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it will not be disagreeable if I give you a particular account of it.
“ This pleasure, strange as it may seem to you, is in China reckoned almost equal to any that the senses afford. There is not an ear in the whole country untickled; the ticklers have, in their turn, others who tickle them, insomuch that there is a circulation of tickling throughout that vast empire. Or if by chance there be some few unhappy enough not to find business, they comfort themselves at least with self-titillation.
“ This profession is one of the most lucrative and considerable ones in China, the most emi. nent performers being either handsomely requited in money, or still better rewarded by the credit and influence it gives them with the party tickled; insomuch that a man's fortune is made as soon as he gets to be tickler to any considerable mandarine. ': “The emperor, as in justice he ought, enjoys this pleasure in its highest perfection, and all the considerable people contend for the honour and advantage of this employment; the person who succeeds the best in it, being always the first favourite, and chief dispenser of his impe
The principal mandarines are allowed to try hands upon his majesty's sacred ears; and, according to their dexterity and agi
lity, commonly rise to the post of first minister, His wives too are admitted to try their skill; and she among them who holds him by the ear, koned to have the surest and most lasting hold. His present imperial majesty's ears, as I am in. formed, are by no means of a delicate texture, and consequently not quick of sensation, so that it has proved extremely difficult to nick the tone of them ;, the lightest and finest hands have utterly failed; and many have miscarried, who, from either fear or respect, did not treat the royal ears so roughly as was necessary. He began his reign under the hands of a bungling operator, whom for his clumsiness he soon dismissed: he was afterwards attempted by a more skilful tickler, but he sometimes failed too; and, not being able to hit the humour of his majesty's ears, his own have often suffered for it.
“ In this public distress, and while majesty laboured under the privation of auricular joys, the empress, who by long acquaintance and frequent little trials judged pretty well the texture of the royal ear, resolved to undertake it, and succeeded perfectly, by means of a much stronger friction than others durst either attempt, or could imagine would please.
“ In the mean time, the skilful mandarine, far from being discouraged by the ill success he had sometimes met with in his attempts upon the emperor's ears, resolved to make himself amends upon his imperial consort's: he tried, and he prevailed: he tickled her majesty's ear to such perfection, that, as the emperor would trust his ear to none but the empress, she would trust her's to none but this light-fingered mandarine, who by these means attained to unbounded and uncontrolled
power, and governed ear by ear. « But as all the mandarines have their ear. ticklers too, with the same degree of influence over them, and as this mandarin was particu. larly remarkable for his extreme sensibility in those parts, it is hard to say from what original titillation the imperial power now flows.”
The conclusion of the gentleman's story was attended with the usual interjections of wonder and surprise from the company: some called it strange, some odd, and some very comical; and those who thought it the most improbable, I found by their questions were the most desirous to believe it. I observed too, that, while the story lasted, they were most of them trying the experiment upon their own ears, but without any visible effect that I could perceive. Soon afterwards the
and I went home; where I could not help reflecting with some degree of wonder at the wonder of the rest, because I could see nothing extraor
dinary in the power which the ear exercised in China, when I considered the extensive influ. ence of that important organ in Europe. Here, as
in China, 'tis the source of both pleasure and power, the manner of applying to it is only different. Here the titillation is vocal, there it is manual, but the effects are the same; and, by the bye, European ears are not always unacquainted neither with manual applications.
To make out the analogy I hinted at be tween the Chinese and ourselves in this particular, I will offer to my readers some instances of the sensibility and prevalence of the ears of Great Britain.
The British ears seem to be as greedy and sensible of titillation as the Chinese can possibly be, nor is the profession of an ear-tickler here anyways inferior, or less lucrative. These are of three sorts: the private-tickler, the publictickler, and the self-tickler.
Flattery is of all methods the surest to produce that vibration of the air which affects the auditory, nerves with the most exquisite titillation; and according to the thinner or thicker texture of those organs, the flattery must be more or less strong. This is the immediate province of the private-tickler ; and his great skill consists in tuning his flattery to the ear of his patient: it were endless to give instances of the influences and advantages of those artists who excel in this way.
The business of a public-tickler is to modulate his voice, dispose his matter, and enforce his arguments, in such a manner as to excite a pleasing sensation in the ears of a number or assembly of people: this is the most difficult branch of the profession, and that in which the fewest excel ; but, to the few who do it, is the most lucrative and the most considerable. The bar has at present few proficients of this sort; the pulpit none; the ladder alone seems not to decline,
I must not here omit one public-tickler of great eminency, and whose titillative faculty must be allowed to be singly confined to the ear; I mean the great Signor Farinelli, to whom such crowds resort for the ecstacy he adminisa ters to them through that organ, and who so liberally requite his labours, that if he will but do them the favour to stay two or three years longer, and have two or three benefits more, they will have nothing left but their ears to give him.
The self-tickler is as unhappy as contemptible; for having none of the talents necessary for tickling of others, and consequently not