together, and poured a little melted coloured wax into them, through a hole which I made for that purpose, and then shook it about till the inside was lined with the wax. I imagine wax dolls are made in a manner something similar.

MRS. HARCOURT. A very pleasant liquor, called mead, is made from honey. It is needless to tell you the most common application of honey. If you retire into the next room, you will find supper prepared for you; and, among other things, part of a honey-comb, the produce of one of my bell-glasses, on the table, that you may be gratified with the delicious taste of that substance, which costs the bees so much labour and pains to procure. Adieu.



AUGUSTA. To-morrow will be my birthday; and as my papa was pleased to express

an approbation of my behaviour during the last twelve-month, he has allowed me the indulgence of giving an entertainment to several of my young friends, among whom, I hope, madam, you will permit me to expect these constant companions of my pleasures and studies.

MRS. HARCOURT. They shall accept your invitation with my free consent. I think there is no occasion to ask for their own: their countenances express their approbation.

AUGUSTA. I have already received a present from my aunt upon the occasion. It is a cabinet of medals of the kings of England, from William the Conqueror to his present majesty.


MRS. HARCOURT. I hope you will set a value upon this mark of her affection, and acquaint yourself with the characters and history of these monarchs.

CECILIA. I have not a clear idea of the distinction between medals, and coin which passes for money.

MR. HARCOURT. Medals, though once cur

rent as money among the ancients, are no longer so in the present times. Some medals have never been used for the purpose of money, but have been struck upon some particular occasion; either to perpetuate the memory of an illustrious action, or to transmit to posterity the portrait of a great man, as a far more durable means of preserving his resemblance than a painting on canvass. The ease with which a likeness may be multiplied by an impression on metal, is no small advantage in favour of medals.

MRS, HARCOURT. The study of medals contributes to illustrate many other branches of knowledge. It is not long since Sophia and Charles were present at a lecture upon this subject. I hope they both retain what they heard at that time. Charles, point out those sciences which medals are calculated to enlighten.

CHARLES. There are few studies of more importance to history than that of medals. The evidence upon which the veracity of a history must rest, is such corroborating testimony as is manifest to every body, and can

not be falsified. Public memoirs, instructions to ambassadors, and other state papers, confirm the veracity of modern history. Such memorials are, however, liable to accidents, and by remaining generally in the countries where they were first published, are incapable of giving that universal satisfaction that should authenticate genuine history. Public buildings, inscriptions, and statues, are more durable monuments; but these are generally obliged, from the nature of things, to remain in particular countries: so that medals alone have the qualities of giving infallible testimony to truth, of possessing the capacity of being diffused through all countries, and of remaining through the latest ages; ascertaining dates, and arranging the order of events. Geography sometimes receives light from medals; their inscriptions frequently pointing out the situations of towns, or their vicinity to some celebrated river or mountain.

MR. HARCOURT. Medals are also useful to determine whether the ancients were acquainted with certain animals: those which were struck on the celebration of the secular

games, present the figures of various animals. On many of the Greek medals are representations of several uncommon plants, as well as animals; those of Tyre, in particular, preserve the form of the shell-fish from which the famous purple was procured. The architect receives advantage from the study of medals, by the exact delineation of many noble edifices that no longer exist, which are seen upon some of them. It is easy to comprehend their general use, upon many subjects connected with a knowledge of ancient events and times. As means of obtaining greater perfection in other branches of science, they are valuable; but if collected merely as objects of curiosity, they lose much of their importance.

CECILIA. I should never have suspected that they were capable of effecting so many useful purposes, if they had not been pointed

out to me.

MR. HARCOURT. Charles has detailed the uses of this study with great exactness. But give me leave to suggest an addition, of which, I think, the historic painter may avail himself, by giving the true resemblance of

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »