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"It appeared to me to be more successful than head, which, at length plunged me into a tembefore. Theophrastus was become my intimate|porary forgetfulness of my misery.
"On recovering my senses I perceived a faint light beam on the walls of my prison; I raised myself to discover whence it proceeded, and beheld a basket with a lamp in it attached to a cord, which seemed to have been let down from the roof of the tower. An irresistible impulse carried me towards it, when, to my astonishment, I saw the basket filled with eatables of various kinds, and some bottles of wine of Cyprus, as also a bottle of oil for keeping in the lamp.
friend, the confidant and interpreter of every
"Though the light shewed me all the horrors ofthe place in which I was enclosed, this seasonable supply was such a proof that I had still a friend who was both willing and able to serve me, that my spirits and my courage revived, and seizing some of the viands, I devoured them with an appetite as keen as if I had been at the most sumptuous repast.
"Some days elapsed, at least I imagined so, for as day and night were alike excluded my prison, and I was left to my fate, I had no means of measuring time with accuracy. At length I heard a noise over my head. It was the first sound that had reached my ears since my fainting fit, and I listened for a repetition of it with mingled hope and apprehension. It might be my unknown friend, or it might be some emissary of the prince dispatched to anticipate the effect of famine.All was again silent, and I was begining to fancy I had imagined a sound, when the reality again arrested and fixed my attention. It seemed nearer than before, but was still so distant and so faint, that it was impossible to conjecture from what it proceeded. At length I distinguished the footsteps of a man, descending to my dungeon. It instantly struck me that I ought to put out my light, lest should it be an enemy, the discovery that I had a friend might prove fatal to my benefactor; I had already seized it for this purpose, when the dread of being again left in darkness made me pause. There was no time, however, for deliberation, the step was at the door of my prison, the key was put into the lock, and at that
"At the distance of a stone-throw from the island is a stupendous rock, surrounded on every side by the sea. On the summit stands a strong tower, which, formerly was a temple conscerated to Bacchus, where the heathens worshipped this fabled divinity. The prince of Naxos had converted it into a prison destined to be the grave of those who were unfortunate enough to be sent thither; and the rock instead of echoing hymns in praise of the god of wine and pleasure, resounded with the cries of the wretches who were left to famish with hunger.
"I was tied down in the boat which conveyed me to this horrible place, and fettered while I ascended the rock. A large gate unclosed to receive me, then shut, never, never more to furnish me a passage. The profound obscurity that reigned around, the cadaverous smell that rushed on my olfactory organs, the groans of dying victims, all announced to me that I was in the re-instant I extinguished the lamp. gions of death. In advancing I stumbled sometimes over a skeleton, sometimes over a corpse half-putrid. In a transport of despair I called upon death to free me at once from the accumulated horrors of my situation. His brother, insensibility, answered my call; in my struggles with the ruffians I had received several blows on my
"Imagine my situation during the minutes that preceded the appearance of the unknown. The key turned with difficulty, it was some minutes before the lock could be withdrawn from the receiver; the door, however, was at last opened, and I beheld-Theophrastus." [To be continued.]
THE LADIES' TOILETTE; OR, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BEAUTY.
Brief History of the French Fashions till the time of Henry IV.
"OUR forefathers" says La Bruyère, (6 have transmitted to us, together with the knowledge of their persons, that of their garments, their head-dress, their arms offensive and defensive, and other ornaments of which they were fond during their lives. The best acknowledgment we can make for this kindness is to behave in the same manner towards our descendants."
We are about to fulfil, in some measure, the wishes of La Bruyère in giving a rapid sketch of all the most entertaining particulars relative to the French fashions from the earliest periods of the monarchy, to the present time.
This work being peculiarly dedicated to the fair sex, I shall treat only of the costume of the women. This, indeed, forms but a small part of what might be said on this vast subject; but it is the only portion that is directly adapted to the object we have in view. We shall see that the empire of fashion has, as I have already ob. served, ever been subject to the most extravagant caprices; that the most ridiculous fashions have always had the longest duration, and been the most frequently revived. But why should I make reflections which will spontaneously presenting themselves to every reader! I shall here content myself with acting the part of a faithful historian.
We know but little respecting the history of the costumes during the early ages of the monarchy; few works treat of this subject, and few monuments exhibit their fashions. Besides, it may be asserted that in this particular, monuments are not always a sufficient authority; for if ancient artists took the same licence as those of modern times, they probably worked from imagination in the performances which they have handed down to us. It is, therefore, impossible to come at the truth on this interesting subject without combining monuments with historical relations, and in particular with the sumptuary laws enacted from time to time.
It appears that in the first eight centuries of the French monarchy, the dress of the women under. went little alteration; at least, we have no au thorities to enable us to state positively what changes it might have experienced.
The dress of the twelfth century seems to have been a simple tunic, fastened with a girdle, a
mantle, and a veil. Such is the costume exhibited by the monuments of that time. From the girdle was suspended a purse the form of which was exactly like that of the ridicules of the present day, and in which the women kept their money. This purse was called escarcelle. Under Louis IX. about the year 1226, the princesses his daughters wore petticoats of such length, that, when they walked, they were obliged to hold them up before. Under Philip IV. (1286) they adopted the stomacher, which was afterwards retained by the nuns. But, let us pass, at once, to the conclusion of the fourteenth century; for it is not till then that we are able to follow the different changes which took place in dress.
Under Charles V. about 1364, the dress of widows resembled that formerly worn by the nuns; the females who were intended for the convent assumed the habit of widows, which afterwards became the dress of the order, and as it underwent little variation, it transmitted from age to age, the costume of the reign of Charles V.
Some monuments still extant afford an idea of the fashions of that time. In a drawing belong
to a manuscript in the library of the Celestins at Paris, representing the anointing of Charles V. I have remarked females with a headdress resembling that which was fashion in the age of Louis XIV. and which is well known by the appellation of Coiffure á la Ninon. I have
*During the reign of Louis VIII. the mantle became the distinguishing mark of married women. The circumstance which gave rise to this distinction was as follows:-Toward the end of the twelfth century many women of pleasure, in rich habits and dressed like ladies of the first rank, often mingled with the most respectable females. It was then customary to kiss one another in church when the priest pronounced the words, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum. It happened one day that the queen, deceived by the dress, kissed a common woman, under the idea that she was a married lady. Being informed of her mistake, she carried her complaint to the king, her husband. The monarch, in consequence, forbade prostitutes to wear the mantle, which then became the distinguishing mark of married women.
found the same head-dress in several monuments of that period. It was not, however, the only one. They likewise wore prodigious bonnets exactly in the shape of a heart, in which the head appeared to be enchased, while the point was formed by the chin.
Let us proceed to the reign of Charles V. (1380) a reign that proved so fatal to France. Queen Isabel of Bavaria, young, beautiful and galant, displayed a luxury, unknown to former times; no queen had ever before appeared so richly dressed. She first introduced the fashion of naked shoulders and neck. Under Charles V. we have seen heart-shaped bonnets in vogue; the two uppermost extremities of this heart were gradually lengthened, till, at last, they formed a kind of horns that were truly ridiculous. Hear what Juvenal des Ursins says on this subject.-"The women ran into great excesses in dress, and wore horns of wonderful length and size, having on either side, ears of such monstrous dimensions that it was impossible for them to pass through a door with them on About this time the Carmelite Cenare, a celebrated preacher, exercised his talents again's these horns."
The women of those days likewise wore gowns with slashed sleeves, which hung down to the very ground; they had caps strengthened in front with pieces of leather and hoops of whalebone, to give them more consistency: above this kind of funnel, figure to yourself a head surmounted with two huge horns, and pads with prodigious ears, and will have a correct idea of the ladies you of that age.
It must not, however, be imagined that this head-dress was worn by the generality of women, I should think that then, as at present, the most ridiculous costumes were more especially adopted by those who courted distinc ion. They disfigured themselves in proportion to their rank and dignity; and if monuments have handed down to us many ridiculous costumes, the reason is, because painters and sculptors usually perpetuate only the portraits of distinguished persons. Were it necessary, I could support my opinion by the example of many ancient mʊ
Paris; that princess wears a peaked head dress, of extraordinary height, trimmed with lace that floats in the air.
Under Charles VII. (1422) the women resumed their collars and bracelets. "Agnes Sorel," says M Marie de Saint Ursin," added to these the use of earrings;" but that custom was of a much older date, for a medal represents All that Brunehaut with pendants in her ears. can be said is, that the taste for jewels was carried to a pitch of madness; and though luxury had arrived at such a height, yet so ignorant were they, says Millot, of the conveniencies of life, that during the severe winter of 1457, the gentlemen and ladies of the court, who durst not ride out on horseback, were drawn about in barrels.
It appears that during this reign sugar-loaf hats It must not be were the prevailing fashion. supposed that this costume was ever ridiculous; when it was not carried to extravagance, it was simple and even extremely agreeable; it sometimes consisted of a flat pad, and upon this a turban of moderate height, flat and not pointed at the top. In Mountfaucon's "Monuments of the French Monarchy," may be seen an engraving representing this fashion, which is more simple and handsomer than many which have been since adopted. The rest of the costume, in the same engraving, is consonant with the principles of good taste. It is a robe displaying the shape to perfection; and those who would take the trouble to consult the print in question, and to compare it, without prejudice to the dress of the last hundred years, will undoubtedly admit that this costume of the fifteenth century is infinitely more agreeable; nay, with some slight modifications, I think that our skilful fashionmongers might turn it to great advantage.
This fashion was actually revived some years ago, through the means of Mademoiselle Contat, That celebrated actress, in 1786, performed the part of Madame de Randan, in the Amours de Bayard. She was obliged to assume the dress of the reign of Francis I. and was highly delighted with the head-dress of which I am speaking. All the ladies thought it so noble and so elegant, that the fashion of caps à-la-Randan soon became
During the same reign sugar-loaf hats began to grow numerous. To these were fastened veils which hung more or less low, according to the general; but they afterwards made such alteraquality of the wearer.
These hats, I say, began to grow numerous, but I am not able positively to assign the period when this fashion originated. It appears to have been first imported from England; the earliest monument on which I find this head-dress, is a miniature in an ancient manuscript copy of Froissart, representing the entry of Isabel, Queen of England, and sister of Charles the Fair, into
tions in it as destroyed its noble simplicity. The cap à-la-Randan, says she author of the Cabinet des Modes, was a kind of turban encircled with a bandeau of white muslin, or cambric, embroidered with gold, the crown of which, likewise of white muslin or cambric, rising in the form of a sugarloaf, was surrounded with large bands of the same stuff, ornamented with gold fringe; a veil fastened to the top of the crown fell very low.
But as the women gradually augmented the || periods more ridiculous than ever; so true is the height of their peaked head-dresses, this fashion observation, that the most extravagant fashions became, at length, excessively ridiculous. This are those which have always been preferred. is not the only time we shall have occasion to remark that a ludicrous effect is produced by exaggeration, and that the handsomest fashion becomes a caricature, when carried to the extreme.
In the first years of the reign of Louis XI. (1461) the women retrenched their enormous trains, and their sleeves which swept the ground, and adopted extremely short gowns, which they adorned with borders of extraordinary breadth. Becoming weary of head-dresses a yard high, they passed, as is commonly the case, from one extreme to the other, and reduced them to such a degree that the women appeared as though their heads were shaved. Under Louis XI. silk and velvet were reserved for princes and persons of the highest rank.
The reign of Charles VIII. (1483) gave rise to less ridiculous fashions. The women renouncing the ridiculous taste to which they had been so long enslaved, composed a head-dress of their hair, and wore gowns of white satin; such was the dress of the queen on her wedding day. On the death of that king, his wife, Anne of Bretagne, assumed a black veil, which she never afterwards laid aside. The ladies of the court adopted from coquetry, and perhaps also from a motive of adulation, what was only a sign of grief. They all took the black veil; but this dismal colour was soon happily relieved by red and purple fringes with which these veils were adorned. This fashion soon extended to the wives and daughters of tradespeople, who, going still farther than the ladies of the court, enriched the veil with pearls and gold clasps. The court ladies then had recourse to particular distinctions; the duchesses wore a coronet, with trefoils and a feather, while countesses assumed a coronet encircled with pearls, and a feather.
It was about this time that France began to seize the sceptre of fashion, which she has never since quitted from her grasp, to cause her tastes to be adopted throughout Europe, and to send to foreign courts all that belonged to female dress. Anne of Bretagne, wife of Louis XII. (1498) loved splendour; she drew females to the court. This gave rise to coquetry, the desire of pleasing, and rivalship, which led to superior elegance in apparel, and a less modest fashion of dress.
But it was in the reign of Francis I. (1515) that gallantry and splendour in dress were carried to a higher pitch than they had ever been before. The women began to turn up their hair; Queen Margaret of Navarre, his grand-daughter, frizzed the hair at both temples, and turned back that in front; that princess sometimes added to this head-dress a small cap of satin or velvet, enriched with pearls and precious stones, and ornamented with a tuft of feathers. This was both handsome and tasteful; nevertheless, there were still seen some high head-dresses, which from time to time
Hear what a contemporary writer says of these hennins, for this was the name given to that kind of head-dress:"Every body was at that time very extravagant in dress, and that of the ladies' heads was particularly remarkable; for they wore on their heads prodigious caps, an ell or more in length, pointed like steeples, from the hinder part of which hung long crapes, or rich fringes, like standards."
We have seen that in the preceding reign the Carmelite, Cenare, declaimed against the ladies' horns. This order appears to have paid particular attention to the head, for we find another Carmelite, called Thomas Conecte, preaching vehemently against the hennins. But, alas! the poor monk was ill-requited for his zeal; his fate was truly melancholy, for he was burned alive at Rome, six years afterwards, in 1440, as a heretic.
"This preacher," says Paradin, the author quoted above, "held this fashion in such abhorrence, that most of his sermons were directed against this kind of head-dress, which he attacked with the bitterest invectives he was capable of devising, launching out into the severest animadversions on such females as wore these dresses which he called hennins. Wherever Brother Thomas went the hennins durst not shew themselves, on account of the hatred he had sworn against them. This had an effect for the time, and till the preacher was gone; but on his departure, the ladies resumed their horns, and followed the example of the snails, which, when they hear any noise, speedily draw in their horns, and afterwards when the noise is past, suddenly erect them to a greater height than before. Thus did these ladies, for the hennins were never larger, more pompous, and more superb than after the departure of Brother Thomas. Such is the effect of warmly contending against the obb.inate prejudice of some heads."
It was found necessary at this period to heighten the door-ways, as they had been widened in the preceding reign, on account of the horns. Thus, as Montesquieu observes, the architects were obliged to renounce the rules of their art, in the dimensions of the entrances to apartments, in order to proportion them to the head dresses of the women.
High head-dresses at length disappeared, but only to make their appearance again at different
sought to obtain the preference, but the moment had not yet arrived. It is to the reign of Francis 1. that we must assign the origin of the most ridiculous fashion that ever spoiled the shape of women. I allude to those farthingales which afterwards changed their form and name, and have been handed down to our time by the appellation of hoops.
The farthingale was a kind of petticoat extended by hoops, which grew larger and larger towards the bottom, so that the body of a woman, from the waist to the feet, resembled a bee-hive. We are told that the first woman who wore a farthingale was desirous of concealing the fruits of indiscreet love. Be this as it may, Claude of France, wife of Francis I. is the first female represented by our monuments with this ridiculous petticoat.
During the reign of Francis I. luxury kept constantly encreasing, in spite of the proclamations by which he prohibited the wearing of gold or silver stuffs, and other articles. Under Henry II. it no longer knew any bounds, though that king had renewed the edicts of his predecessor, and had even extended them for the express purpose of repressing the luxury of women. But what can the will of a king effect against the volcanic genius of a woman! The history of France too often exhibits weak monarchs governed by an imperious woman; it too often presents the spectacle of an empire convulsed by the influence of females. Under Henry III. Catherine de Medicis set the example of the most unbounded-luxury. That voluptuous and intriguing princess, who daily invented new pleasures, produced a change in dress, having affected another in manners, and for the first time paint was introduced into France by Italians invited to the court.
It was at this period that the hood, or chaperon, became more fashionable than ever. This fashion continued for a great length of time; and how could it have been otherwise! it was a mark of distinction. A sumptuary law gave the exclusive permission to ladies of the court to wear the chaperon of velvet The rest of the sex indemnified themselves for this cruel exception by wearing it of cloth; it was still a chaperon, but still a velvet chaperon was to them an object of the highest importance. Accord. ingly, La Boursier, midwife to Mary de Medicis, long solicited the favour of wearing a velvet chaperon, which she at length obtained by an express order of the king.
The men then wore small hats with very low
crowns, adorned with a feather; and what is remarkable, the women adopted the same kind of head-dress. A portrait of Margaret of France, the third and youngest daughter of Francis I. executed by Corneille, a painter of that age, represents her with a hat exactly resembling that of the king, her brother.
It would appear that fans were at this period in high estimation, for women of the highest rank caused themselves to be painted with fans in their hands; I shall mention, from among many others, only the portrait of Claude of France, daughter of Henry II.
Under Francis II. a singular custom was introduced among the men; they imagined that a portly belly gave to its owner a majestic appear. ance, which exceedingly contributed to increase his personal merit. Those who through the niggardliness of fortune, were unable to procure by internal means that corpulence which conferred so just a claim to respect, endeavoured to supply the defect by external appendages; false bellies were made, and the art of the tailor made amends for the emptiness of the kitchen. The women conceived that this fondness of the men for large surfaces, might probably be extended still farther; and the fashion of great rumps immediately sprung up. This fashion lasted three or four years, and nothing was seen but false bellies and rumps. The most singular circumstance is that the women placed such confidence in the power of these posterior phenomena, that they totally neglected the aid of all their other attractions. They even concealed the face, probably that the attention of the men might not be diverted in any manner whatever from the new kind of charm which they held forth to their admiration. It was, in fact, at the same period, that the custom of covering the face with a kind of black mask, called loup, originated among the women. This practice was still in vogue in the time of Henry III.
The reigns of Charles IX. and Henry III. exhibited few variations in the costumes; we only observe that the farthingales had increased to such a circumference, that Charles IX. was obliged to fix a standard for them; by the 146th article of the edict of Blois, in 1560,-" It is forbidden to all women to wear farthingales more than an ell, or an ell and a half in circumference." But the edicts of kings never produced a stronger effect than the sermons of Carmelites, and the farthingales kept increasing in their dimensions.
[To be continued.]