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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex, an electronic edition

by Hannah Woolley [Woolley, Hannah, fl. 1670]

date: 1675
source publisher: Printed by A. Maxwell for Edward Thomas
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

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Of the Gait or Gesture

It is an easie matter to gather the disposition of our heart, by the dimension of our Gait. A light carriage most commonly discovers a loose inclination; as jetting and strutting, shew haughtiness and self-conceit. Were your bodies transparent, you could not more perspicuously display your levity than by wanton Gesticulations.

Decency when she seeth Women, whose modesty should be the Ornament of their beauty, demean themselves in the streets, or elswhere, more like an Actorefs, than Virtu's Imitatress; she endeavours to reclaim them, by bidding them look back to preceding times, & there they shall find Women (though Pagans) highly censured, for that their outward carriage only made them suspected. A Vail (no Vizardmask) covered their face, modesty measured each step, and so circumspect were they in general of their carriage, lest they should become a scandal or blemish to their Sex.

Their repair to their (prophane) Temples was decent, without any loose or light gesture; and having entred them, constant and setled was their behaviour. Quick was their pace in the dispatch of oeconomick or houshold-affairs, but slow in their | | 38 Epicurean visits, or extravagent Gossipings. How much more should you in these purer Christian times affect that most which most adorns and beutifieth! Eye your feet those bases of frailty, how they who so proudly exalt themselves on the surface of the Earth, are but Earth, and are the daily Porters which carry their earthly fame nearer its Earth.

With what apish gestures some walk, to discover their lightness; others like Colosso's discovering their ambition and haughtiness? How punchtually these, as if they were Puppets, who are beholding for their motion to some secret Artifice? These unstaid dimentions, argue unsetled dispositions. Such as these, discretion cannot prize, nor found judgment praise. Vulgar opinion, whose applause seldom receives life from desert, may admire what is new; but discretion only that which is neat. Having thus soken what is requisite in Gesture, I shall next treat how the Eye ought to be coverned.

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