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and what could not fail to sink the power of France id a few years.
To introduce the second argument, they begged leave to read a petition of the rope-makers, wherein it was represented, that the demand for cords, and the price of them, were much risen since this fashion came up. At this, all the company who were present lifted up their eyes into the vault; and I must confess, we did discover many traces of cordage which were interwoven in the stiffening of the drapery.
A third argument was founded upon a petition of the Greenland trade, which likewise represented the great consumption of whalebone which would be occasioned by the present fashion, and the benefit which would thereby accrue to that branch of the British trade.
To conclude, they gently touched upon the weight and unweildiness of the garment, which they insinuated might be of great use to preserve the honour of families.
These arguments would have wrought very much upon me, (as I then told the company in a long and elaborate discourse), had I not considered the great and additional expence which such fashions would bring upon fathers and husbands; and there
fore by no means to be thought of till some years after a peace. • I further urged, that it would be a prejudice to the ladies them.
selves, who could never expect to have any money in the pocket, if they laid out so much on the petticoat. To this I added, the great temptation it might give to virgins, of acting in security like married wo en, and by that means give a check to matri. mony, an institution always encouraged by wise societies.
At the same time, in answer to the several petitions produced on that side, I shewed one subscribed by the women of several persons of quality, humbly setting forth, that since the introduction of this mode, their respective ladies had (instead of bestowing on them their cast gowns) cut them into shreds, and mixed them with the cordage and buckram, to complete the stiffening of their under-petticoats. For which, and sundry other reasons, I pronounced the petticoat a forfeiture: but to show that I did not make that judgment for the sake of filthy lucre, I ordered it to be folded up, and sent it as a present to a widow gentlewoman, who has five daughters, desiring she would make each of them a petticoat out of it, and send me back the remainder, which I design to cut into stomachers, caps, facings of my waistcoat sleeves, and other garnitures suitable to my age and quality.
* Trade which. Read and point thus: -trade. It
I would not be understood, that (while I discard this monstrous invention) I am an enemy to the proper ornaments of the fair sex. On the contrary, as the hand of nature has poured on them such a profusion of charms and graces, and sent them into the world more amiable and finished than the rest of her works; so I would have them bestow upon themselves all the additional beauties that art can supply them with, provided it does not interfere with, disguise, or pervert, those of nature. I consider woman as a beautiful romantic animal, that
may be adorned with furs and feathers, pearls and diamonds, ores and silks. The lynx shall cast its skin at her feet to make her a tippet; the peacock, parrot, and swan, shall pay contributions to her muff; the sea shall be searched for shells, and the rocks for gems; and every part of nature furnish out its share towards the embellishment of a creature that is the most consummate work of it. All this I shall indulge them in; but as for the petticoat I have been speaking of, I neither can nor will allow it."
* Poured-a profusion. Not exact. He might have said—“ Such an abundance," or, better still, because more simply,---- so many charms and gracer."
b The inimitable ease and gaiety of humour, in this paper, occupies the mind so much, that one passes it over, without adverting, almost, to the extreme purity of the expression.
No. 117. SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1709.
Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.- VIRG.
Sheer-Lane, January 6. When I look into the frame and constitution of my own mind, there is no part of it which I observe with greater satisfaction, than that tenderness and concern which it bears for the good and happiness of mankind. My own circumstances are indeed so narrow and scanty, that I should taste but very little pleasure, could I receive it only from those enjoyments which are in my own possession ; but by this great tincture of humanity, which I find in all my thoughts and reflections, I am happier than any single person can be, with all the wealth, strength, beauty, and success, that can be conferred upon a mortal, if he only relishes such a proportion of these blessings as is vested in himself, and is his own private property. By this means, every man that does himself any real service, does me a kindness. I come in for my share in all the good that happens to a man of merit and virtue, and partake of many gifts of fortune and power that I was never born to. There is nothing in particular in which I so much rejoice, as the deliverance of good and generous spirits out of dangers, difficulties, and distresses. And because the world does not supply instances of this kind to furnish out sufficient entertainments for such an humanity and benevolence of temper, I have ever delighted in reading the history of ages past, which draws together into a parrow compass the great occurrences and events that are but thinly sown in those tracts of time which lie within our own knowledge and observation. When I see the life of a great man, who has deserved well of his country, after having struggled through all the oppositions of prejudice and envy, breaking out with lustre and shining forth in all the splendor of success, I close my book, and am an happy man for a whole evening.
But since in history, events are of a mixed nature, and often happen alike to the worthless and the deserving, insomuch that we frequently see a virtuous man dying in the midst of disappointments and calamities, and the vicious ending their days in prosperity and peace; I love to amuse myself with the accounts I meet with in fabulous histories and fictions: for in this kind of writings we have always the pleasure of seeing vice punished and virtue rewarded. Indeed, were we able to view a man in the whole circle of his existence, we should have the satisfaction of seeing it close with happiness or misery, according to his proper merit: but though our view of him is interrupted by death before the finishing of his adventures, (if I may so speak) we may be sure that the conclusion and catastrophe is altogether suitable to his behaviour. On the contrary, the whole being of a man, considered as an hero, or a knight-errant, is comprehended within the limits of a poem or romance, and therefore always ends to our satisfaction; so that inventions of this kind are like food and exercise to a good natured disposition, which they please and gratify at the same time that they nourish and strengthen. The greater the affliction is in which we see our favourites in these relations engaged, the greater is the pleasure we take in seeing them relieved.
Among the many feigned histories which I have met with in my reading, there is none in which the hero's perplexity is greater, and the winding out of it more difficult, than that in a French author whose name I have forgot. It so happens, that the hero's mistress was the sister of his most intimate friend, who, for certain reasons was given out to be dead, while he was preparing to leave his country in quest of adventures. The hero having heard of his friend's death, immediately repaired to his mistress, to condole with her, and comfort her. Upon his arrival in her garden, he discovered at a distance, a man clasped in her arms, and embraced with the most endearing tenderness. What should he do? It did not consist with the gentleness of a knighterrant either to kill his mistress, or the man whom she was pleased to favour. At the same time, it would have spoiled a romance, should he have laid violent hands on himself. In short, he immediately entered upon his adventures; and after a long series of exploits, found out by degrees, that the person he saw in his mistress's arms was her own brother, taking leave of her before he left his country, and the embrace she gave him, nothing else but the affectionate farewell of a sister : so that he had at once the two greatest satisfactions that could enter into the heart of man, in finding his friend alive, whom he thought dead; and his mistress faithful, whom he had believed inconstant.
a After the verb, add, “it.”
There are indeed some disasters so very fatal, that it is impossible for any accidents to rectify them. Of this kind was that of poor Lucretia ; and yet we see Ovid has found an expedient even in a case like hers. He describes a beautiful and royal virgin walking on the sea-shore, where she was discovered by Neptune, and violated after a long and unsuccessful importunity. To mitigate her sorrow, he offers her whatever she would wish for. Never, certainly, was the wit of woman more puzzled in finding out a stratagem to retrieve her honour. Had she desired to be changed into a stock or stone, a beast, fish, or fowl, she would have been a loser by it: or had she desired to have been made a sca-nymph, or a goddess, her immortality would but have perpetuated her disgrace. Give me, therefore, said she, such a shape as may make me incapable of suffering again the like calamity, or of being reproached for what I have already suffered. To be short, she was turned into a man, and