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ment, and hope to receive it for the future: That, that I shall only add is, that I am,
PARTY PATCHING. No. 81.
ABOUT the middle of last winter I went to see an opera at the theatre in the Haymarket, where I could not but take notice of two parties of very fine women that had placed themselves in the opposite side-boxes, and seemed drawn up in a kind of battle-array one against another. After a short survey of them, I found they were patched differently; the faces on one hand being spotted on the right side of the forehead, and those, upon the other on the left. I quickly perceived that they cast hostile glances upon one another ; and that their patches were placed in those different situations, as party-signals to distinguish friends from foes. In the middle-boxes, between these two opposite bodies, were several ladies who patched indifferently on both sides of their faces, and seemed to sit there with no other intention but to see the opera. Upon inquiry, I found that the body of Amazons on my right hand were whigs, and those on my left tories; and that those who had placed themselves in the middle boxes were a neutral party, whoes faces had not yet declared themselves. These last, however, as I afterwards found, diminished daily, and took their party with one side or the other; insomuch that I observed in several of them, the patches, which were before di
spersed equally, are now all gone over to the whig or tory side of the face. The censorious say that the men, whose hearts are aimed at, are very often the occasions that one part of the face is thus dishonoured, and lies under a kind of disgrace, while the other is so much set off and adorned by the owner; and that the patches turn to the right or to the left, according to the principles of the man who is most in favour. But, whatever may be the motives of a few fantastical cnquettes, who do not patch for the public good so much as for their own private advantage, it is certain that there are several women of honour who patch out of principle, and with an eye to the interest of their country. Nay, I am informed that some of them adhere so stedfastly to their party, and are so far from sacrificing their zeal for the public to their passion for any particular person, that in a late draught of marriage articles a lady has stipulated with her husband, that, whatever his opinions are, she shall be at liberty to patch on which side she pleases.
I must here take notice, that Rosalinda, a famous whig partisan, has most unfortunately a very beautiful mole on the tory part of her forehead; which being very conspicuous, has occasioned many mistakes, and given a handle to her enemies to misrepresent her face, as though it had revolted from the whig interest. But, whatever this natural patch may seem to intimate, it is well known that her notions of government are still the same. This unlucky mole however has misied several coxcombs, and, like the lianging out of false colours, made some of them converse with Roslinda in what they thought the spirit of her party, when on a sudden she has given them an unexpected fire, that has sunk them all at once. If Rosalinda is unfortunate in her mole, Nigranilla is as unhappy in a pimple, which forces her, against her inclinations, to patch on the whig side.
I am told that many virtuous matrons, who formerly have been taught to believe that this artificial spotting of the face was unlawful, are now reconciled, by a zeal for their cause, to what they could not be prompted by a concern for their beauty. This way of declaring war upon one another puts me in mind of what is reported of the tigress, that several spots rise in her skin when she is angry, or, as Mr. Cowley has imitated the verses that stand as the motto of this
paper, -She swells with angry pride, And calls forth all her spots on every side. When I was in the theatre the time above mentioned, I had the curiosity to count the patches on both sides, and found the tory patches to be about twenty stronger than the whig; but to make amends for this small inequality, I the next morning found the whole puppet-show filled with faces spotted after the whiggish manner. Whether or no the ladies had retreated his ther in order to rally their forces I cannot tell ; but the next night they came in so great a body to the opera, that they out-numbered the enemy.
This account of party-patches will, I am afraid, appear improbable to those who live at a distance from the fashionable world : but, as it is a distinction of a very singular nature, and what perhaps may never meet with a parallel, I think I should not have discharged the office of a faithful SPECTATOR, had not I recorded it.
I have, in former Papers, endeavoured to expose this party-rage in women, as it only serves to aggravate the hatreds and animosities that reign among men, and in a great measure deprives the fair sex of those peculiar charms with which nature has endowed them.
Party-rage is in its nature a male vice, and made up of many angry and cruel passions that are altogether repugnant to the softness, the modesty, and those other endearing qualities which are natural to the fair sex. Women were formed to temper mankind, and sooth them into tenderness and compassion; not to set an edge upon their minds, and blow up in them those passions which are too apt to rise of their own accord. When I have seen a pretty mouth uttering calumnies and invectives, what would I not have given to have stopped. it? How I have been troubled to see some of the finest features in the world grow pale, and tremble with party-rage! Camilla is one of the greatest beauties in the British nation, and yet values herself more upon being the virago, of one party than upon being the toast of both. The dear creature, about a week ago, encountered the fierce and beautiful Penthesilea across a tea-table; but in the height of her anger, as her hand chanced to shake with the earnestness of the dispute, she scalded her fingers, and spilt a dish of tea upon her petticoat. Had not this acci. dent broke off the debate, nobady knows where it would have ended.
There is one consideration which I would earnestly recommend to all my female readers, and which I hope will have some weight with them. In short, it is this, that there is nothing so bad for the face as party zeal. It gives an ill-natured cast to the eye, and
disagreeable sourness to the look; besides that it makes the lines too strong, and flushes them worse
than brandy. I have seen a woman's face break out in heats, as she has been talking against a great lord, whom she had never seen in her life ; and indeed I never knew a party-woman that kept her beauty for a twelvemonth. I would therefore advise all my female readers, as they value their complexions, to let alone all disputes of this nature ; though, at the same time, I would give free liberty to all superannuated motherly partisans to be as violent as they please, since there will be no danger either of their spoiling their faces, or of their gaining coifverts. For my own part, I think a man makes an odious and despicable figure that is violent in a party; but a woman is too sincere to mitigate the fury of her principles with discretion, and to act with that temper and reservedness which are requisite in our sex. When this unnatural zeal gets into them, it throws them in o ten thousand heats and extravagancies; their generous souls set no bounds to their love or their hatred; and whether a whig or tory, a lap-dog or a gallant, an opera or a puppetshow, be the object of it, the passion, while it reigns, engrosses the whole woman.
SERVANTS are but in a lower degree what their masters themselves are, and usually affect an imitation of their manners: and you have in liveries, beaux, fops, and coxcombs, in as high perfecțion as among
scrap is inserted, as it shows the hint from which the agreeable farce of H gh life below stairs has been taken.