1 78 SAMUEL JOHNSON
fluence of an ascendant mind. But the truth is, that Gulliver had described his Yahoos before the visit ; and he that had formed those images had nothing filthy to learn.
��FROM " POPE "
IT has been so long said as to be commonly believed, that the true characters of men may be found in their letters, and that he who writes to his friend lays his heart open before him. But the truth is, that such were the simple friendships of the Golden Age, and are now the friendships only of children. Very few can boast of hearts which they dare lay open to themselves, and of which, by whatever accident exposed, they do not shun a distinct and continued view ; and, certainly, what we hide from ourselves we do not show to our friends. There is, indeed, no trans- action which offers stronger temptation to fallacy and sophistication than epistolary in- tercourse. In the eagerness of conversation the first emotions of the mind often burst out before they are considered ; in the tumult of business, interest and passion have their genuine effect ; but a friendly letter is a calm and deliberate performance in the cool of lei- sure, in the stillness of solitude, and surely