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gentlemen are as terrible to the ordinary part of the world as a troop of banditti; and an affair, which has been thought very high fun in Pall-Mall or CoventGarden, has been treated in a very serious manner at Westminster-Hall or the Old-Bailey. Our legislature has been absurd enough to be very careful of the lives of the lowest among the people; and the counsel for an highwayman would sooner plead distress as an excuse for discharging his pistol, than mere wantonness and frolick. Nor do the governments abroad entertain a better opinion of this sort of humour: for it is but a few years since, a gentleman on his travels, who was completing a town education by the polite tour, shot a waiter through the head; but the joke was so ill received, that the gentleman was hanged within four and twenty hours. It would be advisable therefore for these gentlemen, since the taste of the age is so incorrigible, to lay aside this high-seasoned humour. For their pistol as it were, recoils upon themselves; and since it may produce their own deaths, it would be more prudent not to draw their wit out of their scabbards.
Our ladies of quality, who have at length adopted French manners with French fashions, and thrown off all starchness and reserve with the ruff and the fardingale, are very fond of a frolick. I have, indeed, lately observed with great pleasure the commendable attempts of the other sex to shake off the shackles of custom; and I make no doubt but a libertine lady will soon become a very common character. If their passion for gaming continues to encrease in the same proportion that it has for some time past, we shall very soon meet with abundance of sharpers in petticoats; and it will be mentioned as a very familiar incident, that a party of female gamblers were seized by the constables at the gaming-table. I am also informed, that it is grown very common among the
ladies to toast pretty fellows; and that they often amuse themselves with concerting schemes for an excellent frolick. A frolick is, indeed, the most convenient name in the world to veil an intrigue and it is a great pity, that husbands and fathers should ever object to it. I can see no harm in a lady's going disguised to mob it in the gallery at the play-house; and could not but smile at the pretty innocent wanton, who carried the joke so far as to accompany a strange gentleman to a bagnio; but when she came there, was surprised to find that he was fond of a frolick as well as herself, and offered her violence. But I particularly admire the spirit of that lady, who had such true relish for a frolick, as to go with her gallant to the masquerade, though she knew he had no breeches under his domino.
I most heartily congratulate the fine ladies and gentlemen of the age on the spirit, with which they pursue their diversions; and I look upon a bold frolick as the peculiar privilege of a person of fashion. The ladies undoubtedly see a great deal of pleasantry in an intrigue, and mimic the dress and manners of the courtesans very happily and facetiously; while the gentlemen, among many other new fancies, have made the old blunder of the merry Andrew appear no longer ridiculous, and are mightily pleased with the comical humours of a murder. The frolicks now in vogue will probably continue to be the amusements of the polite world for a long time; but whenever the fashion is about to vary, I beg leave to propose the frolick recommended, if I remember right, to the Duke of Warton by Dr. Swift. "When you are tired of your other frolicks, I would have you take up the frolick of being good; and my word for it, you will find it the most agreeable frolick you ever practised in your life." 0.
N° 55. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1755.
The taper leg, slim waist, and lovely side
THERE once prevailed among us a sect called the Adamites, whose doctrine, like that of our present Moravians, was calculated to comfort the flesh as well as the spirit; and many things, generally accounted indecent and immodest, were with them regarded as principles of religion. The chief article maintained by this sect was, that it was proper, like our great forefather Adam, to go naked; and the proselytes to this faith came abroad in the public streets in open day-light without any clothing. But this primitive simplicity did not agree with the notions of those degenerate days; and the Adamites were looked upon as an intolerable nuisance. Their religion, like all others, was soon attended with persecution; and some of the converts were dragged naked at the cart's tail, some set in the stocks, and others sent to Bridewell.
Since that remarkable period the male part of our species have been decently covered; but the female world has made several bold attempts to throw off the incumbrance of clothes. Caps, handkerchiefs, tuckers, and modesty-pieces have been long discarded
and the ladies have continued every year to shed some other part of their dress as useless and unornamental. But these are only half assertions of the female rights and natural liberty in comparison to the project, which it is thought, will be ripe for execution by summer. A set of ladies of the first fashion have agreed to found a sect of EVITES-who are to appear in publick with no other covering than the original fig-leaf. The primitive simplicity of appearance will be restored; and though some may be censorious enough to imagine, that their confidence arises from very different principles, it may very justly be said of our ladies of quality, as of our first parents before the fall, "They are naked, and are not ashamed." My country readers, and all those who live at a distance from the polite world, may perhaps look upon this scheme as merely fantastical and imaginary; but nothing is more true. The milliners are at this time all very busy in making up artificial fig-leaves, and adorning them according to the different fancies of the wear. ers. There is more taste displayed in contriving an elegant fig-leaf, than has hitherto been exerted in forming a genteel sword-knot. Some have bunches of the gayest coloured ribbands dangling loosely from the stalk, others tassels of gold and silver-lace, and a few, designed for ladies of the highest distinction, bunches of diamonds. This and the pompon, which it is said has been lately worn merely as a type of the fig-leaf, will make up the common dress of the whole female world: but if ever the weather should be too severe for the ladies to appear (as Bayes expresses it) in puris naturalibus, they are to wear flesh coloured silks with pompons and fig-leaves as usual.
There are perhaps persons who, as they still retain some of the leaven of decency in their composition, will be startled at this project. I must own, however, that it does not appear to me to be in the least extraor
dinary or supprising: for, considering the present dress of our women of fashion, there remains no further step to be taken, except absolute nakedness. The stays and petticoat have been so unmercifully pruned and cut away in order to discover latent beauties, that if those of the present mode were to fall into the hands of our distant posterity, they would conclude, that the present race of woman must have been a generation of pigmies; for they could never possibly conceive, that they were of common size, and wore by way of dress any garments so little calculated either for use or ornament. If one might judge by appearances, the little modesty that is left in the polite world seems to be among the men; and one is almost tempted to look for the rakes and persons of intrigue in the other sex. I was present a few nights ago at the representation of the Chances; and when I looked round the boxes, and observed the loose dress of all the ladies, and the great relish with which they received the high-seasoned jests in that comedy, I was almost apprehensive, that the old story of the outrage of the Romans on the Sabine women would be inverted, and that the ladies would rise up and commit a rape on the men.
But notwithstanding all that may be said against this project for establishing nakedness, it is not without example. Among the Hottentots, a very wise and polite nation, the ladies at this day go quite naked, except a loose mantle thrown over their shoulders, and a short apron before instead of a fig-leaf. It is also well known, that the Spartans allowed their unmarried women to wear a sort of loose robe, which at every motion discovered their charms through several openings contrived for that purpose. There would certainly be no harm in extending this liberty to the whole sex; and I am not in the least inclined to listen to the malignant insinuations, that when a married woman endeavours to look particularly tempting, it is not merely to please