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stopped short in the thread of his discourse, and after dinner asked my friend Sir Roger in his ear, if he was sure that I was not a fanatic.

It gives me a serious concern to see such a spirit of dissension in the country; not only as it destroys virtue and common sense, and renders us in a manner barbarians towards one another, but as it perpetuates our animosities, widens our breaches, and transmits our present passions and prejudices to our posterity. For my own part, I am sometimes afraid that I discover the seeds of a civil war in these our divisions; and therefore cannot but bewail, as in their first principles, the miseries and calamities of our children.

No. 127. THURSDAY, July 26, 1711.



-Quantum est in rebus inane!

PERS. Sat. 1. v. 1. How much of emptiness we find in things!

It is our custom at Sir Roger's, upon the coming in

of the post, to sit about a pot of coffee, and hear the old Knight read Dyer's Letter; which he does with his spectacles upon his nose, and in an audible voice, smiling very often at those little strokes of satire which are so frequent in the writings of that author. I afterwards communicate to the Knight such packets as I receive under the quality of Spectator. The following letter chancing to please him more than ordinary, I shall publish it at his request.


You have diverted the town almost a whole month ' at the expence of the country; it is now high time that 'you should give the country their revenge. Since 'your withdrawing from this place, the fair sex are 'run into great extravagancies. Their petticoats, ' which began to heave and swell before you left us, are now blown up into a most enormous concave, and rise every day more and more: in short, Sir, • since our women know themselves to be out of the eye of the Spectator, they will be kept within no com' pass. You praised them a little too soon for the modesty of their head-dresses; for as the humour of a 'sick person is often driven out of one limb into ano'ther, their superfluity of ornaments, instead of being * entirely banished, seems only fallen from their heads " upon their lower parts. What they have lost in 'height they make up in breadth, and contrary to all 'rules of architecture, widen the foundations at the 'same time that they shorten the superstructure.



Were they, like Spanish jennets, to impregnate by 'the wind, they could not have thought on a more pro


per invention. But as we do not yet hear any parti'cular use in this petticoat, or hat it contains any 'thing more than what was supposed to be in those of 'scantier make, we are wonderfully at a loss about it.

The women give out, in defence of these wide 'bottoms, that they are airy, and very proper for the 'season: but this I look upon to be only a pretence, ' and a piece of art; for it is well known we have not had a more moderate summer these many years, so that it is certain the heat they complain of cannot be ' in the weather: besides, I would fain ask these tender constitutioned ladies, why they should require

" more cooling than their mothers before them?

I find several speculative persons are of opinion, that our sex has of late years been very saucy, and that the hoop-petticoat is made use of to keep us at a distance. It is most certain that a woman's honour • cannot be better intrenched than after this manner, ⚫ in circle within circle, amidst such a variety of out• works and lines of circumvallation. A female who ' is thus invested in whalebone is sufficiently secured • against the approaches of an ill-bred fellow, who 'might as well think of Sir George Etheridge's way ⚫ of making love in a tub, as in the midst of so many hoops.

'Among these various conjectures, there are men * of superstitious tempers, who look upon the hoop'petticoat as a kind of prodigy. Some will have it that 'it portends the downfall of the French king, and ob'serve that the farthingale appeared in England a lit⚫tle before the ruin of the Spanish monarchy. Others ( are of opinion that it foretels battle and bloodshed, ⚫ and believe it of the same prognostication as the tail ' of a blazing star. For my part, I am apt to think it is a sign that multitudes are coming into the world rather than going out of it.


'The first time I saw a lady dressed in one of these petticoats, I could not forbear blaming her in my own thoughts for walking abroad when she was so near her time; but soon recovered myself out of my error, when I found all the modish part of the sex as far gone as herself. It is generally thought some crafty women have thus betrayed their companions into hoops, that they might make them accessary to their ' own concealments, and by that means escape the 'censure of the world; as wary generals have sometimes dressed two or three dozen of their friends in their own habit, that they might not draw upon

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' themselves any particular attacks from the enemy. The strutting petticoat smooths all distinctions, levels 'the mother with the daughter, and sets maids and ' matrons, wives and widows, upon the same bottom. In the meanwhile, I cannot but be troubled to see 'so many well shaped innocent virgins bloated up, and 6 waddling up and down, like big-bellied women.

• Should this fashion get among the ordinary people, ' our public ways would be so crowded, that we should 'want street-room. Several congregations of the best • fashion find themselves already very much straitened; and if the mode increase, I wish it may not drive ma" ny ordinary women into meetings and conventicles. Should our sex at the same time take it into their ' heads to wear trunk breeches (as who knows what ⚫ their indignation at this female treatment may drive them to,) a man and his wife would fill a whole pew. • You know, Sir, it is recorded of Alexander the Great, that, in his Indian expedition, he buried se'veral suits of armour, which by his directions were • made much too big for any of his soldiers, in order to 'give posterity an extraordinary idea of him, and make • them believe he had commanded an army of giants.

I am persuaded, that if one of the present petticoats ⚫ happens to be hung up in any repository of curiosi⚫ties, it will lead into the same error the generations 'that lie some removes from us; unless we can be

lieve our posterity will think so disrespectfully of 'their great grandmothers, that they made themselves • monstrous to appear amiable.

When I survey this new-fashioned Rotunda in all its parts, I cannot but think of the old philosopher, who ' after having entered into an Egyptian temple, and looked about for the idol of the place, at length discovered a little black monkey enshrined in the midst of

'it; upon which he could not forbear crying out (to 'the great scandal of the worshippers), what a mag'nificient palace is here for such a ridiculous inhabi'tant!

6 Though you have taken a resolution, in one of your 'papers, to avoid descending to particularities of dress, 'I believe you will not think it below you, on so extra'ordinary an occasion, to unhoop the fair sex, and cure 'this fashionable tympany that is got among them. I 'am apt to think the petticoat will shrink of its own 'accord at your first coming to town; at least a touch of your pen will make it contract itself like the sensitive plant, and by that means oblige several who are either terrified or astonished at this portentous novel'ty; and among the rest,


"Your humble servant, &c.'

No. 128.

FRIDAY, July 27, 1711.


Concordia discors.

Harmonious discord.

WOMEN in their nature are much more gay and

joyous than men; whether it be that their blood is more refined, their fibres more delicate, and their animal spirits more light and volatile; or whether, as some have imagined, there may not be a kind of sex in the very soul, I shall not pretend to determine. As vivacity is the gift of women, gravity is that of men. They should each of them therefore keep a watch

LUCAN. 1. 1. v. 48

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