Sivut kuvina

weighed, as I remember, eleven pounds odd ounces, and was most perfectly figured both point and sides, after the manner of a Bristol diamond, or common rock crystal ; but this block here was rude and without any shape.

“I cannot say much of the meeting of these gentlemen of the Academie Royal des Sciences : there are but few of them ; about twelve or sixteen members, all pensioned by the ministers, in some manner or other. They endeavoured, in the war time, to have printed monthly transactions or memoirs, after the manner of ours in London; but could not carry them on above two volumes or years; for, without great correspondence, this can hardly be done. And ours is, certainly, one of the best registers that ever was thought on, to preserve a vast number of scattered observations in natural history, which otherwise would run the hazard to be lost, besides the account of learning in printed books. I heard Mr. Oldenburgh say, who began this noble register, that he held correspondence with seventy odd persons, in all parts of the world, and those he saw with others. I asked him what method he used to answer so great a variety of subjects, and such a quantity of letters as he must receive weekly; for I knew he never failed, because I had the honour of his correspondence for ten or twelve years. He told me he made one letter answer another ; and that, to be always fresh, he never read a letter before he had pen, ink, and paper ready, to answer it forthwith; so that the multitude of his letters cloyed him not, or ever lay upon his hands.”

The following picture of Madame de Scuderi is very striking.

Amongst the persons of distinction and fame, I was desirous to see Mademoiselle de Scuderie, now ninety-one years of age. Her mind is yet vigorous, though her body is in ruins. I confess this visit was a perfect mortification, to see the sad decays of nature in a woman once so famous. To hear her talk, with her lips hanging about a toothless mouth, and not to be able to command her words from flying abroad at random, puts me in mind of the sibyls uttering oracles. Old women were employed on this errand, and the infant world thought nothing so wise as decayed nature, or nature quite out of order; and preferred dreams before reasonable and waking thoughts. In her closet she shewed me the skeletons of two cameleons, which she had kept near four years alive. In winter she lodged them in cotton ; and, in the fiercest weather, she kept them under a ball of copper full of hot water. In her closet she shewed me an original of Madame de Maintenon, her old friend and acquaintance, which she affirmed was very like her, and, indeed, she


beautiful.” With the Marquis d’Hopital, Dr. Lister enjoyed more than one interview.

“The Marquis d'Hopital, one of the Academie des Sciences, whom I found not at home, returned

very obligingly.

I had a long conversation with him about philosophy and learning; and I perceived, the wars had made them altogether strangers to what had been

was then

doing in England. Nothing was more pleasing to him, than to hear of Mr. Isaac Newton's preferment, and that there were hopes that they might expect something more from him. He expressed a great desire to have the whole set of the Philosophical Transactions brought over, and many other books, which he named, but had not yet seen. He told me, it was not possible for them to continue the Monthly Memoirs, as they had done for two years only, because there

were but


few in number of that society, and bad very little correspondence. Indeed, I did inquire, once, of some of that body, why they did not take in more, since there were many deserving men in the city, as I instanced in F. Plumier. They owned he would be an honour to the body; but they avoided to make a precedent for the admission of any regulars whatsoever. I repaid the Marquess his visit. He lives in a fine house, well furnished; the garden pretty, with neat trelliage, wrought with arches and other ornaments. He expressed a great desire to see England, and converse with our mathematicians, whose works he coveted above all things, and had ordered all to be brought bim over. His lady, also, is very well studied in the mathematics, and makes one of the learned ladies in Paris ; of which number are Madame Dacier, the Duchess of Main, Madame Scuderie, and others, whose names I have forgot.”

The Doctor's next visits were paid to the public libraries. It is well known what liberal access to those receptacles of learning is afforded, in Paris, to both foreigners and natives; and it is to be wished that the same spirit prevailed in this country, in regard to her learned institutions.

“ It is now time to leave the private houses, and to visit the public libraries, and, with them, such persons as are more particularly concerned in the history of learning. Monsieur l'Abbé Drouine came to visit me at my lodgings. I returned the visit, the next day, at his apartment, in the College de Boucourt. He had four or five little rooms, well furnished with books. In the biggest he had a collection of catalogues of books, and of all such who had writ the accounts of authors; above three thousand, in all languages. He told me he had studied the history of books, with the utmost application, eighteen years, and had brought his memoirs into a good method : that he had thoughts of printing the first tome this year, which would be of the most ancient authors, Greek and Latin : that he intended to continue them throughout all the succeeding ages, down to our times; which he said he had performed in good part. He shewed me the catalogue of authors, in four very thick folios, alphabetically disposed by family names, under some such title as this,- Index Alphabeticus omnium Scriptorum cujuscumque facultatis, temporis, et linguæ. These came to about a hundred and fifty thousand. He also shewed me his alphabetical memoirs, in sheets, of the authors and books they had writ, and in great forwardness; and, lastly, the Chronological Catalogue, in which form he intends to print the whole. He is a very civil and well-tempered person, very learned and curious, and of a middle

age; fit to continue and finish such a laborious work. I was infinitely obliged to him for his frequent visits.

“ Monsieur l'Abbé de Brillac, almoner to the Prince of Conti, very obligingly offered to carry me to the king's library; but I civilly declined for I had been told it was better to make visits by yourself: for no stranger but was very welcome at all times; not only on the days it was publicly open, as it is upon Tuesdays and Fridays.”

In this library, the Doctor had the pleasure of seeing his own work, (Synopsis Conchyleorum,) but as he did not think it was a good impression, he promised to send another.copy to the royal library.

“ The reader will pardon me the vanity, if I tell him that this book was no inconsiderable present, even for so great a prince as the King of France : for that, besides the time it took me up, (ten years at least,) at leisure hours to dispose, methodize, and figure this part of natural history, it could not have been performed by any person else for less than £2000 sterling; of which sum, yet, a great share it stood me in, out of my private purse.”

We cannot afford to accompany Dr. Lister in his perambulations through the various libraries of Paris, which he examined with great diligence, making, at the same time, an acquaintance with their learned keepers. _In this manner he became known to Hardouin the Jesuit, Father Daniel Mabellon, the author of the ingenious treatise De re Diplomatica ; Clement, Baluze, Malbranche, and other celebrated scholars.

In the museum of the library of St. Genevieve, the Doctor saw the ingenious dyes which had been invented to imitate ancient medals.

“ Here also we saw the steel dyes of the Paduan brothers, by which they stamped and falsified the best ancient medals so well, that they are not to be distinguished but by. putting them into those moulds; which makes them very valuable, there being 100 and more of them, and are prized at 10,000 crowns. They stampt upon old medals, whereby the cheat was greater ; for, by this means, they were of the ancient metal, had the green coat, and the same ragged edges."

The various manufactories of Paris next attracted the Doctor's attention. He visited “the Pottery of St. Cloud,” with which he was marvellously well pleased ”-the plateglass houses, and the Gobelin manufactory, which “ had miserably fallen to decay.” At Hubins, the eye-maker, he saw drawers full of eves, of all sizes, “ admirable for their contriyance, to match with great exactness any iris whatsoever : this being a case where mis-matching is intolerable.” Having concluded these scientific researches, the Doctor, towards the ter

mination of his volume, treats of certain matters which are usually the first to engage the regards of a stranger—the“ meat, drink, and diversions of the Parisians." We cannot affirm, that Dr. Martin Lister has discussed these topics with all the science and learning which Dr. Kitchener has bestowed upon them, though he writes with taste and sensibility upon the subject. The diet of the Parisians, he tells us, consists chiefly of bread, herbs, and other vegetables. In discussing the latter, he takes occasion to speak in terms of warm commendation of the “ small long turnips,” which are “ most excellent in soups." Cabbages, he informs us, the French “ delight not so much in as he expected;" upon which, the Doctor promulgates a curious theory, viz., that the northern people of Europe "much delight in cabbage,” while the southern nations “ are pleased with the onion kind.” We believe the theory to be a very correct one: who could prevail upon the Spaniard to exchange his garlic and his onions, for the sour-crout of the Germans? Like a prudent and sensible man, Dr. Lister, at first, eyed all dishes, in which mushrooms formed an ingredient, with suspicion, and “ was very shy of eating them.”

” At last, however, finding scarcely any ragouts without them, he became pleased with them, and found them very innocent. Others of the embassy had not the same good fortune. « Some of our people, at our first coming, were very sick with cray-fish and muscle-soups, and particularly with ragouts of mushrooms, which, gave them a sudden shortness of breath, and sometimes vomitings, or went off in a dysentery.” On the other viands, our traveller does not enlarge, though he speaks in warm terms of“ a macreuse (a kind of sea-fowl) pie, near two foot diameter, which, being high-seasoned, did go down very well with rare burgundy." These macreuses, by a sort of brevet appointment, ranked as fish, and were eaten in Lent. The Doctor concludes this portion of his labours with an eulogium on a marmalade of orange flowers, composed of those flowers, the juice of lemons, and fine sugar, which he says, " indeed was admirable!”

A short dissertation on the wines of France follows, which concludes with a fierce attack upon coffee, tea, and chocolate, which the Doctor believes, "are permitted, by God's providence, for lessening the number of mankind, by shortening life, as a sort of silent plague.”

“ Those that plead for chocolate, say, it gives them a good stomach, if taken two hours before dinner. Right. Who doubts it? You say, you are much more hungry, having drank chocolate, than you had been if you had drank none; that is, your stomach is faint, craving, and feels hollow and empty, and you cannot stay long for your dinner. Things that pass thus soon out of the stomach, I suspect, are little welcome there ; and nature makes great haste to get

shut of them. There are many things of this sort which impose upon us by procuring a false hunger.

The old Romans did better with their luxury; they took their tea and chocolate after a full meal, and every man was his own cook

Cæsar resolved to be free, and eat and drink heartily; that is, to excess with Tully; and for that purpose, Cicero tells his friend Atticus, that before he lay down to table, emeticen agebat, which I construe, he prepared for himself his chocolate and his tea, something to make a quick riddance of what they eat and drank, some way or other.”

in that case,

We now pass to the recreations of the Parisians.

“ In the next place, we will see how the Parisians divert themselves; which consists chiefly in plays, gaming, walking, or coaching. The plays are here divided into two houses : one for the operas, and the other for the comedies. I did not see many operas, not being so good a Frenchman as to understand them when

sung " It is to be wondered that these operas are so frequented. There are great numbers of the nobility that come daily to them, and some that can sing them all. And it was one thing, that was troublesome to strangers, to disturb the box by these voluntary songs of some parts of the opera or other ; that the spectators may be said to be here, as much actors as those employed upon the very stage.

“ I heard many tragedies, but without gust, for want of language: but after them, the little plays were very diverting to me, particularly those of Moliere. In this all agree, that though Moliere's plays have less of intrigue in them, yet his character of persons are incomparable, so true and just that nothing can be more.

And for this reason; so many of them are only of two or three acts; for without an intrigue well laid, the characters would have failed him, in which was his excellency. However, this is now so much become a custom on the French stage, that you ever have one of these little pieces tacked to the tragedy, that you may please yourself according to your appetite.

“'Tis said Moliere died suddenly, in acting the Malade Imaginaire : which is a good instance of his well personating the play he made, and how he could really put himself into any passion he had in his head. Also of the great danger, strong and vehement passions may cause in weak constitutions, such as joy and fear, which history tells us have killed many very suddenly. He is reported to have said, going off the stage, Messieurs, j'ai joué le Malade Imaginaire ; mais je suis veritablement fort malade;' and he died within two hours after. This account of Moliere is not in his life by Perault, but it is true : and he yet has blamed him for his folly in persecuting the art of physic, not the men, in divers of his plays.

“ Moliere sent for Dr. M a physician in Paris, of great esteem and worth, and now in London a refugé. Dr. M. sent him word he would come to him upon two conditions; the one, that he should answer him only to such questions as he should ask him, and not otherwise discourse with him; the other, that he should oblige

« EdellinenJatka »