296 TYLNEY HALL. would be intr.uding—unwisely intruding—on tlie peculiar province of Miss Mitford, to attempt to describe the commotion of the village ; how rustic flirts and coquettes ogled their own pretty faces in round, oval, triangular, square, and nine-bob- square looking-glasses, or pieces of looking-glass; and how Polly Hicks discovered that yellow suited a brown complexion, and Peggy Bland, that pink ribbons looked well among carrotty curls. Dear Mary Russell only could correctly enumerate what country cosmetics came into request, such as buttermilk for tan and freckles honey dew, gathered at sunrise, for red hands and arms, and home made pomatum, for refractory stubble hair. She, alone, who distinguishes with line discriminative touches the genuine natural pastoral barn-door Rosina, from the Rosina that is town-made, she only could pourtray worthily the workings of feminine hopes, fears, jealousies, and vanities which kept all the rural maids, wives, and widows of * * * in a ferment. Faded satins were dipped in turmeric and logwood—rusty gauzes were refreshed with vinegar and stale table-beer.
TYLNEY HALL. 297 Female dresses, were bought, sold, and exchanged —cleaned, dyed, and altered. Tall mothers, figuratively speaking, were cut down into dumpy daughters ; spare aunts were let out with new breadths into fat nieces, and big sisters were tucked and taken in till they became little ones. The hoarded costume of a century back was ransacked to deck modern beauties, and sometimes the suits of three or four generations contributed to make up a single dress—for example, Miss Giblett had a mother cap with grandmother lappets, an aunt boddice, a great aunt laced apron, and a great grandmother skirt. Moreover, the dairy savings and farm-yard perquisites were laid out in fashionable millinery and cheap jewellery, so that Miss Rackstraw might be said to have a necklace of new-laid eggs—Miss Blossom, a tippet of fresh butter, and Miss Rugby, a new gown of fatted chickens, trimmed with green-gosling ribands, and flounced with turkey-poults. As for Miss Bilberry, she determined to go in her riding-habit, as the best habit she had. There was a dab-wash in every house. At each o3