|• Main||• Contacts|
Though the ladies of France are not very handsome, they are sensible and
witty. To many of them, without the least flattery, may be applied the
distich which Sappho ascribes to herself:
"_If partial nature has denied me beauty, the charms of my mind amply
make up for the deficiency._"
No women upon earth can excel, and few rival them, in their almost
native arts of pleasing all who approach them. Add to this, an education
beyond that of most European ladies, a consummate skill in those
accomplishments that suit the fair sex, and the most graceful manner of
displaying that knowledge to the utmost advantage.
Such is the description that may safely be given of the French ladies in
general. But the spirit, or rather the _evil genius_ of gallantry, too
often perverts all these lovely qualities, and renders them subservient
to very iniquitous ends.
In every country, women have always a little to do, and a great deal to
say. In France, they dictate almost every thing that is said, and direct
every thing that is done. They are the most restless beings in the
world. To fold her hands in idleness, and impose silence on her tongue,
would be to a French woman worse than death. The sole joy of her life is
to be engaged in the prosecution of some scheme, relating either to
fashion, ambition, or love.
Among the rich and opulent, they are entirely the votaries of pleasure,
which they pursue through all its labyrinths, at the expense of fortune,
reputation, and health. Giddy and extravagant to the last degree, they
leave to their husbands economy and care, which would only spoil their
complexions, and furrow their brows.
When we descend to tradesmen and mechanics, the case is reversed: the
wife manages every thing in the house and shop, while the husband
lounges in the back-shop an idle spectator, or struts about with his
sword and bag-wig.
Matrimony among the French, seems to be a bargain entered into by a male
and female, to bear the same name, live in the same house, and pursue
their separate pleasures without restraint or control. And, so
religiously is this part of the bargain kept, that both parties shape
their course exactly as convenience and inclination dictate.
The French girls are kept under very strict superintendence. They are
not allowed to go to parties, or places of public amusement, without
being accompanied by some married female relation; and they see their
lovers only in the presence of a third person. Marriages are entirely
negotiated by parents; and sometimes the wedding day is the second time
Page 1 from 7:  2 3 4 5 6 7 Forward