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of meditation in preference to others : it is strongly marked with the characteristic of its country, and may
be considered as an elegant trifie; as such it is, perhaps, best adapted to the light fallies of fancy and politesse, of which the convertation in what they call the Beau Blonde generally consists ; but it is by no means adapted to thought, nor indeed to conversation, when it penetrates the surface of life, and explores the depths of philosophy.
Of language in general, at least of compofition, this Writer seems to know buc little: he says, that brilliant and lofty ideas are like fowers, and that the least reflexion does to one what the burning heat of the sun does to the other. Would this Author then reduce all language to that of a Gazette ? Would he insinuate that rhetoric and poetry contain nothing lofty, nothing brilliant, which will not fade upon reflection, like a flower in the sun ?
As to this performance, he says, “ Je n'ai pas la forte vanité de penser que ce que je donne au public à toutes les graces de la nouveauté.' "I have not the filly vanity tu pretend that what I offer to the publick has all the graces of novelty;' and in the very next sentence he says it has no novelty at all.
" Je ne dis rien de neuf,” 'I say nothing new.' He adds, that his - sole view was to write a style that was iofy and pure :' if this is the case, his book may be useful to those who wish to learn the French language, but is a mere superfluity with respect to every thing else.
It may, perhaps, be asked, by what right this Editor talks of * writing? And it is fit the reader should be told, that though the substance of these letters belongs to a lady, yet the form is his own. He has new-written them, because he says the ftile of a woman is tender and feeble. It is indeed somewhat difficult to determine how much of what he says about the
letters is true ; for in the advertisement or preface, which is manifestly written in the person of a man, he accuses himself of having betrayed an honourary trust, which the French politely call being indiscreet, in publishing letters which one of his female friends wrote to him while Me was at Paris ; and the first letter begins with, I promised you, my dear Harriette.' This certainly is repugnant even to his own ideas of rectitude ; for though he says, that the true religion of people of rank is goodbreeding, yet he adds, that good-breeding should be founded upon good morals.
He thinks it very strange that Englishmen Ihould ever be tired of Paris, and supposes it can arise only from their associating with each other. To bring them better acquainted with the characters of the French, he has delineated several, but they do not appear to be such as are likely to put an Englishman in good-humour with French company.
The lady who is supposed to furnish materials for these letters, becomes acquainted with a widow of good birth but small fortune, who is foliciting a military appointment for her son. The widow was one day at dinner with our correspondent, and in the afternoon begged to introduce her son. With the son came in one of his comrades, a mousquetaire; the mousquetaires are all young fellows of fashion, and represented as being all nearly of the same character: this gentleman having introduced and presented himself to the lady of the house, an utter stranger, declined the seat that was brought for him, and planting himself before the chimney, immediately engroff the conversation ; and with now a cringe, now a strut, and now a. shrug of the thoulders, said a world of civil things to ail che company; he then turned about to the glass, admired his sweet countenance, restored a stray hair to its curl with a gentic touch, adjusted the bofom of his shirt, and then turned again to the company. Our traveller was shocked at these foppich impertinences ; but her hufband whispered her that they were the fashion, and that every body accommodated themselves to them. The hero then asked her a thousand pardons for having introduced himself without being announced; faid that he knew very well the respect that was due to ladies, and that if this piece of rudeness and presumption should be talked of in the world it would ruin him ; he added, however, by way of excuse, that he thought only of waiting upon his friend to his mother, and had not the least reason to expect that he should have the honour of making himself known to the most amiable and beautiful ftranger in the world. He would have run on in the same strain, if the lady bad not cut him short. Sir, faid the, it is impoflible that I should not think every body welcome who comes as an acquaintance of a lady whom I esteem so much as the mother of your friend. You are too good, Madam, said he, with an air of self-fatisfaction which it is imporsible to describe, I always thought till this moment that I was born under an unhappy planet; but, said he, pinching up first one ruffle and then the other, to display a diamond ring which hę wore upon each of his little fingers, since you have the goodness, Madam, not to chastise me for my temerity, I shall think myself born to better fortune. He then took out a very fine gold snuff-box, and, as if without intending it, fuffered the company to see a portrait which was on the inside of the lid; he gazed upon it for a moment, and then again addresling the lovely stranger, Ah ! Madam, said he, if all the sex had the same goodness of heart, the same polite indulgence that you have, they would b: too amiable, too charming, what raptusous devotion fhould I pay them ! At these words he alluined
a pensive air and was silent. Has the sex then given you arry caule for complaint, said the lady. Excuse me, Madam, said he, with an air of reserve, I must say no more. Then suddenly turning to his young companion, Well, said he, what is to become of you to-day? I have a scheme in my head for you. Do you know, that when once you have put on your regimentals, you must bid adieu to the cloister. There's a new piece performed to-night at the French House, and a place in my carriage is at your service. Come, I'll introduce you at the Green Room, and present you to the girls; some of them are very pretty, l'll assure you: I am at home among them ; come, you shall sup with the Dubois this very night. Madam, says he, turning to the mother, I'll introduce your son to the world, there's stuff enough, and I'll warrant you I'll make fomething of him. The good lady answered, that she was very sensible of the obligations the lay under to him for the care which he offered to take of her son, but that he would have many more opportunities of going to the play, than of enjoying the good company to which she had now introduced him. To this Monf. the mousquetaire made not one word of reply, but taking out his watch, and looking, or not looking, at the hour, he took leave of his comrade. I would not for the world, said he, reproach myself with having made you desert good company. He then made his bow to the ladies, and with a kind of half run left the room.
Our Author, whether he or she we cannot tell, intimates, that ajl the French youth in the rank of Gentlemen, are such creatures as these; and accounts for it by saying, that the light wholesome air which they breathe, their food, their wine, and their fruits, contribute to make them such ; yet he supposes, that when Englishmen are tired of Paris, it is because they keep company with one another. For our own parts, we would not bear the impertinence of fo despicable and diffolute a coxcomb to live any where but in Heaven ; where indeed it is not very likely such should intrude. Some other characters are drawn in this work with a free outline and good colouring ; and it will amuse even those readers to whom it will offer nothing new. Some reflexions upon women, by a French lady, are reprinted at the end of these letters, but as they are not now first published, they do not now come under our notice. ART. XVI. Natural Short Hand. Wherein the Nature of Speech,
and the Manner of Pronunciation, are briefly explained, and a natural Reafon aligned from thence for the particular Form of every Stroke, every single Articulation, whether Vowel or Consónant, is marked by a distinct single Line. All the simple Characters are as analogous to each other as the Sounds they represent ;
also their Conveniency for joining is commensurate to the Frequency of their Use ; the Number of ascending and defiending Lines are duly proportioned to each other, and the Rules for writing and contracting are few, plain and familiar. To which is annexed, a Short-hand Character for expressing musical or inarticulate Sounds without the Use of ruled Lines. By Holdsworth and Aldridge, of the Bank of England. 8vo. 155. Boards, Printed for the Authors, and sold by Chater in KingStreet, &c.
S the art of short-hand writing is undoubtedly an im
portant and useful one, to facilitate the attainment of it is a very laudable undertaking. There are many stations in which the want of this art is a great disadvantage. This species of writing, were it well understood and rendered familiar by practice, would save much time and labour, and serve as an excellent aid both to the invention and memory. Ease and expedition are the chief objects to be regarded in every attempt of this kind; the characters made use of should be therfore as natural and simple as possible. For want of an attention to this, in several of the systems now extant, many have been deterred from the study of this art, and others, who have seldom had occasion to use it, have been unable to retain what they have formerly learnt of it.
The design of this publication is to obviate those difficulties with which this useful art is encumbered to bring it nearer 10 perfection, to render its utility more extenfwe, to make the learning of it more easy, and the practice more pleasant and familiar.'--And though the Authors may not have succeeded to the degree they might with, the ingenuity and pains discovered in their performance, entitle them to just commendation.
Natural short-hand, they observe, is a title as fingular and uncommon, as it is well suited to express the difference between this short-hand and all others. Every character in this method has its foundation in nature, and derives its particular form from the peculiar position of the organs of speech, or the passage of the breach in the art of pronunciation.'
The plan pursued in this work is delivered in the following paragraph.-Short-hand, or that which alone deserves the name, is the art of writing by certain marks or characters as the symbols of speech, wherein every simple found should be expressed by a simple character. The particular form of every simple character, should correspond with the natural position of the organs of speech, or the passage of the breath in the act of pronunciation. The distinction between every simple found Thould be marked by preserving a like difference among the characters. The conveniency of every simple character should
be commensurate to the frequency of its use; and every character should be such as will join with the greatest ease and readiness to any one preceding or succeeding, as may be required.'
In the prosecution of this plan, they enquire how many fimple sounds there really are in the English language; how many foris of free lines or simple characiers can be obtained ; and then how these two, the single lines and simple rounds, may be most naturally and conveniently adapted to each other.
The philofophy of their system, which is very ingenious, thoughi niany of their readers may think it too much laboured, confiits chiefly in the examination of these particulars :
With reference to the first particular, they observe, that the organs of fpeech by which all sounds are produced, are, ist, The lips. 2d, The teeth. 3d, The tongue.
3d, The tongue, 4th, The palate or throat. Now as it is posible to ascertain the number of organs, and what these are, it only remains to point out with equal certainty how many and what changes they are capable of undergoing in the act of pronunciation, so as that cach change may produce a sound really distinct from the seit.' And they have furnished a table, representing at one view the number both of articulate and vocal founds; of the former of which there are 24, and of the latter 6.
Their next enquiry Icads them to determine the number of fimple charact:rs, which may be made use of under different forms to reprefent there founds. These are contained in a ricond plate, and are four in number, viz. a point-a strait line---a circle with its several segments and an ellipsis in its several positions and sections. Of these, they observe, the most simple and convenicnt are chosen for the alphabet, or rather to exprefs those fimple sounds, which are the elementary principles of all languages. They then apply these characters in the manner which appears to them the most convenient and natural to the sounds they are intended to represent. And for this pur ose they exhibit, in a third plate, the positions of the organs oi (peech and the paslage of the breath in the several acts of pronunciation.
It would be too tedious to pursue their method of determining these particulars at large. We shall content ourselves with observing, that they use such marks for certain sounds, as nost naturally reprelent the position of the several organs employe: in uttering them. 1.g. "The dentals are such mute ariiculations as are made at and against the teeth. These have been generally, though not so properly, cahed linguals, because their formation, as dues that of most others, depends partly upon the position and motion of the tongue. The mute dentals are these four, T, TH, D, DH.