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No. 104 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

There is an Objection which naturally presents it self against these occasional Perplexities and Mixtures of Dress, which is, that they seem to break in upon that Propriety and Distinction of Appearance in which the Beauty of different Characters is preserved; and if they should be more frequent than they are at present, would look like turning our publick Assemblies into a general Masquerade. The Model of this Amazonian Hunting-Habit for Ladies, was, as I take it, first imported from France, and well enough expresses the Gaiety of a People who are taught to do any thing so it be with an Assurance; but I cannot help thinking it sits awkwardly yet on our English Modesty. The Petticoat is a kind of Incumbrance upon it, and if the Amazons should think fit to go on in this Plunder of our Sex’s Ornaments, they ought to add to their Spoils, and compleat their Triumph over us, by wearing the Breeches.

If it be natural to contract insensibly the Manners of those we imitate, the Ladies who are pleased with assuming our Dresses will do us more Honour than we deserve, but they will do it at their own Expence. Why should the lovely Camilla deceive us in more Shapes than her own, and affect to be represented in her Picture with a Gun and a Spaniel, while her elder Brother, the Heir of a worthy Family, is drawn in Silks like his Sister? The Dress and Air of a Man are not well to be divided; and those who would not be content with the Latter, ought never to think of assuming the Former. There is so large a portion of natural Agreeableness among the Fair Sex of our Island, that they seem betrayed into these romantick Habits without having the same Occasion for them with their Inventors: All that needs to be desired of them is, that they would be themselves, that is, what Nature designed them; and to see their Mistake when they depart from this, let them look upon a Man who affects the Softness and Effeminacy of a Woman, to learn how their Sex must appear to us, when approaching to the Resemblance of a Man.

I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant.


[Footnote 1: The letter is by John Hughes.]