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its members. Be this as it may, it is certain that the memory of the above saints is honored in the city of their decollation, where churches, and other religious buildings, are dedicated to “St. Crispin,” “St. Crispin the Greater,” “St. Crispin the Less," "St. Crispin en chay," &c.
In Paris, there are two pious societies, with the title of “ Freres Cordonniers," or brothers shoemakers. They were established by authority, about the middle of the sixteenth century; under the patronage of St. Crispin, and the other of Crispianus. They live in community, and are governed by fixed statutes and officers, both in their secular and spiritual concerns. The produce of the shoes which they make goes to the common stock, to furnish necessaries for their support, the overplus to be distributed among the poor.
Shoemakers are legally called cordwainers, or cordovanners, from Cordova, a town and province in Spain, whence the leather called cordovan was brought. The Latin appellation of a shoemaker is suror or CALCEOLARIUS, in Greek it is PAITHE, in Arabic SABBATERO, in French CORDINNIER. The cordwainer's company was first incorporated in England by the letters patent of Henry IV., in the year 1410, by the style of the “Cordwainer's and, Cobbler's Company." The incorporation of this
body was again recognised early in the fifteenth century, by an act of parliament, the provisions of which were to restrict the making of boots, shoes, &c., after a certain “preposterous” fashion. then prevalent: defaults to be adjudged by the wardens of the company, and a fine of twenty shillings to be levied on the party so offending. A like penalty was inflicted by the same act upon any “cordwainer or cobbler,” in London, or within three miles of it, who should be convicted of making, or putting upon the legs or feet of any person, any shoes, boots, or buskins, on Sundays, or feasts of the nativity and ascension of our Lord, and Corpus Christi. Shoemakers are incorporated in Edinburgh, and called CORDINERS.
PROVERBS.-Several common and proverbial expressions are taken from the shoemaker's trade. “ To stick to the last,” is used of perseverance in an undertaking till its completion. “Nothing is like leather,” signifies to cry up one's own craft, as in the case of the currier, who would have defended the town with tanned cowhides.
“ Urit pedem calceus," I am in the shoemaker's stocks. tor ultra crepidam,” the shoemaker must not go beyond his last. These were the words of Apel
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les, a famous painter of antiquity, to a critical Crispin, who properly found fault with an ill-designed slipper. The artist amended his picture accordingly; but the cobbler, ascending to other parts, betrayed the grossest ignorance. “No man,” says a commentator on this proverb, “ should pass his opinion in a province of art where he is without a qualification.”—“Etre sur un grand pied dans le monde,” to be on a great foot (or footing) in the world. This favorite French proverb originated at the time when a man's rank was known by the size of his shoes. Those of a prince measured two feet and a half; a plain cit was allowed only twelve inches. A noble Roman being asked why he had put away his beautiful wife, put forth his foot, and showed his buskins. “Is not this," said he, “a handsome and complete shoe ? yet no man but myself knows where it pinches me.” Hence the saying, “ None but the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.” As “tight as a bristle,” is still a common saying of anything that is attached dexterously, or that fits nicely, and is derived from the exactness required by the cobbler in fixing a bristle to the thread or end with which he sews, that it may follow the awl the better. The waxed string pointed with bristle, as at present, was in use as early as the twelfth century.
The following pleasant anecdote used to be told by the eccentric Dr. Monsey. The duke of Leeds, the doctor, and his grace's chaplain, being one morning, soon after breakfast, in his library, Mr. Walkden, of Pall Mall, his grace's shoemaker, was shown in with a pair of new shoes for the duke. The latter was remarkably fond of him, as he was at the same time clerk of St. James's church, where the duke was a constant attendant.
" What have you there, Walkden ?” said the duke.—“A pair of shoes for your grace,” he replied.—“Let me see them.” They were handed to him accordingly. The chaplain taking up one of them examined it with great attention : "What is the price ?" asked the chaplain. “Half a guinea, sir," said the shoemaker. “Half a guinea! what for a pair of shoes ?" said the chaplain. “Why I could go to Cranbourn alley, and buy a better pair of shoes than they ever were or ever will be, for five and sixpence.” He then threw the shoe to the other end of the room.
Walkden threw the other after it, saying as they were fellows they ought to go together; and at the same time replied to the chaplain : “Sir, I can go to a stall in Moorfields and buy a better sermon for twopence, than my
lord gives you a guinea for.” The duke clapped Walkden on the shoulder, and said, “ That is a
most excellent retort, Walkden; make me half a dozen pairs of shoes directly."
The greatest multitude of shoemakers ever known to have been assembled on one occasion, were collected by the celebrated mob-orator, Henley, at his oratory near Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. This public declaimer used to discourse on general topics during the week, and on some subject of morality on the Sunday. On the above occasion he had announced that on a given day he should discourse to shoemakers, and that he could teach them a most expeditious method of making shoes - which proved to be no other than cutting off the tops of ready-made boots ! The admission ticket on that occasion bore the following motto: "Omne majus continet in se minus.” The writer of this anecdote says : “I can not think the representatives of Prince Crispin would have pocketed this insult. I think they would have bristled up, one and all, and, waxing wroth, would not have waited for the ends of justice, but would have brought the orator down from his gilt tub,' and persevering to the last, have put their soles upon his neck till he had discovered too late, that the 'gentle craft,' might not be insulted with impunity."