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am not for adding to the beautiful edifice 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 shews 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 female architects, who raise such wonderful structures out of ribbons, lace, and wire, have not been recorded for their respective inventions. It is certain there have been as many orders in these kinds of building, 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 several orders and stories, as he has very humourously described it.
Tot premit ordinibus, tot adhuc compagibus altum
But I do not remember, in any part of my reading, that the head-dress 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 Pigmy without her head-dress, 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 re
solution. This holy man travelled from place to place | to preach down this monstrous commode; and suc.
ceeded so well in it, that as the magicians sacrificed their books to the flames 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 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 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'Argentre 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 time for the making of laws against the exorbitance 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 can be ornamental to what is already the master-piece of nature. The head has the most beautiful appearance, as well as the highest station, in a human figure, Nature has laid
.. To use the similitude of an ingenious writer] An artful apology for the foHowing hpyerbolical similitude.
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 most 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 symmetry of the human figure, and foolishly contrive to call off the eye from great and real beauties, to childish gew-gaws, ribbons, and bone-lace.
No. 99. SATURDAY, JUNE 23.
Turpi secernis honestum.
7 .(. The club, of which I have often declared myself a member, were last night engaged in a discourse upon that which passes for the chief point of honour among men and women; and started a great many hints upon the subject, which I thought were entirely new. I shall, therefore, methodize the several reflections that arose upon this occasion, and present my reader with them for the speculation of this day; after having premised, that if there is any thing in this paper which seems to differ with any passage of last Thursday's, the reader will consider this as the sentiments of the club, and the other as my own private thoughts, or rather those of Pharamond.
The great point of honour in men is courage, and in women chastity. If a man loses his honour in one rencounter, it is not impossible for him to regain it in another; a slip in a woman's honour is irrecoverable.
I can give no reason for fixing the point of honour to these two qualities, unless it be that each sex sets the greatest value on the qualification which renders them the most amiable in the eyes of the contrary sex.
Had men chosen for themselves, without regard to the opinions of the fair sex, I should believe the choice would have fallen on wisdom or virtue; or had women determined their own point of honour, it is probable that wit or good-nature would have carried it against chastity:
Nothing recommends a man more to the female sex than courage; whether it be that they are pleased to see one who is a terror to others fall like a slave at their feet, or that this quality supplies their own principal defect, in guarding them from insults, and avenging their quarrels, or that courage is a natural indication of a strong and sprightly constitution. On the other side, nothing makes a woman more esteemed by the opposite sex than chastity; whether it be that we always prize those most who are hardest to come at, or that nothing besides chastity, with its collateral attendants, truth, fidelity, and constancy, gives the man a property in the person he loves, and consequently endears her to him above all things.
I am very much pleased with a passage in the inscrip tion on a monument erected in Westminster Abby to the late Duke and Duchess of Newcastle: “ Her name was Margaret Lucas, youngest sister to the Lord Lucas of Colchester: a noble family; for all the brothers were valiant, and all the sisters virtuous."
In books of chivalry, where the point of honour is strained to madness, the whole story runs on chastity and courage. The damsel is mounted on a white pal.
| frey, as an emblem of her innocence: and, to avoid scandal, must have a dwarf for her page. She is not to think of a man, till some misfortune has brought a knight-errant to her relief. The knight falls in love; and did not gratitude restrain her from murdering her deliverer, would die at her feet by her disdain. However, he must waste many years in the desert, before
her virgin-heart can think of a surrender. The knight goes off, attacks every thing he meets that is bigger and stronger than himself, seeks all opportunities of being knocked on the head, and after seven years rambling returns to his mistress, whose chastity has been attacked in the mean time by giants and tyrants, and undergone as many trials as her lover's valour.
In Spain, where there are still great remains of this romantic humour, it is a transporting favour for a lady to cast an accidental glance on her lover from a window, though it be two or three stories high; as it is usual for a lover to assert his passion for his mistress, in single combat with a mad bull.
The great violation of the point of honour from man to man, is giving the lie. One may tell another he whores, drinks, blasphemes, and it may pass unresented; but to say he lies, though but in jest, is an affront that nothing but blood can expiate. The reason perhaps may be, because no other vice implies a want of courage so much as the making of a lie; and, therefore, telling a man he lies, is touching him in the most sensible part of honour, and indirectly calling him a coward. I cannot omit under this head what Herodotus tells us of the ancient Persians, that from the age
of five years to twenty, they instruct their sons only in three things, to manage the horse, to make use of the bow, and to speak truth.
The placing the point of honour in this false kind of courage, has given occasion to the very refuse of mankind, who have neither virtue nor common sense, to set up for men of honour. An English peer, who has not been long dead, used to tell a pleasant story of a French gentleman that visited him early one morning at Paris, and, after great professions of respect, let him know that he had it in his power to oblige him ; which in short amounted to this, that he believed he could tell his lordship the person's name who justled him as he came out from the opera ; but, before he would proceed, he begged his lordship that he would not deny him the honour of making him his second. The English