« PreviousContinue »
work; a balbrick set with gems; two girdles enamelled and set with garnets and sapphires; white gloves, one with a sapphire and one with an amethist; various clasps adorned with emeralds, turquois, pearls, and topaz; and sceptres set with twenty-eight diamonds." *
So much for the king :—And for the queen— oh! ye enlightened legislators of the earth, ye omnipotent and magisterial lords of creation, look on that picture—and on this.
"For our lady the queen's use, sixty ells of fine linen cloth, forty ells of dark green cloth, a skin of minever, a small brass pan, and eight towels."
But John, who in addition to his other amiable propensities was the greatest and most extravagant fop in Europe, was as parsimonious towards others as selfish and extravagant people usually are Whilst even at the ceremony of her coronation he only afforded his Queen "three cloaks of fine linen, one of scarlet cloth, and one grey pelisse, costing together 12/. 5s. 4d.;" he himself launched into all sorts of expenditure. He ordered the minutest articles for himself and the queen; but the wardrobe accounts of the sovereigns of the middle ages prove that they kept a royal warehouse of mercery, haberdashery, and linen, from whence their officers measured out velvets, brocades, sarcenets, tissue, gauzes, and trimmings, of all sorts. A queen, says Miss Strickland, had not the satisfaction of ordering her own gown when she obtained leave to have a new one; the warlike hand of her royal lord signed the order for the delivery of the materials from his stores, noting down with minute precision the exact quantity to a quarter of a yard of the cloth, velvet, or brocade, of which the garment was composed.
* The first instance in which the name of this stone is found.— Miss Lawrence.
"Blessed be the memory of King Edward III. and Philippa of Hainault his queen, who first invented clothes," was, we are told, the grateful adjuration of a monkish historian, who referred probably not to the first assumption of apparel, but to the charter which was granted first by that monarch to the " cutters and linen armourers," subsequently known as the merchant-tailors, who at that period were usually the makers of all garments, silk, linen, or woollen. Female fingers had sufficient occupation in the finer parts of the work; in the "silke broiderie" with which every garment of fashion was embellished; in the tapestry; in the spinning of wool and flax, every thread of which was drawn by female hands, and in the weaving of which a great portion was also executed by them.
In the forty-fourth year of this king, "as the book of Worcester reporteth, they began to use cappes of divers coloures, especially red, with costly lynings; and in the year 1372, the forty-seventh of the above prince, they first began to wanton it in a new round curtail weede, which they call a cloake, and in Latin armilausa, as only covering the shoulders, and this notwithstanding the king had endeavoured to restrain all these inordinances and expenses in clothing; as appears by the law by Parliament established in the thirty-sixth year of his reign. All ornaments of gold or silver, either on the daggers, girdles, necklaces, rings, or other ornaments for the body, were forbid to all that could not spend ten pounds a-year; and farther, that no furre or pretious and costly apparel, should be worne by any but men possessed of 100/. a year."
Besides the rigid enactments of the law, and the anathemas of divines, other and gentler means were from time to time resorted to as warnings from that sin of dress which seems inherent in our nature, or as inducements to a more becoming one. We quote a specimen of both:—
"There was a lady whiche had her lodgynge by the chirche, And she was alweye accustomed for to be longe to araye her, and to make her freshe and gay, insomuch that it annoyed and greued moche the parson of the chirche, and the parysshens. And it happed on a Sonday that she was so longe, that she sent to the preeste that he shod tarye for her, lyke as she had been accustomed. And it was thenne ferforthe on the day. And it annoyed the peple. And there were somme that said, How is hit? shall not this lady this day be pynned ne wel besene in a Myrroure? And somme said softely, God sende to her an evyll syght in her myrroure that causeth us this day and so oftymes to muse and to abyde for her. And thene as it plesyd God for an ensample, as she loked in the myrroure she sawe therein the Fende, whiche shewed hymselfe to her so fowle and horryble, that the lady wente oute of her wytte, and was al demonyak a long tyme. And after God sente to her helthe. And after she was not so longe in arayeng but thanked God that had so suffered her to be chastysed."*
* The Knyght of the Toure
The 'Garment of Gude Ladyis ' is a lecture of a most beguiling kind, and an exquisite picture.
"Wald my gud lady lufe me best,
Of he honour suld be her hud, Upoun hir heid to weir,
"Hir kirtill suld be of clene Constance,
"Her gown suld be of gudliness,
"Her belt suld be of benignitie,
To tholl^[ bayth wind and weit.
"His hat suld be of fair having**,
"Hir slevis suld be of esperance,
* Demyng—censure. f Deir—dismay.
% Mailyeis—network. § Ptfr/?//i7-furbelowed.
|| Fassoun—address, politeness, % Tholl—endure.
** Having— behaviour, ff Pate/et—mn.