« ПретходнаНастави »
When epidemic terror is thus once excited, everg morning comes loaded with some new disaster : as in stories of ghosts each loves to hear the account, though it only serves to make him uneasy; so here each listens with eagerness, and adds to the tidings with new circumstances of peculiar horror. A lady, for instance, in the country, of very weak nerves, has been frighted by the barking of a dog; and this, alas! too frequently happens. The story soon is improved, and spreads, that a mad dog had frighted a lady of distinction. These circumstances begin to grow terrible before they have reached the neighbouring village, and there the report is, that a lady of quality was bit by a mad mastiff. This account every moment gathers new strength, and grows dismal as it approaches the capital; and, by the time it has arrived in town, the lady is described, with wild eyes, foaming mouth; running mad upon all four, barking like a dog, biting her servants, and at last smothered between two beds by the advice of her doctors; while the mad mastiff is, in the mean time, ranging the whole country over, slavering at the mouth, and seeking whom he may devour,
My landlady, a good-natured woman, but a little credulous, waked me some mornings ago before the usual bour, with horror and astonishment in her looks. She desired me, if I had any regard to my safety, to keep within; for a few days ago so dismal an accident had happened, as to put all the world upon their guard. A mad dog down in the country, she assured me, had bit a farmer, who soon becoming
mad, ran into his own yard and bit a fine brindled cow; the cow quickly became as mad as the man, began to foam at the mouth, and raising herself up, walked about on her hind legs, sometimes barking like a dog, and sometimes attempting to talk like the farmer Upon examining the grounds of this story, I found my landlady had it from one neighbour, who had it from another neighbour, who heard it from very good authority.
Were most stories of this nature well examined, it would be found that numbers of such as have been said to suffer were no way injured ; and that of those who have been actually bitten, not one in a hundred was bit by a mad dog. Such accounts, in general, therefore, only serve to make the people miserable by false terrors; and sometimes fright the patient into actual phrensy, by creating those very symptoms they pretended to deplore.
But even allowing three or four to die in a season of this terrible death (and four is probably too large a concession,) yet still it is not considered how many are preserved in their health and in their property by this devoted animal's services. The midnight robber is kept at a distance; the insidious thief is often detected; the healthful chase repairs many a worn constitution : and the poor man finds in his dog a willing assistant, eager to lessen his toil, and content with the smallest retribution.
"A dog,' says one of the English poets, “is an honest creature, and I am a friend 10 dogs.' Of all the beasts that graze the lawn, or hunt the forest, a dog
is the only animal that, leaving his fellows, attempts to cultivate the friendship of man: to man he looks, in all his necessities, with speaking eye for assistance; exerts for him all the little service in his power with cheerfulness and pleasure; for him bears famine and fatigue with patience and resignation ; no injuries can abate his fidelity, no distress induce him to forsake his benefactor; studious to please, and fearing to offend, he is still an humble steadfast dependent; and in him alone fawning is not flattery. How unkind then to torture this faithfulcreature, who has left the forest to claim the protection of man! How ungrateful a return to the trusty animal for all its services !
ON THE LADIES, PASSION FOR LEVELLING ALL
DISTINCTION OF DRESS.
FOREIGNERS observe, that there are no ladies in the world more beautiful, or more ill-dressed than those of England. Our country-women have been compared to those pictures, where the face is the work of a Raphael, but the draperies thrown out by some empty pretender, destitute of taste, and entirely unacquainted with design.
If I were a poet, I might observe, on this occasion, that so much beauty, set off with all the advantages of dress, would be too powerful an antagonist for the opposite sex; and therefore it was wisely ordered that our ladies should want taste, lest their admirers should entirely want reason.
But to confess a truth, I do not find they have a greater aversion to fine clothes than the women of any other country whatsoever. I cannot fancy that a shopkeeper's wife in Cheapside has a greater tenderness for the fortune of her husband, than a citizen's wife in Paris; or that miss in a boarding-school is more an economist in dress than mademoiselle in a nunnery
Although Paris may be accounted the soil in which almost every fashion takes its rise, its influence is never so general there as with us. They study there the happy method of uniting grace and fashion, and never excuse a woman for being awkwardly dressed, by saying her clothes are in the mode. A French woman is a perfect architect in dress; she never, with Gothic ignorance, mixes the orders ; she never tricks out a squabby Doric shape with Corinthian finery; or, to speak without metaphor, she conforms to general fashion only when it happens not to be repug. nant to private beauty.
The English ladies, on the contrary, seem to have no other standard of grace but the run of the town. If fashion gives the word, every distinction of beauty, complexion, or stature, ceases. Sweeping trains, Prussian bonnets, and trollopees, as like each other as if cut from the same piece, level all toone standard. The Mall, the gardens, and playhouses, are filled with ladies in uniform; and their whole appearance shows as little variety of taste as if their clothes were bespoke by the colonel of a marching regiment, or fancied by the artist who dresses the three battalions of guards.
But not only the ladies of every shape and complexion, but of every age too, are possessed of this unaccountable passion for levelling all distinction in dress. The lady of no quality travels first behind the lady of some quality; and a woman of sixty is as gaudy as her grand-daughter. A friend of mine, a good-natured old man, amused me the other day with an account of his journey to the Mall. It seems, in his walk thither, he, for some time, followed a la. dy, who, as he thought by her dress, was a girl of fifteen. It was airy, elegant, and youthful. My old friend had called up all his poetry on this occasion, and fancied twenty Cupids prepared for execution in every folding of her white negligee. He had prepared his imagination for an angel's face; but what was his mortification to find that the imaginary goddess was no other than his cousin Hannah, some years older than himself!
But to give it in his own words : After the transports of our first salute,' said he,' were over, I could not avoid running my eye over her whole appearance. Her gown was of cambric, cut short before, in order to discover a high-heeled shoe, which was buckled almost at the toe. Her cap consisted of a few bits of cambric, and flowers of painted paper stuck on one side of her head. Her bosom, that had felt no hand but the hand of time these twenty years, rose, suing to be pressed. I could, indeed, have wished