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they are stigmatized as mean-spirited and dastardly. To those who have not witnessed the conduct of bodies of their countrymen in foreign lands, this description may appear overcharged; but to us who have so frequently had occasion to deplore the ill effects produced by their impetuousness, I think you will decide with me, that it really is not-and it is evident, that the gross disregard they frequently shew of the customs of foreigners, proves very prejudicial to our national interest.
“On one occasion, I recollect a set of English freemasons walking in procession at Lisbon, where freemasonry was prohibited under the heaviest penalties. Such an act as this we should have loudly condemned, if put in practice by the French in any of the countries over which they held despotick sway; yet we think it a good joke to treat our friends in this way. The Portuguese government, however, were not inclined to consider it in that light, and they made a serious remonstrance to the British minister on the subject; for the ceremony had caused a considerable degree of agitation in the city. On first observing it, they took it for a religious procession, and turned out their guards, with the intention of paying it divine honours, and when they discovered their mistake, they were highly indignant.
"At another time, I remember a set of English officers happened to meet with a table d'Hôte, the situation of which they found convenient for dining at. They accordingly resolved to frequent it; but as the table was apt to be more crowded than they found agreeable, they determined to drive away all those who had been previously accustomed to dine there, and this they soon effected, by laughing at, and insulting them, in every possible way. The natural consequence was, that the landlord became exasperated at losing so many of his customers, and being an Englishman himself, he got drunk one day, and fell to abusing the officers without mercy: and the affair ended with a battle royal, in which the drunken landlord came off worst a second time, and his wife went into hystericks. I fear I must add, that those who committed this outrage, were not uninstructed, raw boys (of which description many are found in all armies), but young men of the best families and education. Nor are these instances of browbeating insolence uncommon, though predominating more amongst our military, who are wisely kept in so much restraint at home, that they are apt to fly out a little in foreign countries, where the profession of arms is permitted, in some sort, to take the lead. The independent feelings of Englishmen carry them frequently so far in this respect,
It is the custom in that, and, I suppose, in all other Roman Catholick countries, for the guards to turn out and present arms to the Host, whenever it passes near their Post.
that I own am apt to feel nervous when I meet them, in situations where an opportunity offers for shewing their contempt of foreigners and foreign customs. I knew a set of English officers, for example, who were in the habit of going every night to a foreign theatre, where they had a box; and carrying large sticks in their hands, for the purpose of thumping vehemently on the floor, and against the sides of the box, with them, when they chose to express their approbation or discontent; and occasionally calling out to their friends in other parts of the house, to the great dismay of the audience."
To us, however, the most interesting parts of the present volume are those in which the author delivers his quiet sensible opinions concerning the mode in which Englishmen conduct themselves at home and among themselves. Of these the chapter on SHYNESS is the first.
"Under this head a vast variety of extraordinary manner and conduct is contained. The general term by which the French designate it (mauvaise honte), I think, describes it fairly; for, whether it proceed from a good or a bad motive, it must be acknowledged à defect, and its removal considered desirable, its visible effects being nearly the same, whatever the cause may be. It requires, indeed, a great deal of discernment, and frequently a long acquaintance with the persons labouring under this distressing malady, to enable us to decide on the real cause that produces it. Foreigners, I do not speak of Frenchmen alone, accuse us of being all more or less tainted with this disease. Doubtless they perceive it, or they would not be unanimous, as I believe they are, in expressing the opinion: and though we, from closer observation, are apt to discriminate, and to term this man cold and reserved, and another frank and sprightly; we may discover, I believe, if we chuse to look candidly and fairly into our own minds, that most of us are in some degree influenced by the feelings which give rise to the shy reserve of which foreigners complain. We do not scruple to regard Frenchmen, in a mass, as volatile, loquacious, and impertinent; Germans as blunt and phlegmatic; and Spaniards as pompous, haughty, and indolent; ought we, therefore, to be offended at their describing us generally by some of our less favourable characteristics, and representing us as a morose, uncivil, uncourteous race?
"Do you recollect, my friend, your coming up to me at the Opera in London, some years ago, and telling me you had just discovered why foreigners disliked us so much? • Believe me,' added you, it is because we never offer them snuff! You then described having placed yourself at the end of one of the seats in the pit, where you were greatly incommoded by want of room. Having suffered this inconvenience for some time, it
sccurred to you to offer a pinch of snuff to
gentlemen assembled for the same purpose, but so careful not to intrude on each others conversation or even notice, that they have retired into separate corners of the room, and given themselves up to silent meditation. I have seen the number encrease gradually to twenty or thirty, and though the room would not afford a corner for each, it is whimsical to observe the ingenuity with which they contrive to divide the space amongst them, with the same object evidently in view; viz. that of shunning all intercourse with their neighbour. One will seat himself on a table, and earnestly watch the motion of his swinging leg; another will turn his back on the rest of the party, and amuse himself by looking "There is no end to the various ways in out at the window; while a third will place which this failing shews itself. I recollect himself directly before the fire, and calling some years ago being introduced to an emi- in the aid of his coat skirts to exclude his nent public character. The introduction companions from a sight of it, will remain was proposed to me by an intimate friend with his eyes fixed on vacancy till one side of his, at whose house we met; there was is well roasted; and then he will turn the therefore no intrusion on my part. When I other. Many amongst the number doubthad made my bow, I naturally expected him, less feel as I do on these occasions, and as the greatest man, to speak to me. But no: wish sincerely to break the solemn gloom he stared, blushed like a young girl, seem- by friendly intercourse, but are withheld by ed to make an effort within himself to call the same cause that often deters me, that is, up a word or two; but not succeeding in the fear, perhaps frequently groundless, of his attempt, he stalked away without utter- a repulse; for a man must be indeed far ing a syllable. This we call shyness; but gone in John Bullism who would absoluteby what cause, or combination of causes, it ly take offence at an overture plainly dicis produced, it is difficult to determine. It tated by civility, or a desire to be social." is not, however, a manner for imitation."
"But without descending to particular instances of conduct, this feature in our national character is so obvious as to afford abundant ground for general remark
is well known, for instance, that if two English gentlemen meet accidentally as strangers in a room, they do not consider themselves bound, scarcely even at liberty, to speak to each other; and if one happens to have less English coldness than the other, he still fears to address his companion, lest he should subject himself to a suspicious glance, and a dry monosyllable as his reply. Sir,' said Dr Johnson (who will not be accused of partiality to foreign manners) this is to be ignorant of the common rights of humanity.'
Any person going to one of the public offices in London, to obtain an audience of a great man, will be struck with a strong exemplification of this unamiable peculiarity. It has happened to me several times to attend in one of the waiting rooms on these occasions, and on entering the apart ment, I have found, perhaps three or four
RESERVE, which our author treats of in a separate chapter, seems to us to be rather a different manifestation of the same defect. The following remarks, however, are highly worthy of attention :
"That which frequently adds to the reserve of our manners, particularly in Lon don, is the foolish dread many feel of being considered either too poor to give entertainments, or not of sufficient importance to be admitted into the dissipation of high life.They pretend therefore to engagements which they have not, and return to pass that time uncomfortably at home which might be spent more agreeably with their friends, if they could prevail on themselves to break the ceremonious ice of fashion, and to be social in spite of so many freezing examples to the contrary. For though epicurianism is a vice of the age, and it is too much the fashion to talk and think of luxurious eating and drinking, doubtless every one has some friends who will be glad to visit him for the sake of a social meeting, and not merely for the sake of guttling. Or if a man makes up his mind that he cannot afford to give dinners of any kind, surely it is better for him to tell his friends so frankly, and to request to see them at his house after he has gone through the cere mony of dining with his family. This, you know, is the general style of going on in foreign countries, and the introduction of the custom in London would be delightful,
I know I have felt the want of it keenly, and so must every one in my situation. For, as society is constituted at present, none but persons of high rank or great con. nections can find their way into it without much labour and difficulty; and, when one has attained it, is it worth the trouble? I never heard any one, except now and then a very young girl, at her first going out, say that the mobbing of a London rout was any thing but insipid. If a man's connections enable him, as a thing of course, to fall into this dull routine, he often follows it because there is nothing more rational to be had. But how many hundreds of unfortunate beings there are, who would fain think themselves gentlemen, but who are as much excluded from this senseless amusement, even as the Jew boys who carry or anges about the streets.
I have often been amused, by being told in the country, well, I suppose you will be very gay in town.' Now my gaiety when in London consists in this: I walk about the town as much as I please during the morning, and see all the gay carriages and people. I meet such of my friends as happen to be out, and after nodding to them till I am tired, I return to my solitary home. I have then the choice of dining at a tavern or at my lodging; after which, I may either go to the play or the opera, or I may sit at home alone if I prefer it. Being acquaint ed with a good many families in London, I make a point, not being fond of a solitary life, to leave a card at each of their houses. Some three or four, perhaps, (who are always the same, uncongealed even by the atmosphere of London) write me a cordial note, and ask when I can give them the pleasure of my company. But, for the most part, no notice is taken of my call for five or six weeks, at the end of which, perhaps the visit is returned; and, if the person is a near relation or connection, he considers one invitation to meet a family party during my stay as very handsome treatment. If he has no such motive, he does not invite me to his house at all, but expresses a hope, if I chance to meet him in the street, that he may see more of me next time I come to town, and the meeting is adjourned sine die; for, perhaps, I am then preparing to leave the country again for an unlimited period." The letter on cutting is abundantly tranchant.
"Another most unamiable practice which I obscrve to prevail in this country more than ever; I am ashamed to call it a national peculiarity, and yet I fear it is one; is that vulgarly known by the term cutting. And unaccountable as it may appear, the example of this gothick custom is set by that class, which in foreign countries is justly considered the pattern of politeness and urbanity, though not always, I fear, entitled to the same character in this. I am not now speaking of the sort of rule
which our cold habits of reserve have esta blished in high life; of not conceiving our selves bound to know a person again whom we may have met a dozen times in society, and conversed with each time; unless we happen to have been formally introduced to him. This, to be sure, is in itself extremely unsocial, though, perhaps, in part to be excused, by our invincible disposition to taciturnity. But the term cutting cannot fairly be applied to this practice. In defining it, I should say, that to cut a person, is to pretend to lose one's memory suddenly, as far as it regards the recollection of that person; and this is manifested, either by turning the head away, and sneaking by him, when we meet him; or else, if we can muster assurance enough, by staring full in his face, without altering a muscle of our own, and assuming an expression of unconcern, which says, I never saw you before in all my life! This last is considered the cut decisive, and it seldom happens, under these circumstances, that the acquaintance is ever renewed.
"It is often difficult to surmise from what cause this and similar acts of incivility proceed. Sometimes, and not unfrequently, I believe it is caused, when it adopts a less decisive tone by modest diffidence, which retires from observation and fears repulse. A state of mind unknown in other countries; because in them the same sort of repulse is not experienced, and therefore not looked for. But there is no doubt this practice, when it assumes the bold insolent form above described, is occasioned by a haughty vulgar claim to superiority. At least, I do not see how charity, extended to its utmost limits, can explain it more favourably. Perhaps, for example, you are acquainted with a man of equal rank with yourself, but who fancies himself a person of greater importance, from some accidental circumstance of wealth, connection with people of high station, or some such cause. Well, you meet this man in a quiet corner, where there is no room for display, and you converse together in an easy unreserved manner. The following day, perhaps, you fall in with the same gentleman again, in a more publick place, when he will either make you a distant bow, which marks his claim to superiority, or avoid you altogether.
not so much in the habit of sporting abroad, "As this is a trick our countrymen are perhaps from being unaccustomed to it, your memory will not serve you to recollect its prevalence in this country. But I assure you, upon my honour, such incidents as the above occur here every hour, and are therefore not thought remarkable.
If not so frequent would not this be strange? That 'tis so frequent; this is stranger still!'
"What instigates to this brutality (I cannot term it humanity) of conduct, is, I imagine, the absurd dread felt by the person guilty of it, lest his dignity should be low
ered by his being seen to converse with one of no sort of consequence;' as poor fellows like you and I are styled by such as these. "Now, a slight acquaintance with human nature, as pourtrayed in history, is sufficient to convince us that some such conduct as 1 have above attempted to describe, has ever prevailed, more or less, in the world, and we need only turn to the instructive pages of Gil Blas to learn, that in other countries as well as our own, persons raised suddenly from obscurity to an elevated station, are apt to fall into this disgraceful errur. But what I contend for is, that with us the fault (I might almost call it vice) is not confined to those of the above description. In this rich commercial country, instances, of course, abound more than elsewhere, of sudden accumulations of fortune, and extraordinary changes of situation; nor can we feel much surprize at observing a corresponding change of manners in the persons thus suddenly exalted. Indeed, a Bourgeois gentilhomme, brought at once from the counting-house to the House of Lords, or at least to associate with the Members of that House, may naturally be expected to fall into some absurdities; and though the metamorphosis is not so instantaneous, it is nearly as complete with respect to his wife and daughters, as that of Nell in the Farce; therefore, any vagaries they give into are easily excused by people of candour. But I must own, it has ever been matter of astonishment to me, that men born to high rank, and accustomed from their cradles to the sound of titles, and to the adventitious circumstances of wealth and station, should so far deviate from the dignified conduct they are obviously called on to exercise, and should lend the authority of their example to a practice alike hateful in itself, and prejudicial to the society of their own country."
The "Superciliousness of high life" is discussed in a manner equally rational and more fully. But we have room for no more than the following passage:
“The air and tone of insolent superiority too commonly assumed by persons of rank and fashion in this country is very offensive, and, at the same time, very surprising. In foreign countries, it is always considered the mark of a nouveau riche;' but here, I think, it is not unfrequently observable in the manners of persons of the oldest and most respectable families. In short, I am inclined to consider it one of the most striking characteristicks by which to distinguish high rank and station in this country.
"When evinced in a haughty cold reserve, the superciliousness of high life is very reprehensible; but by far the worst character it assumes is that of affected condescension. I recollect a fine lady once, whom I had not seen for some time before, asking me, by way of great civility, how I had left my friends in Ireland.-I had never been in Ireland in my life.
"Any species of manner that says as plainly as words can utter it, I am greatly superior to you,' must be distressing to the person addressed, and therefore cannot be desirable. As Sir Thomas Browne emphatically observes, Think not that mankind
liveth but for a few, and that the rest are born but to serve those ambitions, which make but flies of men, and wildernesses of whole nations.'
"To exemplify the sort of insolence I have condemned above, I will mention an anecdote or two.-A friend of mine, by birth and education a gentleman, and of prepossessing and extremely civil manners, happened to be crossing over with his horses, from Calais to Dover, and finding the master of the packet inclined to impose on him, he went up to an English gentleman whom he saw standing on the quay, and who, he understood, was going on board the same vessel, and suggested to him, that they should make a joint arrangement in order to avoid being cheated. The gentleman, who proved afterwards to be a man of rank, replied with the utmost haughtiness, not chuse any body, Sir, to interfere with my arrangements.'
"Another friend of mine recently returned from a long residence in a foreign country, took up his abode in London at one of the most fashionable hotels. Going into the coffee-room one evening in cold weather, and observing a large table placed before the fire, and a solitary individual seated at one end of it, he forgot the coldness of English etiquette for the moment, and placing a candle at the other end of the table, as he had been accustomed to do abroad, sat down to read the newspaper. His companion, exasperated at so much disrespect, but not deigning to address him, called out immediately, in the insolent tone of a man of fashion, Waiter! take away that candle.' My friend quietly told him his mind, gave him his name, and left the room. The aggressor, after a little reflection, very properly apologized for
"It may be remarked, that an incident of this kind would not have occurred in a foreign country, because, sitting down in a publick room, at the same table with a stranger, is a custom that prevails generally on the continent. But the complaint, in this case, concerns the harshness of manner adopted to correct a venial offence; if it can be called an offence at all; nor do I believe a less fashionable man would have paid any attention to the circumstance.
"I remember, too, once when I was returning from France, on stopping to change horses at a small place near the coast, I was taking some refreshment at the inn, when two English travellers, of the higher class, stopped at the house for the same purpose. Seeing they were fresh from England, I naturally observed their conduct. On being shewn into the public room in which I was, they strutted in with their hats on, stared at me, and walked out again, calling in a peremptory tone for some cold meat.
landlady placed it for them at the further end of my table, which was so long that we should have been separated by a distance of several feet. But I foresaw that this arrangement would not do, and therefore watched their return with some degree of curiosity. Accordingly, when they returned from inspecting their carriage, they were greatly disconcerted at finding the refreshment they had ordered placed on my table, and immediately called to the waiter with a look of horrour, to remove it to a distant corner of the room.
"Now this happened at a very interest ing period of publick events, and, as I wore a red coat, they might naturally conclude I was an English officer, and might have wish ed to gratify their curiosity, by asking me questions concerning the state of affairs in the interiour. Any being but an English man would have acted differently under similar circumstance. Had I observed any thing like diffidence in their manner, I should have assured them, that their sitting at the same table, would be rather agreeable than troublesome to me ;-but I was convinced, by their style, that any overture on my part would be deemed an intrusion; and as they gave me no fair opportunity of addressing them, I left them to entertain each other in their corner.' "9
"It is mortifying to confess it, but really the kind of contempt evinced by a man of distinction or fashion (for there is too much resemblance in their unfavourable peculiarities) towards the other classes of society, approaches in no very distant degree to the hatred of the different castes in India towards each other. In general, a man of fashion, however, is conscious only of two castes; his own, consisting of a few hundreds; and the people, amounting to several millions. For, in his estimation, every man, however dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue; however distinguished for talent or estimable qualities, is counted as dross, as nothing, unless he happen to have been initiated in the senseless mysteries of fashionable absurdity.
"I recollect being struck with the remark of a great wit, who was himself a man of high family and large fortune, and therefore as much in the society of the great world as he chose to be. These fellows,' said he, speaking of men of fashion, will not condescend to speak to a man, unless he happens to dine at the same cook-shop!' Alluding to the contempt with which a member of the club most in vogue speaks of those a step or two lower in fashionable estimation. This illiberal, excluding system, 1 trust, in fluences, in its full extent, only the rigid votaries of fashion, who are so immersed in worldly pursuits as to become quite callous to the feelings of their neighbours. Though I regret to say, that something of the same spirit pervades all classes of gentry in this country. Few persons are so absurd as to adopt a prejudice against a man, because his coat is not made by Mr, or his panta.
loons by Mr." But if they will consider the matter fairly, many will find, that their dislikes are frequently occasioned by causes nearly as trifling, and which have fashion for their basis. Indeed, it appears to me, that in spite of our boasted claim to independence, there is no people in Europe such thorough slaves to fashion and precedent as ourselves. A native of a foreign country may act as he pleases (provided he act with decorum) and not subject himself to observation. If he is poor, he may live in a poor lodging, in a poor street; if he has no carriage of his own, he may get into a hackney coach, and take his wife and daughters with him; which few men in this country, above the middling class, dare do. When prejudices such as these are adverted to, we satisfy ourselves by observing, that in different nations there must be different customs. It is not the custom here, for ladies to go about in dirty hackney coaches, nor for a gentleman to hide his head in a miserable shabby place. As far as cleanliness interferes, I am ready to allow the consideration to have its due weight. But let a hackney coach be produced, perfectly new and clean, and I doubt whether the difficulty, in many instances, would be removed. It is the dread of being seen in an inferiour situation, that chiefly influences the conduct on these occasions. Now, surely foreigners, who are in a great measure free from these prejudices, enjoy life more thoroughly in consequence; while they act much more rationally than poor gentlemen in this country, who are constantly striving to rival the rich in all expenses that come at all within their means. This spirit is now carried so far amongst us, that young men of scarcely any fortune, flock to taverns of the most expensive kind; and an ensign in the army is not satisfied, unless he pays the same prices for his clothes as a prince of the blood!
"However, let those that chuse it, persevere in a system of life to which custom has habituated them; but do not let them carry their prejudices so far as to despise foreigners, and those among our own countrymen who have courage to act more wisely. It is really very vulgar to be proud of riches, when we do possess them; but the height of folly to pretend to them when we possess them not.
There would be much impudence in our hazarding any additional remarks of our own on these heads.We leave our English neighbours to profit as they chose by the hints of their firm but gentle castigator. ·
I forbear mentioning the names, for fear of betraying my own ignorance.—AUTHOR'S NOTE.
We ourselves patronize Stulze for our coats, and Christie for the nether integu inents.-REVIEWER'S NOTE