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Following The Fashions
by [?]

“WHAT is this?” asked Henry Grove of his sister Mary, lifting, as he spoke, a print from the centre-table.

“A fashion plate,” was the quiet reply.

“A fashion plate? What in the name of wonder, are you doing with a fashion plate?”

“To see what the fashions are.”

“And what then?”

“To follow them, of course.”

“Mary, is it possible you are so weak? I thought better of my sister.”

“Explain yourself, Mr. Censor,” replied Mary with an arch look, and a manner perfectly self-possessed.

“There is nothing I despise so much as a heartless woman of fashion.”

“Such an individual is certainly, not much to be admired, Henry. But there is a vast difference you must recollect, between a lady who regards the prevailing mode of dress and a heartless woman, be she attired in the latest style, or in the costume of the times of good queen Bess. A fashionably dressed woman need not, of necessity, be heartless.”

“O no, of course not; nor did I mean to say so. But it is very certain, to my mind, that any one who follows the fashions cannot be very sound in the head. And where there is not much head, it seems to me there is never a superabundance of heart.”

“Quite a philosopher!”

“You needn’t try to beat me off by ridicule, Mary. I am in earnest.”

“What about?”

“In condemning this blind slavery to fashion.”

“You follow the fashions.”

“No, Mary, I do not.”

“Your looks very much belie you, then.”


“Nonsense! Don’t look so grave. What I say is true. You follow the fashion as much as I do.”

“I am sure I never examined a plate of fashions in my life.”

“If you have not, your tailor has for you, many a time.”

“I don’t believe a word of it. I don’t have my clothes cut in the height of the fashion. They are made plain and comfortable. There is nothing about them that is put on merely because it is fashionable.”

“I beg your pardon, sir.”

“It is a fact.”

“Why do you have your lappels made to roll three button-holes instead of two. There’s father’s old coat, made, I don’t know when, that roll but two.”

“Because, I suppose, its now the fash–“

“Ah, exactly! Didn’t I get you there nicely?”

“No, but Mary, that’s the tailor’s business, not mine.”

“Of course,–you trust to him to make you clothes according to the fashion, while I choose to see if the fashions are just such as suits my stature, shape, and complexion, that I may adopt them fullly, or deviate from them in a just and rational manner. So there is this difference between us; you follow the fashions blindly, and I with judgment and discrimination!”

“Indeed, Mary, you are too bad.”

“Do I speak anything but the truth?”

“I should be very sorry, indeed, if your deductions were true in regard to my following the fashions so blindly, if indeed at all.”

“But don’t you follow them?”

“I never think about them.”

“If you don’t, somehow or other, you manage to be always about even with the prevailing modes. I don’t see any difference between your dress and that of other young men.”

“I don’t care a fig for the fashions, Mary!” rejoined Henry, speaking with some warmth.

“So you say.”

“And so I mean.”

“Then why do you wear fashionable clothes?”

“I don’t wear fashionable clothes–that is–I—-“

“You have figured silk or cut velvet buttons, on your coat, I believe. Let me see? Yes. Now, lasting buttons are more durable, and I remember very well when you wore them. But they are out of fashion! And here is your collar turned down over your black satin stock, (where, by the by, have all the white cravats gone, that were a few years ago so fashionable?) as smooth as a puritan’s! Don’t you remember how much trouble you used to have, sometimes, to get your collar to stand up just so? Ah, brother, you are an incorrigible follower of the fashions!”

“But, Mary, it is a great deal less trouble to turn the collar over the stock.”