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dance, or, as it is more emphatically designated, of a rout. Fops with no pretensions to ability, here strut in all the grandeur of their nothingness; bachelors of fifty, here assume the heedless vivacity of youth; and fashionable spouses lay the seeds of future divorce. A dance, as Lord Chesterfield said of the House of Lords, is the hospital for incurables. If it were merely the relaxation of an hour, it might be considered as a rational amusement; but where it occupies life, to the exclusion of more important duties, the injury is irremediable. Many a young mind has traced its ruin to a ball room; and many a gay heart, captivated by the fashion that sheds temporary brilliance around it, has ached to participate in the amusement. This is more especially the case with the inexperienced female of respectable family and confined expectations. In the ardor of youth she enters the magic circle, her innocence confirms the paradise that her fancy had created, and the witchery of the scene glides imperceptibly into her heart. If beautiful, admiration dodges her step, till the language that flattery dictates is mistaken for the effusion of nature. Thus heated with adulation, and softened by the semblance of respect, she suffers her feelings to be captivated by some smooth-tongued fashionist, whom from his superior connexion and income she
may never again meet. Remorse is the consequence; she she sighs for pleasure she must never know, and concludes a Spring of disappointment by an Autumn of moroseness.
spear of Ithuriel would be of infinite utility in a ball room. The young might then feel the truth, and estimate it according to its deserts. Many a form now bedecked with smiles, would then be convulsed with care; many a laugh be converted into a sigh; and many a cheerful countenance betray a broken heart. So much for the mental-the personal transformation would be equally effective. The bloom would drop from the cheek, and the wig from the brow of age. The dashing belle who now parades the ball room in the apparent luxuriance of youth, would then shrink into the well-worn veteran of fifty; and her eyes, those soft tell-tales of love, would tell nothing but the ingenuity of the maker. The accomplishments of the assembly would then be ascribed to their proper origin, and the tailor and the hair-dresser would prove the most accomplished characters of them all.
But not only in the opportunities of deception which it presents to experience, is a ball room injurious; in the control it exercises over society it is equally detrimental. By exhibiting a false esti
mate of ability it converts the fool into the philosopher, and, by the same felicitous alchemy of mind, bedecks ignorance in the garb of reason. The great seal of fashion sanctions the mistake, and the ass dressed up in the lion's skin is the acknowledged lion of the day. His ears may perhaps betray him to the lynx-eye of penetration, but the generality of devotees either cannot or will not discern them. Like Titania, under the influence of magic, they adore the ignobler beast; but when the fashion of the hour changes, the infatuation vanishes, and the animal brays nonsense in his appropriate character. The beau monde of the ball room was never so contemptibly deteriorated as at present. A few witty apophthegms, transmitted, like other entailed estates, from son to son, from age to age, form the staple of fashionable conversation. We descend daily in our notions of excellence, and, instead of praising the qualities of the head, pay exclusive adoration to the heels. Well then might Vestris exclaim-" There are only two great men in the world, the French Sovereign and myself; if I were not Vestris, I should have no objection to be the King of France."
But if this observation was justified in soberer times, the fashion of the passing hour will warrant a loftier strain of egotism. The newspa
pers are daily replete with advertisements of quadrille masters, who, in the conscious enthusiasm of genius, profess to teach even the bear to waltz; and a celebrated dancing master has lately realized a fortune, by initiating young men in the fashionable buffoonery of a bow. This, among other instances, will give to succeeding generations an exulting consciousness of the nervous intellect of their ancestors; and they will read with a blush of shame, that J the famous quadrille master kept his carriage, while C starved at Highgate; and that the nine Hungarian tailors adorned and manufactured the ball room, while the nine Muses withered in their Aonian garrets. Nay, so inconsistent even is the caprice of fashion, that the nimble qualities of the heels, when transferred to the fingers, are the surest road to degradation and contempt.
There is another accomplishment indispensable to the ball room, which, on enumerating its varied excellencies, we should scarcely be justified in withholding. We allude to the elegant science of boxing, the delight of camp and court. This propensity originates in the warlike genius of the age, and pervades even the most polished circles. Our finest bards are our finest boxers; they break the heart with their poetry, and the head with their
their fists, and fight their way to the temple of Fame, with verses in one hand and boxing-gloves in the other. So prevalent is this fascinating pursuit, that it seems to have an equal effect on the sensibility with love itself; and the facetious editor of Peter Corcoran's works informs us that the hero of his duodecimo broke his heart and wind from too close an intimacy with pugilism. Illustrious age of manual chivalry! when friends not only shake hands, but fists, when the champion of the ring is the darling of the ball room, and Pierce Egan is dubbed a celebrated character.
The javelin was once the martial instrument of the times, and kings felt themselves honored in entering the lists of glory. The more plebeian fist is now-a-days the fashionable weapon; the hands of Great Britain eclipse the splendor of its arms, and their beauty is proportioned to the vigor of their cross-buttock. Even the fair sex, feeling perhaps that "none but the brave deserve the fair," dwell with singular complacency on the newspaper records of battles; and it was but the other day that we overheard a young man at a select circle entertain several ladies with a profound dissertation on the merits of the tight Irish Boy.
We have observed that fashionable society is deteriorated; and there can be no stronger illustration