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account which I have already given you, that my compositions in gardening are altogether after the Pindaric manner, and run into the beautiful wildness of nature, without affecting the nicer elegancies of art. What I am now going to mention, will, perhaps, deserve your attention more than any thing I have yet said. I find that in the discourse which I spoke of at the beginning of my letter, you are against filling an English garden with evergreens; and indeed I am so far of your opinion, that I can by no means think the verdure of an evergreen comparable to that which shoots out annually, and clothes our trees in the summer season. But I have often wondered that those who are like myself, and love to live in gardens, have never thought of contriving a Winter-garden, which would consist of such trees only as never cast their leaves. We have very often little snatches of sunshine and fair weather in the most uncomfortable parts of the year, and have frequently several days in November and January that are as agreeable as any in the finest months. At such times, therefore, I think there could not be a greater pleasure, than to walk in such a Winter-garden as I have proposed. In the summer season the whole country blooms, and is a kind of garden, for which reason we are not so sensible of those beauties that at this time may be every where met with ; but when nature is in her desola. tion, and presents us, with nothing but bleak and barren prospects, there is something unspeakably cheerful in a spot of ground which is covered with trees that smile amidst all the rigour of winter, and give us a view of the most gay season in the midst of that which is the most dead and melancholy. I have so far indulged myself in this thought, that I have set apart a whole acre of ground for the executing of it. The walls are covered with ivy instead of vines. The laurel, the bay-tree, and the holly, with many other trees and plants of the same nature, grow
so thick in it, that you cannot imagine a more lively scene. The glowing redness of the berries with which they are hung at this time, vies with the verdure of their leaves, and are apt to inspire the heart of the beholder with that vernal delight which you have somewhere taken notice of in your former papers. It is very pleasant, at the same time, to see the several kinds of birds retiring into this little green spot, and enjoying themselves among the branches and foliage, when my great garden, which I have before mentioned to you, does not afford a single leaf for their shelter.
You must know, Sir, that I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden, as one of the most innocent delights in human life. A garden was the habitation of our first parents before the fall. It is naturally apt to fill the mind with calmness and tranquillity, and to lay all its turbulent passions at rest. It gives us a great insight into the contrivance and wisdom of Providence, and suggests innumerable subjects for meditation. I cannot but think the very complacency and satisfaction which a man takes in these works of nature, to be a laudable if not a virtuous habit of mind. For all which reasons I hope you will pardon the length of my present letter.
I am, Sir, &c.
No. CCCCLXXVIII. MONDAY, SEPT. 8.
.................Usus, Quem penes arbitrium est, & jus & norma.......... 10R.
Fashion, the arbiter, and rule of right.
IT happened lately, that a friend of mine, who had many things to buy for his family, would oblige me to walk with him to the shops. He was very nice in his way, and fond of having every thing shown, which at first made me very uneasy ; but as his humour still continued, the things which I had been staring at along with him, began to fill my head, and led me into a set of amusing thoughts concerning them.
I fancied it must be very surprising to any one who enters into a detail of fashions, to consider how far the vanity of mankind had laid itself out in dress, what a prodigious number of people it maintains, and what a circulation of money it occasions. Providence in this case makes use of the folly which we will not give up, and it becomes instrumental to the support of those who are willing to labour. Hence it is that fringe-makers, lace-men, tire-women, and a number of other trades, which would be useless in a simple state of nature, draw their subsistence i though it is seldoin seen that such as these are extremely rich, because their original fault of being founded upon vanity, keeps them poor by the light inconstancy of its nature. The variableness of fashion turns the stream of business, which flows from it, now into one channel, and anon into another; so that the different sets of people sink or flourish in their turns by it.
From the shops we retired to the tavern, where I found my friend express so much satisfaction for the
bargains he had made, that my moral reflections (if I had told them) might have passed for a reproof; so I chose rather to fall in with him, and let the discourse run upon the use of fashions.
Here we remembered how much man is governed by his senses, how livelily he is struck by the objects which appear to him in an agreeable manner, how much clothes contribute to make us agreeable objects, and how much we owe it to ourselves that we should appear so.
We considered man as belonging to societies ; societies are formed of different ranks; and different ranks distinguished by habits, that all proper duty or respect might attend their appearance.
We took notice of several advantages which are met with in the occurrences of conversation : how the bashful man has been sometimes so raised, as to express himself with an air of freedom, when he imagines that his habit introduces him to company with a becoming manner; and again, how a fool in fine clothes shall be suddenly heard with attention, till he has betrayed himself; whereas a man of sense appearing with a dress of negligence shall be but coldly received, till he be proved by time, and established in a character. Such things as these we could recollect to have happened to our own knowledge so very often, that we concluded the author had his reasons, who advises his son to go in dress rather abovehis fortune than under it. · At last the subject seemed so considerable, that it was proposed to have a repository built for fashions, as there are chambers for medals and other rarities. The building may be shaped as that which stands among the pyramids, in the form of a woman's head. This may be raised upon pillars, whose ornaments shall bear a just relation to the design. Thus there may be an imitation of fringe carved in the base, a sort of appearance of lace in the frieze, and a repre.
sentation of curling locks, with bows of ribbon sloping over them, may fill up the work of the cornice. The inside may be divided into two apartments appropriated to each sex. The apartments may be filled with
shelves, on which boxes are to stand as regularly as - books in a library. These are to have folding-doors, which being opened, you are to behold a baby dressed out in some fashion which has flourished, and standing upon a pedestal, where the time of its reign is marked down. For its farther regulation, let it be ordered, that every one who invents a fashion shall bring in his box, whose front he may at pleasure have either worked or painted with some amorous or gay device, that, like books with gilded leaves and covers, it may the sooner draw the eyes of the beholders. And to the end that these may be preserved with all due care, let there be a keeper appointed, who shall be a gentleman qualified with a competent knowledge in clothes ; so that by this means the place will be a comfortable support for some beau who has spent his estate in dressing.,
The reasons offered by which we expected to gain the approbation of the public, were as follow.
First, That every one who is considerable enough to be a mode, and has any imperfection of nature or chance, which it is possible to hide by the advantage of clothes, may, by coming to this repository, be furmished herself, and furnish all who are under the same misfortune, with the most agreeable manner of
concealing it; and that on the other side, every one ' who has any beauty in face or shape, may also be furnished with the most agrceable manner of shewing it.
Secondly, That whereas some of our young gentlemen, who travel, give us great reason to suspect that they only go abroad to make or improve a fancy for dress, a project of this nature may be a means to keep them at home, which is in effect the keeping
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