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Scene, London...... Time, A few Hours.
SCENE I. Sir John's Lodgings.
Sir John, and a Taylor, discovered. Taylor. 'Tis the fashion, Sir, I assure you.
Sir John. Don't tell me of fashion. Must a man make an ass of himself because it's the fashion ?
Taylor. But you would be like other folks, Sir, wou'd not you?
Sir John. No, Sir, if this is their Likeness, I wou'd not be like other folks. Why, a man might as well be cas'd up in armour; here's Buckram and Whalebone enough to turn a bullet.
Enter Joe Joe. Sir, here's the Barber has brought you home a new periwig.*
• Having little doubt in my mind that Dodsley had been guilty of an anachronism in introducing a Periwig in the reign of Henry the Second, I sat down to write a short pole upon the subject; and, after turning first to one book, and then to another, I found myself involved in all the mazes of Etymology and History. I must, therefore, at all eveots, wave the etymology, referring the reader who may wish to investigate it, to LEMON's English Etymology, and to Mr. Wuiter's Etymologicon Universale, under the words Periwig and Perruke. On the orthography of the word, Mr. Pegge, in his Anonymiana, p. 56, makes a curious remark : " We " have one word which has not a single letter of its original; for the " Freocb Peruke, we got Perivig, now abbreviated to Wig.” With respect to the History, the Encyclopedia Britannica, which follows Chambers, says: " PERRUKE, PERUKE, or Periwig, was " anciently a name for a long head of natural hair; such particu"larly, as there was care taken in the adjusting and trimining of."
"The word is now used for a set of faise hair, curled, buckled, “ and sewed together on a fraine or cawl; anciently called capilla“ mentwin or "false perruke. It is doubled whether or not the use
Sir John. Let him come in. [Exit Joe and returns with the Barber. ] Come, friend, let's see if you're as good at fashions as Mr. Buckram here. What's this ?
Barber. The Bag, Sir.
Sir John. The Bag, Sir! And what's this Bag for, Sir ? This is not the fashion too, I hope.
Barber. It's what is very much worn, Sir, indeed.
Sir John. Worn, Sir! how is it worn? where is it · worn ? what is it for?
Barber. Sir, it is only for ornament.
Sir John. 0, 'tis an ornament! I beg your pardon ! Now, positively, I should not have taken this for an ornament. My poor grey hairs are, in my opinion, much more becoming. But, come, put it on. There, now, what do you think I am like?
Joe. Measter, you're not like the same mon, I'm sure.
Sir John. Genteel ! ay, that it may be, for aught I know, but I'm sure 'tis very ugly.
" of perrukes of this kind were knowo among the ancients. It is “ true, they used false hair: Martial aod Juvenal make merry with “ the women of their time, for making themselves look young with " their borrowed hair; with the men who changed their colours “ according to the seasons; and with the dotards, who hoped to deceive “ the Destinies by their white hair. But these seem scarce to have “ had any thing in common with our perrukes ; and were at best “ only composed of hair painted, and glued together. Nothing can “ be more ridiculous than the description Lampridius giv?s of the “ einperor Commodus's perruke: it was powdered with scrapings of “ gold, and oiled (if we may use the expression) with glutinous per. “ fumes for the powder to hang by. In effect, the use of perrukes, " at least in their present mode, is not much more than 160 years old “ the year 1629 is reckoned the epocha of long perukes, at which “ time ibey began to appear in Paris; from whence they spread by • degrees ihrough the rest of Europe. At first it was reputed a “ scandal for young people to wear them, because the loss of their 6. hair at ibat age was attributed to a disease the very name “ whereof is a reproach ; but at length the mode prevailed over the " scruple, and persons of all ages and conditions have worn them, “ foregoing without any necessity the conveniencies of their natural “ hair. li was, however, some time before the ecclesiastics came " into the fashion : the first who assumed the perruke were some of “ the French clergy, in the year 1660; nor is the practice vet well “ authorized. Cardinal Grimaldi in 1684, and the Bishop of Lavaur “ iu 1688, prohibited the use of the perruke to all priests without a
Barber. They wear nothing else in France, Sir.
Sir John. In France, Sir! what's France to me? I'm an Englishman, Sir, and know no right the fools of France have to be my examples. Here, take it again; I'll have none of your new-fangled French fopperies : and, if you please, I'll make you a present of this fine fashionable coat again. Fashion, indeed! [Exeunt Taylor, Barber, and Joe.] Where fashion is founded on good-sense, I'll adopt it. But I'll never make myself a figure for the sake of fashion, nor give up comfort and convenience.
Re-enter Joe with the French Cook. Joe. Sir, here's a fine Gentleman wants to speak with you.
Cook. Sir, me have hear dat your honour vant von cook.
Sir John. Sir, you are very obliging ; I suppose you wou'd recommend one to me. But, as I don't know you
u dispensation or pecessity. M. Thiers has an express treatise, to " prove tbe perruke indecent in ad ecclesiastic, and directly con“ irary to the decrees and capons of councils. A priest's head, em“ hellished with artificial hair curiously adjusted, he esteems a " monster in the church; nor can be cooceive any thing so scandalous “ as an abbot with a florid countenance, heightened with a well. “ curled perruke.” Vol. XVI. p. 143.
Such is the change of ideas and of fashions in different times, and in different countries, that I believe now it is generally expeded of our bishops, when they go to court, that they should appear in wigs. Towards the middle of the century even young men and boys wore wigs ; and there is a story current in our uuiversity, that, when Mason the poet came up to reside, (whicb was probably in the year 1741,) contrary to the custom, he appeared in his own bair, for which his Tutor reproved bim, calling him“ A Coxcomb! to wear “ his own hair! It was so unnatural"!!.
Dodsley, too, makes his periwig of the still more modern fashion with a bag appended to it, which was the usage of the time in which the piece was first acied; and, in all probability, though he bas made his king, king Harry (the IId.) yet all the characters were dressed in the costume of his owo days. Even Macbeth, as we see from the prints of Garrick io that character, was dressed in a coat and waistcoat. I have seen the King and Miller performed at different times, with the characters dressed borb in the modern and the ancient costume. I certainly prefer the latter. But, when the wig, and perhaps the French cook also, must be omitted.
Cook. No, no, Sir, me am von cook myself, and wou'd be proud of de honour to serve you.
Sir John. You a cook! and pray, what wages may you expect, to afford such finery as that ?
Cook. Me will have von hundred guinea a year, po more; and two or tree servant under me to do de work.
Sir John. Hum! very reasonable truly! And, pray what extraordinary matters can you do to deserve such wages ?
Cook. 0, me can make you von hundred dish de · Englis know noting of; me can make you de portable soup to put in your pocket; me can dress you de fowl a-la Marli, en Galantine, a-la Montmorency; de Duck, en Grinudin ; de chicken, a-la Chombre ; de turkey, en Botine ; de pidgeon, en Mirliton, a l'Italienne, a-la ď Huxelles : en fine, me can give you de essence of five or six ham, and de juice of ten or twelve stone of beef, all in de sauce of von littel dish.*
Sir John. Very fine! At this rate no wonder the poor are stary'd, and the butcher unpaid. No, I will have no such cooks, I promise you; it is the luxury and extravagance introduc'd by such French Kickshaw-mongers as you, that has devoured and destroyed old English hospitality. Go, go about your business; I have no mind to be beggarr’d, nor to beggar honest tradesmen. Joe!
Exit Cook. Joe. Sir.
* Paley, in his Moral Philosophy, (vol. I. B. 13. Ch. xi.) 00 The General Rights of Mankind, says, “ From reason then, or " revela:ion, or from both together, it appears, to be God Al“ mighly's intention that the productions of the earth sbould be ap“ plied to the sustentation of human life. Consequently, all waste “ and misapplication of these productions, is cootrary to the divise " jotention and will; and therefore wrong, for ike same reason that “ any other crime is so.” After giving various instances, he adds, "' to this bead may also be referred, what is the same evil in a “ smaller way, the expending of human food op superfluous doge or " horses ; and lastly, the reducing of the quantity, in order to alier " the quality, aod to alter it generally for the worse ; as the digiile “ larion of spirits from bread corn, ihe boiling dono of solid meat “ fos sauces, essences, &c."