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Diversion was indeed the business of my Life; but as to pleasure, I have enjoyed none,
since the novelty of my amusements was gone off. Can one be pleased with seeing the same thing over and over again? Late hours and fatigue gave me the vapours, spoiled the natural cheerfulness of my temper, and even in youth wore away my, youthful vivacity.
If this way of life did not give you pleasure, why did you continue in it? I suppose you did not think it was very meri
I was too much engaged to think at all: so far indeed my manner of life was agreeable enough. My friends always told me diversions were necessary, and my doctor assured me dissipation was good for my spirits; my husband insisted that it was not, and you know that one loves to oblige one's friends, comply with one's doctor, and contradict one's husband; and be
sides, I was ambitious to be thought du bon
Bon ton! what is that, madam! Pray define it.
Oh sir, excuse me, it is one of the privileges of the bon ton never to define, or be defined. It is the child and the parent of jargon. It is-I can never tell you what it is: but I will try to tell you what it is not. In conversation it is not wit; in manners it is not politeness; in behaviour it is not address; but it is a little like them all. It can only belong to people of a certain rank, who live in a certain manner, with certain persons, who have not certain virtues, and who have certain vices, and who inhabit a certain part of the town. Like a place by courtesy, it gets a higher rank than the person can claim, but which those who have a legal title to precedency dare not dispute, for fear of being thought not
* Du bon ton is a cant phrase, in the modern French language, for the fashionable air of conversation and
to understand the rules of politeness. Now, sir, I have told you as much as I know of it, though I have admired and aimed at it all my life.
Then, madam, you have wasted your time, faded your beauty, and destroyed your health, for the laudable purposes of contradicting your husband, and being this something and this nothing called the bon ton. Mrs. MODISH.
What would you have had me do?
I will follow your mode of instructing. I will tell you what I would not have had you do. I would not have had you sacrifice your time, your reason, and your duties, to fashion and folly. I would not have had you neglect the happiness of your husband, and the education of your children.
As to the education of my daughters, I spared no expence; they had a dancingmaster, musick-master, and drawing-master; and a French governess to teach them behaviour and the French language.
So their religion, sentiments, and manners, were to be learnt from a dancing-master, musick-master, and a chambermaid! Perhaps such instructors might prepare them to catch the bon ton. Your daughters must have been so educated as to fit them to be wives without conjugal affection, and mothers without maternal care. I am sorry for the sort of life they are commencing, and for that which you have just concluded. Minos is a sour gentleman, without the least smattering of the bon ton, and I am in a fright for you. The best thing I can advise you is to do in this world, as you did in the other, keep happiness in your view, but never take the road that leads to it. Remain on this side Styx ; wander about without end or aim; look into the Elysian Fields, but never attempt to enter into them, lest Minos should push you into Tartarus for the neglect of duties may bring on a sentence not much less severe, than the commission of crimes.
HERE is a fellow who is very unwilling to land in our territories. He says he is rich, has a great deal of business in the other world, and must needs return to it: He is so troublesome and obstreperous I know not what to do with him. Take him under your care therefore, good Plutarch; you will easily awe him into order and decency by the superiority an Author has over a Bookseller.
Am I got into a world so absolutely the reverse of that I left, that here Authors domineer over Booksellers? Dear Charon, let me go back, and I will pay any price for my passage. But, if I must stay, leave me not with any of those who are styled Classical Authors. As to you, Plutarch, I have a particular animosity against you, for having al