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Some Account of the Modern ATHENIANS.
To the Authors of the British Magazine:
The following -account of the present state of a people, now oppressed byslavery, and immersed in the grossest ignorance, who were once the moft famous in the world, for valour and genius, for arts and learning, will probably fae pleasing to several of your curious readers. The opportunity Mr. Stuart had, from his long residence at Athens, of becoming intimately acquainted with the genius and disposition of this people, and; his well-known abilities to discern and describe, will naturally remove any suspicions that may be entertained concerning the authenticity of what he has asserted. I am, &c. W. B.
THE Athenians have perhaps to two or three persons who practise this day more vivacity, more painting; but whatever genius wegenius, and a- politer address, than may be attempted to allow them, any other people in the Turkish do- they have indeed very little science r minions. Oppressed as they are at they seem never to have heard of present, they always oppose, with anatomy, or of the effect of light great courage and wonderful saga- and shade; though they still retaincity, every addition to their burden, some imperfect notions of perspective which an avaricious or cruel governor and of proportion. The Athenians may attempt to lay on them. Dur- are great lovers of music, and geneing our stay, they, by their intrigues, rally play on an instrument, whichdrove away three of their governors, they caH a lyra, though it is Bot for extortion and mal-administra- made like the ancient lyre, but ration; two of whom were impri- ther like a guittar, or mandola. fcned, and reduced to the greatest This they accompany with the voice, distress. They want not for artful and very frequently with extemporespeakers and busy politicians, so far verses, which they have a ready fatas relates to the affairs of their own culty at composing, city; and it is remarkable enough, There is great sorightlincss and! that the coffee-house, which this spe- expression in the. countenances of cies of men frequent, stands wirhin both sexes, and their persons are the precinct of the ancient Poikile. well proportioned. The men have Some of their priests have the repu- a due mixture of strength and agitation of being learned men, and Iky, without the least appearance of excellent preachers. The most ad- heaviness. The women have a pemired of them, in our time, was the culiar elegance of form and of manabbot of St. Cyrianee, a convent on ner; they excel in embroidery and Mount Hyraettus; he is a man of all kinds of needle-work, great reading, and delivers himself The air of Attica is extremely with becoming gesture, and a plea- healthy.
fing fluency of elocution. Here are The articles of commerce which
thi& 36+ Rtapefer making Usquebaugh. Britiflf
this country produces, are chiefly Cadee, or chief man of the law.
corn, oil, honey, wax, resin, some silk, cheese, and a sort of acorns, called -vtlanede by the Italians and the French, but written B*&«wth; by the Greeks; these acorns are used by the dyers and leather-dressers. The principal manufactures are soap and leather. Of these commodities, the honey, soap, cheese, and leather, and part of the oil, are sent to Constantinople; the others are chiefly bought by the French, of which nation they reckon that seven, or eight ships are freighted here evsry year.
The Turkish governor of Athens is called Vai*ode. He is either changed or renewed in his office every year, the beginning of March. The Athenians fay, he brings the cranes with him, for these birds likewise make their first appearance here about that time; they breed, and when their young have acquired sufficient strength, which is some time in August, they all fly away together, and are seen no more till the March following.
Besides the Vaiwode, there is a
His business is to administer justice^ to terminate the disputes which arise between man and man, and to punish" offenders. There is also a Mudeereese Effendi, who presides over the religious affairs of the Mohammedans here; and those, who are designed to officiate in the moscheas, are by him instructed in the Mohammedan ritual. The Disdar Aga is the governor of the fortress of Athens, which was antiently called the Acropolis; and the Azap Agf»is an officer who commands a few soldiers in that fortress.
The inhabitants of Athens are between nine and ten thousand, abou^ four fifths of whom are Christians. This city is an archiepiscopal fee, and the archbishop maintains a considerable authority among the Christians, which he usually strengthens by keeping on good terms with the Turks in office. He holds a kind of tribunal, at which the Christians frequently agree to decide their differences, without the intervention of the Turkisli magistrate.
For the benefit of such of our readers as distil simple waters and cordials-for the benefit of their poor neighbours, we have inserted the three following Recipes; that for making Usquebaugh, a liquor generally known, tho' but little understood, we make no doubt will prove highly agreeable' to the curious reader, especially if he is troubled with flatulencies.
Rhcipe for making U S QJU E B A U G H.
TAKE of cinnamon, ginger, and coriander-seed, of each three ounces; nutmegs, four ounces and a half; mace, cloves, and cubebs, of each one ounce and a half. Bruise these ingredients, and put them into an alembic with eleven gallons of proof spirit, and two gallons of water; and distil till the faints begin to rise; fastening four ounces and a
half of English saffron tied in a cloth to the end of the worm. Take raisins stoned, four pounds and half; dates, three poilnds; liquorice-root sliced, two pounds; digest these twelve hours, in two gallons of water; strain out the clear liquor, add it to that obtained by distillation, and dulcify the whole with fine sugar.
LA Fontaine was accounted, in his time, the most celebrated fabulist in France. His fables have vast merit, and his tales are humorous, but indelicate. IJjs -.humour was exceedingly averfc,;f8r confinement, or restraint of any kind, yet to oblige his parents he suffered himself to be married ; and, though the most unfeeling and insensible of mortals, was yet so far captivated by the wit and beauty of his wife, that he never performed any considerable work without consulting her.
The generous and witty madame de la Sabliere furnished him with an Jum 17G4.
apartment and all necessaries in her house; who, one day having turned away all her servants in a pet, declared that (he had kept but three animals in her house, which were her dog, her cat, and La Fontaine. In this situation he continued twenty years, during which time he became perfectly acquainted with all the wits of his time, with Moliere, Racine, Boileau, Chapelle, Sec.
The delights of Paris, and the conversation of these gentlemen, did not hinder him from paying La Fontaine a visit every ber; but that these visits m c t(„„^
^ r ight turn 306 Atitciotts of the et,
to some account, he never failed to sell a house or piece of land, so that, what with his wife's œconomy and his own, a handsome family estate -was well nigh consumed. His Parisian friends urged him frequently to go and live wilh Mrs. La Fontaine, faying, that it was a shame to separate himself from a woman of her merit and accomplishments ; and accordingly he set out with a purpose of reconciling himself to her, and arriving at the town, enquired at his house for her. The servant not knowing him, said she was gone to church ; upon which he immediately returned to Paris, and when his friends enquired about his reconciliation, answered, that " he had been to see his wife, but was told that she was at church."
In the year 1692 he was seized with a dangerous illness: and when the priest came to talk to him about jeligion, concerning which he had Jived in an extreme carelessness, tho' he had never been either an infidel, or a libertine, Fontaine told him, that "he had safely bestowed some hours in reading the New Testament, which he thought a very good book."
Fontaine's life had as little affectation in it as his writings: he was all nature, without a grain of art. He had a son, it seems, whom, after keeping a short time at home, he recommended to the patronage of the president Harlay. Fontaine being one day at a house, where his son was come, did not know him again; but observed to the company, that he thought him a boy of parts and spirit. He was tcld, that this promising youth was no other than his own son; he answered very unconcernedly, " Ha! truly 1 am glad •n't." This apathy, which so many
tlraCti La Fontaine. British philosophers have vainly affected, was perfectly natural \o Fontaine; it went through every part of his behaviour, and seemed to render him insensible to every thing without. As he had a wonderful facility in composing, so he had no particular apartment for that purpose, but fell to work, whenever the humour came upon him. One morning, madame Bouillon going to Versailles, spied him in deep thought under a tree* and, when she returned in the evening, there was Fontaine in the fame' place and attitude, though the day had been cold, and much rain fallen.
It has been observed, that the finest writers have usually been but indifferent companions. This was Fontaine's cafe; for having once been invited to dine at the house of a person of distinction, for the more elegant entertainment of the guests though he eat very heartily, yet not a word could be got from him. and when, rising soon after from the table, on pretence of going to the academy^ he was told he would he too soon, "Oh then, said he, I'll take the longest way/*
Racine once carried Fontaine to the Tenebræ, which is a service in the church of Rome, in representation of our Saviour's glory in the garden; and perceiving it too kftg for him put a Bible inlo his hands. Fontaine, happening to open it at the prayer of the Jews in Batucb, read it over and over with such admiration, that he could not forbear whispering to Racine, " This Barueh is a fine writer; do you know any thing of him ?* and for some dajs after, if he chanced to meet with any person of letters, when the usoal compliments were over, his question was, " Have you ever read Baruch I There's a first rate genius ;" and this Mag.
Compendious History of France.
so loud, that every body might hear aim.
Being one day with Boileau, Racine, and other men of note, among whom were ecclesiastics, St. Austin was talked of for a long time,.and with the highest commendations. Fontaine listened with his natural air, and at last, after a profound silence, asked one of the ecclesiastics with the most unaffected seriousness, *' Whether he thought St. Austin bad more wit than Rabelais f" The doctor, eying Fontaine from head to foot, answered only by observing, that " he had put on one of his stockings the wrong side outward;" which happened to be the cafe. The nurse, who attended Fontaine
in his illness, observing the fervor of the priest in his exhortations, said to htm, "Ah, good Sir, don't disturb him so; he is rather stupid than wicked:" and at another time,' "God won't have the heart to damn, him." These, and many other sto-» ries, are told of Fontaine, whicli either are, or, as we suppose, might have been true. One thing, however, must be mentioned to his honour: it it, that his widow being; molested about the payment of some public money, the intendant gave, orders, that no tax or impost should be levied upon his family; nor has this distinguishing favour ever been revoked by any succeeding intend-, ants.
A Fter defeating the infidels on the banks of the river Meander, ^ £ and being not long after 11 a" beaten by them, and in 'great danger of losing bis life, Lewis at length arrived at Antioch, where Raymond de Poitierj, his wife's uncle, was then prince. He was received with all possible demonstrations of kindness.and politeness, his troops furnished with every thing necessary, and, by the arrival of succours from Italy, by sea, his army was once more become very respectable. This gleam of prosperity lasted not long. The king quickly found that the prince of Antioch had merely his own interest in view, and was desirous of employing the French troops in extending the bounds of his principality, by reducing several considerable places seated on his frontiers. Lewis gre.v likewise uneasy as to the behaviour his wife, whose gallantries began
s Of FRANCE. [Continued.]
to make a great noise; and on the other hand the prince of Antioch. induced the queen to pretend some scruple of conscience, as to their nearness in blood, though in truth, the king and she were hardly cousins. These, and other subjects of chagrin, at length determined the king to quit Antioch, and to repair to Jerusalem; where the emperor Conrad was already arrived. But the queen, who was very well pleased with the fine country in which they were, and still better with the prince to whom it belonged, was not in such, haste. However Lewis took a proper opportunity, and, seizing one of the gates in the night, marched out with his forces; and having assembled those that lay in the neighbourhood, sent her before him to Jerusalem, where Baldwin the third, who then governed that kingdom, received her very respectfully. On llie king's arrival several councils R r 2 were