Originally posted 1/2/11
Dear Lord Chesterfield,
As a lady of substantial cranial proportions, I say with all humility that I simply cannot countenance the follies of my age. To dance and make merry? Bah! ‘Tis a waste of sturdy, spinster feet. Likewise, I do not care to garland my person in the most dear and newfangled fashions, thereby bankrupting my paltry accounts, simply to join in the happy pursuits of society. Yet what choice have I but to make myself a lemming?
Marie-Adelaide de Bourbon, one of Louis XV’s spinster daughters
Dear Miss Anthrope:
In truth, whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well; and nothing can be done well without attention: I therefore carry the necessity of attention down to the lowest things, even to dancing and dress. Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young [wo]man; therefore mind it while you learn it that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act. Dress is of the same nature; you must dress; therefore attend to it; not in order to rival or to excel a fop in it, but in order to avoid singularity, and consequently ridicule. Take great care always to be dressed like the reasonable people of your own age, in the place where you are; whose dress is never spoken of one way or another, as either too negligent or too much studied.