Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
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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The Answer of a dutiful Daughter.

| | 244 Madam,

IT is as well Religion as Duty in me, To render you all observances, which I shall make my delight as well as employment. My greatest blessing is the continuance of your love, which obligeth me to encrease my thankfulness as well as my obedience. I perceive some censorious tongue hath been too busie with my face, and hath endeavoured to throw dirt on it, because it hath been lately spotted in the fashion; a fashion that hath as much innocence to plead for its excuse, as custom for its authority. Venus the Goddess of beauty was born with a Motticella, or natural beauty-spot, as if Nature had set forth a pattern for Art to imitate. You may see every day some little clouds over the face of the Sun, yet he is not ashamed of his attraction; nay, some of late with an Optick-glass have discovered some macula or spots in the very face of the Sun, yet they are not attributed as his deformities. The Moon when she is at Full and shining in her greatest lustre, hath in her face some remarkable spots, and herein is placed her chiefest glory; as being in every thing inconstant but in this. When I put on my Mask, which is no more nor better than one great patch, you do commen me for it; and will you be displeased with me for wearing a few black patches? Which if they are cut into Stars, do represent unto me whither I would go; or if into little worms, whither I must go; the one of them testifying in me the sense of my unworthiness | | 245 to increase my humility, and the other the height of my meditations to advance my affections. It is the unhappiness of the most harmless things, to be subject to the greatest misconstruction; and on the same subject from whence others draw their suspitions of curiosity to accuse our pride, we derive the greatest arguments of discipline and instruction to defend our innocence; neither is the ignorance of antiquity in relation to them, any argument of weight to condemn their novelty; for the Black-bags on the head are not much older than the Black-spots on the face, and much less may be said for them, only they have had the good luck in the City not to meet with contradiction, although in the Country they are much cavil'd at, unless worn by Gentlewomen of eminent note and quality. Nevertheless, according to the obligation of my duty, to give you in all things satisfaction, I am determined to wear them no more; not that I find any such vanity in them, but that by the fruits of my obedience, you may perceive what an absolute power your commands have over her, who is

Madam, Your most humble and most obedient Daughter, S.N.