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COMPASSION for the gentleman who writes the
following letter, should not prevail upon me to fall upon the fair sex, if it were isot that I find they are frequently fairer than they ought to be. Such impostures are not to be tolerated in civil society; and I think his misfortune ought to be made public, as a warning for other men always to examine into what they admire.
• from plays.
SUPPOSING you to be a perfon of general know
ledge, I make my application to you on a very • particular occasion. I have a great mind to be rid
of my wife, and hope, when you consider my case, you will be of opinion I have very juit pretensions to a divorce. I am a mere man of the town, and have very little improvement, but what I have got
I remember in The Silent Woman, s the learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr. Otter, I forget $ which, makes one of the causes of separation to be \ Error Perforat, when a man marries a woman, and $ finds her not to be the fame woman whom he in• tended to marry, but another. If that be law, it is, • I presume, exactly my case. For you are to know, " Mr. Spečiator, that there are women who do not let • their husbands fee their faces till they are married.
· Not to keep you in suspense, I mean plainly that part of the sex who paint. They are some of them * lo exquisitely skilful this way, that yive them but a • tolerable pair of eyes to set up with, and they will • make bolom, lips, checks, and eyebrows, ' by their • own industry. As for my dear, never man was so 6 enamoured as I was of her fair forehead, neck, and
arms, as well as the bright jet of her hair; but to my great astonishment I find they were all the effects of
art; her skin is so tarnished with this practice, that • when she first wakes in a morning, she scarce seems
young enough to be the mother of her whom I car. • ried to bed the night before. I fhall take the liberty • to part with her by the first opportunity, unless her • father will make her portion suitable to her real, not « her assumed, countenance. This I thought fit to let him and her know by your means.
I am, Sir,
· humble servant.' I cannot tell what the law, or the parents of the lady, will do for this injured gentleman, but must allow he has very much justice on his side. I have indeed very long observed this evil, and distinguished those of our women who wear their own, from those in borrowed complexions, by the Piets and the British. There does not need any great discernment to judge which are which. The British have a lively animated aspect; the Piets, though never so beautiful, have dead uninformed countenances. The muscles of a real face sometimes swell with soft pafsion, sudden furprise, and are flushed with agreeable confusions, according as the objects before them, or the ideas presented to them, affect their imagination. But the Picts behoid all things with the fame air, whether they are joyful or fal; the fame fixed insensibility appears upon all occasions. A Piet, though the takes all that pains to invite the approach of lovers, is obliged to keep thein at a certain distance; a sigh in a languishing lover, if fetched too near her, would diffolve a feature; and a kiss watched by a forward one, might transfer the complexion of the mistress to the admirer. It is hard to speak of these false fair ones, without saying something uncomplaisant, but I would only recommend to them to conlider how they like coming into a
room new-painted; they may assure themselves, the near approach of a lady who uses this practice is much more offensive.
Will Honeycomb told us, one day,, an adventure he once had with a Pict. This lady had wit, as well as beauty, at will; and made it her business to gain hearts, for no other reason but to rally the torments of her lovers. She would make great advances to insnare men, but without any manner of scruple break off when there was no provocation. Her ill-nature and vanity made my friend very easily proof against the charms of her wit and conversation ; but her beautecus form, instead of being blemished by her falfhood and inconstancy, every day increased upon him, and the had new attractions every time he saw her. When the observed Will irrevocably her Nave, she began to use him as such, and after many steps towards such a cruelty, the at last utterly banihed him. The une happy lover strove in vain, by servile epistles, to revoke his doom; till at length he was forced to the last refuge, a round sum of money to her maid. This corrupt attendant placed him early in the morning behind the hangings in her mistress's dreifing-room. He food very conveniently to observe, without being seen. The Pict begins the face the designed to wear that day, and I have heard him proteft the had worked a full half hour before he knew her to be the same wo.
As soon as he saw the dawn of that complexion, for which he had so long languished, he thought fit to break from his concealment, repeating that of Cowley:
Th' adorning Thee with so much art,
Is but a barb'rous skill;
Too apt before to kill. The Piet stood before him in the utmost confusion' with the prettiest fimirk imaginable on the finished side of her face, pale as ashes on the other. Honeycomb feized all her gallypots and washes, and carried off his handkerchief full of brushes, scraps of Spanish wool,
and phials of unguents. The lady went into the country, the lover was cured.
It is certain no faith ought to be kept with cheats, and an oath made to a Piet is of itself void. I would therefore exhort all the British ladies to single them out, nor do I know any but Lindamira who should be exempt from discovery; for her own complexion is so delicate, that the ought to be allowed the covering it with paint, as a punishment for choosing to be the worst piece of art extant, instead of the masterpiece of nature.
As for my part, who have no expectations from women, and confider them only as they are part of the species, I do not half so much fear offending a beauty as a woman of sense; I shall therefore produce several faces which have been in public this many years, and never appeared. It will be a very pretty entertainment in the play-house, when I have abolished this custom, to fee so many ladies, when they first lay it down, incog. in their own face.
In the mean time, as a pattern for improving their charms, let the fex ftudy the agreeable Statira. Her features are enlivened with the chearfulness of her mind, and good-humour gives an alacrity to her eyes. She is graceful without affecting an air, and unconcerned without appearing careless. Her having no manner of art in her mind, makes her want none in her perfon.
How like is this lady, and how unlike is a Piet, to that description Dr. Donne gives of his mistress ?
Her pure and eloquent blood
( ADVERTISEMENT. • A young gentlewoman of about nineteen years of age (bred in the family of a person of qualiry lately • deceatcd) who paints the fincit fleih-colour, wants a
.place, and is to be heard of at the house of Mynheer
Grotesque, a Dutch Painter in Barbican.
· N. B. She is also well-killed in the drapery-part, ' and puts on hoods, and mixes ribbons so as to suit the • colours of the face with great art and success.' R.
No. XLII. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18.
Garganum mugire putes nemus, aut mare Tuscum;
Loud as the wolves, on Orca's stormy steep,
ARISTOTLE has observed, that ordinary
, writers in tragedy endeavour to raise terror and pity in their audience, not by proper sentiments and expresfions, but by the dresses and decorations of the stage. There is something of this kind very ridiculous in the English theatre. When the author has a mind to terrify us, it thunders; when he would make us melancholy, the stage is darkened. But among all our tragic artifices, I am the most offended at those which are made use of to inspire us with magnificent ideas