« PředchozíPokračovat »
at court. The ladies who carry fans under me are drawn up twice a day in my great hall, where they are instructed in the use of their arms, and exercised by the following words of command :
Handle your Fans,
Recover your Fans, 10
Flutter your Fans. By the right observation of these few plain words of command, a woman of a tolerable genius who will apply herself diligently to her exercise for the space of one half year, shall be able to give her fan all the graces that can possibly enter into that little modish machine.
“But to the end that my readers may form to themselves a right notion of this exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its parts. When my female regiment is drawn
up in array, with every one her weapon in her hand, upon 20 my giving the word to Handle their Fans, each of them
shakes her fan at me with a smile, then gives her right-hand woman a tap upon the shoulder, then presses her lips with the extremity of her fan, then lets her arms fall in an easy motion, and stands in readiness to receive the next word of command. All this is done with a close fan, and is generally learned in the first week.
“The next motion is that of Unfurling the Fan, in which are comprehended several little flirts and vibrations, as also
gradual and deliberate openings, with many voluntary fallings 30 asunder in the Fan itself, that are seldom learned under a
month's practice. This part of the exercise pleases the spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a sudden an infinite number of Cupids, garlands, altars, birds, beasts, rainbows, and the like agreeable figures, that display themselves to view, whilst every one in the regiment holds a picture in her hand.
“Upon my giving the word to Discharge their Fans, they give one general crack, that may be heard at a considerable distance when the wind sits fair. This is one of the most difficult parts of the exercise ; but I have several ladies with me, who at their first entrance could not give a pop loud enough to be heard at the further end of a room, who can now Discharge a Fan in such a manner, that it shall make a report like a pocket-pistol. I have likewise taken care (in order to hinder young women from letting off their fans in wrong places or unsuitable occasions) to show upon what 10 subject the crack of a fan may come in properly. I have likewise invented a fan, with which a girl of sixteen, by the help of a little wind which is enclosed about one of the largest sticks, can make as loud a crack as a woman of fifty with an ordinary fan.
“When the fans are thus discharged, the word of command in course is to Ground their Fans. This teaches a lady to quit her fan gracefully when she throws it aside, in order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a fallen pin, or apply herself to any other matter of importance. 20 This part of the exercise, as it only consists in tossing a fan with an air upon a long table (which stands by for that purpose) may be learnt in two days' time as well as in a twelvemonth.
“When my female regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let them walk about the room for some time; when on a sudden (like ladies that look upon their watches after a long visit) they all of them hasten to their arms, catch them up
in a hurry, and place themselves in their proper stations upon my calling out Recover your Fans. This part of the exercise 30 is not difficult, provided a woman applies her thoughts to it.
“The Fluttering of the Fan is the last, and, indeed, the masterpiece of the whole exercise ; but if a lady does not misspend her time, she may make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay aside the dog-days and the hot time of the summer for the teaching of this part of the
exercise ; for as soon as ever I pronounce Flutter your Fans, the place is filled with so many zephyrs and gentle breezes as are very refreshing in that season of the year, though they might be dangerous to ladies of a tender constitution in any other.
“There is an infinite variety of motions to be made use of in the Flutter of a Fan : there is the angry flutter, the modest flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the
merry flutter, and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, 10 there is scarce any emotion in the mind which does not pro
duce a suitable agitation in the fan; insomuch, that if I only see the fan of a disciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it ; and at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad for the lady's sake the lover was at a sufficient distance from it. I need not add, that a fan is either a prude or a coquette,
according to the nature of the person who bears it. To con20 clude my letter, I must acquaint you, that I have from my
own observations compiled a little treatise for the use of my scholars, entitled, The Passions of the Fan, which I will communicate to you, if you think it may be of use to the . public. I shall have a general review on Thursday next, to which you shall be very welcome if you will honour it with your presence.--I am," etc.
“P.S.--I teach young gentlemen the whole art of gallanting
“N.B.—I have several little plain fans made for this use, to 30 avoid expense."
XIV. SIR ROGER AT HOME.
Monday, July 2, 1711.
Hinc tibi Copia
Having often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de Coverley to pass away a month with him in the country, I last week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his country-house, where I in- 10 tend to form several of my ensuing speculations. Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humour, lets me rise and go to bed when I please ; dine at his own table, or in my chamber, as I think fit; sit still, and say nothing, without bidding me be merry. When the gentlemen of the country come to see him, he only shows me at a distance. As I have been walking in his fields, I have observed them stealing a sight of me over an hedge, and have heard the knight desiring them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.
20 I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober and staid persons ; for as the knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants; and as he is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him : by this means his domestics are all in years, and grown
old with their master. You would take his valet de chambre for his brother ; his butler is grey-headed ; his groom is one of the gravest men that I have ever seen ; and his coachman has the looks of a privy-councillor. You see the goodness of the master even in the old house-dog ; and 30 in a gray pad, that is kept in the stable with great care and
tenderness out of regard to his past services, though he has been useless for several years.
I could not but observe with a great deal of pleasure, the joy that appeared in the countenances of these ancient domestics upon my friend's arrival at his country-seat. Some of them could not refrain from tears at the sight of their old master ; every one of them pressed forward to do something for him, and seemed discouraged if they were not employed.
At the same time the good old knight, with a mixture of the 10 father and the master of the family, tempered the inquiries
after his own affairs with several kind questions relating to themselves. This humanity and good-nature engages everybody to him, so that when he is pleasant upon any of them, all his family are in good humour, and none so much as the person whom he diverts himself with : on the contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for a stander-by to observe a secret concern in the looks of all his servants.
My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of 20 his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the
rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as of his particular friend.
My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man, who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain above thirty years. This gentleman is a person of good sense, and some learning, of a very regular life, and
obliging conversation : he heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows 30 that he is very much in the old knight's esteem ; so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependent.
I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an humourist; and that his virtues, as well as imperfections, are, as it were, tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of