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Unhappy, unguarded woman! alas ! what moving rhetoric has she often found in the seducing fullbottom! who can tell the resistless eloquence of the embroidered coat, the gold snuff box, and the amberheaded cane ?
I shall conclude these criticisms with some general remarks upon the milliner, the mantua-maker, and the lady's woman, these being the three chief on which all the circumstances of dress depend.
The milliner must be thoroughly versed in physiognomy; in the choice of ribands she must have a particular regard to the complexion, and must ever be mindful to cut the head-dress to the dimensions of the face. When she meets with a countenance of large diameter, she must draw the dress forward to the face, and let the lace incroach a little
the cheek, which casts an agreeable shade, and takes off from its masculine figure; the little oval face requires the diminutive commode, just on the tip of the crown of the head : she must have a regard to the several ages of women ; the head-dress must give the mother a more sedate mien than the virgin; and age must not be made ridiculous with the flaunting airs of youth. There is a beauty that is peculiar to the several stages of life, and as much propriety must be observed in the dress of the old, as the young.
The mantua-maker must be an expert anatomist ; and must, if judiciously chosen, have a name of French termination; she must know how to hide all the defects in the proportions of the body, and must be able to mould the shape by the stays, so as to preserve the intestines, that while she corrects the body, she may
not interfere with the pleasures of the palate. The lady's woman must have all the qualities of a critic in poetry; as her dress, like the critic's learning, is at second-hand, she must, like him, have a ready talent at censure, and her tongue must be
deeply versed in detraction; she must be sure to asperse the characters of the ladies of most eminent virtue and beauty, to indulge her lady's spleen; and as it hath been remarked, that critics are the most fawning sycophants to their patrons, so must our female critic be a thorough proficient in flattery: she must add sprightliness to her lady's air, by encouraging her vanity; give gracefulness to her step, by cherishing her pride; and make her show a haughty contempt of her admirers, by enumerating her imaginary conquests. As a critic must stock his memory with the names of all the authors of note, she must be no less ready in the recital of ail the beaux and pretty fellows in
vogue; like the niale critic, she asserts that the theory of any science is above the practice, and that it is not necessary to be able to set her own person off to advantage, in order to be a judge of the drese of others; and besides all those qualifications, she must be endued with the gift of secrecy, a talent very rarely to be met with in her profession.
By what I have said, I believe my reader will be convinced, that notwithstanding the many pretenders, the perfection of dress cannot be attained without a genius; and shall venture boldly to affirm, that in all arts and sciences whatever, epic poetry excepted, (of which I formerly showed the knack or mechanism) a genius is absolutely necessary.
No. 150. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1713.
Nescio qua dulcedine læti,
Virg. Georg. iv. 55.
with secret joy,
I WENT the other day to visit Eliza, who, in the perfect bloom of beauty, is the mother of several children. She had a little prating girl upon her lap, who was begging to be very fine, that she might go abroad; and the indulgent mother, at her little daughter's request, had taken the knots off her own head, to adorn the hair of the pretty trifler. A smiling boy was at the same time caressing a lap dog, which is their mother's favourite, because it pleases the children ; and she, with a delight in her looks, which heightened her beauty, so divided her conversation with the two pretty prattlers, as to make them both equally cheerful.
As I came, she said with a blush, Mr. Ironside, though you are an old bachelor, you must not laugh at my tenderness to my children. I need not tell my reader, what civil things I said in answer to the lady, whose matron-like behaviour gave me infinite satisfaction: since I myself take great pleasure in playing with children, and am seldom unprovided of plums or marbles, to make my court to such entertaining companions.
Whence is it, said I to myself when I was alone, that the affection of parents is so intense to their offspring? Is it because they generally find such resemblances in what they have produced, as that thereby they think themselves renewed in their children, and are willing to transmit themselves to future time? Or is it, because they think themselves obliged, by the dictates of humanity, to nourish and rear what is placed so immediately under their protection; and what by their means is brought into this world, the scene of misery, of necessity ? These will not come up to it. Is it not rather the good providence of that Being, who in a super-eminent degree protects and cherishes the whole race of mankind, his sons and creatures? How shall we, any other way, account for this natural affection, so signally displayed through. out every species of the aniinal creation, without which the course of nature would quickly fail, and every various kind be extinct ? Instances of tender, ness in the most savage brutes are so frequent, that quotations of that kind are altogether unnecessary.
If we, who have no particular concern in them, take a secret delight in observing the gentle dawn of reason in babes ; if our ears are soothed with their half-forming and aiming at articulate sounds; if we are charmed with their pretty mimicry, and surprised at the unexpected starts of wit and cunning in these miniatures of man; what transport may we imagine in the breasts of those, into whom natural instinct hath poured tenderness and fondness for them! how amiable is such a weakness in human nature! or rather, how great a weakness is it, to give humanity so reproachful a name! The bare consideration of paternal affection should methinks create a more grateful tenderness in children toward their parents, than we generally see; and the silent whispers of nature be
attended to, though the laws of God and man did not call aloud.
The silent whispers of nature have had marvellous power, even when their cause hath been unknown. There are several examples in story of tender friendships formed betwixt men who knew not of their near relation. Such accounts confirm me in an opinion I have long entertained, that there is a sympathy betwixt souls, which cannot be explained by the prejudice of education, the sense of duty, or any other human motive.
The memoirs of a certain French nobleman, which now lie before me, furnish me with a very entertaining instance of this secret attraction implanted by Providence in the human soul.
It will be necessary to inform the reader, that the person whose story I am going to relate, was one whose roving and romantic temper, joined to a disposition singularly amorous, had led him through a vast variety of gallantries and amours. He had, in his youth, attended a princess of France into Poland, where he had been entertained by the king her husband, and married the daughter of a grandee. Upon her death he returned into his native country, where his intrigues and other misfortunes having consumed his paternal estate, he now went to take care of the fortune his deceased wife had left him in Poland. In his journey he was robbed before he reached Warsaw, and lay ill of a fever, when he met with the following adventure ; which shall be related in his own words:
• I had been in this condition for four days, when the Countess of Venoski passed that way. She was informed that a stranger of good fashion lay sick, and her charity led her to see me. I remembered her, for I had often seen her with my wife, to whom she was nearly related; but when I found she knew me