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Stealing and giving sweets.
IN the year 1784 Dr. Hunter first appeared before the world, in the character of an author, by the publication of two volumes of his Sacred Biography. The plan of this work he had conceived, we are told, when young ; and so favourable was the reception it experienced, as to encourage him to extend it to seven volumes. Previous, however, to the publication of the latter part of this work, accident introduced him to an acquaintance with a French edition of Lavater's Physiognomy. “Whatever opinions Dr. Hunter embraced, he embraced warmly.” He was struck with the novelty and originality of thought displayed in the essays of that writer; he became an enthusiast in the cause ; and determined to translate them into English. The same ardent spirit which had induced Dr. H. to adopt this scheme, prompted him to make a journey to Zurich, for the sake of a personal interview with Lavater. In August 1787 he accordingly repaired thither. It might have been reasonably expected,that a proceeding so romantick would have been considered by Lavater as no common compliment to him. But he did not receive Dr. Hunter with that frankness or generosity, to which so distinguished a mark of respect seemed fairly to entitle him. Lawater was jealous of Dr. H.'s undertaking, and thought the English translation likely to injure the sale of the French edition, in which he was interested. By degrees, however, his scruples were
overcome, and he finally opened
himself to the Doctor without reserve. In a letter, written by the
latter gentleman from Bern, a por. trait of Lavater is drawn, and a descripttion of their last interview is given. This we consider as a curious literary morsel, and we shall make no apology for transcribing it into the Anthology. “I was detained the whole morning by that strange, wild, eccentrick,Lavater, in various conversations. When once he is set agoing, there is no such thing as stopping him, till he run himself out of breath. He starts from subject to subject, flies from book to book, from picture to picture ; measures your nose, your eye, your mouth, with a pair of compasses; pours forth a torrent of physiognomy upon you ; drags you, for a proof of his dogma, to a dozen of closets, and unfolds ten
thousand drawings; but will not
let you open your lips to propose a difficulty : crams a solution down your throat, before you have uttered half a syllable of your objection. He is meagre as the picture of famine ; his nose and chin almost meet. I read him in my turn,and found little difficulty in discovering, amidst great. genius, unaffected piety, unbounded bene- . volence, and moderate learning ; much caprice and unsteadiness ; a mind at once aspiring by nature, and grovelling through necessity; an endless turn to speculation and project :—in a word, a clever, flighty, good-natured necessitous man. He did not conceal his dread of my English translation, as he thinks is will materially affect the sale of the third and fourth volumes of his French edition, one of which is actually published, and the other in the press.”