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for my own part, have no objection to it. Should I be asked how a woman should know she is ugly, and take her measures accordingly; I answer, that in order to judge right, she must not believe her eyes, but her ears; and if they have not heard very warm addresses and applications, she may depend upon it, it was the deformity and not the severity of her countenance that prevented them.

There is another sort of ladies, whose daily insults upon common sense call for the strongest correction, and who may most properly be styled, old offenders. These are the

sexagenary

fairones, and upwards, who, whether they were handsome or not in the last century, ought at least, in this, to reduce themselves to a decency and gravity of dress suited to their years. These offenders are exceedingly numerous, witness all the public places, where they exhibit whatever art and dress can do to make them completely ridiculous. I have often observed septuagenary great-grandmothers, adorned, as they thought, with all the colours of the rainbow, while in reality they looked more like decayed worms in the midst of their own silks. Nay, I have seen them proudly display withered necks, shrivelled and decayed like their marriage settlements, and which no hand but the cold hand of time

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had visited these forty years. The utmost in, dulgence I can allow here is extreme cleanli. ness, that they may not offend more senses than the sight; but for the dress, it must be confined to the Elegy and the Tristibus.

What has been said with relation to the fair sex, holds true with relation to the other; only with still greater restrictions; as such irregularities are less pardonable in men than in ladies. A reasonable compliance with the fashion is no disparagement to the best understanding, and an affected singularity would; but an excess beyond what age, rank, and character will justify, is one of the worst signs the body can hang out, and will never tempt people to call in. I see with indulgence the youth of our nation finely bound and gilt on the back, and wish they were lettered into the bargain. I forgive them the unnatural scantiness of their wigs, and the immoderate dimensions of their bags, in consideration that the fashion has prevailed, and that the opposition of a few to it would be the greater affectation of the two. Though, by the way,

I very much doubt whether they are all of them gainers by shewing their ears; for it is said that Midas, after a certain accident, was the judici. ous inventor of long wigs. But then these luxuriancies of fancy must subside, when age and rank call uppn judgment to check its excrescencies and irregularities.

I cannot conclude this paper without an ani- . madversion upon one prevailing folly, of which both sexes are equally guilty, and which is attended with real ill consequences to the nation; I mean that rage of foreign fopperies, by which šo considerable a sum of ready money is annually exported out of the kingdom, for things which ought not to be suffered to be imported even gratis. In order therefore to prevent, as far as I am able, this absurd and mischievous practice, I hereby signify, that I will shew a greater indulgence than ordinary to those who only expose themselves in the manufactures of their own country; and that they shall enjoy a conñivance, in the nature of a drawback, to those excesses which otherwise I shall not tolerate.

I must add, that if it is so genteel to copy the French even in their weaknesses, I should humbly hope it might be thought still more so, to imitate them where they really deserve imitation, which is in preferring every thing of their own to every thing of other people's. A Frenchman, who happened to be in England at the time of the last total eclipse of the sun, assured the people whom he saw looking at it with attention, that it was not to be compared to a French eclipse! Would some of our fine women emulate that spirit, and assert (as they might do with much more truth) that the foreign manufactures are not to be compared to the English, such a declaration would be worth two or three hundred thousand pounds a year to the kingdom, and operate more effectually than all the laws made for that purpose. The Roman ladies got the Oppian law, which restrained their dress, repealed, in spite of the unwearied opposition of the elder Cato. I exhort the British ladies to exert their powers to better purposes, and to revive, by their credit, the trade and manufactures of their own country, in spite of the supine negligence of those whose more immediate care it ought to be to cultivate and promote them.

COMMON SENSE, Feb. 26, 1797

No. XXXVI.

-For his verse renown'd,
That sung the deeds of heroes ; those who fell,
Or those who conquer'd, in their country's cause;
Th’enraptur'd soul inspiring with the thirst
Of glory won by virtue.

LEONIDAS, 1. iv. p. 129,

Sir, I am an old man, retired from the world, partly out of principle, but more, I fear, from laziness, having sense enough to see that things go ill, honesty enough to wish they went better, but not spirits enough to attempt myself to mend them, nor any great hopes from the activity of those who are engaged on one side or the other. This temper of mind has thrown me deeply into reading, that I may forget the present scene as much as possible; and, as of all kinds of reading the most proper for this purpose is poetry, I make that

my

chief study s especially Homer, which lies in my hall by the side of the family bible ; and, next to that, is most reverenced by myself, my wife, and all my children, whom I breed up in the love and honour of it, as extremely conducing to make them good and worthy men.

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