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As to the dress of Nimmen in general, the impudence of some of them, and the folly of others in assuming the apparel of women and men, ought to be provided against, I think, in the following manner.
The pretended female should retain, as a mark of disgrace, the female habit all over the upper part of the body, but should be forced to put on that of a male for the rest, wearing the breeches in particular. The pretended male, upon the like principle, shonld retain the upper part of the habit masculine, and adopt, for the remainder, the petticoat and the little shoe.
I fancy the former strutting away in a bonnet full of ribbons, and small-clothes like a drummer's; the petticoat mincing tenderly by its side, surmounted by the bust of a young gentleman !
Were the heart of all Fleet-street oppress'd with care,
The mist were dispellid, should a Nooman appear! There would be many advantages in this arrangement. The fierce! species, or pretended female, could no longer be taken for a woman; and it could also slap its knee, ride a-stride, push its way through a crowd, or kick a saucy fellow on occasion, as it ought to do. The pretended male, on the other hand, would no longer be istaken for a
Its petticoat would justly protect it from insult. People would offer it seats at the theatre, and perform a hundred other humane offices, due to the weaker vessel.
At all events, pray let us observe the moral distinction. The name will be of great use for this purpose. “I can hardly call her a woman," says A. speaking of some supposed female. He is right. The appellation is Nooman. “ A pretty woman,” says B.“ but somehow repulsive.” Now a pretty woman cannot be repulsive. Nooman-nooman -is the word. A pretty nooman—just as we say a pretty cat. So a fine nooman-a fine horse. A beautiful noonan—a beautiful tiger. Though how a creature that certainly has some external resemblance to a woman, can be said to look beautiful, while destitute of the very essence of beauty, is what I cannot conceive. But this point has been noticed already
I fell in company with a nooman last winter in Paris. She was looked upon as a very pretty woman, though with a doubtful expres. sion. The company were talking of the frightful distresses of Ireland; so “to divert such a very distressing subject,” the supposed lady (who was an absentee) took out a jewel-box, and shewed us a superfluous collection of toys that must have cost many a poor tenant a headache to furnish. Here was a nooman for you! She went away; and we found another amongst us, in the shape of the most sensitive of the party. This “ lady" did nothing but abuse the other in the most affecting terms. She went so far as to writhe under some of the most touching hysterical attitudes. Observing that our sympathy cooled, in proportion as her's grew vehement, she suddenly dried up her tears; and after “snapping her husband's head off,” as the phrase is, proceeded to bite us all round in a series of spiteful remarks. The poor man had married a nooman !
Perhaps some of my brethren of the New Monthly could favour the public with experiences to the same effect; which would be doing the community a service.
THE EMBELLISHMENTS OF LONDON. Utility and convenience are the first objects of taste; what remains is to render that which is useful for our more indispensable wants, beautiful or pleasurable to the eye. Upon these principles, the avenues, approaches, communications, or, to use other terms, the streets, and adjacent roads-or, to be more general, the laying out of the ground, or site of a city or town, is the first consideration, and the beautifying those streets, roads, or other openings, the second. With these views in contemplation, it seems indispensable to hesitate concerning that love of " Gates,” which the author of a Letter to the Right Honourable Sir Charles Long, just printed and published, * makes his preliminary point, and which has, in fact, called our attention to the present subject. In the class of " Gates," the writer is anxious to reckon Triumphal Arches. It may deserve remark too, that the author of the letter is not wholly forgetful of the principle of “ use;" and yet is, perhaps, equally open to criticism, as well when he proposes what may be of “ apparent use," as when he talks of that for which he does not assume any apparent use" whatever! Finding fault with the “ Canal,” as it is called, in St. James's Park, he says, “ Apparent use is indispensable to the completely pleasing aspect of water;" and presently adds, “ An elegant pleasure-boat would give to the present bare and unappropriated surface of the Canal, a meaning which it now seems to want. But the “ apparent uses” of water are very many, besides that of carrying pleasure-boats. Water feeds vegetation; water implies coolness and refreshment; water reflects the skies, the trees, the grass, and the buildings, and is therefore cheerful, various, and beautiful. Water is thus useful, and of apparent use, even though a vessel should never rest upon its bosom; and there is even a beauty in water which is vacant and may be styled solitary; as there is also a beauty in water which is, as it were, peopled and inhabited with ships and boats. But how stands the question of “ apparent use," as to the building of useless gates, in or around London? The inhabitants and visitors of London, indeed, know so much about Turnpike Gates, that the very name must be almost enough to turn the victory against the author of the appeal to Sir Charles Long! “Most of the continental cities," it is observed, “ have their gates built in honour of their victories, or at least named after them, or after the town to which they lead the way. From the want of these, and from its wide, dusty, unavenued approaches, London has more the air of a vast overgrown town, than of a magnificent city." The fact, that “most of the continental cities have their gates named (among other means of distinction) after the town to which they lead,” is not much, it may be presumed, to the purpose of the writer ; but the very mention of this, and of the other qualifying particulars, enforces the recollection, that these cities have not“ built” their gates “in honour of their victories,” but only so named some of their gates, after all of them had been “ built” for a very different purpose, and real and “ apparent use;" namely, for security in peace and war! Bit our letter-writer has seen these “ continental cities ;" he has associated the idea of gates, and the idea of avenues (formal or ornamented avenues, or approaches,) with the idea of a “city,” as contradistinguished from a “town." He has luxuriated in fortifications, and walled towns, and cities! He has forgotten the peculiar and unfortunate circumstances (peculiar and unfortunate as compared with his own country) which make gates of real, as well as “ apparent use,” across the Channel. He has wanted the sound moral and sentimental taste which exults in the deliverance of our own islands, at the present day, from the necessity of walling in their towns and cities, and which delights in beholding at home none þut gate-less towns and cities, unless where ancient gates remain, valuable, in the eye of moral taste, only because they are historical; and this while our “continental neighbours give to the gates which they have built for daily use, as we to our streets, squares, and bridges, the names of their victories, or of the lowns to which they lead.” He would have Englishmen fancy themselves acting in the very same spirit, if they should build gates on purpose to give names to them, as if they were giving names to gates which it was necessary to build ! Long may an opposite taste prevail ; or, at least, long may the prevailing taste prevent the building of useless gates, and long the happy circumstances exist, which, in London, render gates useless!
* A Letter to Sir Charles Long, on the improvements proposed, and now carrying on, in the western part of London. 8vo.
The writer pleads for the little “inconvenience” of gates, and instances Temple Bar, upon which it would be tedious to make all the reply invited ; but the question is, not as to the greater or less “ inconvenience,” but as to the greater or less convenience, utility, and necessity. Neither is it, as he puts it, the greater or less inconvenience of suffering " these interesting vestiges of former times to remain ;" but the greater or less convenience, utility, necessity, or even appropriate and agreeable ornament of gates to be newly erected. The association of ideas, as just suggested, with an ancient gate, threws us back into the past, with its manners and its griefs; the association of ideas with a modern English open town or city, conveys to us the happiness of the country and age in which we live!
The writer, however, who attempts the making out of no case of necessity, and thence utility, for new gates in London, derived from its present dangers, either foreign or domestic, offers two uses, and even grounds of necessity, both of which must surely fail him. In the first place, those gates must have walls, and then, those walls might
embellish London with specimens of architecture.” Without asking whether all our specimens of modern architecture are such uniform embellishments of London as to tempt us to build only for embellishment sake ; it may yet be allowed us to ask, whether there is no way of embellishing London with specimens of architecture, without building upon the precise principle of digging holes, and filling up again, for the sake of creating labour; that is, building only for building sake, and not for the use of the building? The writer, along with most of the remainder of the world, thinks the public excusable in not knowing what the statue in Hyde Park “ would be at;" but overlooks the same difficulty when he talks of gates, at least equally unmeaning!
But if gates are unnecessary, and therefore without « apparent use,” in and about London, either for defence, or for exhibiting our perfection in architecture, the writer has at least fallen upon one reason for building them, which, if his account of the matter is to be relied upon, must be listened to at once. They are wanted, it seems, for historical monuments—for supplying the place of those pillars, at first rude, but afterwards sculptured, and even lettered, which men as destitute as ourselves of paper and print, and books and medals, used to erect for the information of their contemporaries and of posterity! “ Among these improvements," says the author of the Letter to Sir Charles Long, “I'am sorry that nothing is said of any architectural memorial of those great victories, which must otherwise be left to the doubtful and tardy historian alone to commemorate, when the very fact of their existence might be almost questioned, if the streets and squares of this vast city afford no evidence of it (and that by means of gates) from the hands of the architect, or the chisel of the sculptor!”– Will it be easily believed that this sentence is meant to apply itself to London, and appears to have been written in 1825 ?
The writer, however, is for planting his historical gate, or triumphal arch, upon the very spot which is just about to be freed from the turnpike gate, at Hyde Park Corner. This is a project which, with some variety of detail, has been brought forth, and from time to time resisted, ever since the date of the battle of Waterloo ; and which the more sensible part of the public has probably regarded as a puerile fancy, or as the proposed job of an architect, or of a sculptor, or of both; and pretty nearly as bad as the subscription monument for the late Princess Charlotte, with its two stone figures of the deceasedone, the body without the soul, and the other, the soul without the body. Before turnpike gates were treated with the little reverence which they obtain since the days of Mr. Cobbeit, Mr. M'Adam, and Lord Lowther, it was innocently proposed to build a triumphal arch at the entrance of Piccadilly, the two limbs of which were to do the duty of the two lodges for the turnpike men, and the hollow entrance, (which would be wanting to our writer's gates) a five or six-barred turnpike gate, secundum artem. But the single idea of building in England, and at the present day, either a gate as a triumphal arch, or an acknowledged triumphal arch as a public monument of a victory, is as inconsistent with good taste, as the placing a statue of Achilles in Hyde Park as a monument of the victories of the Duke of Wellington and his brave companions in arms. It would not speak to the public; it would remind the public of nothing which has either happened, or is likely to happen. It would speak to none but the readers of books, and who may, therefore, be left to books themselves. If an inscription, or if a sculpture, is to do the business, then either the one or the other of these may be as readily placed upon or against any other wall or building, as upon or against a gate; but if it is the gate, or the arch, which is to speak, then such a building as this latter must be dumb to the public in an age which witnesses no military triumphs or processions. Good taste follows use, nature, and matter of fact. If a city had a gate, built for necessity, and if that gate had actually afforded a passage to a conqueror, and his army, and his prisoners, and his spoils—in that case, it would be natural to attach for VOL. X. No. 57.-1825.
ever after to that gate, some connexion with the occurrence, and it might claim a name-it might bear an înscription—it might be embellished or ennobled by sculptures, or by trophies--or its rude architecture might be encased, enriched, and aggrandised with all the pomp and luxury of the building art. Again, the erection of an arch over the road, upon wbich those whom it is intended to honour are to pass, is natural. An arch, even of two sticks of willow, is a species of canopy. The beart seeks some external mode of expressing its senttiment. When his late Majesty went into Kent to review the volunteers of that county in Lord Romney's park, arches, formed of single sticks, and decorated with cherries, were raised in many of the villages along the road. This is the origin of the Triumphal Arch. To this type you may add all the pomp of Roman architecture, and sculpture, and gilding ; but to build a triumphal arch, where there are no “ triumphs,” where no conqueror, no army, no prisoners, and no spoils, in solemn procession, and amid the shouts of the people, enter ; in a country where, in point of fact, victories are announced to the public only by means of guns and gazettes; where the victor, returning to his home, travels alone, in a hired chaise and four, and where illuminations (of religious original) supply the place of triumphs : to build triumphal arches in such an age and country is not to speak to the public; is not to consult and address ourselves to public taste or feeling, to public recollection and habitude, and is not, therefore, to be governed by any share of true taste, in the administration of public things. It is not to 6 consult the genius of the place," nor apparent use," nor historical truth, nor the truth of nature.
But if the building of gates is inconsistent with our wants, that is, with our happy capability of enjoying open towns and cities, and if triumphal arches have no origin and reason in our national or military manners, and even if our victories are in no lack, nor are likely to be in lack, of speedy and accredited historians, who may well be expected to last, or at least to succeed each other, as long, in any case, as our “ streets and squares," are we still denied the pleasure of expressing even the exuberance of our historical propensity in the shape of inscriptions, sculptures, and even architectural labours-labours of apparent and absolute use-labours adapted to and even demanded by our necessities—labours which would increase the appearance of security and comfort in our metropolis, and even advance iis local prosperity ? What if (provided we abound in superfluous capital, or are even preeminent in the organ of constructiveness) what is, instead of building useless gates, we build useful bridges ?-Are not bridges as ornamental as gates ? Are they not equal specimens of architecture, and equally adapted to bear inscriptions, and to be decorated with sculpture and would not their utility, considering the topography of London, be more than uneqnal? This suggestion, however, is in part jocular. Bridges, no more than gates, are to be built for the sake of bearing a name; but bridges, and not only bridges, but streets and squares, when built, may be named (as our continental neighbours vame their gates) in honour of national victories : and, in point of fact, have we not a Waterloo Bridge? and who is there that would exchange it for the sake either of utility, beauty, or historical reminiscence, with a gate to be erected only that it may be called Waterloo Gate?