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me in the middle of her hair a complication of shreds and rags of velvets, feathers and ribands, stuck with false stones of a thousand colours, and placed awrv. 'But what hast thou done to thy hair, child!' said 1; ' is it blue? Is that painted too by the same eminent hand that coloured thy cheeks?' 'Indeed, papa,' answered the girl, ' as I told you before, there is no painting in the case; but what gives my hair that bluish cast is the gray powder, which has always that effect upon darkcoloured hair, and sets off the complexion wonderfully.' 'Gray powder, child!' said I, with some surprise: ' Gray hairs I knew were venerable; but till this moment I never knew that they were genteel.' 'Extremelv so, with some complexions,' said my wife; 'but it does not suit with mine, and I never use it.' 'You are much in the right, my dear,' replied I, ' not to play with edge-tools. Leave it to the girl.' This, which was perhaps too hastily said, and seemed to be a second part of the Sysigambis, was not kindly taken; my wife was silent all dinner-time, and I vainly hoped ashamed. My daughter, drunk with dress and sixteen, kept up the conversation with herself, till the longwished-for moment of the opera came, which se» parated us, and left me time to reflect upon the extravagancies which I had already seen, and upon the still greater which I had but too much reason to dread.
"From this period to the time of our return to England, every day produced some new and shining folly, and some improper expense. Would to God that they had ended as they began, with our journey! but unfortunately we have imported them all. I no longer understand, or am understood, in my family. 1 hear of nothing but le bon ton. A French valet de chambre, who, I am told, is an excellent servant and fit for every thing, is brought over to curl my wife's and my daughter's hair, to mount a dessert, as they call it, and occasionally to announce visits. A very slatternly, dirty, but at the same time a very genteel French maid, is appropriated to the use of my daughter. My meat too is as much disguised in the dressing by a French cook, as my wife and my daughter are by their red, their pompons, their scraps of dirty gauze, flimsy satins, and black calicoes; not to mention their affected broken English, and mangled French, which, jumbled together, compose their present language. My French and English servants quarrel daily, and fight, for want of words to abuse one another. My wife is become ridiculous by being translated into French, and the version of my daughter will, I dare say, hinder many a worthy English gentleman from attempting to read her. My expense, and consequently my debt, increases ; and I am made more unhappy by follies, than most other people are by crimes.
"Should you think fit to publish this my case,
together with some observations of your own upon
it, I hope it may prove a useful Pharos, to deter
private English families from the coasts of France.
'' 1 am, Sir,
"Your very humble servant,
My correspondent has said enough to caution English gentlemen against carrying their wives and daughters to Paris; but I shall add a few words of my own, to dissuade the ladies themselves from any inclination to such a vagary. In the first place, I assure them that of all French ragouts there is none to which an Englishman has so little appetite as an English lady served up to him a la Francoise. Next, I beg leave to inform them, that the French taste in beauty is so different from ours, that a pretty English woman at Paris, instead of meeting with that admiration which her vanity hopes for, is considered only as a handsome corpse; and if, to put a little life into her, some of her compassionate friends there should persuade her to lay on a great deal of rouge, in English called paint, she must continue to wear it to extreme old age; unless she prefers a spot of real yellow, the certain consequence of paint, to an artificial one of red. And lastly, I propose it to their consideration, whether the delicacy of an English lady's mind may not partake of the nature of some high-flavoured wines, which will not admit of being carried abroad, though, under right management, they are admirable at home.
"The present age is over-run with romances, and yet so strong does the appetite for them continue, that as Otway says on a less delicate occasion,
—— every rank fool goes down.
"I am not surprised that any sketch of human nature, howsoever imperfect, should attract the attention of the generality of readers. We are easilydelighted with pictures of ourselves, and are some
times apt to fancy a strong likeness where there is not even the least resemblance. Those great masters of every movement of the human mind, Homer and Shakspeare, knew well this propensity of our dispositions. The latter, from the nature of his writings, had more frequent opportunities of opening the most minute avenues of the heart. The former, though his province was more confined, has let no occasion pass of exerting this affecting talent. He has not only contrasted a vast variety of characters, and given all the passions their full play, but even in the stiller parts of his work, the similes and descriptions, every thing is full of human life. It is the Carian woman who stains the ivory; if a torrent descends from the mountains, some cottager trembles at the sound of it; and the fine broken landscape of rocks and woods by moon-light has a shepherd to gaze at and admire it.
"But it is not with such painters as these that I am at present concerned. They drew really from nature; and ages have felt and applauded the truth of their designs. Whereas our modern artists, if we may guess from the motley representations they give us of our species, are so far from having studied the natures of other people, that they seldom seem to have the least acquaintance with themselves.
"The writers of heroic romance, or the Loves of Philodoxus and Urania, professedly soar above nature. They introduce into their descriptions trees, water, air, &c. like common mortals; but then all their rivers are clearer than crystal, and every breeze is impregnated with the spices of Arabia. The manners of their personages seem full as extraordinary to our gross ideas. We are apt to suspect the virtue of two young people who are rapturously in love with each other, and who travel whole years in one another's company; though we are expressly told, that at the close of every evening, when they retire to rest, the hero leans his head against a knotted oak, whilst the heroine seeks the friendly shelter of a distant myrtle. This, I say, seems to us a little unnatural; however, it is not of dangerous example. There can no harm follow if unexperienced persons should endeavour to imitate what may be thought inimitable. Should our virgins arrive but half way 'towards the chastity of a Parthenia, it will be something gained; and we, who have had learned educations, know the power of early prejudices; some of us having emulated the public spirit, and other obsolete virtues of the old Grecians and Romans, to the age of fifteen or sixteen, some of us later, even to twenty or one-and-twenty.
"But peace be to the manes of such authors. They have long enjoyed that elysium which they go frequently described on earth. The present race of romance writers run universally into a different extreme. They spend the little art they are masters of in weaving into intricacies the more familiar and more comical adventures of a Jack Slap, or a Betty Sallet. These, though they endeavour to copy after a very great original, I choose to call our writers below nature; because very few of them have as yet found out their master's peculiar art of writing upon low subjects without writing in a low manner. Romances, judiciously conducted, are a very pleasing way of conveying instruction to all parts of life. But to dwell eternally upon orphan-beggars, and serving men of low degree, is certainly what I have called it, writing below nature; and is so far from