« AnteriorContinua »
Diverfion was indeed the business of my life, but as to pleasure I have enjoyed none, fince the novelty of my amufements was gone off. off. Can one be pleased with seeing the fame thing over and over again? Late hours and fatigue gave me the vapours, spoiled the natural cheerfulness of my temper, and even in youth wore away my youthful vivacity.
If this way of life did not give you pleafure, why did you continue in it? I fuppofe you did not think it was very meritorious.
Mrs. MODIS H.
I was too much engaged to think at all: fo far indeed my manner of life was agreeable enough. My friends always told me diverfions were neceffary, and my doctor affured me diffipation was good for my spirits; my husband infifted that it was not, and you know that one loves to oblige one's friends, comply with one's doctor, and contradict one's husband; and befides
fides I was ambitious to be thought du bon ton *.
Bon ton! what is that, Madam? Pray define it.
Oh Sir, excuse me, it is one of the privileges of the bon ton never to define, or be defined. It is the child and the parent of Jargon. It is-I can never tell you what it is but I will try to tell you what it is not. In converfation it is not wit; in manners it is not politeness; in behaviour it is not address; but it is a little like them all. It can only belong to people of a certain rank, who live in a certain manner, with certain perfons, who have not certain virtues, and who have certain vices, and who inhabit a certain part of the town. Like a place by courtesy, it gets an higher rank than the person can claim, but which those who have a legal title to precedency dare not difpute, for fear of being thought not
*Du bon ton is a cant phrase, in the modern French language, for the fashionable air of converfation and
to understand the rules of politeness. Now, Sir, I have told you as much as I know of it, though I have admired and aimed at it all my life.
Then, Madam, you have wasted your time, faded your beauty, and deftroyed your health, for the laudable purposes of contradicting your husband, and being this fomething and this nothing called the bon ton. Mrs. MODISH.
have had me do?
I will follow your mode of inftructing. I will tell you what I would not have had you do. I would not have had you facrifice your time, your reason, and your Duties, to fashion and folly. I would not have had you neglect the happiness of your husband, and the education of your children.
As to the education of my daughters, I -fpared no expence; they had a dancingmaster, mufic-mafter, and drawing-master; and a French governefs to teach them behaviour and the French language.
So their religion, fentiments and manners were to be learnt from a dancing-master, mufic-mafter, and a chambermaid! Perhaps fuch inftructors might prepare them to catch the bon ton. Your daughters must have been fo educated as to fit them to be wives without conjugal affection, and mothers without maternal care. I am forry for the fort of life they are commencing, and for that which you have just concluded. Minos is a four old gentleman, without, the least smattering of the bon ton, and I am in a fright for you. The best thing I can advife you is to do in this world, as you did in the other, keep happiness in your view, but never take the road that leads to it. Remain on this fide Styx; wander about without end or aim; look into the Elyfian Fields, but never attempt to enter into them, left Minos fhould push you into Tartarus for the neglect of Duties may bring on a sentence not much less severe, than the commiffion of Crimes.
PLUTARCH-CHARON and a Modern BoOKSELLER.
ERE is a fellow who is very unwilling to land in our territories. He says he is rich, has a great deal of business in the other world, and muft needs return to it: He is fo troublesome and obftreperous I know not what to do with him. Take him under your care therefore, good Plutarch; you will eafily awe him into order and decency by the fuperiority an Author has over a Bookfeller.
Am I got into a world fo abfolutely the reverse of that I left, that here Authors domineer over Bookfellers? Dear Charon, let me go back, and I will pay any price for my paffage. But, if I must stay, leave me not with any of those who are stiled Claffical Authors. As to you, Plutarch, I have a particular animofity against you, for having almoft