« PreviousContinue »
tune, and would rather have died than attempted it by any indirect methods. Leonilla, who was a woman of the greatest beauty joined with the greatest modesty, entertained at the same time a secret passion for Florio, but conducted herself with so much pru. dence that she never gave him the least intimation of it. Florio was now engaged in all those arts and improvements that are proper to raise a man's private fortune, and give him a figure in his country, but secretly tormented with that passion which bums with the greatest fury in a virtuous and noble heart, when he received a sudden summons from Leontine to repair to him in the country the next day. For it seems Eudoxus was so Elled with the report of his son's reputation, that he could no longer withhold making himself known to him. The morning after his arrival at the bouse of his supposed father, Lcontine told him that Eudoxus had something of great importance to communicate to him ; upon which the good man embraced him, and wept. Florio was no sooner arrived at the great house that stood in his neighbourhood, but Eudoxus took him by the hand, after the first salutes were over, and conducted him into his closet. Ile there opened to him the whole secret of his parentage and education, concluding after this manner : "I have no other way left of acknowledging my gratitude to Leontine, than by marrying you to his daughter. He shall not lose the pleasure of being your father by the discovery I have made to you. Leonilla too shall be still my daughter : her filial piety, though misplaced, has been so exemplary, that it deserves the greatest reward I can confer upon it. You shall have the pleasure of seeing a great estate fall to you, which you would have lost the relish of had you known yourself born to it,
Continue only to deserve it in the same manner you did before you were possessed of it. I have left your mother in the next room. Her heart yearns towards you. She is making the same discoveries to Leonilla which I'have made to yourself.' Florio was so overwhelmed with this profusion of happiness, that he was not able to make a reply, but threw himself down at his father's feet, and, amidst a flood of tears, kissed and embraced his knees, asking his blessing, and expressing in dumb show those sentiments of love, duty, and gratitude, that were too big for utterance. To conclude: the happy pair were married, and half Eudoxus's estate settled upon them. Leontine and Eudoxus passed the remainder of their lives together; and received in the dutiful and affectionate behaviour of Florio and Leonilla the just recompense, as well as the natural effects, of that care which they had bestowed upon them in their education.
COUNTRY FASHIONS. No. 129. GREAT masters in painting never care for drawing people in the fashion; as very well knowing that the head-dress or periwig that now prevails, and gives a grace to their portraitures at present, will make a very odd figure, and perhaps look monstrous in the eyes of posterity. For this reason they often represent an illustrious person in a Roman habit, or in soine other dress that never varies. I could wish, for the sake of my country friends, that there was such a kind of ever. lasting drapery to be made use of by all who live at a certain distance from the town, and that they would
agree upon such faslijons as should never be liable to changes and innovations. For want of this standing dress, a man who takes a journey into the country is as much surprised, as one who walks in a gallery of old family pictures, and finds as great a variety of garbs and habits in the persons he converses with. Did they keep to one constant dress they would sometimes be in the fashion, which they never are as matters are managed at present, If, instead of running after the mode, they would continue fixt in one certain habit, the mode would some time or other overtake them, as a clock that stands still is sure to point right once in twelve hours. In this case, therefore, I would advise them, as a gentleman did his friend who was hunting about the whole town after a rambling fellow : If you follow him you will never find him; but if you plant yourself at the corner of any one street, I will engage it will not be long before you see him.
I have already touched upon this subject in a Speculation, which shows how cruelly the country are led astray in following the town; and equipped in a ridiculous habit, when they fancy themselves in the height of the mode. Since that Spéculation I have received a letter (which I there hinted at) from a gentleman who is now on the western circuit,
Being a lawyer of the Middle-Temple, a Cornishman by birth, I generally ride the western circuit for my health, and, as I am not interrupted with clients, have leisure to make many observations that escape the notice of my fellow-travellers.
One of the most fashionable women I met with in all the circuit was my landlady at Staines, where I
chanced to be on a holiday. Her commode was not half a foot high, and her petticoat within some yards of a modishi circumference. In the same place I observed a young fellow with a tolerable periwig,, had it not been covered with a hat that was shaped in the Ramilie cock. As I proceeded in my journey I observed the petticoat grew' scantier and scantier, and about threescore miles from London was so very une fashionable, that a woman might walk in it without any manner of inconvenience.
Not far from Salisbury, I took notice of a justice of peace's lady, who was at least ten years behindhand in her dress, but at the same time as fine as hands could make her. She was flounced and furbelowed from head to foot; every ribbon was wrinkled, and every part of her garments in curl : so that she looked like one of those animals which in the country we call a Friezland hen.
Not many miles beyond this place, I was informed that one of the last year's little muffs had by some means or other straggled into those parts, and that all the women of fashion were cutting their old muffs in two, or retrenching them according to the little model which was got among them. I cannot believe the report they have there, that it was sent down franked by a parliament-man in a little packet; but probably by next'winter this fashion will be at the height in the country, when it is quite out at London.
• The greatest beau at our next county sessions was dressed in a most monstrous flaxen periwig, that was made in king William's reign. The wearer of it goes, it seems, in his own hair when he is at home, and lets his wig lie in buckle for a whole half-year,
that that he may put it on upon occasion to meet the judges in it.
I must not here omit an adventure which happened to us in a country church upon the frontiers of Comwall. As we were in the midst of the service, a lady, who is the chief woman of the place, and had passed the winter at London with her husband, entered the congregation in a little head-dress and a hooped petticoat. The people, who were wonderfully startled at such a sight, all of them rose up. Some stared at the prodigious bottom, and some at the little top, of this strange dress. In the mean time the lady of the manor filled the area of the church, and walked up to her pew with an unspeakable satisfaction, amidst the whispers, conjectures, and astonishments of the whole congregation.
"Upon our way from hence we saw a young fellow riding towards us full gallop, with a bob wig and a black silken bag tied to it. He stopped short at the coach, to ask us how far the judges were behind us. His stay was so very short that we had only time to observe his new silk waistcoat, which was unbuttoned in several places, to let us see that he had a clean shirt on, which was ruffled down to his middle.
. From this place, during our progress through the most western parts of the kingdom, we fancied ourselves in king Charles the second's reign, the people having made very little variations in their dress since that time. The smartest of the country squires appear still in the Monmouth-cock, and when they go a-wooing (whether they have any post in the militia or not) they generally put on a red coat. We were indeed very much surprised, at the place we lay at last