« ZurückWeiter »
knowledge in the world, and Cassio, who has a plentiful fortune, and an excellent understanding, she fell in love with Damon at a ball. From that moment, she that was before the most agreeable creature of all my acquaintance, cannot hear Strephon speak, but it is something so out of the way of ladies' conversation :' and Cassio has never since opened his mouth before us, but she whispers me, How seldom does riches and sense go together! The issue of all this is, that for the love of Damon, who has neither experience, understanding, nor wealth, she despises those advantages in the other two which she finds wanting in her lover; or else, thinks he has them for no other reason but because he is her lover. This, and many other instances, may be given in this town; but I hope thus much may suffice to prevent the growth of such evils at Edinburgh.
N° 248. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1710.
Media sese tulit obvia silva,
By Isaac BICKERSTAFF, Esquire.
From my own Apartment, November 9. It may perhaps appear ridiculous, but I must confess, this last summer, as I was riding in Enfieldchase, I met a young lady whom I could hardly get out of my head, and, for aught I know, my heart, ever since. She was mounted on a pad, with a very well-fancied furniture. She set her horse with a very graceful air ; and, when I saluted her with my hat, she bowed to me so obligingly, that whether i was her civility or beauty that touched me so much I know not; but I am sure I shall never forget her. She dwells in my imagination in a figure so much te her advantage, that if I were to draw a picture of Youth, Health, Beauty, or Modesty, I should represent any, or all of them, in the
of that young
I do not find that there are any descriptions in the ancient poets so beautiful as those they draw of nymphs in their pastoral dresses and exercises. Virgil gives Venus the habit of a Spartan huntress, when she is to put Æneas in his way, and relieves his cares with the most agreeable object imaginable. Diana and her train are always described as inhabitants of the woods, and followers of the chase. To be well diverted, is the safest guard to innocence; and, methinks, it should be one of the first things to be regarded among people of condition, to find out proper amusements for young
ladies. I cannot but think this of riding might easily be revived among them, when they consider how much it must contribute to their beauty. This would lay up the best portion they could bring into a family, a good -stock of health, to transmit to their posterity. Such a charming bloom, as this gives the countenance, is very much preferable to the real or affected feebleness or softness, which appear in the faces of our modern beauties.
The comedy, called 'The Ladies' Cure,' reptesents the affectation of wan looks and languid glances to a very entertaining extravagance. There is, as the lady in the play complains, something so robust in perfect health, that it is with her a point of breeding and delicacy to appear in public with
sickly air. But the natural gaiety and spirit which shine in the complexion of such as form to themselves a sort of diverting industry, by choosing recreations that are exercises, surpass all the false ornaments and graces that can be put on by applying the whole dispensary of a toilet. A healthy body and a cheerful mind, give charms as irresistible as inimitable. The beauteous Dyctinna, who came to town last week, has, from the constant prospect in a delicious country, and the moderate exercise and journeys in the visits she made round it, contracted a certain life in her countenance, which will in vain employ both the painters and the poets to represent. The becoming negligence in her dress, the severe sweetness of her looks, and a certain innocent boldness in all her behaviour, are the effect of the active recreations I am talking of.
But instead of such, or any other as innocent and pleasing method of passing away their time with alacrity, we have many in town who spend their hours in an indolent state of body and mind, without either recreations or reflections. I am apt to believe there are some parents who imagine their daughters will be accomplished enough, if nothing interrupts their growth or their shape. According to this method of education, I could name you twenty families, where all the girls hear of in this life is, that it is time to rise and come to dinner, as if they were so insignificant as to be wholly provided for when they are fed and clothed.
It is with great indignation that I see such crowds of the female world lost to human society, and condemned to a laziness which makes life pass away
with less relish than in the hardest labour. Palestris, in her drawing-room, is supported by spirits to keep off the returns of spleen and melancholy, before she can get over half of the day, for want of something to do, while the wench in the kitchen sings and scowers from morning to night.
The next disagreeable thing to a lazy lady, is a very busy one. A man of business in good company, who gives an account of his abilities and dispatches, is hardly more insupportable than her they call a notable woman and a manager. Lady Goodday, where I visited the other day, at a very polite circle, entertained a great lady with a recipe for a poultice, and gave us to understand, that she had done extraordinary cures since she was last in town. It seems a countryman had wounded himself with his scythe as he was mowing; and we were obliged to hear of her charity, her medicine, and her humility, in the harshest tone and coarsest language imaginable.
What I would request in all this prattle is, that our females would either let us have their persons, or their minds in such perfection as nature designed them. The
way to this is, that those who are in the quality of gentlewomen, should propose to themselves some suitable method of passing away their time. This would furnish them with reflections and sentiments proper for the companions of reasonable men, and prevent the unnatural marriages which happen every day between the most accomplished women and the veriest oafs, the worthiest men and the most insignificant females. Were the general turn of women's education of another kind than it is at present, we should want one another for more reasons than we do as the world now goes. The common design of parents is, to get their girls off as well as they can; and they make no conscience of putting into our hands a bargain for our whole life, which will make our hearts ache every day of it. I shall, therefore, take this matter into serious consideration,
and will propose, for the better improvement of the fair sex, a Female Library. This collection of books shall consist of such others as do not corrupt while they divert, but shall tend more immediately to improve them as they are women. They shall be such as shall not hurt a feature by the austerity of their reflections, nor cause one impertinent glance by the wantonness of them. They shall all tend to advance the value of their innocence as virgins, improve their understanding as wives, and regulate their tenderness as parents. It has been very
often said in these Lucubrations that the ideas which most frequently pass through our imaginations, leave traces of themselves in our countenances.' There shall be a strict regard had to this in my Female Library, which shall be furnished with nothing that shall give supplies to ostentation or impertinence; but the whole shall be so digested for the use of my students, that they shall not go out of character in their inquiries, but their knowledge appear only a cultivated innocence.
No 249. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1710.
Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum,
VIRG. Æn. i. 208.
From my own Apartment, November 10. I was last night visited by a friend of mine, who has an inexhaustible fund of discourse, and never fails to entertain his company with a variety of thoughts and hints that are altogether new and un