The Gamut of Faces

Miss Vardill

Mr Editor,

As you show such bountiful encouragements to Speculators, I beg your attention to a Project which I have had the happiness of presenting to the Ladies of Positive House. My design (suggested by an Oriental Manuscript, or Landscape in which every object represented a musical note) is to express the eight sounds of our Scale by a Gamut of Faces. The Treble requires Feminine features, and the Bass accords with the masculine character. You will easily perceive, Sir, how well this method might be used, on proper occasions, to typify the various expressions of the human face with correspondent sounds. Two beautiful faces joined might imply a concord; other of an opposite character would signify Discord: Flats and sharps can be easily supplied by idiot or shrewish grins. Besides as the union of Bass and Treble finely represents the Matrimonial Duet, how instructively this new system might be employed to give hints of the effects produced by female smiles or frowns on conjugal Harmony! I have annexed a faint specimen of my invention, in which a certain Lady’s variable countenance is exhibited in all its gradations from the satisfied smile of power to the conscious side-glance, the soft simper, the half-toss of the chin, the full frown, the sneer, the languish, and the returning smile; with their responsive effects on the face of the unhappy gentleman whose initial is most appropriate to the Bass part he performs; viz. the submissive look, the attempted frown, the sheep’s glance, the moon-struck stare, the scowl, the mock laugh, the lounge, and the broad gaze of over-joy. Your skilful auditors will guess that the wreath of flowers is an effort to introduce the Turkish symbols of poetry, and may pardon, I hope, this projected union of three Sister Arts, by


The interpretation of the Wreath is enclosed,
that it may not be liable to such various and
contradictory versions as your Hebrew Poem.

Gamut of Faces