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which I suspect our dealers in Circassian bloom have not yet been able to imitate, nor, if they could, to shift so suddenly ; for whilst my eye was passing over it, her cheek underwent a change, which courtly cheeks, who purchase blushes, are not subject to; the whole was conducted by those most ge. nuine masters and best colourists of the human coun. tenance, modesty and sensibility, under the direc. tion of nature ; and though I am told the ingenious President of our Royal Academy has attempted something in art, which resembles it, yet I am hard to believe, that his carnations, however volatile, can quite keep pace with the changes of Constantia's cheek. Wise and discreet young ladies, who are taught to know the world by education and ex. perience, have a better method of concealing their thoughts, and a better reason for concealing them; in short they manage this matter with more address, and do not, like poor Constantia,
Wear their hearts upon their sleeve
When a fashionable lover assails his mistress with all that energy of action as well as utterance, which accompanies polite declarations of passion, it would be highly indiscreet in her to shew him how su. premely pleased and flattered she is by his impu. dence; no, she puts a proper portion of scorn into her features, and with a stern countenance tells him, she cannot stand his impertinence; if he will not take this fair warning and desist, she may indeed be overpowered through the weakness of her sex, but nobody can say it was her bashfulness that betrayed her,'or that there was any prudent hypocrisy spared in her defence. VOL. XXXVIII.
Again, when a fashionable lady throws her fine arms round her husband's neck, and in the mourn. ful tone of conjugal complaint sighs out- and will my dearest leave his fond unhappy wife to bewail his absence, whilst he is following a vile filthy fox over hedge and ditch at the peril of his neck ?'would it not be a most unbred piece of sincerity wers she to express in her face what she feelsin her heart -a cordial wish that he may really break his neck, and that she is very much beholden to those odious hounds, as she calls them, for taking him out of her sight ? Certainly such an act of folly could not be put up with in an age and country so enlightened as the present; and surely, when so many ladies of distinction are turning actresses in public to amuse their friends, it would be hard if they did not set apart some rehearsals in private to accommodate themselves.
I LEFT Constantia somewhat abruptly in my last paper; and to say the truth rather in an awkward predicament; but as I do not like to interrupt young ladies in their blushes, I took occasion to call off the reader's attention from her, and bestowed it upon other ladies, who are not subject to the same embarrassments.
Our party soon broke up after this event: Ned and I repaired to our apartments in the Poultry, Constantia to those slumbers which purity inspires, temperance endears, and devotion blesses.
The next morning brought Ned to my levee; he had lain awake all night, but no noises were complained of; they were not in the fault of having deprived him of his repose.
He took up the morning paper, and the playhouse advertisements caught his eye: He began to question me about The Clandestine Marriage, which was up for the night at Drury-Lane : Was it a comedy? I told him yes, and an admirable one: Then it ended happily, he presumed: Certainly it did : a very amiable young woman was clandestinely married to a deserving young man, and both parties at the close of the fable were reconciled to their friends and made happy in each other : And is all this represented on the stage? cried Ned : All this with many more incidents is acted on the stage, and so acted, let me assure you, as leaves the merit of the performers only to be exceeded by that of the poet: This is fine indeed! replied he; then as sure as can be I will be there this very night, if you think they will admit a country clown like me.—There was no fear of that.- Very well then ; is not this the play of all plays for Constantia ? Oh that I had old Surly there too ; what would I give to have her grandfather at her elbow ! He was so possessed with the idea, and built his castles in the air so nimbly, that I could not find in my heart to dash the vision by throwing any bars in its way, though enough occurred to me, had I been disposed to employ tiem.
Away posted Ned (quantum mutatus ab illo !) on the wings of love to Saint Mary Axe; what rhetoric he there made use of I cannot pretend to say, but certainly he came back with a decree in his fa. vour for Mrs. Abrahams and Constantia to accom. pany him to the comedy, if I would undertake to convoy the party; for honest Abrahams, (though a dear lover of the muse, and as much attached to stage plays, as his countryman Shylock was averse from them) had an unlucky engagement elsewhere, and as for Mrs. Goodison, Ned had sagaciously discovered that she had some objection to the title of the comedy in her own particular, though she stated none against her daughter's being there.
After an early dinner with Abrahams, we re. paired to the theatre, four in number, and whilst the second music was playing posted ourselves with all due precaution, on the third row of one of the front boxes, where places had been kept for us ; Mrs. Abrahams on my left hand against the parti. tion of the box, and Constantia on the other hand between her admirer and me.
There is something captivating in that burst of splendour, scenery, human beauty and festivity, which a royal theatre displays to every spectator on his entrance; what then must have been the stroke on his optics, who never entered one before ? Ned looked about him with surprise, and had there not been a central point of attraction, to which his eyes were necessarily impelled by laws not less irresistible than those of gravitation, there might have been no speedy stop to the eccentricity of their motions. It was not indeed one of those delightfully crowded houses which theatrical advertisers announce so rapturously to draw succeeding audiences to the comforts of succeeding crowds, there to enjoy the peals of the loudest plaudits,and most roaring bursts of laughter, bestowed upon the tricks of a harlequin or the gibberish of a buffoon; but it was a full as. sembly of rational beings, convened for the enjoy. ment of a rational entertainment, where the ears were not in danger of beinginsulted by ribaldry.uor the understanding libelled by the spectacle of folly.
Ned was charmed with the comedy, and soon became deeply interested for Lovewell and Fanny, on whose distressful situation he made many natural remarks to his fair neighbour, and she on her part: bestowed more attention on the scene, thau was strictly reconcileable to modern high-breeding. The representative of Lord Ogleby put him into some alarm at first, and he whispered in my ear, that he hoped the merry old gentleman was not really so ill as he seemed to be:--for I am sure, adds he, he would be the best actor in the world, was he to recover his health, since he can make so good a stand even at death's door. I put his heart to rest by assuring him that his sickness was all a. fiction, and that the same old decrepid invalid, when he had washed the wrinkles out of his face, was as gay and sprightly as the best ; aye, added I, and in his real character one of the best into the bargiin :I am glad of it, I am glad of it to my heart, answered Ned, I hope he will never have one half of the