« 이전계속 »
when it happens not to be repugnant to private beauty.
The English ladies, ou the contrary, seem to have no other standard of grace but the run of the towo. If fashion gives the word, every distinction of beauty, complexion, or stature, ceases. Sweeping trains, Prussian bonnets, and trollopees, as like each other as if cut from the same piece, level all to one standard. The Mall, the gardens, and playhouses, are filled with ladies in uniform; and their whole appearance shows as little variety of taste as if their clothes were bespoke by the colonel of a marching regiment, or fancied by the artist who dresses the three battalions of guards.
But not only the ladies of every shape and complexion, but of every age too, are possessed of this unaccountable passion for levelling all distinction in dress. The lady of no quality travels first behind the lady of some quality; and a woman of sixty is as gaudy as her grand-daughter. A friend of mine, a good-natured old man, amused me the other day with an account of his journey to the Mall.. It seems, in his walk thither, he, for some time, fol. lowed a lady who, as he thought by her dress, was a girl of fifteen. It was airy, elegant, and youthful. My old friend had called up all bis poetry on this occasion, and fancied twenty Cupids prepared for execution in every folding of her white negligee. He had prepared his imagination for an angel's face; but what was his mortification to find that the ima. ginary goddess was no other than his cousin Han. Dah, some years older than himself!
But to give it in his own words : After the transports of our first salute,' said he,' were over, I could not avoid running my eye over her whole ape pearance. Her gown was of cambric, cut short before, in order to discover a high-heeled shoe, which was buckled almost at the toe. Her cap consisted of a few bits of cambric, and powers of
painted paper stuck on one side of her head. Her bosom, that had felt no hand but the hand of time these twenty years, rose, suing to be pressed. I couid, indeed, have wished her more than a hand. kerchief of Paris net to shade her beauties; for, as Tasso says of the rose bud, Quanto si nostra men, tanto epiu bella. A female breast is generally thought most beautiful as it is more sparingly dis. covered.
• As my cousin had not put on all this finery for nothing, she was at that time sallying out to the Park, when I had overtaken her. Perceivi how. ever, that I had on my best wig, she offered, if I would squire her there, to send home the footman. Though I trembled for our reception in public, yet I could not, with any civilty, refuse; so, to be as gallant as possible, I took her hand in my arm, and thus we marched op together.
When we niade our entry at the Park, two antiquated figures, so polite and so tender, soon attracted the eyes of the company. As we made our way among crowds who were out to show their finery as well as we, wherever we came, I perceived we brought good-humour with us. The polite could not forbear smiling, and the vulgar burst out into a horse-laugh, at our grotesque figures. Cousin Hannab, who was perfectly conscious of the rectitude of her own appearance, attributed all this mirth to the oddity of mine; while I as cordially placed the whole to her account. Thus, from being two of the best-natured creatures alive, before we got half way up the Mall, we both began to grow peevish, and, like two mice on a string, endeavoured to revenge the impertinence of others upon ourselves.
I am amazed, cousin Jeffery,' says Miss,' that I can never get you to dress like a Christian. I knew we should have the eyes of the Park upon us, with your great wig, so frizzled, and yet so beggarly, and your monstrous muff, I hate those odious muffs.' I could have patiently borne a criticism on all the
rest of my equipage; but as I had always a peculiar veneration for my muff, I could not forbear being piqued a little; and throwing my eyes with a spite. ful air on her bosom, ' I could heartily wish, madam, replied I, that for your sake, my muff was eut into a tippet.
* As my cousin, by this time, was grown heartily ashamed of her gentleman-usher, and as I was never very fond of any kind of exhibition myself, it was mutually agreed to retire for a white to one of the seats, and, from that retreat, remark on others as freely as they had remarked on us.
• When seated, we continued silent for some time, employed in very different speculations. I regarded the whole company, now passing in review before me, as drawn out merely for my amusement. For my entertainment the beauty had, all that morning, been improving her charms; the beau had put on lace, and the young doctor a big wig, merely to please ine. But quite different were the senti. ments of cousiu Hannah: she regarded every welldressed woman as a victorious rival ; hated every face that seemed dressed in good humour, or vore the appearance of greater happiness than her own. I perceived her uneasiness, and attempted to lessen it, by observing that there was no company in the Park to-day. To this she readily assented; . And yet,' says she, it is full enough of scrubs of one kind or another.' My smiling at this observation gare her spirits to pursue the bent of her inclination, and now she began to exhibit her skill in secret history, 3$ she found me disposed to listen. . Observe,' says she to me, that old woman in tawdry silk, and dressed out beyond the fashion. That is Miss Biddy Evergreen. Miss Biddy, it seems, has money; and as she considers that money was never so searce as it is now, she seems resolved to keep what she has to herself. She is ugly enough, you see; yet, I assure you, she has refused several offers, to my knowledge, within this twelvemonth.
Let me see, three gentlemen from Ireland, who study the law, two waiting captains, her doctor, and'a Scotch preacher who had like to have carried her off. All her time is passed between sickness and finery. Thus she spends the whole week in a close chamber, with no other company but her mon. key, her apothecary, and cat; and comes dressed out to the Park every Sunday, to show her airs, to get new lovers, to catch a new cold, and to make new work for the doctor.
• There goes Mrs. Roundabout, I mean the fat lady in the Juring trollopée. Between you and I, she is but a cutler's wife. See how she's dressed, as fine as hands and pins can make her, while her, two marriageable daughters, like bunters, in stuff gowns, are now taking sixpenny-worth of tea at the White-conduit-house. Odious puss, how she wad. dles along, with her train two yards behind her! She puts me in mind of my lord Bantan's Indian sheep, which are obliged to have their monstrous tails trundled along in a go-cart. For all her airs, it goes to her husband's heart to see four yards of good lustring wearing against the ground, like one of his knives on a grindstone. To speak my mind, cousin Jeffery, I never liked those tails; for suppose a young fellow should be rude, and the lady should offer to step back in the fright, instead of retiring, she treads upon her train, and falls fairly on her back; and then you know, cousin,- her clothes may be spoiled.
Al! miss Mazzard! I knew we should not miss her in the Park; she in the monstrous Prussiait bonnet. Miss, though so very fine, was bred a mil. liner; and might have had some custom if she had mioded her business; but the girl was fond of finery, and, instead of dressing her customers, laid out all her goods in adorning herself. Every new gown she put on, impaired her credit; she still, howerer, went on, improviug her appearance and
lessening her little fortune, and is now, you see, become a belle and a bankrupt.'
My cousin was proceeding in her remarks, which were interrupted by the approach of the very lady she had been so freely describing. Miss had perceived her at a distance, and approached to salute her. I found, by the warmth of the two ladies' protestations, that they had been long intimate, esteemed friends and acquaintance. Both were so pleased at this happy rencounter, that they were resolved not to part for the day. So we all crossed the Park together, and I saw them into a hackney.coach at St. James's.
ASEM, AN EASTERN TALE;
OR, THE WISDOM OP PROVIDENCE IN THE MORAL
GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD,
lifts its head above the storm, and presents nothing to the sight of the distant traveller, but a prospect of nodding rocks, falling torrents, and all the variety of tremendous nature; on the bleak bosom of this frightful mountain, secluded from society, and detesting the ways of men, lived Asem the man-hater.
Asem had spent his youth with men; had shared in their amusements; and had been taught to love his fellow.creatures with the most ardent affection : but, from the tenderness of his disposition, he exhausted all his fortune in relieving the wants of the distressed. The petitioner never sued in vain; the weary traveller never passed his door; he only de.