ePub 版

I saw indeed but two things wanting to render his whole action complete, I mean the keeping his head a little lower, and hiding his candle. 6 I observe that Mr. Powell and the undertakers had both the same thought, and I think much about " the same time, of introducing animals on their seveoral stages, though indeed with very different suc

cess. The Sparrows and Chaffinches at the Hay• Market fly as yet very irregularly over the stage; • and instead of perching on trees and performing o their parts, these young actors either get into the

galleries, or put out the candles; whereas Mr. Powell has so well disciplined his pig, that in the first scene he and punch dance a minuet together. I am informed, however, that Mr. Powell resolves to excel his adversaries in their own way, and introduce larks in his next opera of Susannah, or Inno

cence Betrayed; which will be exhibited next week 6 with a pair of new Elders. * The moral of Powell's drama is violated, I con

fess, by Punch's national reflections on the French, (and king Harry's laying his leg upon the Queen's

lap in too ludicrous a manner before so great an assembly.

As to the mechanism and scenery, every thing indeed was uniform and of a piece, and the scenes

were managed very dexterously; which calls on me .6 to take notice, that at the Hay-Market, the under:! takers forgetting to change their side-scenes, we

were presented with a prospect of the ocean in the • midst of a delightful grove; and though the gentle

men on the stage had very much contributed to the 6 beauty of the grove, by walking up and down be

tween the trees, I must own I was not a little astoI nished to see a well-dressed young fellow, in a fulla bottomed wig, appear in the midst of the sea, and,

without any visible concern, taking snuff.

• I shall only observe one thing farther, in which 6 both dramas agree; which is, that by the squeak of " their voices the heroes of each are eunuchs; and as 6 the wit 'in both pieces is equal, I must prefer the " performance of Mr. Powell, because it is in our own language.

I am, &c.



Parva leves capiunt animos.

. Ovid

Light minds are pleas'd with trifes.

WHEN I was in France, I used to gaze with great astonishment at the splendid equipages and partycoloured habits of that fantastic nation. I was one day in particular contemplating a lady that sat in a coach adorned with gilded Cupids, and finely painted with the loves of Venus and Adonis. The coach was drawn by six milk-white horses, and loaded behind with the same number of powdered footmen. Just before the lady were a couple of beautiful pages, that were stuck among the harness; and by their gay dresses and smiling features, looked like the elder brothers of the little boys that were carved and painted in every corner of the coach.

The lady was the unfortunate Cleanthe, who afterwards gave an occasion to a pretty melancholy novel. She had for several years received the addresses of a gentleman, whom after a long and intimate acquaintance she forsook, upon the account of this shining equipage, which had been offered to her by one of great riches, but a crazy constitution. The circumstances in which I saw her, were, it seems, the disguises only of a broken heart, and a kind of pageantry to cover distress; for in two months after, she was carried to her grave with the same pomp and magnificence; being sent thither partly by the loss of one lover, and partly by the possession of another.

I have often reflected with myself on this unaccountable humour in womankind, of being smitten with every thing that is showy and superficial; and on the numberless evils that befal the sex from this light fantastical disposition. I myself remember a young lady that was very warmly solicited by a couple of importunate rivals, who, for several months together, did all they could to recommend themselves, by complacency of behaviour, and agreeableness of conversation. At length, when the competition was doubtful, and the lady undetermined in her choice, one of the young lovers very luckily bethought himself of adding a supernumerary lace to his liveries; which had so good an effect, that he married her the very week after.

The usual conversation of ordinary women very much cherishes this natural weakness of being taken with outside appearance. Talk of a new-married couple, and you immediately hear whether they keep their coach and six, or eat on plate; mention the name of an absent lady, and it is ten to one but you learn something of her gown and petticoat. A ball is a great help to discourse, and a birth-day furnishes conversation for a twelvemonth after; a furbelow of precious stones, an hat buttoned with a diamond, a brocade waistcoat or petticoat, are standing topics. In short, they consider only the drapery of the species, and never cast away a thought on those ornaments of the mind that make persons illustrious in themselves, and useful to others. When women are thus perpetually

dazzling one another's imaginations, and filling their heads with nothing but colours, it is no wonder that they are more attentive to the superficial parts of life than the solid and substantial blessings of it. A girl who has been trained up in this kind of conversation, is in danger of every embroidered coat that comes in her way. A pair of fringed gloves may be her ruin, In a word, lace and ribbons, silver and gold galloons, with the like glittering gew-gaws, are so many lures to women of weak minds or low educations, and when artificially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy coquette from the wildest of her flights and rambles.

True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions ; it loves shade and solitude, and naturally haunts groves and fountains, fields and meadows : in short, it feels every thing it wants within itself, and receives no addition from multitudes, of witnesses and spectators. On the contrary, false happiness loves to be in a crowd, and to draw the eyes of the world upon her. She does not receive any satisfaction from the applauses which she gives herself, but from the admiration which she raises in others. She flourishes in courts and palaces, theatres and assemblies, and has no existence but when she is looked upon.

Aurelia, though a woman of great quality, delights in the privacy of a country life, and passes away a great part of her time in her own walks and gardens. Her husband, who is her bosom friend and companion in her solitudes, has been in love with her ever since he knew her. They both abound with good sense, consummate virtue, and a mutual esteem; and are a perpetual entertainment to one another. Their family is under so regular an economy, in its hours of devotion and repast, employment and diversion, that it looks like a little commonwealth within itself. They often go into company, that they may return with the greater delight to one another; and sometimes live in town, not to enjoy it so properly as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themselves the relish of a country life. By this means they are happy in each other, beloved by their children, adored by their servants, and are become the envy, or rather the delight of all that know them.

How different to this is the life of Fulvia ! she considers her husband as her steward, and looks upon discretion and good housewifery as little domestic virtues, unbecoming a woman of quality. She thinks life lost in her own family, and fancies herself out of the world when she is not in the ring, the play-house, or the drawing-room; she lives in a perpetual motion of body, and restlessness of thought, and is never easy in any one place, when she thinks there is more company in another. The missing of an opera the first night, would be more afflicting to her than the death of a child. She pities all the valuable part of her own sex, and calls every woman of a prudent, modest, and retired life, a poor-spirited unpolished creafire. What a mortification would it be to Fulvia, if she knew that her setting herself to view is but exposing herself, and that she grows contemptible by being conspicuous!

I cannot conclude my paper without observing, that Virgil has very finely touched upon this female passion for dress and show, in the character of Camilla;' who, though she seems to have shaken off all the other weaknesses of her sex, is still described as a woman in this particular. The poet tells us, that after having made a great slaughter of the enemy, she unfortunately cast her eye on a Trojan who wore an embroid

« 上一頁繼續 »