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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

On the female form,   pp. 26-41

Page 32

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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