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produce nothing either profitable or ornamental; the other beholds a beautiful and spacious landscape divided into delightful gardens, green meadows, fruitful fields, and can scarce cast his eye on a single spot of his possessions, that is not covered with some beautiful plant or flower.
on FEMALE HEAD-DRESSES. No. 98. There is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady's head-dress. Within my own memory, I have known it rise and fall above thirty degrees. About ten years ago it shot up to a very great height, insomuch that the female part of our species were much taller than the men *. The women were of such an enormous stature, that 'we appeared as grashoppers before them.' At present the whole sex is in a manner dwarfed and shrunk into a race of beauties that seems almost another species. I remember several ladies who were once very near seven foot high, that at presenț want some inches of five. How they came to be thus curtailed I cannot learn; whether the whole sex be at present under any penance which we know no. thing of, or whether they have cast their head-dresses, in order to surprise us with something in that kind
* This refers to the commode (called by the French fone tange), a kind of head-dress worn by the ladies at the begin. ning of this century, which by means of wire bore up the hair and fore part of the cap, consisting of many folds of fine lace, to a prodigious height. The transition from this to the opposite extreme was very abrupt and sudden.
which shall be entirely new ; or whether some of the
Tot premit ordinibus, tot adhuc compagibus altum
Juv. Sat. vi. 501.
• With curls on curls they build her head before,
Dryden. But I do not remember in any part of my reading, that the head-dress aspired to so great an extravagance as in the 14th century; when it was built up in a couple of cones or spires, which stood so excessively high on each side of the head, that a woman who was but a pigmy without her head-dress appeared like a Colossus upon putting it on. Monsieur Paradin savs, that these old-fashioned fontanges rose an ell above the head : that they were pointed like steeples, and had long loose pieces of crape fastened to the tops of them, which were curiously fringed, and hung down their backs like streamers.'
The women might possibly have carried this gothic building much higher, had not a famous monk, Thomas Conecte by name, attacked it with great zeal and resolution. This holy man travelled from place to place to preach down this monstrous commode ; and succeeded so well in it, that, as the magicians sacrificed their books to the flame“ upon the preaching of an apostle, many of the women threw down their headdresses in the middle of his sermon, and made a bonfire of them within sight of the pulpit. He was so renowned, as well for the sanctity of his life as his manner of preaching, that he had often a congregation of twenty thousand people ; (the men placing themselves on the one side of his pulpit, and the women on the other), that appeared (to use the similitude of an ingenious writer) like a forest of cedars with their heads reaching to the clouds. He so warmed and ani8
mated the people against this monstrous ornament, that it lay under a kind of persecution ; and whenever it appeared in public was pelted down by the rabble, who flung stones at the persons that wore it. But notwithstanding this prodigy vanished while the preacher was among them, it began to appear again some months after his departure, or, to tell it in Monsieur Paradin's own words, “The women that, like snails in a fright, had drawn in their horns, shot them out again as soon as the danger was over.' This extravagance of the women's head-dresses in that age is taken notice of by Monsieur d’Argentré, in his History of Bretagne, and by other historians, as well as the person * I have here quoted.
It is usually observed, that a good reign is the only proper time for making of laws against the exorbitance of
power : in the same manner, an excessive headdress may be attacked the most effectually when the fashion is against it. I do therefore recommend this Paper to my female readers by way of prevention.
I would desire the fair sex to consider how impossible it is for them to add any thing that can be ornamental to what is already the master-piece of nature, The head has the most beautiful appearance, as well
* Thomas Conecte, mentioned above, was a Carmelite monk born in Bretagne, who began to be famous for his preaching in 1428. After having travelled through several parts of Europe, opposing the fashionable vices of the age, this celebrated preacher came at length to Rome, where his zeal led him to reprove the enormities of the Papal court, and the dissoluteness of the Romish clergy. On this he was im. prisoned, tried, and condemned to the flames for heresy. A punishment which he suffered with great constaney in 1434. See Bayle.
as the highest station, in a human figure. Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face; she has touched it with vermilion, planted in it a double row of ivory, made it the seat of smiles and blushes, lighted it up and enlivened it with the brightness of the eyes, hung it on each side with curious organs of sense, given it airs and graces that cannot be described, and surrounded it with such a flowing shade of hair, as sets all its beauties in the most agreeable light. In short, she seems to have designed the head as the cu. pola to the most glorious of her works; and when we load it with such a pile of supernumerary ornaments, we destroy the symmetry of the human figure, and foolishly contrive to call off the eye from great and real beauties, to childish gewgaws, ribbands, and bone, hace.
THE EXERCISE OF THE FAN. No. 102.
I do not know whether to call the following letter a satire upon coquettes, or a representation of their several fantastical accomplishments, or what other title to give it; but as it is I shall communicate it to the public. It will sufficiently explain its own intentions, so that I shall give it my reader at length, without cither preface or postscript,
Women are armed with fans as men with swords, and sometimes do more execution with them. To the end, therefore, that ladies may be entire mistresses of the weapon which they bear, I have erected an aca