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Circular, or over a Red-book two years old!
How sharp one might be upon the miserable
vanity of superfluities, and the uselessness of
luxuries. How easily we could do without

     "Give but to nature that which nature needs,
      Man's life is cheap as beast's."

You, and I, and the King, could live on
sixpence a day, and never go hungry. But
after all, in the very midst and flow of this
our homiles, and this sharpness of our
exhortation, comes this thought to make us
pause before we go with unwashed faces to
live in a tub like Diogenes, or to hide
ourselves in a cave, and cover ourselves with the
skins of wild beasts, as Jean Jacques Rousseau
talked of doing, or to dig up pig nuts for
food, and shovel gold away as if it were mud,
like Timon in the play. For we begin to
think how many thousand men and women
in England, and how many millions more
throughout the world, eat their daily bread
by making and vending Fashion's elegant
trumpery; gloves, fans, spangles, scents, and
bon-bons: how ships, colonies, and commerce,
are all mixed up in a curious yet congruous
elaboration with these fal-lals: how one end
of the chain may be my lady's boudoir and
its nick-nacks in Belgravia, and the other
end a sloppy ship-dock on the hot strand of
the Hooghly: how the beginnings of a ball
supper, with its artificial flowers, its trifles,
its barley sugar temples, its enamelled baskets
and ratifia cakes, were the cheerless garret
and the heated cellar: how the immensities
of the worldits workshops, and marts, and
bourses, and chambers of commerceare, after
all, only an accumulation of these fashionable
littlenesses in bulk; packed into huge bales
and casks, registered in ledgers and day-books,
and sent and re-sent in strong ships, with
bills of lading and charter-parties, to the
uttermost ends of the earth. Pause before
you condemn Vanity Fairreflect for a
minute before you run to the justice's to have
its charter taken away. Obadiah Broadbrim
has helped to stock it; conventicles have
been built from its profits; the crumbs that
fall from its table feed millions of mouths.
Nor does the beneficence of Fashion end here.
After she has made one set of fortunes at
first hand, she showers her favours on trade
at second hand. From second-hand court
dresses, and from second-hand fashion of all
kinds, the moral of Fashion can be more
strongly pointed, than from Fashion herself
when arrayed in all her glory.

Let us instance Mrs. Brummus. She is the
mysterious female who deals in second-hand
ladies' apparel. I look upon Mrs. Brummus's
vast silent repository of last season's varieties
with the awe I have for a family vault; for
the scenery of a worn-out pantomime; for
undertaker's Latin (in oil colours); for last
year's Belle Assemblée, or for the tailor's
plate of the fashions and the Court Guide
for the year eighteen hundred and fifty-

Mrs. Brummus's repository nestles as
Milton's fountain did, in the "navel of a
wood," quite in the core of a cancer of dingy,
second-hand streets and houses. Both Mrs.
Brummus and her shop have, moreover, a
dingy, faded, second-hand appearance. They
remind you of the magnificent allocution of
the lady of the quondam dealer in second-
hand apparel in Congreve's comedy: " You
that I took from darning of old lace, and
washing of old gauze, with a blue-black nose
over a chafing dish full of starved embers,
behind a traverse-rag, in a shop no bigger
than a bird-cage! " The chafing-dish and
the blue-black nose may be gone; but there
is yet a marvellous touch of the bird-cage
about Mrs. Brummus's shop: there is yet
the traverse rag, the torn lace to be darned,
and the old gauze to be washed.

Enter. Here is the discarded wardrobe of
those enchanting actresses, those ravishing
songstresses, those bewitching dancers, who
have so enthralled and delighted Fashion;
who have drawn rapturous plaudits from
Fashion's kid gloved hands; melting sighs
from under Fashion's white waistcoats; tender
glances from Fashion's double-barrelled
lorgnettes; lisps of praise from Fashion's
moustachioed lips, when the wearers of those
dresses acted, and sang, and danced on
Fashion's great chalked stageupon that
stage where there are more sinks and rises,
more drops, flats, borders, set pieces, wings,
and floats; where there are more changes of
scene, more going down graves and vampire
traps; where there are more music, dancing,
gay clothes, red and white paint, hollow hearts
and masks for them to wear, than you would
find on the stage of the largest playhouse in
the world. Suspended and recumbent, folded
up, stretched out, singly and in heaps, in Mrs.
Brummus's bird-cage shop, in dimly distant
crypts, and parlours, and crannies, and
cupboards, and lumbering old presses, and groaning
shelves, are the crimson velvet dresses
of duchesses, the lace that queens have
worn, our grandmothers' brocaded sacks and
hoops and high heeled shoes, fans, feathers,
silk stockings, lace pocket handkerchiefs, scent
bottles, the Brussels lace veil of the bride, the
sable bombazine of the widow, embroidered
parasols, black velvet mantles, pink satin
slips; blue kid, purple prunella, or white satin
shoes; leg of mutton, bishop, Mameluke
sleeves; robes without bodies, and bodies
without robes, and sleeves without either;
the matron's apron and the opera dancer's
skirt. Here is Fashion in undress, without
its whalebone, crenoline, false hair, paint, and
pearl powder; here she is tawdry, tarnished,
helpless, inert, dislocated, like Mr. Punch's
company in the deal box he carries strapped
behind his back.

If there be one article of commerce which
Fashion delights in more than another, it is

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