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“ Their arms and hands are ever ready to perform their respective duties unto the other parts of the bodie, whether good or evil. Their bodie itself is a magazine of corrupt and ill humours, which hath continual recourse to all the rest of their members. Their legs the supporters, and their feet swift guides to the waies of vanity. So that, from the crown of their head to the sole of their foot, there is not a good member—no, not one.
“Notwithstanding, it is undeniable but that they are generally useful; for there is nothing so bad that hath not some virtue in it, neither was there anything created but that is good; and they being a creature, it must consequently follow that they are so, too. But for what? there is the main point of the discovery, and a thing much to be controverted. That they are a help unto man is indisputable; but in what sense ? to exhaust his estate, divulge his secrets, and be a continual trouble and vexation to his spirit, all the daies of his life.
“If we look upon their outward beauty, we shall find it like those Indian apples, which are seemingly fair without, but poison within; if upon their carriage and behaviour, we shall find that as far distant from their inward nature and condition as the east is from the west.
“And if we but observe their actions and undertakings, it will manifestly appear that they are fickle, changeable, and various, as the weathercock, constant in nothing but inconstancy, and human creatures merely metamorphosed, seeming to be that which truly and really they are not. And, in a word, it is most apparent that they only are the greatest and most powerful temptations to evil of all other; the very gulf where man's reason, government, and discretion is often swallowed up; and the adamantine rocks whereon many have been shipwrecked.
“Neither is there anything (except Sathan itself) that captivates man's sense, or predominates more over his understanding and his will, than they, by their subtle fallacies and bewitching illusions, which hath been sufficiently manifested, not only in former ages, but also in this present, and that of late years, by men of no mean degree and quality that have deeply suffered Ly these causes."
But our female readers will cry, Enough! Let us then just give our author's conclusion. “ It now remains," says he, “that we humbly and earnestly desire of the Almighty that he would be pleased to confer upon us some portion of his Spirit, that thereby we may be enabled to withstand the temptations of this world, amongst which that of woman appears to be none of the least.” Nevertheless, even our author does not think they are all bad. There are some women whose performances have tended to the worship of God, the good of his church,
and benefit of his people. He cites as instances Esther, Judith, and last, but not least, “ Queen Elizabeth, of famous memory.'
“But,” cries one whose eye has been resting on these few lines, “a pretty idea you have of woman! The writer,” we imagine we hear her exclaim, “must be a Goth, a brute, some odious wretch who has never loved, and never been beloved.' Dear madam, the charge is totally unfounded. We admire your most admirable sex. We love, we have loved, and we shall or will love, as the Latin grammars say. At this moment we are cherishing a passion in favour of an individual who shall be nameless, which is deep as it is rare in these days of commercial calculation. We have loved her “as man ne'er loved." In ardour, in devotion, we claim to be second to none; and, for the life of us, and for all those hopes that make that life a boon to be desired, we would not deny one iota of woman's worth : to do so were treason against nature and nature's God.
“ He is a parricide of his mother's name,
Dear madam, you are vastly our superior in wit, in sensibility, in grace: and rightly
“ Yours was the nobler birth,
Yet we cannot deny that like men you have yo!ır foibles ; that some of you are fickle; that some have aggravating ways. In proof of this we cite the late lamented Mrs. Caudle and her superior, the wife of the most patient and much-enduring man the world ever saw. Others, again, are caught by outward attraction, by tinsel, by humbug, and rhodomontade. Witness for this the crowds that throng Exeter Hall and the Rev. Mr. Montgomery's chapel of ease. Witness for this, all ye unexceptionable young fellows who have been cut out at one time or other by some "puppy in the guards," as you at the time, in righteous indignation, termed him. Indeed, to this one defect, this original taint, this “ damned spot” in woman's otherwise perfect loveliness, all who have ever loved in vain,-seedy poets, briefless barristers, threadbare divines, hairy artists, redolent of smoke and beer, will cordially bear most unanimous testimony. Why is this so? why should woman be fickle
“ As the shade
Why should she be so insensible, as she often is, to real worth? Why?—alas ! we cannot tell. All we know is, that so it is. Possibly, this may be the result of our present highly refined state of society. Well, it is fated that we are to be a highly respectable and moral people, and we must not murmur at its price, whatever be the sacrifice. Some nations, like indi. viduals, are born great; some have greatness thrust upon them.
To write about women, and to say nothing of female beauty, would be as inexcusable as it would be to act Hamlet with the part of Hamlet left out. Woman, when not beautiful, ceases to be woman.
She then becomes rational, strong-minded-a man—and writes like one of us. Of course, we do not speak of mere animal beauty, which can only hold captive beardless boys; but of that higher beauty, which indicates intelligence, character, vivid emotion, hidden fire-such beauty as all pure and noble-minded women must possess, and which must hallow even the common earth they tread. Nor is the homage paid to beauty to be laughed at or despised. It is to debauchery, poverty, over-exertion, physical or intellectual, that we must trace ugliness in its thousand forms. The real Eve was, we doubt not, such as Milton has drawn her,
“ Grace was in all her looks, heaven in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love;" and that her daughters, born previous to the introduction of late hours, tight-lacing, and useful knowledge, were fair as her. self, we have even better authority than that of Tom Moore for believing. Alderman Guzzle eats till he is a mass of corruption, and his daughters consequently are sallow, sickly, and pale-eyed. The Honourable Alfred Doneup, blasé, a mere wreck, marries a very plain banker's daughter, for the dowry she can bring; and his daughters, in their pale faces and consumptive habits, bear but too palpable a testimony to a father's dissipated career. Is it not right, then, that beauty should be loved and admired for its own sake? especially when we remember that even the commonest and earthliest form of beauty is tainted, and loses much of its lustre, when we read in her tell-tale face that purity is gone, that vice has become the habit of her life, that on the altar of that heart burns no inspiration from above ? Consequently, we never join in running down such charms as woman may possess. We have
opinions on these matters; we do not sing with our friend in the Duenna
“Give Isaac the nymph who no beauty can boast,
And six feet or four, we'll not quarrel for that.
If brown, 'tis more lasting; more pleasant if fair ;
Let her smile, and each dell is a dimple to me. No; the woman who wins our heart must have a form about the beauty of which there can be no mistake. Like Annie's, her eyes may tell of a feeling which wants but the hour and the man to burst forth with overwhelming power. Like Adèle's, unutterable love, combined with a divine intelligence, may but make her outward form but faintly to shadow forth the beauty and warmth that reside within. Like Ellen's, real good nature and an indomitable love of fun may light up the face with beauty striking, yet natural, as that of an April day. Likebut if we bring in all the idols at whose shrines we have knelt, we shall spin out this article to a most unseasonable length. Suffice it to say that woman must have some claims to beauty. True, now and then we see some dear young creature laying far too much stress upon her charms, much overrating their real power of retention. Let her alone : a year or two will soon convince her of her fallacy on that head. Wilkes—as ugly a man as ever walked the bosom of our mother carth—said that, in talking with women, he but wanted half an hour's start to distance any man, how good-looking soever he might be. And women should remember that with them it is much the same.
Would they, however, appear beautiful, let them avoid all meretricious ornament. A fine figure, a clear complexion, are heightened by simplicity in dress. On this head, we quote Ben Jonson :
“Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
But we grow rational, moral, dull (the last, at any rate), an unpardonable offence. Women as they are—we cannot describe them. As easily might we catch the shifting hues of the chameleon. We should, did we attempt the task, describe them by termis diametrically opposite. They love, and yet, as Rousseau somewhere says, they cannot love. To day, they are yours till death; to morrow they are married to one who, to speak modestly, does not possess half your worth. .
At church you watch some dark, thoughtful eye, and the chances are ten to one that its owner knows as little of the sermon, as the man in the moon, and is but examining with a perseverance worthy of a better cause, her neighbour's bonnet or shawl. One woman you will find like a ministering angel by the side of disease and death, and desolation. Another will neglect, not her husband, that may be expected; but her child, for the theatre and the ball. Oue moment all softness and pliability; the next, to influence her as you wish, you must manage her something in the same way that Paddy is said to ship his pigs for exportation. Perhaps there may be policy in this. This constant variation may but keep us more obedient as their slaves : we might grow imprudent and rash; like Jeshurun, we might wax fat and kick.
One peculiarity about female nature, is the rapidity with which they glide from girlhood into womanhood. The transition state of males is obvious. First, they are boys, then they cease to be boys, then they become youths, then young
These various interesting metamorphoses are intelligible and clear. They are distinguishable in the look, the dress, in the deportment, and voice. You must not flatter yourself, that you can find out how old a woman is; her age is never known, not really and truly even by her husband, till acath ungallantly unmasks the little deceits of life, and the undertaker records it plainly on her coffin. She is born with an old head on her shoulders. Never trust to the apparent youthfulness of her appearance, to the seeming freshness of her cheek, and simplicity of air; these are but the wiles, by which we of the stronger sex, have been taken in and done for from the days of Adam, -as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. In womanly nature, there is nothing new under the sun. If but the breezes of a dozen summers have fanned her cheek, she, unless you are more than ordinarily acute, can circumvent you, see through you, turn you inside out. You may know Greek, you may be a tolerable mathematician, you may speak French indifferently well, of German you may have some idea, Sanscrit may not be unfamilar to you, nor Puseyism, nor High Art, still, my dear sir, that sparkling houri of fifteen, to whom you have just handed a sandwich, and positively half a glass of sherry, knows more of life, aye, of the actual world, of man's weakness,