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the body and mind respectively disclose each other, which he calls “THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY."

The discovery of the mind by the body, is either by the body at rest or in motion.

The shape of the face, which has been examined in physiognomy, and the form of the skull which has been considered in phrenology, are mental indices of the body at rest. Gesture, walking, &c. of the whole body in motion; tears, blushing, paleness, laughter, in all its varieties, &c. are indices from the countenance in motion; they are the certain subtle motions and labours of the eyes, face, looks and gesture, which, as Cicero elegantly saith, are “ Animi Janua.”

“ Aristotle,” says Lord Bacon,“ hath very ingeniously and diligently handled the features of the body, but not the gestures of the body, which are no less comprehensible by art, and of greater use and advantage. For the lineaments of the body do disclose the disposition and inclination of the mind in general; but the motions of the countenance and parts do not only so, but do farther disclose the present humor and state of the mind and will. For as your majesty saith most aply and elegantly, As the tongue speaketh to the ear, so the gesture speaketh to the eye.' And therefore a number of subtle persons, whose eyes do dwell upon the faces and fashions of men, do well know the advantage of this observation, as being most part of their ability ; neither can it be denied, but that it is a great discovery of dissimulations, and a great direction in business.”




The power of gaining an insight into the mind of the laugher is peculiarly manifest, either in laughter at Indecency, or from the opinion of Superiority, or in Malicious Wit.


The pleasure from indecency seems to originate in exciting lascivious sensations, and in breaking through the restraint imposed upon such conversation; and is, therefore, a frequent source of laughter in gross minds.


“ Wanton jests,” says Fuller, “ make fools laugh, and wise men frown.”

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Take for instance the story of the Lady Godiva riding naked through the streets of Coventry. This interests or disgusts according to the mind to which it is presented. In one class it excites serious reflection ; in another, all the ludicrous associations attendant upon Peeping Tom.

The story of Godiva is not a fiction, as many suppose it. At least it is to be found in Matthew of Westminster, and is not of a nature to have been a mere invention. Her name, and that of her husband, Leofric, are mentioned in an old charter recorded by another early historian. Whether it was owing to Leofric or not, does not appear; but Coventry was subject to a very oppressive tollage, by which the feudal lord enjoyed the greater part of the profit of all marketable commodities. The countess entreated her lord to give up his feudal right, but in vain. At last, wishing to put an end to her importunities, he told her, either in a spirit of bitter jesting, or with a playful raillery that could not be bitter with so sweet an earnestness, that he would give up the tax provided she rode through the city of Coventry naked. She took him at bis word, and said she would. One may imagine the astonishment of a fierce unlettered chieftain, not untinged with chivalry, at hearing a woman, and that too of the greatest delicacy and rank, maintaining seriously her intention of acting in a manner contrary to all that was supposed fitting for her sex, and at the same time forcing upon him a sense of the very beauty of her conduct by its principled excess. It is probable that as he could not prevail upon her to give up her design, he had sworn some religious oath when he made his promise: but be this as it may, he took every possible precaution to secure her modesty from hurt. The people of Coventry were ordered to keep within doors, to close up all their windows and outlets, and not to give a glance into the streets upon pain of death. The day came; and Coventry, it may be imagined, was silent as death. The lady went out at the palace door, was set on horseback, and at the same time divested of her wrapping garment, as if she had been going into a bath; then taking the fillet from her head, she let down her long and lovely tresses, which poured around her body like a veil ; and so, with only her white legs remaining conspicuous, took her gentle way through the streets. *

What scene can be more touching to the imagination S-beauty, modesty, feminine softness, a daring sympathy; an extravagance, producing by the nobleness of its object and the strange gentleness of its means, the grave and profound effect of the most reverend custom. We may suppose the scene taking place in the warm noon; the doors all shut, the windows closed; the earl and his court serious and wondering; the other inhabitants, many of them gushing with grateful tears, and all reverently listening to hear the footsteps of the horse ; and lastly, the lady herself, with a downcast but not a shamefaced eye, looking towards the earth through her flowing locks, and riding through the dumb and deserted streets, like an angelic spirit. It was an honourable superstition in that part of the country, that a man who ventured to look at the fair saviour of his native town, was struck blind. But the vulgar use to which this superstition has been turned by some writers of late times, is not so honourable. The whole story is as unvulgar and as sweetly serious as can be conceived.

• “ Nuda,” says Matthew of Westminster, "equam ascen. dens, crines capitis et tricas dissolvens, corpus suum totum, præter crura candidissima, inde velatit.”


With respect to the laughter from superiority, as it is a sign of the consciousness of superiority which may be either from ignorance, seeing only part of the truth, or from intelligence, seeing the whole truth, the ignorance or the intelligence may be discovered by the laughter.

Ought not the laughter from ignorance, which is often a source of pain in the object of the laugher, to be a source of pleasure as it is a tacit acknowledgment of superiority? The laughter, for instance, in a public assembly, at any depression of superiority is a tacit acknowledgment of the superiority; and although often the cause of pain from the imagination of insulted dignity, ought rather to be the cause of pleasure; and thus what is frequently the source of pain in the object of the laughter, may be converted into the consciousness that the laugher himself is the true object of commiseration.

May it not, in general, be considered as true, that this tendency to laughter is the sign of a mind which does not take an extensive survey of things, but looks only at the angles and corners and parts of the truth.

“ Merrily conceited men,” says Lord Bacon,“ seldom penetrate further than the superficies of things which is the point where the jest lies.”

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