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No. 102 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 102.
Wednesday, June 27, 1711.

‘… Lusus animo debent aliquando dari,

Ad cogitandum melior ut redeat sibi.’


I do not know whether to call the following Letter a Satyr upon Coquets, or a Representation of their several fantastical Accomplishments, or what other Title to give it; but as it is I shall communicate it to the Publick. It will sufficiently explain its own Intentions, so that I shall give it my Reader at Length, without either Preface or Postscript.


‘Women are armed with Fans as Men with Swords, and sometimes do more Execution with them. To the end therefore that Ladies may be entire Mistresses of the Weapon which they bear, I have erected an Academy for the training up of young Women in the Exercise of the Fan, according to the most fashionable Airs and Motions that are now practis’d at Court. The Ladies who carry Fans under me are drawn up twice a-day in my great Hall, where they are instructed in the Use of their Arms, and exercised by the following Words of Command,

Handle your Fans,
Unfurl your fans.
Discharge your Fans,
Ground your Fans,
Recover your Fans,
Flutter your Fans.

By the right Observation of these few plain Words of Command, a Woman of a tolerable Genius, [who [1]] will apply herself diligently to her Exercise for the Space of but one half Year, shall be able to give her Fan all the Graces that can possibly enter into that little modish Machine.

But to the end that my Readers may form to themselves a right Notion of this Exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its Parts. When my Female Regiment is drawn up in Array, with every one her Weapon in her Hand, upon my giving the Word to handle their Fans, each of them shakes her Fan at me with a Smile, then gives her Right-hand Woman a Tap upon the Shoulder, then presses her Lips with the Extremity of her Fan, then lets her Arms fall in an easy Motion, and stands in a Readiness to receive the next Word of Command. All this is done with a close Fan, and is generally learned in the first Week.

The next Motion is that of unfurling the Fan, in which [are [2]] comprehended several little Flirts and Vibrations, as also gradual and deliberate Openings, with many voluntary Fallings asunder in the Fan itself, that are seldom learned under a Month’s Practice. This Part of the Exercise pleases the Spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a sudden an infinite Number of Cupids, [Garlands,] Altars, Birds, Beasts, Rainbows, and the like agreeable Figures, that display themselves to View, whilst every one in the Regiment holds a Picture in her Hand.

Upon my giving the Word to discharge their Fans, they give one general Crack that may be heard at a considerable distance when the Wind sits fair. This is one of the most difficult Parts of the Exercise; but I have several Ladies with me, who at their first Entrance could not give a Pop loud enough to be heard at the further end of a Room, who can now discharge a Fan in such a manner, that it shall make a Report like a Pocket-Pistol. I have likewise taken care (in order to hinder young Women from letting off their Fans in wrong Places or unsuitable Occasions) to shew upon what Subject the Crack of a Fan may come in properly: I have likewise invented a Fan, with which a Girl of Sixteen, by the help of a little Wind which is inclosed about one of the largest Sticks, can make as loud a Crack as a Woman of Fifty with an ordinary Fan.