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No. 84. SATURDAY, February 26, 1780.

Clamant periisse pudorem
Cuncti pene patres.

Hor.

To dispute the right of fashion to enlarge, to vary, or to change the ideas, both of man and woman kind, were a want of good breeding, of which the author of a periodical paper, who throws himself, as it were, from day to day, on the protection of the polite world, cannot be supposed capable. I pay,

therefore, very little regard to the observations of some antiquated correspondents, who pretend to set up what they call the invariable notions of things, against the opinions and practice of people of condition. At the same time, I must ob

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serve, that, as there is a college in physic, and a faculty (as it is called in Scotland) in law; so, in fashion, there is a select body, who enjoy many privileges and immunities, to which pretenders, or inferior practitioners in the art, are by no means entitled. There is a certain

grace in the rudeness, and wit in the folly, of a person of fashion, to which one of a lower rank has no manner of pretension.

I am afraid that our city (talking like a man who has travelled) is but a sort of mimic metropolis, and cannot fairly pretend to the same licence of making a fool of itself, as London or Paris. The circle, therefore, taking them in the gross, of our fashionable people here, have seldom ventured on the same beautiful irregularity in dress, in behaviour, or in manners, that is frequently practised by the leaders of the ton in the capitals of France or England.

With individuals, the same rule of sub

ordination is to be observed, which, however, persons of extraordinary parts, of genius above their condition, are sometimes apt to overlook. I perceive, in the pit of the play-house, some young men, who have got fuddled in punch, as noisy and as witty as the gentlemen in the boxes, who have been drinking Burgundy; and others, who have come sober from the counter, or the writing-desk, give almost as little attention to the play as the men of 30001. a-year.—My old school acquaintance, Jack Wou'dbe, t'other morning, had a neckcloth as dirty as a lord's, and picked his teeth after dinner, for a quarter of an hour, by the assistance of the little mirror in the lid of his tooth-pick case.

I take the first opportunity of giving him a friendly hint, that this practice is elegant only in a man who has made the tour of Europe.

Nature and fashion are two opposite powers, that have long been at variance

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with one another. The first is allowed to preside over the bulk of the people, known by the denomination of the vulgar; the last is peculiar to the higher orders of the state, and by her honours they have a title to be distinguished. Attention to interesting scenes, civility to those we ought to oblige, and propriety in public behaviour, belong to nature, and are therefore the property of the ple. It is a direct infringement on the rights of fashion, if the inferior members of the community shall laugh where they should cry, be noisy where they should

, be silent, rude where they should be civil, or dirty where they should be cleanly. These are the badges of greatness, and, like certain coats armorial, are only to be borne by illustrious personages.

These are matters in which, I think, I may venture to interpose my advice or animadversion. But, as to some more delicate subjects, I am very doubtful whe

ther they come within the limits of my jurisdiction, or how far it would be prudent in me to exercise it, if they did. I mean this as a general apology for not inserting a variety of letters from unknown correspondents, giving me information of certain irregularities in the manners and deportment of the fashionable world, which they desire may be taken immediate notice of in the Mirror. One who writes under the signature of Rusticus, tells me, that painting is now become so common a practice among our fine ladies, that he has oftener than once been introduced to a lady in the morning, from whom, till he informed himself of her name, he was surprised to receive a curtsy at the play or the concert. Another, who subscribes himself Modestus, desires me to imitate the example of the Tatler, by animadverting, not on the large, but the small size of the petticoat,

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