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years ago it shot up to a very great height, insomuch that the female part of our species were much taller than the men'. The women were of such an enormous stature, that we appeared as grasshoppers before them? :' at present the whole şex is in a manner dwarfed, and shrunk into a race of beauties that seems almost another species 3. I remember several ladies, who were once very near seven foot high, that at present want some inches of five. How they came to be thus curtailed I cannot learn; whether the whole sex be at present under any penance which we know nothing of, or whether they have cast their head-dresses in order to surprise us with something in that kind which shall be entirely new; or whether some of the tallest of the sex being too cunning for the rest, have contrived this method to make themselves appear sizeable, is still a secret; though I find most are of opinion, they are at present like trees new lopped and pruned, that will certainly sprout up and flourish with greater heads than before. For my own part, as I do not love to be insulted by women who are taller than myself, I admire the sex much more in their present humiliation, which has reduced them to their natural dimensions, than when they had extended their persons and lengthened themselves out into formidable and gigantic figures. I am not for adding to the beau
.Alluding to the commode, a kind of head-dress worn by the ladies at the beginning of the 18th century, which by means of wire bore up the hair and fore part of the car, consisting of folds of fine lace, to a great height.
2 Numbers xiii. 33. '
3 The fashion suddenly changed into the opposite extreme.
tiful edifices of nature, nor for raising any whimsical superstructure upon her plans : I must therefore repeat it, that I am highly pleased with the coiffure now in fashion, and think it shews the good sense which at present very much reigns among the valuable part of the sex. One may observe that women in all ages have taken more pains than men to adorn the outside of their heads; and indeed I very much admire, 'that those female architects, who raise such wonderful structures out of ribands, lace, and wire, have not been recorded for their respective inventions. It is certain there have been as many orders in these kinds of building, as in those which have been made of marble. Sometimes they rise in the shape of a pyramid, sometimes like a tower, and sometimes like a steeple. In Juvenal's time the building grew by several orders and stories, as he has very humorously described it:
* Tot premit ordinibus, tot adhuc compagibus altum
JUV. Sat. vi. 501.
But I do not remember in any part of my reading, that the head-dress aspired to so great an extravagance as in the fourteenth century; when it was built up in a couple of cones or spires, which stood so excessively high on each side of the head, that a woman, who was but a pigmy without her headdress, appeared like a colossus upon putting it on. Monsieur Paradint says, “That these old-fashioned fontanges rose an ell above the head: that they were pointed like steeples, and had long loose pieces of crape fastened to the tops of them, which were curiously fringed, and hung down their backs like streamers.
The women might possibly have carried this Gothic building much higher, had not a famous monk, Thomas Conectes by name, attacked it with great zeal and resolution. This holy man travelled from place to place to preach down this monstrous commode ; and succeeded so well in it, that as the magicians sacrificed their books to the flames upon the preaching of an apostle, many of the women threw down their head-dresses in the middle of his sermon, and made a bonfire of them within sight of the pulpit. He was so renowned as well for the sanctity of his life as his manner of preaching, that he had often a congregation of twenty thousand people; the men placing themselves on the one side of his pulpit, and the women on the other, that appeared (to use the similitude of an ingenious writer) like a forest of cedars with their heads reaching to the clouds. He so warmed and animated the people against this monstrous ornament, that it lay under a kind of persecution; and whenever it appeared in public, was pelted down by the rabble, who flung stones at the persons that wore it. But notwithstanding this pro
4 A French historical writer of the sixteenth century.'
SA celebrated Carmelite, native of Bretagne, who trávelled through several parts of Europe, preaching against the fashionable vices of the age. At length, reproving the enormities of the Romish clergy, he was burnt for heresy at Rome in 1484,
digy vanished while the preacher was among them, it began to appear again some months after his departure, or to tell it in Monsieur Paradin's own words, the women that, like snails in a fright, had drawn in their horns, shot them out again as soon as the danger was over.' This extravagance of the women's head-dresses in that age is taken notice of by Monsieur d'Argentre in his history of Bretagne, and by other historians, as well as the person I have here quoted.
It is usually observed, that a good reign is the only proper time for making of laws against the exorbitance of power; in the same manner an excessive head-dress may be attacked the most effectually when the fashion is against it. I do therefore recommend this paper to my female readers by way of prevention.
I would desire the fair sex to consider how impossible it is for them to add any thing that can be ornamental to what is already the master-piece of nature. The head has the most beautiful appearance, as well as the highest station, in a human figure. Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face; she has touched it with vermilion, planted in it a double row of ivory, made it the seat of smiles and blushes, lighted it up and enlivened it with the brightness of the eyes, hung it on each side with curious organs of sense, given it airs and graces that cannot be described, and surrounded it with such a flowing shade of hair as sets all its beauties in the most agreeable light. In short, she seems to have designed the head as the cupola to the most glorious of her works; and when we load it with such a pile of supernumer
An eminent French lawyer of the sixteenth century,
rary ornaments, we destroy the symmetry of the human figure, and foolishly contrive to call off the eye from great and real beauties, to childish gewgaws, ribands, and bone-lace. .
N° 99. SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 1711.
Turpi secernis honestum.
HOR. Sat. 6. 1. 1. v. 63.
The club, of which I have often declared myself a member, were last night engaged in a discourse upon that which passes for the chief point of honour among men and women; and started a great many hints upon the subject, which I thought were entirely new. I shall therefore methodize the several reflections that arose upon this occasion, and present my reader with them for the speculation of this day; after having premised, that if there is any thing in this paper which seems to differ with any passage of last Thursday's', the reader will consider this as the sentiments of the club, and the other as my own private thoughts, or rather those of Pharamond.
The great point of honour in men is courage, and in women chastity. If a man loses his honour in one rencounter, it is not impossible for him to regain it in another; a slip in a woman's honour is irrecoverable. I can give no reason for fixing the point