Its postillion in frizzed and powdered hair, under a cocked hat, with a long queue on his back and in great boots, hooped with iron, rode a lively little bidet. Such was the French stagecoach of those days, its running gear having been planned with an eye to economy, since vehicles were taxed according to the number of their wheels.
Your drawing-rooms would have thrown Aspasia into hysterics. Things are not beautiful because they cost money; nor is any grouping handsome without harmony. Your house is like a woman dressed in Ninon de l'Enclos's bodice, with Queen Anne's hooped skirt, who limps in Chinese shoes, and wears an Elizabethan ruff round her neck, and a Druse's horn on her head.
And now, in the managing my household affairs, I found myself wanting in many things, which I thought at first it was impossible for me to make; as indeed, as to some of them, it was: for instance, I could never make a cask to be hooped.
The most remarkable of them are, 1st, the Horsfall smooth-bore, of 13 inches bore, 44 inches maximum diameter, and 24 tons weight, price, $12,500; 2d, the "Alfred" rifle, in the recent Exhibition, of 10 inches bore, price, $5,000; 3d, the 12-inch smooth-bore in the Brooklyn Navy-Yard, which, though very light, has fired a double 224-pound shot with 45 pounds of powder: if properly hooped, it would make the most formidable gun in America.
What I especially owe that lady is my sense of what she had in common, as a queer hooped and hook-nosed figure, of large circumference and archaic attire, strange tasteless toggery, with those performers of the past who are preserved for us on the small canvases of Hogarth and Zoffany; she helped one back at that time of her life to a vision of the Mrs. Cibbers and the Mrs.
Through the dusk the tripping figures of gentlemen in white flannels and jaunty caps brushed the provincial Honfleur swells. Some gentle English voices told us some of the villa residents had come down to the pier, moved by the beauty of the night. Groups of sailors, with tanned faces and punctured ears hooped with gold rings, sat on the broad stone parapets, talking unintelligible Breton patois.
It is painful to see the poor girls bending under the weight of their water troughs, which are carried on the back, and shaped something like a pannier with a flat side. They are made of wood, hooped like a barrel, and have a close-fitting lid. The Bohemian women perform duties even more unsuitable.
Only yesterday she was always spinning flax, and used to go to mass with the tail of her petticoat over her head instead of a mantle, and there she goes to-day in a hooped gown with her broaches and airs, as if we didn't know her! If God keeps me in my seven senses, or five, or whatever number I have, I am not going to bring myself to such a pass; go you, brother, and be a government or an island man, and swagger as much as you like; for by the soul of my mother, neither my daughter nor I are going to stir a step from our village; a respectable woman should have a broken leg and keep at home; and to be busy at something is a virtuous damsel's holiday; be off to your adventures along with your Don Quixote, and leave us to our misadventures, for God will mend them for us according as we deserve it.
Once, going by Hector's, the lassies wi' their shoon in their hands, were walkin' easier barefit and savin' shoe leather, and a young Embro' leddy, wi' a hooped skirt wi' the braidin' like theek rope on a stack, and high-heeled shoon, looked disdainfu' at them.
In Clare Island they show her castle tower, with a hole in the wall, through which they say she tied a cable from her ship, ready by day or night for a summons from her seamen. She voyaged as far as London town, and stood face to face with the ruffed and hooped Elizabeth, meeting her offer of an English title with the assertion that she was a princess in her own land.