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intent upon adorning their minds, that we wholly neglect their bodies. It is from this that you shall see a young lady celebrated and admired in all the assemblies about town, when her elder brother is afraid to come into a
From this ill management it arises, that we frequently observe a man's life is half spent before he is taken notice of; and a woman in the prime of her years is out of fashion and neglected. The boy I shall consider upon some other occasion, and at present stick to the girl: and I am the more inclined to this, because I have several letters which complain to me that my female readers have not understood me for some days last past, and take themselves to be unconcerned in the present turn of my writing. When a girl is safely brought from her nurse, before she is capable of forming one simple notion of any thing in life, she is delivered to the hands of her dancingmaster: and, with a col'ar round her neck, the pretty wild thing is taught a fantastical gravity of behaviour, and forced to a particular way of holding her head, heaving her breast, and moving with her whole body; and all this. under pain of never having a husband, if she steps, looks, or moves awry. This gives the young lady wonderful workings of imagination, what is to pass between her and this husband, that she is every moment told of, and før whom she seems to be educated. Thus her fancy is engaged to turn all her endeavours to the ornament of her person, as what must determine her good and ill in this life ; and she naturally thinks, if she is tall enough, she is wise enough for any thing for which her education makes her think she is designed. To make her an agree. able person, is the main purpose of her parents; to that is all their costs, to that all their care directed; and from this general folly of parents we owe our present numer
of coquettes. These reflections puzzle me, when. I think of giving my advice on the subject of managing the wild thing mentioned in the letter of my correspondent. But'sure there is a middle way to be followed ; the management of a young lady's person is not to be overlooked, but the erudition of her mind is much more to bę regarded. According as this is managed, you will see the mind follow the appetites of the body, or the body express the virtues of the mind,
CLEOMIRA dances with all the elegance of motion imaginable ; but her eyes are so chastised with the simplicity and innocence of her thoughts, that she raises in her beholders admiration and good-will, but no loose hope or wild imagination. The true art in this case is, to make the mind and body improve together; and, if possible, to make gesture follow thought, and not let thought be employed upon gesture.
NO. 67.—THURSDAY, MAY 17. 1711.
[BY MR E. BUDGELL.]
Saltare elegantius quam necesse est probæ.
LUCIAN, in one of his dialogues, introduces a philosopher chiding his friend for his being a lover of dancing and a frequenter of balls. The other undertakes the des fence of his favourite diversion, which, he says, was at first invented by the goddess Rhea, and preserved the life of Jupiter himself from the cruelty of his father SaTurn. He proceeds to shew, that it had been approvedby the greatest men in all ages"; that Homer calls MeRion a fine dancer : and says, that the graceful mien and great agility, which he had acquired by that exercise, distinguished him above the rest in the armies both of Greeks and Trojans.
He adds, that PYRRHUS gained mere reputation by : inventing the dance which is called after his name than by. all his other actions; that the Lacedenkonians, who were the bravest people in Greece, gave great encouragement to this diverson, and made their Hormus (a, danco..." uch resembling the French Brawl) famous over all Asia: that : there were still extant come Thessalian statues erected to. the honour of their best dancers; and that he wondered how his brother philosopher could declare himself against the opinions of those two persons, whom he professed so niuch to admire, HOMER and Hesiod; the latter of
which compares valour and dancing together; and says, " that the gods have bestowed fortitude on some men, and on others a disposition for dancing.'
Lastly, he puts him in mind that SOCRATES (who, in the judgement of APOLLO, was the wisest of men) was not only a professed admirer of this exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old man.
The morose philosopher is so much affected by these, and some other authorities, that he becomes a convert to his friend, and desires he would take him with him when he went to his next ball.
I love to shelter myself under the examples of great men; and, I think, I have sufficiently shewed that it is not below the dignity of these my speculations to take notice of the following letter, which I suppose is sent me by some substantial tradesman about Change.
SIR, “ I am a man in years, and by a'n honest industry in the world have acquired enough to give my children a liberal education, though I was an utter stranger to it myself. My eldest daughter, a girl of sixteen, has for some time been under the tuition of Monsieur RIGADOON, a dancing-master in the city; and I was prevailed upon
r by her and her mother to go last night to one of his balls. I must own to you, Sir, that having never been at any such place before, I was very much pleased and surprised with that part of his entertainment which he called French dancing. There were several young men and women, whose limbs seemed to have no other motion but purely what the music gave them. After this part was over, they began a diversion which they call country. dancing, and wherein there were also some things not disagreeable ; and divers emblematical figures, composed, as I guess, by wise men, for the instruction of youth.
“Among the rest, I observed one, 'which, I think, they call Hunt the Squirrel, in which while the woman Aies, the man pursues her ; but as soon as she turns, he runs away, and she is obliged to follow."
“ The moral of this dance does, I think, very aptly recommend modesty and discretion to the female sex.
6. But as the best institutions are liable to corruptions ; 80, Sir, I must acquaint you, that
very great abuses are crept into this entertainment. I was amazed to see my girl handed by, and handing, young fellows with so much familiarity; and I could not have thought it had been in the child. They very often made use of a most impudent and lascivious step called setting, which I know not how to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of back to back. At last an impudent young dog bid the fiddlers play a dance called Moll Pately; and after having made two or three capers, ran to his partner, locked his arins in hers, and whisked her round cleverly above ground, in such a manner that I, who sat upon one of the lowest benches, saw farther above her shoe than I can think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure those enormities'; wherefore, just as my girl was going to be made a whirligig, I ran in, seized on the child, and carried ber home.
“Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a fool. I suppose this diversion might be at first invented to keep up a good understanding between young men and women, and so far I am not against it ; but I shall never allow of these things. I know not what you
say to this case at present, but am sure, that had you been with me, you would have seen matter of great speculation. I am,
I must confess I am afraid that my correspondent hrad too much reason to be a little out of humour at the treatment of his daughter ; but I conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing dances, in which Will HONEYCOMBE assures me they are obliged to dwell almost a minute on the fair one's lips, or they will be too quick for the music, and dance quite out of time.
I am not able, however, to give my final sentence ao gainst this diversion; and am of Mr COWLEY's opinion, that so much of dancing, at least, as belongs to the behaviour and a handsome carriage of the body, is ex. tremely useful, if not absolutely necessary.
We generally form such ideas of people at first sight, as we are hardly ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards ; for this reason, a man would wish to have nothing disagrecable or uncomely in his approaches, and to be able to enter a room with a good grace.
I might add, that a moderate knowledge in the little rules of good-breeding gives a man some assurance, and makes him easy in all companies. For want of this, I have seen a professor of a liberal science at a loss to salute a lady ; and a most excellent mathematician not able to determine whether he should stand or sit while my lord drank to him.
It is the proper business of a dancing-master to regulate these matters ; though I take it to be a just observation, that unless you add something of your own to what these fine gentlemen teach you, and which they are wholly ignorant of themselves, you will much sooner get the character of an affected fop than of a well-bred man.
As for country-dancing, it must indeed be confessed that the great familiarities between the two sexes on this occasion inay sometimes produce very dangerous consequences; and I have often thought that few ladies hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the charms of music, the force of motion, and an handsome young fellow who is continually playing before their eyes, and convincing them that he has the perfect use of all his limbs.
But as this kind of dance is the particular invention of our own country, and as every one is more or less a proficient in it, I would not discountenance it ; but rather suppose it may be practised innocently by others, as well as myself, who am often partner to my landlady's eldest daughter.
Having heard a good character of the collection of pictures which is to be exposed to sale on Friday next ; and concluding from the following letter, that the person who collected them is a man of no inelegant taste, I. will be so much his friend as to publish it, provided the reader will only look upon it as filling up the place of an advertisement,