Puslapio vaizdai

"It is a great pity," said little Lestoc, "that the Latin barbarians must disappear; in a century from now there will not be more than three of their race left in the world. One will be a hair-dresser, the second a cook, and the third will make jests like Monsieur Taconet. But, I am told that when they are dead, and there is no one left in the world but the Germans, the Academy of Berlin, starting on the principle of the more fools the merrier, will offer a purse of a hundred thousand francs to encourage inventors to manufacture more barbarians.

"You do the greatest injustice to German -savants," said Monsieur Taconet as he rose from the table. "They are preposterous enough to keep the earth, the moon, and the stars in a perpetual state of gayety." Then approaching Monsieur Drommel-" One of the last of the redskins," he cried, "wishes to the Germanic Synthesis a sweet night's rest and happy dreams."

This being said, he bowed profoundly and left the room.

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"That man is really very disagreeable," muttered Monsieur Drommel; 'he is rough and surly, I am somewhat of a physiognomist. His face repelled me at once. It is not one that I should like to meet in a dark wood."

go as far as Sicily, and put at his entire disposition one of his two palaces, and urged him to go to Malaserra and there spend an entire month. The Prince said he was soon going there himself, and immediately began to describe all the beauties of the place and of every tree upon it. Monsieur Drommel accepted this proposition with the greatest delight, for, the more intimately associated he was with the Prince de Malaserra, the more convinced he became that he was destined to live with princes.

This agreeable conversation was interrupted more than once by the indiscreet Madame Picard. This good woman has so many excellent qualities that one can afford to name a fault or two. She feels only a moderate respect for the great of the earth, and for men of celebrity, even if they do drink the best wine in her house. She is even accused of treating somewhat cavalierly those of her inmates whose faces were unknown to her, which was a great defect, inasmuch as it is a part of her profession to have no preferences, but to treat all persons alike. "Tell me what you are in the habit of eating and I will tell you who you are." Such is the motto of the perfect innkeeper.

Several times during this long meal and conversation, Madame Picard entered the diningroom, hoping to find it empty, and then going out would slam the door with considerable violence. How could she say "Go away" with

"I know an honest man who was entirely of your opinion," said Lestoc, "and who would be still if he had not been guillotined the other day." "What do you mean by that?" asked the more clearness or emphasis ? Prince de Malaserra.

"I mean to say, my Prince, that certain people like to meet a pretty woman in a wood rather than a police-officer any time.""

"Ah! Monsieur Taconet belongs to the police force, does he?" cried the Prince; "I suspected it. The police always have a certain look in their eyes, and have no figures to speak of that is, in France."

Visibly relieved by the departure of this man without a figure, he rang and ordered a bottle of wine, with which he intended to regale his illustrious friend. Three glasses were brought, but little Lestoc went off declaring that the openair school never drank that kind of wine, and the Prince de Malaserra was left with Monsieur Drommel alone. The Prince congratulated himself on his good luck in having met one of the greatest thinkers of the age, whose logic he passionately admired, although he was forced to disapprove his principles.

The conversation became more intimate, for the wine disposed their hearts to expansion. The Prince de Malaserra asked a host of questions indicative of the most heartfelt interest. He was delighted to ascertain that our sociologist proposed to linger in Italy; he made him promise to

Monsieur Drommel could not refrain from saying to the Prince that Madame Picard's face struck him as quite as forbidding as that of Monsieur Taconet, and he asked, in a mysterious whisper, if the inns at Barbison were looked upon as honest, respectable places. The Prince inferred from this that Monsieur Drommel had at least, among his luggage, a collection of rubies. When, however, he understood that it was only a trifling matter of five or six thousand francs in notes of all kinds, he could not refrain from a contemptuous shrug of his shoulders. What were six thousand francs to a great lord who owned Malaserra? He represented to Monsieur Drommel that it would have been much better to provide himself with letters of credit, and he urged him never to separate himself from his little bag.

"This house," he said, "is a most respectable place, but a man, my dear fellow, can never be sure of anything but what he has!"

During this time the ex-police officer, who had retired to his room, had visions, as he smoked his pipe, of a very pretty woman with soft gray eyes, of an innocent youth with a blonde moustache, of a leather satchel hung around the neck of a blockhead, and of the pale and haughty face

of a Sicilian Prince who exclaimed, "Respect for Property is the foundation of the Universe." Monsieur Taconet built on these faces a charming romance where elective affinities played an important part; an imbroglio wherein hearts and hands "circulated." Then he began (Conclusion in next Journal.)

to ponder on inferior races, and upon those nations which hold the secrets of the future, on Germanic synthesis-and upon Sedan. And, finally, he thought of the red-skins-and ended by murmuring, half aloud, "Patience!' answered Panurge." VICTOR CHERBULIEZ.



R. JOHNSON is not generally supposed to have erred as a critic on the side of excessive approbation. And yet he managed to bestow upon one book the most forcible eulogium ever uttered. Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy" was, he said, the only book which ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he intended. The compliment is always reproduced when Burton's book is mentioned. Second-hand booksellers judiciously quote it in their catalogues to stimulate the appetite of their customers. Every lover of books has been induced to prolong his evening sitting, sometimes to prolong it till daylight, by the charms of a fascinating author; but the most voracious of literary gluttons seldom breaks his morning slumbers under such an impulse. And, when we add that it was Johnson who was thus beguiled, Johnson whose whole life was a continuous remorse for inability to rise early, when we see that Burton must have done for once what could be done neither by strong religious principles, nor by a morbidly keen conscience, nor by the pressure of stern necessity, and what the united energies of Boswell and the Thrales and the whole of the Club would have failed in securing, we must admit that the performance borders on the incredible. Doubtless it was the youthful Johnson whose slumbers he disturbed; and it was after the scanty fare of Lichfield, not the solid festivities of the "Mitre" or the "Turk's Head." With all deductions, we are still in presence of a "great fact." Many a young student must have turned with avidity to the promised treat, and a good many have probably retreated in disappointment. For, at first sight, the reader becomes aware of the curious mildness of another phrase of Johnson's; the book, he said, is "perhaps overloaded with quotations." That is rather like saying that Pickwick may "perhaps " be regarded as aiming at fun; that there is possibly a dash of humor in Charles Lamb; or that Pope may be accused of a tendency to satire. The "Anatomy" is all but made up of quotations; it is, as the author ex

pressly says, a "cento collected from others "; a vast heterogeneous mass of miscellaneous reading; the contents of a commonplace-book kept by a reader of boundless curiosity who has ranged over the whole field of learning then accessible, from the classical authors down through the fathers and the scholastic philosophers of the middle ages, to the grammarians, philosophers, physiologists, and novelists of the Renaissance, and who has dipped into the most fashionable playbooks, poems, and essays of the day-Montaigne, Bacon, Spenser, Drayton, and even Ben Jonson and Shakespeare.* It is a patchwork stuck together with scissors and paste, a queer amorphous mass, in spite of its ostensible plan, where we are half-baffled and half-attracted by references to strange authors who delighted in masquerading with Latin terminations to their names. We have heard more or less of some of them, of Bodinus and Paracelsus, or Cardan, or Erasmus; but who, we wonder, was Rlasis the Arabian, or Skenkius, or Poggius, or Fuchsius, or Busbequius t-a name which has no doubt a peculiar flavor of pleasant quaintness? Such names carry with them a faint association of the days of high-built and ponderous pedantry; we catch a passing glimpse of some ancient doctor damning another for his theory of the irregular verbs, or settling the theory of the enclitic de, or conducting tremendous disputations in the schools with all the ponderous apparatus of the old syllogistic artillery. Yet it is possible to have too much of Busbequius; and, after dipping into the book, in search of that spirit and power which he is said (still by Johnson) to display when writing

* Shakespeare is noticed at least twice; in a reference to Benedick and Beatrice in the comedy, and a quotation from "Venus and Adonis."

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from his own mind, it is well if we do not give up the chase in despair, and decide that it is hardly worth cracking so vast a shell of effete pedantry to come at so small a kernel of sound


It is well, I say; for after all there is a real charm in the old gentleman. Certainly the "Anatomy" is not a book to be read through; it would have no place in the short list of literary masterpieces which the intelligent reader is supposed to absorb into his mental structure. It is a book for odds and ends of time, and to be read only at appropriate seasons; not, perhaps, in a railway-carriage or by the seaside, or in any place where the roaring wheels of our social machinery make themselves too plainly heard. It is rather a book to be taken up in a quiet library, by accident, not of malice prepense, and, in spite of Johnson, rather in the last hour of the night than at morning. When you are tired of blue-books or scientific wrangling or metaphysical hair-splitting; when you have turned to the last book from the circulating library only to discover that novel-writing is a forgotten art; that poetry has become a frivolous echo of sounding verbiage; that the smartest mazagine article is a mere pert gabble of commonplace-jaundiced views which sometimes suggest themselves on such occasions-it may be pleasant to soothe yourself by entering this old museum of musty antiquities, and to feel as though you were entering a forgotten chamber where the skeletons of seventeenth-century spiders are still poised upon undisturbed cobwebs. The phantoms of Busbequius and his fellows may then have substantiality enough to hold converse with you for a time, and you gradually perceive that old Burton himself probably once filled an academical costume with a genuine structure of flesh and bone. Carefully as he retires behind his moth-eaten folios, there are moments when he drops his disguise, and you can depict the quaint smile of the humorous observer of men and manners, and believe that he had in his days a genuine share of the pathetic side of human folly. Nobody, it is true, is more provokingly shy. It is the shyness of the genuine old-fashioned scholar, who is halfashamed of possessing tissues not made out of an ancient parchment. You ask him for an opinion, and he throws a dozen authorities at your head and effects his escape into an ingenious digression; he balances himself in curious equilibrium between the ranks of opposing doctors, and only lets slip at intervals an oblique intimation that he is inclined to think that one of them is a donkey. In all this he is certainly as different as possible from the ordinary humorist. He requires an interpreter, and must be cross-examined to make him yield up his real meaning; VOL. VIII.-33

and yet, under all his concealments, he has a certain vein of shrewd humor which may at least serve to excite such a portion of that faculty as we may ourselves happen to possess.

Burton, in his opening address to the reader, sets forth his claims to the title of Democritus junior; and he tells at length the legend of the laughing philosopher; how the citizens of Abdera took him to be mad by reason of his excessive perception of the ludicrous, and brought the weeping Hippocrates to cure him of his folly; how Hippocrates found him sitting on the ground cutting up beasts to find out the causes of melancholy; and how, when Hippocrates tried to point out that reasonable citizens employed themselves upon business or pleasure instead of dissection, Democritus answered every argument by peals of laughter and demonstrations of the utter absurdity of all the ordinary activities of man. So clearly did Democritus preach upon the old text, Vanity of Vanities, that Hippocrates departed with the fullest conviction of his sanity. Burton proposes to continue the discourse of Democritus. Never, he says, was there so much food for laughter as now; for now, "as Salisburiensis says in his time, totus mundus histrionem agit, the whole world plays the fool; we have a new theatre, a new scene, a new comedy of errors, a new company of personate actors; Volupia sacræ (as Calcagnius willingly feigns in his 'Apologius') are celebrated all the world over, when all the actors were madmen or fools, and every hour changed habits, or took that which came next." The world is a farce; princes are mad; great men are mad; philosophers and scholars are mad, and so are those who scorn them. 'Methinks," he says, "most men are fools," if we may apply the judicious tests given by Æneas Sylvius. "Nevisanus, the lawyer, holds it for an axiom, most women are fools; Seneca, men, be they old or young; who doubts it, youth is mad as Elius in Tully, stulti adolescentuli; old age little better, deliri senes.” And, after running through as many classes as he can think of, Burton confesses that he is himself as foolish and as mad as any one. We are tolerably familiar with the theory, "All the world is a stage," and the players are "mostly fools." Satirists and poets and moralists and essayists have set the same sentiment to different times; and it is the special function of the humorist to give fresh edge to the ancient doctrine. Burton has certainly chosen a thesis which affords ample room for the widest illustration; and we have only to ask how he acquits himself of his task.


And here we perceive that he begins to shrink a little. Some people, he says, will think his performance "too fantastical, too light and comical for a divine"; and he replies that he is

mood in which we hold the lessons of sweet silent thought. But, again, we drop to the most physiological, and, as we should now call it, materialistic view. Melancholy is "black choler," as its name imports; and we are treated to the definitions of the whole series of physicians, the question having been agitated by Galen, Avicenna, Valesius, Montanus, Cappivaccius, Bright, Fiennes, and others, with a variety of results anything but encouraging to the patient. We can not but sympathize with the excellent Trincavellius, who, being demanded what he thought of a certain melancholy young man, " ingenuously confessed that he was indeed melancholy, but he knew not to what kind to reduce it." Trincavellius, indeed, being consulted on another occasion along with Fallopius and Francanzanus, each of these three famous doctors gave a different opinion-an unprecedented and startling phenomenon!

Undaunted, however, by this want of agreement, or rather encouraged by the boundless field of conjecture which it opened, Burton constructs a vast and systematic scheme of analysis, a network so comprehensive, with its judicious divisions and subdivisions, partitions and members, and sections and subsections, that the fish must indeed be strange which can not be somewhere entangled in his toils. The causes of melancholy range from the highest of all causes, down through magicians, witches, the stars, old age, sickness, poverty, sorrow, and affright, to special peculiarities of diet, such as the consumption of "dried, soused, indurate fish, as ling, fumados, red herring, sprats, stock-fish, haberdine, poorjohn, all shell-fish "; and even in detail we are generally left in a painful attitude of doubt. "Mesarius commends salmon, which Bruerimus contradicts," and who is to decide between Mesarius and Bruerimus? The physiology, indeed, which forms so large a part of the book is a very amusing illustration of the chaotic state of medical theory, which gave so many openings for the satirists of the period, and which has so happily been succeeded by perfect unanimity. Johnson was not improbably attracted to the "Anatomy' by the title, which promised to give him some hints in his life-long struggle with disease. If so, he must indeed have been edified. The general tone of the decisions of the physicians of the period is excellently given by the controversy as to hellebore. This drug fell out of its old repute, it appears, owing to the authority of Mesue and some other Arabians; and it is "still oppugned to this day by Crato and some junior physicians. Their reasons are briefly that Aristotle and Alexander Aphrodiseus called it a poison, while Constantine the Emperor, in his 'Graponics,' attributes no other virtue to it than to kill mice and rats, flies and mouldwarps." The most prominent argu

ment, however, is that, according to Nicholas Leonicus, Solon, when "besieging I know not what city," poisoned the springs with hellebore, and so weakened the inhabitants that they could not bear arms. Recent writers, however, especially Paracelsus and Matthiolus, have restored the reputation of the injured drug. For so venerable and classical a medicine, it was perhaps natural to go back to the records of Solon's siege of "I know not what city." Indeed, another statement may remind us that, even in the reign of experimental philosophy, the effects of familiar drugs are not always established beyond possibility of dispute. ‘Tobacco,” exclaims Burton, "divine, rare, and superexcellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all panaceas, potable gold and philosopher's stones, a sovereign remedy to all diseases. A good vomit, I confess, a virtuous herb, if it be well qualified, opportunely taken, and medicinally used; but, as it is commonly abused by most men, who take it as tinkers do ale, 'tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, health, hellish, devilish, and damned tobacco, the ruin and overthrow of body and soul." The controversy, as many contemporary allusions testify, was as keen at that time as it is at the present day. Bobadil, we may remember, professed to have lived for twenty-one weeks on the fumes of this simple, while Justice Overdo entreats all men to avoid "the creeping venom of this subtle serpent."

Burton, to do him justice, does not fail to insinuate a sly hit or two at his physicians, under due shelter of learned names. "Common experience," he points out, shows that those "live freest from all manner of infirmities that make least use of apothecaries' physic"; though apothecaries might possibly argue that he is here inverting cause and effect. But he goes further: "The devil himself was the first inventor of medicine," he argues; "for Apollo invented it, and what was Apollo but the devil?" He points out with more cogent logic the discord of the doctors of his day, and remarks: “This art is wholly conjectural, if it be an art, uncertain, imperfect, and got by killing of men; they are a kind of butchers, leeches, menslayers, chirurgeons and apothecaries especially, that are indeed the physicians' hangmen and common executioners, though, to say truth, the physicians themselves come not far behind, for, according to that facete epigram of Maximilianus Urentius" (which, in Burton's phrase, I here voluntarily pretermit), "what's the difference?" And, though Burton's skepticism is judiciously tempered by a consideration which has restrained many of his fellow satirists-namely, that when he is ill he will probably want a physician himself-he significantly prefaces his selections from the "infinite variety

of medicines which he finds in every pharmacopoeia" by the warning that they should be used "very moderately and advisedly," and only when diet will not answer the purpose. The skepticism, indeed, was never pushed to any excess. He was slightly scandalized, he tells us, when he saw his mother apply a spider in a nutshell wrapped in silk for the cure of a sufferer from ague; but, on finding the very same remedy prescribed by Dioscorides, Matthiolus, and Alderovandus, he began to "have a better opinion of it," and decides wisely with Renodæus that such amulets are "not altogether to be rejected."

Burton's collection of the prescriptions of the day is a curious illustration of the time in which the most virtuous and benevolent men went about bleeding fever-struck patients to death, flogging others out of madness, and with equal confidence administering spiders in nutshells-and all from the best possible motives. Yet it is perhaps the least amusing part of the matter forced into an elaborate framework, which, as I have said, is contrived with a view to including the most heterogeneous stores of learning. One could wish that he had not bothered himself with any ostensible method, and had avowedly presented himself as a mere rambler, diverging hither and thither in obedience to any accidental association. Southey's "Doctor," the last book of any note which may be regarded as in some degree belonging to the same class, is so far more judiciously constructed, though Southey perhaps falls into the contrary error of forcibly contorting the natural flow of his thought into an appearance of more arbitrary digressiveness than really belongs to him. A deliberate resolution to be funny and fanciful is perhaps more annoying than a forced appearance of methodical order. And there is certainly something characteristic in this thoroughgoing affectation which seems to be a part of the very nature of the old pedant. He can not get rid of his academical costume even when he is disposed for a game of "high jinks." He discusses the philosophy of love-melancholy with all the airs of an anatomical demonstrator, and, if there is just a sly twinkle in his eye, he never permits himself such a smile as would be inconsistent with his views of professorial dignity. He proves with his usual array of imposing authorities that men often fall in love with beautiful women; and reminds us that "Achilles was moved in the midst of a battle by fair Briseis; Ajax by Tecmessa; Judith captivated that great captain Holofernes; Delilah, Samson; Rosamond, Henry II.; Roxalana, Solyman the Magnificent, etc."; and we dimly wonder whether this comprehensive "etc." could even have included the excellent Burton himself. There is perhaps no class of men which is more apt to

pride itself upon a knowledge of the world than the university don of modern times. A Fellow of a college resents the traditional estimate which would make of him a mere smoke-dried bachelor, ignorant, in virtue of his position, of the ordinary play of human passion. But old Burton accepts and prides himself upon his character of learned recluse. He has looked at the world, perhaps, more closely than he allows. He had been further from his common-room than merely to the bridge end to hear the ribaldry of the bargees. But he thinks it necessary to defend himself for discoursing upon love by more than his usual affectation of learned authority. "It is part of my treatise," he says roundly, “and I must and will perform my task," though in a spirit becoming a grave divine. And certainly no fair reader will complain that he has shown undue levity even in this department, where an access of gravity borders most closely upon the ludicrous.

To get a little closer to Burton himself, to catch a glimpse of the real man behind the elaborate mask, we naturally turn to the chapters in which his personal experience is forced to come nearer to the surface. "Democritus junior," the professional laugher at all human folly, might be expected to show his bitterness when he treats of his own craft. Beyond a doubt study is a cause of melancholy, and indeed, as Lavinius Lemmius assures us, the commonest of all causes. The theme should be a fruitful one, and, indeed, we find some touches of genuine feeling. It must be admitted, however, that Burton has a decidedly matter-of-fact and prosaic mode of regarding the subject. The most obvious reason, he tells us, of the melancholy of students is their ill-health. They alone, of all men, as Marsilius Ficinus observes, habitually neglect their tools. A painter washes his brushes, a smith looks to his anvil, a huntsman takes care of his hawks and hounds, and a musician of his lute; but a scholar never thinks of attending properly to his brains. Moreover, Saturn and Mercury, the patrons of learning, are both of them dry planets, so that the brains of their subjects become withered, and the animal spirits, used up for contemplation, do not keep the other organs properly employed. Whence it follows that bald students are commonly troubled with "gouts, catarrhs, rheums, cachexia, bradiopepsia," and a long list of other diseases due to "overmuch sitting," exceeding even those which beset a famous lady at Diss in Norfolk. A modern writer of Burton's meditative turn would despise this physiological cause; he would call his "bradiopepsia " Welt-Schmerz, and elaborate a philosophical pessimism, proving conclusively that a man's disposition to melancholy must be proportioned to the depth of his knowledge of the general system of things. Bur

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