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those she conversed with, before she communicated what she had to say. These causes have produced suitable effects, and Lætitia is as insipid a companion as Daphne is an agreeable one. Lætitia, confident of favor, has studied no arts to please; Daphne, despairing of any inclination towards her person, has only depended on her merit. Lætitia has always something in her air that is sullen, grave, and disconsolate. Daphne has a countenance that appears cheerful, open, and unconcerned. A young gentleman saw Lætitia this winter at a play, and became her captive. His fortune was such that he wanted very little introduction to speak his sentiments to her father. The lover was admitted with the utmost freedom into the family, where a constrained behavior, severe looks, and distant civilities were the highest favors he could obtain from Lætitia; while Daphne used him with the good humor, familiarity, and innocence of a sister, insomuch that he would often say to her, “Dear Daphne, wert thou but as handsome as Lætitia.” She received such language with that ingenuous and pleasing mirth which is natural to a woman without design. He still sighed in vain for Lætitia, but found certain relief in the agreeable conversation of Daphne. At length, heartily tired with the haughty impertinence of Lætitia, and charmed with the repeated instances of good humor he had observed in Daphne, he one day told the latter that he had something to say to her that he hoped she would be pleased with, - Faith, Daphne," continued he, “I am in love with thee, and despise thy sister sin. cerely.” The manner of his declaring himself gave his mistress occasion for a very hearty laughter. “Nay,” said he, “I knew you would laugh at me, but I will ask your father.” He did so; the father received his intelligence with no less joy than surprise, and was very glad : he had no care now left but for his beauty, which he thought he could carry to market at his leisure. I do not know anything that has pleased me so much in a great while as this conquest of my friend Daphne's. All her acquaintance congratulate her upon her chance-medley, and laugh at that premeditating murderer, her sister. As it is an argument of a light mind to think the worse of ourselves for the imperfection of our persons, it is equally below us to value ourselves upon the advantages of them. The female world seems to be almost incorrigibly gone astray in this particular, for which reason I shall recommend the following extract out of a friend's letter to the professed beauties, who are, as a people, almost as insufferable as the professed wits :
“ M. St. Evremond has concluded one of his essays with
affirming that the last sighs of a handsome woman are not so much for the loss of her life as of her beauty. Perhaps this raillery is pursued too far; yet it is turned upon a very obvious remark, that woman's strongest passion is for her own beauty, and that she values it as her favorite distinction. From hence it is that all arts which pretend to improve or preserve it meet with so general a reception among the sex. To say nothing of many false helps and contraband wares of beauty which are daily vended in this great mart, there is not a maiden gentlewoman of a good family in any county of South Britain who has not heard of the virtues of May-dew, or is unfurnished with some receipt or other in favor of her complexion; and I have known a physician of learning and sense, after eight years' study in the University, and a course of travels in most countries in Europe, owe the first raising of his fortunes to a cosmetic wash.
“This has given me occasion to consider how so universal a disposition in womankind, which springs from a laudable motive, the desire of pleasing, and proceeds upon an opinion not altogether groundless, that nature may be helped by art, may be turned to their advantage. And, methinks, it would be an acceptable service to take them out of the hands of quacks and pretenders, and to prevent their imposing on themselves, by discovering to them the true secret and art of improving beauty.
“In order to do this, before I touch upon it directly, it will be necessary to lay down a few preliminary maxims, viz. :
“ That no woman can be handsome by the force of features alone, any more than she can be witty only by the help of speech.
“ That pride destroys all symmetry and grace, and affectation is a more terrible enemy to fine faces than the small-pox.
“That no woman is capable of being beautiful who is not incapable of being false.
“ And that what would be odious in a friend is deformity in a mistress. “ From these few principles thus laid do
it will be easy to prove that the true art of assisting beauty consists in embellishing the whole person by the proper ornaments of virtuous and commendable qualities. By this help alone it is that those who are the favorite works of nature, or, as Mr. Dryden expresses it, the porcelain clay of humankind, become animated, and are in a capacity of exerting their charms; and those who seem to have been neglected by her, like models wrought in haste,
are capable in a great measure of finishing what she has left imperfect.
“ It is, methinks, a low and degrading idea of that sex, which was created to refine the joys and soften the cares of humanity, to consider them merely as objects of sight. This is abridging them of the natural extent of their power, to put them on a level with the pictures at Kneller's. How much nobler is the contemplation of beauty, heightened by virtue, and commanding our esteem and love, while it draws our observation! How faint and spiritless are the charms of a coquette, when compared with the real loveliness of Sophronia's innocence, piety, good humor, and truth, — virtues which add a new softness to her sex, and even beautify her beauty! That agreeableness which must otherwise have appeared no longer in the modest virgin is now preserved in the tender mother, the prudent friend, and the faithful wife. Colors artfully spread upon canvas may entertain the eye, but not affect the heart; and she who takes no care to add to the natural graces of her person any excelling qualities may be still allowed to amuse as a picture, but not to triumph as a beauty."
ON JOSEPH ADDISON'S ESSAYS.
HERE are so many noble pieces of writing among
Addison's essays that one hesitates in choosing an extract. I advise every one to keep a volume of The Spectator at hand, and cull for himself. In the mean time, I will give some short extracts which show in brief the variety of his humor, and how easily he passes from grave to gay, from lively to severe.
The first is from
“Going yesterday to dine with an old acquaintance, I had the misfortune to find his whole family very much dejected. Upon asking him the occasion of it, he told me that his wife had dreamt a strange dream the night before, which they were
afraid portended some misfortune to themselves or to their children. At her coming into the room I observed a settled melancholy in her countenance, which I should have been troubled for had I not heard from whence it proceeded. We were no sooner sat down, but after having looked upon me a little while, “My dear,' says she, turning to her husband, you may now see the stranger that was in the candle last night.' Soon after this, as they began to talk of family affairs, a little boy at the lower end of the table told her that he was to go into join-hand on Thursday. “Thursday !' says she. "No, child, if it please God you shall not begin upon Childermas day; tell your writing-master that Friday will be soon enough. I was reflecting with myself upon the oddness of her fancy, and wondering that anybody could establish it as a rule to lose a day in every week. In the midst of these my musings, she desired me to reach her a little salt upon the point of my knife, which I did in such a trepidation and hurry of obedience that I let it drop by the way; at which she immediately started, and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked very blank, and observing the concern of the whole table, began to consider myself, with some confusion, as a person that had brought a disaster upon the family. The lady, however, recovering herself after a little space, said to her husband, with a sigh, “ My dear, misfortunes never come single.' My friend, I found, acted but an under part at his table, and being a man of more good-nature than understanding, thinks himself obliged to fall in with all the passions and humors of his yoke-fellow. • Do not you remember, child,' says she, “that the pigeon-house fell the very afternoon that our careless wench spilt the salt upon the table?' “Yes,' says he, “my dear, and the next post brought us an account of the battle of Almanza.' The reader may guess at the figure I made after having done all this mischief. I despatched my dinner as soon as I could, with my usual taciturnity, when, to my utter confusion, the lady, seeing me quitting my knife and fork, and laying them across one another on my plate, desired me that I would humor her so far as to take them out of that figure and place them side by side. What the absurdity was which I had committed, I did not know; but I suppose there was some traditionary superstition in it, and therefore, in obedience to the lady of the house, I disposed of my knife and fork in two parallel lines, which is the figure I shall always lay them for the future, though I do not know any reason for it.
“ It is not difficult for a man to see that a person has conceived an aversion to him. For my own part, I quickly found, by the lady's looks, that she regarded me as a very odd kind of fellow, with an unfortunate aspect. For which reason I took my leave immediately after dinner, and withdrew to my old lodgings. Upon my return home I fell into a profound contemplation on the evils that attend these superstitious follies of mankind; how they subject us to imaginary afflictions, and additional sorrows that do not properly come with our lot. As if the natural calamities of life were not enough for it, we turn the most indifferent circumstances into misfortune, and suffer as much from trifling accidents as from real evils. I have known the shooting of a star spoil a night's rest, and have seen a man in love grow pale and lose his appetite upon the plucking of a merry-thought. A screech-owl at midnight has alarmed a family more than a band of robbers, — nay, the voice of a cricket has struck more terror than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so inconsiderable which may not appear dreadful to the imagination that is filled with omens and prognostics. A rusty nail or a crooked pin shoot up into prodigies.”
The following essay from Addison gives a humorous description of Clubs, which in Queen Anne's time sprang up in such numbers and with such a variety of objects :
ACCOUNTS OF VARIOUS CLUBS.
“Man is said to be a sociable animal; and as an instance of it, we may observe that we take all occasions and pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies which are commonly known by the name of clubs. When a set of men find themselves to agree in any particular, though never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a week, upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance. I know a considerable market-town, in which there was a club of fat men, that did not come together (as you may well suppose) to entertain one another with sprightliness and wit, but to keep one another in countenance. The room where the club met was something of the largest, and had two entrances, the one by a door of moderate size, and the other by a pair of folding-doors. If a candidate for this corpulent club could make an entrance through the first, he was looked upon as unqualified; but if he stuck in the passage and could not force his way through it, the folding-doors were immediately thrown open for his reception, and he was saluted as a brother. I have heard that this club, though it consisted of but fifteen persons, weighed above three ton.