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run of numbers, common-place 'descriptions of woods, floods, groves, loves, &c. Those who write the most accurately fall into the manner of their country; which is gallantry. I cannot better illustrạte what I would say of the French than by the dress in which they make their shepherds appear in their pastoral interludes upon the stage, as I find it described by a celebrated author, The shepherds,
are all embroidered, and acquit themselves in a ball better than our English dancingmasters. I have seen a couple of rivers appear in red stockings; and Alpheus, instead of having his head covered with sedges and bull-rushes, making love in a fair full-bottomed perriwig and a plume of feathers; but with a voice so full of shakes and quivers, that I should have thought the murmurs of a country brook the much more agreeable music.'
No 29. TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 1713.
Ride si sapis
MART. 2 Epig. xli. 1.
If you have taste, shew it by your laugh.
In order to look into any person's temper,
I generally make my first observation upon his laugh, whether he is easily moved, and what are the passages which throw him into that agreeable kind of convulsion. People are never so much unguarded, as when they are pleased : And laughter being a visible symptom of some inward satisfaction, it is then, if ever, we may believe the face. There is, perhaps, no better index to point us to the particularities of the mind than this, which is in itself one of the chief distinctions of our rationality. For, aş
-Smiles from reason flow, to brutes deny'd, --
It may be remarked in general under this head, that the laugh of men of wit is for the most part but a faint coustrained kind of half-laugh, as such persons are never without some diffidence about them ; but that of fools is the most honest, natural; open laugh in the world.
I have often had thoughts of writing a treatise upon this faculty, wherein I would have laid down rules for the better regulation of it at the theatre. I would have criticised on the laughs now in vogue, by which our comic writers might the better know how to transport an audience into this pleasing affection. I had set apart a chapter for a disserta: tion on the talents of some of our modern comedians; and as it was the manner of Plutarch to draw comparisons of his heroes and orators, to set their actions and eloquence in a fairer light; so I would have made the parallel of Pinkethman, Norris, and Bullock *; and so far shown their different methods of raising mirth, that any one should be able to distinguish whether the jest was the poet's, or the actor's.
As the play-house affords us the most occasions of observing upon the behaviour of the face, it may be useful (for the direction of those who would be
* Three comic actors in vogue at the time when this paper, was written,
'critics this way) to remark, that the virgin ladies usually dispose themselves in the front of the boxes, the young married women compose the second row, while the rear is generally made up of mothers of long standing, undesigning maids, and contented widows. Whoever will cast his eye upon them under this view, during the representation of a play, will find me so far in the right, that a double entendre strikes the first row into an affected gravity, or careless indolence, the second will venture at a smile, but the third take the conceit entirely, and express their mirth in a downright laughi.
When I descend to particulars, I find the reserved prude will relapse into a smile, at the extravagant freedoms of the coquette ; the coquette in her turn laughs at the starchness and aukward affectation of the prude; the man of letters is tickled with the vanity and ignorance of the fop; and the fop confesses his ridicule at the unpoliteness of the pedant.
I faney we may range the several kinds of laughers under the following heads :
The Horse-laughers. The dimple is practised to give a grace to the features, and is frequently made a bait to entangle a gazing lover; this was called by the ancients the Chian laugh.
The smile is for the most part confined to the fair sex, and their male retinue. It expresses our satisfaction in a silent sort of approbation, doth not too much disorder the features, and is prac
tised by lovers of the most delicate address. This tender motion of the physiognomy the ancients called the Ionic laugh.
The laugh among us is the common risus of the ancients. .
The grin by writers of antiquity is called the Syncrusian ; and was then, as it is at this time, made use of to display a beautiful set of teeth.
The horse-laugh, or the Sardonic, is made use of with great success in all kinds of disputation. The proficients in this kind, by a well-timed laugh, will baffle the most solid argument. This upon all occasions supplies the want of reason, is always received with great applause in coffee-house disputes; and that side the laugh joins with, is generally observed to gain the better of his antagonist.
The prude hath a wonderful esteem for the Chian laugh or dimple: she looks upon all the other kinds of laughter as excesses of levity; and is never seen upon the most extravagant jests to disorder her countenance with the ruffle of a smile, Her lips are composed with a primuesss peculiar to her character, all her modesty seems collected into her face, and she but very rarely takes the freedom to sink her cheek into a dimple.
The young widow is only a Chian for a time; her smiles are confined by decorum, and she is obliged to make her face sympathize with her habit: she looks demure by art, and by the strictest rules of decency is never allowed the smile till the first offer or advance towards her is over.
The effeminate fop, who by the long exercise of his countenance at the glass, hath reduced it to an exact discipline, may claim a place in this clan. You see him upon any occasion, to give spirit to his discourse, admire his own eloquence by a dimple.
The Ionics are those ladies that take a greater liberty with their features; yet even these may be said to smother a laugh, as the former to stifle a smile.
The beau is an Ionic out of complaisance, and practises the smile the better to sympathize with the fair. He will sometimes join in a laugh to humour the spleen of a lady, or applaud a piece of wit of his own, but always takes care to confine his mouth within the rules of good-breeding; he takes the laugh from the ladies, but is never guilty of so great an indecorum as to begin it.
The Ionic laugh is of universal use to men of power at their levées ; and is esteemed by judicious place-hunters a more particular mark of distinction than the whisper. A young gentleman of my acquaintance valued himself upon his success, having obtained this favour after the attendance of three months only. .
A judicious author some years since published a collection of sonnets, which he very successfully called Laugh and be fat; or, Pills to purge Melancholy: I cannot sufficiently admire the facetious title of these volumes, and must censure the world of ingratitude, while they are so negligent in rewarding the jocose labours of my friend Mr. D'Urfey, who was so large a contributor to this treatise, and to whose humorous production so many rural squires in the remotest parts of this island are obliged for the dignity and state which corpulency gives them. The story of the sick man's breaking an imposthume by a sudden fit of laughter, is too well known to need a recital. It is my opinion, that the above pills would be extremely proper to be taken with asses milk, and mightily contribute towards the renewing and re