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and consequence the honourable maturity of experience and authority--now casts them all aside, and asserts a far higher claim to our respect, namely, the simple fact of her age; --who knows that, to all who have eyes to see and hearts to feel, her silver locks are more precious than the most golden tresses money could purchase—her pale cheek more interesting than the finest bloom art could simulate-her modest coverings more attractive than the most wonderfully preserved remains of beauty she could exhibit-her whole venerable aspect of age more lovely than the very best imitation of youth she could possibly get up ;-who not only makes old age respectable and honourable, but even enviable in the eyes of those who are still toiling in the heat and burden of the day.

Why is so sweet a picture and so edifying a lesson not oftener seen in our circles ?—why are we tried with the unbecoming appearance of those who won't be old and can't be young, and who forfeit the respect it is so painful to withhold? There is something preposterous in the mere idea of any rational being studiously denying what it is her highest interest to assert; as well might a banker not wish for credit, or a poet for fame, or a preacher for belief, or an heir for his inheritance, or a statesman for place, as age not wish for reverence. Doubtless, if there were any way of making old people young, either in looks or anything else, it would be a delightful invention ; but, meanwhile, juvenile dressing is the last road we should recommend them to take,

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She who is ashamed to wear a costume as old as herself, may rely upon it she only looks older than her costume.

Of course, there are many who belong to this class more from necessity thạn choice, and who simply do as others do, whatever the fashion may be also many, or most, we would hope, who are irreproach

the score of propriety, however they may fall short of our standard of the picturesque. But why should they not unite both? It is so obvious that the walls of an old hall should be hung with fine heavy tapestry, instead of being covered with flimsy paper, or faced with modern scagliola.

The French, we must say, are much cunninger than we in this matter. Indeed they know how to unite the very highest effect of fashion with a religious observance of the decorum due to years. Whenever one does see in an English assembly an ancient lady who makes no attempt to disguise her time of life, and yet pleases as a splendid picture,

to one but your neighbour whispers—“ How like the Faubourg !*

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* We must nevertheless leave the very worst aspect of female old age to the iron pen of a French authoress :-"Aux esclaves de la mode, quand toute jouissance d'amour-propre est enlevée, quand tout intérêt de passion est ravi, il reste pour plaisirs le mouvement, la clarté des lustres, le bourdonnement de la foule. Après tous les rêves de l'amour ou de l'ambition, subsiste encore le besoin de bruire, de veiller, de dire, j'y étais hier, j'y serai demain. C'est un triste spectacle que celui de ces femmes Bétries qui cachent leurs rides sous des fleurs, et couronnent leurs fronts hâves de diamans et de plumes. Chez elles tout est faux-la taille, le teint, les cheveux, sourire. Chez elles tout est triste-la parure, le fard, la gaieté. Spectres

If all ages are to dance to one tune, it should be a minuet, and not a jig. If there is to be but one standard of garb, we are bound in duty to consider the grandmother first. The grand-daughter will not look so ill in her close kerchief as she in the girl's low dress. It is invidious, too, to fix any time for drawing the line between them. No one likes to tell their years, except the impertinently young, or the wonderfully old, and no one need if they do not belie them in other respects. The certain age, too, which is the true Rubicon, requires the most courage

of all to avow. The conventual dresses of the old Catholic times, which were assumed equally by those who remained in the world as by those who quitted it, were an admirable assistance in settling this point. A total change is easier than a partial; and when a lady of the olden time found her secular garment no longer so becoming to her as it had been, she threw it off altogether, and suffered no mortification in assuming a garb which was no positive blazon of age, though the greatest accommodation to it.

Let no one think we exaggerate the importance of dress. So far as we see, there is nothing that can be proved to be half so important. Whether we visit old countries, or discover new, or read history, or study mankind under this aspect or that, but one

échappés aux saturnales d'une autre époque, elles viennent s'asseoir aux banquets d'aujourd'hui, comme pour donner à la jeunesse une triste leçon de philosophie-comme pour lui dire, c'est ainsi que vous passerez.

and the same result invariably presents itself, viz. that human nature, in all times and in all latitudes, is found, has been found, and will ever be found with the same wants and wishes, passions and propensities, promises and disappointments-only in a different dress :- that, as the author of Sartor Resartus would say, Man is the same clothes-horse, whether painted in the high ruff of Zucchero, or in the low collar of Sir Joshua.

In a portrait-painter this is especially apparent. Difference of costume is to him what difference of scenery is to the landscape-painter. It is not all, but it is a great portion of that which makes a Gainsborough not a Holbein, and a Cuyp not. a Claude. It is as much, and more perhaps, the rigid stuffs which made Holbein stiff, and the flowing draperies which made Vandyke graceful, or vice versâ. The portrait-painter, too, is after all the only real authority for the true spirit of a costume. Missals and monuments, and the Bayeux tapestry, and the Harleian manuscripts will furnish curious details for the antiquary, and such a satirist as Hogarth absurd extremes for the critic; but it is the general portraitartist that can alone steer between the hobby of an individual and the fashion of a season, and give us that prevailing effect under which the costume of a period should be viewed.

Holbein is our earliest authority for the real every-day aspect of English society. In his time that principle of deference for age was in vogue which we have been endeavouring to recommend.

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People started with the supposition that fifty years and upwards was the only sensible time of a woman's and those who had the misfortune to be

younger had to make the best of it, being probably assisted by some suspicion that the greater the disparity between themselves and their costume the better they looked. The dress of the majority of Holbein's portraits is of all others best adapted to secure an honourable retreat for waning charms. Beneath the stern buckler of the deep stomacher it mattered not what kind of shape lay concealed, for all were reduced to the same level. Beneath the stiff diamondshaped cap-closed carefully between the edge and the temples with gold tissue—it was all one whether the hair was thick or thin, black, red, or white, for none at all was seen. The high make of the dress on back and shoulders covered what might be very beautiful in the bride, but prevented a deal of rheumatism in the matron. The modest and becoming partlet-a kind of habit-shirt made of good stout opaque materials— filled up all the space the gown left bare, and buttoned high up the throat with embroidered collar or frill. The handkerchief, fastened upon the back of the cap in odd clumsy folds which puzzle costume-hunters to account for, could be let down, as it had been generally worn in the previous reign, snug and warm round the shoulders, and kept out many a draft. The sleeves were full and close down to the wrists, with a ruffle half covering the hand, while all tell-tale outline was effectually stopped, as in Holbein's drawing of the buxom old

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