Belinda! The Fashion Sculpt Of 18th Century

Belinda! The Fashion Sculpt Of 18th Century

Let’s have a look from the window, opening into the communal and cultural living of eighteenth century society in England. In the blue sky, with more glories and splendour, the sun first rises over the horizon, throwing its red warmth over the ocean. One timid ray of it bursts into Belinda’s bedchamber through its white curtains. Lightening of this scattering ray makes Belinda open her eyes, which are so bright that they could dazzle and blind the sun. But liveliness of those shimmering eyes seems rather muted due to the deep make up; she had put on the yester night. That very night she, the goddess of several hearts was there in the party; amongst her lots of admirers. Stunning ladies and finely dressed gentlemen gathered around her, but every eye was fixed on her alone. Clad in burgundy brocade outfit, the petticoat of which was embroidered with precious jewels and pearls consisting of seven flimsy layers along with the hoops and whalebones in order to stiffen it. Flounce and fur below the petticoat were puffed up with silver. Dark patches were used persistently, which added to the d├ęcor of this pompous robe. Talking about her zealous eyes that were loaded with profound make up, eyelashes were penciled tremendously, so as to give to her glances the quality of lightening. Her cheeks were delicately rouged with scarlet hues in order to make them blush in coquettish manner. Her earrings were emitting light, gleaming with her each movement. Also she wore a glitzy cross on her bosom.

“On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,

Which Jews might kiss and infidels adore;

Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,

Quick as her eyes and as unfixed as those.

Favors to none, to all she smiles extends.”

The lips were delightfully adorned with pink shade coupled with lip loser giving them the seductive look. Her smiles were rendered more winning and her native graces were greatly improved. All the awesome beauties of her visage were improved, as soon as she gave a wounding smile. Glossy touches were added to enhance her sensual appeal. The nails were shaped skillfully, polished with cutex. Fingers were crowded with pretty rings; those fragile fingers seem to be imprisoned in diamond manacles. Those ‘ivory like’ wrists were bound to put on gold bracelets. Fair anklets, made of pearls were decorating her feet, the clink of anklets kept time with her each footstep. ‘Adorable goddess’ possessed two locks of hair, which hung gracefully in equal curls, which could wreck the peace of mind of hunks, who beheld them. Anyone could be lost in the knots of those ringlets of her hair, upon which glitter was poured to make them looked like ‘starry night’. Her fair tresses were waving with sweet puffs of breeze.

In sleeveless outfit, her bony stature was quite visible along with the prominent clavicle that was embellished by the shining cross-hung in a subtle chain. The ornamented border around her ribs was striving hard to grab the lean and slender waist. Imprisoned perfumes in seven folds of her fabulous gown issued forth an intoxicating aroma, that could spell bound all men present there.

Without any prejudice, her pair of blue eyes was ogling, was giving intense glances to everybody but showed no special inclination towards anyone. Having bouquet of vernal flowers in one hand, and swinging fan filled with rainbow colors in another,’ this fair virgin’ was treading proudly, armoured with powers enough to influence each soul, who came across her way. She drew the attention of many hearts with her loving sights, who’s now sleeping serenely after stealing the peace of her countless lovers as well as admirers. It’s the time when lap dogs shake their bodies and get up from their nap and lovers who have not been able to sleep throughout the hours of darkness on account of the pangs of love, get awake at the hour of noon. Belinda rings her bell three times to summon her maid, but receiving no reply, she knocks the floor with her slipper then presses the spring of her repeating watch to know, what is the last hour that has struck. Her head is still pressed against her soft pillow, trying to keep her lashes open that seem on the verge of descending down owing to ecstatic slumber.

After pulling herself out from the valley of sleep, still unable she is to make any movement .Her lap dog, thinking that she has slept too long, leaps up and wakes up his mistress by licking her face. Then she liberates her eyes, sees a love letter waiting for her. And now the dressing table is uncovered, reveals different silver vases or caskets arranged in an order, which only adept in the art of the use of cosmetics and jewellery can understand. The gorgeous Belinda, who’s wearing a white housecoat, first bows her head, offers a prayer, containing an address to the deities, who preside over the art of personal adornment. She offers her prayer with her head uncovered out of reverence for those deities. Looking at her reflection in the mirror, the reflection, full of heavenly beauty and awe, the reflection, that could spell bound any mortal being, suddenly this fairest head bends down in order to examine the lower portion of her body, then she raises her head to have a look at the upper torso. Belinda stands by the side of sacred dressing table and Betty, her maid, trembles as she begins the sacred ritual of dressing her proud mistress. From one casket, Betty picks out the most brilliant pearls and diamonds of India, while from another she chooses the perfumes of Arabia. Next she examines the spotted combs made of tortoise shell and the milk white combs of ivory, which lie together. Then she turns her concentration to the rows of shining pins, puffs, powders, patches, bibles and billet doux. Now this stunning and formidable lady wears different ornaments and cosmetics to enhance her charms. She, undoubtedly, is “The Fashion sculpt” of eighteenth century society in England, ‘protagonist’ of mock epic “The Rape of the Lock” written by Alexander pope. Although Belinda occupies an ambivalent position and has been criticized by Pope but no doubt she may be regarded as one of the pioneers of existing ‘fashion world’. If she exists today, still she would be worshiped in the same way as she had been in the past. Although Pope has presented a sarcastic picture of Belinda and the society in that time, yet she touches our heart and gets applause, being a representative of aristocratic ladies of those times, She is found always busy in her self embossing along with her attendant Betty. The lines ridicule women’s excessive attention of self-decoration. Belinda is described as commencing her toilet operations with a prayer to the “Cosmetic Powers”. After going through the irksome task of self adornment, no one knows, whether she will break Diana’s law (law of chastity), or some frail china jar receive a flaw, whether she will stain her honour, or her new brocade; whether she will forget her prayer, or miss a masquerade, whether she will lose her heart or her necklace at a ball. The paired calamities here not merely ridiculous contrasts; they show the moral bankruptcy of the ladies of the time. These blank verses show how easily and irreparably chastity might be lost in the world of fashion. Honour, to a lady, was a publicly worn accessory, like her brocade easily stained; but if the stains were not visible, it would not matter. To her a masked ball had the same importance as a religious prayer, and she took her prayer with the light heartedness with which she went to a masked ball. Her heart could be lost as easily as a necklace, which was no less precious. But, in spite all of that, Belinda rules over each heart, she even exists today along with all her charms and vanities. If she has any faults, they are hidden by her graceful ease and her sweetness. If she suffers from any error, the beauty of her face would make us ignore it, having a care free temper:
“Belinda smiled, and all
The world way gay”

Her demeanor, her marvelous life style, her spectacular beauty, deserves to be commended plus encouraged. She is shallow and superficial, yet mesmerizing. We see her as a coquette, a sweet charmer, a society belle, a rival of the sun, and a slayer of millions. We can call her ‘The Fair Virgin’, ‘Maid’, ‘Goddess’ etc, the words reflect the homage which society pays to the image of the pretty and alluring woman.

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