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ladies whose bright eyes glanced round the lists, when rewards were given to the conqueror, and many a love-token was presented by jewelled fingers to the true and faithful knight, we may readily suppose that even, as Cressida exclaims, "There, Diomed, keep this sleeve," this part of a lady's attire might be given as a pledge "to wear on the helm," as well as a glove or scarf. It is supposed, however, by some old authors, to have meant an ornamental cuff.
One remarkable peculiarity in the dress of the men at this time was the manner of wearing the capuchon, or hood. It had a long tail that hung down the back in a point, and was buttoned close up to the chin. Other gallants twisted it up in a fantastic form, and carelessly poised it on the top of the head, and sometimes even placed a beaver hat over it. These capuchons were for many years the fashion in France, and as long ages have elapsed since they were worn, we may be allowed to surmise that these hoods, added to their shaven faces and short hair, must have made them appear very like a nation of monks; indeed, some chroniclers affirm that it was the fear of this sobriquet that induced Francis the First to set the fashion of velvet caps in his kingdom.
The admiration for gaudy colours was very great at this period. Frequently, if the doublet were of scarlet velvet, the mantle would be blue, with white
linings, the hose also blue, and the shoes of scarlet, trimmed with gold. The caps now in fashion were of a curious shape, with a broad lap, like a fan, on one side, usually of velvet to match the mantle, and lined with the same. Some, however, were of a round form, ornamented with jewels.
Although pointed shoes were much worn at the beginning of this reign, their shape changed towards the end; some, too, were curiously ornamented in patterns in embroidery. Fig. 1 is the drawing of a shoe represented on the monument of Edward the Third, in Westminster Abbey; and Fig. 2 is from the effigy of his son, in the Minster, at York.
In a print of the king, we find him drawn with a hat, which may, perhaps, be looked upon as the commencement of the fashion; for, at that time, caps were mostly worn by all classes: they were of every shape.
Now, too, we first find a feather gracing the cap of the gallants of the fourteenth century. It was usually stuck straight up in front of the cap; for, as yet, they had not arrived at the careless grace and elegance of the plume which, two centuries afterwards, was known by the title of the "panache a la Henri Quatre."
THE TOILETTE IN ENGLAND.
Fashion now assumed a most important place in the annals of England, and many new modes were, in the reign of Richard the Second, brought from Italy, Bohemia, Poland, Spain, France, and Germany. Indeed, but little seemed left to English taste and invention, for foreign countries supplied numerous novelties in dress, which our countrymen and countrywomen did not fail to follow and adopt, with their usual eagerness when any thing relating to that important subject, la toilette, is concerned.
To begin with the costume of the ladies, they were extremely partial to party-coloured robes, and wore sousjupes, or kirtles, of rich satin, or brocade, flowered with gold and silver. Richard the Second's first queen, Anne, introduced Bohemian fashions among her new subjects, and certainly was herself a most celebrated leader of fashion.
From Bohemia came, perhaps, the vest, or cdtehardie, a most curious garment. It somewhat resembled a waistcoat, for it was made quite tight to the shape as far as the hips, and was frequently trimmed with a broad border of fur all round, and with buttons down the front. Across the bosom it was cut quite square, and it had sleeves fitting tight to the wrist. Sometimes, in imitation, probably, of the French, an escarcelle, or modern reticule, was suspended from the border, and hung down in front. There was also a sleeveless or sideless robe worn at this period, which is frequently confounded with the cdte-hardie, under which was worn a petticoat, or kirtle, of a different material from the robe, with a tight body and sleeves, the latter adorned with buttons. Some fair dames adopted the mode of wearing stomachers of jewels; and the whole dress, robe, kirtle, and mantle, were very often emblazoned with the arms of the family of the lady, and that of her husband. Sometimes, too, curious mottoes, or quaint devices, were worked on the borders.
Towards the end of this reign, the trains of the gowns became so ridiculously long, that a clergyman published a tract against them.
The head-dresses were various, and not remarkable for beauty or elegance. The gentlemen having adopted one that was peculiarly ugly, the ladies probably thought it but seemly that they should do likewise; they therefore wore one called a caput, which was stiff, formal, and inelegant. It was fitted quite close to the crown of the head, and had a broad border across the forehead, arched out and escaloped. Sometimes, to improve its beauty, two lappets were appended, and hung as low as the waist. Other coiffures resembled basins laid on the top of the head, and formed of gold network; while some, again, had points like a bishop's mitre; but all were low and small. The hair was parted on the forehead, and drawn back in short curls or plaits behind the ears.
The gorget, or chevesail, was worn, but was sometimes replaced by a broad band round the neck, and the ornamented girdle, instead of spanning the waist, was allowed to fall over the hips. The shoes were usually pointed; but those of the ladies never approached to the extravagance of shape so much reprobated in the attire of the men.
During this reign, so eventful in new fashions, Queen Anne is said to have introduced, besides "the new guise of Berne " (Bohemia), the custom of riding on side-saddles. Camden asserts this; and the old poet Gower certainly speaks of ladies who "everich one ride on side." But female equestrians are seen on seals of much earlier date riding in this fashion, and it is therefore probable that Anne of Bohemia only introduced some improvement in the saddle, or the science of equitation'
The extravagant profusion displayed in gentlemen's habiliments now increased to a great degree; from King Richard himself down to the lowest of his subjects, every thought seemed centred in dress, and, occupied as they were with new fashions and fopperies, we cannot better describe them than by copying the words of a work called "Eulogium/' written, it is supposed,
* An example may be seen in the second number of the "Journal of the British Archaeological Association," p. 145, being an engraving from a seal of Joanna de Stutevillc, appended to a document dated 1227.