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there meet. No other man, as a rule, works better for others than himself, save Paddy. In no other country of the world perhaps-save amongst the older Kelts of India—do you find a mother love her foster-son more than her own children; yet this is not uncommon amongst the Irish ; and, what is more, the foster-brothers exhibit the same feeling. But an English wet-nurse suckles the baby and forgets it, or remembers it only to prefer her own infinitely more. But these contradictions are of the very genius of the people : nothing will amend or uproot them. Ireland is at present the Rachel amongst nations; but if she kept her poor Paddies at home, and taught them to use the glorious gifts of mind and fortune which God has given them, she would no longer have to weep for their loss, degradation, and slaughter.
IR RICHARD STEELE has told us that "it is
worth while to consider the force of dress, and how people of one age differ from those of
another merely by that only.” The observation is an acute one, and may be carried much further. Steele puts it very appropriately in the mouth of Sir Roger de Coverly, and makes the garrulous old knight descant upon the fashions of one or two generations of his ancestors whose portraits decorate his gallery. “I am persuaded,” continues the knight," that the costume of Henry the Seventh's Yeomen of the Guard," which, by the way, is the same as that of our Beefeaters at the Tower, lately and foolishly altered for the worse, was assumed not without a good and politic view, because they look a foot taller and a foot and a half broader; besides that, the cap leaves the face expanded, and consequently more terrible, and fit to stand at the entrance of palaces."
He here hits upon the right vein. Dress has a meaning in it. It is not so foolish nor so slight a thing as people think Here is lately an artist from Italy who has published a little book upon folds and bows in neckties and cravats, or in the ribbons of a lady's gown, and who maintains that knots are abominations, unnatural, cruel, wrong ; that they distort the proper fall and arrangement of the ribbon. This is not sheer coxcombry, nor midsummer madness. Of course this gentleman looks upon everything with the eye of an artist, and, to him, many points are positively wrong which to others seem right. So again with colours. We English have long ago had the character given us (we believe by ourselves) of being the worst-dressed people in the world ; not, indeed, as to quality, but as to manner. The reason is, because our countrywomen have never studied colour. If they looked with a little thought upon the arrangement of the colours of flowers—how different shades of green are allotted to various highly toned colours, how certain combinations are never found together, and how sundry tints fade insensibly into others—they would never make such a mistake. If certain incongruous hues are placed together, the lady who wears them will always look badly, if that which she stands up in be worth twenty thousand pounds.
But dress, as we have asserted, has an effect upon character. Not only may we be sure that an ill-dressed man will never be so much at ease as one who is well dressed, but we are certain that he will not think so highly nor so well. A mean and shabby appearance gives a man mean and shabby ways. A slattern in her gown and cap is too often a slattern at home. A finikin, foolish, smart little “gent” of a coxcomb, is finikin and foolish in his ways of thinking. A sharp young city clerk, a dapper, tidy little fellow, is active, dapper, and tidy in his manner. Cause runs into effect, and effect becomes cause,
What affects one man will affect thousands. Those who are dressed alike generally think alike, which is only putting Steele's observation in new words. Voltaire said of war, that it was merely a freak of seventy thousand men in cocked hats trying very hard to kill seventy thousand men in turbans; and really the majority of those hundred and forty thousand people did not in his time differ much. With them neither Christianity nor Mohammedanism had very great weight. Religion was at least more ponderous on the side of the Turks than on that of the Christians.
The potency of external difference has long been seen. We have old proverbs about it. “The hood makes the monk ;” or, as we sometimes misquote it, “ The hood does not make the monk.” All religious bodies, of whatever country or age, have felt the great distinction of dress. The priests of Jupiter, the Augurs and Aruspices, the Flamen and the Pontifex Maximus, were dressed very differently from the common every-day Roman; and the knight differed from the citizen, and the freed man from the slave. So also the priests of the sun, who sacrificed before Montezuma when Cortes landed in Peru, the bonze in China, and the dervish of the desert, were distinctively clad. The ephod and the breastplate, the jewelled head-dress of the high priest, the lawn sleeves of the bishop, and the straight-cut collar of the Quaker, all mean something. Not without reason did the Pharisee of old
make broad his phylactery—a sacred scroll from which he read—and enlarge the edge of his garment.
“A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn,"
says Pope ; and Lackington, the bookseller, tells somewhere a good story of a young fellow who was cured of swearing by putting on a Quaker's dress, and constantly wearing it. It seemed to him incongruous to swear in a Quaker's coat. Half the spirit of soldiers is given them by their uniform. “ Directly a man puts on the Queen's cloth,” cries the sergeant, “he is a gentleman." And he says so truly. He behaves more like a gentleman. He has more honour about him, is more obedient, more easily governed, acts according to his orders, obeys those above him, becomes a better citizen, holds himself better, looks the world in the face, eyes front, goes forward when he is told; nay, when the time comes he makes one of a forlorn hope, and marches on to the death as bravely and as well as any gentleman in the world. But even beyond this there is something. The little bits of cloth upon our soldiers' cuffs and collars mean a great deal more than unthinking people are aware of. A young fellow takes the Queen's shilling without a thought, and is drafted off to a regiment, which may be a smart one or may not. But it very much matters to him. Do you think that he is not a better fellow for belonging to the 88th, the Connaught Rangers with their yellow facings, or the 55th, the Canary boys; or to the blue facings of the fighting 50th, or the green cuffs of the Irish regiments, or the blue of the 42nd ? We do not par