The Scots Magazine, II, June 1740, pp.210-211
To the author of the SCOTS MAGAZINE.
London, May 17, 1740.
THE inclemency of the season has ruined the whole Beau-monde; our spring-cloaths have been, for two months, hanging on solitary wooden pins: while our thick, rough, heavy, cross-button'd coats, have press'd our shoulders, till the summer calls us from town, though our new cuts have seen neither Kensington-gardens, Hyde-park, nor the Mall. Nay, the only evening that has yet seem'd favourable I slipt to Vaux-hall, but I vow to G - , before I had stepp'd the walks quite round, I was blown through and through, in such a manner, as to drink four full glasses of French wine, before I knew I was alive. And, in that cold condition, as returning by water would have endanger'd my life, I was forced to be shook in a most unmerciful hack, till one half of my joints were distorted, and the other bruised to a jelly. If the weather does not mend very quickly, I see no avoiding new winter-coats, and ordering my gard'ner to come to London to stir my fire; for, what with cold and idleness, to be sure the poor fellow is starv'd to death in the country.
It may not be amiss to tell you, the spirit of imitation increases amongst us every day. Vaux-hall has produced tickets and accommodations of the same nature, at Marybone, on this side of the Thames; and at Cuper's gardens, on t'other: and at Marble-hall, near Vaux-hall, a ball is established to relieve us from the necessity of coming home at ten; where parties bent on pleasure, may be favour'd with an opportunity of sitting up till day-light, amidst company enough to keep them awake.
The cut of our sleeves varies not much from last year, in general; though some Gentlemen strive to introduce a small dog's ear, which I do not think genteel. Our hat-brims increase, and the crowns deepen a little; to suit a camp, I believe; for we fall most amazingly into warlike apparel, a cockade being become as essential a part of dress as a perriwig.White stockings reign, in spite of dirty weather; and Spensers have push'd our ties almost out of sight; the former being now worn by Gentlemen of fifty, to the great advantage of the thin cheek.
The Ladies are, if it be possible, less settled in their spring-fashions than we. As the weather requires flower'd silks, few are used; and 'tis most diverting to behold a brisk young Lady in a thin lutestring gown, covered up, neck and shoulders, with a lined velvet handkerchief, loaded with lace! Perriwigs are in great use with the Ladies, and there was, t'other day, a dispute at White's, whether we should not, by way of reprisal, take intirely to our own hair? Sacks are yet admired for hiding ANY imperfection of the shape: and broad straw hats ty'd like the milk-maids, are permitted to shade the finest features in the three kingdoms.
I have had a most intolerable inclination toward fighting, ever since the commencement of the present war; and once or twice almost resolved upon purchasing a commission; by my money I mean, for I have some doubt whether my services to my country would be sufficient. But what has prevented my putting on a sash, has, principally, been a fear of becoming a laughing-stock to the whole circuit of my acquaintance: for, such is at present the disreputation of peaceable soldiers, that if it be not soon their good fortune to be sent abroad, I know no possible way of retrieving their characters, but by beating one another's brains out, to convince the world they are not afraid of fighting. But, in all likelihood, there will be no occasion for that; we may have employment enough abroad: for I can't tell what to think of France; and, should she declare against us, the land-men may be wanted. But, till then, I will wave all thoughts of a commission; being determined, if ever I put on a soldier's face, and leave the fair circle of the boxes, to do it only in the road of fame; which I doubt not pursuing with as much vigour as ever I yet did the voice of pleasure. I hope you are fashionable enough to toast the West-India hero; for, I am persuaded his name has had its full effect here, more than ten thousand pretty fellows, at a moderate computation, having got drunk to the short tune of ADMIRAL VERNON; so zealous are we in our country's cause!
I am, &c.