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times laments publicly the unlucky consequences of an amour, and has more than once been discovered to send pill-boxes and gallipots directed for himself, to be left at the bar of neighbouring coffee-houses. The same humble turn of mind induces the frugal to appear extravagant; and makes many a religious young fellow deny his principles, brave his conscience, and affect the character and conversation of an atheist. To say the truth, the generality of the gay world are arrant hypocrites in their vices, and appear to be worse than they really are. Many of our pretended bloods are, in fact, no more drunkards, whoremasters, or infidels, than a bully is a man of courage; and are as little sincere in their boasts of vice, as statesmen or beauties in their mutual professions of friendship.
That part of the female world, which composes the order of fine ladies, have as much humility as their counterparts, the fine gentlemen. There is something so charming in the fair sex, that we should almost adore them, if they did not lay aside all the pride of reputation, and by some good-natured familiarities reduce themselves to an equality with us. It is, indeed, wonderful to observe, with what diligence our polite ladies pare off the excellencies from their characters. When we see them almost as naked as the Graces, it is natural to suppose them as warmly devoted to Venus; and when we hear them talk loosely, and encourage double meanings in conversation, we are apt to imagine their notions of honour not very strict or severe. But after all, this is frequently mere hypocrisy, and the effect of humility. Many a lady, very wanton in appearance, is in reality very modest; and many a coquet has lost her reputation without losing her virtue. I make no doubt, but that several ladies of suspicious characters are not so bad as they seem, and that there are honourable persons among the gayest of our women of quality.
To return whence I set out, the extraordinary modesty of the moderns, so averse to the arrogant pride of the ancients claiming all virtues and good qualities whatsoever, is the only key to their behaviour. Vice, or at least the appearance of vice, becomes absolutely requisite to pass through the world with tolerable decency, and the character of a man of spirit. As Sir John Brute says, "they were sneaking dogs, and "afraid of being damned in those days;" but we are better informed, and fear nothing but the appearance of too much virtue. To secure the nobility, gentry, and others, from so shocking an imputation, a friend of mine will speedily present the world with a curious piece compiled from the practice and principles of the present times, entitled, A New Treatise on Ethics; or, a System of Immoral Philosophy. In this work he has treated at large of modern modesty, shewn the excellence and utility of immorality, and considered drinking, whoring, fighting, and gaming, as the four cardinal vices, or in other words, the principal constituents of bucks, bloods, and fine gentlemen.
No. LXXV. THURSDAY, JULY 3.
Non tu corpus eras sine pectore.....
Without a mind a man is but an ape,
GOOD-NATURE is to the mind, what beauty. is to the body; and an agreeable disposition creates a love and esteem for us in the rest of mankind, as an handsome person recommends us to the good graces
of the fair sex. It may be farther observed, that any little defect in point of figure is sooner overlooked, than a sourness in the temper; and we conceive a more lasting disgust at a morose churlishness of manners, than at an hump-back or a pair of bandy-legs. Good nature is, indeed, so amiable a qualification, that every man would be thought to possess it: and the ladies themselves would no more like to be accused of a perverse turn of mind, than of an unhappy cast of features. Hence it proceeds, that those unfortunate stale virgins, usually called Old Maids, have both these heavy censures thrown upon them; and are at once condemned as ugly and ill-natured.
Some persons are (according to the strict import of the phrase itself) born good-natured. These fortunate people are easy in themselves, and agreeable to all about them. They are, as it were, constitutionally pleasing; and can no more fail of being affable and engaging in conversation, than an Hamilton or a Coventry can be otherwise than beautiful and charming. Yet it is the duty even of those who are naturally endowed "with the soft parts of conversation," to be careful not to deprave or abuse them. They must not rely too confidently on their native sweetness of disposition: for we should no more esteem a man, who discovered a negligence of pleasing, than we should admire a beauty, who was an intolerable slattern. Nor, on the other hand, should they let their good-nature run to an excess of compliment and extravagant civility for an engaging temper has been as often spoiled by this troublesome politeness, as a fine shape has been squeezed into frightful distortions by tight stays, and a fine complexion entirely ruined by paint.
But if this care is requisite, even in those few who are blest with this native complacency and good humour, how necessary is it for the generality of man
kind to labour at rectifying the irregularities in their temper? For this purpose it would be fully sufficient, if they would employ half the art to cultivate their minds, that is daily used to set off their persons. To this important end, not only the female delicacies of paint and essence are called in as auxiliaries to the embroidered suits and French peruques, but this anxiety to supply any personal defect has set the invention of artificers to work with so much earnestness, that there is scarce any external blemish, which may not be removed or concealed: and however unkindly nature may have dealt with you, you may by their assistance be made a model for a statuary, or a pattern for a painter to study. If you want an inch in height, your shoe-maker can supply it; and your hosier can furnish you with a pair of calves, that may put an Irishman to the blush. An irregularity in your shape can be made invisible by your taylor, or at least by the artist near the Haymarket, who daily gives notice that he makes steel stays for all those, who are inclined to be crooked. There are various beautifying lotions and cosmetics, that will cure spots and freckles in the complexion, and combs and unguents, that will change red hair to the finest brown. Do you want an eye? Taylor will fill the vacant socket with as bright a piercer, as the family of the Pentweazles can boast. Or is your mouth deficient for want of teeth? Paul Jullion, (to use his own phrase) will rectify your head, and will fix a set in your gums as even and as white, as ever adorned the mouth of a chimney-sweeper. These, and many other inventions no less curious and extraordinary have been devised; and there are no operations, however painful, which have not been devised; and there are no operations, however painful, which have not been submitted to with patience, to conquer personal deformities. I know a gentleman who went through the agony of having his
leg broken a second time, because it had been set awry; and I remember a lady, who died of a cancer in her breast, occasioned by the application of repelling plaisters to keep back her milk, that the beauty of her neck might not be destroyed. I most heartily wish the same resolution was discovered in improving the disposition. Tully, in that part of his Offices where he speaks of grace, tells us, "that it is destroyed by any "violent perturbations either of the body or mind." It is a pity, that mankind cannot be reconciled to this opinion; since it is likely, they would spare no pains in cultivating their minds, if they attended to adorn their persons. Yet it is certain, that a man makes a worse figure with an ignorant pate, than an unpowdered peruque: and that knowledge is a greater ornament to the head, than a bag or a smart cocked hat; that anger sets like a blood-shot in the eyes, while good nature lights them up with smiles, and makes every feature in the face charming and agreeable.
The difficulty of being convinced that we want this social turn, is the grand reason, that so little pains are taken to acquire and perfect it. Would a man once be persuaded of any irregularity in his temper, he would find the blemishes of the mind more easily corrected and amended, than the defects and deformities of the body but alas! every man is in his own opinion sensible and good-humoured. It is, indeed, possible to convince us, that we have a bad complexion or an awkward deportment, which we endeavour to amend by washes and a dancing-master; but when the mind is accused, self-adulation, the most fatal species of flattery, makes us cajole ourselves into a belief, that the fault is not in our own disposition, but in that of our companions; as the mad inhabitants of Moorfields conclude all that come to visit them out of their senses. This foolish flattery it is, that makes us think ourselves inflexibly in the right, while we are obstinately wrong,