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|"Polishing" Thomas(Act I,scene i)
Written by JulieW
(2/28/2007 8:02 a.m.)
This scene is generally left out
I don’t know why for I think it sets the scene and tone of the piece admirably.
I love the word play between the two characters: Fag, the knowing ,street -wise servant and Thomas the dim, plodding, illiterate coachman.
Especially about “polishing”…
Fag. I had forgot.—But, Thomas, you must polish a little—indeed you must.—Here now—this wig! What the devil do you do with a wig, Thomas?—None of the London whips of any degree of ton wear wigs now.
Thos. More’s the pity! more’s the pity! I say.—Odd’s life! when I heard how the lawyers and doctors had took to their own hair, I thought how ’twould go next:—odd rabbit it! when the fashion had got foot on the bar, I guessed ’twould mount to the box!—but ’tis all out of character, believe me, Mr. Fag: and look’ee, I’ll never gi’ up mine—the lawyers and doctors may do as they will.
Fag. Well, Thomas, we’ll not quarrel about that.
Thos. Why, bless you, the gentlemen of the professions ben’t all of a mind—for in our village now, thoff Jack Gauge, the exciseman, has ta’en to his carrots, there’s little Dick the farrier swears he’ll never forsake his bob, though all the college should appear with their own heads!
Fag advises Thomas that to be a fashionable man he has to get rid of his wig: Thomas admits that local gentlemen of the professions have been giving up their wigs and letting their own hair colour show, even if it was red: Jack Guage(!) the Excise man has “carrot” coloured hair but Dick the Farrier will not give up his “Bob”( another name for a style of wig).
Sheriden, clearly was up to date with fashion.
Anne Buck in her book Dress in Eighteenth Century England ?has this to say about the wig going out of favour:
Professional men wore distinctive garments in their formal duties but their professions were revealed in their everyday dress also.
In the early to mid eighteenth century the full bottomed wig was still worn by lawyers,clergymen and physicians: with other wigs it then became embedded in judicial uniform until the present day...
But after the middle of the century the full bottomed wig gradually disappeared from everyday wear by members of the learned professions,but the habit of wearing black and dark clothes continued.
and we will have much more on that subject later :-)
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