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A set of Elzevirs by the same hand.
Clelia: which opened of itself in the place that de. scribes two lovers in a bower.
A Prayer Book; with a bottle of Hungary water by the side of it.
Dr. Sacheverell's Speech.
I was taking a catalogue in my pocket-book of these, and several other authors, when Leonora entered, and upon my presenting her with the letter from the knight, told me, with an unspeakable grace, that she hoped Sir Roger was in good health: I answered yes, for I hate long speeches, and after a bow or two retired.
Leonora was formerly a celebrated beauty, and is still a very lovely woman. She has been a widow for two or three years, and, being unfortunate in her first mar: riage, has taken a resolution never to venture upon a second. She has no childern to take care of, and leaves the management of her estate to my good friend Sir Roger. But as the mind naturally finks into a kind of lethargy, and falls asleep, that is not 'agitated by some favourite pleasures and pursuits, Leonora has turned all the passions of her sex into a love of books and retirement. She converses chiefly with men, as she has often faid herself, but it is only in their writings; and admits of
very few male-visitants, except my friend Sir Roger, whom she hears with great pleasure, and without scandal. As her reading has lain very much among romances, it has given her very particular turn of thinking, and dis. covers itself even in her house, her gardens, and her furniture. Sir Roger has entertained me an hour together with a description of her country-seat, which is situated
in a kind of wilderness, about an hundred miles distant from London, and looks like a little enchanted palace. The rocks about her are shaped into artificial grottoes covered with wood-bines and jettamines. The woods are cut into shady walks, twisted into bowers, and filled with cages of turtles. The springs are made to run among pebbles, and by that means taught to murmur very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a beautiful lake, that is inhabited by a couple of fwans, and empties itself by a little rivulet which runs through a green mcadow, and is known in the family by the name of the Purling Stream. The knight likewise tells me, that this lady preserves her game better than any of the gentlemen in the country, not, says Sir Roger, that the sets so great a value upon her partrides and pheasants, as upon her larks and nightingales. For she says that every bird which is killed in her ground, will spoil a concert, and that the shall certainly miss him the next year.
When I think how oddly this lady is improved by learning, I look upon her with a mixture of admiration and pity. Amidst these innocent entertainments which she has formed to herself, how much more valuable dces the appear than those of her fex, who employ themselves in diversions that are less reasonable, though more in fashion: What improvements would a woman have made, who is so susceptible of impressions from what she reads, had the been guided to such books as have a tendency to enlighten the understanding and rectify the paflions, as well as to those which are of little more use than to divert the imagination ?
But the manner of a lady's employing herself usefully in reading shall be the subject of another paper, in which I design to recommend such particular books as may be proper for the improvement of the sex. And as this is a subject of a very nice nature, I shall defire my correfpondents to give me their thoughts upon it.
No. XXXVIII. FRIDAY, APRIL 13.
-Cupias non placuiffe nimis.
MART, One wou'd not please too much.. A
LATE conversation which I fell into, gave me an
opportunity of observing a great deal of beauty in a very handsome woman, and as much wit in an ingenious man, turned into deformity in the one, and absurdity in the other, by the mere force of affectation. The fair one had something in her perfon upon which her thoughts were fixed, that she attempted to shew to advantage in every look, word, and gesture. The gentleman was as diligent to do justice to his fine parts, as the lady to her beauteous form : you might see his imagination on the stretch to find out something uncommon, and what they call bright, to entertain her, while the writhed her. self into as many different postures to engage him. When The laughed, her lips were to sever at a greater distance than ordinary, to sew her teeth; her fan was to point to somewhat at a distance, that in the reach the may dis. cover the roundness of her arm; then she is utterly mistaken in what she saw, falls back, smiles at her own folly, and is so wholly discomposed, that her tucker is to be adjusted, her bosom exposed, and the whole woman put into new airs and graces. While she was doing all this, the gallant had time to think of something very pleasant to say next to her, or make some unkind observation on fome other lady to feed her vanity. These unhappy effects of affectation, naturally led me to look into that strange state of mind which so generally difcolours the behaviour of most people we meet with.
The learned Dr. Burnet, in his theory of the earth, takes occasion to observe, that every thought is attended with consciousness and representativeness; the mind has nothing presented to it but what is immediately followed by a reflection or conscience, which tells you whether that which was so presented is gracefulor unbecoming. This act of the mind discovers itself in the gesture, by a proper
behaviour in those whose consciousness goes no further than to direct them in the just progress of their present thought or action; but betrays an interruption in every second thought, when the consciousness is employed in too fondly approving a man's own conceptions; which fort of consciousness is what we call affectation.
As the love of praise is implanted in our bosoms as a strong incentive to worthy actions, it is a very difficult talk to get above a desire of it for things that should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose hearts are fixed upon the pleasure they have in the consciousness that they are the objects of love and admiration, are ever changing the air of their countenance, and altering the attitude of their bodies, to strike the hearts of the beholders with new sense of their beauty. The dressing part of our sex, whose minds are the same with the fillier part of the other, are exactly in the like uneasy condition to be regarded for a well-ried cravat, an hat cocked with an unusual briskness, a very well-chosen coat, or other instances of merit, which they are impatient to see un, observed.
But this apparent affectation, arising from an ill governed consciousness, is not so much to be wondered at in such loose and trivial minds as these; but when see it reign in characters of worth and distinction, it is what you cannot but lament, not without some indignation. It creeps into the heart of the wise man as well as that of the coxcomb. When you see a man of senfe look about for applause, and discover an itching inclination to be commended; lays traps for a little incense, even from those whose opinion he values in nothing but his own favour ; who is safe against this weakness? or who knows whether he is guilty of it or not? The best way to get clear of such a light fondness for applause, is to take all possible care to throw off the love of it upon occasions that are not in themselves laudable, but, as it appears, we hope for no praise from them,
Of this nature are all graces in men's perfons, dress and bodily deport: ment; which will naturally be winning attractive if we
think not of them, but loose their force in proportion to our endeavour to make them such.
When our consciousness turns upon the main design of life, and our thoughts are employed upon the chief purpofe either in business or pleasure, we shall never betray an affectation, for we cannot be guilty of it; but when we give the passion for praise an unbridled liberty, our pleasure in little perfections robs us of what is due to us for great virtues and worthy qualities. How many excellent speeches and honest actions are lost, for want of being indifferent where we ought? Men are oppreiled with regard to their way of speaking and acting, instead of having their thoughts bent upon what they should do or say; and by that means bury a capacity for great things by their fear of failing in indifferent things. This, prehaps, cannot be called affectation : but it has some tincture of it, at least fo far, as that their fear of erring in a thing of no consequence, argues they would be too much plealed in performing it.
It is only from a thorough disregarded to himself in such particulars, that a man can act with a laudable fufficiency; his heart is fixed upon one point in view; and he commits no errors, because he thinks nothing an error but what deviates from that intention.
The wild havoc affectation makes in that part of the world which should be most polite, is visible where ever we turn our eyes : it puihes men not only into imper. tinencies in conversation, but also in their premeditated speeches. At the bar it torments the bench, whose business it is to cut off all fuperfluities in what is spoken before it by the practitioner; as well as several little pieces of injustice which arises from the law itself. I have seen it make a man run from the purpose before a Judge, who was when, at the bar himself, so close and logical a pleader, that with all the pomp of eloquence in his power, he never spoke a word too much.
It might be bornc even here, but it often afcends the pulpit itself: and the declaimer, in that sacred place, is frequently so impertinently witty, speaks of the last day itself with so many quaint phrases, that there is no man