« PreviousContinue »
time fo loud that I could plainly hear them as I lay; which gave me continual apprehenfions left the Count fhould hear them too, and, in the fituation I was in, I durft not call to them to speak foftly. My anger at their indifcretion was fo great, that I bit my fingers ends for very fpight.
At length, finding the day coming on apace, they came hand in hand into the room with a light, frisking and skipping, and making a great noife with their feet as well as their tongues. I now began to imagine that they were become intoxicated and mad with pleasure, fo that I grew concerned for their misfortunes as well as my own, as the infamy and punishment must light equally upon us all In this fituation I had a thousand imaginations in my head, none of which could stand inɛ in the least stead. In the midst of this conflict they came close to the bed, and the Countefs drew back the curtain, so that we could plainly fee one another..
I was now quite befide myself, and would have fled, had I known whither: but I was quickly relieved from my apprehenfions, for the Countess lifting up the bed-clothes, fhewed me that I had not the old Count by my file, but a young damfel, a fifter of her's, as lovely as VENUS herself. My shame and confufion were fo great at the trick that was put upon me, that I was not able to speak a word, nor knew what to do, but bounce up in my fmock, and run to look for my clothes."
SERRADARISBYLEZÁ Thursday, April 26, 1770.
In nova fert Animus mutatas dicere formas
XT always gives me an extreme degreeof concern, when I am under a neceffity of touching on any fubject which is not perfectly agreeable to my fair readers, and especially to the younger part of them. Nothing hurts me fo fenfibly as any contrariety between their practice and my own opinion; and I begin to diftruft my judgment, my tafte, nay my very fenfes, when I perceive any thing in their conduct that car
ies the leaft appearance of impropriety. Yet, as I have no other medium to fee through but my faculties, fuch as they are, I fhould be unpardonable if I omitted to point out any thing which may feem to me injurious to their welfare; and it would be but a bad proof of my regard, were I to neglect their interests, from an apprehenfion of their displeasure. Fully convinced, however, of my infufficiency, I fhall always affert with diffidence, and argue only to be confuted.
I thought this apology neceffary to introduce the following genuine letter which I have received from a gentleman of worth and fortune in the county of Meath, with whom I had formerly the honour of being well acquainted.
DUBLIN, April 7, 1770. "I thank you for the papers you have sent me, which I approve of extremely, and congratulate you
on the general approbation and encouragement which
I have been in this difagreeable town near two months. The affair that brought me hither has fomething whimsical in the event, which perhaps may furnish you with a hint for a speculation. My eldest Son Jack being two and twenty, it became the first defire of my heart to fee him well married, and I employed a friend here to look out accordingly. He foon mentioned to me a scheme which promised to answer all our wishes; a very good family, a decent fortune, and the girl not only happy in her character, but a great beauty befides, and a celebrated toast. This last piece of information gave much more pleasure to Jack than to me, and made him very impatient to set out. The evening after our arrival, we went with my friend to be introduced. The father has been dead these three years. We were received with great politeness by the mother, who is a very fine woman of about fix and thirty. A groupe of five younger females were fitting at the other end of the room, hard at work with their shuttles, and peeping at each other through their monftrous caps. I obferved, they were all fhockingly round fhouldered; as bad as the witches in Macbeth; but one in particular was quite humped. She was doubled together like a millipede or woodloufe, when it is touched. Her head came almost to her knees; the shoulder-points met before; bofom there was none; but the fwelling roundness, which nature meant to place there, was transferred, with intereft, to her back. This, it feems, was the toast, and this graceful attitude, the very height of the fashion.
found afterwards that two years ago fhe was a tall, ftrait well made girl; but, by dint of application, had arrived at this ftate of perfection, for which the was the envy of all her acquaintance. Ah! thought I, at the first glance, Madam Deformity, you shall never breed for my family. The refult, in short, was this. Jack, who liked her very well in every other inftance, became free enough in a few days, to railly her on the fubject, and mentioned her mother as an example. This gave her great offence, and produced many farcafins on his ignorance of fafhion, eafe, and the line of beauty. But Jack, who thought the natural perpendicu ar had more beauty, in this cafe, than the artificial curve, ventured to fupport his opinion; until, by conftantly dwelling on the contrast, he fell fairly in love with the mother. Her face is nothing the worfe for the wear ; and her neck and bofom are extremely fine. She is a good deal in the old fashioned ftile, as the girls call it; that is, her person is gracefully erect, her address unaffected, and her mind informed. He asked my confent, which I heartily gave him, for fhe is young enough to bring me a grandfon. After fome folicitations fhe acceded, and they are to be married tomorrow. Mifs is to be her mamma's bride-maid, and we shall take her, very much in the dumps, to the country, to try if good air and exercise, joined to a total removal from fashion, can help to restore her to her natural form.
I am, &c.
I am much indebted to my friend for this anecdote, which perhaps may operate more powerfully than any thing that could be faid on the fubject. It is indeed very difficult to offer any argument with fuccess,
when reafon is fo polite as to fubmit itself implicitly to fashion, and the very paffions are to ftrangely mifplaced, that distortion is become the object of vanity. A few more incidents of this kind may alarm our young Ladies. Jealoufy may effect the cure, where all other means are infufficient, and they may be animated to regain their form by an apprehenfion of being difgracefully rivalled by their mothers.
I have read that the Bramins of India, in the feverity of their devotion, load their necks with heavy clogs of timber, which keep them conftantly bent almoft to theground. Others of them remain, for a length of time, with their necks tied to their heels, until the whole body is confirmed in that shape, and the man is metamorphofed into a monster. Had our Ladies the fame motive, their merit would really be little lefs. For, as nature plainly did not intend them for grazing, the mufcles of the neck cannot, I should think, be prevailed on to comply with this diftention, without confiderable uneafinefs. The lungs too, from the contraction of the cheft, must be diftreffed for want of room, and the organs of digeftion lye under a painful preffure. But all this is borne, because it is the mode; in comp'aifance to which, the human form, Godlike erect, is exchanged for the pronenefs of inferior animals, and a fine woman is literally turned into one of the ANTHROPOPHAGI mentioned by OT HELLO, whofe heads do grow beneath their shoulders.
The inhabitants near the Alps, are, from the ufe of fnow-water, univerfally affected with great fchirrous tumours in the neck, which are called goters. These grow to a monftrous fize, and yet the poor people, with a rational kind of policy, endeavour to draw comfort from unavoidable evil, and esteem them as very