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my health, and as I am not interrupted with clients, have leisure to make many observations that escape notice of my fellow-travellers.
• One of the most fashionable women I met with in all the circuit was my landlady at Staines, where I chanced to be on a holiday. Her commode was not half a foot high, and her petticoat within some yards of a modish circumference. In the same place I observed a young fellow with a tolerable periwig, had it not been covered with a hat that was shaped in the Ramilie-cock. As I proceeded in my journey, I observed the petticoat grew scantier aud scantier, and about three-score miles from London was so very unfashionable, that a woman might walk in it without any manner of inconvenience.
• Not far from Salisbury I took notice of a Justice of Peace’s lady, who was at least ten years behind hand in her dress, but at the same time as fine as hands could make her. She was flounced and furbelowed from head to foot; every ribbon was wrinkled, and every part of her garments in curl, so that she looked like one of those animals which in the country we call a Friezland Hen.
• Not many miles beyond this place I was informed that one of the last year's little muffs had by some means or other straggled into those parts, and that all the women of fashion were cutting their old muffs in two, or retrenching them, according to the little model which was got among them. I cannot believe the report they have there, that it was sent down franked by a parliament man in a little packet; but probably by next winter this fashion will be at the height in the country, when it is quite out at London.
• The greatest beau at our next county sessions was dressed in a most monstrous flaxen periwig, that was made in King William's reign. The wearer of 'it goes, it seems, in his own hair when he is at home, and lets his wig lie in buckle for a whole half year, that he may put it on upon occasion to meet the judges in it.
• I must not here omit an adventure which happened to us in a country church upon the frontiers of Cornwall. As we were in the midst of the service, a lady who is the chief woman of the place, and had passed the winter at London with her husband, entered the congregation in a little head-dress, and a hooped petticoat. The people, who were wonderfully startled at such a sight, all of them rose up. Some stared at the prodigious bottom, and some at the little top of this strange dress. In the mean time the lady of the manor filled the area of the church, and walked up to her pew with an unspeakable satisfaction, amidst the whispers, conjectures, and astonishments of the whole congregation.
• Upon our way from hence we saw a young fellow riding towards us full gallop, with a bob wig, and a black silken bag tied to it. He stopt short at the coach, to ask us how far the Judges were behind us. was so very short, that we had only time to observe his new silk waistcoat, which was unbuttoned in several places, to let us see that he had a clean shirt on, which was ruffled down to his middle.
• From this place, during our progress through the most western parts of the kingdom, we fancied ourselves in King CHARLES the Second's reign, the people having made very little variations in their dress since that time. The smartest of the country squires appear still in the Monmouth-cock, and when they go a wooing (whether they have any post in the militia or not) they generally put on a red coat. We were, indeed, very much surprised, at the place we lay at last night, to meet with a gentleman that had accoutred himself in a nigbt cap wig, a coat with long pockets and slit sleeves, and a pair of shoes with high scollop tops; but we soon found by his conversation that he was a person who laughed at the ignorance and rusticity of the country people, and was resolved - to live and die in the mode. "Sir, if you think this account of my travels may be
of any advantage to the public, I will next year trouble you with such occurrences as I shall meet with in other parts of England. For I am informed there are greater curiosities in the northern circuit than in the western; and that a fashion makes its progress much slower into Cumberland than into Cornwall.
I have heard in particular, that the Steenkirk* arrived but two months ago at Newcastle, and that there are several commodes in those parts which are worth taking a journey thither to see.'
N° 1 30.
MONDAY, JULY 30, 1711.
VIRG. ÆN. vii. 748.
As I was yesterday riding out in the fields with my friend Sir RogER, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of Gipsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the justice of the peace upon such a band of lawless
* The Steenkirk was a military neckcloth, in fashion soon after the battle of Steenkirk, fought in 1692. As fashions prevalent in the metropolis are adopted in country towns, as soon as they are krown, the slow progress of fashions in the time of the SøECTATOR, is a proof of the infrequency of intercourse between London and the remote parts of the country, compared to that which now subsists.
vagrants; but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary counsellor on these occasions, 'and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop: but at the same time gave me a particular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling their servants. If a stray piece of linen hangs upon an hedge, says Sir Roger, they are sure to have it: if a hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey: our geese cannot live in peace for them; if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to pay for it. They generally straggle into these parts about this time of the year; and set the heads of our servantmaids so agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be, whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid who crosses their hands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the parish for her pains. Your friend the butler has been fool enough to be seduced by them; and though he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon every time his fortune is told him, generally shuts himself
up in the pantry with an old gipsy for above half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsome young jades among them : the sluts have very often white teeth and black eyes.
Sir Roger observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so intirely new to me, told me, that, if I would, they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the Knight's proposal, we rode up and communicated our hands to them. A CASSANDRA of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me, that I loved a pretty maid in a corner, that I was a good woman's man, with some other particulars which I do not think proper to relate. My friend Sir Roger alighted from his horse, and exposing his palm to two or three that stood by him, they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle, that could be made in it; when one of them, who was older and more sun-burnt than the rest, told him, that he had a widow in his line of life. Upon which the Knight cried, “ Go, go, you are an idle baggage;" and at the same time smiled upon me. The gipsy finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him after a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true-love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night. My old friend cried Pisy, and bid her go on. * The gipsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that lie was dearer to somebody than he thought. The Knight still repeated, “ She was an idle baggage,” and bid her go on. Ah, master, says the gipsy, that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ake; you have not that simper about the mouth for nothing. The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, like the darkness of an oracle, made us the more attentive to it. To be short, the Knight left the money with her that he had crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse.
As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me, that he knew several sensible people who believed these gipsies now and then foretold very strange things; and for half an hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good-humour, meeting a common beggar upon the road, who was no conjurer, as he went
* The fortune telling business is at present almost wholly engrossed by females, if not of higher rank, or more knowledge than ihe gipsies, of a more splendid appearance. In so enlightened an age, in so enlightened a country, various persons, by muttering a few hard words over globes and slates, persuade multitudes of their thorough insight into future events, and earn a very comfortable livelihood. One in particular is consulted by ladies of the first fashion. Such visits may perhaps prepare for the expediency of the pad.