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The Voracity of Society.

Were Voltaire’s intelligent Huron landed in a London drawing-room at the height of the season, he could scarcely fail to remark that the costume of an English lady of fashion is far more indelicate than that of an Indian squaw ; and again, I am tolerably sure that the enlightened savage would be struck with the addictedness of modern fashionable society, especially the feminine portion thereof in England, to immoderate eating and drinking. For my part, the voracity of society fills me with a pleased amazement, because I can remember the time when ladies ate and drank—or, at least, professed that they could eat or drink—scarcely anything at all. Pope’s “Lord Fanny,” who protested that that he never touched “ beef nor horse, nor any of those things,” found many imitators among our ladies some forty years ago, when tight lacing and “ hour glass waists ” were all the rage ; when a Byronic paleness of complexion was a la mode , and high-born damsels absolutely drank vinegar in order to make themselves thin; and when a lady with an anatomical development resembling that of Madame Sarah Bernhardt was though t to be the most symmetrical of models for such a fashionable portrait painter as A. E. Chalon, R.A. Modern society has changed all that. To judge from the innumerable engraved vignettes of ladies’ corsets in the fashion-books and on the wrappers of the illustrated . papers, tight lacing appears to be at present more prevalent than ever it was ; but, save among a proportion of the dowagers, the voracity of society appears to be powerless to make it stout. I was at a conversazione at the Mansion House the other evening, and, so far as I can discern, the majority of the “ fine city ladies ” of whom Tom Tug in “ The Waterman,” used to sing, run small and'thin. Yet the Lord Mayor’s copiously-pro-vided buffets were densely thronged from' 9 to i i o’clock, and his lordship’s guests were all eating and drinking at a prodigious rate. The strains of the military band in attendance were half drowned hy the sound of the clicking of plates and the popping of champagne corks. Had all these good people dined? And if so, at what hour had jhey jkVtakeh of a ifihsttmtiiil repast ? —London Truth,

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Bibliographic details

The Voracity of Society., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 267, 12 February 1881

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The Voracity of Society. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 267, 12 February 1881