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from the Stage; but only such as had too much Horror in them, and which would have a better Effect upon the Audience when transacted behind the Scenes. I would therefore recoinmend to my Countrymen the Practice of the ancient Poers, who were very sparing of their publick Executions, and rather chose to perform them behind the Scenes, if it could be done with as great an Effect upoia the Audience. At the same time I must observe, that though the devoted Persons of the Tragedy were seldoin flain before the Audience, which has generally something ridiculous in it, their Bodies were often produced after their Death, which has always in it fomething melancholy or terrifying; so that the killing on the Stage does not seem to have been avoided only as an Indeceny, but also as an Improbability.
Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet ;
I have now gone through the several dramatick Inven. tions which are made use of by the ignorant Poets to supply the Place of Tragedy, and by the Skilful to improve it; some of which I could wish entirely, rejected, and the rest to be used with Caution. It would be an endless Task to consider Comedy in the same Light, and to mention the innumerable Shifts that small Wits put in practice to raise a Laugh. Bullock in a short Coat, and Norris in a long one, seldom fail of this Effect. In ordinary Comedies, a broad and a narrow brim'd Hat are different Cha. racters. Sometimes the Wit of the Scene lies in a Shoul. der-Belt, and sometimes in a Pair of Whiskers. A Lover running about the Stage, with his Head peeping out of a Barrel, was thought a very good Jart in King Charles the
Second's Time; and invented by one of the first Wits of that Age. But because Ridicule is not so delicate as Compaflion, and because the Objects that make us laugh are infinitely more numerous than those that make us weep, there is a much greater Latitude for comick than tragick Artifices, and by consequence a much greater Indulgence to be allowed them..
HERE is nothing which I more desire than a safe. and honourable Peace, tho' at the same time I am
very apprehensive of many ill Consequences that: may attendit. I do not mean in regard to our Politicks, but to our Manners. What an Inundation of Ribbons and Brocades will break in upon us ? What Peals of Laughter and Impertinence shall we be exposed to ? For the Preven. tion of these great Evils, I could heartily wish that there. wasan Act of Parliament for Prohibiting the Importation of French Fopperies.
THE Fernale Inhabitants of our Illand have already received very strong Impressions from this ludicrous Na. tion, tho' by the Length of the War (as there is no Evil which has not some Good-attending it) they are pretty. well worn out and forgotten. I remember the time when some of our well-bred Country-Women kept their Valet de Chambre, because, forsooth, a Man was much more handy about them than one of their own Sex. I my self have seen one of these Male Abigails tripping about the Room with a Looking-Glass in his Hand, and combing his Lady's Hair a whole Morning together, Whether or no there was any Truth in the Story of a Lady's being got with Child by one of these her Hand. maids I cannot tell, but I think at present the whole Race of thein is excinct in our own Country..
ABOUT the Time that several of our Sex were caken into this kind of Service, the Ladies likewise brought up
the Fashion of receiving Visits in their Beds. It was then looked upon as Piece of lll 'Breeding for a Woman to refuse to see a Man, because she was not stirring; and a Porter would have been thought unfit for his Place, that could have made so aukward an Excuse. As I love to see every thing that is new, I once prevailed upon my Friend WILL. HONEYCOMB to carry me along with him to one of these Travelled Ladies, defiring him, at the same time, to present me as a Foreigner who could not speak English, that fo I might not be obliged to bear a Part in the Discourse. The Lady, tho'willing to appear undrest, had put on her best Looks, and painted her self for our Reception. Her Hair appeared in a very nice Dis. order, as the Night-Gown which was thrown upon her Shoulders was ruffled with great Care. For my Part, I am so shocked with every thing which tooks immodest : in the Fair Sex, that I could not forbear taking off my Eye from her when she moved in her Bed, and was in the greatest Confusion imaginable every time she stirreda · Leg or an Arm. As the Coquets, who introduced this Custom, grew old, they left it off by degrees; well knowing that a Woman of Threescore may kick and tumble her Heart out, without making any Impressions.
SEMPRONIA is at present the most profeft Admi. rer of the French Nation, but is so modest as to admit her Visitants no farther than her Toilet. It is a very odd Sight that beautiful Creature makes, when she is talking Politicks with her Tresses-flowing about her Shoulders, and examining that Face in the Glass, which does such Execution upon all the Male Standers-by. · How prettily does she divide her Discourse between her Woman and her Visitants? What fprightly Transitions does she mike from an Opera or a Sermon, to an Ivory Comb or a Pin. Cushion? How have I been pleased to see hier interrupted in an Account of her Travels, by a Meffage to her Footman! and holding her Tongue, in the midst of a Moral Reflection, by applying the Tip of it to a Patch?
THERE is nothing which exposes a Woman to greater Dangers, than that Gaiety and Airinefs of Temper, which are natural to most of the Sex: It should be there
fore the Concern of every wise and virtuous Woman, to keep this Sprightliness froin degenerating into Levity. On the contrary, the whole Discourse and Behaviour of the French is to make the Sex more Fantastical, or, (as they are pleased to term it) more awakened, than is consistent either with Virtue or Discretion. To speak Loud in Publick Assemblies, to let every one hear you Talk of Things that should only be mentioned in Private, or in Whisper, are looked upon as Parts of a refined Education. At the fame time, a Blush is unfashionable, and Silence more illbred than any thing that can be spoken. In short, Discretion and Modesty, which in all other Ages and Countries have been regarded as the greatest Ornaments of the Fair Sex, are considered as the Ingredients of narrow Conversation, and Family Behaviour.
SOME Years ago I was at the Tragedy of Mackbeth, and unfortunately placed my self under a Woman
of Quality that is fince Dead; who, as I found by the Noise The made, was newly returned from France, , A little before the rising of the Curtain, she broke out into a loud Soliloquy, When will the dear Witches enter ? and innmediately upon their first Appearance, asked a Lady that fat three Boxes from her, on her Right Hand, if those Witches were not charming Creatures. A little after, as Betterton was in one of the finest Speeches of the Play, she shook her Fan at another Lady, who fate as far on the Left Hand, and told her with a Whisper, that might be heard all over the Pit, We must not expect to fee Balloon to Night. Not long after, calling out to a young Baronet by his Name, who fate three Seats before me, The asked him whether Mackbeth's Wife was still alive, and before he could give an Answer, fell a talking of the Ghost of Banquo. She had by this time formed a little Audience to her self, and fixed the Attention of all about her. But as I had a mind to hear the Play, I got out of the Sphere of her Impertinence, and planted my self in one of the remotest Corners of the Pit,
THIS pretty Childishness of Behaviour is one of the most refined Parts of Coquetry, and is not to be attained in Perfection, by Ladies that do not Travel for their Improvement. A natural and unconstrained Behaviour has something in it so agreeable, that it is no wonder to see
People endeavouring after it. But at the same time, it is so very hard to hit, when it is not Born with us, that People often make themselyes Ridiculous in attempting it.
A very ingenious French Author tells us, that the Ladies of the Court of France, in his Time, thought it ill Breeding, and a kind of Female Pedantry, to pronounce an hard Word right; for which Reason they took frequent occasion to use hard Words, that they might shew a Politeness in murdering them. He further adds, that a Lady of some Quality at Court, having accidentally made use of an hard word in a proper Place, and pronounced it right, the whole Assembly was out of Countenance for her.
I must however be lo just to own, that there are many Ladies who have Travelled several Thousands of Miles without being the worse for it, and have brought Home with them all the Modesty, Discretion, and good Sense, that they went Abroad with. As on the contrary, there are great Numbers or Travelled Ladies, who have lived all their Days within the Smoak of London. I have known a Woman that never was out of the Parish of St. James's betray as many Foreign Fopperies in her Carriage, as she could have Gleaned up in half the Countries of Europe.
Monday, April 23.
Non bene junétarum difcordia semina rerum,
'HEN I want Materials for this paper, it is my Custom to go abroad in quest of Game;
and when I meet any proper Subject, I take the first Opportunity of setting down an Hint of it upoir Paper. At the same time I look into the Letters of my Correspondents, and if I find any thing suggested in them that may afford Matter of Speculation, I likewise enter a Minute of it in my Collection of Materials. By