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THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE COMB.

THERE cannot be a stronger proof of littleness of mind than an affectation of vehement contempt for trifles. Pigmies are incessantly on tiptoe; while the gigantic grenadier treads the causeway of life flat-footed, disdaining the foreign aid of military heels. We have recently heard certain of the magnets of literature-certain elders of the tribe of the Blues-attempt to magnify their own literary importance by contumelious mention of this our magazine; they are (saving their absence) blockheads!

Among the numerous lights let in upon the human race in the process of clearing the forest of prejudice, by the pioneers of the march of intellect, few have shone more luminously in the eyes of the world than the importance of the influence exercised by dress over the mind-of the immediate connexion between the outward and inward man-of the national characteristics derived from, rather than operating upon the toilet. It is now admitted, on all hands, that, were the peasants of La Vendee to abate one inch of their towering coifs, the loyalty of the Chouans, wanting its insignia, would vanish from the face of the Boccage;—that were the Austrian peasants to fling aside their ponderous caps of tinsel, and emancipate their oppressed brains, Metternich and passive obedience would be crushed, Tarpeia-like, under the mass; that the "curtailed abbreviation" of petticoat among the Grisons forms the true home-spell, binding the Schweitzen Buh to his mountains ;that but for their necklaces made of the teeth of fallen enemies, the Indian tribes would forfeit half their animal courage ;-and that the Hottentot is chiefly brutalized by his sash of entrails. We therefore strive to instil Christian humility into charity-children by the round-eared cap and mittens; and to inspire our sovereigns with nobleness through the aid of ermine and minever. With this persuasion on our minds, we are sensible that the duty we have to perform towards the civilized community as commentators on the caps and gowns that be, is of paramount importance. We know that the operation of our editorial labours will penetrate from the log-house of the Prairies to the thatched hall of audience of his majesty of the Sandwich Islands. Places which the Reform Bill knoweth not, will be pervious to our lucubrations; jungles that the Missionary Society has never penetrated, will become humanized by the urbane aspect of the noble physiognomies interleaved among our pages ;-we shall be found side by side with Scott's novels in the lazaretto of the pass of Rothenthurm; and the belles of Lima will let fall their artificial graundees of whalebone to assume the dainty devices revealed to their ignorance by our costumes. We are proudly conscious that our efforts are about to revolutionize the toilets of the two hemispheres; and that from the powdery fair ones of the broadway of New York to the listless fashionables of the Hooghly, we shall monopolize

"The glass of fashion and the mould of form."

Let us not, however, be accused of seeking, like the currier of the fable, to fortify the city with leather. We know that the Whigs, the Tories, the Utilitarians, the Travellers, the Garrickers, the St. Simonians, the Irvingites, and divers other worshipful congregations, have each their graven image to set up as the one great idol of the earth. But we refer it to any individual of liberal mind whether the woolsack of the lords, or the pincushion of Maradan, have contributed more largely during the past month to the detestation of the human race ;-whether the actual loss of Casimir Perier has produced so mighty a flow of wit in periodical literature as the mere rumour of Herboult's death last spring;-whether the closing of the oldest bank in Lombard-street would produce as much consternation in the metropolis as the shutting up of the great house of Howell and James ?

What matters it indeed to whom is delegated the helm of state-whether Grey or Wellington be the great man of the day or night? The main ques

tion is, in whose hands are deposited the silken reins in which both kings and ministers are trammelled, and whether those reins are fashioned of Paris cord or Coventry gymp-whether the golden bit be studded with jewels by Storr, or suffered to retain the uncouth massiveness of a piece of family plate. "Greece governs the world," said the ancient philosopher, "and I govern Greece. But I am governed by my wife, and my wife by her bantling; ergo, my son is the greatest person in the universe." "Great Britain dictates to Europe," might be the parallel soliloquy of many a modern premier," and I dictate to Great Britain. But I am sadly bullied by Lady and Lady is the mere creature of the toilet; ergo, dress is the true autocrat of the civilized earth." Other philosophers are tempted to look on fashion rather as the fickle vane by which the frivolities of public opinion are demonstrated; but even in this point of view, the stiffest political economist must admit that minutes of its evidence ought to be enrolled among the archives of the kingdom as an important sample of "whatever is," whether right or wrong.

Having thus vindicated the importance of our trust, we descend for a while into the minutiae of its duties. We have wonders to say and to infer from the attempt recently made to naturalize the Grecian style of head-dress among the beauties of the day; and can detect more mysteries in the classical outline of heads of certain illustrious ladies, than from the shaking of Lord Burleigh's. It is well known that the last introduction of this antique style of coiffure arose under the auspices of the wife of the French consul during the French Republic. Josephine and her sisterhood of incipient queens, were eager to assume the diadem and Grecian contour, so long as all men and all women were equal in the French metropolis. While still a simple republican, Madame Buonaparte chose to look like an empress; but no sooner was she invested with the imperial purple, than with admirable perspicuity she chose to relapse into a pretty coquette-imperial dignity was laid aside, and the fancy of the Rue St. Honoré once more put to the torture in her service. It is unnecessary to be more explicit touching our views of the connection between the coiffure Grecque and the republican predilections of the coteries of the city of the Graces. We trust-we sincerely trust-that a third revolution may not be effected in that mercurial region by a coup de peigne.

We believe, indeed, that our more sober fellow-citizens are very imperfectly aware of the "imposing attitude" taken on the banks of the Seine by Figaro's confraternity. In England we are apt to fancy ourselves prodigious patrons of the arts, in bestowing a gold medal or so on a picture, or patent plough; or by setting on foot a competition for a copy of Sir Joshua's lectures among the pupils of the Royal Academy. But in Paris there is an annual “ concurrence" for a comb of honour-(a comb of honour !)-among the hair-dressers of fashion; the prize being as curiously adjudged by Nardin, or Alexandre, or some other classicist of the wig-block, as any decision given in England by the Jockey Club! Plaisin, the Vitruvius of capillary architecture,

"Celni

Qui porta jusqu'aux nues l'andace des coiffures,"

was, we believe, the institutor of this more than Olympic strife.

With what unction does a favourite French writer of the last century treat of the Philosophy of the Comb. "What," says he, "is the chief ingredient of theatrical art? in what consists half the wonder of the actor's originality? In his periwig! He is about to represent a poet-his eye in a fine phrenzy rolling; but his first object is to secure a disordered and half-torn wig, bearing evidence to the ardour with which he has sought a rhyme, or penned a stanza. Or he wishes to become a painter-and a few strokes of the comb, producing the large organ of enthusiasm on the crown of his head, renders him a Guido in a moment! The character of a respectable father of a family

is far more dependent for stage effect on the formal and well-powdered arrangement of his grey hairs than on his action or delivery; and we become incalculably indignant against the excesses of his rebellious son, when the old man's white wig possesses an affecting air of decorum.

"And then the bar! Show me the judge whose decisions would be worth a farthing-the special pleader whose eloquence would bring convictionunless exercised under the flowing banner of a grave-looking periwig! What were chancellor or archbishop bald or cropped? It is the hair-dresser to whom they are indebted for their dignity of office! Nay, there have been wigs in the legal profession which have gained more causes, and ruined more families, than there were hairs in its composition!

"More than one Roscius has been able (by a mere adjustment of his wig,) to pourtray the various passions of the human mind with as much accuracy as Le Brun. By dragging it over his eyes, grief becomes deepened into despair; while a single tug of the pigtail behind, displays the shining forehead, and restores sunshine to the countenance; or he draws it over one ear, and fury glares through his disordered aspect.

"How many a youth rises from his pillow in the morning with the air of an unlicked cub, who assumes, before noon, under the influence of the comb and curling irons, the graceful urbanity of an Adonis ! How many a false registry of baptism does the barber's art inscribe upon the foreheads of middle-aged gentlemen! A dandy solicits a place in the administration. His youthful smiles and dishevelled locks betray a total incompetency to business; but no sooner does the hand of Figaro ensure a sober arrangement of those flowing tresses, than Necker himself appears! With such a head no minister in his senses could scruple to appoint him cashier to the treasury! An old gentleman solicits the hand of a heiress. His grey hairs, thinly scattered up to make a show, present a tacit confession of decrepitude; but no sooner does the hand of Figaro arrange around his weazened face the curls of a brown Brutus, than the god of love himself appears. No guardian in his senses would hesitate to sanction the hymeneal views of the factitious Cupid.

"From the day that the wig of Berenice was made a constellation, to that in which the fair hair of Madame de Lamballe was worn in triumph by the infamous partner of Robespierre, it were impossible to computate how largely the fair sex has been indebted to the Philosophy of the Comb. More conquests, perhaps, have been secured by the art of the hair-dresser than by any other channel of attraction; and the belle cheveleure' of Madame de Grignan is at least as immortal as the incomparable letters of her mother."

Now, however ambitious the above assumptions may appear, we own we are scarcely inclined to attribute meaner pretensions to this department of the fine arts at the present moment. It is inconceivable the importance achieved by hair-dressing and hair-dressers since the great victory at Waterloo. Many persons are fond of attributing the decrease of her present majesty's popularity to her opposition to the Reform Bill. But the initiated know better. What, in point of fact, was the protest of the Duke of Wellington, compared with that put forth in all the public papers, last season, by the hair-dressers of the metropolis-withdrawing their allegiance from the royal Adelaide as the avowed patroness of Isidore, the antagonist of the national barbers of Great Britain.

We propose to return occasionally to this important department of the toilet; setting forth its changes and varieties, and every other particular connected with the Philosophy of the Comb.

SONG.

BY T. ROSCOE.

'MIDST these bills so romantic-these landscapes so gay,
The Pleasures the bower of my Caroline chose;
Oh, how sweet for her lover at evening to stray,
And feed the fond flame that still fadelessly glows.
Tis here the young tyrant holds soft in his chains
A thousand love-birds that give mirth to the year;
If love, then, be only the source of sad pains,

Why swells this sweet music so full on the ear?
Is't the spring-tide of youth wakes the blossoms of joy?
Will, winter advancing, your ripe beauties slay?
Then let love at least sometimes your moments employ,
When hours, such as these, fly so swiftly away.
Believe me, when late, o'er the far trackless deep,
The white sail unfurled, and we whispered adieu,
You promised, as struggling you sought not to weep,

And your lips waked the first, strange, wild tremors we knew ;
-You promised if e'er from the grave-stricken clime

I came, and brought home your same pure virgin kiss,
Untainted as these-I should name my own time-
I come—and I claim you by this—and by this!

THE SILVER LOCKS.

BY MISS ISABEL HILL.

"My hair is grey, but not with years,
Nor grew it white in a single night,
As men's have done, from sudden fears."

I HAVE been dreaming all nightwith open eyes-of a woman I never saw but once, and that nearly teen years ago; yet, like poor Barbara's Song of Willow, which, may be, Desdemona had not thought of from the days when she heard it, till the night of her own death, "it will not from my mind." A good creature, who had married from our service, received an addition to her little flock, and, we heard, had been disappointed of a nurse. My mother sent me to inquire whether there was anything we could do for her accommodation. The husband, with hearty thanks, said that a neighbour had volunteered to stay in the house, till its mistress was restored to her wonted activity. Hearing that the new-comer was a little maid, I offered to give it my name, at the font; 'twas all I had to bestow; yet I was anxious to make acquaintance with my intended god-daughter, as soon as the

Byron. mother could admit me; but, when she did so, even while admiring her, and wondering over-for I could not exactly admire-" baby," my glance frequently strayed to Mrs. Edwards, the friend in need to whom I have alluded; though she looked like neither wife nor widow, indeed like nothing but an animated statue-without a statue's beauty; yet she possessed a graceful height, and was well made, only thin; a flowing white wrapper betrayed a full, fair throat; wan, veined hands; and tiny feet. Her head was intellectually formed; a sort of lady Macbeth binder, which crossed a forehead rather broad than high, gave it a sculpturesque air. The arched brows were flexible, and not too far above the large, well set, well shaped, well parted, deep grey, liquid eyes; their somewhat heavy lids, and long lashes, lent a very stedfast look to the whole countenance; which had, indeed, a

squareness, a prominence, a breadth of cheek, a half sullen composure of mouth, such as I never observed in any other female visage. I remember even her delicate little ears; but the peculiarity which stamped l'ensemble on my memory, was, that, in spite of the absence of both stoop and wrinkles, the presence of a warm, soft, varying voice, the braid of hair which shaded this pale, transparent face, shone whiter than itself; brows, lashes, all silver! I had heard of Albinos, but they had pink, restless eyes. She could not have been "born so; she surely was not more than thirty, and though I thought that a great age then, it did not warrant such a wintry crown. I found her kind, cheerful, intelligent, and well-mannered; though with a provincialism of address, for which I liked her the better.

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"Heaven bless you, miss," she sighed, you are at your happiest age now; fearing neither man's word nor God's weather: just old enough to like praise, and think it funny to have a beau; 'twill be no jest with you, five years hence, poor lamb! for love's a serious matter to some women."

"I don't think anything about it! I love nobody, but my brother, and he's many thousand miles away.' "Not in India, I hope!" she said, quickly.

"No; were you ever there?"

Yes, my dear, I mean-in thought I have been; my father died there; he was a soldier."

"Oh! I fancied it might be some foreign climate that had turned your hair grey, ma'am."

"So it did, darling. I had nutbrown curls like yours, once, and was a plump, rosy, laughing thing. You've guessed right. India did

it all."

"La! do tell us how!" murmured our pillowed-up hearer. Mrs. Edwards paused a minute, and then replied, "I would not, before the little lady, if she had not confessed to having read 'Paul and Virginia;' though there's no harm in it, only the foolishness of a young heart, that paid dear enough for know ing no better. I was an orphan, and lived with my grandam, on the estate of a gentleman, who had been early

left, with a mother and sisters, not very well off. You must please not to ask particulars. I played with the young people as a child, and was given a little schooling by their mamma, till old enough to live by my needle. They encouraged me-I loved them all; but most, and best, and differently from all, I loved Mr. George. He was so clever, so handsome, kind and free with all his elegance! I knew he was above me, far as heaven from earthknew he was engaged; too constant to waste a thought on such as I-too noble to wrong a worm under his foot. I had no wish but for his happiness, it was enough for me to live near him; now and then to hear his voice, and catch a smile from his sweet lips. I praised him so candidly that nobody believed me in earnest; indeed I felt as content, nay-more pleased and proud than if I had not loved; it did him no hurt, nor no one else. I never feared nor cared about myself at all. I could have been his wife's servant with pleasure, and nursed their children, as if they had been my own. 'Twas not much I wanted. I had it, and hoped it would last for ever; so all went on, pure, honest, and peaceful, till, one day, in his presence, the eldest sister asked me, why I did not get married.' I know now that I ought to have curtseyed, and said demurely, Oh, miss, I must wait till I have an offer,' orany thing but what I did say, and in any other manner; not that I spoke boldly, but I felt my colour rise, as I answered, What I am I will remain till death. I'll set no clown above me, to make evil out of good, and break my heart, by his suspicions, as farmer Joyce did by his wife.' Unlucky tongue, that girl had loved Mr. George; how did I know why, or in what fashion; such comparison must have given the young lady a hint of more than the truth in my case; for he looked so confused, so sorry on my account, so angry that his sister had heard this. I stood dismayed, and would have given my eyes to call back my few last minutes, and few last words. From that day I was invited no more to the hall. What they thought of me I heeded not, but if I had taught them to doubt

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