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CHAPTER XIV. NEEDLEWORK IN COSTUME.—PART II.

<{ And the short French breeches make such a comelie vesture that, except it were a dog in a doublet, you shall not see anie so disguised as are my countriemen of England."Holinsiikd.

"Out from the Gadis to the eastern morne,
Not one but holds his native state forlorne.
When comelie striplings wish it were their chance
For Cenis' distaffe to exchange their lance;
And weare curl'd periwigs, and chalk their face,
And still are poring on their pocket glasse;
Tyi'd with pinn'd ruffs, and fans, and partlet strips,
And buskes and verdin gales about their hips:
And tread on corked stilts a prisoner's pace.'*

Bp. Joseph Hall.

"They brought in fashions strange and new,
With golden garments bright;
The farthingale and mighty ruff,
With gowns of rich delight."

A Warning-piece To England.

The queen (Anne Neville) of Richard III. seems to have been somewhat more regally accoutred than those of her royal predecessors to whom we referred in the last chapter. Among " the stuff delivered to the queen at her coronation are twenty-seven yards of white cloth of gold for a kirtle and train, and a mantle of the same, richly furred with ermine. This was the dress in which she rode in her litter from the Tower to the palace of Westminster. This was an age of long trains, and the length was regulated by the rank of the wearer; Anne, for her whole purple velvet suit, had fifty-six yards. From the entries of scarlet cloth given to the nobility for mantles on this occasion, we find that duchesses had thirteen yards, countesses ten, and baronesses eight."

The costume of Henry VII.'s day differed little from that of Edward IV., except in the use of shirts bordered with lace and richly trimmed with ornamental needlework, which continued a long time in vogue amongst the nobility and gentry.

A slight inspection of the inventories of Henry VIII.'s apparel will convince us of a truth which we should otherwise, readily have guessed, viz., that no expense and no splendour were spared in the " swashing costume" of his day. Its general aspect is too familiar to us to require much comment. We may remark, however, that four several acts were passed in his reign for the reformation of apparel, and that all but the royal family were prohibited from wearing "any cloth of gold of purpure colour, or silk of the same colour," upon pain of forfeiture of the same and £20 for every offence. Shirt bands and ruffles of gold were worn by the privileged, but none under the degree of knight were permitted to decorate their shirts with silk, gold, or silver. Henry VIII.'s "knitte gloves of silk " are particularly referred to, and also his "handkerchers " edged with gold, silver, or fine needlework. These handkerchiefs, wrought with gold and silver, were not uncommon in the after-times. In the ballad of George Barnwell, it is said of Milwood—

"A handkerchief she had,

All wrought with silk and gold,
Which she, to stay her trickling tears.
Before her eyes did hold."

In the east these handkerchiefs are common, and it is still a favourite occupation of the Egyptian ladies to embroider them.

We are surprised now to find to what minute particulars legal enactments descended. "No husbandman, shepherd, or common labourer to any artificer, out of cities or boroughs (having no goods of their own above the value of £10), shall use or wear any cloth the broad yard whereof passeth 2,?. 4d.} or any hose above the price of 12d. the yard, upon pain of imprisonment in the stocks for three days."

It was in a subsequent reign, that of Mary, that a proclamation was issued that no man should " weare his shoes above sixe inches square at the toes." We have before seen that the attention of the grave and learned members of the Senate, the "Conscript Fathers" of England, was devoted to the due regulation of this interesting part of apparel, when the shoe-toes were worn so long that they were obliged to be tied up to the waist ere the happy and privileged wearer could set his foot on the ground. Now, however, "a change came o'er the spirit of the" day, and it became the duty of those who exercised a paternal surveillance over the welfare of the community at large to legislate regarding the breadth of the shoe-toes, that they should not be above "sixe inches square." "Great," was anciently the cry—" Great is Diana of the Ephesians ;" but how immeasurably greater and mightier has been, through that and all succeeding ages, the supreme potentate who with a mesh of flimsy gauze or fragile silk has constrained nations as by a shackle of iron, that shadowy, unsubstantial, ever-fleeting, yet ever-exacting deity—Fashion! At her shrine worship all the nations of the earth. The savage who bores his nose or tattooes his tawny skin is impelled by the same power which robes the courtly Eastern in flowing garments; and the dark- hued beauty who smears herself with blubber is influenced by the selfsame motive which causes the fair-haired daughter of England to tint her delicate cheek with the mimic rose.

And it is not merely in the shape and form of garments that this deity exercises her tyrannic sway, transforming " men into monsters," and women likewise—if it were possible: her vagaries are infinite and unaccountable; yet, how unaccountable soever, have ever numberless and willing votaries. It was once the fashion for people who either were or fancied themselves to be in love to prove the sincerity of their passion by the fortitude with which they could bear those extremes of heat and cold from which unsophisticated nature would shrink. These "penitents of love," for so the fraternity—and a pretty numerous one it was—was called, would clothe themselves in the dog-days in the thickest mantles lined throughout with the warmest fur: when the winds howled, the hail beat, and snow invested the earth with a freezing mantle, they wore the thinnest and most fragile garments. It was forbidden to wear fur on a day of the most piercing cold, or to appear with a hood, cloak, gloves, or muff. They supposed or pretended that the deity whom they thus propitiated was Love: we aver that the autocrat under whose irreversible decrees they thus succumbed—was Fashion.

And,, after all, who is this all-powerful genius? What is her appearance? Whence does she arise? Did she alight from the skies, while rejoicing stars sang Paeans at her birth? Was she born of the Sunbeams while a glittering Rainbow cast a halo of glory around her? or did she spring from Ocean while Nereids revelled around, and Mermaids strung their Harps with their own golden locks, soft melodies the while floating along the glistering waves, and echoing from the Tritons' booming shells beneath? No. Alas, no! She is subtle as the air; she is evanescent as a sunbeam, and unsubstantial as the ocean's froth ;—but she is none of these. She is—but we will lay aside our own definition in order that the reader may have the advantage of that of one of the greatest and wisest of statesmen.

"Quelqu'un qui voudrait un peu etudier d'ou part en premiere source ce qu'on appelle Les Modes verrait, a notre honte, qu'un petit nombre de gens, de la plus meprisable espece qui soit dans une ville, laquelle renferme tout indifferemment dans son sein; pour qui, si nous les connaissions, nous n'aurions que le mepris qu'on a pour les gens sans meurs, ou la pitie qu'on a pour les fous, disposent pourtant de nos bourses, et nous tiennent assujettis a tous leurs caprices."

Can this indeed be that supereminent deity for whom so "many do shipwrack their credits," and make themselves "ridiculous apes, or at best but

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