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as we may say, to nature, and by ex- portions and varieties. But man is ercise on the forms of natural beau. to choose, in a great degree, his ty, is waked into action. But, when own outward appearance, and be, in awake, it is as truly original as the his person and his condition, what the taste of God, and is one of the high- beauty of his soul permits. Taste est points of resemblance to him in is God's legacy to him in life, which our nature. It is not coupled with legacy he can not surrender, withcreative force, that is, the power of out losing the creative freedom and executing its conceptions by a mere dignity of his soul. fiat. But the forms it invents, in architecture, dress, furniture, gar- We perceive already that fashdening and ceremony, are all ori- ion, in so far as it prevails, proposes ginal, and are the offspring of the to dispense with taste. It is man, soul's great liberty.

or a circle of human conspirators, Such being the nature of taste, affecting superiority over the laws we make no question that it is one of natural beauty, and enacting of the highest offices of life to start modes and standards of their own. this power of beauty into full matu- There is a very striking analogy rity of action. Hence it is, in fact, between the relation of Fashion to may we not believe, that so many Taste and that of idolatry to relithings needful to our existence here, gion. The laws of taste are the are left to be fashioned by art. The laws of God and nature. But fashheavens, the colors, the seasons, the ion, by a certain sort of impiety, exrivers, lakes, mountains, and gen- alts itself above all that is called God, eral surfaces of the earth, have their in this respect. The forms of inheform given them by nature. But rent beauty are too permanent. It nature builds us no house or tem- must therefore invent something ple, spins no dress. She writes new, however monstrous, something no poetry, composes no music, pre

unknown to the common world. sents us with with no forms of inter- Out of the ugly and the uncomfortcourse. Having given out forms able, in despite of all proportion, it enough to beget activity in human makes up new successions of de. taste, she scants her work that we formed gods, and sets them up 10 may go on and exert a creative be worshiped. It is scarcely pos. fancy for ourselves.

sible to review the absurd fashions The wild forests are cleared away, which have prevailed in the world, the green slopes are dressed and without associating, as you pass on, laid out smiling in the sun, the hills the grinning, and ugly monsters that and valleys are adorned with beau- figure in the prolific herds of heathtiful structures, the skins of wild en deities. Witness into how many beasts are laid aside for robes of silk burlesque forms the human person or wool. In a word, architecture, is continually tortured. Now, as in gardening, music, dress, chaste and the days of Henry VIII., it is a mere elegant manners—all inventions of clumsy rotundity. Now, the con. human taste-are added to the ru- nection of the upper and lower por. dimental beauty of the world, and tions of the body is straitened and it shines forth, as having undergone attenuated, even down to the point a second creation at the hand of of metaphysical delicacy. A statman. And herein is man to be dis- uary, in the mean time, would as tinguished from the animals. They soon think of adorning his figures can not dress. Their outward form with wens or hunch-backs, as of thus is given them and they must wear it. violating the fair proportions of na. If they build, it is by a set pattern ture. In the reign of Mary, a proof instinct, not in the study of pro- clamation was issued limiting the

At an

breadth of the square-toed shoes to beauty and convenience. Taste, on six inches. The name given to this the other hand, consults beauty, profashion was a good comment on its portion, comfort. She is a disciple supposed elegance. It was called of nature, not a masker disguising

, the bear's foot fashion, and the la- nature. One studies the inherent dies and gentlemen were so ambi- elegance and uses of things, retious of this model, that nothing but quiring a disciplined eye, and a soul the civil power could restrain them alive to forms, colors, and proporfrom out-bearing the bears them- tions. The other only invents new selves. At another time, Parlia. cuts and metamorphoses, which she ment interfered and limited the may do without refinement, either sharp-toed shoe so as not to exceed of eye or of feeling. One is the the foot by more than two inches. statuary, drawing out of the block It had before been extended ten or the divine form of man, perfect in twelve inches beyond the foot, and proportion, feature and expression; the point turned up like a sleigh- the other is a toy-shop window, runner and suspended by a chain to filled with little stout gentlemen, the knee. In the reign of Charles having heads like peas resting on I, the boots in fashion had a flar their shoulders, and long gaunt gening ruff-lace top, which stood out tlemen, with necks outreaching the from the leg so as to compel the crane, and a general collection of wearer to set his feet asunder at nondescript images of the same a very ungraceful distance, and, if class. It is, in fact, a gallery of he walked, to get his legs by each deformities. other as best he could. other time, it was the fashion to And here we must lay open a wear a boot on one leg and a stock. truth, in regard to fashion, which ing on the other; then again, to many never suspect. The uniniwear stockings of different colors. tiated, looking on at a distance, are At a certain period, patches stuck dazzled by the splendor and the on the face were considered a great high pretensions of the caste, and ornament by the ladies. In addi. think that these must certainly be tion to the dozen small and great the most accomplished and exquioverlarding their cheeks, they were site people in the world. Whereas specially fond of displaying a coach the whole fabric is only a cover to and six pasted on their forehead. vulgarity. The reason of this fact At a certain time, the female head- is easily explained, and the proof dress was a cone or steeple, a full easily made out. That class of half yard in height, from the top of persons, who constitute the highest which a long scarf of lawn fell quite circle of fashion, are generally perdown to the feet behind or streamed sons of noble or royal blood, or in the wind, as on a flag-staff. Some such as have unbounded estates. of our readers may recollect the To become distinguished by true time, when the ladies turned their elevation, and a high discipline of hair back, over a cushion, so large character, would be too laborious that their faces were seen peeping for them. Easy acquisitions and out from under a huge dropsical shallow accomplishments, together looking mass, still called, however, with a certain elevation of feeling a head.

which belongs to mere pride and Now these are a few of the ab- assumption, constitute the whole surdities of fashion. We bring them furniture of their character. When into review for no other object, than you go beyond certain outward simply to show how far fashion is graces, which give them a high able to violate the laws of inherent bearing, they are really uncului.


vated, if not truly vulgar persons. were at the wine, and when the But having the advantages of wealth, Prince was speaking, he broke in, and in many cases of titled names, with the most self-possessed air pos. they are able, by a kind of usurpa. sible, saying :-“ Wales, ring the tion, to seize a position at the head bell.” The bell was rung, indeed, of society. The high-toned exclu- and the servant was ordered to show siveness of their position, keeps the Brummel to his carriage. But he wise men and the men of charac- was nowise disconcerted. Shortly ter and genius at a distance. Their after, at a ball where the Prince want of true cultivation, their shal. Regent was present, and when all lowness and insipidity are not often were talking of his disgrace, Brumsounded therefore, and they pass mel, still strong in the sublimity of for what they assume to be. Ac- his impudence, entered the room. cordingly, it need not surprise us Every eye was turned upon him, to hear it affirmed by those who and especially upon his cravat. It well understand the import of fash. was a wonder, a new and perfect ionable life, that a certain refined thing! From that moment, the uni. vulgarity, coupled with sufficient versal study must be to produce the impudence and presumption, and new cravat. It is related that the backed by a sufficient estate, or, in Prince, who was present, and was fault of this, by personal favor in himself a man of extreme fashion, some quarter, is all that is neces- vented his vexation in an oath, for sary to success in the walks of fash- he saw at a glance, that a new ion. And in our own country it fashion was here, which must be a is every day proved, that a mere law both to the nation and himself. tawdry splendor, or mock pretense And, that he might get beforehand

, of wealth, will suffice to open the as far as possible, he is said to have way into what are called the fash- sent one of his privy counselors to ionable circles.

Brummel, offering him any terms In the reign of George IV, or he would make, to disclose the man. during his regency, was displayed ner in which his neckcloth was preone of the most amazing triumphs pared. “Go tell your master," of fashion ever exhibited. We al- was the reply, “ that you have seen lude to the case of young Brummel, his master. When he left the commonly called Beau Brummel. country shortly after, this paper was He had neither birth, education, found on his table-starch is the fortune, nor wit, nothing but unpar man. Starched cravats came into alleled impudence connected with immediate use all over Europe. a most exquisite art of dress. By Now this case of Brummel is this, assisted by some favorable ac- certainly an extreme case. But it cidents, he attracted notice, and is conceded by all who know the drew himself almost immediately, circles of high fashion in Europe, into the highest circle of fashion. that vulgarity is no bar to fashion ; There, by his dress and his effront- but, when united with a proper de. ery as a critic of fashion, he es- gree of impudence and refinement tablished an almost absolute reign. of dress, is rather a qualification. Noblemen of the highest blood, To illustrate the same point, and thought it honor enough to have his also to advance our subject in other arm in the street. The Prince Re- respects, we will here introduce the gent received him as an acquaint- case of Chesterfield. ance. At length, he conceived the Lord Chesterfield was not a sim. daring project of showing that he ple fashionist, neither was he a simcould ride over the throne. At a ple gentleman. He was not a fashdinner with the Prince, while they ionist, because fashion was not an


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end with him. He cultivated man- fles with them, humors and flatters ners and society only as means to them, but he neither consults them an end, and principally with a view about, nor trusts them with serious to his advancement as a courtier matters. No flattery is either too and a politician. He was not a sim- high or too low for them; they will ple gentleman, because his rules of greedily swallow the highest, and manners are, for the most part, root- gratefully accept the lowest.” Elseed in unqualified selfishness; and a where he advises how to flatter true gentleman, if we are right, is them skillfully. To prepare his son one whose manners are the expres- for success at court, he tells him sion of generous affections and re- that there is a chain of persons or fined sentiments. He united also, grades, which connects the prince in his ambition to gain the fashiona- or minister with the page of the back ble, too many of the characteristics stairs and the meanest persons in of fashion, to be considered a sim- the household. “ You must there. ple gentleman. He burnt out the fore not break a link of that chain, fires of his youth in gallantries, by which you climb up to the broke down his patrimony by gam- prince.” That is, you must begin bling, married a wife to repair it, with paying your court to pages

and lived next door to her after the mar- chambermaids, and creep up, by the riage, sought to ruin the morals of back stairs, into favor! Indeed he his son, that he might improve his says this, in the next sentence, as demanners. He commended shallow cently as he can. “ You must reaccomplishments; expressed such nounce courts, if you will not conviews of female character, as belong nive at knaves, and tolerate fools." only to a vulgar mind; taught mean- The meanness of a soul, that could ness as the necessary art of cour. breathe such sentiments into the ear tiers. These are all traits of the of a son, requires no proof. For fashionist, not of the gentleman. ourselves, we are ready to maintain, Two or three of the points last and will, without scruple, declare, in mentioned, we will verify from his the face of all the homage paid to letters.

Chesterfield as a gentleman, that no “Showish and shining qualities,” person ever had such an opinion of he says, “ always get the better of woman, or gave such advice to a others, though ever

If son, without some streak of vulgaryou would be a great man in the ity in his character. He is either world when old, shine and be show- something more or something less ish in it when young." We might than a gentleman. Nor should we understand less by this language, if wonder that this same son, who was we did not find him every where somewhat inclined to the more solid praising to his son mere smatterings acquisitions, and less to showishness, of knowledge. How shallow, and grew up to be only a boor of qualiwithal how miserably refuted by ty, and after he became a public his own short-lived sway, and the man, actually licked his plate at a indifferent figure he made in his de- dinner entertainment. He must cline! Of women he

“ Wo have been disgusted, and set against men are only children of a larger the very idea of politeness, by the growth ; they have an entertaining degraded counsel of his father, and tattle, and sometimes wit, but for by the slimy attempt, more than solid reasoning, good sense, I never once made, to liberalize his manknew in my life one that had it, or ners at the expense of his virtue. that reasoned or acted consequen- The crudity and real vulgarity of tially for four and twenty hours to high fashion, too, are finely exhibgether. A man of sense only tri. ited in the stiff and half barbarous

says :

So solid.

tastes of fashionable people. Where what is elegant or beautiful, but the whole mental attention is acu- only some vague conception of minated and fastened down upon being in style, they will bow to a mere conceits and conventionalisms, mere accident or blunder, and give the imagination is stifled, and men. it the current authority of a fashtal liberty destroyed. It would even ion. We laugh at many displays of be a miracle, if one who thinks this kind in our own country, not with horror of the least breach of considering that the high fashions of fashionable modes, should at the Europe get their currency in the same time go forward in his tastes same want of true mental elevation to become easy, natural, and ma- and refinement. lure. Rather judge that he will, of Thus you will see, as you pass necessity, become a mere formal through our country, that our build. imitator, and display the same lack ers and citizens too seldom conceive of genuine taste, which distinguish of architecture as being any thing es a half cultivated man. He will different from a fashion.

They admire to see trees always set in think nothing of fitness, variety rows, and have their tops cut and and harmony of parts, combined their sides squared in the French expression, as holy, or domestic, or method, or so as to “dress” like a martial, or civil, or judicial, or peregiment of the National Guard. nal. But they say, build me such No garden will be so much ad. a house as that of Mr. A. or B., the mired, as one that is cut into regu- great man of the town or county, lar geometrical figures; no green which said house you will see, as slope of nature will be right, till it you pass on, has children or grandis set off in terraces. That formal children along the road to the num. absurdity, which Pope satirizes in ber of thousands, all stamped with the Villa of Timon, will be likely the inherent ugliness of the ancesto meet his taste, and be his model tor. Or, if they mean to be someof beauty.

what original, they will say, build

me a house, and put on such an or“His gardens next, your admiration call, On every side you look, behold the wall.

nament here and there as that on No pleasing intricacies intervene,

the jail, or set me on the top such a No artful wildness 10 perplex the scene, Grove nods to grove, each alley bas a brother, thing as that ventilator on the factoAnd half the platform just reflects the other. ry, only you shall put seats in it, and The suffering eye inverted nature sees, glass windows for an observatory. Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees, With here a fountain never to be played,

As you travel westward from Sara. And there a summer-house that knows no toga, you will see colonnades of shade."

square pillars rising, one after anThe most ridiculous efforts of other in trim parallelopipedal beautaste ever exhibited, are made by ty, and holding so perfectly the famfashionable people. When the com. ily likeness, that you will think you mon man fails in a matter of taste, can tell who has drunk the fashionhe has at least made a simple effort able water all the way on to Buffa. to be tasteful, and so far deserves lo. Just in this region, the fluted our respect; but here the silly bar. Doric has been an epidemic in the barism perpetrated swells into con- same way. Designed originally to sequence proud of itself, and be produce its effect by long ranges of cause it thinks to astonish, moves extent and massiveness of stature, our derision.

you will now see day after day, as It is curious also to observe how you pass, in city and country, a pair prone men are, by reason of the of little wooden fluters propping up lowness of their tastes, to find a a door shelter ! fashion. Having no true idea of You will often see, too, a supe. Vol. I.


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