Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/74

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vowing that I would never again touch a pen. In fact it is, as your friend says, ‘She that would be a notable housewife, must be that thing only.’”

Mrs. Hall died at Philadelphia, on the 8th of April, 1830, aged 69. A small volume containing selections from her miscellaneous writings, was published in Philadelphia, in 1833. This volume contains also an interesting sketch of her life, from which the present notice has been compiled.


ON FASHION.[1]

Most of you writers have leaped into the censor’s throne without leave or license; where you were no sooner seated, than, with the impudence one might expect from such conduct, you have railed, with all the severity of satire and indecency of invective, against our folly, frivolity, forwardness, fondness of dress, and so forth. You can’t conceive what a latitude is assumed by the witlings of the day, from the encouragement of such pens as yours. Those well dressed young gentlemen who will lay awake whole nights in carving the fashion of a new doublet, and who will criticise Cooper without knowing whether Shakspeare wrote dramas or epic poems, these wiseacres, I say, saunter along Chestnut street, when the sun shines, and amuse themselves with sneers against our sex: and in nothing are we so much the object of their ridicule as in our devotion to fashion, on whose shrine, according to these modern peripatetics, we sacrifice our time, our understanding, and our health. We have freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, and why should we not enjoy a freedom of fashions?

What do these sapient gentlemen wish? Would they have a dress for females established by an act of the Assembly, as doctors of medicine have been created in Maryland? “Which dress aforesaid of the aforegoing figure, colour, materials, fashion, cut, make, &c., &c., all the good spinsters of Pennsylvania shall wear on all highdays and holy days, under pain, &c., &c.” Horrible idea!—What! tie us down to the dull routine of the same looks, the same bonnets, the same cloaks?— take from us that charming diversity, that delightful variety, which blooms in endless succession from

  1. Addressed to the editor of the Port Folio.