Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The women who adopted such fashions are compared by the satirist to dumb beasts, and he tells us how the prelate had promised a reward to all who would treat them with open derision. Et commande par aatie

And he commands, in scorn of them, Que cbascum hurte, belin,” die. That erery one cry out, “Push, ram.” Trop i tardon

We are too slow to cry, 'Hurte, belin,” por le pardon.

“Push, ram,” for the pardon. Se des fames ne nous gardon,

If we are not on our guard against the

wonien, Ocis serommes.

We shall be slain. Cornes ont por tuer les hommes. They have horos to kill the men. D'autrui cheveus portent granz sommes They carry great masses of other people's

hair Desus lor teste.

Upon their head. After a little more satire on the vanity of the ladies' costume, the writer continues, L'evesque l'a aperceu ;

The bishop has perceived it;
Si ne s'en puet estre teu,

And he could not keep silence,
Aioz en sermone,

But he preaches about it,
Et a toz cels x jors pardune,

And he gives ten days pardon to all those, Que crieront à tel personne,

Who will cry out at such a person, “Hurte, belin.”

“Push, ram !" The horns, he says, were made of hemp or flax,Foi que je doi saint Mathelin,

By the faith I owe St. Mathurin,
De chanvre ouvré ou de lin

With worked hemp or flax
Se font cornues.

They make themselves horned. The practice of painting the face is one of great antiquity, and was indulged in by the ladies of the Middle Ages largely, both before and after the establishment of feudalism. A short poem of the thirteenth century, which introduces the mercier, or dealer in small wares, enumerating the articles he has for sale, gives the following curious list of the objects employed by the lady.at her toilette at that period (it is not always easy to explain them in modern language), — Si ai tot l'apareillement

I have also all the utensils Dont feme fait formement,

Which a woman uses at her toilette, Rasoers, forces, guignoeres,

Rasors, forceps, looking glasses, Escuretes et furgoeres,

Tooth-brushes and tooth-picks, Et bendeax et crespiseors,

And bandeaus, and crisping.irons, Traineax, pignes, mireors,

Traineaux, combs, mirrors, Eve rose dont se forbissent;

And rose-water with which they furbish

themselves; J'ai quoton dont els se rougissent ;

I have cotton with which they rouge ; J'ai blanchet dont els se font blanches. I have whitening with which they whiten

themselves. Neither bishop's sermon nor poet's satire appears to have had

much effect in moderating the love of the ladies for horns, which seems to have continued during the whole of this century, and into the next. The knight of La Tour-Landry, writing in 1371 or 1372, tells us similarly of a holy bishop in his time who preached against the horned head-dresses of the ladies, when there was present a great crowd of ladies and damoiselles in what was then the new fashion, et estoient bien branchues et avoient grans cornes.

He told them that Noah's flood was brought on by similar vanities, and that he had no doubt that the demon made his ordinary seat between the woman's horns. In spite, however, of all this outcry and satire, the horns survived, or at least many of the ladies of fashion continued to wear them, and at the beginning of the fifteenth century they seem to have been carried to a greater extravagance than ever. The chronicler Juvenal des Ursins says that, in 1417, “the ladies and damoiselles of the queen's household displayed great and excessive pride, and wore horns wonderfully high and broad, and had on each side, instead of pads, two great ears, so large that when they had to pass through the door of the chamber, they were obliged to

turn sideways and stoop, or they could not have passed. The anger of the more zealous portion of the clergy was again roused, and fierce were the onslaughts upon the horns.

That, however, there were, during all this period, other and simpler head-dresses in vogue besides the horns is evident from the illuminations of contemporary manuscripts. The accompanying cut is taken from an illumination in a manuscript of the “Chronicles of St. Denis," in the British Museum (MS. Reg. 20, C. VII., fol. 10, v°.), which represents the marriage of King Philippe le Hardi of France with Marie de Brabant, from which I

have given here the figures of the queen and her two ladies of honour. The manuscript belongs to the close of the fourteenth or to the beginning of the fifteenth century, and no doubt represents some of the ordinary head-dresses of

[graphic]

THE QUEEN AND HIER LADIES.

that period. The next cut is of a rather later date, taken from a manuscript of the romance of King Pontus, and similarly represents the Princess Sidoine, and her damoiselles. A ship has brought her, as presents from Pontus, some of the principal articles of a fashionable lady's attire, including “crowns, or circlets, of gold and

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

chaplets, girdles, aumonières of pearls, of gold, and of purple, of pennes, of vair and of gris, and of ermines, that it was a great wonder to see.” The princess wears one form of the horned head-dress.

During the whole of the fourteenth century we meet with frequent complaints of the increasing extravagance in dress. The fashions became more varied and capricious, and the fineness of the material increased and came nearer to perfection. A great number of new stuffs are mentioned during this century, but I will not undertake here to describe or enumerate them. The bliault, which still continued in use with both sexes, appears now to have been furred. The general dress continued to be much the same, but one new article of dress was added in the course of the century under the name of a garnache, in the form of a long mantle, with a slit at the side. This, too, like nearly all the other articles of dress, were

worn under the same name by both sexes. In 1351, the King of France had garnaches of red velvet, and others of white velvet with sleeves doubled with ermine. Another new dress, introduced towards the latter part of the century, was called a rondeau, and is better known by the name of a cote-hardie. It was a habit fitting close, reaching only down to the haunches, and buttoned down the breast. Some of the ladies wore over this a very wide mantle, which descended to the ground, and trailed to some distance behind. Ladies of noble birth now adopted the fashion of having the family arms depicted on the cloth of their tunics, the usual custom being to

carry the arms of the families miparti, the husband's on the one side and the wife's on the other. Our next cut represents a noble

[graphic][merged small]

lady of the close of the fourteenth century, taken from a miniature in a manuscript in the “ Bibliothèque Imperiale ” in Paris (Suppl. Lat., No. 1222). It is believed to represent Marguerite de Clisson, who was married on the 20th of January, 1387, to Jean de Châtillon,

a nobleman who acted a prominent part in the history of Britany at that period; and the volume with its miniature, which is a book of prayers, is supposed to have been made at the date just mentioned, on occasion of the marriage. Marguerite de Clisson wears the rondeau or cote-hardie.

Under Charles VI., towards the end of the century, we begin to hear new and louder cries against the strange fashions affected by the ladies, who are now accused of transgressing decency in various ways, and especially by leaving bare their shoulders and breasts, and even their legs and more of their sides than was to be approved. At the same time there was a general increase in coquetry, and it became the custom to carry perfumes in the dress, and the use of paint had become very general. Against the latter, the clergy were especially indignant. Gloves, girdles, and a profusion of jewellery, began also to be greatly affected by all classes. Among people of fashion, the houppelande, which was the most outwardly apparent part of the dress, was covered most profusely with ornaments, jewellery, and also with devices and mottoes.

The opening of the fifteenth century found France and Western Europe generally, in a melancholy condition, the consequence of long continued misrule, and war, and misfortunes, which had impoverished the people and ruined their industry. Luxury had found a refuge at the Court of Burgundy, and it was from Flanders especially that the pride of Western Europe expected its revival. For a while there was little movement in fashions, but when it began to recover, it became more showy and dashing than ever. A great development displayed itself early in the new century, and was naturally attended with a similar increase of riches, which was more equally spread than formerly; and thus the richer stuffs and materials came into wider and more general use. Even the gallantry of the men took a gayer turn, and the male costume was almost more extravagant and varied in forms than that of the other sex. The“ elegants” of the day covered themselves with embroidery and fine needlework, and they wore scarfs and chaplets, under the name of ladies' favours. The general character of the costume of the latter differed very much, and their dresses were sometimes inmoderately long, and at others equally short.

The dress of the ladies had itself undergone some change. The old surcote, which had still been the fashion of the age of Charles V., continued to be the ceremonial dress of ladies of quality, but they only appeared in it on very solemn occasions, and were represented in it in the effigies on their tombs. The robe and houppelande were

« AnteriorContinuar »