Chapter 35

No matter—as an appendage to seamstressy, the thread-paper might be of some consequence to my mother—of none to my father, as a mark in Slawkenbergius. Slawkenbergius in every page of him was a rich treasure of inexhaustible knowledge to my father—he could not open him amiss; and he would often say in closing the book, that if all the arts and sciences in the world, with the books which treated of them, were lost—should the wisdom and policies of governments, he would say, through disuse, ever happen to be forgot, and all that statesmen had wrote or caused to be written, upon the strong or the weak sides of courts and kingdoms, should they be forgot also—and Slawkenbergius only left—there would be enough in him in all conscience, he would say, to set the world a-going again. A treasure therefore was he indeed! an institute of all that was necessary to be known of noses, and every thing else—at matin, noon, and vespers was Hafen Slawkenbergius his recreation and delight: ’twas for ever in his hands—you would have sworn, Sir, it had been a canon’s prayer-book—so worn, so glazed, so contrited and attrited was it with fingers and with thumbs in all its parts, from one end even unto the other.

I am not such a bigot to Slawkenbergius as my father;—there is a fund in him, no doubt: but in my opinion, the best, I don’t say the most profitable, but the most amusing part of Hafen Slawkenbergius, is his tales—and, considering he was a German, many of them told not without fancy:—these take up his second book, containing nearly one half of his folio, and are comprehended in ten decads, each decad containing ten tales- -Philosophy is not built upon tales; and therefore ’twas certainly wrong in Slawkenbergius to send them into the world by that name!—there are a few of them in his eighth, ninth, and tenth decads, which I own seem rather playful and sportive, than speculative—but in general they are to be looked upon by the learned as a detail of so many independent facts, all of them turning round somehow or other upon the main hinges of his subject, and added to his work as so many illustrations upon the doctrines of noses.

As we have leisure enough upon our hands—if you give me leave, madam, I’ll tell you the ninth tale of his tenth decad.

Slawkenbergii Fabella (As Hafen Slawkenbergius de Nasis is extremely scarce, it may not be unacceptable to the learned reader to see the specimen of a few pages of his original; I will make no reflection upon it, but that his story-telling Latin is much more concise than his philosophic- -and, I think, has more of Latinity in it.)

Vespera quadam frigidula, posteriori in parte mensis Augusti, peregrinus, mulo fusco colore incidens, mantica a tergo, paucis indusiis, binis calceis, braccisque sericis coccineis repleta, Argentoratum ingressus est.

Militi eum percontanti, quum portus intraret dixit, se apud Nasorum promontorium fuisse, Francofurtum proficisci, et Argentoratum, transitu ad fines Sarmatiae mensis intervallo, reversurum.

Miles peregrini in faciem suspexit—Di boni, nova forma nasi!

At multum mihi profuit, inquit peregrinus, carpum amento extrahens, e quo pependit acinaces: Loculo manum inseruit; et magna cum urbanitate, pilei parte anteriore tacta manu sinistra, ut extendit dextram, militi florinum dedit et processit.

Dolet mihi, ait miles, tympanistam nanum et valgum alloquens, virum adeo urbanum vaginam perdidisse: itinerari haud poterit nuda acinaci; neque vaginam toto Argentorato, habilem inveniet.—Nullam unquam habui, respondit peregrinus respiciens—seque comiter inclinans—hoc more gesto, nudam acinacem elevans, mulo lento progrediente, ut nasum tueri possim.

Non immerito, benigne peregrine, respondit miles.

Nihili aestimo, ait ille tympanista, e pergamena factitius est.

Prout christianus sum, inquit miles, nasus ille, ni sexties major fit, meo esset conformis.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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