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same women they appeared when they began to dress. What jewel can the charming Cleora place in her ears, that can please her beholders so much as her eyes? The cluster of diamonds upon the breast can add no beauty to the fair chest of ivory which supports it. It may indeed tempt a man to steal a woman, but never to love her. Let Thalestris change herself into a motley parti-coloured animal: the pearl necklace, the flowered stomacher, the artificial nosegay and shaded furbelow, may be of use to attract the eye of the beholder, and turn it from the imperfections of her features and shape. But if ladies will take my word for it, (and, as they dress to please men, they ought to consult our fancy rather than their own in this particular,) I can assure them there is nothing touches our imagination so much as a beautiful woman in a plain dress. There might be more agreeable ornaments found in our own manufacture, than any that rise out of the looms of Persia.
This, I know, is a very harsh doctrine to womankind, who are carried away with every thing that is showy, and with what delights the eye, more than any one species of living creatures whatsoever. Were the minds of the sex laid open, we should find the chief idea in one to be a tippet, in another a muff, in a third a fan, and in a fourth a fardingal. The memory of an old visiting lady is so filled up with gloves, silks, and ribbands, that I can look upon it as nothing else but a toy-shop. A matron of my acquaintance, complaining of her daughter's vanity, was observing, that she had all of a sudden held up her head higher than ordinary, and taken an air that showed a secret satisfaction in herself, mixed with a scorn of others. I did not know, says my friend, what to make of the car
riage of this fantastical girl, until I was informed by her eldest sister that she had a pair of striped garters on. This odd turn of mind often makes the sex unhappy, and disposes them to be struck with every thing that makes a show, however trifling and superficial.
Many a lady has fetched a sigh at the toss of a wig, and been ruined by the tapping of a snuff-box. It is impossible to describe all the execution that was done by the shoulder-knot, while that fashion prevailed, or to reckon up all the virgins that have fallen a sacrifice to a pair of fringed gloves. A sincere heart has not made half so many conquests as an open waistcoat; and I should be glad to see an able head make so good a figure in a woman's company as a pair of red heels. A Grecian hero, when he was asked whether he could play upon the lute, thought he had made a very good reply, when he answered, No; but I can make a great city of a little one. Notwithstanding his boasted wisdom, I appeal to the heart of any toast in town, whether she would not think the lutenist preferable to the statesman? I do not speak this out of any aversion that I have to the sex: on the contrary, I have always had a tenderness for them; but I must confess it troubles me very much, to see the generality of them place their affections on improper objects, and give up all the pleasures of life for gewgaws and trifles.
Mrs. Margery Bickerstaff, my great aunt, had a thousand pounds to her portion, which our family was desirous of keeping among themselves, and therefore used all possible means to turn off her thoughts from marriage. The method they took was, in any time of danger, to throw a new gown or petticoat in her way. When she was about twenty-five years of age, she fell in love with a man of an agreeable temper, and equal
equal fortune, and would certainly have married him, had not my grandfather, sir Jacob, dressed her up in a suit of flowered satin; upon which she set so immoderate a value upon herself, that the lover was contemned and discarded. In the fortieth year of her age she was again smitten; but very luckily transferred her passion to a tippet, which was presented to her by another relation who was in the plot. This, with a white sarsenet hood, kept her safe in the family until fifty. About sixty, which generally produces a kind of latter spring in amorous constitutions, my aunt Margery had again a colt's tooth in her head; and would certainly have eloped from the mansion-house, had not her brother Simon, who was a wise man and a scholar, advised to dress her in cherry-coloured ribbands; which was the only expedient that could have been found out by the wit of man to preserve the thousand pounds in our family, part of which I enjoy at this time.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. No. 153.
I HAVE heard of a very valuable picture, wherein all the painters of the age in which it was drawn are represented sitting together in a circle, and joining in a concert of music. Each of them plays upon such a particular instrument as is the most suitable to his character, and expresses that style and manner of painting which is peculiar to him. The famous cupola painter of those times, to show the grandeur and boldness of his figures, hath a horn in his mouth which he seems to wind with great strength and force. On the contrary, an eminent artist, who wrought up
his pictures with the greatest accuracy,
and gave all those delicate touches which are apt to please the nicest eye, is represented as tuning a theorbo. The same kind of humour runs through the whole piece.
I have often, from this hint, imagined to myself, that different talents in discourse might be shadowed out after the same manner by different kinds of music; and that the several conversable parts of mankind in this great city might be cast into proper characters and divisions, as they resemble several instruments that are in use among the masters of harmony. Of these therefore in their order; and first of the drum.
Your Drums are the blusterers in conversation, that, with a loud laugh, unnatural mirth, and a torrent of noise, domineer in public assemblies, overbear men of sense, stun their companions, and fill the place they are in with a rattling sound, that hath seldom any wit, humour, or good-breeding in it. The Drum, notwithstanding, by this boisterous vivacity, is very proper to impose upon the ignorant; and, in conversation with ladies who are not of the finest taste, often passes for a man of mirth and wit, and for wonderful pleasant company. I need not observe, that the emptiness of the Drum very much contributes to its noise..
The Lute is a character directly opposite to the Drum, that sounds very finely by itself, or in a very small concert.. Its notes are exquisitely sweet, and very low, easily drowned in a multitude of instruments, and even lost among a few, unless you give a particular attention to it. A Lute is seldom heard in a company of more than five, whereas a Drum will show itself to advantage in an assembly of five hundred. The Lutenists, therefore, are men of fine genius, uncom
mon reflection, great affability, and esteemed chiefly by persons of good taste, who are the only proper judges of so delightful and soft a melody.
The Trumpet is an instrument that has in it no compass of music, or variety of sound, but is notwithstanding very agreeable, so long as it keeps within its pitch. It has not above four or five notes, which are, however, very pleasing, and capable of exquisite turns and modulations. The gentlemen who fall under this denomination are your men of the most fashionable education, and refined breeding, who have learned a certain smoothness of discourse, and sprightliness of air, from the polite company they have kept; but at the same time have shallow parts, weak judgments, and a short reach of understanding. A play-house, a drawing-room, a ball, a visiting-day, or a ring at Hyde-park, are the few notes they are masters of, which they touch upon in all conversations. The Trumpet, however, is a necessary instrument about a court, and a proper enlivener of a concert, though of no great harmony by itself.
Violins are the lively, forward, importunate wits, that distinguish themselves by the flourishes of imagination, sharpness of repartee, glances of satire, and bear away the upper part in every concert. I cannot however but observe, that when a man is not disposed to hear music, there is not a more disagreeable sound in harmony than that of a Violin.
There is another musical instrument, which is more frequent in this nation than any other: I mean your Bass-viol, which grumbles in the bottom of the concert, and with a surly masculine sound strengthens the harmony, and tempers the sweetness, of the several instruments that play along with it. The Bass-viol is