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• notice, that at the Hay-Market, the undertakers forget
ting to change the side-scenes, we were presented ' with a prospect of the ocean in the midst of a delight'ful grove; and though the gentlemen on the stage had • very much contributed to the beauty of the grove, by
walking up and down between the trees, I must own 'I was not a little astonished to see a well-dressed young
fellow, in a full-bottomed wig, appear in the midst of • the sea, and without any visible concern taking snuff.
• I shall only observe one thing farther, in which both • dramas agree; which is, that by the squeak of their
voices the heroes of each are eunuchs; and as the wit in both pieces is equal, I must prefer the performance
of Mr. Powell, because it is in our own language. R.
I am, &c.
Saturday, March 17.
Parva leves capiunt animos
Ovid. Ars Am. l. 1. ver. 159. Light minds are pleas'd with trifles. WHEN I was in France, I used to gaze with great astonishment at the splendid equipages, and party-coloured habits of that fantastic nation. I was one day in particular contemplating a lady, that fat in a coach adorned with gilded Cupids, and finely painted with the loves of Venus and Adonis. The coach was drawn by six milk-white horses, and loaden behind with the fame number of powdered footmen. Just before the lady were a couple of beautiful pages, that were stuck among the harness, and, by their gay
dresses and smiling features, looked like the elder brothers of the little boys that were carved and painted in every corner of the coach.
The lady was the unfortunate Cleanthe, who afterwards gave an occasion to a pretty melancholy novel.
She had, for several years, received the addresses of a gentleman, whom after a long and intimate acquaintance she forsook, upon the account of this shining equipage, which had been offered to her by, one of great riches, but a crazy constitution. The circumstances in which I saw her, were, it seems, the disguises only of a broken heart, and a kind of pageantry to cover diftress ; for in two months after she was carried to her grave with the same pomp and magnificence; being sent thither partly by the loss of one lover, and partly by the poffeffion of another.
I have often reflected with myself on this unaccounta able humour in womankind, of being smitten with every thing that is fhowy and fuperficial, and on the numberless evils that befall the sex, from this light fantastical difpofition. I myself remember a young lady, that was very warmly solicited by a couple of importunate rivals, who, for several months together, did all they could to recommend themselves, by complacency of behaviour, and agreeableness of conversation. At length when the competition was doubtful, and the lady undetermined in her choice, one of the young lovers very luckily bethought himself of adding a supernumerary lace to his liveries, which had so good an effect, that he married her the very week after.
The usual conversation of ordinary women very much cherishes this natural weakness of being taken with outside and appearance. Talk of a new-married couple, and you immediately hear whether they keep their coach and six, or eat in plate. Mention the name of an absent lady, and it is ten to one but you learn something of her gown and petticoat. A ball is a great help to discourse, and a birth-day furnishes conversation for a twelvemonth after. A furbelow of precious stones, an hat buttoned with a diamond, a brocade waistcoat or petticoat, are standing topics. In short, they consider only the drapery of the ipecies, and never caft away a thought on those ornaments of the mind that niake persons illuftrious in themselves, and useful to others. When women are thus perpetually dazzling one another's imaginations, and filling their heads with nothing but colours, it is no wonder that they are more attentive to the fuperficial parts of life, than the folid and fubftantial blefsings of it. A girl who has been trained up in this kind of conversation, is in danger of every embroidered coat that comes in her way. A pair of fringed gloves may be her ruin. In a word, lace and ribbons, silver and gold galloons, with the like glittering gewgaws, are so many lures to women of weak minds and low educations, and when artificially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy coquette from the wildest of her flights and rambles.
True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise ; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions: it loves shade and solitude, and naturally haunts groves and fountains, fields and meadows : in short, it feels every thing it wants within itself, and receives no addition from multitudes of witnesses and spectators. On the contrary, false happiness loves to be in a croud, and to draw the eyes of the world upon her. She does not receive
fatisfaction from the applauses which she gives herself, but from the admiration which she raises in others. She flourishes in courts and palaces, theatres, and assemblies, and has no existence, but when the is looked upon.
Aurelia, though a woman of great quality, delights in the privacy of a country life, and passes away a great part of her time in her own walks and gardens. Her husband, who is her bosom friend and companion in her solitudes, has been in love with her ever since he knew her. They both abound with good sense, confummate virtue, and a mutual efteem; and are a perpetual entertainment to one another. Their family is under so regular an ceconomy, in its hours of devotion and repaft, employment and diversion, that it looks like a little commonwealth within itself. They often go into company, that they may return with the greater delight to one another ; and sometimes live in town, not to enjoy it so properly as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themfelves the relish of a country life. By this means they are happy in each other, beloved by their children, adored by their servants, and are become the envy, or rather the delight, of all that know them.
How different to this is the life of Fulvia! The considers her husband as her steward, and looks upon difcretion and good housewifery as little domestic virtues, unbecoming a woman of quality. She thinks life loft in her own family, and fancies herself out of the world when she is not in the ring, the play-house, or the drawing-room : the lives in a perpetual motion of body, and restlessness of thought, and is never easy in any one place,
when she thinks there is more company in another. The missing of an opera the first night, would be more afflicting to her than the death of a child. all the valuable part of her own iex, and calls every woman of a prudent, modest, and retired life, a poor-spirited unpolished creature. What a mortification would it be to Fulvia, if she knew that her setting herself to view, is but exposing herself, and that the grows contemptible by being conspicuous.
I cannot conclude my paper, without observing, that Virgil has very finely touched upon this female passion for dress and fhow, in the character of Camilla ; who, though she seems to have shaken off all the other weaknesses of her sex, is still described as a woman in this particular. The poet tells us, that after having made a great flaughter of the enemy, the unfortunately cast her eye on a Trojan, who wore an embroidered tunic, a beautiful coat of mail
, with a mantle of the finest purple. A golden bow, says he, hung upon his shoulder ; his garment was buckled with a golden clasp, and his head covered with an helmet of the same fining metal. The Amazon immediately singled out this well-dressed warrior, being seized with a woman's longing for the pretty trappings that he was adorned with:
Totumque incauta per agmen
Æn. 11. ver. 782.
This heedless pursuit after these glittering trifles, the poet (by a nice concealed moral) represents to have been the destruction of his female hero.
Monday, March 19.
Quod verum atque decens curo & rogo, & omnis in hoc sum.
Hor. Ep. 1. l. 1. ver. I 1. What right, what true, what fit we justly call, Let this be all my care-for this is all.
I Have received a letter, defiring me to be very fa
upon the little muff that is now in fashion ; another informs me of a pair of silver garters buckled below the knee, that have been lately seen at the Rainbow coffee-house in Fleet-street ; a third sends me an heavy complaint against fringed gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an ornament of either sex which one or other of my correspondents has not inveighed against with some bitterness, and recommended to my oblervation. I must therefore, once for all, inform
readers, that it is not my intention to sink the dignity of this my paper with reflections upon red-heels or top-knots, but rather to enter into the passions of mankind, and to correct those dépraved sentiments that give birth to all those little extravagancies which appear in their outward dress and behaviour. Foppish and fantastic ornaments are only indications of vice, not criminal in themselves. Extinguish vanity in the mind, and you naturally retrench the little superfluities of garniture and equipage. The blossoms will fall of themselves, when the root that nourishes them is destroyed.
I shall therefore, as I have said, apply my remedies to the first seeds and principles of an affected dress, without descending to the dress itself; though at the same time I must own, that I have thoughts of creating an officer under me, to be intitled, Tbe Cenfor of small Wares, and of allotting him one day in a week for the execution of such his office. An operator of this nature might act under me, with the same regard as a surgeon to a physician ; the one might be employed in healing those blotches and tumours which break out in