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and sets maids, and matrons, wives and widows upon the same bottom. In the mean while, I cannot but be troubled to see so many well-shaped innocent virgins bloated up, and waddling up and down like big-bellied women *.
Should this fashion get among the ordinary people, our public ways would be so crowded, that we should want street-room. Several congregations of the best fashion find themselves already very much straitened, and if the mode increase, I wish it may not drive many ordinary women into meetings and conventicles. Should our sex at the same time take it into their heads to wear trunk breeches (as who knows what their indignation at this female treatment may drive them to ?),a man and his wife would fill a whole pew.
• You know, Sir, it is recorded of Alexander the Greatt, that in his Indian expedition he buried several suits of armour, which by his directions were made much too big for any of his soldiers, in order to give posterity an extraordinary idea of him, and make them believe he had commanded an army of giants. I am pursuaded that if one of the present petticoats happens to be hung up in any repository of curiosities, it will lead into the same error the generations that lie some removes from us; unless we can believe our posterity will think so disrespecta fully of their great grandmothers, that they-made themselves monstrous to appear amiable.
" When I survey this new-fashioned rotunda in all its parts, I cannot but think of the old philosopher, who after having entered into an Egyptian temple, and looked about for the idol of the place, at length discovered a little black monkey inshrined in the midst of it, upon which he could not forbear crying out, to the great scandal of the worshippers, “What a magnificent palace is here for such a ridiculous inhabitant !”
* An absurd and indelicate custom, in effect somewhat similar, prevailed for a time about the year 1793, and was then called the Pad.
+ Plut. vịt, Alexand
Though you have taken a resolution, in one of your papers, to avoid descending to particularities of dress, I believe you will not think it below you, on so extraordinary an occasion, to unhoop the fair sex, and cure this fashionable tympany that is got among them. I am apt to think the petticoat will shrink of its own accord at your first coming to town; at least a touch of your pen will make it contract itself like the sensitive plant, and by that means oblige several who are either terrified or astonished at this portentous novelty, and among the rest, • Your humble servant, &c.'
No 128. FRIDAY, JULY 27, 1711.
JUCAN. i. ver. 99.
'OMEN in their nature are much more gay and joyous than men ; whether it be that their blood is more refined, their fibres more delicate, and their animal spirits more light and volatile; or whether, as some have imagined, there may not be a kind of sex in the very soul, I shall not pretend to determine. As vivacity is the gift of women, gravity is that of men. They should each of them therefore keep a watch upon the particular bias which nature has fixed in their mind, that it may not draw too much and lead them out of the paths of reason. This will certainly liappen, if the one in every word and action affects the character of being rigid and 'severe, and the other of being brisk and airy. Men should beware of being captivated by a kind of savage philosophy, women by a thoughtless gallantry. Where these precautions are not observed, the man often degenerates into a cynic, the woman into a coquette; the man grows
sullen and morose, the woman impertinent and fantastical.
By what I have said, we may conclude, men and women were made as counterparts to one another,
that the pains and anxieties of the husband might be relieved by the sprightliness and good-humour of the wife. When these are rightly tempered, eare and cheerfulness go hand in hand; and the family, like a ship that is duly trimmed, wants nei-. ther sail por ballast.
Natural historians observe (for whilst I ain in the country, I must fetch my allusions from thence) that only the male birds have voices; that their songs begin a little before breeding-time, and end a little after: that whilst the hen is covering her eggs, the male generally takes his stand upon a neighbouring bough within her hearing: and by that means amuses and diverts her with his songs during the whole time of her sitting.
This contract among birds lasts no longer than till a brood of young ones arises from it; so that in the feathered kind, the cares and fatigues of the married state, if I may so call it, lie principally upon the female. On the contrary, as in our species the man and the woman are joined together for life; and the main burden rests upon the former, nature has given all the little arts of soothing and blandishment to the female, that she may cheer and animate her companion in a constant and assiduous application to the making a provision for his family, and the educating of their common children. This however is not to be taken so strictly, as if the same duties were not often reciprocal, and incumbent on both parties; but only to set forth what seems to have been the general intentions of nature, in the different inclinations and endowments which are bestowed on the different sexes.
But whatever was the reason that man and wo. man were made with this variety of temper, if we observe the conduct of the fair sex, we find that they choose rather to associate themselves with a person who resembles them in that light and volatile humour which is natural to them, than to such as are qualified to moderate and counterbalance it. It has been an old complaint, that the coxcomb carries it with them before the man of sense. Wheu
we see a fellow loud and talkative, full of insipid life and laughter, we may venture to pronounce him a female favourite: Noise and flutter are such accomplishments as they cannot withstand. To be short, the passion of an ordinary woman for a man is nothing else but self-love diverted upon another object: She would have the lover a woman in
every thing but the sex. I do not know a finer piece of
I satire on this part of womankind, than those lines of Mr. Dryden.
Our thoughtless sex is caught by outward form,
This is a source of infinite calamities to the sex, as it frequently joins them to men, who, in their own thoughts are as fine creatures as themselves; or, if they chance to be good-humoured, serve only to dissipate their fortunes, inflame their follies, and aggravate their indiscretions.
The same female levity is no less fatal to them after marriage than before. It represents to their imaginations the faithful, prudent husband, as an honest, tractable, and domestic animal; and turns their thoughts upon the fine gay gentleman that laughs, sings, and dresses so much more agreeably.
As this irregular vivacity of temper leads astray the hearts of ordinary women in the choice of their lovers and the treatment of their husbands, it operates with the same pernicious influence towards their children, who are taught to accomplish themselves in all those sublime perfections that appear captivating in the eye of their mother. She admires in her own son what she loved in her gallant; and by that means contributes all she can to perpetuate herself in a worthless progeny.
The younger Faustina was a lively instance of this sort of wonen. Notwithstanding she was married to Marcus Aurelius, one of the greatest, wisest, and best of the Roman emperors, she thought a common gladiator much the prettier gentleman ; and had taken such care to accomplish her son Commodus according to her own notions of a fine man, that when
he ascended the throne of his father, he became the most foolish and abandoned tyrant that was ever placed at the head of the Roman empire, signalizing himself in nothing but the fighting of prizesz and knocking out men's brains. As he had no taste of true glory, we see him in several medals and statues which are still extant of him equipped like an Hercules, with a club and a lion's skin.
I have been led into this speculation by the characters I have heard of a country-gentleman and his lady, who do not live many miles from Sir Roger.
The wife is an old coquette, that is always hankering after the diversions of the town; the husband a morose rustic, that frowns and frets at the name of it. The wife is overrun with affectation, the husband sunk into brutality. The lady cannot bear the noise of the larks and nightingales, hates your tedious summer-days, and is sick at the sight of shady woods and purling streams; the husband wonders how any one can be pleased with the fooleries of plays aud operas, and rails from morning to night at essenced fops and taudry courtiers. The children are educated in these different notions of their parents. The sons follow their father about his grounds, while the daughters read volumes of loveletters and romances to their mother. By this means it comes to pass, that the girls look upon their father as a clown, and the boys think their mother no better than she should be.
How different are the liyes of Aristus and Aspasia! The innocent vivacity of the one is tempered and composed by the chcerful gravity of the other. The wife grows wise by the discourses of the husband, and the husband good-humoured by the conversation of the wife. Aristus would not be so amiable were it not for his Aspasia, nor Aspasia so much esteemed were it not for her Aristus. Their virtues are blended in their children, and diffuse through the whole family a perpetual spirit of benevolence complacency, and satisfaction.