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that some little distastes I daily receive have lost their anguish ; and I did the other day, without the least displeasure, overhear one say of me, " That strange fel" low;' and another answer, “ I have known the fellow's “ face these twelve years, and so must you; but I believe
you are the first ever asked me who he was.” There are, I must confefs, many to whom my person is as well known as that of their nearest relations, who give themfelves no farı her trouble about calling me by my name or quality, but speak cf me very currently by Mr. What d've call him.
To make up for these trivial disadvantages, I have the high fatisfaction of beholding all nature with an unprejudiced eye; and having nothing to do with men's pailions or interests, I can win the greatest fagacity consider their talents, manners, failings, and merits.
It is remarkable that those who want any one fcnfc poffefs the o: hers with greater force and vivacity. Thus my want of, or rather resignation of, speech, gives me all the advantage of a dumb man. I have, methinks, a a more than ordinary penetration in feeing; and flatter myself that I have looked into the highest and lowest of mankind, and make threwvd guelfes, without being admitted to their conversation, at the inmost thoughts and reileétions of all whom I behold. It is from hence that good or ill fortune has no manner of force towards affecting iny judgment. I fee men flourishing in courts, and languithing in jails, without being prejudiced from their circumstances to their favour or disadvantage; but from their inward manner of bearing their condition, often pity the prosperous, and admire the unhappy.
Those who converse with the dumb, know from the turn of ulicir eyes, and the changes of their countenance, their sentiments of the objects before them. l' have indulged my silence to fuch an extravagance, that the few who are intimate with me, anfiver my smiles with concurrent fentences, and argue to the very point I thaked my head at, without my speaking. Will Londre ab was very cntertaining the other night at a play, to a Gentleman who fat on his right hand, while I was at his left. The Gentleman believed Il'ill was talking
to himself, when upon my looking with great approbation at a young thing in a box before us, he faiu, “ I am quite of another opinion. She has, I allow, a very
pleasing aspect, but methinks that fimplicity in her:
countenance is rather childish than innocent.' When I observed her a second time, he said, “ I grant her dre's " is very becoming, but perhaps the merit of that choice " is owing to her mother; for though, continued he, I " allow a beauty to be as much to be commended for the
elegance of her dress, as a wit for that of his language ; “ yer if she has stolen the colour of her ribbands from an“ other, or had advice about her trimmings, I Thall not " allow her the praise of dress, any more than I would “ call a plagiary an author.” When I threw my eves toivards the next woman to her, Will fpo'se what I looked, according to his romantic imagination, in the following manner.
" Behold, you who dare, that charming virgin; behold " the bcauty of her person chastised by the innocence of “ her thoughts. Chastity, good-nature, and affability, are
graces that play in her countenance; she knows the " is handsome, but ihe knows the is good. Conicious
beauty adorned with conscious virtue! What a spirit
is there in those eyes! What a bloom in that person ! ** How is the whole woman expressed in her appearance!
her air has the beauty of motivi), and her look the "s force of language.”
It ivas prudence to turn away my eyes from this object, and therefore I turned them to the thoughtless creatures avto make up the lump of that sex, and move a knowing eye no inore than the portraitures of inagnificant people by ordinary painters, which are but pictures of picturus.
Thus the working of my own mind is the general ontertainment of my life; I never enter in the commerce of discourse with any but my particular friends, and not in public even with thein. Such an habit has perhaps Bazilci in me uncominon reflections; but this cituci I caiinot communicate but by my writings. As my pleasures art almost wholly confined to thosc of the fight, I take it
for a peculiar happiness that I have alıvays had an easy and familiar admittance to the fair sex. If I nuver praised or flattered, I never belyed or contradicted them. As thefe compose half the world, and are, by the just complaisance and gallantry of our nation, the more powerful part of our people, I hall dedicate a considerable share of thote my speculations to their service, and hall lead the young through all the becoming duties of virginity, marriage, and widowhood. When it is a woman's day, in my works, I shall endeavour at a stile and air suitable to their understanding. When I say this, I must be understood to mean, that I shall not lower but exalt the subjects I treat upon. Discourse for their entertainment, is not to be debased but refined. A man may appear learned without talking sentences, as in his ordinary gesture he discovers he can dance though he does nit cut capers. In a word, I shall take it for the greatest glory of my work, if
among reasonable ivomen this paper may furnish TeaTable Talk. In order to it, I shall treat on matters which relate to females, as they are concerned to approach or fly from the other fex, or as they are tied to them by blood, interest, or affcction. Upon this occasion I think it but reasonable to declare, that whatever skill I may have in speculation, I shall never betray what the eyes of lovers say to each other in my presence. At the fáme time I shall not think myself obliged, by this promise, to conceal any false protestations which I observe made by glances in public affumblies; but endeavour to make both sexes appear in their conduct what they are in their hearts. By this means, love, during the time of my speculations, hall be carried on with the same sincerity as any other affairs of less confideration. As this is the greatest concern, men shall be from henceforth liable to the greatest reproach for misbehaviour in it. Falsehood in love shall hereafter bear a blacker aspect, than infidelity in friendship, or villany in business. For this great and good end, all breaches against that noble passion, the cement of society, shall be feverely examined. But this, and all other matters loosely hinted at now, and in my former papers, shall have their proper place in my
following discourses; the present writing is only to admonith the world, that they shall not find me an idle but a bufy Spectator.
No. V. TUESDAY, MARCH 6.
Spectatum admissi risum teneatis :
Admitted to the fight, wou'd you not laugh?
A Opera may be allowed to be extravagantly lavish
in it's decorations, as it's only design is to gratify the senses, and keep up an indolent attention in the audience. Common sense however requires, that there fhould be nothing in the scenes and machines which may appear childish and absurd. How would the wits of King Charles's time have laughed to have seen Nicolini exposed to a tempest in robes of ermine, and failing in an open boat upon a sea of pasteboard? What a field of raillery would they have been let into, had they been entertained with painted dragons spitting wild-fire, enchanted chariots drawn by Flanders mares, and real cascades in artificial landskips? A little skill in criticism would inform us, that shadows and realities ought not to be mixed together in the same piece; and, that the scenes which are designed as the representations of nature, should be filled with resemblances, and not with the things themselves. If one would represent a wide champain country filled with herds and flocks, it would be ridiculous to draw the country only upon the scenes, and to croud feveral parts of the itage with theep and oxen. This is joining together inconsistences, and making the decoration partly real and partly imaginary. I would recommend what I have said here to the directors, as well as the admirers of our modern Opera.
As I was walking in the streets about a fortnight ago, I jaw an ordinary fellow carrying a cage full of little upon his thoulder; and, as I was wondering with
myself what use he would put them to, he was met very luckily by an acquaintance, who had the fame curiosity. Upon his asking him what he had upon his thoulder, he told him that he had been buying sparrows for the opera. Sparrows for the opera, says his friend, licking his lips, what, are they to be roasted ? No, no, says the other, they are to enter towards the end of the first act, and to fly about the stage:
This strange dialogue awakened my curiosity fo far, that I immediately bought the opera, by which means I perceived that the sparrows were to act the part of singing-birds in a delightful grove; though, upon a nearer inquiry I found the sparrows put the same trick upon the audience, that Sir Martin Mar-all practised upon his mistress; for though they flew in fight, the music proceeded from a confort of flagelets and birds. calls which were planted behind the scenes. At the same time I made this discovery, I found by the discourse of the actors, that there were great designs on foot for the improvement of the opera; that it had been proposed to break down a part of the wall, and to surprise the audience with a party of an hundred horse, and that there was actually a project of bringing the NewRiver into the house, to be employed in jettcaus and water-works. This project, as I have fiice hcard, is postponed till the funmer-season; when it is thought the coolness that proceeds from fountains and cascades will be more acceptable and refreshing to people of quality. In the mean time, to find out a more agreeable entertainment for the winter-season, the opera of Rinaldo is filled with thunder and lightning, illuminations and fire-works; which the audience may look upon without catching cold, and indeed, without much danger of being burnt; for there are several engines filled with water, and ready to play at a minute's warning, in case any such accident should happen. However, as I have a very great friendship for the owner of this theatre, I hope that he has been wise enough to insure his house before he would let this opera be acted