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ries, the same doctor proposed, that whoever attended a first minister, after having told his business with the utmost brevity, and in the plainest words, should, at his departure, give the said minister a tweak by the nose,
*, or tread on his corns, or pull him thrice by both ears, or run a pin into his body, or pinch his arms black and blue, to prevent forgetfulness; and at every levee day repeat the same operation, until the business were done, or absolutely refused.
14. He likewise directed that every senator in the great council of a nation, after he had delivered his opinion, and argued in the defense of it, should be obliged to give his vote directly contrary ; because, if that were done, the result would infallibly terminate in the good of the public.
15. When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this: You take a hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size; then let two nice operators saw off the occiput* of each couple at the same time, in such manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party
16. It seems, indeed, to be a work that requireth some exactness; but the professor assured us, that, if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible. For he argued thus : that the two half-brains being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished for in the heads of those who imagine they came into the world only to watch and govern its motions : and as to the difference of brains in quantity or quality, among those who are directors in faction, the doctor assured us, from his own knowledge, that it was a perfect trifle.
The same subject, concluded. 1. I HEARD a very warm debate between two professors, about the most commodious and effectual ways and means
* The hinder part of the head.
of raising money without grieving the subject. The first affirmed, the justest method would be to lay a certain tax upon vices and folly, and the sum fixed upon every man to be rated, after the fairest manner, by a jury of his neighbors.
2. The second was of an opinion directly contrary, - to tax those qualities of body and mind for which men chiefly value themselves; the rate to be more or less according to the degrees of excelling, the decision whereof should be left entirely to their own breast.
3. The highest tax was upon men who are the greatest favorites of the other sex, and the assessments according to the number and natures of the favors they have received, for which they are allowed to be their own vouchers. Wit, valor and politeness, were likewise proposed to be largely taxed, and collected in the same manner, by every person giving his own word for the quantum of what he possessed.
4. But as to honor, justice, wisdom, and learning, they should not be taxed at all, because they are qualifications of so singular a kind that no man will either allow them in his neighbor, or value them in himself. The women proposed to be taxed according to their beauty and skill in dressing, wherein they had the same privilege with the men, to be determined by their own judgment. But constancy, chastity, good sense, and good nature, were not rated, because they would not bear the charge of collecting.
5. To keep senators in the interest of the crown, it was proposed that the members should raffle for employments; every man first taking an oath, and giving security, that he would vote for the court, whether he won or no; after which the losers had, in their turn, the liberty of raffling upon the next vacancy:
6. Thus hope and expectation would be kept alive ; none would complain of broken promises, but impute their disappointments wholly to fortune, whose shoulders are broader and stronger than those of a ministry.
7. Another professor showed me a large paper of instructions for discovering plots and conspiracies against the government. I told him that in the kingdom of Tribnia, by the natives called Langden, where I had long sojourned, the bulk of the people consisted wholly of discoverers, witnesses, informers, accusers, prosecutors, evidences, swearers, together with their several subservient and subaltern instruments, all under the colors, the conduct and pay, of ministers and their deputies.
8. The plots in that kingdom are usually the workmanship of those persons who desire to raise their own characters of profound politicians; to restore new vigor to a crazy administration; to stifle or divert general discontents; to fill their coffers with forfeitures; and raise or sink the opinion of public credit, as either shall best answer their private advantage.
9. It is first agreed and settled among them what suspected persons shall be accused of a plot; then effectual care is taken to secure all their letters and other papers, and put the owners in chains. These papers are delivered to a set of artists very dexterous in finding out the mysterious meanings of words, syllables, and letters.
10. For instance, they can decipher a ** stool to signify a privy-council; a flock of geese, a senate; a lame dog, an invader; the plague, a standing army; a buzzard, a minister; the gout; a high-priest; a gibbet, a secretary of state ; a sieve, a court lady; a broom, a revolution ; a mouse-trap, an employment; a bottomless pit, the treasury; a sink, a court; a cap and bells, a favorite ; a broken reed, a court of justice; an empty tun, a general; a running sore, the administration.
11. When this method fails, they have two others, more effectual, which the learned among them call acrostics and anagrams. First, they can decipher all initial letters into political meanings; thus, N shall signify a plot, B a regiment of horse, L a fleet at sea. Or, secondly, by transposing the letters of the alphabet, in any suspected paper, they can lay open the deepest designs of a discontented party.
12. So, for example, if I should say, in a letter to a friend, “Our brother Tom has just got a wife,” a man of skill in this art would discover how the same letters which compose that sentence may be analyzed into the following words,
Resist — a plot is brought home — the tower.” And this is the anagramatic method. The professor made me great acknowledgments for communicating these observations, and promised to make honorable mention of me in his treatise.
LESSON LXIII. Golden Rules of David Copperfield. — Dickens. 1. I feel as if it were not for me to record, even though this manuscript is intended for no eyes but mine, how hard I
worked at that tremendous short-hand, and all improvement appertaining to it, in my sense of responsibility to Dora and her aunts. I will only add, to what I have already written of my perseverance at this time of my life, and of a patient and continuous energy which then began to be matured within me, and which I know to be the strong part of my character, if it have any strength at all, that there, on looking back, I find the source of my success.
2. I have been very fortunate in worldly matters ; many men have worked much harder, and not succeeded half so well ; but I never could have done what I have done, without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one object at a time, no matter how quickly its successor should come upon its heels, which I then formed. Heaven knows I write this in no spirit of self-laudation.
3. The man who reviews his life, as I do mine, in going on here, from page to page, had need to have been a good man, indeed, if he would be spared the sharp consciousness of many talents neglected, many opportunities wasted, many erratic and perverted feelings constantly at war within his breast, and defeating him. I do not hold one natural gift, I dare say, that I have not abused. My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that, in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.
4. I have never believed it possible that any natural, or improved ability can claim immunity* from the companionship of the steady, plain, hard-working qualities, and hope to gain its end. There is no such thing as such fulfillment on this earth. Some happy talent, and some fortunate opportunity, may
form the two sides of the ladder on which some men mount; but the rounds of that ladder must be made of stuff to stand wear and tear; and there is no substitute for.thoroughgoing, ardent, and sincere earnestness. Never to put one hand to anything, on which I could throw my whole self; and never to affect depreciation of my work, whatever it was ; I find, now, to have been my golden rules.
* Exemption, freedom from.
1. “Now, if I fall, will it be my lot
2. “0, no !” said the Earth ; "thou shalt not lie
3. “ And then thou shalt have thy choice, to be Restored in the lily that decks the lea, In the jessamine-bloom, the anemone,* Or aught of thy spotless whiteness : To melt, and be cast in a glittering bead, With the pearls that the night scatters over the inead, In the cup where the bee and the fire-fly feed, Regaining thy dazzling brightness.
Ă. “I'll let thee awake from thy transient sleep, When Viola's mild blue
up, and be wove in the silvery wreath Encircling the brow of the mountain.
5. “Or, wouldst thou return to a home in the skies,
* Anem'one, the wind-flower.
that is, the power of the lily.