« PoprzedniaDalej »
III. The master of the house shall not be obliged to meet his guests, or conduct them out, or keep them company; but, though he is exempt from all this, he is to find them chairs, candles, liquors, and all other necessaries that company may ask for : he is likewise to provide them with cards, dice, and every necessary for gaming.
IV. There shall be no fixed hour for coming or going away; it is enough for a person to appear in the assembly.
V. Every one shall be free to sit, walk, or game, as he pleases; nor shall any one go about to hinder him, or take exception at what he does, upon pain of emptying the great eagle (a pint-bowl full of brandy): it shall likewise be sufficieot, at entering or retiring, to salute the company.
VI. Persons of distinction, noblemen, superior officers, merchants, and tradesmen of note, head workmen, especially carpenters, and persons employed in chancery, are to have liberty to enter the assemblies; as likewise their wives and children.
VII. A particular place shall be assigned the footmen, except those of the house, that there may be room enough in the apartments designed for the assembly,
VIII. No ladies are to get drunk upon any pretence whatsoever, uor shall gentlemen be drunk before nine.
IX. Ladies who play at forfeitures, questions and commands, &c. shall not be riotous : no gentleman shall attempt to force a kiss, and no persoa shall offer to strike a woman in the assembly, under pain of future exclusion.
Such are the statutes upon this occasion, which, in their very appearance, carry an air of ridicule and satire. But politeness must enter every country by degrees; and these rules resemble the breed. ing of a clown, awkward but sincere.
THE GENIUS OF LOVE: AN EASTERN
THE formalities, delays, and disappointments,
that precede a treaty of marriage here, are usually as numerous as those previous to a treaty of peace. The laws of this country are finely calculated to promote all commerce, but the commerce between the sexes. Their encouragements for propagating hemp, madder, aud tobacco, are indeed admirable! Marriages are the only commodity that meets with none.
Yet, from the vernal softness of the air, the ver. dure of the fields, the transparency of the streams, and the beauty of the women, I know few countries more proper to invite to courtship. Here Love might sport among painted lawns and warbling groves, and revel amidst gales, wafting at once bolhi fragrance and harmony. Yet it seems he has forsaken the island; and, when a couple are now to be married, mutual love, or a union of minds, is the last and most trifling consideration. If their goods and chattels can be brought to unite, their sympathetic souls are ever ready to guarantee the treaty. The gentleman's mortgaged lawn becomes enamoured of the lady's marriageable grove; the match is struck up, and both parties are piously in Jove--according to act of parliament.
Thus they, who have a fortune, are possessed at least of something that is loyely; but I actually pity those that have none. I am told there was a time, when ladies, with no other merit but youth, virtue, and beauty, had a chance for husbands, at least among the ministers of the church, or the officers of the army. The blush and innocence of sixteen was said to have a powerful influence over these two professions; but of late, all the little traffic of
blushing, ogling, dimpling, and smiling, has been forbidden by an act in that case wisely made and . provided. A lady's whole cargo of smiles, sighs, and whispers, is declared utterly contraband, till she arrives in the warm latitudes of twenty-two, where commodities of this nature are too often found to decay. She is then permitted to dimple and smile, when the dimples aud smiles begin to forsake her; and, when perhaps grown ugly, is charitably intrusted with an unlimited use of her charms. Her lovers, however, by this time, have forsaken her; the captain has changed for auother mistress; the priest himself leaves her in solitude, to bewail her virginity, and she dies even without benefit of clergy.
Thus you find the Europeans discouraging love with as much earnestness as the rudest savage of Sofala. The genius is surely now no more. la every region I find enemies in arms to oppress him. Avarice in Europe, jealousy in Persia, ceremony in China, poverty among the Tartars, and lust ip Cir. sassia, are all prepared to oppose his power. The genius is certainly banished from earth, though once adored under such a variety of forms. He is no where to be found; and all that the ladies of each country can produce, are but a few trilling relics, as instances of his former residence and favour.
• The genius of love,' says the eastern apologue, • had long resided in the happy plains of Abra, where every breeze was health, and every sound produced tranquillity. His temple at first was crowded, but every age lessened the number of his votaries, or cooled their devotion. Perceiving, therefore, his altars at length quite deserted, he was resolved to remove to some more propitious region; and he apprised the fair sex of every country, where he could hope for a proper reception, to assert their right to his presence among them. In return to this proclamation, mbassie
were sent from the ladies of every part of the world to iuvite him, and to display the superiority of their claims.
• And, first, the beauties of China appeared. No country could compare with them for modesty, either of look, dress, or behaviour; their eyes were never lifted from the ground; their robes, of the most beautiful silk, hid their hands, bosom, and iteck, while their faces only were left uncovered. They indulged no airs that might express loose desire, and they seeined to study only the graces of ipanimate beauty. Their black teeth and plucked eye-brows were, however, alleged by the genius against them; but he set them entirely aside when he came to examive their little feet.
• The beauties of Circassia next made their ap. pearance. They advanced, hand in hand, singing the most immodest airs, and leading up a dance in the most luxurious attitudes. Their dress was but half a covering; the neck, the left breast, and all the limbs, were exposed to view; which, after some time, seemed rather to satiate than inflame desire. The lily and the rose contended, in forming their complexions; and a soft sleepiness of eye added irresistible poignance to their charms; but their beauties were obtruded, not offered to their ad. mirers; they seemed to give, rather than receive, courtship; and the genius of love dismissed them, as unworthy his regard, since they exchanged the duties of love, and made themselves not the pur. sued, but the pursuing sex.
· The kingdom of Kashmire next produced its charming deputies. This happy region seemed pe. culiarly sequestered by nature for his abode. Shady mountains fenced it on one side from the scorch. ing sun; and sea-borne breezes, on the other, gave peculiar luxuriance to the air. Their complexions were of a bright yellow, thai appeared almost trans. parent, while the crimson tulip seemed to blossom on their cheeks. Their features and limbs were
delicate beyond the statuary's power to express; and their teeth whiter than their owu ivory. He was almost persuaded to reside among them, when unfortunately one of the ladies talked of appointing his seraglio.
• In this procession the naked inhabitants of Southern America would not be left behind: their charms were found to surpass whatever the warmest imagination could conceive; and served to show, that beauty could be perfect, even with the seeming disadvantage of a brown complexion. But their savage education rendered them utterly unqualified to make the proper use of their power, and they were rejected as being incapable of uniting mental with sensual satisfaction. In this manner the de puties of other kingdoms had their suits rejected: the black beauties of Benin, and the tawny daughters of Borneo; the women of Wida with scarred faces, and the hideous virgins of Caffraria; the squab ladies of Lapland, three feet high, and the giant fais ones of Patagonia.
• The beauties of Europe at last appeared : grace was in their steps, and sensibility sat smiling in every eye. It was the universal opinion, while they were approaching, that they would prevail; and the genius seemed to lend them his most favourable attention. They opened their preten. sions with the utmost modesty ; but unfortunately, as their orator proceeded, she happened to let fall the words, house in town, settlement, and piomoney. These seemingly harmless terms had in. stantly a surprising effect: the genius, with ungovernable rage, burst from amidst the circle ; and, waving his youthful pinions, left this earth, and flew back to those ethereal mansions from whence he descended.
• The whole assembly was struck with amazement: they now justly apprehended that female power would be no more, since Love had forsaken them. They continued some time thus in a state of torpid