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In a little convent bordering on Moret, in France, an unknown negress took the veil, in the reign of Louis XIV. Bontemps the confidential Minister of the tiine, had placed her there at an early age, with a large sum paid down, and the continued allowance of a most liberal pension, She was abundantly provided in all points. The Queen and Madam Maintenon both paid especial regard to the welfare of the convent; and, though not appearing to direct any immediate attention to the negress, they carefully inquired relative to her health, her conduct, and her treatinent. The Dauphin and his children often visited her. One day when she heard the Prince's hunting-horn in the adjoinig forest of Fontainbleau, she said, with an air of negligence, “ c'est mon frere qui chasse.” Her rejoinder to Madam Maintenon was still more striking. That lady was once descanting on the virtue of humility, for which it does not appear that the recluse was particularly distinguished. In the course of her lecture, she insinuated to the mysterious captive, that she was by no means the person
she suspected herself to be. “ Si cela n'etoit pas, Madame,” was the reply,
vous ne prendriez pas la piene de venir me la dire.” She died in 1732 : and both St. Simon and Anquetil concur in the belief that she was the legitimate daughter of the King and Queen : that the latter, by the frequent incautious admission of a black dwarf to her presence during her pregnancy, had affected the colouor of the child ; and that the birth being deemed monstrous was thus secluded from the knowledge of the public.
ADVANTAGES OF THE SEXES ASSOCIATING.
The moral world, as consisting of males, is of a mixed nature; and filled with several customs, fashions, and ceremonies, which would have no place in it were there but one sex.
Had our species no females in it, men would be quite different creatures from what they are at present : their endeavours to please the opposite sex polishes and refines them out of those manners which are most natural to them, and often sets them upon modelling themselves, not according to the plans which they approve in their own opinions, but according to those plans which they think are most agreeable to the female world. In a word, man would not only be an unhappy, but a rude unfinished creature, were he conversant with none but those of his own make.
Women, on the other side, are apt to form themselves in every thing with regard to that other half of reasonable creatures with whom they are here blended and confused : their thoughts are ever turned upon appearing amiable to the other sex ; they talk, and move, and smile, with a design upon us ; every feature of their faces, every part of their dress, is filled with snares and allurements. There would be no such animals as prudes or coquettes in the world, were there not such an animal as man. In short, it is the male that gives charms to woman-kind, that produces an air in their faces, a grace in their motions, a softness in their voices, and a delicacy in their complexions.
As this mutual regard between the two sexes tends to the improvement of each of them, we may observe that men are apt to degenerate into rough and brutal natures who live as if there were no such things as women in the world ; as, on the contrary, women who have an indifference or aversion for their counterparts in human nature are generally sour and unamiable, sluttish and censorious
I am led into this train of thoughts by a little manuscript which has lately fallen into my hands, and which I shall communicate to the reader, without troubling him with any enquiries about the author of it. It contains a summary account of two different states which bordered upon one another. The one was a commonwealth of Amazons, or women without men ; the other was a republic of the males, that had not a woman in their whole community. As these two states bordered upon one another, it was their
way, it seems, to meet upon their frontiers at a certain season of the year, where those among the men, who had not made their choice in any former meeting, associated themselves with particular women, whom they were afterwards obliged to look upon as their wives in every one of these yearly rencounters. The chidren that sprung up from this alliance, if males, were sent to their respective fathers ; if females, continued with their mothers. By means of this anniversary carnival, which lasted about a week, the commonwealths were recruited from time to time, and supplied with their respective subjects.
These two states were engaged together in a perpetual league, offensive and defensive ; so that if any foreign potentate offered to attack either of them, both the sexes fell upon him at once, and quickly brought him to reason. It was remarkable that for many ages this agreement continued inviolable between the two states, notwithstanding, as was said before, they were husbands and wives ; but this will not appear so wonderful, if we consider that they did not live together above a week in a year.
In the account which my author gives of the male republic, there were several customs very remarkable. The men never shaved their beards, or pared their nails, above once in a twelvemonth, which was probably about the time of the great annual meeting upon their frontiers. I find the name of a minister of state in one part of their history, who was fined for appearing too frequently in clean linen ; and of a certain great general, who was turned out of his post for effeminacy, it having been proved upon him by several credible witnesses that he washed his face every morning. If any member of the commonwealth had a soft voice, a smooth face, or a supple behaviour, he was banished into the commonwealth of females, where he was treated as a slave, dressed in petticoats, and set a spinning. They had no titles of honour among them, but such as denoted some bodily strength or perfection, as such an one'the tall,' such an one the stocky,' such an one 'the gruff.' Their public debates were generally managed with kicks and cuffs, insomuch that they often came from the council-table with broken shins, black eyes, and bloody noses. When they would reproach a man in the most bitter terms, they would tell him his teeth were white, or that he had a fair skin and a soft hand. The greatest man I meet with in their history, was one who could lift five hundred weight, and wore such a prodigious pair of whiskers as had never been seen in the commonwealth before his time. These accomplishments, it seems, had rendered him so popular, that if he had not died very seasonably, it is thought he might have enslaved the republic. Having made this short extract out of the history of the male commonwealth, I shall look into the history of the neighbouring state, which consisted of females.
The girls of quality, from six to twelve years old, were put to public schools, where they learned to box and play at cudgels, with several other accomplishments of the same nature ; so that nothing was more usual than to see a little miss returning home at night with a broken pate, or two or three teeth knocked ont of her head. They were afterwades taught to ride the great horse, to shoot, dart or sling, and listed into several companies, in order to perfect themselves in military exercises. No woman was to be married till she had killed her man. The ladies of fashion used to play with young lions instead of lap-dogs ; and when they made any parties of diversion, instead of entertaining themselves at ombre and piquet, they would wrestle and pitch the bar for a whole afternoon together. There was never any such thing as a blush seen, or a sigh heard, in the whole commonwealth. The women never dressed but to look terrible; to which end they would sometimes, after a battle, paint their cheeks with the blood of their enemies. For this reason, likewise, the face which had the most scars was looked upon as the most beautiful. If they found lace, jewels, ribbands, or any ornaments in silver or gold, among the booty which they had taken, they used to dress their horses with it, but never entertaind a thought of wearing it themselves. There were particular rights and privileges allowed to any member of the commonwealth who was a mother of three daughters. The senate was made up of old women; for by the laws of the country, none was to be a counsellor of state that was not past child-bearing. They used to boast that their republic had continued four thousand years, which is altogether improbable, unless we may suppose, what I am very apt to think, that they measured their time by lunar years.
There was a great revolution brought about in this female republic by means of a neighbouring king, who had made war upon them several years with various success, and at length overthrew them in a very great battle. This defeat they ascribe to several causes : some say that the secretary of state, having been troubled with the vapours, had committed some fatal mistakes in several despatches about that time. Others pretend that the first minister being big with child, could not attend the public affairs, as so great an exigency of state required; but this I can give no manner of credit to, since it seems to contradict a fundamental maxim in their goverment, which I have before mentioned. My author gives the most probable reason of this great dis
for he affirms that the general was brought to bed, or (as others say) miscarried, the very night before the battle : however it was, this single overthrow obliged them to call in the male republic to their assistance ; but, notwithstanding their common efforts to repulse the victorious enemy, the war coutinued for many years before they could entirely bring it to a happy conclusion.
The campaigns which both sexes passed together made them so well acquainted with one another, that at the end of the war they did not care for parting. In the beginning of it they lodged in separate camps, but afterwards, as they grew more familiar, they pitched their tents promiscuously.
From this time, the armies being checkered with both sexes, they polished apace. The men used to invite their fellow soldiers into their quarters, and would dress their tents with flowers and boughs for their reception. If they chanced to like one more than another, they would be cutting her name in the table, or chalking out her figure upon a wall, or talking of her in a kind of rapturous language, which by degrees improved into verse
and sonnet. These were as the first rudiments of architecture, painting, and poetry, among this savage people. After any advantage over the enemy, both sexes used to jump together, and make a clattering with their swords and shields, for joy, which, in a few years, produced several regular tunes and set dances.
As the two armies romped together upon these occasions, the women complained of the thick bushy beards and long nails of their confederates, who thereupon took care to prune themselves into such figures as were most pleasing to their friends and allies.
When they had taken any spoils from the enemy, the would make a present of every thing that was rich and showy to the women whom they most admired, and would frequently dress the necks, or heads, or arms, of their mitresses, with any thing which they thought appeared gay or pretty. The women observing that the men took delight in looking upon them when they were adorned with such trippings and gewgaws, set their heads at work to find out new inventions, and to outshine one another in all councils of war, or the like solemn meetings. On the other hand, the men observing how the women's hearts were set upon finery, began to embellish themselves, and look as agreeably as they could in the eyes of their associates. In short, after a year's conversing together the women had learned to smile, and the men to ogle; the women grew soft, and the men lively.
When they had thus insensibly formed one another, upon finishing of the war, which concluded with an entire conquest of their common enemy, the colonels in one army married the colonels in the other; the captains in the same manner took the captains to their wives : the whole body of common soldiers were matched after the example of their leaders. By this means the two republics incorporated with one another, and became the most florishing and polite government in the part of the world which they inhabited.
There is at present living, (says the Stirling Journal) at a place called Glenarie, six miles from Inverary, a per