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might blur ten sides of paper in attempting a defence of 11 against a critic who should be laughter-proof. The quibble in itself is not considerable. It is only a new turn given, by a little false pronunciation, to a very common, though not very courteous inquiry. Put by one gentleman to another at a dinner-party, it would have been vapid; to the mistress of the house, it would have shown much less wit than rudeness. We must take in the totality of time, place, and person ; the pert look of the inquiring scholar, the desponding looks of the puzzled porter; the one stopping at leisure, the other hurrying on with his burden; the innocent though rather abrupt tendency of the first member of the question, with the utter and inextricable irrelevancy of the second ; the place—a public street, not favourable to frivolous investigations; the affrontive quality of the primitive inquiry (the common question) invidiously transferred to the derivative (the new turn given to it) in the inplied satire; namely, that few of that tribe are expected to eat of the good things which they carry, they being in most countries considered rather as the temporary trustees than owners of such dainties—which the fellow was beginning to understand; but then the wig again comes in, and he can make nothing of it: all put together constitute a picture : Hogarth could have made it intelligible on canvass.
Yet nine out of ten critics will pronounce this a very bad pun, because of the defectiveness in the concluding member, which is its very beauty, and constitutes the surprise. The same persons shall cry up for admirable the cold quibble from Virgil about the broken Cremona ;* because it is made out in all its parts, and leaves nothing to the imagination. We venture to call it cold; because, of thousands who have admired it, it would be difficult to find one who has heartily chuckled
As appealing to the judgment merely, (setting the risible faculty aside,) we must pronounce it a monument of curious felicity. But as some stories are said to be too good to be true, it may with equal truth be asserted of this bi-verbal allusion, that it is too good to be natural. One cannot help suspecting that the incident was invented to fit the line. It would have been better had it been less perfect.
Like some Virgilian hemistichs, it has suffered by filling up. The nimi. um Vicina was enough in conscience; the Cremone afterward Loads it. It is, in fact, a double pun; and we have always observed that a superfetation in this sort of wit is dangerous. When a man has said a good thing, it is seldom politic to fol.
We do not care to be cheated a second time; or
Cow it up.
perhaps, the mind of man (with reverence be it spoken) is not capacious enough to lodge two puns at a time. The impression, to be forcible must be simultaneous and undivideda
THAT HANDSOME IS THAT HANDSOME DOES.
Those who use this proverb can never have seen Mrs. Conrady.
The soul, if we may believe Plotinus, is a ray from the celestial beauty. As she partakes more or less of this heavenly light, she informs, with corresponding characters, the fleshy tenement which she chooses, and frames to herself a suitable mansion.
All which only proves that the soul of Mrs. Conrady, in her pre-existent state, was no great judge of architecture.
To the same effect, in a hymn in honour of beauty, divine Spenser, platonizing, sings :
“Every spirit as it is more pure,
For soul is form, and doth the body make.”
These poets, we find, are no safe guides in philosophy ; tor here, in his very next stanza but one, is a saving clause, which throws us all out again, and leaves us as much to seek as
“ Yet oft it falls, that many a gentle mind
Dwells in deformed tahernacle drown'd,
From which it would follow, that Spenser had seen somebody like Mrs. Conrady.
The spirit of this good lady-her previous anima—must have stumbled upon one of these untoward tabernacles which he speaks cf. A more rebellious commodity of clay for a ground,
as the poet calls it, no gentle mind—and sure hers is one of the gentlest-ever had to deal with.
Pondering upon her inexplicable visage-inexplicable, we mean, but by this modification of the theory—we have conie to a conclusion that, if one must be plain, it is better to be plain all over, than, amid a tolerable residue of features, to hang out one that shall be exceptionable. No one can say of Mrs. Conrady's countenance, that it would be better if she had but a nose. It is impossible to pull her to pieces in this
We have seen the most malicious beauties of her own sex baffled in the attempt at a selection. The tout ensemble defies particularizing. It is too complete, too consistent, as we may say—to admit of these invidious reservations. It is not as if some Apelles had picked out here a lip—and there a chin-out of the collected ugliness of Greece, to frame a model hy. It is a symmetrical whole. We challenge the minutest connoisseur to cavil at any part or parcel of the countenance in question; to say that this or that is improperly placed. We are convinced that true ugliness, no less than is affirmed of true beauty, is the result of harmony. Like that, too, it reigns without a competitor. No one ever saw Mrs. Conrady, with vut pronouncing her to be the plainest woman he ever met with in the course of his life. The first time that you are indulged with a sight of her face is an era in your existence ever alter.
You are glad to have seen it-like Stonehenge. No one can pretend to forget it. No one ever apologized to her for meeting her in the street on such a day and not knowing her: the pretext would be too bare. Nobody can mistake her for another. Nobody can say of her, “ I think I have seen that face somewhere, but I cannot call to mind where." You must remember that in such a parlour it first struck you-like a bust. You wondered where the owner of the house had picked it up. You wondered more when it began to move its lips-so mildly too! No one ever thought of asking her to sit for her picture. Lockets are for remembrance; and it would be clearly superfluous to hang an image at your heart, which, once seen, can never be out of it. It is not a mean face either; its entire originality precludes that. Neither is it of that order of plain faces which improve upon acquaintance. Some very good but ordinary people, by an unwearied perseverance in good offices, put a cheat upon our eyes ; juggle our senses out of their natural impressions; and set us upon discovering good indications in a countenance, which at first sight prom, ised nothing less. We detect gentleness, which had escaped us, lurking about an under lip. But when Mrs. Conrady has done you a service, her face remains the same ; when she has done you a thousand, and you know that she is ready to double the number, still it is that individual face. Neither can you say of it, that it would be a good face if it were not marked by the smallpox--a compliment which is always more admissive than excusatory-for either Mrs. Conrady never had the smallpox, or, as we say, took it kindly. No, it stands upon its own merits fairly. There it is. It is her mark, her woken; that which she is known by.
THAT WE MUST NOT LOOK A GIFT-HORSE IN THE
Nor a lady's age in the parish register. We hope we have more delicacy than to do either ; but some faces spare us the trouble of these dental inquiries. And what if the beast, which
friend would force upon my acceptance, prove, upon the face of it, a sorry Rosinante, a lean, ill-favoured jade, whom no gentleman could think of setting up in his stables ? Must I, rather than not be obliged to my friend, make her a companion to Eclipse or Lightfout ? A horse-giver, no more than a horseseller, has a right to palın his spavined article upon us for good
An equivalent is expected in either case; and, with my own good-will, I wowd no more be cheated out of my thanks than out of my money. Some people have a knack of putting upon you gifts of no real value, to engage you to substantial gratitude. We thank thein for nothing. Our friend Mitis carries this humour of never refusing a present to the very point of absurdity-if it were possible to couple the ridiculous with so much mistaken delicacy and real goodnature. Not an apartment in his fine house (and he has a true taste in household decorations) but is stuffed up with some preposterous print or mirror-the worst adapted to his panels that may be—the presents of his friends that know his weakness ; while his noble Vandykes are displaced, to make room for a set of daubs, the works of some wretched artist of his acquaintance, who, having had them returned upon his hands for bad likenesses, finds his account in destowing them here gratis. The good creature has not the heart to mortify the painter at the expense of an honest refusal. It is pleasant (if it did not vex one at the same time) to see him sitting in his dining-parlour, surrounded with obe scure aunts and cousins, to God knows whom, while the true Lady Marys and Lady Bettys of his own honourable family, in favour to these adopted frights, are consigned to the staircase and the lumber-room. In like manner his goodly shelves are one by one stripped of his favourite old authors, to give place to a collection of presentation copies—the flour and bran of modern poetry. A presentation copy, reader—if haply you are yet innocent of such favours——is a copy of a book which does not sell, sent you by the author, with his foolish autograph at the beginning of it; for which, if a stranger, he only demands your friendship; if a brother author, he expects from you a book of yours, which does sell, in return. speak to experience, having by us a tolerable assortment of these gifi-horses. Not to ride a metaphor to death willing to acknowledge that in some gifts there is sense. A duplicate out of a friend's library (where he has more than one copy of a rare author) is intelligible. There are favours, short of the pecuniary—a thing not fit to be hinted at among gentlemen—which confer as much grace upon the accepter as the offerer; the kind, we confess, which is most to our palate, is of those little conciliatory missives, which for their vehicle generally choose a namper-little odd presents of game, fruit, perhaps wine-though it is essential to the delicacy of the latter that it be home-made. We love to have our friend in the country sitting thus at our table by proxy; to apprehend his presence (though a hundred miles may be between us) by a turkey, whose goodly aspect reflects to us his "plump corpusculum;" to taste him in grouse or woodcock; to feel him gliding down in the toast peculiar to the latter; to concorporate him in a slice of Canterbury brawn. This is indeed to have him within ourselves; to know him intimately: such participation is, methinks, unitive, as the old theologians phrase it. For these considerations we should be sorry if certain restrictive regulations, which are thought to bear hard upon the peasantry of this country, were entirely done away with. A hare, as the law now stands, makes many friends. Caius conciliates Titius (knowing his goût) with a leash of partridges. Titius (suspecting his partiality for them) passes them to Lucius ; who in his turn, preferring his friend's relish to his own, makes him over to Marcius ; till, in their ever-widening progress and round of unconscious circum-migration, they distribute the seeds of harmony over half a parish. well disposed to this kind of sensible remembrances; and are the less apt to be taken by those little airy tokens—impalpable to the palate-which, under the names of rings, lockets, keep