صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE LADIES' TOILETTE; OR, ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF BEAUTY.

[Continued from Page 248, Vol. II.]

CHAP. XII.

History of French Fashions, Continued.

The farther we proceed, the greater abun- fashion which had been for some time introduced dance we find of materials relative to the different among women of quality. It was not only the changes of female dress in France. On entering hair of the head that they adorned with crimp upou the epoch of Henry the fourth's reign, we ribbon of different colours.” To obtain the famight introdure very circumstantial details con- vour of a lady, was an expression that Inight then cerning How fashions; these, however, would not be i ken in a literal sense. only occision too great prolixity, but would be During this reign likewise appeared the prounin eresting to the reader. All the existing | digious ruffs invented in Spain, to conceal the monumen's exhibit representations of these wen, an endenial malady in that country. The costumes. I shall therefore pass very lightly over hoops became larger than ever, to julge from the reigns of Henry and his immediate successors, the portraits of that age which are still extant, confining myself to a few anecdotes and the and among others, from those of Queen Margaprincipal traits, which will give some idea of the ret, which brings to my recollection the followridiculous taste of the females even in the most ing anccdote of that Princess :

enlightened ages. It will be seen that the Margaret of France, the first wife of Henry : fashions of the age of Louis XIV. Louis XV. IV.was inordinately addicted to gallanıry. Henry

and Louis XVI. were infinitely more extra- himself often rallied her smartly on this subject. vagant than those of the early period of the She was married to him in 1572; the marriage monarchy.

was annulled in 1599 ; but still she was always Henry IV. perceived the necessity of assign-calle! Queen Margaret. M. de Fresne Forget ing limi's to a luxury that kept continually in being one day with that princess, observed, that creasing. Of all the sumptuary laws enacted at

he was astonished how men and women with different epochs, none was so judicious as the such enormous ruffs, could eat soup without edice of 1604, in which Henry, after prohibiting | spoiling them, and especially how the ladies the wearing of gold and silver upon apparel, adds, could be gallant in their prodigious large hoops.

excepting, however, women of pleasure and | The queen made no reply, but a few days after. rogues, for whom we are not sufficiently interest. wards having a very large ruff, and bouille to eat, ed to do them the honour to pay attention to she directed a spoon with a long handle to be their conduct." This ordinance was perhaps brought, so that she dispatched her mess with. the only one that produced a speedy effect; the out soiling her dress. Having finished, she turnwomen of pleasure and rogues durst not avail led to M. Fresne." There,” said she to him, themselves of this exclusive permission, though with a smile, “ you see that with a little conthey had paid very little attention to the re. trivance, a remedy may be found for every peated prohibitions which had heretofore heen | thing."_“ Certainly, madam,” replied he, “ as issued : so true it is that these brilliant superflui. to what relates to the upper part I am perfectly ties are held in no higher estimation than the satisfied.” example of the great procures thein.

Let us now pass to the 17th century ; the But this law acted upon the women only as a fashion of wearing hoops ceased, and the lofty repellent, if I may be allowed to use that expres- head-dress disappeared for some time; the latter, sive term of the medical art; that is, the fair however, returned at the conclusion of the censex being restricted in the employment of ex- tury more ridiculous than ever. It is true they terior ornaments, concentrated the science of the changed their naine, being then denominated toilette and of dress, and invented a fashion which fontanges. certainly no law could have touched, because it Figure to yourself a vast edifice of wire, some. was out of sight. We shall briefly illustrate it by times two feet in height, and divided into several a passage from St. Foix's Essays on Paris :- stories. On this frame was put a great quantity “ The Marchioness d'Estrées, mother of the of bits of inuslin, ribbon, and hair. At the least beautiful Gabrielle, was killed in a sedition at niotion the whole fabric shook, and threatened Essone, in Auvergne. It appears that her body destructions which was extremely inconvenient, was left in the streets very indecently exposed, || It was nevertheless asserted that the husbands and furnished an opportunity of observing a liked this fashion, and that it guaranteed the dis.

cretion of their wives. Every piece of which pleasing the monarch overcame every other conthis enormous head-dress was composed had a sideration, and the whole night was employed particular name, and these names were not less in destrogirig the 'edifice of three stories. The ridiculous than the things they denoted. Among two uppermost were totally suppressed, and the which were the duchess, the solitaire, the cab-third was cut down to one half. Thus ended the bage, the mouse, the musqueteer, the crescent, reign of high head-dresses, which had been re. the firmament, the tenth heaven, and others | linquished and again adopted at various periods equaliç ludicrous. This fashion was, however, during 300 years, and which again appeared, suddenly relinquished; the hearl-dress became some time afterwards, as we shall presently see, extravagantly low; and to make amends, the || with increased extravagance. women adopted high heels. This sudden change I regret exceedingly that I am obliged to gave occasion to the following lines, by Chau- adduce an additional proof that women never lieu, which conclude with an epigram of con- drop one ridiculous fashion, without adopting siderable point :

another: it is the duty of an historian to adhere “ Paris cède à la mode et change ses parures,

to the truth. Vitam impendere vero was the motto * Ce peuple imitateur et singe de la cour,

of Rousseau, who, however, did not treat of “ A commencé depuis un jour,

subjects so important as that which now employs “ D'iumilier, enfin, l'orgueil de ces coiffures : | my pen. But to proceed. ** Mainte courte beauté s'en plaint, gronde, et

High head-dresses having now disappeared in a tempête,

single night, as if by enchantment, it became “ Et pour se rallonger, consultant les destins, | necessary that feminine caprice should fix on some “ Apprend d'eux qu'on retrouve, en haussant

new cbject. Hoops again came into fashion. It ses patins,

is true they were not called by their former “La taille que l'on perd en abaissant sa tête. appellation of vertugadins. What woman would “Voila le changement extrême

have worn a fashion as old as the time of Francis “Qui met en mouvement nos femmes de Paris: | 1. She who could have proposed such a thing “ Pour la coiffure des maris

would have become an object of derision. But “Elle est ici toujours la même."

by a stroke of genius, the name of paniers was This happy change in the head-dress was

given to them, and all the women sell passionately not of long duration. The women soon began in love with them. The circumstances which led to again to erect magnificent edifices upon their

the revival of this extravagant costume were these: heads. But, alas! the empire of fashion, like

The return of hoops was owing to the same all other empires, is subject to violent revolu- two English ladies who have been already mentions; a single moment was sufficient to destroy

tioned. Two days after the downfall of the a head dress or demolish a bastile-and that mo

lowering head dress, they look a walk, in the ment arrived. Two English ladies effected a most

evening, in the great alley of the Thuilleries. astonishing revolution in the fashions, which can- | Their robes expanded by vast hoops of whalebune, not fail to form a distinguished feature in this

excited the curiosity of the Parisians, naturally history. These two ladies who had recently arrived

an inquistive race, but whese curiosity in this at Paris, went to Versailles in June 1714, to see

case was very pardonable, since the spectacle Louis XIV. at supper. They wore an extreme

was then in view. They crowded round the

two ladies to examine them, and the concourse low head-dress, which was then as ridiculous as one two feet high would appear at present. No increasing every moment, they had well nigha sooner had they entered than they produced such

been squeezed to death. A bench saved thein, a sensation that a considerable noise took place. There was at that time a yew hedge on either The King inquired the reason of this extraordi

side of the alley, and seats were placed at inter

vals, near the hedge. It was behind one of these nary bustle, and was informed that it was occa

seats that the two ladies entrenched themselves, sioned by the presence of iwo ladies, whose heads were dressed in a very singular style. When the

and there they could with less danger sustain the King saw them, he observed to the ducheas and impetuous assaults of public curiosity. Never

became rather awkward. other ladies who were supping with him, that if theless their situatio the women had any sense, they would relinquish it is true they were protected both in the front their ridiculous head-dress and adopt the simple and the rear; but they begin to be warmly at

tacked on the Nanks, when a soldier found means fashion of the two strangers. The wishes of a

to extric te thein. He opened a passage through King are commands to his courtiers. The ladies

he yew hedge, assisted the besieged through the were sensible that they should be obliged to sub

breach, and conducted them to the orangery of mit: the sacrifice was painful-to demolish such

the Thuilleries. lofty head-dresses was little better than decapitation. There was no remedy; the fear of dis

[To be continued.]

ESSAY ON POLITENESS IN MANNERS.

POLITENESS, like taste and grace, is some- over it, and exercised a kind of dominion by thing that pleases us, that we feel and love, with. ineans of-ihat talent of seduction which is peout being able precisely to define its nature. It culiar to them, and which Montesquieu calls might even be styled, without impropriety, taste “ the art which little minds possess of governing and grace in manners. In this point of view, an great ones." Force was then obliged to yield to investigation into the nature of politeness would address; the question now no longer was how to lead us into the metaphysics of taste; and the vanquish and subdue, but how to attract by in. numerous observations which we are daily ena- sinuating manners and to please, became a nebled to make in society, are capable of furnish- cessity. The constant collisions of society had ing us with sufficient light to trace the connec- worn off its asperities; a general tone of amenity tion of politeness with letters and the arts. and politeness began to distinguish the inhabi

If, indeed, we observe that politeness in man. tants of cities; rudeness became disgusting; it ners was always cotemporary with taste in the

was confined to the peasantry, and received the arts, that the ages of Pericles, of Augustus, and contemptuous appellation of clownishness. Lonis XIV. were the most brilliant epochs of The influence of women was still stronger in artic wit, Roman urbanity, and French polite- society than in business; it was only through ness, it will be difficult to deny this analogy, the their empire over society that they usurped poliexistence of which I suspect.

tical authority: grace subdued force. The verIn the origin of societies men had little con.

satility of their imaginations, the delicacy of nection with each other; domestic cares occu- their impressions, the vivacity of their sentiments pied their lives, whose only ornaments were fa. soon 'imparted a character of elegance to man. mily virtues If accident brought them together, ners. They created taste, and gave publicity to benevolence shone in its utmost purity, when it the secrets of graces. That art of exciting inwas not obscured by interest; a stranger was terest without feeling any; of paying attention either a guest or an enemy, and never was man to all, and of engaging the attention of all even an indifferent object to his fellow. Their virtues

while thinking only of one; that delicacy in were open, their manners rude, and their passions touching the weak side of a heart; that address violent. Each had at that time his peculiar cha- in sparing every one's self-love, that dexterity in facter, and bore strong marks of originality

pleasing every one's taste, that universality in all Similar, but not perfectly alike, all the indivi- the means of charming soon awakened tender duals of the species were distinguished by re- sentiments. The arts were the offspring of the markable differences; as the leaves of the oaks

passions, which they tend to strengthen : sensiof the forest, though of the same texture and bility animated genius; imagination forined enform, all vary from each other in the exact shape

chanting chimeras, which were encouraged in and rint.

every heart by the magic of poetry and music; Society in its progress, assembling men in large

all the passions were blended into one, and hence masses, and inclosing them in towns, connected

sprung that niodel of the beautiful, which created thein by closer ties. Their interests were com

all virtues, all talents, and all graces. Influenced bined in a thousand ways; the wants of indivi.

by the same charm, and, as it were, by one comduals became more numerous, and their affairs more complicated; their very passions changed

Greeks, they had separate apartments, and very their aspect, as wild plants removed into our

little communication with the other sex. But gardens, there assume new forms : in a word,

the intrigues of the Seraglio and the revolutions their relations and dependencies were infinitely

caused by women in almost all the eastern courts, diversified.

prove that the shutting them up is but a fecble Social order soon extended itself like an im

obstacle to their influence. It was the jealousy mense net, one of the meshes of which cannot

of a plebeian woman against her sister whose be shaken without affecting a great number of husband was cousul, that caused the elevation of others. Women enter d more or less into so

plebeians to the Consulate. From the invasion ciety*, they consequently assumed an influence

of Greece, by Xerxes, to ih peace of Utrechi, it

is impossible to mention, peishaps one singl. great The seclusion of women was a law of an- political event in which the influence of women tiquity among all the Orientals. Among the has not been exerted in two opposite ways.

mon inspiration, courageous minds performed desolated France almost without intermission ever great actions, which great talents immortalized | since the death of Henry II. Similar circumon canvass and in marble. The theatre arose; stances produced similar effects. Louis XIV. artists became giore numerous, and monuments had even some advantages in point of situation multiplied heroes. A picturesque religion, over Augustus. In France as at Rome, the people mingied heaven wiih earth in a concurrence of sighed only for repose and an established aureciprocal pasjons; the pencil and the chisel in thority. Legitimate power, established on the the hands of Phidias and Apelles, were solely most ancient basis, gave the young King, at the occupied in producing images of the gods, of very beginning of his reign a firmness, which heroes and of beauiy; while the lyre and the Augustus, the usurper, could obtain only from flase united their melodious tones io embellish | time and the benefits of his reign. the hymns of Callimachus, the strains of Pindar

The blood of Henry IV. and St. Louis, which, and the odes of Anacreon. Such is the picture for so many ages had rendered the glory of a of that period of attic politeness which for a single family the glory of the whole nation, was short time blessed a suil fertile in prodigies, and more venerable to he French, than it was possible enveloped in an atmosphere of voluptuousness.

for the fable of Venus and Anchises to be to the Rome, barbarous and Aushed with conquest, || Romans. The youth of the King, his graceful incessantly agitated by civil dissensions, by the person, his wit, the greatness of his character, con inual struggles of ambition for power, retained that mixture of Spanish dignity and Italian elethe rudness of her manners in the midst of her | gance, which he had acquired from Anne of triumphs. To no purpose did subjugated Greece Austria and the Cardinal Mazarine, filled all his Adorn with her spoils the capital of the conquerors sujects with admiration, affection and enthu. of the worlt; the love of aris and of letters, and siasm ; and it might be asserted of him with the politeness of ramers, which is so intimately more truth than Virgil said of Augustus: “He connected with it, could never gain a fuoring in reigns over people who willingly submit to his their ferocious hears. The monuments of genius laws.” Every heart was opened to love, joy and transplanted to Rome remained strangers to them, I hope; all were prepared to receive agreeable im. and served rather for trophies than models, till pressions. What dispositions could be more Marius, Scylla, Pompey, Cæsar, those scourges favourable to the introduction of the arts, of of their country and avengers of the world, har! letters, and of politeness of manners! at lengih by their atrocities and disasters, created! What then is taste, what is grace, what is their a necessity for the government of Augustus. effect on society, and how can they alter manEvery thing then assumed a new form : the gates ners? of the temple of Janus were shut; all the violent Taste is a delicate touch of sensibility applied passions, restrained by authority, became tran

to agreeable objects. Its judgment is the result quillized, and were lulled to sleep; repose and of the impressions it has received. It adopts or felieity softened every mind, and rudeness disap-rejects at once, without reflection or calculation; peared. The love of pleasure, so natural to it consists entirely in emotion. It is independent peaceful man, the sensibility, arising from plea- of rules, for it preceded, nay it made them: and sure, or the expectation of it, taste, politeness before the understanding has combined the proand the graces were every where displayed, and

portions and proprieties, taste has decided : it has assigned to this historical epoch a distinguished || julged, because it has felt. It may be said that place in history.

tas'e is the consciousness of beauty. Those two The age of Louis XIV. the comparison of || principles have, in fact, one common source, hich to the age of Augustus does honour to the sensibility affected by moral sentiments, or by latter*, likewise succeeded civil wars which had | agreeable sentiments. How fertile is this prin

ciple of sensibility! The discovery of the nature To persons not divested of classic prejudices, | of the human soul, which is acknowledged to this assertion will perhaps appear exaggerated; || be the principle of love, is ihe sure basis of but if it be considered that the age of Augustus | inorality and of arts as well as of religiont. This was distinguished only by letters, and that ele discovery gives birth to a new system of metagance of manners, which cannot be appreciated | physics, which proposes for the ubject of its rebut by contemporaries; while the age of Louis | searches the whole theory of the affections, as the XIV. was that of all arts, of all talents, of all other embraces in its speculations the whole genius, from Turenne to la Quintinie, from Bos. theory of the ideas, suet to Lenótre, we shall be astonished at this Ideal beauty, that torch of genius which prodigious fecundity of nature at one period, and

+ " What is religion?" says Pascal, ""God shall acknowledge is without either a model or

sensible to the heart." a copy in history.

E No. XX, Vol. III.

illuminated the statuary ant the painter, is nothing I vicissitude of furiune, would all diffuse over the but moral beauty, intellectual beauty, applied to features of the aged monarch a particular grace, the arts of imitation. 'Tis there that Phidias the expression of which it belongs to genius to found the head of his Olympian Jopiter; thence | divine; for every air, the accent, and gesture, all Raphael borrowed the sublime traits of his trans- the tones and inflections are in nature. The soul figuration, and Michael Angelo the sombre i placed in a proper situation seems to create them; touches of his last judgment. The terrible, the it is only necessary to feel them, and the artist graceful and sublime, issue alike from this com- who attempts to reproduce the scene, must try mon source

all the tones of nature, and select that which is In society, where to please is every thing ; || in unison with his own heart. This can only be gracefulness is the subliine in manners; but it the effect of delicate sensibility. can only be acquired by not being sought after; La Fontaine says: it is the natural fruit of a mind happily formed, " Et la grâce plus belle encore que la beauté." or so improved by cultivation and experience of This expression is most strictly true; for if I the world, that amiable habits have become per. may venture to say so, beauty is always but fectly natural.

imaginary. A certain arrangement of features, In fact, grace is the unstudied expression of an a certain aspect of the physiognoiny indicate a amiable sentiment left totally uncontroled; it certain disposition of the soul. I anticipate good. has its source in truth, its form in negligence, || humour, intelligence, sensibility. 'Tis moral which betrays the truth; it shews it, because it | beauty that we love, to this the heart flies with does not think any one is looking on: it is the | ardor; but yet it may all be feigned : Medea chaste Diana surprized by Endymion. Grace knew how to render herself beautiful. In grace shines in a word, in a gesture, in a look, in a it is impossible to be mistaken; il fulfils all the smile, in an attitude, in every thing that strikes promises of beauty; I cannot be deceived, for I without intending to be remarked; the smallest have beheld the soul. degree of pr para ion destroys it ; 'tis like the Taste is the delicate sentiment of what pleases powder on flowers, which is removed by the the heart, and grace is the true and unstudied ex. most delicate touch, by the slightest breath of pression of an amiable sentiment. We have air.

Such is grace in manners ; such also is | shewn the application of these principles to the grace in style and in works of art. In all, it is fine arts : let us now endeavour to apply them to a tender and easy sentiment, which is when un- the analysis of manners. It would be very diffie adorned the most adorned; 'tis that delicate art

cult to define politeness considered as an art; or that happy nature which have so eminently for the rapidity and multiplicity of circumstances distinguished Virgil and Racine among the | afford no time for the calculations of reflections; poets, and Raphael and Corregio among the

there a wrong stroke of the crayon cannot be printers. As to manners, they are fugitive like | effaced ; the effi ct is already produced. But, it their objects; it is impossible to fix mudels for is not nature that we have to imitate; 'tis our them; a delicate and practised taste alone can

own impressions which it is our business to seize them in society.

render; 'tis nature herself that we must carefully These observations give us occasion to correct cultivate before hand. a vulgar error which seems to attach the graces Quintilian defined an orator to be a good exclusively to voluptuousness.

Wherever a

man, skilful in speaking.” Thus, according to tender and amiable sentiment is expressed with

that gr at master, eloquence is only the exprestruth and negligence, there is also grace. A pic- ||sion of a noble and upright mind, which moves ture of Henry IV. besieging Paris, and represent

and captivates the hearts of the auditors by the ing that excellent Prince sending bread to his re

beauty of its sentiments. We shall, in like man bellious subjects, reduced to such extremities as

ner, assert, that politenesst is only the expression to eat the bones from charnel-houses, might be

of a good disposition, which, by its very good. made a subject replete with grace. The painter

ness, pleases and attracts. would have only to infuse into that august head the

A delicale sentiment of what is due to one's celestial expression of supernatural benevolence,

self and to others, and an acute judgment, which and as Raphael has done in the Transfiguration,

at one view comprehends circumstances and their to place a divine head upon a human body.

varieties,-these are the basis of that art of The aged Priam, demanding of Achilles the body of Hector, would likewise be a graceful sube † “ Politeness does not always produce beneject. That dignits of a great mind, which reigns || volence, equity, complaisance, gratitude; it gives over its misfortunes; that paternal tenderness at least the appearance of them, and makes the which covers and absords the husniliation of the man'appear without what he ought to be wilbin." conquered; that resignation which has known every La Bruyere,

« السابقةمتابعة »