BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner


The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


A classical tour through Italy

by John C. Eustace

Excerpt:

But having admitted that a spirit of libertinism pervades the higher classes, and infects too many females of rank, I would not be understood to sanction the exaggeration of many travellers, and represent the sex at Naples as totally lost to all sense of duty and delicacy. There are in this capital, and in the very class which are most liable to just censure, many persons of virtue and reputation, who might be considered as patterns of conjugal affection and domestic virtue in any country. But unfortunately, ladies of the former description are of much easier access; they may be seen in every

teneras nimis

Mentes asperioribus
Formandae studiis.

Hor. Carta. iii. Od. 24.

large party and at every public amusement, and are seldom deficient in affability and condescension, particularly to foreigners; while the latter appear in select societies to which few strangers are admitted, and receive the visits of such only as are introduced by their intimate and habitual friends. Superficial observers therefore, who are well acquainted with the former, and scarcely know the existence of the latter, to whom they have no access, naturally form their notions of the morality of a city from those instances that fall under their observation.

It must be recollected that in every great capital, and particularly in Vienna and Paris, there are certain houses occupied by persons of an intermediate rank, and occasionally of dubious character, where the best and the worst company are sometimes and not unfrequently seen intermingled ; where at the same time there is much splendor and magnificence, much ease and affability, and where every thing is combined that can give an idea of fashion, and raise consideration. To such houses introduction is not difficult, and strangers, particularly when young and inexperienced, are generally so far deceived by appearances, and by the rank of the persons whom they often meet at such rendezvous, as to imagine themselves in the very best company, and content themselves with it as a fair specimen of the first society of the place. To give paivticular instances would be both odious and ungrateful ; for in many such houses, travellers receive very flattering attentions, totally free from interested views or sinister motives; for such kindness grateful acknowledgments are due, and to expose them because their society is made up of heterogeneous particles, would be ungenerous. But fi om these mixed companies, writers have not unfrequently formed their ideas of foreign manners, and have given the public descriptions in caricature as just and accurate representations. Of this mode of drawing national characters, foreigners frequently and justly. complain, and every man of candor will join with them in condemning such partial and injurious sketches.*

*

The style of society in a country is not that which takes place merely between two and three, or even ten persons of rank and fashion at an accidental interview ; there are in every

* I do not mean to reproach English travellers as peculiarly guilty in this respect, 1 merely wish to caution them; if attacks can justify retaliation we need only open some French and German accounts of England

Capital occasional parties where conversations may take place, and liberties be allowed, which not one of the same party would take or encourage in his own family. The style therefore of good company is the general behavior and manner of persons of fashion in their own societies, whether domestic or more extensive. Now in such society no indecorum either in word or manner is allowed in Naples, nor I believe in any capital in Europe; and all pretended conversations or secret anecdotes that represent such company in any other light, are mere fictions, intended to shew either the importance or the wit of the writer, and to impose on the simplicity of the credulous untravelled reader.


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