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fans of the east are made of feathers. The domestic fans of Spain are suspended from the ceiling of the apartments over the tables, from which, during dinner, they keep off insects.
The fan was early introduced into the Roman church, when the christians removed from the “cool grots and mossy cells," in which their pure and persecuted sect was obliged to celebrate its devotions, to those superb temples, where the consecrated fans of infallibility, borne before the pope, still shew that even infallibility is no proof against heat.
The fan, likewise, makes a part of the ceremonies of the Greek church ; and is placed in the hands of the deacon, on the day of his consecration, in allusion to his office of keeping off the flies from the priests, while they officiate. This must be a sinecure in Russia ; but the form survives the want; and woe to the infidel, who, in that region of ice, would propose a chaufferette, to replace the fan established by the church and state, at some glorious and immortal epoch.
Fans came into England, with other eastern objects of use, ornament, or curiosity. The fan with which Queen Elizabeth is said to have graciously tapped an Irish lord lieutenant, (Sir J. Perrot,) would knock down a modern courtier. In the time of Charles the Second a French fan was a fatal gift. That which saved the modesty of Madame de Genlis's Dianas, purchased too often the honour of the Maid of Honour of the English court. The Duchess of Portsmouth, of course, brought over her own fan from the Palais Royal; from which she was despatched by the Duchess of Orleans, to rule over the heart and councils of the king of England : and, above all, to secure the king's salvation, by enabling him to live and die “ ferme catholique,” which he did.* The zeal and the views are the same: the form only differs. Other times—other modes.
The fan, however, was not the great rampart thrown up before the citadel of English modesty, under the Stuarts. The modesty of those times had a strange habit of going to see plays so immodest, that it was deemed necessary to cover the face " pour dissimuler son embarras ;” and the mask was resorted to, while the fan was simply retained, then, and for a century afterwards, for the only and innocent purpose of
* Charles the Second died in the arms of the Church and the Duchess of Portsmouth. See DALRYMPLE.
“ Giving coolness to the matchless dame
The tactics and manœuvres, necessary for the operating of these double purposes, produced the well known “ exercise of the fan," so delightfully detailed, for the benefit of posterity, in that treasure of a work, the Spectator.
At last, in the decadence of manners, (historically marked in the memoirs of a fan, and its philosophy, as clearly as in the decline and fall of empires,) this elegant little implement of the coquetry of our ancestresses fell to be an article of mere utility-returning, as all things must, to its origin.
Our mothers and aunts appeared, during summer, with a good housewife-like green fan, to keep off the sun: for “ l'affaire du parasol,” for which Louis the Fifteenth was obliged to issue a decree, had not yet travelled into Great Britain ; and the fan of " ma tante Aurore" was the only fan known to our aunt Tabithas. French philosophy, and a total abandonment of the constitution of 1688, at length banished this instrument as an indispensable part of the toilette. The parasol was found more convenient; and the fan, only employed to “ cool the matchless dame” after a walk through a quadrille, or a lounge through a waltz, was reduced to that fairy size to which Madame de Genlis gives the reproachful title of éventail imperceptible. “ The history of fashions is not so frivolous as has been imagined; it is, in fact, the history of manners," -and so far, je suis d'accord, with the venerable, but not very veracious, historian of the “ Fan."
NO ONE'S ENEMY BUT HIS OWN.
“ No man's enemy but his own” happens generally to be the enemy of every body with whom he is in relation. The leading quality that goes to make this character, is a reckless imprudence, and a selfish pursuit of selfish enjoyments, independent of all consequences.
" No one's enemy but his own" runs rapidly through his means; calls, in a friendly way, on his friends, for bonds, bail, and securities; involves his nearest kin; leaves his wife a beggar; and quarters his orphans upon the public; and, after having enjoyed himself to his last guinea, entails a life of dependance on his progeny, and dies in the odour of that ill-understood reputation of harmless folly, which is more injurious to society, than some positive crimes. The social chain is so nicely and delicately constructed, that not a link snaps, rusts, or refuses its proper play, without the shock being felt like an electric vibration to its utmost limits.