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what they had received from the benevo- | self to the study of it with such assiduity, as to make a rapid progress.
The appointed day arrived; Polaslos was inundated by the multitude that assembled from every corner of the empire. There was not a village, not a hamlet, which had not furnished its sage, and when I beheld these crowds, I could not forbear thinking, surely the sciences must have reached their zenith in Polaslia!
lence of Nature. I was present at the opening
After travelling without interruption for three months, we reached Polaslos. The report of our arrival was soon spread over the city, and as Nature has not forgotten to mingle curiosity among the ingredients of which the Polaslians are composed, they thronged in crowds to see us as we passed.
To know what the chests contained, and to determine what was to be done with them, a meeting of ali the learned men of Polaslia was summoned. The assembly was to be held on the first day of the third month. In consequence of a singularity peculiar to that country, the men of science never met but on extraordinary
The oldest sage presided over this brilliant assembly. An orator gave an account of our shipwreck. In a corner of the hall, which was of immense magnitude, and of which the eye could scarcely discern the farthest extremity, the packages were deposited, and we were placed in another part on an amphitheatre.
Those in whom the greatest confidence was reposed, or who possessed the highest reputation were chosen, 1. To examine us.
2. To discover what relation could exist between our persons, and the articles contained in the packages.
These two questions gave occasion to seIveral subdivisions.
1. To give an explanation of certain strange creatures, in the shape of Polaslians, who had been cast upon the
Are the strangers of the same nature as the Polaslians?
Have they ideas?
Are they capable of thinking?
Are they susceptible of the same functions?
They were proceeding to the discussion of these important questions, when another was accidentally stated. Are they all of the same nation? said one of the commissioners. We were then examined sepa
It was made known throughout the whole country of Polaslia, that all the learned, and even all those who were accus-rately. tomed to reason upon a subject and to form conjectures, should meet in the capital for the following purposes:
Lord K-was the first. Full of spirits in prosperity, his courage forsook him in adversity, and like all the rest of his nation, he declared, that the only resource in misfortune, was to put an end to life. Sensible, however, that this resolution, when once executed, is irremediable, his Lord
2. To inspect some curious articles of ship wisely delayed to adopt the desperate an unknown form.
3. To concert how to dispose of the former, and what was to be done with the lat
measure. The philosophy of the English evaporates with the fumes of their punch, and the hiccup of their porter. Ever since our shipwreck, his Lordship had been dull and melancholy; his lips, from which, in France, issued the keenest satires on our
I had three months before me to learn the Polaslian language, which is smooth, sonorous, and harmonious. I applied my- || countrymen, no longer smiled; his gait
was heavy and his face inclined towards the ground. He was directed to ascend into a kind of alcove, where, after an attentive examination, it was decided.
1. That his Lordship was not of the deavoured, but to no purpose, to make same nation as the other stranger.
2. That it is doubtful whether he has ideas and is capable of thinking.
them understand that this kind of hat was carried under the arm; they burst into a loud laugh; repeating, that people must be mad to carry under their arms what ought to cover their heads. They imagined that all those different kinds of
3. He appears absolutely dumb. 4. He seems to be habitually in the state of a person afflicted with indigestion.
My countrymen were treated more fa-hats belonged to as many different nations. vourably. Slow in judging, and proceed- I suffered them to remain in their error, ing with prudent and methodical precau- and took care not to tell them that they tion, the sages of Polaslia agreed that it were used not only by the same nation, was probable we could think, that we had but by the inhabitants of the same town. ideas, and that we were of a nature somewhat similar to their own. As to the gift of speech, they were not long in doubt on that subject. This opinion was favour-of able, but the impression it produced to our advantage was almost entirely effaced by the examination of the packages, and the conjectures to which this inspection gave rise..
As I knew sufficient of the Polaslian language to act as interpreter, I was selected to fulfil that important duty. Selflove is a native of every country: it is found in every part of the globe, with shades and modifications, which produce the variety that exists in the manners and customs of different nations. The Polaslians entertain a high notion of themselves, and have a great regard for those who speak their language. When I addressed them in their native idiom, they shewed me very great respect.
They proceeded to open the packages. The first contained a quantity of mens' and womens' hats of every form and of every colour: hats a la Prussiene, a la Suwarow, a l'Anglaise, &c. I was asked what those things were. I replied by two Polaslian words, which signify head-covers. Hence they sagely concluded, that these articles were destined in Europe to cover the head. They examined, with surprise, the variety of all our hats, their form, their depth, their size, their weight, their colour, and their brims. From these circumstances they formed conjectures concerning the shapes of European heads, and agreed that some must be enormously large, and others exceedingly small; while others again, No. I. Vol. I.
must be square, or round, or oblong, or sharp-pointed; lastly, that there was a class of men without heads. The dress-hat led them to draw the last inference. I en
On seeing such great variety in the form of these hats, they descanted on the construction of the head, and in particular
the brains of Europeans; asserting, that according to appearances the men who use dress-hats must be totally destitute of brains; that the brain must be hollow in those that wear hats a l'Anglaise; and that those with Suwarow hats, can have nothing on their shoulders but that part of the head called the cranium.
This was sufficient to convince me in what errors the method of analogy may sometimes lead us.
I shall not repeat the conjectures made on the women's hats; while they approved of the form of the straw hats with edges, they could not possibly conceive that the same person could wear a hat in the form of a cap, and without any edges; and afterwards a hat made of velvet, of stuff, or of silk. Still less could they imagine the use of bows of ribbons, of feathers, &c.
If there be any relation," said the sage Polaslians, “between all these head-covers and the heads that wear them, there must exist an inconceivable variety in the figure and the construction of all those heads; and if no such relation exist, those countries must be inhabited by mad people." The sage Polaslians could form no conception of any other alternative.
The same variety that they had just discovered in the heads of Europeans, was found, from an examination of their shoes, to exist among their feet. Some of their shoes were round, others square, and others pointed: they concluded that the Europeans must skip along, instead of walking,
that is, if they were capable of using their feet at all. The shoes that ended in a long || peak, led them to suppose, that some of the natives of Europe had tails at the ends of their feet; and in confirmation of this opinion, the most celebrated naturalist of Polaslia transmitted to the museum of the city a pair of those shoes.
The general conclusion from all this was, that the Europeans form a class of
men of a very strange figure. A thick volume soon appeared describing this species of animal, with all his varieties; and another on the tails that grew at the ends of the feet. The last-mentioned work produced a wonderful sensation; and to pacify the ladies of Polaslia, a public notice appeared, stating that among the strangers who had recently arrived, there was not a single foot with a tail.
ORIGIN OF TWELFTH CAKES.
As I am convinced that the object of your Work is to admit Miscellanies of every class, which relate to the Fashions and Amusements of the Age, and not to reject them though they may appear at first somewhat too abstruse for female investigation, I am induced to send you the following Inquiry into the origin of Twelfth Cakes.
AMONG the modern nations of Europe, he punctually obeyed the laws of the there are customs, the origin of which table." is lost in the obscurity of remote ages, and which seem to have survived the revolutions of states, the reforms of religion, and the changes of laws and of manners. Such is the custom of the twelfth cake, or, as it is called in France, the cake of kings;
This profound respect for the kings of the table, was manifested by all the exterior signs which denote the most absolute authority on the one hand, and the most perfect dependence on the other. It even appears that the honours paid to this
a custom constantly kept up in that coun-transient dignity, but which was held un
try, even at a time when its inhabitants could not tolerate it without endangering their lives. At a period when the name of king was not permitted to mingle with the most innocent games, solitary families met, to divide in silence the cake of kings.
der a circumstance considered by the ancients as one of the most important in life, excited a considerable degree of pride in the minds of those who received them. How necessary it was to inculcate the sentiments of modesty on those occasions, is apparent from the advice given to such persons among the Hebrews.
"At the Saturnalia," says the philosopher Arrian," the king elected by lot, exercises his authority, commanding one to drink, another to pour out wine; ordering this man to go, and that to come." Tacitus observes, that Nero never missed these feasts, and that he was always extremely anxious to be the king of the festival. "Verres," says Cicero, "had trampled
"If thou be made the master of a feast," says Ecclesiasticus, lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest, take diligent care for them, and so sit down. And when thou hast done all thy office, take thy place, that thou mayest be merry with them, and receive a crown for thy well ordering of the feast." Tertullian, indeed, in his treatise, De Corona, censures this custom; but the very asperity of Tertullian is a demonstration of the universal respect paid in his time to this ancient institution.
The kings of the festival were not always elected by lot. One of the passages quoted
upon the laws of the Roman people, but|| above, pre-supposes a free and rational
The poets and historians of antiquity have given us some curious details concerning this custom; and it is at present matter of astonishment, that, during such a long period, in such different climates, with such opposite manners and religions, men have observed this kind of general approximation.
himself, unless he had been from the beginning the only one whom the lot had thus favoured. When children elected a king, in their sports, they made use of beans; and in various republics, beans were likewise employed at the election of magistrates. Hence that precept of Pythagoras; A fabis abstine. Abstain from beans; that is, abstain from intermeddling in the affairs of the government. It is well known that the followers of this philosopher shunned public employment, and courted silence and retirement.
When the king was elected, on assum
election. Plautus, in one of his comedies, || introduces persons who appoint a king or a queen over them, and one of the number addresses these words to a young and beautiful woman:-" I give this crown of flowers to her who is in the flower of her age; you shall be our sovereign." It would, however, appear, that the most usual method was to have recourse to the lot in the disposal of this kind of sovereignty. It is well known, that at a repast at which Agesilaus presided, he issued an order, the equity of which was highly admired by all the friends of the table. He directed that if there were plenty of wine, each shoulding his dignity he commonly made a speech, of which some of the ancient writers have preserved the following passages : "Let us drink, my friends; let us drain the flowing goblet; let us intoxicate ourselves with this delicious liquor, with this beverage of the gods! O Bacchus! thou who art accompanied by the sports and by the smiles, be present in our circle with a crown upon thy head, and an ample bowl in thy hand: warm our spirits. Haste, ye slaves! give me three cups, then nine, then three times nine; and then give them untold: I will resign myself to a delightful madness. Hercules, agitated by the fu ries, broke the bow and the ponderous quiver of Iphitus; Ajax, a prey to rage, struck his buckler with the sword of Hector; but I, with cup in hand, my hair crowned with flowers, without bow and without sword, I will resign myself to a pleasing delirium: I would rather lose my reason than my life."
have as much as he should chuse to drink; but if the quantity was small, one was not to receive more than another; and when that great man gave this decision, so gravely recorded by Plutarch, he had been just elected the king by lot.
Anacreon supposes that billets, such as we make use of at present, were employed. "Slaves," says he, "bring the billets that I may mix them, and that we may have a king of the festival." Horace gives us to understand, that this innocent crown was conferred by the dice. "When thou shall be in the gloomy mansion of Pluto, says he to his friend Sertus, the dice will no more give thee the sovereignty at the festival." Pollur the rhetorician, and several other men of learning, conceived that these dice were not like ours, but had figures and emblems engraved upon them. These were in general a dog and a Venus, or, according to the statement of Plautus, a vulture and a basilisk. The vulture and the dog excluded the candidate; he who had the basilisk or the Venus, again tried his fortune with those who had been as lucky as
FATHER AND SON:
These amusements were seasoned with wit, mirth, and good humour; it cannot therefore be unprofitable to recall them to our recollection.
AN EASTERN MORAL.
verty, scarcely, by the most assiduous labour, could earn sufficient for his own, and aged father's subsistence. This did not prevent him from marrying the young and lovely Ismena. To her he confided the care of his parent, and the humble habita
ABDALLAH, born in the extreme of po- || tion in which they resided. After the fatigues of the day he returned with the setting sun to his cot, and spending a happy evening in the bosom of his family, divided with them the produce of his toils. Ismena, presented him with a son. In the midst of the joy occasioned by his birth,
The air is the natural enemy of the nobility, and most of the higher classes, J lilies of a beautiful complexion; but un-is owing to the aliments they use. Water fortunately for our handsome women, it is has an influence equally powerful on the not the only enemy; a laborious life, or beauty of the carnation. excess in pleasure; too much sleep or too frequent watchings; too intense application, or the languor of a life of indolence or apathy; melancholy and violent passions, grief, fear, anxiety, or hatred, are all prejudicial to the beauty of the skin, diminish its lustre, efface or alter its colours. On the contrary, a life of prudence and regularity; easy and varied occupations; benevolent, exalted, generous affections; the exercise of virtue, with that inward satisfaction which is the pre-at fifteen was a mere country girl. Sophia cious reward of it; such are the causes has now attained her eighteenth spring, which preserve the flexibility of the or- and she is an elegant and delicate nymph. gans, a free circulation, a perfect state of Her dark and coarse complexion has acall the functions, whence results health, quired lustre, and whiteness; her lips, as well as beauty. at the same time that they have become more delicate, have assumed the colour of coral.
If a fortunate change of circumstances enable a young female of limited means, who scarcely attracted any observation, to attend the minute details of the toilette, we in a short time behold a new beauty expand in her. How many village girls, with charms somewhat rustic, and figures rather coarse, have improved themselves by a residence in the city and the use of the toilette. 'Twas thus I beheld the celestial beauty of Sophia dawn forth. Sophia
Buffon has observed that the delicate complexion, and happy physiognomy of the
FRAGMENT O A SIAMESE LETTER.
THE English affirm that they adore but || ed, the sacrificer moves his hand, trembling one God; I cannot believe them, for in all the time, over the rest of the book, and addition to the living deities to whom they remains for some moments petrified with are used to address their prayers, they have fear and impatience. All the others, in many other inanimate ones to whom they anxious suspence and motionless like bimoffer sacrifice, as I observed in one of self, are attentive to what he is going to their assemblies into which I accidentally do: afterwards, at every leaf which he entered. turns up, these motionless spectators are alternately agitated in different ways, according to the spirit which takes possession of them this, clasping his hands returns thanks to heaven; that, grinning, looks steadfastly at his image; a third bites his fingers and stamps the floor; in a word, all throw themselves into 'such extraordinary postures and contortions that they no longer have the appearance of human beings. But no sooner has the sacrificer turned up a certain leaf than he himself is seized with phrenzy, tears the book, and devours it from rage-overturns the altar, and curses the sacrifice. Nothing is now heard but lamentations, groans, cries, and imprecations. On beholding them thus transported with fury, I judged that the deity whom they adore
After the ceremony I have just describ-is a jealous god, who, to punish them for
I beheld a large, circular altar, covered with a green cloth, lighted in the middle, and surrounded by several persons seated in the same manner as we are at our domestic sacrifices.
At the moment of my entrance, one of them, who appeared to be the sacrificer, spread over the altar the detached leaves of a little book which he held in his hand; on these leaves were represented various figures; these figures were very rudely painted, yet they must be images of certain deities, for as they were distributed to the circle, each of the persons present placed an offering upon them, according to his devotion. I observed that these offerings were much larger than those which they made in their temples.