« ПредишнаНапред »
ON LADIES PAINTING. STORY OF A PICT. No.41.
Compassion for the gentleman who writes the following letter should not prevail upon me to fall upon the fair sex, if it were not 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 bis misfortune ought to be made public, as a warning for other man always to examine into what they admire.
Suppos'ng you to be a person of general knowledge, 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 just pretensions to a divorce. I am a mere man of the town, and have
little improvement but what I have got from plays. I remember in The Silent Woman, the learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr. Otter (I forget which), makes one of the causes of separation to be error persona, when a man marries a woman, and finds her not to be the same woman whom he intended to marry, but another. If that be lax, it is, I presume, exactly my case. For you are to know, Mr. Spectator, that there are women who do not let their husbands see 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 so exquisitely skilful this way, that, give them but a tolerable pair of eyes to set up with, and they will make bosom, lips, cheeks, and eye-brows, by their own in
dustry. As for my dear, never man was so 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 effect 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 carried to bed the night before. I shall 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
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 Picts and the British. There does not need any great discernment to judge which are which. The British have a lively animated aspect; the Picts, though never so beautiful, have dead unin. formed countenances. The muscles of a real face sometimes swell with soft passion, sudden surprise, and are flushed with agreeable confusions, according as the objects before them, or the ideas presented to them, affect their imagination. But the Picts behold all things with the same air, whether they are joyful or sad; the same fixed insensibility appears upon all occasions. A Pict, though she takes all that pains to invite the approach of lovers, is obliged to keep them at a certain distance; 8
a sigh accomplishments to make up for the want of those at. tractions 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 Laetitia 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. Ilis 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 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 Laetitia" 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-hu.
moúr 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,” cuntinued 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 congratulated her upon her chance-medley, and laugh at that premeditating murderer her sister.
A LADY'S LIBRARY.
Some months ago my friend sir Roger, being in the country, inclosed a letter to me, directed to a certain lady whom I shall here call by the name of Leonora, and, as it contained matters of consequence, desired me to deliver it to her with my own hand. Accordingly I waited upon her ladyship pretty early in the morning, and was desired by her woman to walk into her lady's library, till such time as she was in readiness to receive mne. The very sound of a lady's library, gave me a great curiosity to see it; and as it was some time before the lady came to me, I had an opportunity of turning over a great many of her books, which were ranged together in a very beautiful order. 'At the end of the
folios (which were finely boundaand gilt) were great jurs of china placed one above another in a very noble piece of architecture. The quartos were separated from the ortavos by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in a delightful pyramid. The octavos were bounded by tea-di-hes of all shapes, colours, and sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden frame, that they looked like one continued pillar indented with the finest strokes of sculpture, and stained with the greatest variety of dyes. That part of the library which was designed for the reception of plays and pamphlets, and other loose papers, was inclosed in a kind of square, consisting of one of the prettiest grotesque works that I ever saw, and made up of scaramouches, lions, monkeys, mandarină, trees, shells, and a thousand other odd figures in china warc. In the midst of the room was a little japan table, with a quire of gilt paper upon it, and on the paper a silver snuff-box made in the shape of a little book. I found there were several other counterfeit books upon the upper shelves, which were carved in in wood, and served only to fill up the numbers like fagots in the muster of a regiment. I was wonderfully pleased with such a mixt kind of furniture, as seemed very suitable both to the lady and the scholar, and did not know at first whether I should fancy myself in a grotto, or in a library.
Upon my looking into the books, I found there were some few which the lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got together, either because she had heard them praised, or because she had seen the authors of them. Among several that I examined, I very well remember these that follow,