« VorigeDoorgaan »
is like that fort of lantern which hides him who carries it, and serves only to pass through fecret and gloomy paths of his own; but in the poffeffion of a man of bufinefs, it is as a torch in the hand. of one who is willing and able to fhew thofe, who are bewildered, the way which leads to their profperity and welfare. A generous concern for your country, and a paflion for every thing which is truly great and noble, are what actuate all Your life and actions; and I hope You will forgive me, that I have an ambition this book may be placed in the liberary of fo good a judge of what is valuable; in that library where the choice is fuch, that it will not be a difparagement to be the meanest author in it. Forgive me, my Lord, for taking this occafion of telling all the world how ardently I love and honour You; and that I am, with the autmoft gratitude for all your favours,
As when the tigrefs hears the hunter's din,
BOUT the middle of laft winter I went to
fee an opera at the theatre in the Hay-market, where I could not but take notice of two parties of very fine women, that had placed themselves in the opofite fide-boxes, and feemed drawn up in a kind of battle-array one against another. After a fhort furvey of them, I found they were patched differently; the faces on one hand being spotted on the right fide of the forehead, and thofe upon the other on the left. I quickly perceived that they caft hoftile glances upon one another; and that their patches were placed in thofe different fituations, as party-fignals. to diftinguish friends from foes. In the middle-boxes, between these two oppofite bodies, were feveral ladies who patched indifferently on both fides of their faces, and feemed to fit there with no other intention but to fee the opera. Upon inquiry I found, that the body of Amazons on my right hand were Whigs, VOL II. + A
and thofe on my left, Tories: And that thofe who had placed themselves in the middle boxes were a neutral party, whofe faces had not yet declared themfelves. Thefe laft, however, as I afterwards found, diminished daily, and took their party with one fide or the other; infomuch that I obferved in feveral of them, the patches, which were before difperfed equally, are now all gone over to the Whig or Tory fide of the face. The cenforious fay, that the men whofe hearts are aimed at, are very of ten the occafions that one part of the face is thus dishonoured, and lies under a kind of difgrace, while the other is fo much fet 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 fantaftical coquettes, who do not patch for the publick good fo much as for their own private advantage, it is certain, that there are feveral women of honour who patch out of principle, and with an eye to the intereft of their country. Nay, I am informed that fome of them adhere fo ftedfaftly to their party, and are fo far from facrificing their zeal for the publick, to their paffion for any particular perfon, that in a late draught of marriage-articles a lady has ftipulated with her husband, That, whatever his opinions are, fhe fhall be at liberty to patch on which fide the pleafes.
I muft here take notice, that Rofalinda, a famous Whig-partizan, has moft unfortunately a very beautiful mole on the Tory-part of her forehead; which being very confpicuous, has occafioned many miftakes, and given an handle to her enemies to mifreprefent her face, as though it had revolted from the Whig-intereft. But, whatever this natural patch may feem to intimate, it is well known that her notions of government are still the fame.. This unlucky mole, however, has mifled feveral coxcombs; and like the hanging out of falfe colours, made
fome of them converfe with Rofalinda in what they thought the fpirit of her party, when on a fudden fhe has given them an unexpected fire, that has funk them all at once. If Rofalinda is unfortunate in her mole, Nigranilla is as unhappy in a pimple, which forces her, against her inclinations, to patch on the Whig-fide.
I am told that many virtuous matrons, who formerly have been taught to believe that this artificial fpotting of the face was unlawful, are now reconciled by a zeal for their caufe, 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 tigrefs, that feveral fpots rife in her skin when the is angry, or as Mr. Cowley has imitated the verfes that stand as the motto of this paper.
She fwells with angry pride,
And calls forth all her pots on ev'ry fide.
When I was in the theatre, the time above-mentioned, I had the curiofity to count the patches on both fides, and found the Tory patches to be about twenty stronger than the Whig; but to make amends for this fmall inequality, I the next morning found the whole puppetfhow filled with faces fpotted after the whiggish manner. Whether or no the Ladies had retreated hither in order to rally their forces I cannot tell; but the next night they came in fo great a body to the opera, that they out-numbered the enemy.
This account of party-patches will, I am afraid, appear improbable to thofe who live at a diftance from the fashionable world; but as it is a diftinction of a very fingular nature, and what perhaps may never meet with a parellel, I think I fhould not have difcharged the office of a faithful SPECTATOR, had not I recorded it.
I have, in former papers, endeavoured to expofe
this party-rage in women, as it only ferves to aggravate the hatreds and animofities that reign among men, and in a great meafure deprives the fair fex of thofe peculiar charms with which nature has enlowed them.
When the Romans and Sabines were at war, and juft upon the point of giving battle, the women, who were allied to both of them, interpofed with fo many tears and intreaties, that they prevented the mutual flaughter which threatned both parties, and united them together in a firm and lafting peace.
I would recommend this noble example to our British ladies, at a time when their country is torn with fo many unnatural divifions, that if they continue, it will be a misfortune to be born in it. The Greeks thought it fo improper for women to intereft themselves in competitions and contentions, that for this reafon, among others, they forbad them, under pain of death, to be prefent at the Olympick games, notwithstanding thefe were the publick diverfions of all Greece.
As our English women excel thofe of all nations in beauty, they fhould endeavour to outfhine them in all other accomplishments proper to the fex, and to diftinguish themfelves as tender mothers, and faithful wives, rather than as furious partizans. Female virtues are of a domeftick turn. The family is the proper province for private women to fhine in. If they must be fhewing their zeal for the publick, let it not be againft thofe who are perhaps of the fame family, or at least of the fame religion or nation, but against those who are the open, profeffed, undoubted enemies of their faith, liberty and country. When the Romans were preffed with a foreign enemy, the ladies voluntarily contributed all their rings and jewels to aflift the government under a publick exigence, which appeared fo laudable an action in the eyes of their countrymen, that from thenceforth it was permitted by a law to pronounce