the clergy pounds from Bubb Doddington, said, by the same instinct which leads then when he saw him from the window : to beat the watch. Collins, Tindal, “ That man is reckoned one of the most Bolingbroke, are their teachers ; the sensible men in England, yet with all corruption of manners, the frequent his parts I have just nicked him out of practice of treason, the warring amongsı five thousand pounds." | George IV. sects, the freedom of speech, the prog. was a sort of coachman, gamester, ress of science, and the fermentation scandalous roysterer, unprincipled bet- of ideas, seemed as if they would disting-man, whose proceedings all but solve Christianity. “ There is no regot him excluded from the Jockey Club. ligion in England,” said Montesquieu. The only upright man was George III., “Four or five in the house of Commons a poor half-witted dullard, who went go to prayers or to the parliamentary mad, and whom his mother had kept sermon. . . ; If any one speaks of re. locked up in his youth as though in a ligion, everybody begins to laugh. A cloister. She gave as her reason the man happening to say, 'I believe this universal corruption of men of quality: like an article of faith,' everybody burst “The young men,” she said, “were all out laughing.” In fact the phrase was rakes; the young women made love, provincial,and smacked of antiquity, the instead of waiting till it was made to main thing was to be fashionable, and them.". In fact, vice was in fashion, it is amusing to see from Lord Ches. not delicate vice as in France ; “Mon- terfield in what this fashion consisted. ey," wrote Montesquieu, “is here es. Of justice and honor he only speaks teemed above every thing, honor and transiently, and for form's sake. Be. virtue not much. An Englishman must fore all, he says to his son, “ have man. have a good dinner,a woman, and money. ners, good breeding, and the graces.” As he does not go much into society, He insists upon it in every letter with and limits himself to this, so, as soon as a fulness and force of illustration which his fortune is gone, and he can no longer form an odd contrast : “ Mon cher have these things, he commits suicide ami, comment vont les grâces, les maor turns robber.
The young men had nières, les agrémens, et tous ces pet ts e superabundance of coarse energy, riens si nécessaires pour rendre un which made them mistake brutality homme amiable ? Les prenez-vous ? for pleasure. The most celebrated y faites-vous des progrès ? ... A procalled themselves Mohocks, and tyr- pos, on m'assure que Madame de Blot annized over London by night. They sans avoir des traits, est jolie comme stopped people, and made them dance un cour, et que nonobstant cela, elle by pricking their legs with their swords ; s'en est tenue jusqu'ici scrupuleusement • Frederick died 1751. Memoirs of Horace d'un an qu'elle est mariée. Elle n'y
à son mari, quoi qu'il y ait déjà plus Walpole, i. 262.
+ Walpole's Memors of George II., ed. * See the character of Birtop in Voilare's Lord Holland, 3 vols. ad ed., 1847, i. 77. Jenny.
pense pas." “ It seems ridiculous | the piece ran amidst a tempestol to tell you, but it is most certainly true, laughter; the adies had the songs that your dancing-master is at this time written on their fans, and the principal the man in all Europe of the greatest actress married a duke. What a sa importance to you." | “In your tire! Thieves infested London, so that person you must be accurately clean; in 1728 the queen herself was almost and your teeth, hands, and nails should robbed; they formed bands with offi. be superlatively so. ... Upon no accers, a treasury, a commander-in-chief, count whatever put your fingers in your and multiplied, though every six weeks nɔse or ears. I What says Madame they were sent by the cartload to the Dupin to you? For an attachment I gallows. Such was the society which should prefer her to la petite Blot. Gay put on the stage. In his opinion,
.. Pleasing women may in time be of it was as good as the higher society; service to you, They often please and it was hard to discriminate between govern others.” II
them; the manners, wit, conduct, moAnd he quotes to him as examples, rality in both were alike.“ Through Bolingbroke and Marlborough, the two the whole piece you may observe such worst roués of the age. Thus speaks a similitude of manners in high and low a serious man, once Lord-Lieutenant life, that it is difficult to determine of Ireland, an ambassador and pleni- whether in the fashionable vices) the potentiary, and finally a Secretary of fine gentlemen imitate the gentlemen State, an authority in matters of educa of the road, or the gentlemen of the tion and taste. He wishes to polish road the fine gentlemen.* his son, to give him a French air, to Wherein, for example, is Peachum add to solid diplomatic knowledge and different from a great minister? Like large views of ambition an engaging, him, he is a leader of a gang of thieves; lively and frivolous manner. This out- like him, he has a register for thefts; ward polish, which at Paris is of the like him, he receives money with both true color, is here but a shocking ve- hands; like him he contrives to have
This transplanted politeness is his friends caught and hung when they a lie, this vivacity is want of sense, this trouble him; he uses, like him, parliaworldly education seems fitted only to mentary language and classical commake actors and rogues.
parisons; he has, like him, gravity, So thought Gay in his Beggars' Opera, steadiness, and is eloquently indignant and the polished society, applauded when his honor is suspected. It is true with furore the portrait which he drew that Peachum quarrels with a comrade of it. Sixty-three consecutive nights about the plunder, and takes him by
• The original letter is in French. Chester- the throat ? But lately, Sir Robert field's Letters to his son, ed. Mahon, 4 vols. Walpole and Lord Townsend had 1845; ii. April 15, 1751, p. 127. to Ibid. ii. Jan. 3, 1751, p. 72.
fought with each other on a similar Chesterfield's Letters to his son, ed. Ma- question. Listen to what Mrs. PeachSor, 4 vols., 1845 ; ii. Nov. 12, 1750, p. 57. um says of her daughter : “ Love him! $ Ibid. ii. May 16, 1951, p. 146.
(Macheath), worse and worse ! I || Ibid. ii. Jan. 21, 1751, p. 81.
"They (the English) are commonly twenty thought the girl had been better bred.”+ years old before they have spoken to anybody The daughter observes : “A woma: above their schoolmaster and the fellows of knows how to be mercenary though heir college. If they happen to have learning, she has never been in a court or at ar. it is only Greek and Latin, but not one word of modern history or modern languages. Thus assembly.” | And the father remarks: prepared, they go abroad, as they call it ; but, My daughter to me should be, like a in truth, they stay at home all that while : for, court lady to a minister of state, a key being very awkward, confoundedly ashamed, to the whole gang." As to Macheath and not speaking the languages, they go into no foreign company, at least none good; but he is a fit son-in-law for such a politi dine and sup with one another only at the cian. If less brilliant in council tha: tavern.". Ibid. i., May 10, 0. S., 1748, p. 136. in action, that only suits his age. Poir 'I could wish you would ask him (Mr. Burrish) for some letters to young fellows of pleas- * Speech of the Beggar in the Epilogue c ure or fashionable coquettes, that you may be the Beggars' Opera. dans l'honnete debauche dé Munick."-ibid. † Gay's Piays, 1772 ; The Beggars' Opera 3. Oct. 3, 1753, p. 331
out a young and noble officer who has to see Lucy show her pregnancy ta a better address, or per forms finer ac- Macheath, and give Polly "rat-bane. tions. He is a highwayman, that is his They are familiar with all the refine bravery; he shares his booty with his ments of the gallows, and all the nice. friends, that is his generosity: “ Youties of medicine. Mistress Tapes ex see, gentlemen, I am not a mere court pounds her trade before them, and friend, who professes every thing and complains of havir.3 "eleven fine cus will do nothing. . But we, gentle-tomers now down under the surgeon's men, have still honor enough to break hands.” Mr. Filch, a prison-prop, uses through the corruptions of the world.”* words which cannot even be quoted. A For the rest he is gallant; he has half- cruel keenness, sharpened by a stinging a-dozer wives, a dozen children; he irony, flows through the work, like one frequents stews, he is amiable towards of those London streams whose corro the beauties whom he meets, he is sive smells Swift and Gay have de easy in manners, he makes elegant scribed ; more than a hundred years bows to every one, he pays compli- later it still proclaims the dishonor o ments to all : “ Mistress Slammekin! the society which is bespattered and as careless and genteel as ever ! all you befouled with its mire. fine ladies, who know your own beauty
III. affect undress. . . . If any of the ladies
These were but the externals ; and chuse gin, I hope they will be so free as to call for it.-Indeed, sir, I never close observers, like Voltaire, did not drink strong waters, but when I have misinterpret them. Betwixt the slime the colic.—Just the excuse of the fine at the bottom and the scum on the sur. ladies! why, a lady of quality is never
face rolled the great national river, without the colic." | Is this not the which, purified by its own motion, algenuine tone of good society? And ready at intervals gave signs of its true does anyone doubt that Macheath is a
color, soon to display the powerful reg. man of quality when we learn that he ularity of its course and the whole. has deserved to be hung, and is not? some limpidity of its waters. It ad. Every thing yields to such a proof. If, has one of its own, which flows down
vanced in its native bed ; every nation however, we wish for another, he would its proper slope. It is this slope which add that, “ As to conscience and musty gives to each civilization its degree
and morals, I have as few drawbacks upon my pleasures as any man of quality in form, and it is this which we must
endeavor to describe and measure. England; in those I am not at least vulgar.” | After such a speech a man the travellers from the two countries
To this end we have only to follow must give in. Do not bring up the who at this time crossed the Channel. foulness of these manners; we see that there is nothing repulsive in them, be- Never did England regard and imitate cause fashionable society likes them.
France more, nor France England. To These interiors of prisons and stews, nation flowed, we have t ut to open our
see the distinct current in which each these gambling-houses, this whiff of gin, this pander-traffic, and these pick- eyes. Lord Chesterfieid writes to his pockets' calculations, by no means disgust the ladies, who applaud from the
“ It must be owned, that the polite conver: boxes. They sing the songs of Polly; not always very deep, is much less futile and
sation of the men and women at Paris, though their nerves shrink from no detail ; frivolous than ours here. It turns at least upon they have already inhaled the filthy some subject, something of taste, some point of odors from the highly polished pasto- history, crlticism, and even philosophy, which, rals of the amiable poet. § They laugh Locke's, is however better, and more becom
though probably not quite so solid as Mr. Gay's Plays, 1972 ; The Beggars Opera, ing rational beings, than our frivolous disserta
1 lbid. ii. 1. tions upon the weather or upon whist." * * I cannot find these lines in the edition I have consulted.-TR.
girl says to her mistress :
“ Have you no! $ In these Eclogues the ladies explain in fancy'd, in his freqạent kiss, th' ungrateful good style that their friends have tneir lackeys leavings of a filthy miss ?" for lovers : “Her favours Sylvia shares * Chesterfield's Letters, ü. April 22, N. S.. amongst mankind; such gen?rous Love could 1751, P, 131. See, for a contrast, Swift's Essay never be confin'd.” Elsewhere the servant un Folúta Conversation.
In fact, the French became civilized | tlecock, by delicate woman's hands by conversation; not so the English. without sullying the lace sleeves from As soon
as the Frenchman quits me- which their slim arms emerge, or chanical labor and coarse material life, the garlands which the rosy Cupido even before he quits it, he converses : unfold on the wainscoting. Every this is his goal and his pleasure.* Bare- thing must glitter, sparkle, or smile. ly has he escaped from religious wars The passions are deadened, love is and feudal isolation, when he makes rendered insipid, the proprieties are his low and has his say. With the multiplied, good manners are exag Hotel de Rambouillet we get the fine gerated. The refined man becomes drawing-room talk, which is to last two * sensitive.” From his wadded taffeta centuries : Germans, English, all Eu- dressing-gown he keeps plucking his rope, either novices or dullards, listen worked handkerchief to whisk away the to France open-mouthed, and from time moist omen of a tear; he lays his hand to time clumsily attempt an imitation. on his heart, he grows tender; he has How amiable are French talkers 1 become so delicate and correct, that an What discrimination ! What innate Englishman knows not whether to take tact! With what grace and dexterity him for an hysterical young woman or they can persuade, interest,amuse,stroke a dancing-master.* Take a near view down sickly vanity, rivet the diverted of this beribboned puppy, in his light. attention, insinuate dangerous truth, green dress, lisping out the songs of ever soaring a hundred feet above the Florian. The genius of society which tedium-point where their rivals are has led him to these fooleries has also foundering with all their native heavi. led him elsewhere ; for conversation in
But, above all, how sharp they France at least, is a chase after ideas. soon have become ! Instinctively and | To this day, in spite of modern distrust without effort they light upon easy and sadness, it is at table, after dinner, gesture, fluent speech, sustained ele- over the coffee especially, that deep gance, a characteristic piquancy, a per- politics and the loftiest philosophy crop fect clearness. Their phrases, still for- up. To think, above all to think rapid. mal under Guez de Balzac, are looser, ly, is a recreation. The mind finds in lighter, launch out, nove speedily, it a sort of ball; think how eagerly it and under Voltaire find their wings. hastens thither. This is the source of Did any man ever see such a desire, all French culture. At the dawn of such an art of pleasing ? Pedantic the century, the ladies, between a cou. sciences, political economy, theology, ple of bows, produced studied portraits the sullen denizens of the Academy and and subtle dissertations; they under the Sorbonne, speak but in epigrams. stand Descartes, appreciate Nicole, Montesquieu's l'Esprit des Lois is also approve Bossuet. Presently little sup“l'Esprit sur les lois." Rousseau's pers are introduced, and during the periods, which begat a revolution, were dessert they discuss the existence of balanced, turned, polished for eighteen God. Are not theology, morality, set hours in his head. Voltaire's philoso- forth in a noble or piquant style, pleasphy breaks out into a million sparks. ures for the drawing-room and adorn. Every idea must blossom into a wit- ments of luxury? Fancy finds place ticism; people only have flashes of thought; all truth, the most intricate See in Evelina, by Miss Burney, 3 tols and the most sacred, becomes a pleas- 1784, the character of the poor, genteel French aat drawing-room conceit, thrown back. whilst lying in the gutter. These very correct
man, M. Dubois, who is made to tremble even ward and forward, like a gilded shut- young ladies go to see Congreve's Love for
Love ; their parents are not afraid of showing Even in 1826, Sydney Smith, arriving at them Miss Prue. See also, in Ealina, by way Calais, writes (Life and Letters, ii. 253, 254): of contrast, the boorish character of the Eng
What pleases me is the taste and ingenuity lish captain; he throws Mrs. Duval twice in dispiayed in the shops, and the good manners the mud ; he says to his daughter Molly: “I and politeness of the people. Such is the state charge you, as you value my favour, that you'll of manners, that you appear almost to have never again be so impertinent as to have a quitted a land of barbarians. I have not seen a taste of your own before my face" (i. 1901 cobbler who is not better bred than an English | The change, even from sixty years ago, is sur gentleman”
amongst them, floats about and sparkles to Robespierre. Oratorical reasoning like a light flame over all the subjects formed the regular theatre and classica on which it feeds. How lofty a flight preaching ; it also produced the Decdid intelligence take during this eigh- laration of Rights and the Contra. teenth century ! Was society ever Social. They form for themselves a more anxious for sublime truths, more certain idea of man, of his inclinations, bold in their search, more quick to dis- faculties, duties ; a mutilated idea, but cover, more ardent in embracing them ? the more clear as it was the more These perfumed marquises, these laced duced. From being aristocratic it be coxcombs, all these pretty, well-dressed, comes popular ; instead of being an gallant, frivolous people, crowd to hear amusement, it is a faith ; from delicate philosophy discussed, as they go to hear and skeptical hands it passes to coarse an opera. The origin of animated and enthusiastic hands. From the beings, the eels of Needham,* the ad- lustre of the drawing-room they make ventures of Jacques the Fatalist,t and a brand and a torch. Such is the the question of freewill, the principles current on which the French minc of political economy, and the calcula- floated for two centuries, caressed by tions of the Man with Forty Crowns, the refinements of an exquisite polite -all is to them a matter for paradoxes ness, amused by a swarm of brilliant and discoveries. All the heavy rocks, ideas, charmed by the promises of which the men who had made it their golden theories, until, thinking that it business, were hewing and undermining touched the cloud-palace, made bright laboriously in solitude, being carried by the future, it suddenly lost its footalong and polished in the public torrent, ing and fell in the storm of the Revoluroll in myriads, mingled together with tion. a joyous clatter, hurried onwards with Altogether different is the path which an ever-increasing rapidity. There was English civilization has taken. It is no bar, no collision; they were not not the spirit of society which has made: checked by the practicability of their it, but moral sense ; and the reason is, plans : theythought for thinking's that in England man is not as he is in sake ; theories could be expanded at France. The Frenchmen who became ease. In fact, this is how in France acquainted with England at this period men have always conversed. They were struck by it.
" In France,” says play with general truths ; they glean Montesquieu," I become friendly with one nimbly from the heap of facts in everybody ; in England with nobody. which it lay concealed, and developed You must do here as the English do, it ; they hover above observation in live for yourself, care for no one, love reason and rhetoric ; they find them- no one, rely on no one.” Englishmen selves uncomfortable and commonplace were of a singular genius, yet soliwhen they are not in the region of pure tary and sad. They are reserved, live ideas, And in this respect the eigh- much in themselves and think alone. teenth century continues the seven- Most of them having wit, are tormented teenth. The philosophers had described by their very wit. Scorning or disgusted good breeding, flattery, misanthropy, with all things, they are unhappy amid avarice ; they now instituted inquiries so many reasons why they should no! into liberty, tyranny, religion; they had be so." And Voltaire, like Montes. studi ed man in himself ; they now study quieu, continually alludes to the som him in the abstract. Religious and mo bre energy of the English character narchical writers are of the same school He says that in London there are days as impious and revolutionary writers; when the wind is in the east, when it is Boileau leads up to Rousseau, Racine customary for people to hang tłem.
selves ; he relates shudderingly how a * Needham (1713-1781), a learned English naturalist, made and published microscopical young girl cut her throat, and how discoveries and remarks on the generation of her lover without a word redeemed organic bodies.--TR.
the knife. He is surprised to see “ so The title of a philosophical sovel by Dide- many Timuns, so many splenetic misan rot.--TR.
The title of a philosophical tale by Vol- thropes.” Whither will they go ? There miro.--Tr.
was one path which grew daily wider