Imatges de pÓgina
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that the complacency occasioned by the possession of physical charms conduces to moral perfection.

“Why doth not beauty, then, refine the wit,

And good complexion rectify the will ?” This is a fond conceit, unwarranted by earthly test, though destined perhaps to be realized in a happier state of existence.

What a blessing for these unhandsome damsels whom we treat still more unhandsomely by our fastidious neglect, that some of us are less squeamish in our tastes, and more impartial in our attentions ! Solomon proves the antiquity of the adage-" De gustibus nil disputandum,” for he compares the hair of his beloved to a flock of goats appearing from Mount Gilead, and in a strain of enamoured fattery exclaims, “ Thy eyes are like the fish-pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim ; thy nose like the tower of Lebanon looking towards Damascus.” Now I deem it as becoming to see a woman standing behind a good roomy nose, as to contemplate a fair temple with a majestic portico; but it may be questioned whether a nose like the tower of Lebanon be not somewhat too elephantine and bordering on the proboscis. The nez retroussé is smart and piquant; the button-nose, like all other dimi. nutives, is endearing; and even the snub absolute has its admirers. Cupid can get over it, though it have no bridge, and jumps through a wall-eye like a harlequin. As to the latter feature, my taste may be singular, perhaps bad, but I confess that I have a penchant for that captivating cast, sometimes invidiously termed a squint. Its advantages are neither few nor unimportant. Like a bowl, its very bias makes it sure of hitting the jack, while it seenąs to be running out of the course ; and it has, moreo yer, the invaluable property of doing execution with but exciting suspicion, like the Irish guns with crooked bartels, made for shooting round a corner. Common observers admire the sun in its common state, but philosophers find it a thousand times more interesting when suffering a partial eclipse ; while the lovers of the picturesque are more smitten with its rising and setting than with its meridian splendour. Such men must be enchanted with a strabismus or squint, where they may behold the ball of sight emerging from the nasal east, or setting in its occidental depths, presenting every variety of obscuration. With regard to teeth, also, a very erroneous taste prevails. Nothing can be more stiff and barrack-like than that uniformity of shape and hue which is so highly vaunted, for the merest tyro in landscape will tell us that castellated and jagged outlines, with a pleasing variety of tints, are infinitely more pictorial and pleasing. Patches of bile in the face are by no means to be deprecated; they impart to it a rich mellow tone of autumnal colouring, which we should in vain seek in less gifted complexions; and I am most happy to vindicate the claims of a moderate beard upon the upper lip, which is as necessary to the perfect beauty of the mouth as are the thorns and moss to a rose, or the leaves to a cherry. If there be any old maids still extant, while mysogonists are so rare, the fault must be attributable to themselves, and they must incur all the responsibility of their single blessedness.

In the connubial lottery ugly women possess an advantage to which sufficient importance has not been attached. It is a common observation, that husband and wife frequently resemble one another; and many ingenious theorists, attempting to solve the problem by attributing it to sympathy, contemplation of one another's feature, congeniality of habits, and modes of life, &c. have fallen into the very common error of substituting the cause for the effect. This mutual likeness is the occasion, not the result, of marriage. Every man, like Narcis

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sus, becomes enamoured of the reflection of hingself, only choosing a substance instead of a shadow, His love for any particular woman is self love at Second hand, vanity reflected, compound egotism. When he sees himself in the mirror of a female face, he exclaims, “How intelligent, how amiable, how interesti:ig!-how admirably adapted for a wife !” and forth with makes his proposals to the personage so expressly and literally calculated to keep him in countenance. The uglier he is, the more need he has of this consolation ; he forms a romantic attachment to the “ fascinating creature with the stub nose,” or the “ bewitching girl with the reguish leer," (Anglicè-squint,) without once suspecting that he is paying his addresses to himself, and playing the innamorato before a lookingglass. Take self love from love, and very little remains : it is taking the flame from Hymen's torch and leaving the smoke. The same feeling extends to his progeny : he would rather see them resemble himself, particularly in his defects, than be modelled after the chubbiest Cherubs or Cupids that ever emanated from the studio of Canova. One sometimes encounters a man of a most unqualified hideousness, who obviously considers himself an Adonis ; and when such a one has to seek a congenial Venus, it is evident that her value will be in the inverse ratio of her charms. Upon this principle ugly women will be converted into belles, perfect frights will become irresistible, and none need despair of conquests, if they have but the happiness to be sufficiently plain.

The best part of beauty, says Bacon, is that which a statue or painting cannot express. symmetry of form and superficial grace, sculpture is exquisitely perfect, but the countenance is of too subtle and intangible a character to be arrested by any modification of marble. Busts, especially where the pupil of the eye is unmarked, have the

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appearance of mere masks, and are representations of little more than blindness and death. Painting supplies by colouring and shade much that sculpture wants ; but, on the other hand, it is deficient in what its rival possesses--fidelity of superficial form. Nothing can compensate for our inability to walk round a picture, and choose various points of view. Facility of production, meanness of material, and vulgarity of association, have induced us to look down with unmerited contempt upon those waxen busts in the perfumers' shops, which, as simple representations of female nature, have attained a perfection that positively amounts to the kissable. That delicacy of tint and material, which so adınirably adapts itself to female beauty, forms, however, but a milk-maidish representation of virility, and the men have, consequently, as epicene and androgynous an aspect as if they had just been bathing in the Salmacian fountain.

Countenance, however, is not within the reach of any of these substances or combinations. It is a -species of moral beauty, as superior to mere charm of surface as mind is to matter. It is, in fact, visi. ble spirit, legible intellect, diffusing itself over the features, and enabling minds to commune with each other by some secret sympathy unconnected with the senses.

The heart has a silent echo in the face, which frequently carries to us a conviction diametrically opposite to the audible expressions of the mouth; and we see, through the eyes, into the understanding of the man, long before it can communicate with us by utterance. This emanation of character is the light of a soul destined to the skies, shining through its tegument of clay, and irradiating the countenance, as the sun illuminates the face of nature before it rises above the earth to commence its heavenly career. Of this indefipable charm all women are alike susceptible: it is to them what gunpowder is to warriors; it levels all distinc

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tions, and gives to the plain and the pretty, to the timid and the brave, an equal chance of making conquests. It is, in fine, one among a thousand proofs of that system of compensation, both physical and moral, by which a superior power is perpetually evincing his benignity; affording to every human being a commensurate chance of happiness, and inculcating upon all, that when they turn their faces towards heaven, they should reflect the light from above, and be animated by one uniform expression of love, resignation, and gratitude

THE HOUNDSDITCH ALBUM.

Third Letter from Miss Hebe Hoggins.

THE CONVERZATIONE

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CADMUS had not greater difficulty in civilizing his Baotians, than I have found in introducing a comparative gentility to our domestic circle in Houndsditch, although I have finally succeeded as far as the nature of the obstacles will admit. An uncondic tional assent has been given to three articles in which I was personally interested : I am to put on a white gown every day, not to go to afternoon church on a Sunday, and never to wear pattens. My father, after a severe struggle, has consented to exchange his bob-wig for a fashionable crop; and my mother has conformed to all the external modifications I could wish, though she remains incurably afflicted with that infirmity of speech to which Mrs. Malaprop was subject. Upon questions of grammar we are perpetually at variance, for I am so often in the accusative case that Mrs. Hoggins cannot keep out of the imperative mood, and not unfrequently interrupts me with exclamations of “Psha! child, don't worret one so; I wonder you are not ashamed of

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