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complained of the thick bushy beards and long nails of their confederates, who thereupon took care to prune themselves into such figures as were most pleasing to their female friends and allies.
When they had taken any spoils from the enemy, the men would make a present of everything that was rich and showy to the women whom they most admired, and would frequently dress the necks, or heads, or arms of their mistresses, with anything which they thought appeared gay or pretty. The women observing that the men took delight in looking upon them when they were adorned with such trappings and gewgaws, set their heads at work to find out new inventions, and to outshine one another in all councils of war, or the like solemn meetings. On the other hand, the men observing how the women's hearts were set upon finery, begun to embellish themselves and look as agreeably as they could in the eyes of their associates. In short, after a few years conversing together, the women had learned to smile and the men to ogle, the women grew soft and the men lively.
When they had thus insensibly formed one another, upon the finishing of the war, which concluded with an entire conquest over their common enemy, the colonels in one army married the colonels in the other; the captains in the same manner took the captains to their wives : the whole body of common soldiers were matched, after the example of their leaders. By this means the two republics incorporated with one another, and became the most flourishing and polite government in the part of the world which they inhabited.
No. 435. SATURDAY, JULY 19,
Nec duo sunt, at forma duplex, nec fæmina dici
Nec puer ut possiñt, neutrumque et utrumque videntur. Ovid. Most of the papers I give the public are written on subjects that never vary, but are for ever fixt and immutable. Of this kind are all my more serious essays and discourses ; but there is another sort of speculations, which I consider as occasional papers, that take their rise from the folly, extravagance, and caprice of the present age. For I look upon myself as one set to watch the manners and behaviour of my
countrymen and contemporaries, and to mark down every absurd fashion, ridiculous custom, or affected form of speech, that makes its appearance in the world, during the course of these my speculations. The petticoat no sooner begun to swell, but I observed its motions. The party-patches had not time to muster themselves before I detected them. I had intelligence of the coloured hood the very first time it appeared in a public assembly. I might here mention several other the like contingent subjects, upon which I have bestowed distinct papers. By this means I have so effectually quashed those irregularities which gave occasion to them, that I am afraid posterity will scarce have a sufficient idea of them to relish those discourses which were in no little vogue at the time when they were written. They will be apt to think that the fashions and customs I attacked were some fantastic conceits of my own, and that their great-grandmothers could not be so whimsical as I have represented them. For this reason, when I think on the figure my several volumes of speculations will make about a hundred years hence, I consider them as so many pieces of old plate, where the weight will be regarded, but the fashion lost.
Among the several female extravagancies I have already taken notice of, there is one which still keeps its ground. I mean that of the ladies who dress themselves in a hat and feather, a riding-coat and a periwig; or at least tie up their hair in a bag or ribbon, in imitation of the smart part of the opposite sex. As in my yesterday's paper I gave an account of the mixture of two sexes in one commonwealth, I shall here take notice of this mixture of two sexes in one person. I have already shown my dislike of this immodest custom more than once; but in contempt of everything I have hitherto said, I am informed that the bighways about this great city are still very much infested with these female cavaliers.
I remember when I was at my friend Sir Roger de Cover. ley's about this time twelvemonth, an equestrian lady of this order appeared upon the plains which lay at a distance from his house. I was at that time walking in the fields with my
old friend; and as his tenants ran out on every side to see so strange a sight, Sir Roger asked one of them who came by us, what it was ? To which the country fellow replied, “ 'Tis a gentlewoman, saving your worship's presence, in a
coat and hat." This produced a great deal of mirth at the
. knight's house, where we had a story at the same time of another of his tenants, who meeting this gentleman-like lady on the high-way, was asked by her whether that was Coverley Hall; the honest man seeing only the male part of the querist, replied, “ Yes, sir;" but upon the second question, “whether Sir Roger de Coverley was a married man," having dropped his eye upon the petticoat, he changed his note into "No, madam.'
Had one of these hermaphrodites appeared in Juvenal's days, with what an indignation should we have seen her described by that excellent satirist. He would have represented her in her riding habit, as a greater monster than the Centaur. He would have called for sacrifices, or purifying waters, to expiate the appearance of such a prodigy. He would have invoked the shades of Portia or Lucretia, to see into what the Roman ladies had transformed themselves.
For my own part, I am for treating the sex with greater tenderness, and have all along made use of the most gentle methods to bring them off from any little extravagance into which they are sometimes unwarily fallen: I think it however absolutely necessary to keep up the partition between the two sexes, and to take notice of the smallest encroachments which the one makes upon the other. I hope, therefore, that I shall not hear any more complaints on this subject. I am sure my she-disciples who peruse
these lectures, have profited but little by them, if they are capable of giving into such an amphibious dress. This I should not have mentioned, had not I lately met one of these my female readers in Hyde Park, who looked upon me with a masculine assurance, and cocked her hat full in my face.
For my part, I have one general key to the behaviour of the fair sex.
When I see them singular in any part of their dress, I conclude it is not without some evil intention; and therefore question not but the design of this strange fashion is to smite more effectually their mare beholders. Now to set them right in this particular, I would fain have them consider with themselves whether we are not more likely to be struck by a figure entirely female, than with such an one as we may see every day in our glasses : or, if they please, let them reflect upon their own hearts, and think how they would be affocted should they meet a man on horse-back in
his breeches and jack-boots, and at the same time dressed up in a commode and a night-rail.
I must observe that this fashion was first of all brought to us from France, a country which has infected all the nations in Europe with its levity. I speak not this in derogation of a whole people, having more than once found fault with those general reflections which strike at kingdoms or commonwealths in the gross ; a piece of cruelty, which an ingenious writer of our own compares to that of Caligula, who wished the Roman people had all but one neck, that he might behead them at a blow. I shall therefore only remark, that as liveliness and assurance are in a peculiar manner the qualifications of the French nation, the same habits and customs will not give the same offence to that people, which they produce among those of our own country: Modesty is our distinguishing character, as vivacity is theirs; and when this our national virtue appears in that family beauty, for which our British ladies are celebrated above all others in the universe, it makes up the most amiable object that the eye of man can possibly behold.
No. 439. THURSDAY, JULY 24.
Hi narrata ferunt alio : mensuraque ficti
Crescit; et auditis aliquid novus adjicit auctor. OVID. Ovid describes the palace of Fame as situated in the very centre of the universe, and perforated with so many
windows and avenues as gave her the sight of everything that was done in the heavens, in the earth, and in the sea. The structure of it was contrived in so admirable a manner, that it echoed every word which was spoken in the whole compass of nature ; so that the palace, says the poet, was always filled with a confused hubbub of low dying sounds, the voices being almost spent and worn out before they arrived at this general rendezvous of speeches and whispers.
I consider courts with the same regard to the governments which they superintend, as Ovid's palace of Fame, with regard to the universe. The eyes of a watchful minister run through the whole people. There is scarce a murinur or complaint that does not reach his ears. They have news
gatherers and intelligencers distributed in their several walks and quarters, who bring in their respective quotas, and make them acquainted with the discourse and conversation of the whole kingdom or commonwealth where they are employed. The wisest of kings, alluding to these invisible and unsuspected spies who are planted by kings and rulers over their fellow-citizens, as well as those voluntary informers that are buzzing about the ears of a great man, and making their court by such secret methods of intelligence, has given us a very prudent caution: “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."
As it is absolutely necessary for rulers to make use of other people's eyes and ears, they should take particular care to do it in such manner that it may not bear too hard on the
person whose life and conversation are inquired into. A man who is capable of so infamous a calling as that of a spy, is not very much to be relied upon. He can have no great ties of honour, or checks of conscience, to restrain him in those covert evidences, where the person accused has no opportunity of vindicating himself. He will be more industrious to carry that which is grateful, than that which is true. There will be no occasion for him, if he does not bear and see things worth discovery; so that he naturally inflames every word and circumstance, aggravates what is faulty, perverts what is good, and misrepresents what is indifferent. Nor is it to be doubted but that such ignominious wretches let their private passions into these their clandestine informations, and often wreak their particular spite or malice against the person whom they are set to watch. It is a pleasant scene enough, which an Italian author describes between a spy, and a cardinal who employed him. The cardinal is represented as minuting down everything that is told him. The spy begins with a low voice, “Such an one, the advocate, whispered to one of his friends, within my hearing, that your Eminence was a very great poltroon;" and after having given his patron time to take it down, adds, that another called him a mercenary rascal in a public conversation. The cardinal replies, very well, and bids him go on. The spy proceeds, and loads him with reports of the