The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 295

general way, who are unwilling to
disoblige, to visit seldom, and tarry but a little while in a place;
notwithstanding pressing invitations, which are many times insincere.
And though more of your company should be really desired; yet in this
case, too much reservedness is a fault more easily excused than the
contrary.

Men are subject to various inconveniencies merely through lack of
a small share of courage, which is a quality very necessary in
the common occurrences of life, as well as in a battle. How many
impertinencies do we daily suffer with great uneasiness, because we
have not courage enough to discover our dislike? And why may not
a man use the boldness and freedom of telling his friends, that
their long visits sometimes incommode him? On this occasion, it may
be entertaining to some of my readers, if I acquaint them with the
Turkish manner of entertaining visitors, which I have from an author
of unquestionable veracity; who assures us, that even the Turks are
not so ignorant of civility and the arts of endearment, but that
they can practise them with as much exactness as any other nation,
whenever they have a mind to show themselves obliging.

"When you visit a person of quality (says he) and have talked over
your business, or the compliments, or whatever concern brought
you thither, he makes a sign to have things served in for the
entertainment, which is generally a little sweetmeat, a dish of
sherbet, and another of coffee; all which are immediately brought in
by the servants, and tendered to all the guests in order, with the
greatest care and awfulness imaginable. At last comes the finishing
part of your entertainment, which is, perfuming the beards of the
company; a ceremony which is performed in this manner. They have for
the purpose a small silver chaffing dish, covered with a lid full of
holes, and fixed upon a handsome plate. In this they put some fresh
coals, and upon them a piece of lignum aloes, and shutting it up, the
smoke immediately ascends with a grateful odour through the holes of
the cover. This smoke is held under every one's chin, and offered as
it were a sacrifice to his beard. The bristly idol soon receives the
reverence done to it, and so greedily takes in and incorporates the
gummy steam, that it retains the savour of it, and may serve for a
nosegay a good while after.

"This ceremony may perhaps seem ridiculous at first hearing; but it
passes among the Turks for an high gratification. And I will say this
in its vindication, that

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Page 158
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