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Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

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The mirror of the graces; or, the English lady's costume: combining and harmonizing taste and judgment, elegance and grace, modesty, simplicity and economy, with fashion in dress; and adapting the various articles of female embellishments to different ages, forms, and complexions; to the seasons of the year, rank, and situation in life: with useful advice on female accomplishments, politeness, and manners; the cultivation of the mind and the disposition and carriage of the body: offering also the most efficacious means of preserving beauty, health, and loveliness. The whole according with the general principles of nature and rules of propriety
(1811)

On the female form,   pp. 26-41


Page 32


52        MIRROR OF TIHE GRACES,
airy garments of youth, the transparent dra,
pery of Cos, and the sportiveness of a girl, is
an anachronism as frequent as it is ridiculous.
  Virgin, bridal Beauty, when she arrays her-
self with taste, obeys an end of her creation,
-that of increasing her charms in the eyes
of some virtuous lover, or the husband of'her
bosom. She is approved. But, when the
wrinkled fair, the hoary-headed matron, at-
tempts to equip herself for conquest, to awa.-
,ken sentiments which, the bloom on her cheeĆ½
gone, her rouge can never arouse; then, wie
cannot but deride her folly, or, in pity, coun,-
sel her rather to seek for charms, the mental
graces of Madame de Sevign6, than the me,-
retricious arts of Ninon de l'Enclos.
   But that, in some cases, wrinkles may,4e
long warded off, that auburn locks may pre-
serve a lengthened freshness, is not-to be de.-
nied; and, where nature prolongs the youth
of a Helen or a Sarah, it is not for man to
see her otherwise. These are rare instan-
ces; and, in the minds of rational women,
ought rather to excite wonder, than desire to
emulate their extended reign.    But what


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