VOYAGE TO THE HOUYHNHNMS 267
men, house-breakers, attorneys, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits, splenetics, tedious talkers, controvertists, murderers, robbers, virtuosos; no leaders or followers of party and faction; no encouragers to vice, by seducement or examples; no dungeon, axes, gibbets, whipping-posts, or pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics; no pride, vanity, or affectation; no fops, bullies, drunkards; no ranting, expensive wives; no stupid, proud pedants; no importunate, over-bearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, empty, conceited, swearing companions; no scoundrels, raised from the dust, for the sake of their vices, or nobility thrown into it, on account of their virtues; no lords, fiddlers, judges, or dancing-masters.
I had the favour of being admitted to several Houy-hnhnms, who came to visit or dine with my master; where his honour graciously suffered me to wait in the room, and listen to their discourse. Both he and his company would often condescend to ask me questions and receive my answers. I had also sometimes the honour of attending my master in his visits to others. I never presumed to speak, except in answer to a question; and then I did it with inward regret, because it was a loss of so much time for improving myself: but I was infinitely delighted with the station of an humble auditor in such conversations, where nothing passed but what was useful, expressed in the fewest and most significant words; where (as I have already said) the greatest decency was observed, without the least degree of ceremony; where no person spoke, without being pleased himself, and pleasing his companions; where there was no interruption, tediousness, heat, or difference of sentiments. They have a notion that, when people are met together, a short silence doth much improve conversation: this I found to be true; for, during those little intermissions of talk, new ideas would arise in their thoughts, which very much enlivened the discourse. Their subjects are generally on friendship and benevolence, or order and economy; sometimes upon