|• Main||• Contacts|
instructive conversation, they have no small share of facetiousness and
ingenuity. From their innate liveliness, they are extremely addicted to
all the gay kind of amusements. They excel in the allurements of dress
and decoration, and are in general skilful in music.
The character, however, of the women in most other parts of Germany,
particularly of the Austrian, is very different from this.
Notwithstanding the advantages of size and make, their looks and
features, though not unsightly, betray a vacancy of that life and
spirit, without which beauty is uninteresting, and, like a mere picture,
becomes utterly void of that indication of sensibility, which alone can
awaken a delicacy of feeling.
As their education is conducted by the rules of the grossest
superstition, and they are taught little else than set forms of
devotion, they arrive to the years of maturity uninstructed in the use
of reason, and usually continue profoundly ignorant the remainder of
their days, which are spent, or rather loitered away, in apathy and
The principal happiness of the Austrian ladies of fashion consists in
ruminating on the dignity of their birth and families, the antiquity of
their race, the rank they hold, the respect attached to it, and the
prerogatives they enjoy over the inferior classes, whom they treat with
the utmost superciliousness, and hold in the most unreasonable contempt.
In the mean time, their domestic affairs are condemned to the most
unaccountable neglect. They dwell at home, careless of what passes
there; and suffer disorder and confusion to prevail, without feeling the
least uneasiness. Great frequenters of churches, their piety consists in
the strictest conformity to all the externals of religion. They profess
the most boundless belief in all the silly legends with which their
treatises of devotion are filled; and these are the only books they ever
read. The coldness of their constitution occasions a species of
regulated gallantry, which is rather the effect of an opinion that it
is an appendage of high life, than the result of their natural
It must, at the same time be allowed, that the Austrian women are
endowed with a great fund of sincerity and candor; and, though too much
on the reserve, and prone to keep at an unnecessary distance, are yet
capable of the truest attachment, and always warm and zealous in the
cause of those whom they have admitted to their friendship.
Though the Germans are rather a dull and phlegmatic people, and not
greatly enslaved by the warmer passions, yet at the court of Vienna they
Page 7 from 8: Back 1 2 3 4 5 6  8 Forward