第11章 LETTER VIII
DEAR BOY:If I am rightly informed,I am now writing to a fine gentleman,in a scarlet coat laced with gold,a brocade waistcoat,and all other suitable ornaments.The natural partiality of every author for his own works makes me very glad to hear that Mr.Harte has thought this last edition of mine worth so fine a binding;and,as he has bound it in red,and gilt it upon the back,I hope he will take care that it shall be LETTERED too.A showish binding attracts the eyes,and engages the attention of everybody;but with this difference,that women,and men who are like women,mind the binding more than the book;whereas men of sense and learning immediately examine the inside;and if they find that it does not answer the finery on the outside,they throw it by with the greater indignation and contempt.I hope that,when this edition of my works shall be opened and read,the best judges will find connection,consistency,solidity,and spirit in it.Mr.Harte may 'recensere'and 'emendare,'as much as he pleases;but it will be to little purpose,if you do not cooperate with him.The work will be imperfect.
I thank you for your last information of our success in the Mediterranean,and you say very rightly that a secretary of state ought to be well informed.I hope,therefore,you will take care that I shall.
You are near the busy scene in Italy;and I doubt not but that,by frequently looking at the map,you have all that theatre of the war very perfect in your mind.
I like your account of the salt works;which shows that you gave some attention while you were seeing them.But notwithstanding that,by your account,the Swiss salt is (I dare say)very good,yet I am apt to suspect that it falls a little short of the true Attic salt in which there was a peculiar quickness and delicacy.That same Attic salt seasoned almost all Greece,except Boeotia,and a great deal of it was exported afterward to Rome,where it was counterfeited by a composition called Urbanity,which in some time was brought to very near the perfection of the original Attic salt.The more you are powdered with these two kinds of salt,the better you will keep,and the more you will be relished.
Adieu!My compliments to Mr.Harte and Mr.Eliot.