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FRENCH COOKERY. No. 148.
I REMEMBER I was last summer invited to a friend's house, who is a great admirer of the French cookery, and, as the phrase is, eats well.' At our sitting down, I found the table covered with a great variety of unknown dishes. I was mightily at a loss to learn what they were, and therefore did not know where to help myself. That which stood before me I took to be a roasted porcupine; however, did not care for asking questions, and have since been informed that it was only a larded turkey. I afterwards passed my eye over several hashes, which I do not know the name of to this day; and, hearing that they were delicacies, did not think fit to meddle with them.
Among other dainties, I saw something like a pheasant, and therefore desired to be helped to a wing of it; but, to my great surprise, my friend told me it was a rabbit, which is a sort of meat I never cared for. At last I discovered, with some joy, a pig at the lower end of the table, and begged a gentleman that was near it to cut me a piece of it. Upon which the gentleman of the house said, with great civility, I am sure you will like the pig, for it was whipped to death. I must confess I heard himn with horror, and could not eat of an animal that had u ed so tragical a death. I was now in great hunger and confusion, when methought I smelled the agreeable savour of roast beef, but could not tell from which dish it arose, though. I did not question but it lay disguised in one of them. Upon turning my head, I saw a noble sirloin on the side-table, smoking in the most delicious manner. I had recourse to it more than once, and could not see,
without some indignation, that substantial English dish banished in so ignominious a manner, to make way for French kickshaws.
The dessert was brought up at last, which in truth was as extraordinary as any thing that had come before it. The whole, when ranged in its proper order, looked like a very beautiful winter-piece. There were several pyramids of candied sweetmeats, that hung like icicles, with fruits scattered up and down, and hid in an artificial kind of frost. At the same time there were great quantities of cream beaten up into a snow, and near them little plates of sugar-plums, disposed like so many heaps of hail-stones, with a multitude of congelations in jellies of various colours. I was indeed so pleased with the several objects which lay before me, that I did not care for displacing any of them; and was half angry with the rest of the company, that for the sake of a piece of lemon-peel or a sugar-plum would spoil so pleasing a picture. Indeed, I could not but smile to see several of them cooling their mouths with lumps of ice, which they had just before been búrning with salts and peppers.
As soon as this show was over, I took my leave, that I might finish my dinner at my own house : for as I in every thing love what is simple and natural, so particularly in my food: two plain dishes, with two or three goodnatured, cheerful, ingenious friends, would make me more pleased and vain than all that pomp and luxury can bestow. For it is my maxim, that he keeps the greatest table who has the most valuable company at it.
ON FEMALE VANITY. No. 151.
When artists would expose their diamonds to an advantage, they usually set them to show in little cases of black velvet. By this means the jewels appear in their true and genuine lustre, while there is no colour that can infect their brightness, or give a false cast to the water. When I was at the opera the other night, the assembly of ladies in mourning made me : consider them in the same kind of view. A dress wherein there is so little variety shows the face in all its natural charms, and makes one differ from another only as it is more or less beautiful. Painters are ever careful of offending against a rule which is so essential in all just representations. The chief figure must have the strongest point of light, and not be injured by any gay colourings, that may draw away the attention to any less considerable part of the picture. The present fashion obliges every body to be dressed with propriety, and makes the ladies' faces the principal objects of sight. Every beautiful person shines out in all the excellence with which nature has adorned her : gaudy ribbands and glaring colours being now out of use, the sex has no opportunity given them to disfigure themselves, which they seldom fail to do whenever it lies in their power. When a woman comes to her glass, she does not employ her time in making herself look more advantageously what she really is, but endeavours to be as much another creature as she possibly can. Whether this happens because they stay so long, and attend their work so diligently, that they forget the faces and persons which they first sat down with, or whatever it is, they seldom rise from the toilet the
same women they appeared when they began to dress. What jewel can the charming Cleora place in her ears, that can please her beholders so much as her eyes? The cluster of diamonds upon the breast can add no beauty to the fair chest of ivory which supports it. It may indeed tempt a man to steal a woman, but never to love her. Let Thalestris change herself into a motley parti-coloured animal : the pearl necklace, the flowered stomacher, the artificial nosegay and shaded furbelow, may be of use to attract the eye of the beholder, and turn it from the imperfections of her features and shape. But if ladies will take my word for it, (and, as they dress to please men, they ought to consult our fancy rather than their own in this particular,) I can assure them there is nothing touches our imagination so much as a beautiful woman in a plain dress. There might be more agreeable ornaments found in our own manufacture, than any that rise out of the looms of Persia.
This, I know, is a very harsh doctrine to womankind, who are carried away with every thing that is showy, and with what delights the eye, more than any one species of living creatures whatsoever. Were the minds of the sex laid open, we should find the chief idea in one to be a tippet, in another a muff, in a third a fan, and in a fourth a fardingal. The memory of an old visiting lady is so filled up with gloves, silks, and ribbands, that I can look upon it as nothing else but a tvy-shop. A matron of my acquaintance, complaining of her daughter's vanity, was observing, that she had all of a sudden held up her head higher than ordinary, and taken an air that showed a secret satisfaction in herself, mixed with a scorn of others. I did not know, says my friend, what to make of the car
riage of this fantastical girl, until I was informed by her eldest sister that she had a pair of striped garters
This odd turn of mind ofien makes the sex uinhappy, and disposes them to be struck with every thing that makes a show, however trifling and superficial.
Many a ladý has fetched a sigh at the toss of a wig, and been ruined by the tapping of a snuff-box. It is impossible to describe all the execution that was done by the shoulder-knot, while that fashion prevailed, or to reckon up all the virgins that have fallen a sacrifice to a pair of fringed gloves. A sincere heart has not made half so many conquests as an open waistcoat; and I should be glad to see an able head make so good a figure in a woman's company as a pair of 'red heels. A Grecian hero, when he was asked whether he could play upon the lute, thought he had made a very good reply, when he answered, No; but I can make a great city of a little one. Notwithstanding his boasted wisdom, I appeal to the heart of any toast in town, whether she would not think the lutenist preferable to the statesman? I do not speak this out of any aversion that I have to the sex: on the contrary, I have always had a tenderness for them; but I must confess it troubles me very much, to see the generality of them place their af. fections on improper objects, and give up all the pleasures of life for gewgaws and trifles. .
Mrs. Margery Bickerstaff, my great aunt, had a thousand pounds to her portion, which our family was desirous of keeping among themselves, and therefore used all possible means to turn off her thoughts from marriage. The method they took was, in any time of danger, to throw a new gown or petticoat in her way. When she was about twenty-five years of age, she fell in love with a man of an agreeable temper, and