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THE PRINCELY AND ENTERTAINING
zztità mann Curious Details from Carin otecords atto &racts.
By SAM. S. cAMPION.
LONDON: HALL & Co, 25 PATERNOSTER ROW,
IN the publication of this Sketch of the History of “Feet Costume,” with curious details concerning “The gentle craft,” we have to express our acknowledgments to the proprietor of “The Boot and Shoemaker's Assistant” for the use of many of the blocks used for the illustration of the work. We are indebted to the “Historie de la Chaussure” by Paul Lacroix—a work characterized by great research and full of the most valuable information on the subject of leather work and workers—for four of the illustrations, figs. 22, 23, 24, 25. We have also to thank E. C. Burton, Esq., of Daventry for the readiness with which he placed at our disposal a copy of the records of Daventry, having reference to the cordwainers of that ancient borough ; and other gentlemen also for similar favours In the preparation of the brochure, facts have been gleaned from a variety of sources, and though within so small a compass it cannot be hoped that all of interest about so interesting a subject has been included, yet it is hoped that enough will have been said of the past history of “the gentle craft” to enhance the value and attractiveness of one of its latest manifestations—the Northampton Leather Work Exhibition.
Northampton. S. S. C.
FOW often has “the human foot divine” formed the subject of the poet's strains and given a point to lovers' rhapsodies' Homer, in his Iliad, designates Thetis “ the silver-footed queen;” whilst Theocritus, in his Tenth Idyllium, puts into the mouth of Bathus the rhapsody— “Charming Bombyce, you my numbers greet, How lovely, fair, and beautiful your feet!”
The feet, according to the myth, formed not an unimportant element in the judgment of Paris, when he was called upon to decide who was the fairest of the three goddesses, Venus, Juno, or Minerva, who disputed the possession of the golden apple which the goddess of . discord had thrown amongst them, for, it is said–
“Their gait he marked, as gracefully they moved,
“Rare Ben Jonson,” speaking of one of the fair, has the following exquisite conceit:—
“And where she went the flowers took thickest root,
Butler, in his Hudibras, gives expression to a similar idea—
“Where'er you tread, your foot shall set
i e A contemporary of the author of Hudibras (in a volume bearing date 1653) very charmingly says:— “How her feet tempt; how soft and light she treads, Fearing to wake the flowers from their beds : Yet from their sweet green pillows everywhere
Look how that pretty modest columbine Hangs down its head to view those feet of thine! See the fond motion of the strawberrie Creeping on earth to go along with thee; The lovely violet makes after too, Unwilling yet my dear to part with you; The knot grass and the daisies catch thy toes To kiss my faire one's feet before she goes.” Shakespeare, with his all-mastering genius, delineates as graphically as beautifully a woman's character in one of his wondrous touches, when he says of one of his creations - “Nay, her foot speaks.” The charming delicacy and delightful quaintness of Herrick find for us appropriate illustration in a stanza from his lines to Mrs. Susanna Southwood :— o “Her pretty feet Like smiles did creep A little out, and then, As if they started at bo-peep, Did soon draw in again.” A contemporary poet, Sir John Suckling, the gay and witty Cavalier, pays a like homage to the feet of the fair, though scarcely less beautiful than the former, in his ballad of the Wedding:— “Her feet beneath her petticoat Like little mice stole in and out, As if they feared the light; But oh she dances such a way No sun upon an Easter day Is half so fine a sight !” Another of our old poets quaintly, but with exceeding beauty of sentiment, writes:— , “Doe not feare to put thy feet Naked in the river sweet ; Think not newt, nor leech, nor toade, Will bite thy foot where thou hast trode.”
Even the crippled feet of the Chinese women form the subjects of panegyric in Chinese poetry, and Chinese poets, whose heroines would not be perfect without excessively small feet, by an utterly unjustifiable use of that license which is proverbially accorded to the genus, term these ill-used, maimed members of the human frame, “the little golden lilies.” And how often the memory of
“The beat of tiny feet
“ the music of dimpled feet,” awakened, it may be, by some sudden glimpse of little shoes, the relics of child-like forms that have passed away into the silent land, has given a new and hallowing beauty to older lives. Nor is the physical beauty of the foot less, real than the sentiment with which it has been clothed by poetic feeling. Its mechanism is a marvellóus