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* it differs too much from that plain thing called Good BREEDING.
• Your most humble servant *
The general mistake among us in the educating our children is, that in our daughters we take care of their persons, and neglect their minds ; in our fons we are so intent upon adorning their minds, that we wholly neglect their bodies. It is from this that you shall see a young lady celebrated and admired in all the assemblies about town, when her elder brother is afraid to come into a room. From this ill management it arises, that we frequently observe a man's life is half spent before he is taken notice of; and a woman in the prime of her years is out of fashion and neglected. The boy I shall consider upon some other occasion, and at present stick to the girl : and I am the more inclined to this, because I have several letters which complain to
female readers have not understood me for some days last past, and take themselves to be unconcerned in the present turn of my writing. When a girl is safely brought from her nurse, before she is capable of forming one simple notion of any thing in life, she is delivered to the hands of her dancing-master; and with a collar round her neck, the pretty wild thing is taught a fantastical gravity of behaviour, and forced to a particular way of holding her head,
• Mr. John Hughes was the author of this, and the preceding letter. See also N° 33, Letter signed R. B. of which perhaps, he was likewise the writer.
heaving her breast, and moving with her whole body; and all this under pain of never having an husband, if she steps, looks, or moves awry. This gives the young lady wonderful workings of imagination, what is to pass between her and this husband, that she is every moment told of, and for whom she seems to be educated. Thus her fancy is engaged to turn all her endeavours to the ornament of her person, as what must determine her good and ill in this life; and the naturally thinks, if she is tall enough, she is wise enough for any thing for which her education makes her think she is designed. To make her an agreeable person is the main purpose of her parents; to that is all their costs, to that all their care directed; and from this general folly of parents we owe our present numerous race of coquettes. These reflections puzzle me, when I think of giving my advice on the subject of managing the Wild Thing mentioned in the letter of my correspondent. But sure there is a middle way to be followed; the management of a young lady's person is not to be overlooked, but the erudition * of her mind is much more to be regarded. According as this is managed, you will see the mind follow the appetites of the body, or the body express the virtues of the mind.
Cleonira dances with all the elegance of motion imaginable; but her eyes are fo chastised with the simplicity and innocence of her thoughts, that she raises in her beholders admiration and
. Erudition feerns to be used here in an uncommon fenfe, for cultivation or instruction.
goodgood-will, but no loose hope or wild imagination. The true art in this case is, To make the mind and body improve together; and if pofsible, to make gesture follow thought, and not let thought be employed upon gesture.
N°67. Thursday, May 17, 1711.
Saltare elegantiùs quàm necesse est probe, Sallust. Too fine a dancer for a virtuous woman.
UCIAN in one of his dialogues, intro
duces a Philosopher chiding his friend for his being a lover of DANCING, and a frequenter of Balls. The other undertakes the defence of his favourite diversion, which he says, was at first invented by the goddess Rhea, and preserved the life of Jupiter himself, from the cruelty of his father Saturn. He proceeds to Thew, that it had been approved by the greatest men in all ages ; that Homer calls Merion a Fine DANCER; and says, that the graceful mien and great agility which he had acquired by that exercise, distinguished him above the rest in the armies both of Greeks and Trojans.
He adds, that Pyrrhus gained more reputation by inventing the Dance which is called after his name, than by all his other actions : that the Lacedemonians, who were the bravest people in Greece, gave great encouragement to this diver* By STEELE. See final Note to No6.
fion, and made their Hormus (a Dance much resembling the French Brawl) famous over all Asia; that there were still extant some Thessalian statues erected to the honour of their best Dancers: and that he wondered how his brother Philosopher could declare himself against the opinions of those two persons, whom he profefsed so much admire, Homer and Hesiod; the latter of which compares Valour and Dancing together, and says, That“ the gods have bestowed “ Fortitude on some men, and on others a Dif"position for Dancing.”
him in mind that Socrates, (who, in the judgment of Apollo, was the wisest of men) was not only a profeffed admirer of this exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old man.
The morose Philosopher is so much affected by these and some other authorities, that he becomes a convert to his friend, and desires he would take him with him when he went to his next Ball.
I love to shelter myself under the examples of great men; and, I think, I have sufficiently shewed that it is not below the dignity of these my Speculations to take notice of the following letter, which, I suppose, is sent me by some substantial tradesman about 'Change.
dustry in the world have acquired enough I to give my children a liberal education, though
• I was
‘I was an utter stranger to it myself. My eldest daughter, a girl of sixteen, has for ' some time been under the tuition of Monsieur
Rigadoon a dancing - master in the city; and • I was prevailed upon by her and her mother "to go last night to one of his Balls. I must
own to you, Sir, that having never been to any ' such place before, I was very much pleased and
surprised with that part of his entertainment r which he called French -DANCING. There ' were several young men and women, whose • limbs seemed to have no othermotion but purely • what the music gave them. After this part was
over, they began a diversion which they call * Country - D'ANCING, and wherein there were • also some things not disagreeable, and divers * Emblematical Figures, composed as I guess, by ' wise men, for the instruction of youth.
Among the rest, I observed one, which, I * think, they call Hunt the Squirrel, in which • while the woman flies the man pursues her; .but as soon as the turns, he runs away, and she * is obliged to follow.
« The moral of this Dance does, I think, very • aptly recommend modesty and discretion to the female sex.
• But as the best institutions are liable to corruptions; fo Sir, I must acquaint you, that ' very great abuses are crept into this enter• tainment. I was amazed to see my girl handed by, and handing young fellows with so much familiarity; and I could not have thought it • had been in the child. They very often made