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No. 434. Friday, July 18, 1712. Addison.
’Quales Threiciae cum flumina Thermodoontis
Pulsant, et pictis bellantur Amazones armis:
Seu circum Hippolyten, seu cum se Martia curru
Penthesilea refert, magnoque ululante tumultu
Faeminea exultant lunatis agmina peltis.’
Having carefully perused the Manuscript I mentioned in my Yesterday’s Paper, so far as it relates to the Republick of Women, I find in it several Particulars which may very well deserve the Reader’s Attention.
The Girls of Quality, from six to twelve Years old, were put to publick Schools, where they learned to Box and play at Cudgels, with several other Accomplishments of the same Nature; so that nothing was more usual than to see a little Miss returning Home at Night with a broken Pate, or two or three Teeth knocked out of her Head. They were afterwards taught to ride the great Horse, to Shoot, Dart, or Sling, and listed into several Companies, in order to perfect themselves in Military Exercises. No Woman was to be married till she had killed her Man. The Ladies of Fashion used to play with young Lions instead of Lap-dogs, and when they made any Parties of Diversion, instead of entertaining themselves at Ombre or Piquet, they would wrestle and pitch the Bar for a whole Afternoon together. There was never any such thing as a Blush seen, or a Sigh heard, in the Commonwealth. The Women never dressed but to look terrible, to which end they would sometimes after a Battel paint their Cheeks with the Blood of their Enemies. For this Reason likewise the Face which had the most Scars was looked upon as the most beautiful. If they found Lace, Jewels, Ribbons, or any Ornaments in Silver or Gold among the Booty which they had taken, they used to dress their Horses with it, but never entertained a Thought of wearing it themselves. There were particular Rights and Privileges allowed to any Member of the Commonwealth, who was a Mother of three Daughters. The Senate was made up of old Women; for by the Laws of the Country none was to be a Councellor of State that was not past Child-bearing. They used to boast their Republick had continued Four thousand Years, which is altogether improbable, unless we may suppose, what I am very apt to think, that they measured their Time by Lunar Years.