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Toilette Of The Hebrew Lady
by [?]

In conclusion, my dear North, let me congratulate you that Mr. Hartmann is now in Hades (as I said before) rather than in Edinburgh; for, had he been in this latter place, he would have been the ruin of you. It was his intention, as I am well assured, just about the time that he took his flight for Hades, to have commenced regular contributor to your journal; so great was his admiration of you, and also of the terms which you offer to the literary world. As a learned Orientalist, you could not decorously have rejected him; and yet, once admitted, he would have beggared you before any means could have been discovered by the learned for putting a stop to him. [Greek Text: Aperantologia] was his forte; upon this he piqued himself, and most justly, since for covering the ground rapidly, and yet not advancing an inch, those, who knew and valued him as he deserved, would have backed him against the whole field of the gens de plume now in Europe. Had he lived, and fortunately for himself communicated his Hebrew Toilette to the world through you, instead of foundering (as he did) at Amsterdam, he would have flourished upon your exchequer; and you would not have heard the last of him or his Toilette, for the next twenty years. He dates, you see, from Amsterdam; and, had you been weak enough to take him on board, he would have proved that ‘Flying Dutchman’ that would infallibly have sunk your vessel.

The more is your obligation to me, I think, for sweating him down to such slender dimensions. And, speaking seriously, both of us perhaps will rejoice that even with his talents for telling everything, he was obliged on this subject to leave many things untold. For, though it might be gratifying to a mere interest of curiosity, yet I believe that we should both be grieved if anything were to unsettle in our feelings the mysterious sanctities of Jerusalem, or to disturb that awful twilight which will for ever brood over Judea–by letting in upon it the ‘common light of day;’ and this effect would infallibly take place, if any one department of daily life, as it existed in Judea, were brought with all the degrading minutiae of its details within the petty finishing of a domestic portrait.

Farewell, my dear North, and believe me to be always your old friend and admirer,

[Greek Text: Cap Omega, Cap Phi]


I. That simple body-cloth framed of leaves, skins, flax, wool, etc. which modesty had first introduced, for many centuries perhaps sufficed as the common attire of both sexes amongst the Hebrew Bedouins. It extended downwards to the knees, and upwards to the hips, about which it was fastened. Such a dress is seen upon many of the figures in the sculptures of Persepolis; even in modern times, Niebuhr found it the ordinary costume of the lower Arabians in Hedsjas; and Shaw assures us, that from its commodious shape, it is still a favorite dishabille of the Arabian women when they are behind the curtains of the tent.

From this early rudiment was derived, by gradual elongation, that well-known under habiliment, which in Hebrew is called Ch’tonet, and in Greek and Latin by words of similar sound. [Footnote 2] In this stage of its progress, when extended to the neck and the shoulders, it represents pretty accurately the modern shirt, or chemise–except that the sleeves are wanting; and during the first period of Jewish history, it was probably worn as the sole under-garment by women of all ranks, both amongst the Bedouin Hebrews and those who lived in cities. A very little further extension to the elbows and the calves of the legs, and it takes a shape which survives even to this day in Asia. Now, as then, the female habiliment was distinguished from the corresponding male one by its greater length; and through all antiquity we find long clothes a subject of reproach to men, as an argument of effeminacy.