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the gentlemen are much better bred than amongst us.—No such character here as our fox hunters; and they have expressed great surprise when I informed them that some men in Ireland of a thousand a year spend their whole lives in running after a hare, drinking to be drunk, and getting every girl, that will let them, with child : and truly, if such a being, equipped in his hunt. ing dress, came among a circle of Scotch gentry, they would behold him with the same astonishment that a countryman would King George on horseback. The men here have generally high cheek bones, and are lean and swarthy, fond of action, dancing in particular. Though, now I mention dancing, let me say something of their balls, which are very frequent here. When a stranger enters the dancing hall, he sees one end of the room taken up with the ladies, who sit dismally in a group by themselves; on the other end stand their pensive partners, that are to be; but no more intercourse between the sexes than there is between two countries at war:- the ladies, indeed, may ogle, and the gentlemen sigh, but an embargo is laid on any closer commerce. At length, to interrupt hostilities, the lady directress, or intendant, or what you will, pitches on a gentleman and lady to walk a minuet, which they perform with a formality that approaches despondence. After five or six couple have thus walked the gauntlet, all stand up to country dances, each gentleman furnished with a partner from the aforesaid lady directress, so they dance much and say nothing, and thus concludes our assembly. I told a Scotch gentleman that such profound silence resembled the ancient procession of the Roman matrons in honour of Ceres : and the Scotch gentleman told me (and, faith, I believe he was right) that I was a very great pedant for my pains.- Now I'm come to the ladies, and to show that I love Scotland, and every thing that belongs to so charming a country, I ipsist on it, and will give him leave to break my head that denies it, that the Scotch ladies are ten thousand times handsomer and finer than the Irish :-I see your sisters, Betty and Peggy, vastly surprised at my partiality, but tell them flatly, I don't value them, or their fine skins, or eyes, or good sense, a potatoe, for I say it, and will maintain it, and, as a convincing proof (I'm in a very great passion !) of what I assert, the Scotch ladies say it themselves. But, to be less serious, where will you find a language so become a pretty mouth as the broad Scotch ? and the women here speak it in its highest purity; for instance, teach one of their young ladies to pronounce " Whorr wull I gang,” with a becoming wideness of mouth, and I'll lay my life they will wound every hearer. We have no such character here as á coquet; but, alas ! how many envious prudes! Some days ago I walked into my Lord Kilcoubry's (don't be surprised, my lord is but a glover) when the duchess of Hamilton (that fair who sacrificed her beauty to ambition, and her inward peace to a title and gilt equipage) passed by in her chariot ; her battered husband, or, more properly, the guardian of her charms, sat by her side. Straight envy began, in the shape of no less than three ladies, who sat with me, to find faults in her faultless form, “ For my part," says the first, “ I think, what I always thought, that the duchess has too much red in her complexion.”-“ Madam, I'm of your opinion,” says the second," and I think her face has a palish cast too much on the delicate order.”—“And let me tell you,” adds the third lady, whose mouth was puckered up to the size of an issue, “ that the duchess has fine lips, but she wants a mouth." At this, every lady drew up her mouth as if she was going to pronounce the letter P. But how ill, my Bob, does it become me, to ridicule women with whom I have scarcely any correspondence ! There are, 'tis certain, handsome women here; and 'tis as certain, there are handsome men to keep them company.-An ugly and a poor man is society for himself: and such society the world lets me enjoy in great abundance. Fortune has given you circumstances, and nature a person, to look charming in the eyes of the fair world. Nor do I envy my dear Bob such blessings, while I may sit down and laugh at the world, and at myself, the most ridiculous object in it.—But I begin to grow splenetic; and, perhaps, the fit may continue till I receive an answer to this. I know you can't send news from Ballymahon, but a such as it is send it all ; every thing you write will be agreeable and entertaining to me. Has George Conway put up a sign yet? or John Finecly left off drinking drams; or Tom Allen got a new wig? But I leave to your own choice what to write : while Oliver Goldsmith lives, know you have a friend !
P. S. Give my sincerest regards (not compli- . 257 ments, do you mind) to your agreeable family ; and give my service to my mother, if you see her, for, as you express it in Ireland, I have a sneaking kindness for her still. - Direct to me--Student in Physic, in Edinburgh.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH TO — I HAVE thought it advisable, my dear young pupil, to adopt this method of giving my thoughts to you on some subjects which I find myself not well disposed to speak of in your presence. The reason of this you will yourself perceive in the course of reading this letter. It is disagreeable to most men, and particularly so to me, to say any thing which has the appearance of a disagreeable truth ; and as what I have now to say to you is entirely respecting yourself, it is highly probable that, in some respect or other, your views of things and mine may considerably differ.
In the various subjects of knowledge which I have had the pleasure of seeing you study under my care, as well as those which you have acquired under the various teachers who have hitherto instructed you, the most material branch of information wbich it imports a human being to know, bas been entirely overlooked, I mean the knowledge of yourself. There are indeed very few persons who possess at once the capability and
* This letter was addressed by Goldsmith, when he was about twenty-five years of age, to a youth, who was, for a short time, his pupil. VOL. V.
the disposition to give you this instruction. Your parents, who alone are perhaps sufficiently acquainted with you for the purpose, are usually disqualified for the task, by the very affection and partiality which would prompt them to undertake it. Your masters, who probably labour under no such prejudices, have seldom either sufficient opportunities of knowing your character, or are not so much interested in your welfare as to undertake an employment so unpleasant and laborious. You are as yet too young and inex. perienced to perform this important office for yourself, or indeed to be sensible of its very great consequence to your happiness. The ardent hopes and the extreme vanity, natural to early youth, blind you at once to every thing within and every thing without, and make you see both yourself and the world in false colours. This illusion, it is true, will gradually wear away as your reason matures and your experience increases ; but the question is, What is to be done in the mean time? Evidently there is no plan for you to adopt, but to make use of the reason and experience of those who are qualified to direct you.
Of this, however, I can assure you, both from my own experience, and from the opinions of all those whose opinions deserve to be valued, that if you aim at any sort of eminence or respectability in the eyes of the world, or in those of your own friends ; if you have any ambition to be distinguished in your future career, for your virtues, or talents, or accomplishments, this self knowledge of which I am speaking is above all