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Reader. Nay, I allow that your mode of argument does not look quite so suspicious as the old way of sermonising and severity, but I have my doubts, especially from that laugh of yours. If I should look in to-morrow morning

Indicator. Ah, madam, the look in of a face like yours does anything with me. It shall fetch me up at nine, if you please

six, I meant to say.

HATS, NEW AND ANCIENT.

W

E know not what will be thought of our taste in so im

portant a matter, but we must confess we are not

fond of a new hat. There is a certain insolence about it: it seems to value itself upon its finished appearance, and to presume upon our liking before we are acquainted with it. In the first place, it comes home more like a marmot, or some other living creature, than a manufacture. It is boxed up, and wrapped in silver paper, and brought delicately. It is as sleek as a lap-dog. Then we are to take it out as nicely, and people are to wonder how we shall look in it. Maria twitches one this way, and Sophia that, and Caroline that, and Catharine tother. We have the difficult task, all the while, of looking easy, till the approving votes are pronounced : our only resource (which is also difficult) is to say good things to all four ; or to clap the hat upon each of their heads, and see what pretty milk-women they make. At last the approving votes are pronounced; and (provided it is fine) we may go forth. But how uneasy the sensation about the head! How unlike the old hat, to which we had become used, and which must now make way for this fop of a stranger! We might do what we liked with the former. Dust, rain, a gale of wind, a fall, a squeeze, --nothing affected it. It was a true friend, a friend for all weathers. Its appearance only was against it : in everything else it was the better for wear.

But if the roads or the streets are too dry, the new

hat is afraid of getting dusty : if there is wind, and it is not tight, it may be blown off into the dirt : we may have to scramble after it through dust or mud ; just reaching it with our fingers, only to see it blown away again. And if rain comes on! Oh ye gallant apprentices, who have issued forth on a Sunday morning, with Jane or Susan, careless either of storms ať night-fall, or toils and scoldings next day! Ye, who have received your new hat and boots but an hour before ye set out; and then issue forth triumphantly, the charmer by your side! She, with arm in yours, and handkerchief in hand, blushing, or eating gingerbread, trips on ; ye, admiring, trudge: we ask ye, whether love itself has prevented ye from feeling a certain fearful consciousness of that crowning glory, the new and glossy hat, when the first drops of rain announce the coming of a shower? Ah, hasten, while yet it is of use to haste; ere yet the spotty horror fixes on the nap! Out with the protecting handkerchief, which, tied round the hat, and flowing off in a corner behind, shall gleam through the thickening night Jike a suburb comet ! Trust not the tempting yawn of stableyard or gate-way, or the impossible notion of a coach! The rain will continue; and alas ! ye are not so rich as in the morning. Hasten ! or think of a new hat's becoming a rainspout!

Think of its well-built crown, its graceful and wellmeasured fit, the curved-up elegance of its rim, its shadowing gentility when seen in front, its arching grace over the ear when beheld sideways! Think of it also the next day! How altered, how dejected !

“How changed from him,

That life of measure, and that soul of rim !" Think of the paper-like change of its consistence; of its limp sadness,—its confused and flattened nap ; and of that polished and perfect circle, which neither brush nor hot iron shall restore !

We have here spoken of the beauties of a new hat; but, abstractedly considered, they are very problematical. Fashion makes beauty for a time. Our ancestors found a grace in the

cocked hats now confined to beadles, Chelsea pensioners, and coachmen. They would have laughed at our chimney-tops with a border ; though, upon the whole, we do think them the more graceful of the two. The best modern covering for the head was the imitation of the broad Spanish hat in use about thirty years back, when Mr Stothard made his designs for the Novelist's Magazine. But in proportion as society has been put into a bustle, our hats seem to have narrowed their dimensions: the flaps were clipped off more and more till they became a rim ; and now the rim has contracted to a mere nothing; so that, what with our close heads, and our tight, succinct mode of dress, we look as if we were intended for nothing but to dart backwards and forwards on matters of business, with as little hindrance to each other as possible.

This may give us a greater distaste to the hat than it deserves; but, good-looking or not, we know of no situation in which a new one can be said to be useful. We have seen how the case is during bad weather ; but if the weather is in the finest condition possible, with neither rain nor dust, there

may be a hot sunshine ; and then the hat is too narrow to shade us: no great evil, it is true ! but we must have our pique out against the knave, and turn him to the only account in our powerwe must write upon him. For every other purpose we hold him as naught. The only place a new hat can be carried into with safety, is a church; for there is plenty of room there. There also takes place its only union of the ornamental with the useful, if so it is be called ;--we allude to the preparatory ejaculation whispered into it by the genteel worshipper, before he turns round and makes a bow to Mr and Mrs Jones and the Misses Thompson. There is a formula for this occasion ; and doubtless it is often used, to say nothing of extempore effusions: but there are wicked imaginations, who suspect that, instead of devouter whisperings, the communer with his lining sometimes ejaculates no more than “ Swallow, St James's Street ;” or Agarde and Spain, Hatters, No. 51, Oxford Street, London ;'

--after which he draws up his head with infinite gravity and preparation, and makes the gentle recognition aforesaid.

But, wherever there is a crowd, the new hat is worse than useless. It is a pity that the general retrenchment of people's finances did away with the flat opera hat, which was a very sensible thing. The round one is only in the way. The matting over the floor of the Opera-house does not hinder it from getting dusty, not to mention its chance of a kick from the inconsiderate. But from the pit of the other theatres you may bring it away covered with sawdust, or rubbed up all the wrong way of the nap, or monstrously squeezed into a shapeless lump. The least thing to be expected in a pressure is a great poke in its side, like a sunken cheek,

Boating is a mortal enemy to new hats. A shower has you fast in a common boat; or a sail-line, or an inexperienced oar, may knock the hat off; and then fancy it tilting over the water with the tide, soaked all the while beyond redemption, and escaping from the tips of your outstretched fingers, while you ought all to be pulling the contrary way home.

But of all wrong boxes for a new hat, avoid a mail-coach. If you keep it on, you will begin nodding perhaps at midnight, and then it goes jamming against the side of the coach, to the equal misery of its nap and your own. If you take it off, where is its refuge? Will the clergyman take the least heed of it, who is snoring comfortably in one corner in his nightcap? Or will the farmer, jolting about inexorably? Or the regular traveller who, in his fur cap and infinite knowledge of highway conveniences, has already beheld it with contempt?

Or the old market. woman, whom it is in vain to request to be tender? Or the young damsel, who wonders how you can think of sleeping in such a thing ? In the morning you suddenly miss your hat, and ask after it with trepidation. The traveller smiles. They all move their legs, but know nothing of it, till the marketwoman exclaims, “ Deary me! well—Lord, only think! A hat is it, sir ? Why, I do believe-but I'm sure I never thought o'

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