Page images
PDF
EPUB

have the first rights ; and I have left thousands in distress upon the English shore. The Monk gave a cor. dial wave with his head as much as to say, No doubt ; there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent. But we distinguish, said l; laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic, in return for his appeal-we distinguish, my good father, betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labor and those who eat the bread of other people's,and have no other plan in life, but to get through it in sloth and ignorance, for the love of God,

The poor Franciscan made no reply ; a hectic of a moment passed across his cheek, but could not tarry-Nature seemed to have done with her resentments inhim. lie showed none--but letting his staff fall within his arms, he pressed both his hands with resignation on his breast, and retired.

My heart smole me the moment he shut the door. Pshaw! said 1, with an air of carelessness, three several times. But it would not do; every ungracious syllable I had ultered, crowded back in my imagination. I re. flected I had no right over the poor Franciscan, but to sieny him ; and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed, without the addition of unkind languageIconsidered his gray hairs, his courteous figure seemed to reenter,and gently ask me what injury he had done me, and why i could use him thus? I would have given twenty livres for an adrocatem have behared very ill, said I, within myself,but I have only just set out upon my travels, and shall learn better manners as I get along. XI.--On the Headdress of the Ladies.--SPECTATOR.

THERE is not so variable a thing in nature, as a lady's headdress; within my own memory,l have known it rise and fall above thirty degrees. About ten years ago, it shot up to a very great lieight, insomuch that the female part of our species were much taller than the men.

The women were of such an enormous stature, ihat “ we appeared as grasshoppers before them." At present,the whole sex is in amanner dwarfed, and shrunk into a race of beauties, that seem almost another specics.. .

I remember several ladies who were once very near sev. en feet high, that at present 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 nothing of, or whether they have cast their headdresses in order to surprize us with something in that kind which shall be entirely new ; or whether some of the tallest of the sex, being too cunning for the rest, have contrived this method to make themselvesappear sizeable, is still a secret ; though I find most are of opinion, they are at present like trees new lopped and pruned, that will certainly sprout out, and flourish with greater heads than before. For my own part, as I do not love to be insulted by women who are taller than myself, I admire the sex much more in their present humiliacion, which has reduced them to their natural dimensions,than when they bad extended their persons, and lengthened themselves out into formidable and gigantic figures, I am not for adding to the beautiful edifices of nature,nor for raising any whimsical superstructure upon her plans : I must therefore repeat it, that I am highly pleased with the coiffure now in fashion, and think it shows the good sense which at present very much reigns among the valuable part of the sex. One may observe, that women in all ages have taken more pains than men to adorn the outside of their heads ; and indeed I very much admire, that those architects who raise such powerful structures out of ribbands, lace and wire, have not been recorded for their respective inventions. It is certain there have been as many orders in this kind of buildings, as in those which have been made of marble ; sometimes they rise in the shape of a pyramid, sometimes like a tower, and sometimes like a steeple. In Juvenal's time, the building grew by sev. eral orders and stories, as he has very humorously described it :

With curls on curls they build her head before,
And mount it with a formidable tower;
A giantess she seems; but look behind,
And then she dwindles to the pigniy kind

But I do not remember, in any part of my reading, that the headdress aspired to so great an extravagance, as in the fourteenth 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 pig. my without her headdress, appeared like a colossus upon putting it on. Monsieur Paradin says, " 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 Connecte 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 flames i!pon 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 sanclity of his life, as his manner of preaching, that he had often a congregation oftwenty thousand people; the men placed themselves on the one side of his pulpit ; and the women on the other they 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 animated 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 rable, who fluug stones at the person who wore it. Bul, notwithstanding this prodigy vanished while the preacher was among them, it began to appear again soine months after his departure, or to tell it in Mon. sieur 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 headdresses in that age is ta. ken notice of by Monsicur d' Argentre, in the history

can

of Bretagne, and by other historians, as well as the person 1 have here quoted.

It is usually observed, that a good reign is the only proper time for the making of laws against the exorbi. lance of power ; in the same manner an excessive head. dress 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 be ornamental, to what is already the masterpiece of nature. The head has the most beautiful appearance, as well as the highest station in the human figure. Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face : she has touched it with vermillion ; 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 rnost agreeable light ; in short, she seems to have designed the head as the cupola to the most glorious of her works: and when we load it with such a pile of supernumerary ornaments ; we destroy the symetry of the human fig. ure, and foolishly. contrive to call off the

eye

from great and real beauties, to childish gewgaws, ribands and bone lace.

Xll-On the present and a future State.--IB... A LEWD young fellow seeing an aged hermit go by him barefoot, " Father," says he, you are in a very miscrable condition, if there is not another world." " True, son," said the hermit ; " but what is thy condi. tion if there is?" Alap is a creature designed for two different states of being, or rather for two different lives. His first life is short and transient, his second permanent and lasting. The question we are all concerned in, is this--in which of those two lives is it our chief interest to make ourselves happy ? Or, in other wordsWhether we should endeavor to secure to ourselves the pleasures and gratifications of a life which is uncertain.

and precarious, and at its utmost length, of a very inconsiderable duration ; or to secure to ourselves the pleasures of a life which is fixed and settled, and will never end ? Every man upon the first hearing of this question, Knows very well which side of it he ought to close with. But however right we are in theory, it is plain, that in practice we adhere to the wrong side of the question. We make provisions for this life as though it were never to have an end; and for the other life, as though it were never to have a beginning.

Should a spirit of superior rank, who is a stranger tohuman nature, accidentally alight upon the earth, and take a survey of its inhabitants What would his notions of us be? Would he not think that we are a spe. cies of beings made for quite different ends and purposes from what we really are ? Must he not imagine that we were placed in this world to get riches and honors ? Would be not think, that it was our duty to toil after wealth, and station, and title ? Nay, would he not believe we were forbidden poverty, by threats of eternal punishment and enjoined to pursue our pleasures,under pain of damnation ? He would certainly imagine that we were influenced by a scheme of duties quite opposite to those which are indeed prescribed to us. And, truly, according to such an imagination, he must conclude that we are a species of the most obedient creatures in the universe;—that we are constant to our duty ;--and that we keep a steady eye on the end for which we were sent hither.

But how great would be his astonishment, when he learnt that we were beings not designed to exist in this world above three score and ten years ; and that the greatest part of this busy. species, fall short even of that age! How would he be lost in horror and admiration, when he should know that this set of creatures, who lay out all their endeavors for this life, which scarce deserves the name of existence, when, I say, he should know that this set of creatures are to exist to all eternity in another life, for which they make no preparations ? Nothing can be a greater disgrace to reason, than that men, who are persuaded of these two different states of

« PreviousContinue »