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or eating gingerbread, trips on: ye, admiring, trudge: we ask ye, whether love itself has prevented ye from feeling a certain fearful consciousness of that crowning glory, the new and glossy hat, when the first drops of rain announce the coming of a shower? Ah, hasten, while yet it is of use to haste; ere yet the spotty horror fixes on the nap! Out with the protecting handkerchief, which tied round the hat, and flowing off in a corner behind, shall gleam through the thickening night like a suburb comet! Trust not the tempting yawn of stable-yard or gate-way, or the impossible notion of a coach! The rain will continue; and alas! ye are not so rich as in the morning. Hasten! or think of a new hat's becoming a rain-spout! Think of it's well-built crown, it's graceful and well-measured fit, the curved-up elegance of it's rim, it's shadowing gentility when seen in front, it's arching grace over the ear when beheld sideways! Think of it also the next day! How altered, how dejected!
How changed from him,
That life of measure, and that soul of rim! Think of the paper-like change of it's consistence; of it's limp sadness, -il's confused and flattened nap, and of that polished and perfect circle, which neither brush nor hot iron shall restore!
We have here spoken of the beauties of a new hat; but abstractedly considered, they are very problematical. Fashion makes beauty for a time. Our ancestors found a grace in the cocked hats now confined to beadles, Chelsea pensioners, and coachmen. They would have laughed at our chimney-tops with a border: though upon the whole we do think them the more graceful of the two. The best modern covering for the head was the imitation of the broad Spanish hat in use about thirty years back, when Mr. Stothard made his designs for the Novelist's Magazine. But in proportion as society has been put into a bustle, our hats seem to have narrowed their dimensions: the flaps were clipped off more and more till they became a rim; and now the rim has contracted to a mere nothing; so that what with our close heads and our tight succinct mode of dress, we look as if we were intended for nothing but to dart backwards and forwards on matters of business, with as little hindrance to each other as possible.
This may, give us a greater distaste to the hat than it deserves; but good-looking or not, we know of no situation in which a new one can be said to be useful. We have seen how the case is during bad weather: but if the weather is in the finest condition possible, with neither rain nor dust, there may be a hot sunshine; and then the hat is too narrow to shade us: no great evil, it is true! but we must have our pique out against the knave, and turn him to the only account in our power : we must write upon him. For every other purpose, we hold him as naught. The only place a new hat can be carried into with safety, is a church; for there is plenty of room there. There also takes place it's only union of the ornamental with the useful, if so it is to be called :we allude to the preparatory ejaculation whispered into it by the gen. teel worshipper, before he turns round and makes a bow to Mr. and
all the wrong
Mrs. Jones and the Miss Thompsons. There is a formula for this occasion; and doubtless it is often used, to say nothing of extempore effusions:but there are wicked imaginations, who suspect that instead of devouter whisperings, the communer with his lining sometimes ejaculates no more than Swallow, St. James's-street; or, Augarde and Spain, Hatters, No. 51, Oxford-street, London:-after which he draws up his head with infinite gravity and preparation, and makes the gentle recognition aforesaid.
But wherever there is a crowd, the new hat is worse than useless., It is a pity that the general retrenchment of people's finances did away with the flat opera hat, which was a very sensible thing. The round one is only in the way. The matting over the floor of the Opera does not hinder it from getting dusty; not to mention it's chance of a kick from the inconsiderate. But from the pit of the other theatres, you may bring it away covered with saw-dust, or rubbed
up way of the nap, or monstrously squeezed into a shapeless lump. The least thing to be expected in a pressure, is a great poke in it's side like a sunken cheek.
Boating is a mortal enemy to new hats. A shower has you fast in a common boat; or a sail-line, or an inexperienced oar, may knock the hat off; and then fancy it tilting over the water with the tide, soaked all the while beyond redemption, and escaping from the tips of your outstretched fingers, while you ought all to be pulling the contrary way home.
But of all wrong boxes for a new hat, avoid a mail-coach. If you keep it on, you will begin nodding perhaps at midnight, and then it goes jamming against the side of the coach, to the equal misery of it's nap and your own. If you take it off, where is it's refuge? Will the clergyman take the least heed of it, who is snoring comfortably in one corner in his nightcap? Or will the farmer, jolting about inexorably? Or the regular traveller, who in bis fur-cap and infinite knowledge of highway conveniences, has already beheld it with contempt? Or the old market-woman, whom it is in vain to request to be tender? Or the young damsel, who wonders how you can think of sleeping in such a thing? In the morning, you suddenly miss your hat, and ask after it with trepidation. The traveller smiles. They all move their legs, but know nothing of it; till the market-woman exclaims," Deary me! Well - lord, only think! A hat, is it, Sir? Why I do believe,-but I'm sure I never thought o'such a thing more than the child unborn,that it must be a hat then which I took for a pan I've been a buying; and so I've had my warm foot in it, Lord bless us, ever since five o'clock this blessed morning!"
It is but fair to add that we happen to have an educated antipathy to the hat. At our school no hats were worn, and the cap was too small to be a substitute. It's only use is to astonish the old ladies in the street, who wonder how so small a thing can be kept on; and to this end, it used to be rubbed into the back or side of the head, where it hung
like a worsted wonder. It is after the fashion of Catharine's cap in the play: it seems as if
Moulded on a poringer;
A custard coffin, a bauble.
I love thee well, in that thou lik'st it not. Ill befall us, if we ever dislike any think about thee, old nurse of our childhood! How independent of the weather used we to feel in our old friar's dress,-our thick shoes, yellow worsted stockings, and coarse long coat or gown! Our cap was oftener in our hand than on our head, let the weather be what it would. We felt a pride as well as pleasure, when every body else was hurrying through the streets, in receiving the full summer showers with uncovered poll, sleeking our glad hair like the feathers of a bird.
It must be said for hats in general, that they are a very ancient part of dress, perhaps the most ancient; for a negro who has nothing else upon him, sometimes finds it necessary to guard off the sun with a hat of leaves or straw. The Chinese, who carry their records farther back than
any other people, are a hatted race, both narrow-brimmed and broad. We are apt to think of the Greeks as a bare-headed people; and they liked to be so; but they had hats for journeying in, such as may be seen on the statues of Mercury, who was the god of travellers. They were large and flapped, and were sometimes fastened round under the chin like a lady's straw-bonnet. The Eastern nations generally wore turbans, and do still, with the exception of the Persians, who have exchanged them for large conical caps of felt. The Romans copied the Greeks in their dress, as in every thing else; but the poorer orders, wore a cap like their boasted Phrygian ancestors, resembling the one which the reader may now see about the streets upon the busts of Canova's Paris. The others would put their robes about their heads upon occasion, a custom which probably gave rise to the hoods of the middle
and to the cloth head-dresses which we see in the portraits of Dante and Petrarch. From these were taken the draperies on the heads of our old Plantagenet kings and of Chaucer. The velvet cap which succeeded, appears also to have come from Italy, as in the portraits of Raphael and Titian, and it would probably have continued till the French times of Charles the Second,' for our ancestors up to that period were always great admirers of Italy, had not Philip the Second of Spain come over to marry our Queen Mary. The extreme heats of Spain had forced the natives upon taking to that ingenious union of the hat and umbrella, still known by the name of the Spanish hat. We know not whether Philip himself wore it. His father, Charles the Fifth, who was at the top of the world, is represented as delighting in a little humble-looking cap. But we conceive it was either from Philip, or. some gentleman in his train, that the hat and feather succeeded among us to the cap and jewels of Henry the 8th. The ascendancy of Spain
in these times carried it into other parts of Europe. The French, not requiring so much shade from the sun, and always playing with and altering their dress, like a child with his toy, first covered the brim with feathers, then gave them a pinch in front; then came pinches up at the side; and at last appeared the fierce and triple-daring cocked hat. This disappeared in our childhood, or only survived among the military, the old, and the reverend, who could not willingly part with their habitual dignity. An old beau or so would also retain it, in memory of it's victories when young.
We remember it's going away from the heads of the foot-guards. The heavy dragoons retained it till very lately. It is now almost sunk into the mock-heroic, and confined, as we before observed, to beadles and coachmen, &c. The modern clerical beaver, agreeably to the deliberation with which our establishments depart from old custom, is a cocked hat with the hind flap let down, and only a slight pinch remaining in front. This is what is worn also by the judges, the lawyers being of clerical extraction. Still however the true cocked hat lingers here and there with a solitary old gentleman; and wherever it appears in such company, begets a certain retrospective reverence. There was a something in it's connexion with the high-bred drawing-room times of the 17th century; in the gallant though quaint ardour of it's look; and in it's being lifted up in salutations with that deliberate loftiness, the arm arching up in front and slowly raising it by the front angle with finger and thumb,—that could not easily die. We remember, when our steward at school, remarkable for his inflexible air of precision and dignity, left off his cocked hat for a round one; there was, undoubtedly, though we dared only half confess it to our minds, a sort of diminished majesty about him. His infinite selfpossession began to look remotely finite. His Crown-Imperial was a little blighted. It was like divesting a column of it's capital. But the native stateliness was there, informing the new hat. He
Had not yet lost
Of glory obscured. The late Emperor Paul had conceived such a sense of the dignity of the cocked hat, aggravated by it's having given way to the round one of the French republicans, that he ordered all persons in his dominions never to dare be seen in public with round hats, upon pain of being knouted and sent to Siberia.
Hats, being the easiest part of the European dress to be taken off, are doffed among us out of reverence. The Orientals, on the same account, put off their slippers instead of turbans; which is the reason why the Jews still keep their heads covered during worship. The Spanish grandees have the privilege of wearing their hats in the royal presence, probably in commemoration of the free spirit in which the Cortes used to crown the sovereign; telling him (we suppose in their corporate capacity) that they were better men than he, but chose him of their own free will for their master. The grandees only claim to be as good men, unless their families are older. There is a well-known story of a picture, in which the Virgin Mary is represented with a label coming out of her mouth, saying to a Spanish gentleman, who has politely taken off his hat, “Cousin, be covered.” But the most interesting anecdote connected with a hat, belongs to the family of the De Courcys, Lord Kinsale. One of their ancestors, at an old period of our history, having overthrown a huge and insolent champion, who had challenged the whole court, was desired by the king to ask him sonie special favour. He requested that his descendants should have the privilege of keeping their heads covered in the royal presence; and they do so to this day. The new lord, we believe, always comes to court on purpose to vindicate his right. We have heard, that on the last occasion, probably after a long interval, some of the courtiers thought it might as well have been dispensed with; which was a foolish as well as a jealous thing: for these exceptions only prove the royal rule. The Spanish grandees originally took their privilege instead of receiving it; but when the spirit of it had gone, their covered heads were only so many intense recognitions of the king's dignity, which it was thought such a mighty thing to resemble. A Quaker's hat is a more formidable thing than a grandee's.
THE INFANT HERCULES AND THE SERPENTS.
Translated from the 24th Idyll of Theocritus.
JUPITER having taken Amphitryon's shape during the absence of that hero in the wars, begot Hercules of his wife Alcmena. The husband, when the circumstance came to his knowledge, felt nothing but a generous pride at the deity's admiration of his beloved wife; and with all care and tenderness brought up the infant demi-god with his own twin son Iphiclus. But Juno's feelings were not so godlike as the mortal's. She laid various plans for the destruction of this new child of her husband's; and among others, sent two dreadful serpents at midnight to devour it. This is the subject of the present idyll, which in the original is exceedingly fine and real, and shews that Theocritus had a perception of grandeur becoming his deep insight into nature in general. We have seen an outline after a picture of this story by one of the Caracci, which must be very noble ; though his Hercules seems to retain too little of the unconscious baby. His look is too full of intention. The poet has preserved an admirable propriety in this respect.
Young Hercules had now beheld the light