H́nh ảnh trang

out again, leaving his large wig, the drefs of that day, in the jester's hand.

Peter finding his buffoon had been too frolicsome, rose to give him a little chastisement with his dubeen, which made him fly for refuge into Catharine's apartments, where he was sitting working with her maids, in the primitive stile of former times. The emperor after having searched for him in every corner of his wife's apartment, at last spied his head peeping out above a monstrous hoop, such as the ladies then wore, which was hung (probably on purpose,) on the wall, so near the floor as to offer a convenient hiding place. At that very moment the prince arrived in a rage in quest of his wig, which he found on the head of the jester in the hoop, who made so ridiculous and comic a figure altoge ther, in his new dress, that the whole company burst into a fit of laughter, and gave time to the fool to make his escape, thus metamorphosed into a species of hermaphrodite monster.

[ocr errors]

The point was then gained; for Menchikoff got an opportunity of explaining the cause of his apparent insult and breach of trust, whilst the emperor was in good humour, and still laughing at the figure of his bald headed minister, talking gravely of state affairs without his wig. The commodore added, that the prince easily convinced his master of the impropriety of answering questions, in open senate, on the employment of secret service money, and delivered him a note of it, which ended the matter.

My only reason for giving this, and some other ridiculous and comic anecdotes of the Rufsian legis,

lator, is to how the manners of the times, and the use that was occasionally made by courtiers, of the humorists, stiled a jester or fool, which was then so necefsary to the amusement and state of great raen, before the diffusion of letters and cards had furnished other modes of pafsing hours of relaxation from businefs,

[ocr errors]

That appendage to a great man remained some time in Rufsia after it had been discarded from the more enlightened nations; but still the frolics, witticisms, and tricks of the royal English jesters, are upon record; even those of the lord mayor of London's fool, have been repeated many years ago

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

ONE of my predecessors, in his immortal essays, has entertained the reader with letters from his correspondents on the subject of female education, particularly what relates to the choice of books proper for their studies. I in my turn have lately received letters on the same topic; and it is amusing to observe the tincture which they take from the education, profefsion, or some peculiar characteristic of the writer. An epistle, dated from Dunbar, and subscribed by a person who stiles himself a Disinterested Friend to the fair sex, recommends a treatise on the practice of sea bathing, and drinking of

salt water. A lady who appears to be a boarding mistress, and of a sentimental turn of mind, is of opinion, that young ladies ought to read such novels only, as are calculated to promote the love of virtue, and extols in very high terms, The Sorrows of Wer ter, and The Tears of Sensibility; and some other performances written in the same stile, which the is persuaded would effectually banish all that mirth and levity, so unseasonable and unbecoming, more especially in young creatures. One letter suggests the expediency of acquiring some skill in cookery; another thinks that every virtue in women is confined to frugality and knowledge of house keeping religion, or rather the various branches and modes of it, has many advocates: I cannot avoid taking particular notice of one who afsumes the signature of Calvin junior; and who, after reprobating with great vehemence and acrimony, the prevailing want of charity and humility in womankind, recommends, with great confidence and exultation, à work on the small number that shall be saved.

I intend to take some future opportunity of animadverting on the various proposals of my correspondents; and in the meantime the remaining part of the present paper fhall be employed in some serious reflections on the subject, which I acknowledge I have always considered as important and interesting.

The ridicule which has on so many occasions been thrown sometimes by wit, but more frequently by petulance and dulnefs, on learned ladies, has done great mischief, and been more the occasion, than any thing I know, of preventing women from VOL. Xiii.


[ocr errors]

Jan. 2. bestowing some application on studies of an intsructive and rational nature; such studies as, without doubt, they have as much capacity to comprehend, and as much discernment to relish, as the other sex. The truth is, we need be under no apprehensions, that, by devoting a part of their time to these objects, their beauty, or the softer endowments of the mind, will suffer or be impaired; on the contrary, a disposition for literature, when properly directed, and cultivated with taste and feeling, will render beauty more animated and interesting, and every external grace more powerful and attractive.

I would, on no account, advise my fair readers to apply to the study of the abstruse sciences, or to meddle with theological controversy, as such speculations are by no means natural or suited to the character or delicacy of the sex; besides, metaphysical refinement, and abstracted arguments, are more apt to confound than enlighten the understanding.

Of novels, notice has already been taken in the course of these papers; and I am afraid it would not be easy to say any thing new on such an hackneyed subject. Those of them that are possessed of real merit, have met with just and universal applause, and are so well known, that it is altogether unnecefsary to mention even their names; but, in general, I consider it as an unprofitable species of reading; and though I do not think, with some meralists, that even the common run of novels are hurtful to virtue, yet I may venture to affirm, that they are unfavourable to good taste. Indeed I have met with few of them where the composition is

27 either pathetic or sublime, or where the subject. is so managed as to melt the heart, or elevate the imagination; and it is but seldom that they convey to the reader, a just or genuine representation of the character, circumstances, or situation, of real life.

To what objects, then, to what pursuits fhall a woman bend her attention in those hours that are not devoted to domestic, or still more serious occupations? I answer to the study of the easy and more accefsible, parts of philosophy; to history, biography, poetry, and the other branches of polite literature, where instruction is blended with amusement, and crudition with wit. These are subjects that have a natural tendency to promote the happiness of human nature, or contribute to the improvement of the heart, and the enlargement of the mind. Other exercises (to conclude this paper with the reflection of an eloquent and enlightened philosopher,)

[ocr errors]

Other exercises depend on the circumstances of time, age, or place; but these studies give nurture in youth, and amusement in old age. In adversity they shelter and support. Delightful at home, and easy abroad, they soften slumber, they fhorten fatigue, and enliven retirement. Though I, myself, never had felt their efficacy, nor tasted their excellence, yet must they be the object of my adoration when I see them beam from others."

The Editor is obliged to an able afsistant for the foregoing communication, for which he returns his best thanks, and hopes for a continuation of his favours.


« TrướcTiếp tục »