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This practice of snuff-taking, however inexcusable in the men, is still more abominable in the other sex. Neatness and cleanliness ought to be always cultivated among the women; but how can any female appear tolerably clean, who so industriously bedawbs herself with snuff? I have with pain observed the snow-white surface of an handkerchief or apron sullied with the scatterings from the snuff-box; and whenever I see a lady thus besmeared with Scotch or Havannah, I consider her as no cleanlier than the kitchen-wench scouring her brasses, and begrimed with brickdust and fuller's earth. Housewifely accomplishments are at present seldom required in a well-bred woman: or else I should little expect to find a wife in the least notable, who keeps up such a constant correspondence between her fingers and nose; nor, indeed would any one think her hands at all fit to be employed in making a pudding.
It should be remembered by the younger part of your fair readers, Mr. Town, that snuf is an implacable enemy to the complexion, which in time is sure to take a tinge from it: they should therefore be as cautious of acquiring a sallow hue from this bane of a fair skin, as of being tanned or freckled by exposing their delicate faces to the scorching rays of the sun. Besides, as the nose has been always reckoned a principal ornament of the face, they should be as careful to preserve the beauty of it as of any other feature, and not suffer it to be undermined or bloated by so pernicious an application as snuff-taking. For my own part, I should as soon admire a celebrated toast with no nose at all, as to see it prostituted to so vile a purpose. They should also consider, that the nose is situated very near the lips: and what relish can a lover find in the honey of the latter, if at the same time he is obliged to come into close contact with the dirt and rubbish of the former Rather than snuff-taking should prevail among the ladies, I
could wish it were the fashion for them to wear rings in their noses, like the savage nations: nay, I would even carry it still farther, and oblige those pretty females, who could be still slaves to snuff, to have their nostrils bored through as well as their ears, and instead of jewels, to bear rolls of pigtail bobbing over their upper lips.
We cannot otherwise account for this fashion among the women, so unnatural to their sex, than that they want employment for their hands. It was formerly no disgrace for a young lady to be seen in the best company busied with her work: but a girl now-a-days would as soon be surprised in twirling a spinning-wheel, as in handling a thread-paper. The fan or the snuff-box are now the only implements they dare to use in public: yet surely it would be much more becoming to have the forefinger pricked and scarified with the point of a needle, than to see it embrowned with squeezing together a filthy pinch of snuff.
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant, &c.
No. XXXIII. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17.
At tu sub urbe possides famem mundam,
A little country box you boast,
TO MR. TOWN.
I REMEMBER to have seen a little French novel, giving an account of a citizen of Paris making an excursion into the country. He imagines himself about to undertake a long voyage to some strange region, where the natives were as different from the inhabitants of his own city, as the most distant nations. He accordingly takes boat, and is landed at a village about a league from the capital. When he is set on shore, he is amazed to find the people talk the same language, wear the same dress, and use the same customs with himself. He, who had spent all his life within the sight of Pont-Neuf, looked upon every one who lived out of Paris, as a foreigner; and though the utmost extent of his travels was not three miles, he was as much surprised, as he would have been to meet with a colony of Frenchmen on the Terra Incognita.
Most of our late novels are, with some little variation of circumstances, borrowed from the French: but if we should endeavour to adapt the novel I have been speaking of to a citizen of London, the humour of the whole piece would evaporate, and the fiction become unnatural and improbable. A London tradesman is as well acquainted with Turnham-Green or Kentish-Town, as Fleet-street or Cheapside, and talks as familiarly of Richmond or Hampton-Court as of the 'Change or the Custom-House. In your late paper, on the amusements of Sunday, you have set forth in what manner our citizens pass that day, which most of them devote to the country: but I wish you had been more particular in your descriptions of those elegant rural mansions, which at once shew the opulence and the taste of our principal merchants, mechanics, and artificers.
In these dusty retreats, where the want of London smoke is supplied by the smoke of Virginia tobacco, our chief citizens are accustomed to pass the end and the beginning of every week. Their boxes, (as they are modestly called,) are generally built in a row, to resemble as much as possible the streets in London. Those edifices which stand single, and at a distance from the road, have always a summer-house at the end of a small garden; which being erected upon a wall adjoining to the highway, commands a view of every carriage, and gives the owner an opportunity of displaying his best wig to every one that passes by. A little artificial fountain, spouting water sometimes to the amazing height of four feet, and in which frogs supply the want of fishes, is one of the most exquisite ornaments in these gardens. There are besides (if the spot of ground allows sufficient space for them) very curious statues of Harlequin, Scaramouch, Pierrot, and Columbine, which serve to remind their wives and daughters of what they have seen at the play-house.
I went last Sunday, in compliance with a most pressing invitation from a friend, to spend the whole day with him at one of these little seats, which he had fitted up for his retirement once a week from business. It is pleasantly situated about three miles from London, on the side of a public road, from which it is separated by a dry ditch, over which is a little bridge consisting of two narrow planks, leading to the house. The hedge on the other side the road cuts off all prospect whatsoever, except from the garrets, from whence indeed you have a beautiful vista of two men hanging in chains on Kennington common, with a distant view of St. Paul's cupola enveloped in a cloud of smoke. I set out on my visit betimes in the morning, accompanied by my friend's book-keeper, who was my guide, and carried over with him the London Evening Post, his mistress's hoop, and a dozen of pipes, which they were afraid to trust in the chair. When I came to the end of my walk, I found my friend sitting at the door, in a black velvet cap, smoaking his morning pipe. He welcomed me into the country; and after having made me observe the turnpike on my left and the Golden Wheatsheaf on my right, he conducted me into his house, where I was received by his lady, who made a thousand apologies for being "catched in such a deshabille."
The hall (for so I was taught to call it) had it's white wall almost hid by a curious collection of prints and paintings. On one side was a large map of London, a plan and elevation of the Mansion-House, with several lesser views of the public buildings and halls; on the other was the Death of the Stag, by the happy pencil of Mr. Henry Overton, finely coloured : close by the parlour door, there hung a pair of stag's horns, over which there was laid across a red roccelo and an amber-headed cane. When I had declared all this to be mighty pretty, I was shewn into the