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beginning of the world, had been so prone to fall; none, of which it may be so truly said, that "it peeps out through every part of him;"1 none, which puts on such varied guises, and assumes such Protean shapes, as the sin of Pride. This sin shows itself in many different ways. There is the pride of Birth; the pride of Wealth, and Station; the pride of Intellect; the pride of Humility; and strangest and most unaccountable paradox of all,—the pride of Religion. Pride dates its remote origin from the garden of Eden, and is therefore called by Shakspere “ Eve's legacy:"2 but, to speak more correctly, we should say that it may be traced back to the mysterious fall of the angels from their original state of purity and innocence. “ Whence has he it if not from Hell ?'s So universally prevalent is the sin of Pride among all ranks and classes of society, that few are in a position to declaim against its rankness. We live as it were in a house of glass, and must be careful how we throw stones.
Who cries out on pride
i King Henry VIII., i. 1. 3 Two Gentlemen of Verona, iii. 1. 3°King Henry VIII., i. 1.
I promise never to draw a faulty character which does not fit at least a thousand people.--Spectator, No. 34.
In the passage just quoted, you will observe that Shakspere instances another sort of pride, and one relating to that which ought rather to be a subject of humiliation and shame—the pride of dress.2 And here he has selected examples of an over-dressed woman, and also of an overdressed man; and the moral which the Poet wishes to draw may be drawn, with equal propriety, from either of the examples introduced. Extravagancies in dress are indulged in by both sexes, though they are pardonable in neither. To over-dressed men—called in common parlance “swells,” I suppose from their swelling vanity,—it would be a mere waste of time and paper to proffer advice, since fops are not generally overburdened with brains and might therefore deem any admonition offered on the subject an impertinence—“ their soul is in their clothes.”3 To the other sex, however, I shall not hesitate to offer a few remarks, under the full conviction that their superior good sense may incline them more readily to listen to advice offered with all due respect and deference. Two very appropriate and significant epithets have been employed to designate respectively the dress of a woman of taste, and the rainbow extravagancies of a woman who has no taste at all. These epithets are “ quiet” and “loud.” The one kind of dress may be elegant, but it is never gaudy; while the other will serve to make its wearer“ the observed of all observers,” and seems to clamour as it were for public notice. Well would it be for ladies if they could in any way be led to consider, that it is but a poor investment of their time and
· Genesis, ii. 25, iii. 21.
? Ecclus., xi. 4.
3 All's well, ii. 5.
their money to lay them out in “studying fashions to adorn their bodies,”ı inasmuch as none will think or speak approvingly of the outlay, except those whose approval and commendation are not worth possessing.
'Tis the mind that makes the body rich Aud as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds, So honour peereth in the meanest habit.
Taming of the Shrew, iv. 3. If they have good looks and a virtuous disposition they need not the tinsel of splendid attire to set their persons off ; and if they are not possessed of these advantages, why should they provoke the ill-natured contrast that will be made between the beauty of their attire and the plainness of their face? Any article of female adornment, be it remembered, which attracts especial notice, either by its fantastic or by its ambiguous character, a lady of true taste will hesitate to adopt, although it be sanctioned by the everchanging fashions of a frivolous age.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
There is a very humorous anecdote related by a celebrated Essayist of the last century: “ I remember,” he says, “when I was at my friend Sir Roger de Coverley's, about this time twelvemonth, an equestrian lady appeared upon the plains which lay at a distance from his house. I was at that time walking in the fields with my old friend ; and as his tenants ran out on every side to see so strange a sight, Sir Roger asked one of them who came by us what it was? To which the country fellow replied, “Tis a gentlewoman, saving your worship’s presence, in a coat and hat.”” 2
:: 1 King Richard III., i. 2.
2 Spectator, No. 435.
In the present day the infringement of our patent (if I may so speak) in the matter of dress has become so common, that it is to be feared the time will soon come when there will remain no article of clothing which we may safely call our own. But I feel that this is tender ground on which I am now treading. I will therefore turn to another phase of the universal malady, as developed in one of its most ridiculous and contemptible forms—Purse-pride as it is called.
The Bible and Shakspere alike expose the folly of this kind of pride; and both denounce it upon the same grounds. The one tells us, that “ All gold and silver turn to dirt,” i and the other assures us, that “ Riches make to themselves wings and fly away as an eagle towards heaven."2 The Apostle also warns the rich man not to trust in his riches, because they are an insecure and uncertain possession ; a grant in fact, which may at any time be suddenly and summarily revoked.3
Many a man would be in a fair way of ridding himself of Purse-pride if he would for a few moments consider in what way the money, of which he is so proud, came into his possession. Is it the result of his own activity and diligence? Did he work for it? Oh no ;-you have only to look at his hands to discover that-hands white and soft as any lady's. He has never experienced the real satisfaction and manly independence which one feels in the possession of riches acquired by honest and patient industry. The fact is, he despises labour, and regards every species of work as mean and degrading. He is living on the wealth which was amassed by his toiling ancestors ;-he is a mere drone
i Cymbeline, iïi. 6.
2 Proverbs, xxiii. 5.
3 1 Timothy, vi. 17.
fattening, in ignoble inaction, upon the contents of the wellstocked hive. And such a man, forsooth, is proud! Would you know the reason? I can assign none, but must refer you for an answer to the Purse-proud person himself.
But see, here is another, who prides himself upon his riches, not bequeathed to him by his ancestors, but heaped together by his own personal labour. Is not he justly entitled to plume himself somewhat upon the easy and independent position which he has obtained by a course of self-denying exertion and unremitting toil? It is well perhaps that we are not able to draw aside the curtain, and to disclose to the eyes of his neighbours the miserable frauds by which he has succeeded in collecting together, by little and little, so large a fortune. That man would not feel very proud of his position, if we could reveal to his envious neighbours the mean and petty artifices by which he defrauded the poor man of his penny and the rich man of his pound: he would not feel very proud of his position, if we could reveal the secrets of his outward prosperity; the scant measure and the short weight, and the infamous adulterations of the common necessaries of life. You would not, I am sure, allow him to justify the practices by which he became rich, by pleading that others are in the habit of doing business in the same way; that it is “the custom of the trade; ” and that if he had not done so, he must have submitted to be distanced in the race by tradesmen less scrupulously honest than himself.
Such men as these disgrace their vocation ; they cast an unmerited slur on Trade which is in itself honorable to any man who engages in it; if, that is, it be conducted on principles of honesty, and be carried on in that good faith which ought always to exist between the buyer and the seller. But