« PreviousContinue »
more jiggish than the fiddle itself, and never souuds but to dance.
The fourth person who bore a part in the conversasion was a Prude, 'who stuck to the Trial, and was silent upon the whole Opera. The gravity of her çensures, and composure of her voice, which were often attended with supercilio’s casts of the eye, and a sceming coutempt for the lightness of the conversation, put me in mind of that ancient, serious, matron-like instrument, the Virginal.
I must not pass over in silence a Lancashire Hornpipe, by which I would signify a young country lady, who, with a great deal of mirth and innocence, diverted the company very agreeably; and if I am pot mistaken, by that time the wildness of her notes is a little softened, and the redundancy of her music restrained by conversation and good company, will be improved into one of the most amiable Flutes about the town. Your Romps and boarding-school girls fall likewise under this denomination.
On the right-hand of the Hornpipe sat a WelshHarp, an instrument which very much delights in the lunes of old historical ballads, and in celebrating the renowned actiops and exploits of aụciept British heroes. By this instrument I iberefore would describe a certaip lady, who is one of those female historians that upon all occasions enters into pedigrees and descents, and
ds herself related, by some off-shoot' or other, to almost every great family in England: for which reason, she jarrs and is out of tune very often in conversation, for the company's want of due attention and respect to her.
But the most sonorous pari of our consort was a She-drum, or, as the vulgar call it, a Kettle-drum, who accompanied her discourse with motions of the body, tosses of the head, and brandishes of the fan,
Her music was loud, bold, and masculine. Every thump she gave alarmed the company, and very often set somebody or other in it a-blushing.
The last I shall mention was a certain romantic instrument called a Dulcimer, who talked of nothing but shady woods, flowery meadows, purling streams, larks and nightingales, with all the beauties of the spring, and the pleasures of a country life. This instrument hath a fine melancholy sweetness in it, and goes very well with the Flute.
I think most of the conversable part of womankind may
be found under one of the foregoing divisions ; but it must be confessed, that the generality of that sex, notwithstanding they have naturally a great genius for being talkative, are not mistresses of more than one note: with which, however, by frequent repetition, they inake a greater sound than those who are possessed of the whole gamut; as may be observed in your Larums or Household-scolds, and in your Castanets or impertinent Tittletattles, who have no other variety in their discourse but that of talking slower or faster.
Upon communicating this scheme of music to an old friend of mine, who was formerly a man of gallantry, and a rover, he told me that he believed he had been in love with every instrument in my consort, The first that smit bim was a Hornpipe, who lived near his father's house in the country; but upon his failing to meet her at an assize, according to appointment, she cast him off. His next passion was för a Kettle-drum, whom he fell in love with at a play; but when he became acquainted with her, not finding the softness of her sex in her conversation, he grew cool to her: though at the same time he could not deny but that she behaved berself very much like a gentlewoman. His third mistress was a Dulcimer, who, he found, took great delight in sighing and languishing, but would yo no farther than the preface of matrimony; so that she would never let a lover have any more of her than her heart, which after having won, he was forced to leave her, as despairing of any further success. “I must confess,” says my friend, I have often considered her with a great deal of admiration; and I find her pleasure is so much in tbis first step of an amour, that her life will pass away in dream, solitụde, and soliloquy, until her decay of charms makes her snatch at the worst man that ever pretended to her. In the next place,” says my friend, " I fell in love with a Kit, who led me such a dance through all the yarieties of a familiar, cold, fond, and indifferent behaviour, that the world began to grow censorious, though without any cause'; for which reason, to recover our reputations, we parted by consent. To mend my hand,” says he, 6 I made my next application to a Virginal, who gave me great encouragement, after her cautious manner, until some mali cious companiou told her of my long passion for the Kit, which made her turn me off, as a scandalous fellow. At length, in despair," says he, “ I betook myself to a Welsh-Harp, who rejected me with contempt, after having found that my great grandmother was a brewer's daughter."
I found by the sequel of my friend's discourse, , that he had never aspired to a Hautboy; that he had been exasperated by a Flagelet : and that to this very day, he pines away for a Flute.
Upon the whole, having thoroughly considered how absolutely necessary it is, that two instruments, which are to play together for life, should be exactly tuned, and go in perfect consort with each other; I would propose watches between the music of both sexes, according to the following “ Table of Marriage :"
1. Drum and Kettle-Drum.
9. Passing--bell and Virginal. ** Mr. Bickerstaff, in consideration of his ancierit friendship and acquaintance with Mr. Betterton, and great esteem for his merit, summons all his disciples, whether dead or living, mad or tame, Toasts, Smarts, Dappers, Pretty-fellows, musicians, or scrapers, to make their appearance at the playhouse in the Hay-market on Thursday next, when there will be a play acted for the benefit of the said Betterton,
N° 158. THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 1710.
Faciunt næ intelligendo, ut nihil intelligang
TER. While they pretend to know more than others, they knox
nothing in reality.
From my own Apartment, April 12. Tom Folio is a broker in learning, employed to get together good editions, and stock the libraries of great men. There is not a sale of books begins Until Tom Folio is seen at the door. There is niet an auction where his name is not heard, and that too in the very nick of time, in the critical moment, hefore the last decisive stroke of the hammer. There is not a subscription goes forward in which Tom is not privy to the first rough draught of the proposals ; nor a catalogue printed, that doth not come to him wet from the press. He is an universal scholar, so far as the title-page of all authors; knows the manuscripts in which they were discovered, the editions through which they have passed, with the praises or censures which they have received from the several members of the learned world. He has a greater esteem for Aldus and Elzevir, thay for Virgil and Horace. If you talk of Herodotus, he breaks out into a panegyric upon Harry Stephens. He thinks he gives you an account of an author when he tells
you the subject he treats of, the name of the editor, and the year in which it was printed. Or if you draw him into further particulars he cries up the goodness of the paper, extols the diligence of the corrector, and is transported with the beauty of the letter. This he looks upon to be sound learning, and substantial criticism. As for those who talk of the fineness of style, and the justness of thought, or describe the brightness of any particular passages; nay, though they themselves write in the genius and spirit of the author they admire; Tom looks upon them as men of superficial learning, and fashy parts.
I bad yesterday morning a visit from this learned ideot, for that is the light in which I consider every pedant, when I discover in him some little touches of the coxcomb, which I had not before observed. Being very
full of the figure which he makes in the republic of letters, and wonderfully satisfied with his great stock of knowledge, he gave me broad intimations that he did not believe in all points as his forefathers had done. He then communicated to me a