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passes in review like the figures of a procession ; fome may be aukward, others ill dressed; but none but a fool is for this enraged with the master of the ceremonies.
I remember to have once seen a Nave in a forti. fication in Flanders, who appeared no way touched with his situation. He was maimed, deformed, and chained ; obliged to toil from the appearance of day 'till night-fall, and condemned to this for life ; yet, with all these circumstances of apparent wretchedness, he sung, would have danced, but that he wanted a leg, and appeared the merrieft, happiest man of all the garrison. What a practical philosopher was here ; -an happy constitution supplied philosophy, and though seemingly destitute of wisdom, he was really wise. No reading or study had contributed to disenchant the fairy land around him. Every thing furnished him with an opportunity of mirth ; and though some thought him from his insensibility a fool, he was such an idiot as philosophers might with in vain to imitate.
They, who like him can place themselves on that side of the world, in which every thing appears in a ridiculous or pleasing light, will find something in every occurrence to excite their good humour, The moft calamitous events, either to themselves or others, can bring no new affliction; the whole world is to them a theatre, on which comedies only are acted. All the bustle of heroism, or the rants of ambition, serve only to heighten the absurdity of the scene, and make the humour more poignant. They feel, in short, as little anguish at their own distress, or the complaints of others, as the undertaker, though dressed in black, feels forrow at a funeral.
Of all the men I ever read of, the famous Cardinal De Retz poslefled this happiness of temper in the highest degree. As he was a man of gallantry, and
despised all that wore the pedantic appearance of philofophy, wherever pleasure was to be sold, he was generally foremost to raise the auction. Being an universal admirer of the fair sex, when he found
one lady cruel, he generally fell in love with another, from whom he expected a more favourable reception : if she too rejected his addresses, he never thought of retiring into desarts, or pining in hopeless distress. He persuaded himself, that instead of loving the lady, he only fancied he had loved her, and so all was well again. When fortune wore her angrieft look, when he at last fell into the power of his most deadly enemy Cardinal Mazarine, and was confined a close prisoner in the castle of Valenciennes, he never attempted to support his distress by wisdom or philosophy, for he pretended to neither. He laughed at himself and his perfecutor, and seemed infinitely pleased at his new situation. In this manfion of distress, though secluded from his friends, though denied all the amusements, and even the conveniencies of life, teized every hour by the impertinence of wretches who were employed to guard him, he still retained his good humour, laughed at all their little spite, and carried the jest so far as to be revenged, by writing the life of his gaoler.
All that philosophy can teach, is to be stubborn or fullen under misfortunes. The Cardinal's example will instruct us to be merry in circumstances of the liighest affliction. It matters not whether our good humour be construed by others into insensibility, or even idiotisim ; it is happiness to ourselves, and none but a fool would measure his fatisfaction by what the world thinks of it.
Dick Wildgoose was one of the happiest filly fel.. lows I ever knew. He was of the number of those good natured creatures that are said to do no harm to any but themselves. Whenever Dick fell into
I leave my
any mifery, he usually called it seeing life. If his head was broke by a chairman, or his pocket picked by à sharper, he comforted himself by imitating the Hibernian dialect of the one, or the more fashionable cant of the other. Nothing came amiss to Dick. His inattention to money matters had incensed his father to such a degree, that all the interceffion of friends in his favour was fruitlefs. The old gentleman was on his death-bed. The whole family, and Dick among the number, gathered round him.
fecond son Andrew, said the expiring miser, my whole estate, and defire him to be frugal. Andrew, in a forrowful tone, as is usual on these OCcasions, “ Prayed heaven to prolong his life and or health to enjoy it himself.” I recommend Simon, my third fon, to the care of his elder brother, and leave him beside four thousand pounds. Ah! father, cried Simon, (in great affliction to be fure) “ May heaven give you life and health to enjoy it
yourfelf!" At last, turning to poor Dick; as for you, you have always been a fad dog, you'll never come to good, you'll never be rich, I'll leave you a fhilling to buy an halter. Ah! father, cries Dick, without any emotion, “ May heaven give
you life and health to enjoy it yourself!” This was all the trouble the loss of fortune gave this thoughtless imprudent creature. However, the tenderness of an uncle recompenced the neglect of a father ; and Dick is not only excessively good-humoured, but competently rich.
The world, in short, may cry out at a bankrupt who appears at a ball ; at an author who laughs at the public which pronounces him a dunce; at a general who smiles at the reproach of the vulgar, or the lady who keeps her good-humour in fpite of scandal ; but such is the wisest behaviour they can possibly assume ; it is certainly a better way to oppose calamity by diffi
pation, than to take up the arms of reason or refolution to oppose it: by the first method we forget our miseries, by the last we only conceal them from others; by struggling with misfortunes, we are sure to receive some wounds in the conflict. The only method to come off victorious, is by running away.
ON OUR THEATRES.
MADEMOISELLE CLAIRON, a celebrated actress at Paris, seems to me the most perfect female figure I have ever seen upon any stage. Not, perhaps, that Nature has been more liberal of personal beauty to her, than some to be seen upon our theatres at home. There are actresses here who have as much of what connoisseurs call statuary grace, by which is meant elegance unconnected with motion, as she; but they all fall infinitely short of her, when the soul comes to give expression to the limbs, and animates every feature.
Her first appearance is exceffively engaging; she never comes in staring round upon the company, as if the intended to count the benefits of the house, or at least to fee, as well as be seen. Her eyes are always, at first, intently fixed upon the persons of the drama, and The lifts them by degrees, with enchanting diffidence, upon the spectators. Her first speech, or at least the first part of it, is delivered with scarcely any motion of the arm; her hands and her tongue never set out together ; but the one prepares us for the other. She sometimes begins with a mute eloquent attitude ; but never goes forward all at once with hands, eyes, head, and voice. This observation, though it may appear of no importance, should 6
certainly be adverted to; nor do I see any one peřs former (Garrick only excepted) among us, that is not in this particular apt to offend. By this simple beginning the gives herself a power of rising in the passion of the scene. As the proceeds, every gesture, every look acquires new violence, till at last transported, The fills the whole vehemence of the part, and all the idea of the poet.
Her hands are not alternately stretched out, and then drawn in again, as with the singing women at Sadler's Wells; they are employed with graceful variety, and every moment please with new and unexpected eloquence. Add to this, that their motion is generally from the shoulder ; she never flourishes her hands while the upper part of her arm is motionless, nor has she the ridiculous appearance, as if her elbows were pinned to her hips.
But of all the cautions to be given to our rising actresses, I would particularly recommend it to them never to take notice of the audience, upon any occasion whatsoever ; let the spectators applaudi never so loudly, their praises should pass, except at the end of the epilogue, with seeming inattention. can never pardon a lady on the stage who, when she draws the admiration of the whole audience, turns about to make them a low courtsey for their ap. plause. Such a figure no longer continues Belvidera, but at once drops into Mrs. Cibber. Suppose a sober tradesman, who once a year takes his Thilling's worth at Drury-lane, in order to be delighted with the figure of a queen, the queen of Sheba for instance, or any other queen : this honest man has no other idea of the greai but from their superior pride .and impertinence : suppose such a man placed among the spectators, the first figure that appears on the stage is the queen herself, courtesying and cringing to all the company; how can he fancy her