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with their own shadows? And who," continues he, “ but is deeply sensible, that one great source of the uneasiness and misery of human life, especially amongst those of distinction, arises from nothing in the world else, but too severe a contemplation of an indefeasible contexture of our external parts, or certain natural and invincible dispositions to be fat or lean? when a little more of Mr. Spectator's philosophy would take off all this. In the mean time let them observe, that there is not one of their grievances of this sort, but perhaps, in some ages of the world, has been highly in yogue, and may be so | again; nay, in some country or other, ten to one is so at this day. My Lady Ample is the most miserable woman in the world, purely of her own making. She even grudges herself meat and drink, for fear she should thrive by them; and is constantly crying out, ' In a quarter of a year more I shall be quite out of all manner of shape! Now the lady's misfortune seems to be only this, that she is planted in a wrong soil; for go but to the other side of the water, it is a jest at Haerlem to talk of a shape under eighteen stone. These wise traders regulate their beauties as they do their butter, by the pound; and Miss Cross, when she first arrived in the Low Countries, was not computed to be so handsome as Madam Vad Brisket by near half a ton. On the other hand, there is 'Squire Lath, a proper gentleman of 1,5001. per annum, as well as of an unblamable life and conversation; yet would not I be the esquire for half his estate ; for if it was as much more, he would freely part with it all for a pair of legs to his mind. Whereas in the reign of our first Edward of glorious memory, nothing more modish than a brace of your fine taper supporters; and his majesty, without an inch of calf, managed affairs in peace or war as laudably as the bravest and most
N° 33. SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 1711.
Fervidus tecum puer, et solutis
Mercuriusque.-Hor. 1 Od. xxx. 5.
From every spring, and every plain ;
And Mercury compose thy train.-Creech. A FRIEND of mine has two daughters, whom I will call Lætitia and Daphne; the former is one of the greatest beauties of the age in which she lives, the latter no way remarkable for any charms in her person. Upon this one circumstance of their outward form, the good and ill of their life seems to turn. Lætitia has not, from her very childhood, heard any thing else but commendations of her features and complexion, by which means she is no other than nature made her, a very beautiful outside. The consciousness of her charms has rendered her insupportably vain and insolent, towards all who have to do with her. Daphne, who was almost twenty before one civil thing had ever been said to her, found herself obliged to acquire some accomplishments to make for the want of those attractions which she saw in her sister. Poor Daphne was seldom submitted to in a debate wherein she was concerned; her discourse had nothing to recommend it but the good sense of it, and she was always under a necessity to have very well considered what she was to say before she uttered it; while Lætitia was listened
to with partiality, and approbation sat in the countenances of 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 favour, has studied no arts to please; Daphne, despairing of any inclination towards her person, has depended only 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
little introduction to speak his sentiments to her father. The lover was admitted with the utmost freedom into the family, where a constrained behaviour, severe looks, and distant civilities, were the highest favours he could obtain of Lætitia ; while Daphne used him with the good humour, 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-humour he had observed in Daphne, he one day told the latter, that he had something to say to her he hoped she would be pleased with— Faith, Daphne,' continued he, ' I am in love with thee, and despise thy sister sincerely. The manner of his declaring himself, gave his mistress occasion for a very hearty laughter. - Nay,' says 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 now no care left but for his beauty, which he thought he could carry to market at his leisure. I do not know any thing that has pleased me so much 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 imperfections of our per. son, it is equally below us to value ourselves upon the advantages of them. The female world seem 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 a people almost as unsufferable as the professed wits.
Monsieur 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 favourite 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 favour 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 into most countries of 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 upon themselves, by discovering to them the true secret and art of improving beauty.
• In order to 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 down, 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 favourite work of nature, or, as Mr. Dryden expresses it, the porcelain clay of human kind, 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, by the most agreeable parti