BLTC Press Titles

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Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

A complete collection of genteel and ingenious conversation

by Jonathan Swift


S my Life hath been chiefly spent in consulting the Honour and Welfare of my Country for more than Forty Years past, not without answerable Success, if the World and my Friends have not flattered me; so, there is no Point wherein I have so much labour'd, as that [ a ] of of improving arid polishing all Parts of Converfation between Persons of Quality, whether they meet by Accident or Invitation, at Meals, Tea, or Visits, Mornings, Noons, or Evenings.

I Have passed perhaps more time than any other Man of my Age and Country in Vilits and Assembles, where the polite Persons of both Sexes distinguish themselves; and could not without much Grief observe how frequently both Gentlemen and Ladies are at a Loss for Questions, Answers, Replies and Rejoinders: However, my Concern was much abated, when I found that these Defects were, not occasions by any Want of Materials, but because thofe Materials were

not not in every Hand: For Instance, One Lady can give an Answer better than ask a Question: One Gentleman is happy at a Reply; another excels in a Rejoinder: One can revive a languishing Conversation by a seidden surprizing Sentence; another is more dextrous in seconding; a Third can fill the Gap with laughing, or commending what hath been said: Thus fresh Hints may be started, and the Ball of Discourse kept up.

But, alas! this is too seldom the Cafe, even in the most select Companies: How often do we see at Court, at public Visiting-Days, at great Men's Levees, and other Places of general Meeting, that the Conversation falls and drops to no[ a 2 ] thing,

thing, like a Fife without Supply of Fuel; this is. what ye, ought to' lament; and against this dangerous Evil I take upon me to affirm, that I have in the following Papers provided an infallible Remedy.

It was in the Year 1695, and the Sixth of his late Majesty King William the Third, of ever glorious and immortal Memory, who rescued Three Kingdoms from Popery and Slavery; when, being about the Age of Six-and-thirty, my Judgment mature, of good Reputation, in- the World, and well acquainted with the best Families in Town, I determined to spend Five Mornings, to dine Four times, pass Three Afternoons, and Six Evenings every Week, in the Houfcs. of the most polite Families, of which I would confine myself to Fifty j dnly changing as the Masters or Ladies died, or left the Tbwri, or grew out of Vogue, or funk in their Fortunes, (which to' me Was of the highest moment) or because disaffected to the Government; which Practice I have followed ever since Co this very Day; except when I happened to be stck, or in the Spleen upon cloudy Weather; and except when I entertained Four of each Sex at my own Lodgings once & Month, by way of Retaliation.

I AtwAYS kept a large Tableffook in my Pocket; and as soon aV F left the Company, I immediately entered the choices! Expressions that pasted during the Visit;

[a 3 ] which,

which, returning Home, I transcribed in a fair Hand, but somewhat enlarged; and had made the greatest Part os my Collection in Twelve Years, but not digested , into any Method; for this I found was a Work of infinite Labour, and what required the nicest Judgment, and consequently could not be brought to any Degree of Perfection in less than Sixteen Years more.

Herein I resolved to exceed the Advice of Horace, a Roman Poet, (which I have read in Mr. Creech's admirable Translation) That an Author should keep his Works Nine Years in his Clofet, before he ventured to publish them; and finding that I still received some additional


Flowers of Wit and Language, although in a very small Number, I determined to defer the Publication, to pursue my Design, and exhaust, if possible, the whole Subject, that I might present a complete System to the World: For, I am convinced by long Experience, that the Critics will be as severe as their old Envy against me can make them: I soretel, they will object, that I have inserted many Answers and Replies which are neither witty, humorous, polite, or authentic; and have omitted others, that would have been highly useful, as well as entertaining: But let them come to Particulars, and I will boldly engage to confute their Malice.

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