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without some indignation, that substantial English dish banished in so ignominious a manner, to make way for French kickshaws.
The dessert was brought up at last, which in truth was as extraordinary as any thing that had come before it. The whole, when ranged in its proper order, looked like a very beautiful winter-piece. There were several pyramids of candied sweetmeats, that hung like icicles, with fruits scattered up and down, and hid in an artificial kind of frost. At the same time there were great quantities of cream beaten up into a snow, and near them little plates of sugar-plums, disposed like so many heaps of hail-stones, with a multitude of congelations in jellies of various colours. I was in. deed so pleased with the several objects which lay before me, that I did not care for displacing any of them; and was half angry with the rest of the company, that for the sake of a piece of lemon-peel or a sugar-plum would spoil so pleasing a picture. Indeed, I could not but smile to see several of them cooling their mouths with lumps of ice, which they had just before been búrning with salts and peppers.
As soon as this show was over, I took my lcave, that I might finish my dinner at my own house : for as I in every thing love what is simple and natural, so particularly in my food : two plain dishes, with two or three goodnatured, cheerful, ingenious friends, would make me more pleased and vain than all that pomp and luxury can bestow. For it is my maxim, that he keeps the greatest table who has the most valuable company at it.
When artists would expose their diamonds to an advantage, they usually set them to show in little cases of black velvet. By this ineans the jewels appear in their true and genuine lustre, while there is no colour that can infect their brightness, or give a false cast to the water. When I was at the opera the other night, the assembly of ladies in mourning made me consider them in the same kind of view. A dress wherein there is so little variety shows the face in all its natural charms, and makes one differ from another only as it is more or less beautiful. Painters are ever careful of offending against a rule which is so essential in all just representations. The chief figure must have the strongest point of light, and not be injured by any gay colourings, that may draw away the attention to any less considerable part of the picture. The present fashion obliges every body to be dressed with propriety, and makes the ladies' faces the principal objects of sight. Every beautiful person shines out in all the excellence with which nature has adorned her : gaudy ribbands and glaring colours being now out of use, the sex has no opportunity given them to disfigure themselves, which they seldom fail to do whenever it lies in their power. When a woman comes to her glass, she does not employ her time in making herself look more advantageously what she really is, but endeavours to be as much another creature as she possibly can. Whether this happens because they stay so long, and attend their work so diligently, that they forget the faces and persons which they first sat down with, or whatever it is, they seldom rise froin the toilet the
- same 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 be. holder, 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 ininds 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 carriage 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