The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..

My Friend WILL., who very much values himself upon his great Insights into Gallantry, tells me, that he can already guess at the Humour a Lady is in by her Hood, as the Courtiers of Morocco know the Disposition of their present Emperor by the Colour of the Dress which he puts on.  When Melesinda wraps her Head in Flame Colour, her Heart is set upon Execution.  When she covers it with Purple, I would not, says he, advise her Lover to approach her; but if she appears in White, it is Peace, and he may hand her out of her Box with Safety.

Will, informs me likewise, that these Hoods may be used as Signals.  Why else, says he, does Cornelia always put on a Black Hood when her Husband is gone into the Country?

Such are my Friend HONEYCOMBS Dreams of Gallantry.  For my own part, I impute this Diversity of Colours in the Hoods to the Diversity of Complexion in the Faces of my pretty Country Women. Ovid in his Art of Love has given some Precepts as to this Particular, though I find they are different from those which prevail among the Moderns.  He recommends a Red striped Silk to the pale Complexion; White to the Brown, and Dark to the Fair.  On the contrary my Friend WILL., who pretends to be a greater Master in this Art than Ovid, tells me, that the palest Features look the most agreeable in white Sarsenet; that a Face which is overflushed appears to advantage in the deepest Scarlet, and that the darkest Complexion is not a little alleviated by a Black Hood.  In short, he is for losing the Colour of the Face in that of the Hood, as a Fire burns dimly, and a Candle goes half out, in the Light of the Sun.  This, says he, your Ovid himself has hinted, where he treats of these Matters, when he tells us that the blue Water Nymphs are dressed in Sky coloured Garments; and that Aurora, who always appears in the Light of the Rising Sun, is robed in Saffron.

Whether these his Observations are justly grounded I cannot tell:  but I have often known him, as we have stood together behind the Ladies, praise or dispraise the Complexion of a Face which he never saw, from observing the Colour of her Hood, and has been very seldom out in these his Guesses.

As I have Nothing more at Heart than the Honour and Improvement of the Fair Sex, [3] I cannot conclude this Paper without an Exhortation to the British Ladies, that they would excel the Women of all other Nations as much in Virtue and good Sense, as they do in Beauty; which they may certainly do, if they will be as industrious to cultivate their Minds, as they are to adorn their Bodies:  In the mean while I shall recommend to their most serious Consideration the Saying of an old Greek Poet,

[Greek:  Gynaiki kosmos ho tropos, k ou chrysia.]

C. [4]

[Footnote 1:  [On the contrary as Nature]]

[Footnote 2:  Feuille mort, the russet yellow of dead leaves.]

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.