Thursday, March 6, 1712. Budgell.
Quo teneam vultus mutantem Protea nodo?
I have endeavoured, in the Course of my Papers, to do Justice to the Age, and have taken care as much as possible to keep my self a Neuter between both Sexes. I have neither spared the Ladies out of Complaisance, nor the Men out of Partiality; but notwithstanding the great Integrity with which I have acted in this Particular, I find my self taxed with an Inclination to favour my own half of the Species. Whether it be that the Women afford a more fruitful Field for Speculation, or whether they run more in my Head than the Men, I cannot tell, but I shall set down the Charge as it is laid against me in the following Letter.
I always make one among a Company of young Females, who peruse your Speculations every Morning. I am at present Commissioned, by our whole Assembly, to let you know, that we fear you are a little enclined to be partial towards your own Sex. We must however acknowledge, with all due Gratitude, that in some Cases you have given us our Revenge on the Men, and done us Justice. We could not easily have forgiven you several Strokes in the Dissection of the Coquets Heart, if you had not, much about the same time, made a Sacrifice to us of a Beaus Scull.
You may, however, Sir, please to remember, that long since you attacked our Hoods and Commodes in such manner, as, to use your own Expression, made very many of us ashamed to shew our Heads. We must, therefore, beg leave to represent to you, that we are in Hopes, if you would please to make a due Enquiry, the Men in all Ages would be found to have been little less whimsical in adorning that Part, than our selves. The different Forms of their Wiggs, together with the various Cocks of their Hats, all flatter us in this Opinion.
I had an humble Servant last Summer, who the first time he declared himself, was in a Full-Bottom’d Wigg; but the Day after, to my no small Surprize, he accosted me in a thin Natural one. I received him, at this our second Interview, as a perfect Stranger, but was extreamly confounded, when his Speech discovered who he was. I resolved, therefore, to fix his Face in my Memory for the future; but as I was walking in the Park the same Evening, he appeared to me in one of those Wiggs that I think you call a Night-cap, which had altered him more effectually than before. He afterwards played a Couple of Black Riding Wiggs upon me, with the same Success; and, in short, assumed a new Face almost every Day in the first Month of his Courtship.
I observed afterwards, that the Variety of Cocks into which he moulded his Hat, had not a little contributed to his Impositions upon me.
Yet, as if all these ways were not sufficient to distinguish their Heads, you must, doubtless, Sir, have observed, that great Numbers of young Fellows have, for several Months last past, taken upon them to wear Feathers.
We hope, therefore, that these may, with as much Justice, be called Indian Princes, as you have styled a Woman in a coloured Hood an Indian Queen; and that you will, in due time, take these airy Gentlemen into Consideration.
We the more earnestly beg that you would put a Stop to this Practice, since it has already lost us one of the most agreeable Members of our Society, who after having refused several good Estates, and two Titles, was lured from us last Week by a mixed Feather.
I am ordered to present you the Respects of our whole Company, and am, SIR, Your very humble Servant, DORINDA.