« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Chocked like a bondman; all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book, learned and conned by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from my eyes! —There is my dagger,
And hero my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Plutu8'm mine, richer than gold;
If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth:
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart.
Strike as thou didst at Caesar; for l know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
Bru. Sheathe your dagger:
Cas. Hath Cassius lived
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand
Bru. And my heart, too. —
Cas. O, Brutus!
Bru. What's the matter?
Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me,
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and, henceforth,
CLXVI. — A PAPER OF TOBACCO.
In Franco, tobacco has long been a monopoly " — and a very productive one — in the hands of government. This fact should be borne in mind in reading the following satirical remarks by a Frenoh writer against the use of tobacco.
1. There is a family of poisonous plants, amongst which we may notice the henbane, the datura stramonium, and the tobaccoplant. The tobacco-plant isperhaps a little less poisonous than the datura, but it is more so than the henbane, which is a violent poison. Here is the tobacco-plant, as fine a plant as you can wish tc Bee. It grows to the height of six feet; and from the centre of a tuft of leaves, of a beautiful green, shoot out elegant and graceful tlusters of pink flowers.
2. For a long while the tobacco-plant grew unknown and soli, iary in the wilds of America. The savages to whom we had given brandy gave us in exchange tobacco, with the smoke of which they used to intoxicate themselves on grand occasions. The intercourse between the two worlds began by this amiable interchange of poisons.
3. Those who first thought of putting tobacco-dust up their noses were first laughed at, and then persecuted more or less. James I. of England wrote against snuff-takers a book entitled Misocapnos.*' Some years later, Pope Urban VIII. excommunicated" all persons who took snuff in churches. The Empress Elizabeth thought it necessary to add something to the penalty of excommunication pronounced against those who used the black dust during divine service, and authorized the beadles" to confiscateM the snuff-boxes to their own use. Amurath IV. forbade the use of snuff, under pain of having the nose cut off.
4. No useful plant could have withstood such attacks. If before this invention a man had been found to say, " Let us seek the means of filling the coffers of the state by a voluntary tax; let us set about selling something which everybody will like to do without: in America there is a plant essentially poisonous * if from its leaves you extract an empyreumatic" oil, a single drop of it will cause an animal to die in horrible convulsions: suppose we offer this plant for sale chopped up or reduced to a powder: we will sell it very dear, and tell people to stuff the powder up their noses"
5. "That is to say," might a hearer remark, "I suppose you will force them to do so by law?"
6. "Not a bit of it; I spoke of a voluntary tax. As to the portion we chop up, we will tell them to inhale it, and swallow a little of the smoke from it besides."
7. "But it will kill them"
8. "No; they will become rather pale, perhaps feel giddy, spit blood, and suffer from colics, or have pains in the chest; that's all. Besides, you know, although it has been often said that habit is second nature, people are not yet aware how completely man resembles the knife of which the blade first and thea the handle had been changed two or three times. In man there
- is sometimes no nature left; nothing but habit remains. People will become like Mithridates," who had learnt to live on poisons.
9. "The first time that a man will smoke he will feel sickness, nausea, giddiness, and colics; but that will go off by degrees, and in time he will get so accustomed to it that he will only feel such symptoms now an 1 then, — when he smokes tobacco that is particularly bad, or too strong, or when he is not well,
and in five or six other cases. Those who take it in powder will
sneeze, have a disagreeable smell, lose the sense of smelling, and establish in their nose a sort of perpetual blister."
10. "Then, I suppose it smells very nice?"
11. "Quite the reverse. It has a very unpleasant smell; but, as I said, we '11 sell it very dear, and reserve to ourselves the monop'oly" of it."
12. "My good friend," one would have said to any one absurd enough to hold a similar language, "nobody will envy you the privilege of selling a weed that no one will care to buy. You might as well open a shop and write on it, Kicks sold here; or, Such-a-one sells blows, wholesale and retail. You would find as many customers as for your poisonous weed."
13. Well, who would have believed that the first speaker was right, and that the tobacco speculation would answer perfectly? The Kings of France have written no satires against snuff, have had no noses to cut off, no snuff-boxes confiscated. Far from it. They have sold tobacco, laid an im'post on noses, and given snuffboxes, with their portraits on the lid and diamonds all round, to poets. This little trade has brought them in I don't know how many millions a year. The potato was far more difficult to popularize, and has still some adversaries.
FROM THE FRENCH OF ALPHGNSE KARR.
OLXVII.— DIALOGUE BETWEEN FRANKLIN AND THE GOUT,
Franklin. Eh! •! eh! What have I done to merit these cruel sufferings?
Gout. Many things; you have ate and drunk too freely, and too much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence.
Franklin. What is it that accuses me?
Gout. It is I, even I, the gout.
Franklin. What! my enemy in person?
Gout. No, not your enemy.
Franklin. I repeat it, — my enemy: for you would not only torment my body to death, but ruin my good name. You reproach me as a glutton and tippler; now, all the world that knows me will allow that I am neither the one nor the other.
Gout. The world may think as it pleases: it is always very oom'plaisant to itself, and sometimes to its friends; but I very well know that the quantity of meat and drink proper for a man Who takes a reasonable degree of exercise would be too much for another, who never takes any.
Franklin. I take — Eh! O ! — as much exercise — Eh !—aa > f I can, Madam Gout. You know my sedentary state, and on that account, it would seem, Madam Gout, as it' you might spare me a little, seeing it is not altogether my own fault.
Gout. Not a jot! your rhetoric and your politeness are thrown away; your apology avails nothing. If your situation in life is a sedentary one, your amusements, your recreations, at least, phould be active. But let us examine your course of life. While the mornings are long, and you have leisure to go abroad, what do you? Why, instead of gaining an appetite for breakfast by salutary exercise, you amuse yourself with books, pamphlets, or newspapers; you eat an inordinate breakfast; immediately afterward you sit down to write at your desk, or converse on business. Thus the time passes till one, without any kind of bodily exercise. What is your practice after dinner? To be fixed down to chess, for two or three hours! What can he expected from such a course of living, but a body replete with stagnant humors, ready to fall a prey to all kinds of dangerous maladies, if I, the gout, did not occasionally bring you relief by agitating these humors, and so purifying or dissipating them? Fie, then, Mr. Franklin! But amidst my instructions I had almost forgot to administer my wholesome corrections: so take that twinge, — and that!
Franklin. O! eh! O !—' O-o-o-o! As much instruction aa you please, Madam Gout, and as many reproaches, but pray, madam, a truce with your corrections!
Gout. No, sir, no; I will not abate a particle of what is so much for your good, — therefore —
Franklin. O! eh-h-h! — It is not fair to say I take no exercise, when I do very often, going out to dine, and returning in my carriage.
Gout. That, of all imaginary exercise, is the most slight and insignificant,-if you allude to the motion of a carriage suspended on springs. By observing the degree of heat obtained by differ ent kinds of motion, we may form an estimate of the quantity of exercise given by each. Thus, for example, if you turn out to walk in winter with cold feet, in an hour's time you will be in a glow all over; ride on horseback, the same effect will scarcely be perceived by four hours' round trotting; but if you loll in a carriage, such as you.have mentioned, you may travel all day, and gladly enter the last inn to warm your feet by a fire. Flatter yourself, then, no longer, that-naif an hour's airing in your carriage deserves the name of'exercise. Providence has appointed few to roll in carriages, while he has given to all a pair of legs, which are machines infinitely more commodious and serviceable
Franklin. Your reasonings grow very tiresome.
Gout. I stand corrected. I will be silent, and continue my 9 office; take that, and that!
Franklin. O! O-o! Talk on, I pray you!
Gyut. No, no; I have a good number of things for you to« night, and you may be sure of some more to-morrow.
Franklin. What, with such a fever! I shall go distracted. O! eh! Can no one bear it for me?
Gout. Ask that of your horses; they have served you faithfully.
Franklin. How can you so cruelly sport with my torments?
Gout. Sport! I am very serious. I have here a list of your offences against your own health distinctly written, and can justify every stroke inflicted on you.
Franklin. Read it, then.
Gout. It is too long a detail; but I will briefly mention some particulars.
Franklin. Proceed; I am all attention.
Gout. Do you remember how often you have promised .yourself, the following morning, a walk in the grove of Boulogne," or in your own garden, and have violated your promise, alleging, at one time, it was too cold, at another, too warm, too windy, too moist, or what else you pleased; when, in truth, it was too nothing, but your insuperable love of ease?:'
Franklin. That, I confess, may have happened occasionally probably ten times in a year.
Gout. Your confession is very short of the truth; the gross amount is one hundred and ninety-nine times.
Franklin. Is it possible?
Gout. So possible that it is fact; you may rely on the accuracy of my statement. You know Mr. B.'s gardens, and what fine walks they contain; you know the handsome flight of a hundred steps, which lead from the terrace above to the lawn below. You have been in the practice of visiting this amiable family twice a week after dinner, and, as it is a maxim of your own that "a man may take as much exercise in walking a mile up and down stairs as in ten on level ground," what an opportunity was there for you to have had exercise in both these ways! Did you embrace it, and how often?
Franklin. I cannot immediately answer that question.
Gout. I will do it for you; not once.
Franklin. Not once? I am convinced now of the justness of poor Richard's remark, that "our debts and our sins are always greater than we think for."