« PreviousContinue »
To prevent all possible disappointment, however, I must repeat that there will be limits to the information which they will derive from me, and that though they may very fairly expect me to know more than themselves, they must not expect me to know more than the Witch of Endor and the Wandering Jew. To say all in a word, they must not expect two things from me.
curiosity, if not all the meddling imper- || departure of Colonel Thornton and his tinence which distinguish our sex. I will fox-hounds; and I myself have met two or not deny, therefore, that the circumstances three ladies who acknowledge themselves detailed in the letters of my expected under obligations to your wisdom. In the correspondents will more than compensate confidence of your goodness, and in the for any trouble I may have in answering full persuasion of your knowledge, I shall them, if trouble, indeed, that can be called make no further apology, but proceed to which is but the natural exercise and the state my case, and to solicit your opinion. active operation of my peculiar faculties. Briefly then, my dear Madam, I am the daughter of a gentleman who has seven children besides myself, and a very small. annual income, which expires with his life. The points of my case are these two.-I am addressed by two gentlemen; the one. of them a young Officer quartered in the town, but who has no fortune but his commission; the other an old gentleman just returned from India, who has an immense property, but is gouty, bilious, and as far as I know has nothing in the world to recommend him but his fortune, and the hopes of a speedy deliverance by his great age. Now, Madam, what is your advice; I most sincerely love the Officer, and will have him; I should wish, however, to have your advice, because I should wish to have some one on my side. As to the old gentleman he is a favourite of my father's, and my sisters and brothers all unite in his favour. My father, of course, thinks it the more prudent match, and my sisters have no objection to having their sister possessed of a carriage of her own. But I do not think that either they or my father are the best judges of what belongs personally to my own feelings, to use an old proverb, Madam, they are the best judges of the shoe who are to wear it. What I have to request, therefore, Madam, is your advice, but let it reach me, if possible before the 20th of the month, as I expect to
be married to the Officer on the 19th, and on the following day shall leave this place for Bath.-I am, Madain, yours in haste,
They must not expect, that in the first place, I shall be able to foretel any certain event. This, as I have said before, belongs to prophecy, to absolute prediction, and not to Second-sight. Second-sight, as the term indeed expresses, is a kind of prolonged vision, which certainly sees at a greater distance both of space and time, but does not see very distinctly and clearly, which sees in shadows and clouds.
And secondly, for the very same reason, as they must not expect me to foretel any certain event, so must they likewise not expect that I shall foretel any event certainly. The images, presented to the faculty of Second-sight, pass before our eyes in allegories and emblems; they are emblematic representations of futurity, the skeletons and external forms of events yet in progress. It is not very easy upon this point to render myself intelligible, therefore I shall leave the further explanation of it to the experience of my correspondents.
As an example to such ladies, or even gentlemen, as wish to consult me, you may take the following letter, which I received last week from a young lady at York:
TO THE LADY SYBILLA MACKEN.
"My dear Madam,—Your knowledge is as much spoken of in these parts as the
[To be continued.]
ANECDOTES OF DRESS, AND THE CAPRICES OF FASHION. FROM MALCOLM'S "ANECDOTES OF THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF LONDON DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY."
[Concluded from Page 64.]
"IN June 1722, the Bishop of Durham ap- || pursuing the change; this makes fashion so peared on horseback at a review, in the King's universally followed, and is the true reason tfain, in a lay habit of purple with jack boots,|| why the awkwardest people are as fond of this ⚫ and his hat cocked, and black wig tied behind || folly as the genteelest, who give a grace to him like a militant officer. every thing they wear. I shall not busy myself with the ladies' shoes and stockings at all; it may serve to recal some ideas to the young fellows of this age, which it does not become my character and office to encourage; but I cannot so easily pass over the hoop when it is in my way, and therefore I inust beg pardon of my fair readers, if I begin my attack where the above mentioned pretty gentlemen end theirs. It is now some years since this re
"George II. reviewed the Guards in 1727, habited in grey cloth faced with purple, with a purple feather in his hat; and the three eldest Princesses went to Richmond in riding habits, with hats and feathers and periwigs.
"I have met with the following description of the dress of a running footman in 1730:They wear fine holland drawers and waist. coats, thread stockings, a blue silk sash fringed with silver, a velvet cap with a great tassel;markable fashion made a figure in the world, and carry a porter's staff with a large silver and from its first beginning, divided the pubhandle.' lic opinion as to its convenience and beauty. For my own part I was always willing to indulge it under some restrictions; that is to say if it is not a rival to the dome of St. Paul's, to incumber the way, or a tub for the resistance of a new Diogenes; if it does not eclipse too much beauty above, or discover too much below. In short, I am for living in peace; and I am afraid a fine lady, with too much liberty in this particular, would render my own imagination an enemy to my repose.
"The farthingal, according to several paint
a rose-coloured paduasoy mantua, lined withings, and even history itself, is as old as Queen
rich mautua silk of the same colour; a suit of black paduasoy; a long velvet scarf, lined with a shot silk of pink blue; a long silk hood laced, two white short silk aprons, one embroidered with silk at the edges; one green silk apron embroidered with silk and silver; three new muslin India half handkerchiefs, spotted with plated silver; two gauze half handkerchiefs, one brown embroidered with gold, silver, and silk; a short crimson satin cloak, lined with white silk; a gold and silver girdle, with buckles set with Bristol stones,
Elizabeth, though it is possible it had its origin in the same manner as the hoop, and was worn as universally; but the prudes of our days revived it in stark opposition to that fashion, and boasted that while they were in that circle they were secure from temptation; nay, some of them have presumed to say that it gave them all the chastity of that heroic Princess, who died, as she had lived, a virgin, after so many years of trial.-N. B. Her Maids of Honour wore farthingals as well as her Majesty, and undoubtedly participated of the same virtue, though I submit that point to the examination of the learned,
"The beaus of the day seemed emulous of the running fraternity in the latter part of their insignia, according to the Universal Spectator, which says: The wearing of swords at the court-end of the town is by many polite young gentlemen laid aside; and instead thereof they carry large oak sticks, with great heads and ugly faces carved thercon.'
"An advertisement in March 1731, mentions several articles of the dress of the time; amongst which were, 'a black velvet petticoat;
"The Weekly Register of July 10, 1731, contains the following lively survey of female dress:
"The love of novelty is the parent of fashion, and as the fashion sickens with one image it longs for another; this is the cause of the continued revolutions of habit and be- || haviour, and why we are so industrious in No. XLIII.-Vol. VI.
"The stay is a part of modern dress that I have an invincible aversion to, as giving a stiffness to the whole frame, which is void of all grace, and an enemy to beauty; but, as I would not offend the ladies by absolutely condemning what they are so fond of, I will recal my censure, and only observe that even this L
female armour is changing mode continually, and favours or distresses the enemy according to the humour of the wearer. Sometimes the stomacher almost rises to the chin, and a modesty bit serves the purpose of a ruff: at other times it is so complaisant as not to reach half way, and the modesty is but a transparent shade to the beauties underneath. This is what one may call opening the windows of heaven, and giving us a view of paradise; the other shuts up every avenue, and makes reserve a dragon for its security: the first may I give passion too great a licence, and the last may be an injury to nature: for which reason I recommend a medium; coquets are the encouragers of one, and prudes of the other.
"I have no objection to make to the tippet. It may be made an elegant and beautiful ornament; in winter the sable is wonderfully graceful, and a fine help to the complexion: in summer the colours and the composition are to be adapted with judgment, neither dull without fancy, nor gaudy without beauty.
"As the breast-knot allows a good deal of ingenuity in the delicate choice of colours, and disposition of figure, I think it may be indulged; but very sparingly, and rather with a negligence than the least affectation.
amour was its inseparable companion. On which account I give public notice that a highcrowned hat shall be esteemed as an emblem of an amorous heart, and a signal for the first assignation that falls in the way.
"The hat and peruke, which has been some time made part of a lady's riding equipage, is such an odd kind of affectation, that I hardly know under what species to range it; it is such an enemy to female beauty, it is so foreign to every amiable grace, it adds such a masculine fierceness to the figure, and such a shameless boldness to every feature, that neither decency nor elegance can justify it.— None but Amazons ought to wear it; and, if any of the sex are now courageous enough to || hid defiance to mankind, I must insist on their wearing the breeches too, to make their disguise complete. But I am apt to believe it is made use of on quite different motives; it must certainly take place out of a more than ordinary regard to us, and must be meant as the highest compliment. Beside, it may serve to tickle the mind with pictty imaginations; sometimes supply the absence of a beau, and sometimes please with the resemblance. I never see one of these heroines without ascribing some such cause for her gallantry; and always surmise with what readiness she would part with the appearance in exchange for the reality.
"I come now to the head-dress, the very highest point of female elegance; and here i find such a variety of modes, such a medley of decoration, that it is hard to know where to fix; lace and cambric, gauze and fringe, feathers and rihands, create such a confusion, occasion such frequent changes, that it defies art, judgment, or taste to reconcile them to any standard, or reduce them to any order. That ornament of the hair which is styled the horns, and has been in vogue so long, was certainly first calculated by some good-natured lady to keep her spouse in countenance; and, by sympathy, the fashion has prevailed ever since.
"The high-crowned hat, after having been confined to cots and villages for so long a time, is become the favourite mode of quality, and is the politest distinction of a fashionable undress. I quarrel with it only because it seems to be a kind of masquerade; it would insinuate an idea of innocence and rusticity, though the Park is not the likeliest place to be the scene of either: in short, if a woman is dressed like a wood nymph, I expect the simplicity of manners, and full force of rural nature, which is of a piece with the character; but I am generally most egregiously disap-half to fifteen shillings, the price of dark bobs. pointed. Some lady who was intimate with Those mixed with horse-hair were much lower. the intrigue of romances was certainly the re- It will be observed from the gradations in viver of this custom; she had read of lucky price, that real grey hair was most in fashion, adventures in that disguise, and fancied an and dark of no estimation.
"Perukes were an highly important article in 1734. Those of right grey human hair were four guineas each; light grizzle ties three guineas; and other colours in proportion, to twenty-five shillings. Right grey humau bair cue perukes from two guineas to fifteen shil lings each, which was the price of dark cues: and right grey bob perukes two guineas and an
"The riding habit simply, without the black velvet cap and white feather, is, in my opinion, the most elegant dress that belongs to the ladies' wardrobe; there is a grace and gentility in it that all other dresses want; it displays the shape and turn of the body to great advantage, and betrays a negligence that is perfectly agreeable. This fashion was certainly first invented by a woman of taste; and I am pleased to see the ladies it. general so well reconciled to it. It argues something like good sense in their choice still remaining; and she who makes her whole actions most conformable to that standard, will always be most secure of conquests and repatation.'
"The following extracts will describe the dresses of 1735-On bis Majesty's birth-day, the Queen was in a beautiful suit, made of silk of the produce of Georgia; and the same was universally acknowledged to excel that of any other country. The noblemen and gentlemen wore chiefly at court brown flowered velvets, or dark cloth coats, laced with gold or silver, or plain velvets of various colours, and breeches of the same; their waistcoats were either gold stuffs, or rich flowered silks of a large pattern, with a white ground: the make much the same as has been worn some time, only many had open sleeves to their coats: their tie wigs were with large curls, setting forward and rising from the forehead, though not very high: the ties were thick, and longer than of late, and both behind; some few had bag wigs.
"The ladies wore flowered silks of various sorts, of a large pattern, but mostly with a white ground with wide short sleeves, and short petticoats: their gowns were pinned up variously behind, though mostly narrow. Some few had gold or silver nets on their petticoats, and to their facings and robings; and some had gold and silver set on their gown sleeves, like flounces: they wore chiefly fine escaloped laced heads, and dressed mostly English. Some few had their hair curled down on the sides; but most of them had it pinned up quite strait, and almost all of them with pow der, both before and behind. Some few had their heads made up Dutch, some with cockades of ribands on the side, and others with artificial flowers; they wore treble escaloped laced ruffles, one fall tacked up before, and two down, but all three down behind; though some few had two falls tacked up, and one down before. Laced tippets were much worn; some had diamond solitaires to hook them together; others had their jewels made up bows and ends. Those without tippets had mostly very broad laced tuckers, with diamond necklaces and ear-rings. Diamond buckles were much worn in the shoes both of the gentlemen and ladies. Lord Castlemain made a very splendid appearance among the young noblemen in a rich gold stuff coat; as Lady Harcourt did among the ladies, in a white ground rich silk embossed with gold and silver, and fine coloured flowers of a large pattern.'
tainment, but am debarred that diversion by my relations, upon account of a sort of people who now fill, or rather infest the boxes. I went the other night to the play with an aunt of mine, a well-bred woman of the last age, though a little formal. When we sat down in the front boxes, we found ourselves surrounded by a parcel of the strongest fellows that ever I saw in my life; some of them had those loose kind of great coats on, which I have heard called wrap rascals, with gold-laced hats slouched, in humble imitation of stagecoachmen: others aspired at being grooms, and had dirty boots and spurs, with black caps on, and long whips in their hands a third sort wore scanty frocks, little shabby hats put on one side, and clubs in their hands. My aunt whispered me, she never saw such a set of slovenly unmannerly footmen sent to keep places in her life; when, to her greater surprize, she saw those fellows at the end of the act pay the box-keeper for their places.'
"When our present Queen landed in England 1761, she was habited in a gold brocade with a white ground; had a stomacher ornamented with diamonds; and wore a fly-cap Such was the then with richly laced lappets.
female British dress, which her Majesty adopted in compliment to her royal consort's subjects.
"General Napier lost by robbery in the same year a painted silk negligée and petticoat, the ground white, a running pattern of flowers and leaves, the edges of the leaves painted in silver, and the veins gold, with some birds and butterflies painted thereon.'
"The author of Historical Remarks on Dress, published in 1761 by Jefferies, asserts, that party-coloured coats were first worn in England in the time of Henry I.; chaplets, or wreaths of artificial flowers, in the time of Edward III.; hoods and short coats without sleeves, called tabarts in the time of Henry IV.; hats in the time of Henry VII.; ruffs in the reigu of Edward VI.; and wrought caps or bonnets in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Judge Finch introduced the band in the time of James I. French hoods, bibs, and gorgets, were discontinued by the Queen of Charles I. The commode or tower was introduced in 1637; shoes of the then fashion in 1633; breeches, instead of trunk hose, in 1654. And perukes were first worn after the Restoration."
"The Editor of the London Evening Post has whimsically described the dresses then prevail"The Countess Dowager of Effingham was ing, under the character of Miss Townley, in robbed of the robes which she wore at the coroone of his papers for December 1739, who ob- nation, and other dresses; and thus described serves:- I am a young woman of fashion, them in an advertisement: Coronation who loves plays, and should be glad to frequent robes with a silver tissue petticoat, the gold them, as an agreeable and instructive enter-trimmings to the petticoat, and the tassels, &c.
to the robe taken off, and put into papers; a scarlet-flowered damask mantua petticoat, very richly embroidered with silver; an uncut redflowered velvet mantua petticoat, trimmed with silver flounces of net with silver tassels; a very rich blue and silver mantua petticoat, with a figured ground; a mantua petticoat white and gold, with figured ground; a white satin gown and petticoat; a brown satin sack richly brocaded with silver; a new satin sack and petticoat, white satin ground brocaded yellow; a scarlet unwatered tabby sack and petticoat; a white tissue flowered sack and petticoat; a white aud silver sack; a red satin fly petticoat, with a broad silver orrice at the bottom ; a quilted red silk petticoat; and a blue and gold Turkey silk sack and petticoat.'
"A person whose name is not mentioned, influenced by the same cause as the Countess, described cloaths as follows: A brocade, lustring sack with a ruby-coloured ground and white tobine stripes trimmed with floss; a black satin sack flowered with red and white flowers trimmed with white floss; a pink and white striped tobine sack and petticoat trimmed with white floss; and a garnet-coloured lustring night-gown, with a tobine stripe of green and white, trimmed with the floss of the same colour, and lined with straw-coloured lustring.'
"Such were the gawdy fashions of our dames crca 1763. Are we not improved in our taste, good reader?'
"The ladies head dress in 1765 is said to have exactly resembled that of Mary Queen of Scots as represcuted in her portraits.
"Court mournings were continued for a most unreasonable length of time previous to 1768, and became very prejudicial to the manufacturer and retailer; but remonstrances from the city of London procured the ensuing notice, which was inserted in the Gazette:
You will perhaps be surprized when I tell you it is the cork rump. To explain this technical term, you are to know that the ladies have thought it conducive to elegance to make cork under the straps of their stays, in order, that by the protuberance of this new additional rump, their waist may seem the smaller and the more delicate.'
"Some of the then and subsequent exuberances shall now be brought to recollection. And first, the head-this we have seen covered with a cushion, as it was termed, generally formed of horse-hair, and something like a porter's knot set upon the ends; over this the hair was combed strait, the sides curled, and the back turned up, and the whole powdered; diminutive caps of gauze, adorned with ribands, and miniature hats, generally of black silk trimmed, were stuck on the tower of hair with long pins. The waist was covered by a longbodied gown, drawn exceedingly elose over stays laced still closer; the hips sometimes supported a bell hoop; the shoulders alternately small cloaks and cardinals, the former of muslin and silk, and the latter almost always of black silk richly laced.
"This description of female dress altered by degrees to the present fashion: the head insensibly lowered; the horse-hair gave place to large natural curls spread over the face and ears; the cap enlarged to an enormous size, and the bonnet swelled in proportion; hoops were entirely discontinued, except at court; silks became unfashionable, and printed calicoes and the finest white muslins were substi tuted, and still hold their influence. The ladies have at length, much to their honour, thrown aside those hateful attempts to supply nature's deficiencies or omissions, the false. breasts, pads, and bottoms; and now appear in that native grace and proportion which distinguishes an English woman : the hair, cleansed from all extraneous matter, shines in beautiful lustre carelessly turned round the head in the manner adopted by the most eminent Grecian sculptors; and the form appears through their snow-white draperies in that
"His Majesty, in compassion to such manufacturers and people in the trade as by the length of court mournings are, in this time of general scarcity and dearness of provisions, deprived in a great measure of the means of getting bread, hath been pleased to give direc-fascinating manner which excludes the last tions for shortening all such mournings for thought of impropriety. Their hats and bonthe future: and the Lord Chamberlain's orders nets of straw, chip, and beaver, are generally for court mournings will be issued hereafter well proportioned and handsome; and their conformably thereto.' velvet pelisses, shawls, and silk spencers, are contrived to improve rather than injure the form.
"The subject of dress is now nearly exhausted; but I cannot part with the follies of thirty years without permitting an observer to speak of one of them :
"Among the many enormous exuberances of modern dress, I believe there is one lately sprung up which you may not have noticed.
"But in the midst of this praise I must be permitted to make one observation; and that is, some thoughtless females indulge in the licence of freedom rather too far, and shew their person n a manner offensive to modesty.