« VorigeDoorgaan »
of music written by the great Rousseau himself. Ha. ving 'thus become acquainted with the foreign litera. ti, she commenced a sort of literati in her own per. son. She frequently advances those opinions in history, morals, and physics, which, as she imagines, are to be found in the writings of the French Philo. sophers. But, whether through the habits of education, or through conscious ignorance, it must be confessed that she dogmatises with diffidence, and is a very stammerer in infidelity.
Having seen Paris, and having picked up a good many French words in the course of her travels, she thinks that she is authorised, and, in some sort, obliged, to speak French. Nothing can be more gro. tesque than her travelled language. When she left Scotland, her specch,' to use a phrase of Lord Bacon, was in the full dialect of her nation. At Nice she conversed with English and Irish; and by imitating the language of each, she has, in her pronunciation, completed the union of the three kingdoms. But still her own country-language predominates; for, during her residence abroad, she had an opportunity of preserving, and even of improving it by daily conferences with the house-maid, who was born and educated in the country of Banff. ;
In pronouncing French, she blends the tone of all those dialects: and her phraseology is as singular as her pronunciation ; for she faithfully translates every word from her own mother-tongue. An example of this presents itself, which I shall never forget. One day, addressing her discourse to me, she said, • Je doute pas que vous avez perusé les ouvraiges di • Mongseer le Counte de Bouffon ; que un charmang crea'ture ! il met philosophes et divins par les oreilles.? That is, ' I doubt not that you have read the works • of Count Bouffon ; what a charming creature ! he • sets philosophers and divines by the ears.' I answered her, that I had never read the works of that renowned author, but that I had read the Principia of Sir Isaac Newton. Why, indeed,' replied she, “Sir Isaac may have been a man of better prin. .ciples, but assheurement, the theories of the Count are 6 wittier.'
It is a happy circumstance that Miss Winterbottom did not make the grand tour. Had she visited Italy, she would have proved as great an adept in statuary and in painting, as she is at present in philosophy. But Miss Winterbottom cannot, in conscience, talk of her having visited Italy, while her travels were limited to the borders of Piedmont.
I never heard her mention Italy but once, and then she got no great encouragement to proceed in her remarks. At dinner she said, I remember, • that, in Italy, they have something very like our • veal, which they call vitello.' « Well, sister Juddy,' cried captain Winterbottom, and why should they
not ? for if vitello means veal in their lingo, what • else would you have the poor devils call it?'
It was resolved to postpone my lessons for a while, • that, as Mr. Flint expressed it, I might come 6 to know the ways of the house first.'
Miss Juliana constantly teased me with questions about my plan for her nephew's education. To puzzle her a little I said, that, some weeks hence, I proposed to teach him to make nonsense verses, • Misericorde,' cried she, nonsense verses! Is that ' part of the etiquaitte ?
Let the boy alone,' added Captain Winterbottom, when he is old enough to be in love, he will make & nonsense verses, I warn't you, without any help of • yours ; ay, although it should be on Mamma's • dairy-maid.' Mr. Flint laughed loud, and Mrs. Flint said gently, Oh fy, brother !!*** Perceiving that, on this encouragement, the Cap
tain was about to be more witty, I recalled the con. versation to nonsense verses, endeavoured to explain their nature, and observed, that their main use was to instruct one in the quantity of syllables.
Quantity of syllables,' exclaimed the Captain, • there is a modern education for you! Boys have
their heads lumbered with great quantities of Latin • syllables and words, when they should be taught * to understand things, to speak their own language * rough and round, and so cut a figure in parliament. “I remember Will. Fitzdriver ; but he is gone! • Henest Will. knew no tongue except a little of his
own, and yet he would talk to you for an hour, sand you would have thought that he had scarcely • entered on the subject at all. He never valued any * of your outlandish lingos, not he!'
I said, that, if my pupil were of an age to go into parliament, I should be apt to advise him to follow the precepts of Pythagoras, and be silent for seven * years. He must have been a sure card, that Mr. • Pythagoras,' observed the Captain, and I do • suppose that he lived up to his own precepts; for • I never heard of any speaker of that name; no, not
even in committees. People, to be sure, may hold • their tongues, and have a slice of the great pudding; • but this is not a time for your dumb senators. No, • we must have bold well-spoken men, to tell poor • Britannia that she is beggared, and bleeding, and "expiring, ay, and dead too, for ought that some folks * care.' He rounded this pathetic period with one of his best oaths.
“Were all men to make speeches,' said I, what * time would there be left for doing business !' * Business, cried the Captain, is not oratory busi
ness ? and why cannoć they set to it watch and watch, as we do at sea ? Mrs. Flint expressed her hope, that I would not
load her poor boy's memory, by making him get a deal by heart.
When I first got the multiplication-table by • heart,' said Mr. Flint, who generally falls in the rear of conversation, ' it was a plaguy troublesome
job; but now that I am master of it, I don't per'ceive that it loads my memory at all.'
Learned men have remarked,' said Miss Fuliana, • that it is not the getting by heart that is censur• able, but the getting by rote, as one does one's catechism.'
• There she goes, the travelled lady,' cried the Captain ; she must always have a fling at her * catechism.'
• Mr. Winterbottom,' replied. Miss Juliana with exceeding dignity, you wrong me much ; 'I am *sure, that I should be the last woman alive to say 6 any thing, especially in mixed companies, to the • disparagement of the religion of the state, which I have always considered as the great lyeng [lien] of society.'
• You have always considered religion as great • lying! and who taught you that, sister Juddy ? 'your godfathers and your godmothers! No, sure.'
Here I was laid under the necessity of interposing, and of assuring Captain Winterbottom, that he mis. took his sister, and that she had inadvertently used a French word to express her own idea, that reliégion was the great tie of society. Perhaps I prevaricated a little in iny office of interpreter.
"Well, well,' said 'the Captaini, · if ber tongue • was tied, society would be no loser.
To divert the storm which seemed gathering, I spoke of my purpose to explain the tenth satire of
Juvenal, a poem, for method, composition, and ani. mated language, universally admired.
What does that Juvenal write about ? said Miss Fuliana : 'I am not acquainted with his works : was
he a member of the French academy ?'-_ Perhaps,' replied I, smiling, he would be no favourite with • you, Miss Juliana ; he has been very severe upon • the Roman ladies.
• Ay, they were Papists,' said Captain Winterbottom, and they are all wh i . Give me leave to tell you,' cried Miss Juliana, in a higher key,
when I was abroad, I had the honour of being • known to several ladies of the Roman persuasion, ! and they were persons of the strictest virtue.'
I suppose you asked them whether they were wh , and they said they were not. Poor sister • Juddy! It is true, I never was in the gallies at • Nice, as you have been ; but I have touched at • Marseilles, and have laid close off the mole of * Genoa, and that is farther than ever you travelled ; 6 and I say they are all whi
How this wonderful controversy would have ended, I know not ; but happily we were called to coffee, which separated the combatants.
I was now pretty well acquainted with the ways of a house, in which ignorance, self-conceit, and illibcrality of sentiment and manners, had fixed their residence. It was agreed, that on the Monday fol. lowing I should begin my lessons. Appearances, I must acknowledge, were not very favourable. My pupil had been generally present at the conversations of which I have given you a specimen, and, indeed, they were not such as could either enlarge his mind, or improve his understanding. I flattered myself, however, that he would be left to prosecute his studies under my direction, and that every new acquisition in knowledge would increase bis love for letters.
In what way our studies were conducted, will best