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mach will probably continue to make its demands for food whilst people are awake and sensible to the call, a meal of some kind will still find a place among the meridian hours, though it may entirely lose the appellation of dinner. As it has been accounted a genteel thing to dine late, it is no wonder that the custom has become so general, for it is as easy to keep back the dressing of a chop till evening, as that of three courses. The great have therefore nothing left by way of distinction, but to make their hours so extremely incompatible with the ordinary train of life, as absolutely to prevent the little from following them; and this appears to be the purpose of their final efforts. The Tatler's remark that "there is scarcely a lady of quality in Great Britain that ever saw the sun rise," has ceased to be applicable, since it must now be a frequent spectacle to those who return from a grand supper-party.
Some curious notices of the different hours kept by different classes in society at that period, may be derived from these papers. We are informed by the Spectator, that coffee-houses were frequented by shop-keepers from six in the morning: and that the students of law made their appearance in them, in their night-gowns, about eight.. Fine ladies were even then sufficiently fond of their beds. The lady who sends her journal to the Spectator is represented as taking chocolate in bed, and sleeping after it till ten, and drinking her bohea from that hour till eleven. Her dinner hour is from three to four, but she does not sit up later at a card-party than twelve. On the other hand, the citizen out of trade, whose journal is also given in the same work, rises at eight, dines at two, and goes to bed at ten, when not kept up at his club. Probably those hours do not much differ from those of a retired citizen at present, at his box in Highgate or Hornsey. It deserves remarking, that the custom, now so prevalent, for our mercantile and professional men to keep a country house or lodgings a few miles from London, has much conduced to restoring early morning and evening hours. It is usual for such persons and their families to rise in time for a breakfast at eight, in order that the master may take the round of his garden and little domain before he sets off for his daily business in town. He returns to a late dinner, after which he is little inclined to stir abroad, but spending a domestic evening, he goes to rest in good time. By this regular course of life, both health and morals, I doubt not, are much benefited.
From the consideration of the division of time, it is natural to proceed to its employment. That of the men is so necessarily determined by their several callings, that it is little affected by fashion, except as their diversions and amusements are influenced by it; and in this respect a century has made no considerable difference. Female occu pations, especially in the more opulent ranks of society, are in great measure spontaneous, and therefore will be much directed by the prevailing modes. The principal domestic employment of ladies at the period to which we have been reverting, seems to have been in ornamental needle-work. Lady Lizard is said, "in the space of one
summer to have furnished a gallery with chairs and couches of her own and her daughters' working, and at the same time to have heard all Dr. Tillotson's sermons twice over." How many old families are still able to display, as the monuments of ancestrial industry, the "needle-work sublime," so humorously described in Cowper's Task, in which are to be seen
I am afraid, however, that the ladies of the present generation look with some scorn upon these elaborate works of their progenitors, in which, indeed, the total want of skill in the rudiments of drawing is too conspicuous. This pleasing and useful art, the foundation of good taste in ornament, was then little cultivated by either sex; and the cuts, with which books were adorned at that period, were comparatively as defective in their execution, as the female designs for chair-bottoms and samplers. The superior taste and ingenuity exhibited in all articles of modern and domestic manufacture cannot but be admitted, even after all deductions for the assistance of the paper-stainer, varnisher, cabinet-maker, and other artists. It is to be regretted that they are rendered so expensive by these auxiliaries, as to preclude every idea of economy in the industry bestowed upon them ; but if they furnish an elegant and innocent amusement to the class which wants it so much, they sufficiently answer their purpose.
To one habituated to modern manners, it must seem extraordinary that so few traces are to be found in these papers, of the practice of music as a female accomplishment. It is made no part of the employment of the Lizard family, though one of the young ladies is represented as romantic, and another, as an admirer of high life; nor does it employ a single half hour of the fair journalist, though her attention was certainly not occupied by more important concerns. all Congreve's plays, songs are introduced, but the performers are either the men, or professed musicians. Perhaps no one change in the manners of genteel life is so remarkable as the very great consequence attached to the musical art in modern times, on which more time and care are bestowed in the education of young ladies, than upon any other single accomplishment, with the exception, perhaps, of dancing. I do not presume to appreciate the value of what is thus acquired; but from the high degree of science and execution that is now expected in musical displays, I think it probable that nine tenths of learners will lay aside their instruments in despair as soon as they are quit of their masters, and that the remainder will play so finely, that their performance can be relished only by a proficient.
It ought, however, to be acknowledged, that the present attention to accomplishments merely ornamental in feinale education, does not
preclude a much more enlarged plan of instruction with respect to scientific and literary objects, than seems to have been common formerly. There is reason to believe that grammatical accuracy was then rare among the women, that they were generally strangers to the rudiments of geography and astronomy, and that few understood any language except their own. There is, indeed, a letter in the 328th number of the Spectator, which, describing a lady of fashionable acquirements, mentions that " she sings, dances, plays on the lute and harpsichord, paints prettily, is perfect mistress of the French tongue, and has made considerable progress in the Italian;" but she is represented as a great rarity, and indeed a very expensive one to her husband, who writes in the character of a complainant. Certainly, such a list of accomplishments, with the additional one of a good acquaintance with history and other solid branches of knowledge, would now excite little astonishment.
Unless Addison be regarded as an extravagant satirist, his catalogue in the Spectator of a lady's library, conveys a mean idea of the furniture of a woman's mind. The very sound of a lady's library, it seems, gave him a great curiosity to see it; and he takes care to inform us that Leonora, the proprietor, was distinguished for her love of books and retirement. The list is sufficiently multifarious, ascending from Durfey and Culpepper to Locke and Newton; but the writer observes, that the lady had bought a few of them for her own use, and the greater part because she had heard them praised, or was acquainted with the authors; and he plainly insinuates that her study chiefly lay in romances. All these books are in English, which appears also to have been the only language known by the Lizards, though represented as women of education. Upon the whole, it would seem that female reading at that time was nearly limited to plays and romances, and what are called good books. The latter were, doubtless, in greater proportion than at present, both on account of the narrower range of general reading, and the more religious character of the age. Of the difference in the latter respect, at least in externals, a remarkable instance appears in the 503d number of the Spectator, in which a correspondent describes at length the airs played off by a fine young lady, to attract admiration in a city church beyond the limits of her own parish. An expression of the deepest and most heartfelt devotion, and profound attention to every part of the service, were the leading points of her acting and at the sermon, it is said, she took out her tablets and gold pen, and began writing after the. preacher. Nothing, I suppose, would be more contrary to probability, than to represent a coquet of the present day, employing artifices of this kind to captivate the young men, unless it were within the pale of some particular sects.
Card-playing seems to have been as serious a business at the commencement of the past century, as at any subsequent period. Its use in filling up the vacuities of society will, indeed, always be the same; and if conversation was then more languid from the deficiency of ge
neral information, cards must have been a more necessary relief. Of public amusements, there were plays and operas, which occupied the same place in the system of fashionable life then, as at present; and whatever improvements have since been made in the spaciousness and splendour of the theatres, a dramatic critic will scarcely admit that there has been any in the pieces exhibited, (except in point of decorum) or in the actors. Several satirical strokes are bestowed in these papers upon the encouragement given by people of fashion to Powel's puppet-shew. If this was a proof of a childish taste at that period, the successful translation of the tales of the nursery to the royal theatres, and the crowds collected by any new combination of sound and scenery without a particle of sense or poetry, will hardly allow a higher estimate of the taste of a modern audience.
One of Addison's entertaining papers in which Sir Roger de Coverley is the hero, relates the good knight's visit to Spring-gardens or Foxhall, the modern Vauxhall. The time was May 20th. O. s. in the evening. The knight sets out, as he now might do, in a boat from the Temple-stairs. In the voyage, he is scandalized with the contrast between the city and the west end of the town with respect to the number of steeples in view; and were he to revive, he would find the prospect little mended in that particular, notwithstanding the "fifty new churches." The beauty of the gardens at that time consisted of the shady walks and green bowers, and no hint is given of the illuminations that now render them so brilliant, but convert them into a night instead of an evening scene. The nightingales, which then inhabited the trees, are flown; but the loose women who walked beneath them remain. There is no mention of music as part of the entertainment; and the refreshments seem to have been of humbler quality than such as would satisfy modern luxury. A mask, who taps Sir Roger on the shoulder, asks him to treat her with a bottle of mead. The knight and his friend regale themselves with hung beef and Burton ale. I doubt not but there are admirers of simplicity who would prefer the ancient Spring-gardens to the modern Vauxhall, of which the expence is much more increased than the entertainment.
It is as difficult to ascertain the origin of a new folly, as of a new invention. The passion of young men for exercising the whip on the coachbox, has, at different times within memory, excited censure or ridicule. It is, however, at least as old as the Spectator, two papers of which are employed in exposing it. The gentlemen of the inns of court were particularly addicted to this amusement, which they were accustomed to take from the box of a hackney-coach; and driving the vehicle over the rough pavement and through the narrow passes of the metropolis at that period, must have demanded no small share of steadiness and dexterity. The genuine hackney-coachmen, it seems, regarded those interlopers with an insolent kind of familiarity; for it was their custom to take measure of their shoulders with their whips as they passed their stands. Gentlemen at present, I believe,' seldom
mount any boxes but those of their own carriages; though certain academical amateurs have been known to assume the office of mailcoach drivers to and from town.
It would bear a dispute whether the spectacle of the prize-fighting swordsmen of old, or of the modern pugilists, most deserved the imputation of barbarity, but I think it cannot be denied that the former has the appearance of the more gentleman-like diversion. The relation of the combat between Miller and Buck has, I doubt not, interested every reader of the Spectator; and to me it appears abundantly more elegant than the technical description of the rounds between Big Ben and the Ruffian, and other heroes of the fist, with which we are often favoured in our politest morning papers. It is, indeed, singular, that the progress of civilization among us should have restored to our scientific combatants the use of more natural weapons. Whether the titled amateurs of boxing have derived their taste for that art from classical example, or from the practice of the vulgar, I shall leave to the learned to determine.
Another remarkable change, connected with the preceding, is the almost total disuse of the small sword in our honourable duels, and the adoption of the pistol. This is, likewise, apparently a retrogradation in politeness, since the pistol is a vulgar weapon compared to the rapier, and more worthy of the highwayman than the gentleman. The exact time when it took place would be a curious subject of enquiry: certainly, no token of it appears in the papers before us; and the Tatler makes frequent reference to the long sworded duellists of his day, who alarmed the peaccable in coffeehouses and other places of resort. Probably, the disuse of the sword as a part of dress, and the consequent neglect of the "noble science of defence," were the causes of this important alteration. That disuse dates considerably later than the period we are treating of, and the sword was the gentleman's appendage within the memory of many of that class now living. It is singular that the physicians were those who retained it latest as a part of their common dress, and were accustomed thus doubly armed to invade their patient's chambers. To return to the pistol-it was, doubtless, at first supposed to put combatants nearly upon a par, and I believe it was long reckoned somewhat dishonourable to practice firing with it at a mark. At present, the difference of skill in this weapon seems to be nearly as great as in the sword; and pistol duels are now become sufficiently murderous to satisfy the nicest honour.
If the frequency of private combats is likely to bear a proportion to the number of individuals subjected to the laws of honour, it might be concluded that the present age, in which every man who does not work at a manual trade, or stand behind a counter, assumes the rank of esquire, would be abundantly productive of such encounters. But neither is this a new felly. The 19th number of the Tatler is devoted to the ridicule of self-created squires, who at that time seem to have consisted of the generality of house keepers west of Temple-Bar, and especially of all the retainers of the law, of C