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frequent good company, they must want attention and observation very much, if they do not lay it quite aside; and indeed if they do not, good company will be very apt to lay them aside. The various kinds of vulgarisms are infinite ; I cannot pretend to point them out to you; but I will give some samples, by which you may guess at the rest.
A vulgar man is captious and jealous; eager and impetuous about trifles : he suspects himself to be slighted; thinks
he does. He has always some favourite word for the time being; which, for the sakeof usingoften, he commonly abuses. Such as vastly angry, vastly kind, vastly handsome, and vastly ugly. Even his pronunciation of proper words carries, the mark of the beast along with it. He calls the earth yeartb; he is obkiged not obliged to you. He goes to wards and not towards such a place. He sometimes affects hard words, by way of ornament, which he always mangles. A man of sa
every thing that is said meant at him; is fhion never has recourse to proverbs and
the company happens to laugh, he is persuaded they laugh at him; he grows angry and testy, fays something very impertinent, and draws himself into a scrape, by (hewing what he calls a proper spirit, and asserting himself. A man of fashion does not suppose himself to be either the sole or principal object of the thoughts, looks, or words of thecomparjv; and never suspects that he is either slighted or laughed at, unless he is conscious that he deserves it. And if (which very seldom happens) the company is absurd or ill-bred enough to do either, he does not care two-pence, unless the insult be so gross and plain as to require satisfaction of another kind. As he is above trifles, he is never vehement and oager about them; and, wherever they are concerned, rather acquiesces than wrangles. Avulgarman'sconversation always savours strongly of the lowness of his education and company : it turns chiefly upon his domestic affairs, his servants, the excellent order he keeps in his own family, and the little anecdotes of the neighbourhood; all which he relates with emphasis, as interesting matters.— He is a man-gossip.
Vulgarism in language is the next, and distinguishing characteristic of bad company, and a bad education. A man of fashion avoids nothing with more care than this. Proverbial expreslions and trite sayings are the flowers of the rhetoric of a vulgar man. Would he fay, that men differ in their tastes; he both supports and adorns that opinion, by the good old saying, as he respectfully calls it, that "what is one man's meat is ano«« ther man's poison." If any body attempts being smart, as he calls it, upon him; he gives them tit/orjat, aye, that
vulgaraphorisms ; uses neither favourite words nor hard words; but takes great care to speak very correctly and grammatically, and to pronounce properly; that is, according to the usage of the best companies.
An aukward address, ungraceful attitudes, and actions, and a certain lefthandiness (if I may use that word) loudly proclaim low education and low company; for it is impossible to suppose that a man can have frequented good company, without having catched something, at least, of their air and motions. A new-raised manisdistiriguishedinaregimentby hisaukwardness; but he must be impenetrably dull, if, in a month or two's time, he cannot perform at least the common manual exercise, and look like a soldier. The very accoutrements of a man of fashion are grievous incumbrar.ces to a vulgar man. He is at a loss what to do with his hat, when it is not upon his head ; his cane (if unfortunately he wears one) is at perpetual war with every cup of tea or coffee he drinks; destroys them first, and then accompanies them in their fall. His sword is formidable only to his own legs, which would pofiibly carry him fast enough out of the way of any sword but his own. His cioaths fit him so ill, and constrain him so much, that he seems rather their prisoner than their proprietor. He presents himself in company like a criminal in a court of justice; his very air condemns him; and people of fashion will no more connect themselves with the one, than people of character will with the other. This repulse drives and sinks him into low company ; a gulph from whence no man, after a certain age, ever emerged. Lord Chejlcrfcld.
$ lj* On Geo J-breeding.
A friend of yours and mine has very justlydefincdgood-breedingtobe, '* the result of much good sense, some goodnature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the fame indulgence from them." Taking this for granted (as I think it cannot be disputed) h is astonishing to me, that any body, who has good fense and good-nature, can essentially fail in goodbreeding. As to the modes of it, indeed, they vary according to persons, places, and circumstances; and are only to be acquired by observation and experience; but the substance of it is every where and eternally the fame. Good manners are, to particular societies, what good morals are to society in general, their cement, and their security. And as laws are enacted to enforce good morals, or at least to prevent the ill effects of bad ones; so there are certain rules of civility, universally implied and received, to enforce good manners, and punish bad ones. And indeed there seems to me to be less difference both between the crimes and punishments, than at first one would imagine. The immoral man, who invades another's property, is justly hanged for it; and the ill-bred man, who, by his ill-manners, invades and disturbs the quiet and comforts of private life, is by common consent as justly banished society. Mutual complaisances,attentions, and'lacrifices of little conveniencies, are as natural an implied compact between civilized people, as protection and obedience are between kings and subjects: whoever, in cither cafe, violates that compact, justly forfeits all advantages arising from it. For my own part, I really think, that, next to the consciousnesses doinga goodaction, thatosdoing a civil one is the most pleasing : and the epithet which I should covet the molt, next to that of Aristides, would be that of well-bred. Thus much for goodbreeding in general; I will now consider some of the various modes and degrees of it.
Very few, scarcely any, are Wanting in the respect which they should soew to those whom they acknowledge to be infcnitely their superiors ; such as crowned heads, princes, and public persons of
distinguished and eminent posts. It is the manner of shewing that respect which is different. The man of fashion, and of the world, expresses it in its fullest ex» tent; but naturally, easily, and without concern: whereas a man, who is not used to keep good company, expresses it aukwardly ; one fees that he is not used to it, and that it costs him a great deal: but I never saw the worst-bred man living guilty of lolling, whistling, scratching his head, and such like indecencies, in company that he respected. In such, companies, therefore, the only point to be attended to is, to shew that respect which every body.means to shew, in an easy, unembarrassed, and graceful manner. This is what observation and experience must teach you.
In mixed companies, whoever is admitted to make part of them, is for the time at least, supposed to be upon a footing of equality with the rest; and, consequently, as there is no one principal object of awe and respect, people are apt to take a greater latitude in their behaviour, and to be less upon their guard; and so they may, provided it be within certain bounds, which are upon no occasion to be transgressed. But, upon these occasions, though no one is entitled to distinguished marks of respect, every one claims, and very justly, every mark of civility ;.n J good-breeding. Ease is allowed, but carelessness and negligence are strictly forbidden. Isa man accosts you, and talks to you ever so dully or frivolously, it is worse than rudeness, it is brutality, to shew him, by a manifest inattention to what he says, that you think him a fool ora blockhead, and not worth hearing. It is much more so with, regard to women; who, of whatever rank they are, are entitled, in consideration of their sex, not only to an attentive, but an officious good-breeding from men. Their little wants, likings, dislikes, preferences, antipathies, and fancies,must be officiously attended to, and, if possible, guessed at and anticipated, by a well-bred man. You must never usurp to yourself those conveniencies and gratifications which are of common right; such as the best places, the best dishes, &c. but on the contrary, always decline them yourself, and offer them to others; who, in their turns, wil offer
T t a them them to you: so that, upon the whole, you will, in your turn, enjoy your share of the common right. It would be endless for me to enumerate all the particular in (lances in which a well-bred man shews his good-breeding in good company ; and it would be injurious to you to suppose that your own good sense will notpoint them out to you ; and then your own good-nature will recommend, and your self-interest enforce the practice.
There is a third fort of good-breedirtg, in which people are the most apt to fan, from a very mistaken notion that they cannot fail at all. I mean, with regard to one's most familiar friends and acquaintances, or those who really are our inferiors; and there, undoubtedly, a greater degree of ease is not only allowed, but proper, and contributes much to the comforts of a private, social life. But ease and freedom have their bounds, which must by no means be violated. A certain degree of negligence and carelessness becomes injurious and insulting, from the real or supposed inferiority of the persons : and that delightful liberty of conversation among a few friends, is soon destroyed, as liberty often has been, by being carried to licentiousness. But example explains things best, and I will put a pretty strong cafe :—Suppose you and me alone together; 1 believe you will allow that I have as good a right to unlimited freedom in your company, as either you or I can possibly have in any other; and I am apt to believe, too, that you would indulge me in that freedom, as far as any body would. But, notwithstanding this, do you imagine that I lhould think there was no bounds to that freedom? I assure you, I sliould not think so; and I take myself to be as much tied down by a certain degree of good manners to you, as by other degrees of them to other people. The most familiar and intimate habitudes, connections, and friendships, require a degree of good-breeding, both to preserve and cement them. The best of us have our bad sides; and it is as imprudent as it is ill-bred, to exhibit them. I shall not use ceremony with you; it would be misplaced between us : but I shall certainly observe that degree of good-breeding with you, which «, in the first place, decent, and which,
I am sure, Is absolutely necessary ta make us like one another's company long. Lord Chesterfield.
§ 18. A Dialogue betiuixt Mercury, an Englisti Duellist, and a North- American Savage.
Duellist. Meicury, Charon's boat is on the other side of the water ; allow me, before it returns, to have some conversation with the North American Savage, whom you brought hither at the same time as you conducted me to the shades. I never saw one of that species before, and am curious to know what the r.ai. mal is. He looks very grim.—Pray, Sir, what is your name? I understand you speak English.
Savage. Yes, I learned it in my childhood, having been bred up for some years in the town of New-York: but before I was a man I returned to my countrymen, the valiant Mohawks; and being cheated by one of yours in the sale of some rum, I never cared to have any thing to do with them afterwards. Yet 1 took up the hatchet for them with the rest of my tribe in the war against France, and was killed while I was out upon a scalping party. But I died very well satisfied : for my friends were victorious, and before I was shot I had scalped seven men and five women and children. In a former war I had done still greater exploits. My name is The Bloody Bear: it was given me to express my fierceness and valour.
Duellist, Bloody Bear, I respect you, and am much your humble servant. My name isTom Pufhwell, very well known at Arthur's. I am a gentleman by my birth, and by profession a gamester, and man of honour. I have killed men in fair sighting, in honourable single combat, but do not understand cutting the throats of women and children.
Savage. Sir, that is our way of making war. Every nation has its own customs. But by the grimness of your countenance, and tkat hole in your breast, I presume you were killed, as I was myself, in some scalping party. How happened it that your enemy did not take oss your scalp i
Duellist. Sir, I was killed in a duel. A friend of mine had lent me some money; after two or three years, being in
great great want himself, he asked me to pay him; I thought his demand an affront tomy honour, and sent him a challenge. We met in Hyde-Park: the fellow could not fence: I was the adroitest swordsman in England. I gave him three or four wounds ; but at last he run upon me with such impetuosity, that he put me out of my play, and I could not prevent him from whipping me through the lungs. I died the next day, as a man of honour should, without any sniveling signs of repentance : and he will follow me soon, for his surgeon has declared his wounds to be mortal. It is said that his wife is dead of her fright, and that his family of seven children will be undone by his death. Sol am well revenged; and that is a comfort. For my part, I had no wife.—I always hated marriage : my whore will take good care of herself, and my children are provided for at the Foundling Hospital.
Savage. Mercury, I won't go in a boat with that fellow. He has murdered his countryman: he has murdered his friend: I fay, I won't go in a boat with that fellow. I will swim over the river: I can swim like a duck.
Mercury. Swim over the Styx! it must not be done ; it is against the laws of Pluto's empire. You must go in the boat, and be quiet.
Savage. Do not tell me of laws: I am a Savage: I value no laws. Talk of laws to the Englishman: there are laws in his country, and yet you fee he did not regard them. For they could never allow him to kill his fellow-subject in time of peace, because he asked him to pay a debt. I know that the English are a barbarous nation; but they cannot be so brutal as to make such things lawful.
Mercury. You reason well against him. But how comes it that you are so 6ffended with murder; you, who have massacred women in their steep, and children in their cradle?
Savage. I killed none but my enemies: J never killed my own countrymen: I never killed my friend. Here, take my blanket, and let it come over in the boat; but fee that the murderer does not fit upon it, or touch it; if he does I will burn it in the lire I fee yon
der. Farewell.—I am resolved to swim over the water.
Mercury. By this touch of my wand I take all thy strength from thee.— Swim now if thou canst.
Savage. This is a very potent enchanter. Restore me my strength,
and I will obey thee.
Mercury. I restore it; but be orderly, and do as I bid you; otherwise worse will befal you.,
Duellist. Mercury, leave him to me. I will tutor him for you. Sirrah, Savage, dost thou pretend to be ashamed of my company? Dost thou know that I have kept the best company in England?
Savage. I know thou art a scoundrel.
Not pay thy debts! kill thy friend,
who lent thee money, for asking thee for it! Get out of my sight. I will drive thee into Styx.
Mercury. Stop—I command thee. No violence.—Talk to him calmly.
Savage. 1 must obey thee—Well, Sir, let me know what merit you had to introduce you into good company? What could you do?
Duellist. Sir, I gamed, as I told you. —Besides, I kept a good table.—I eat as well as any man in England or France.
Savage. Eat! Did you ever eat the chine ot a Frenchman, or his leg, or hi* shoulder? there is fine eating! I have eat twenty.—My table was always well served. My wife was the best cook for dressing of man's flesh in all North" America. You will not pretend to compare your eating with mine.
Duellist. I danced very finely.
Savage. I will dance with thee for thy ears.—I can dance all day long. I can dance the war-dance with more spirit and vigour than any man of my nation: let us see thee begin it. How thou standest like a post! Has Mercury struck thee with his enfeebling rod? or art thou, ashamed to let us see how awkward thou art? If he would permit me, I would teach thee to dance in a way that thou hast not yet learnt. I would make thee caper and leap like a buck. But what else canst thou do, thou bragging rascal?
Duellist. Oh, heavens! must I bear
this i this? wliat can I do with this fellow > I have neither sword nor pistol; and his shade seems to be twice as strong as mine.
Mercury, You must answer his questions. It was your own desire to have a conversation with him. He is not well-bred; but he will tell you some truths which you must hear in this place. It would have been well for you if you had heard them above. He asked you what you could do besides eating and dancing.
Duellist. I fung very agreeably.
Savage. Let me hear you sing your death-song, or the war-hoop. 1 challenge you to sing. — The fellow is mute.—Mercury, this is a liar. —He tells us nothing but lies. Let me pull out his tongue.
Duellist. The lie given me !—and, alas f -I dare not resent it. Oh, what a disgrace to the family of the Push wells! this indeed is damnation.
Mercury. Here, Charon, take these two savages to your care. How far the barbarism of the Mohawk will excuse his horrid acts, 1 leave Minos to judge; but the Englishman, what excuse can he plead? The custom of duelling? A bad excuse at the best! but in his cafe cannot avail. The spirit that made him draw his sword in this combat against his friend is not that of honour; it is the spirit of the furies, of Alecto herself. To her he must go, for she hath long dwelt in his merciless bosom.
Savage. Uhe istobe punished, turn him over to me. I understand the art of tormenting. Sirrah, I begin with this kick on your breech. Get you into the boat, or I'll give you another^ I am impatient to have you condemned.
Duellist. Oh, my honour, my honour, to what infamy art thou fallen!
Dialogues of the Dead.
% 19. Bayes'/ Rules for Composition.
Smith. How, Sir, helps for wit!
Byes. Ay, Sir, that's my position: and I do here aver, that no man the sun e'er shone upon, has parts sufficient to furnish out a stage, except it were by the help of these my rules.
Smith. Vv'hat are those rules, I pray 1
Bciycs. Why, Sir, my first rule is the,
rule of tranfversion, or rcgula duplex,
changing verse into prose, and proso
into verse, alternately, as you please.
Smith. Well, but how is this done by rule, Sir?
Bayes. Why thus, Sir; nothing so easy, when understood. I take a book in my hand, either at home or elsewhere (for that's ali one); if there be any wit inU (as there is no book but has some) I transverse it; that is, if it be prose; put it into verse (but that takes up some time)^ and if it be verse, put it into prose.
Smith, Methinks, Mr. Bayes, that putting verse into prose, should be called transprosing.
Bayes. By my troth, Sir, it is a very good notion, and hereafter it shall be so.
Smith. Well, Sir, and what d'ye do with it then?
Bayes. Make it my own: 'tis so changed, that no man can know it.—• My next rule is the rule of concord, by way of table-book. Pray observe. Smith. I hear you, Sir: go on. Bayes. As thus: I come into a coffeehouse, or some other place where witty men resort; I make as if I minded nothing (do ye mark ?) but as soon as any one speaks—pop, I flap it down, and make that too my own.
Smith. But, Mr. Bayes, are you not sometimes in danger of their making you restore by force, what you have gotten thus by art?
Boyes. No, Sir, the world's unmindful ;' they never take notice of these things.
Smith. But pray, Mr. Bayes, among all your other rules, have you no one rule for invention r
Bayes. Yes, Sir, that's my third rule 1 that I have here in my pocket.
Smith. What rule can that be, I wonder?
Bayes. Why, Sir, when I have any thing to invent, I never trouble my head about it, as other men do, but presently turn over my book of Drama common-places, and there I have, at one view, all that Persius, Montaigne, Seneca's tragedies, Horace, Juvenal,