the rape of the lock opera


Joseph Addison

       18thC  Snuff-boxes


             18thC  Fans

The Spectator

            Richard Steele





"Snuff, or the Fan, supply each pause of chat,

  With singing, laughing, ogling and all that"

The Spectator

The scenes for snuff and fan lessons were adapted from The Spectator. 

[No. 102.] Wednesday, June 27, 1711. Addison.

———Lusus animo debent aliquando dari,

Ad cogitandum melior ut redeat sibi.—Phaedr.

I DO not know whether to call the following Letter a Satyr

upon Coquets, or a Representation of their several fan

tastical Accomplishments, or what other Title to give it; but

as it is I shall communicate it to tlu Publick. It will

sufficiently explain its own Intentions, so that I shall give it

my Reader at Length, without either Preface or Postscript.


'Women are armed with Fans as Men with Swords, and

'sometimes do more Execution with them. To the end

' therefore that Ladies may be entire Mistresses of the Weapon

' which they bear, I have erected an Academy for the training

'up of young Women in the Exercise of the Fan, according to

' the most fashionable Airs and Motions that are now practis'd

' at Court. The Ladies who carry Fans under me are drawn

' up twice a-day in my great Hall, where they are instructed in

'the Use of their Arms, and exercised by the following Words

' of Command,

Handle your Fans,

Unfurl your Fans,

Discharge your Fans,

Ground your Fans,

Recover your Fans,

Flutter your Fans.

' By the right Observation of these few plain Words of Com-

'mand, a Woman of a tolerable Genius, [who] will apply

' herself diligently to her Exercise for the Space of but one half

Year, shall be able to give her Fan all the Graces that can

' possibly enter into that little modish Machine.

' But to the end that my Readers may form to themselves a

' right Notion of this Exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them

' in all its Parts. When my Female Regiment is drawn up in

'Array, with every one her Weapon in her Hand, upon my

' giving the Word to handle their Fans, each of them shakes her

' Fan at me with a Smile, then gives her Right-hand Woman a

' Tap upon the Shoulder, then presses her Lips with the Ex-

' tremity of her Fan, then lets her Arms fall in an easy Motion,

' and stands in a Readiness to receive the next Word of Com-

'mand. All this is done with a close Fan, and is generally

'learned in the first Week.

' The next Motion is that of unfurling the Fan, in which

' [are] comprehended several little Flirts and Vibrations, as

'also gradual and deliberate Openings, with many voluntary

'Fallings asunder in the Fan itself, that are seldom learned

'under a Month's Practice. This Part of the Exercise pleases

' the Spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a

' sudden an infinite Number of Cupids, [Garlands,] Altars,

' Birds, Beasts, Rainbows, and the like agreeable Figures, that

' display themselves to View, whilst every one in the Regiment

' holds a Picture in her Hand.

' Upon my giving the Word to discharge their Fans, they

' give one general Crack that may be heard at a considerable

' distance when the Wind sits fair. This is one of the most

' difficult Parts of the Exercise; but I have several Ladies with

'me, who at their first Entrance could not give a Pop loud

' enough to be heard at the further end of a Room, who can

' now discharge a Fan in such a manner, that it shall make a

' Report like a Pocket-Pistol. I have likewise taken care (in

' order to hinder young Women from letting off their Fans in

' wrong Places or unsuitable Occasions) to shew upon what

'Subject the Crack of a Fan may come in properly: I have

'likewise invented a Fan, with which a Girl of Sixteen, by

'the help of a little Wind which is inclosed about one of the

' largest Sticks, can make as loud a Crack as a Woman of Fifty

' with an ordinary Fan.

' When the Fans are thus discharged, the Word of Command

' in course is to ground their Fans. This teaches a Lady to

' quit her Fan gracefully when she throws it aside in order to

' take up a Pack of Cards, adjust a Curl of Hair, replace a

' falling Pin, or apply her self to any other Matter of Import-

' ance. This Part of the Exercise, as it only consists in tossing

' a Fan with an Air upon a long Table (which stands by for

' that Purpose) may be learned in two Days Time as well as

'in a Twelvemonth.

' When my Female Regiment is thus disarmed, I generally

' let them walk about the Room for some Time; when on a

' sudden (like Ladies that look upon their Watches after a long

' Visit) they all of them hasten ta their Arms, catch them up

'in a Hurry, and place themselves in their proper Stations

' upon my calling out Recover your Fans. This Part of the

' Exercise is not difficult, provided a Woman applies her

' Thoughts to it.

'The Fluttering of the Fan is the last, and indeed the

'Master-piece of the whole Exercise; but if a Lady does not

' mis-spend her Time, she may make herself Mistress of it in

' three Months. I generally lay aside the Dog-days and the

' hot Time of the Summer for the teaching this Part of the

'Exercise; for as soon as ever I pronounce Flutter your Fans,

' the Place is fill'd with so many Zephyrs and gentle Breezes as

'are very refreshing in that Season of the Year, tho' they might

' be dangerous to Ladies of a tender Constitution in any other.

' There is an infinite Variety of Motions to be made use

' of in the Flutter of a Fan. There is the angry Flutter, the

'modest Flutter, the timorous Flutter, the confused Flutter,

'the merry Flutter, and the amorous Flutter. Not to be

' tedious, there is scarce any Emotion in the Mind [whichx]

' does not produce a suitable Agitation in the Fan; insomuch,

' that if I only see the Fan of a disciplin'd Lady, I know very

' well whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a

' Fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the

'absent Lover [who] provoked it to have come within the

' Wind of it; and at other times so very languishing, that I

'have been glad for the Lady's sake the Lover was at a

' sufficient Distance from it. I need not add, that a Fan is

'either a Prude or Coquet according to the Nature of the

' Person [who] bears it. To conclude my Letter, I must

'acquaint you that I have from my own Observations compiled

'a little Treatise for the use of my Scholars, entitled The

' Passions of the Fan ; which I will communicate to you, if you

' think it may be of use to the Publick. I shall have a general

' Review on Thursday next; to which you shall be very welcome

' if you will honour it with your Presence. / am, &c.

P. S. 'I teach young Gentlemen the whole Art of

' Gallanting a Fan.

N. B. 'I have several little plain Fans made for this Use,

' to avoid Expence.

Admiral Lord Nelson   

  Battle of Trafalgar, 1805



Cast loose your gun!

Level your gun!

Take out your tampion!


Run out your gun!

Point your gun!


Worm and sponge!

Load with cartridge!

Load with shot and

   wad to your shot!

Ram home shot and wad!

Put in your tampion!

House your gun!

Secure your gun!

Coffee Scene

Snuff, or the Fan Scene