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Title: The Sunshade - The Glove—The Muff
Author: Uzanne, Octave, 1852-1931
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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After /the brilliant success which attended, in the spring of last
year, our volume on/ The Fan--/a success which was the result, as
I cannot conceal from myself, much more of the original conception
and decorative execution of that work of luxe than of its literary
interest--I have determined to close this series of/ Woman's
Ornaments /by a last little work on the protective adornments of
that delicate being, as graceful as she is gracious/: The Sunshade,
the Glove, the Muff. /This collection, therefore, of feminine toys
will be limited to two volumes, a collection which at first sight
appeared to us so complex and heavy that a dozen volumes at least
would have been required to contain its principal elements. This,
doubtless, on the one hand, would have tried our own constancy, and
on the other, would have failed in fixing more surely the inconstancy
of our female readers. The spirit has its freaks of independence, and
the unforeseen of life ought to be carefully economised. Moreover,
to tell the whole truth, the decorative elegance of a book like
the present hides very often beneath its prints the torture of an
intellectual thumbscrew. The unhappy author is obliged to confine his
exuberant ideas in a sort of strait-jacket in order to slip them more
easily through the varied combinations of pictorial design, which
here rules, an inexorable Mentor, over the text./

/In a work printed in this manner, just as in a theatre, the/ mise
en scène /is often detrimental to the piece; the one murders the
other--it cannot be otherwise--the public applauds, but the writer
who has the worship of his art sorrowfully resigns himself, and
inwardly protests against the condescension of which he has had

/Two volumes, then, under a form which thus imprisons the strolling,
sauntering, inventive, and paradoxical spirit, will be sufficient for
my lady readers. Very soon we shall meet again in books with vaster
horizons, and "ceilings not so low," to employ an expression which
well describes the moral imprisonment in which I am enveloped by the
graces and exquisite talent of my collaborateur, Paul Avril/.

/Let it be understood, then, that I have no personal literary
pretensions in this work. As the sage Montaigne says in his/ Essays,
"/I have here but collected a heap of foreign flowers, and brought of
my own only the string which binds them together./"




The author of a /Dictionary of Inventions/, after having proved the
use of the Parasol in France about 1680, openly gives up any attempt
to determine its precise original conception, which indeed seems to
be completely concealed in the night of time.

It would evidently be childish to attempt to assign a date to the
invention of Parasols; it would be better to go back to Genesis at
once. A biblical expression, /the shelter which defends from the
sun/, would almost suffice to demonstrate the Oriental origin of
the Parasol, if it did not appear everywhere in the most remote
antiquity--as well in the Nineveh sculptures, discovered and
described by M. Layard; as on the bas-reliefs of the palaces or
frescoes of the tombs of Thebes and Memphis.

In China they used the Parasol more than two thousand years before
Christ. There is mention of it in the /Thong-sou-wen/, under the
denomination of /San-Kaï/, in the time of the first dynasties, and a
Chinese legend attributes the invention of it to the wife of Lou-pan,
a celebrated carpenter of antiquity. "Sir," said this incomparable
spouse to her husband, "you make with extreme cleverness houses for
men, but it is impossible to make them move, whilst the object which
I am framing for their private use can be carried to any distance,
beyond even a thousand leagues."

And Lou-pan, stupefied by his wife's genius, then saw the unfolding
of the first Parasol.

Interesting as these legends may be, handed down by tradition to the
peoples of the East, they have no more historical credit than our
delicate fables of mythology: they preserve in themselves less of
the poetic quintessence, and above all seem less connected with that
mysterious charm with which Greek paganism drowned that charming
Olympus wherefrom the very origins of art appear to descend.

Let the three Graces be represented burned by Apollo, tired of
flying through the shadows, where Fauns and Ægipans lie in ambush,
or let these three fair ones be painted in despair at the fiery
sensation of sunburning which brands their epidermis; let them invoke
Venus, and let the Loves appear immediately, bearers of unknown
instruments, busily occupied in working the little hidden springs,
ingeniously showing their different uses and salutary effects; let
a poet--a Voltaire, a Dorat, a Meunier de Querlon, or an Imbert
of the time--be kind enough to forge some rhymes of gold on this
fable; let him, in fine, inspired by these goddesses, compose an
incontestable master-piece, and behold /the Origin of the Sunshade/!
graven in pretty legendary letters on the temple of Memory, not to be
contradicted by any spectacled /savant/ in the world.

But if no poet, in smart affected style, has told us in rhyme /the
Story of the Parasol/, many poets of all times have recalled the use
of it in precious verses, which appear to serve as landmarks for
history, and as references to discoveries of archæology. In ancient
Greece, in the time of the festivals of Bacchus, it was the custom,
not then confounded with fashion, to carry a Sunshade, not so much
to extenuate the ardour of the sun, but as a sort of religious
ceremonial. Paciaudi, in his treatise /De Umbellæ Gestatione/,
shows us on the carriage on which the statue of Bacchus is placed a
youth seated, the bearer of a Sunshade, a sign of divine majesty.
Pausanias, in his /Arcadics/, mentions the Sunshade in describing the
festivals of Alea in Argolis, whilst later on, in the /Eleutheria/,
we see the Parasol also. Lastly, after having painted for us, in a
marvellous description of Alexandria on a holiday, the hierophants,
bearers of emblems and the mystic vase, the Monads covered with ivy,
the Bassarids with scattered hair wielding their thyrsus, Athenæus
suddenly shows us the magnificent chariot of Bacchus, where the
statue of the god, six cubits high, all in gold, with a purple robe
falling to his heels, had over his head a Sunshade ornamented with
gold. Bacchus alone, of all the gods, had the privilege of the
Sunshade, if we rely on the evidence of ancient monuments, earthen
vases, and graven stones drawn from the museums of Stosch and other

As a result of their frequent relations with the Greeks after the
death of Alexander the Great, the Jews appear to have borrowed from
the Gentiles, in the celebration of their Feast of Tabernacles,
the use of the Sunshade. The subjoined medal of Agrippa the Old,
struck by the Hellenised Jews, in some sort supports this, although
Spanheim, in a passage relating to this medal, says he has hesitated
a long while as to the signification of the symbols which it
represents. Do the ears of corn mark the fertility of the governed
provinces, or do they refer to the Feast of Tabernacles? As for
the tent on the obverse, it is little probable that it represents
a tabernacle according to Moses' rite, since the roofs of these
tabernacles, far from being pointed, were flat and cloven in the
midst, so as to allow rain, sun, and starlight to pass through. It
must then be the Sunshade, the emblem of royalty; this at least seems

The Parasol played among the Greeks a very important part, as well in
the sacred and funeral ceremonies as in the great holidays of nature,
and even in the private life of the noble ladies of Athens.

The Parasol in its elegant form may be seen drawn on the majority of
Greek vases, either painted with straight or arched branches, concave
or convex, or in the shape of a hemisphere or a tortoise's back. But
the Sunshade with movable rods, opening or shutting, existed at that
time, as is sufficiently indicated by the phrase of Aristophanes in
the /Knights/ (Act v. Scene 2)--"His ears opened and shut something
like a sunshade."

An archæologist might amuse himself with writing a special work on
the rôle of the Sunshade in Greece; documents would not fail him;
nay, the book would soon grow big, and might bristle with notes from
all quarters, abounding in the margins, after the example of those
good solid volumes of the sixteenth century, which none but a hermit
would have the leisure to read conscientiously to-day. Such is not
our business in this light chapter.

One cannot exactly say for what motive the Sunshade was carried
by young virgins in all the processions in the Thesmophoria, the
festivals of Eleusis, and the Panathenæa. Aristophanes calls the
baskets and the white Sunshades "symbolic instruments, destined to
recall to human beings the acts of Ceres and Proserpine."

Perhaps it is not necessary to search beyond this Aristophanic
definition, which may on the whole entirely satisfy us. Moreover,
these Sunshades were white, not, say they, because the statue erected
by Theseus to Minerva was of that colour, but because white marked
the liveliest joy and pomp according to Ovid, who recommends very
carefully in his /Fasti/ the wearing in sign of rejoicings white
tunics worthy of pleasing Ceres, in whose cult both the priestesses
and the things they used ought to be entirely white.

In a man, according to Anacreon, the carrying a Parasol was the mark
of a libertine and effeminate life; one might draw an analogous
conclusion from a scene in the /Birds/ of Aristophanes, in which
Prometheus, through fear of Jupiter, cries to his slave, before
abandoning himself to a sweet passion for Venus only, "Quick, take
this sunshade, and hold it over me, in order that the gods may not
see me."

It is also doubtless for the same reason, which virtually interdicted
the use of the Parasol to men, that the daughters of the Metœci,
or strangers domiciled at Athens, carried, according to Ælian,
the sunshade of the Athenian women in the spectacles and public
ceremonies, whilst the fathers carried the vases destined for the

The Θολἱα, or "Sunshade Hat," succeeded the Parasol properly so
called. It is of these Θολἱα that Theocritus speaks in several
places; it is also this hat, and not a Sunshade, which we must see in
the curious medal above, stamped by the Ætolians, which represents
Apollo bearing this strange hat, in the style of Yokohama, hanging on
his back.

From the most distant epochs the Sunshade has been considered, so
far as it is the attribute of gods and sovereigns, as the ensign
of omnipotence. We see it playing this supreme rôle, not only by
right of an emblem of blazonry, in the curious dissertation of the
Chevalier Beatianus /On a Sunshade of vermeil on a field argent,
symbol of power, sovereign authority and true friendship/, but also
we see it universally adopted as a sign of the highest distinction by
Oriental peoples, to be displayed over the head of the king in time
of peace, and occasionally in time of war.

It is thus that it may be contemplated on the sculptures of ancient
Egypt, where its usage was not exclusively indeed reserved to the
Pharaohs, but sometimes also to the great dignitaries, but to
these only. There is to be seen in Wilkinson a strange engraving
representing an Æthiopian princess seated on a /plaustrum/ or
carriage drawn by oxen, and having behind her a vague personage armed
with a large Parasol of an undecided form, something between the
screen and the /flabellum/ in the segment of a circle. Is it not also
in sign of adoration that it was the custom to put above the heads of
divine statues crescents, Sunshades, little spheres, which served not
only to guarantee these august heads against the injuries of time and
the ordures of birds, but also to set their physiognomy in relief as
by a nimbus or crown of paganism?

The kings or satraps of Persia of the oldest dynasties were sheltered
by the sovereign Parasol. Chardin, in his /Voyages/, describes
bas-reliefs of a time long before that of Alexander the Great,
in which the king of Persia is frequently represented sometimes
just about to mount his horse, at others surrounded by young
slave-girls--beautiful as day, as a poet might write for sake of
a simile--among whom one inclines a Sunshade, while another uses
a flyflap made of a horse's silky tail. Other bas-reliefs, again,
represent the Persian monarch on a throne, at the conclusion of a
victorious battle, whilst the rebels are being crucified, and writhe
under the punishment, and prisoners brought up, one after the other,
make humble submission. Here the Sunshade has the floating appearance
of a glorious standard. It symbolised also the power of life and
death, vested in the savage conqueror over the unfortunate conquered,
delivered up wholly to his mercy.

In ancient India, the cradle of the human race, as it is said, the
Parasol in every time, and more than anywhere else, is unfolded in
its splendour and the grace of its contexture, as an immutable symbol
of royal majesty. It seems really that it was under the deep azure
of the admirable Indian sky that the coquettish instrument, of which
we are exposing here by literary zigzags the historic summary, was
invented. It must have been born there first as a fragile buckler to
oppose the ardour of the sun; afterwards, doubtless, it developed,
little by little, into a large dome, carried in the arms of slaves,
or on the back of an elephant, showing the sparkle of its colours,
the originality of its form, the richness of its tissues, all
overloaded with fine gold and silver filigree, making its spangles
and jewels scintillate in the full leaping light, in the slow
oscillation given to it by the march of its bearers, or the swayings
of a heavy pachyderm, in the midst of magic powers, of dancers and
enchantments without number among the most bizarre palaces of the

In Hindostan the large Parasol is commonly called /Tch'hâtâ/, the
small ordinary Parasol /Tch'hâtry/, and the bearer of the Parasol for
dignitaries /tch'hâtâ-wâlâ/.

The Parasol /of seven stages/ (/savetraxat/) is the first ensign of
royalty: it is found graven on the royal seal. The mythology and
literature of the Hindoos are, so to speak, confusedly peopled with
Parasols. In his fifth incarnation, Vishnu descends to Hades with a
Parasol in his hand. On the other hand, from the seventh century,
Hiouen Thsang has remarked, according to the rites of the kingdom of
Kapitha, Brâhma and Indra were represented holding in their hand, one
a flyflap, the other a Parasol. In the /Râmayana/ (ch. xxvi. /scloka/
12), Sitâ, speaking of Râma, whose beautiful eyes resemble the petals
of the lotus, expresses herself thus--"Covered with the Parasol
striped with a hundred rays, and such as the entire orb of the moon,
why do I not see thy most charming face shining beneath it?"

We read also in the /Mahâbârata/ (/sclokas/ 4941-4943)--"The litter
on which was placed the inanimate body of the monarch Pândou was
adorned with a flyflap, a fan, and a white /Sunshade/; at the sound
of all the instruments of music, men by hundreds offered, in honour
of the extinguished shoot of Kourou, a crowd of flyflaps, /white
Sunshades/, and splendid robes."

The Mahratta princes who reigned in Punah and Sattara held the title
of /Tch'hâtâ pati/, "Lord of the Parasol;" and we are told that one
of the most esteemed titles of the monarch of Ava was also that
of "King of the White Elephant, and Lord of the Four-and-twenty

When, in 1877, the Prince of Wales, future inheritor of the throne of
England, undertook his famous voyage into India, it was absolutely
necessary--says Dr. W. H. Russell, the scrupulous historian of that
princely expedition--in order to make him known to the natives, to
set the Prince upon an elephant, and to hold over his head the golden
Sunshade, symbol of his sovereignty.

There may be seen to-day in the South Kensington Museum, in the
admirable Indian gallery which has just been installed, some score
of the Parasols brought back by the Prince from his voyage, of which
each particular type deserves a description which cannot, alas! to
our sincere regret, find its place here. One may admire there the
state Umbrella of Indore, in the form of a mushroom; the Sunshade of
the Queen of Lucknow, in blue satin stitched with gold and covered
with fine pearls; next the Parasols of gilt paper, others woven of
different materials, some entirely covered with ravishing feathers of
rare birds, all with long handles in gold or silver, damascened, in
painted wood, in carved ivory, of a richness and an execution not to
be forgotten.

Let us tear ourselves away, as in duty bound, from Hindustan, to meet
again with the Parasol on more classic ground in ancient Rome, in the
middle of the Forum and of the games of the Circus. The Sunshade is
found very frequently in the most ancient paintings, on stones and
vases of Etruria, a long while even before the Roman era. According
to Pliny and Valerius Maximus, it is from Campania that the Velarium
comes, which is destined to defend the spectators from the sun. The
use of /the private Sunshade for each person/ established itself by
degrees on those days when, on account of the wind, the Velarium
could not be used. Martial says in his /Epigrams/ (Book IV.):

    /Accipe quæ nimios vincant umbracula soles
      Sit licet et ventus, te tua vela tegent./

People used the Sunshade not only at theatres, but also at battles,
and above all in the promenade. Ovid, in his /Fasti/, shows us
Hercules protecting his well-beloved Omphale by means of a Sunshade
from the sun's rays:

    /Aurea pellebant tepidos umbracula soles
      Quæ tamen Herculeæ sustinuere manus./

This image of Hercules carrying a light Parasol would surely be
worthy to replace the used-up theme of the distaff?

The ancient Romans brought to the decoration of their Parasols a
magnificence unknown in our days. They borrowed from the East its
stuffs, its jewels, its ornamental style, to enrich in the best
manner possible these pretty portable tents. When Heliogabalus,
forgetting his sex, after the example of the priests of Atys,
appeared on his car clothed with the long dress and all the gewgaws
that women wear; when he caused himself to be drawn along surrounded
by legions of nude slave-girls, he carried a fan in the guise of a
sceptre; and not only was there a golden Parasol in the form of a
dais stretched over his head, but also at each side two /umbelliferæ/
held light Sunshades of silk, covered with diamonds, mounted on
Indian bamboo, or on a stem of gold carved and encrusted with the
most wondrous jewels.

In the train which accompanied a matron on the Appian Way, if we can
believe the historian of /Rome in the age of Augustus/, two slaves
were obligatory: the fan-bearer (/flabellifera/) and the follower
(/pedis sequa/). The latter carried an elegant Parasol of linen
stretched over light rods at the extremity of a very long reed, so
that, at the least sign of her mistress, she might direct over her
the shadow of this movable defence.

The Roman Umbrella seems to have been nothing but a simple morsel of
leather, according to these verses, which Martial wrote by way of

    /Ingrediare viam cœlo licet usque sereno;
      Ad subitas nunquam scortea desit aquas./

This "leather cloth" was assuredly an Umbrella, which, except perhaps
in weight, need have envied nothing of our own.

At Rome, as at Athens, the Sunshade appears to have hidden people
from the looks of the gods, for, according to Montfauçon, even the
Triclinia were covered with a sort of Sunshade, that folk might
deliver themselves more mysteriously to orgies of every kind and to
the pleasures of Venus.

The material used in the manufacture of Sunshades was originally,
according to Pliny, leaves of palm divided into two, or the tresses
of the osier; afterwards they were made in silk, in purple, in
Eastern stuffs, in gold, in silver; they were adorned with Indian
ivory; they were starred with trinkets and jewels. One author tells
us even of Sunshades made out of women's hair--/the hair of women so
arranged as to supply the place of a Sunshade/.

Singular headdress or singular Parasol!

Juvenal speaks of a green Sunshade sent with some yellow amber to a
friend to celebrate her birthday and the return of spring.

    /En cui tu viridem umbellam, cui succina mittas
    Grandia, natalis quoties redit, aut madidum ver

And with regard to this /green/ Sunshade, apropos of the /viridem/,
all the commentators enter into the field, and make a deafening noise
to explain that the epithet had no reference to the colour of the
Sunshade, but to the spring.

Let us, if you please, leave Rome, without entering into these idle

It would be difficult for us to find in the Middle Ages numerous
manifestations of the Sunshade in private life; it was evidently
adopted in the ceremonies of the Christian Church and in the royal
/entrées/; but it was especially the privilege of the great, and
never appeared save on solemn days in the processions, as later on
the dais, reserved for kings and ecclesiastical nobles.

At Venice the Doge had already his celebrated Sunshade in 1176.
The Pope Alexander III. had accorded to the Venetian chiefs the
right to carry the Sunshade in the processions. Under the reign of
the Doge Giovanni Dandolo (1288) it was ordered that the pretty
golden statuette of the Annunciation should be added, which is seen
represented at the top of the Sunshade of the Venetian dogate.

One can get some idea of this marvellous Sunshade, all of gold
brocade, and of a pompous and original shape, by looking at most of
the prints of the time, and particularly at the celebrated engraving
of the /Procession of the Doge/, as well as at the pictures of
Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Tiepolo, and the greater number of the
charming Venetian painters of the eighteenth century.

It seems evident that the Roman Gauls knew the use of the Parasol,
but it would not be easy to demonstrate its existence logically in
the martial and Gothic epochs. One can scarcely imagine these men
of arms, these gentle pages, and these noble damsels, with their
lofty head-gear and long dress, defended by a frail silken /encas/
(in case). They feared not then assuredly either sun or rain; they
dreamed of nought but /batailloles/ (little battles), according
to the language of that day; everything was done in honour of the
ladies, after the laws of the good King René, and the ladies would
certainly never have wished at the hour of the glorious tournaments
to shelter themselves at the approaches of the lists, against a sun
which sparkled on the breastplate of their brave knights with as much
brightness as the hope which shone in their eyes.

Let us come now to China, to find there Parasols and Umbrellas in
great honour, since the beginning of the dynasty /Tchéou/ (eleventh
century before Christ).

"The Umbrellas of that time," says M. Natalis Rondot, "resembled
ours; the mounting was composed of twenty-eight curved branches, and
covered with silken stuff. The Parasols were of feathers.

"After the /Thong-ya/, it is only under the first Wei (A.D. 220-264)
that gentlemen began the use of Parasols; these Parasols were most
frequently made of little rods of bamboo and oiled paper; pedestrians
never made use of them before the second Wei (386-554). Parasols
figure ordinarily in processions and funerals since the seventh
century. Thus, in 648, at the time of the inauguration of the
Convent of the Grand Beneficence, at Si-ngan-Fou, one counted--says
the historian of the /Life of Hiouen thsang/--only in the procession
three hundred Parasols of precious stuffs. The Parasol in China, as
in India, has always been a sign of elevated rank, although it has
not been exclusively used by emperors and mandarins. Formerly, it
seems, four-and-twenty Parasols were carried before the Emperor when
his Majesty went to the chase.

"A Chinese of a rank at all elevated, such as a mandarin, a bonze,
or a priest, never goes out without a Parasol, according to M.
Marie Cazal, a Sunshade manufacturer, who, about the year 1844,
wrote a small /Essay on the Umbrella, the Walking-stick, and their
Manufacture/.--'Every Chinese of a superior order is followed by his
slave, who carries his Parasol extended over him.'

"The Umbrella in China is destined to the same use as the Parasol,
says M. Cazal: it belongs to all. Never, when the weather is the
least degree doubtful, does a Chinese go out of doors without his
Umbrella. Even horses are sheltered, as well as elephants, by
Parasols or Umbrellas fastened to branches of bamboo. Their drivers
take very good care not to illtreat them; imbued as they are, like
every good Chinaman, with the doctrines of metempsychosis, they
fear to torture the soul of their father or their grandfather,
reduced, in order to expiate his faults, to animate the body of these

The Umbrellas and Parasols which are most common in China resemble
very much those which are imported into Europe; they are made
entirely of stalks of bamboo, disposed with enormous art, and covered
with oiled, tarred, or lacquered paper. Some are coloured, and have
printed on them religious allegories or sentences of Confucius.

All the voyages in China and around the world are filled with details
of the Chinese Parasol. "The Chinese women, whose feet have been
compressed from infancy," remarks M. Charles Lavollée, "can scarcely
walk, and are obliged to support themselves on the handle of their
Parasol, which serves them for a walking-stick."

The Parasol and the Fan in China play a rôle so considerable, that it
would be necessary to write a special monograph on each of these two
objects in order to consider properly their importance in the history
of the country and its current manners. In a general and summary
sketch like the present, must we not skim through, rather than sew
together documents collected with difficulty, or found within reach,
and leave aside the more bulky bundles, under pain of foundering in
the folio form of heavy dictionaries?

Everywhere on the exquisite decorative combinations of Japan,
we see a large Parasol opened amidst delicate peach-blossoms,
gracious flights of strange birds, indented leaves, and rosy
ibises. Sometimes, on the inimitable paintings of the enamelled
vases, the Japanese Sunshade shelters a king's daughter, escorted
by her followers, who makes her chaste preparations for entering
the bath; sometimes, on a thin gauze, the Parasol half hides women,
promenading on the margin of some vast blue lake, full of ideal
dreams. Sometimes, in fine, in a fantastic sketch of an album, which
one reads as a riot of the imagination, is perceived some human
being excited to a singular degree, with hair tossed by the wind,
and haggard eye, floating at the will of the tumultuous waves on a
Parasol turned upside down, to the handle of which he clings with
the energy of despair. The plates of the /Voyage de Ricord/, and
especially the old Japanese albums, are useful to consult in order
to understand better the varieties of forms of the Sunshade in
Japan. We gain a bizarre notion of the effects and services which a
Japanese can obtain from a common Parasol of his country by looking
at the games of the acrobats who come to us occasionally from Tokio,
Yedo, or Yokohama. Théophile Gautier, who was highly astonished, and
not without reason, at the quickness, grace, and daring of these
marvellous equilibrists, has left us on this matter the fairest
pages, perhaps, of his /Feuilletons de Lundiste/. The worthy Théo,
that Gallic Rajah borrowed from these clowns, astonishing in their
lightness, an enthusiasm which put on his palette as a colourist
the most vibrating tones and the finest shades. The Sunshade and
the Fan are in fact presented by these magicians of the East with
particular graces in the jugglery of the most varied exercises. Here
it is a ball of ivory which rolls with the bickering of a babbling
stream over the lamels or ribs of the Sunshade; there it is a Parasol
held in equilibrium on the blade of a dagger, and a thousand other
astonishing inventions. All these fascinating feats of skill cannot
be described save in the manner of Gautier, in other words, by
veritable pen-pictures. Admirable interpretation of things glimpsed

In the tea-houses of Tokio, the pretty /Geishas/ often employ, to
mimic an expressive dance, the Fan and the little paper Parasol.

One of the most usual of their dances, managed something like our
ballets, is called the Rain-dance. This is the way in which a
/Globe-trotter/ gives an account of its leading idea and character:--

"Some young girls prepare to leave their homes, and to pose as
beauties in the streets of Yedo. They admire each other in playing
their fans, they are dressed in superb toilets--they are sure of
turning the heads of all the young /samouraï/ of the town.

"Scarcely have they got out of doors when a thick cloud appears.
Great disquietude! They open their Parasol, and make a thousand
pretty grimaces, to show how sadly they fear the ruin of their
charming dresses. . . . A few drops of rain begin to fall: they
quicken their steps on their way home again.

"A burst of thunder occasioned by the /Samisen/ and the drums, is
heard, which announces a terrible downpour. Then our four dancers
catch their robes with both hands, and throw them with one sweep
under their arms, and suddenly turning, take to their heels, showing
us a row of little . . . . frightened faces, saving themselves at the
full speed of their legs."

What a series of pantomimes, in which the Sunshade must assume in the
hands of the charming /Geishas/ the most seductive positions!

"Among the Arabs the Parasol was a mark of distinction" (as we learn
from M. O. S., the English reporter of a commission which published a
small notice on /Umbrellas, Parasols, and Walking-sticks/ in London
about 1871). There is the same importance attached to it among
certain blacks of Western Africa, who have probably borrowed it from
the Arabs. Niebuhr, in the description of the procession of the Imam
of Sanah, tells us that the Imam, and every one of the princes of
his numerous family, had carried by their side a /Madalla/ or large
Parasol. It is in that country a privilege of princes of the blood.
The same writer relates that many independent chiefs of Yemen bear
/Madallas/ as a mark of their independence. In Morocco the Emperor
alone and his family have the privilege of the Parasol. In the
/Voyages of Aly Bey/ we read in fact:--"The retinue of the Sultan
was composed of a troop of from fifteen to twenty gentlemen as the
vanguard; behind them, some hundred paces, came the Sultan, mounted
on a mule, having beside him, also mounted on a mule, an officer
carrying the Imperial Parasol. The Parasol is the distinctive sign of
the sovereign of Morocco. No one but he would dare to use it."

In certain tribes of central Africa explorers speak of having
encountered, amidst the tribes of the desert, kings half-dressed in
European old clothes, taken or exchanged no one knows where; and,
strangely enough, on the top of an old silk hat, half-knocked in, one
of these negro kings, says a traveller, held with a sort of grotesque
majesty an old torn Umbrella of which the whalebone appeared to be
half-broken. This Robert Macaire of the desert, does he not recall
that pleasant equatorial fantasy of the /Parnassiculet Contemporain/,
a sonnet terminating with the verses:--

    What then is strange about this desert's pride,
    Who in the desert without thee had died?
    Bétani answered, "Child of open mien,

    Where on board ship he comes, I tell you that
    For full court-dress, this half-blood wears a hat
    Of an old shako, trimmed with tufts of green!"

This fantasy might serve as a theme for a dissertation on the
subject, "Whither do worn-out things go?--what becomes of the old
umbrellas?" It would be a ballad full of colour for a Villon of the
present time.

To return to France, many writers, romancists or dramatic authors,
having greater care of the splendour of the /mise-en-scène/ than
of absolute historic truth, have presented us with some hunting
parties of the time of Henri II. and Henri III., in which the noble
huntresses followed the deer on horses magnificently harnessed,
holding in their hands hexagonal Sunshades fringed with gold and
enriched with pearls.

We found truly a mention of the Parasol in the /Description of the
Isle of the Hermaphrodites/; but it was then very rare in France,
and what is more, very heavy, and handled with such ceremonies that
a strong lackey must have had considerable difficulty in holding it
up. From this to place light Sunshades of silk between the dainty
fingers of "fair and gentle dames" of that time, especially for a
hunt through the woods, there is, it seems to us, a departure which
good sense alone, not to mention historic science, is quite enough to
point out.

The Parasol was still very little known in France, even in the second
half of the sixteenth century. It is fairly certain that, like the
/Fan/, and other objects so much in favour with Catherine de Medici,
it was brought into France out of Italy. Henri Estienne, in his
/Dialogues of the new French Language Italianised/, 1578, makes one
of his interlocutors called Celtophile say: " . . . . and /à propos/
of pavilion, have you ever seen what some of the lords in Spain or
Italy carry or cause to be carried about in the country, to defend
themselves, not so much from the flies, as from the sun? It is
supported by a stick, and so made that being folded up and occupying
very little space, it can when necessary be opened immediately and
stretched out in a circle so as to cover three or four persons." And
Philausone answers: "I have never seen one; but I have heard talk of
them often; and if our ladies were to see them carrying these things,
they would perhaps tax them with too great delicacy."

In Italy it is little probable that since the Romans the inhabitants
of the higher classes have ever unlearned the pleasant use of
Parasols. The majority of travellers notice them in all epochs, and
in the /Italian Mysteries/, played in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, it is nearly certain that at the moment of their naïve
representation of the Deluge, the Deity appeared on the stage with an
Umbrella in his hand.

In the /Journal and Voyage of Montaigne/ in Italy, the good
philosopher, who teaches us so few matters beyond his own personal
sufferings, deigns, nevertheless, to aver that the supreme good taste
of the women of Lucca was to have incessantly a Parasol in their

"No season," says also elsewhere this charming epicurean essayist,
"is so much my enemy as the sharp heat of sunshine, for the
/Sunshades/, which are used in Italy since the time of the ancient
Romans, charge the arms more than they discharge from the head."

So, too, Thomas Coryat, an English tourist of that time, in his
/Crudities/ (1611), speaks of the Italian Parasols, after having
noticed the presence of Fans in the towns through which he had
travelled: "Many Italians," he says, "do carry other fine things of a
far greater price, that will cost at the least a ducat (about seven
francs), which they commonly call in the Italian tongue /Umbrellæs/,
that is, things that minister shadow unto them for shelter against
the scorching heat of the sun. These are made of leather, something
answerable to the form of a little canopy, and hooped in the inside
with divers little wooden hoops, that extend the /Umbrella/ in a
pretty large compass. They are used especially by horsemen, who carry
them in their hands when they ride, fastening the end of the handle
upon one of their thighs, and they impart so large a shadow unto them
that it keepeth the heat of the sun from the upper parts of their

Fabri, in his useful and remarkable work, /Diversarum Nationum
Ornatus/ (additio) confirms this fact from 1593, in taking care to
represent a noble Italian, travelling on horseback with a Parasol in
his hand: "/Nobilis Italus ruri ambulans tempore æstatis/."

What variety this simple detail, more propagated or rather better
vulgarised among our romancists, would have thrown into the great
romances of adventure! We should have seen the protecting Sunshade
marking from a distance, by its colour and elevated shape, the
presence of the rich traveller to be robbed, in the mountains of
Tuscany, while the brigands of the time kept their watch in the
folds of the rocks; then, too, we should surely have witnessed,
in passionate recitals of heroic combats, the buckler Parasol,
already full of holes, torn into shreds, yet still serving to
parry victoriously the blows of the ferocious cut-throats and

And how many sonorous and unforeseen titles are there of which we
have been deprived by this fact of our ignorance: /The Knights of
the Sunshade/--/The Heroic Parasol/--/The State Courier/, or /the
Sunshade Recovered/! . . . . and who can say how many more!

The Arsenal, the old Hotel de Sully, preserved for a long time one
of those Parasols, which librarians named the /Pepin/ (seed-fruit)
/of Henri IV./ It was very big, and entirely covered with blue
silk, with long and distinctly precious flowers of the golden lily
scattered over it. This Parasol, ministerial or royal, is doubtless
lost, and we speak of it only after the description which the learned
bibliophile Jacob has given us.

Daniel Defoe, who published his /Robinson Crusoe/ in 1719, was
one of the first to mention to any extent the Parasol in England.
Before him, as we shall see farther on, it had been named only very
summarily in literary works. So firmly fixed in our imaginations as
men, the children of yesterday, is the great Umbrella of Crusoe, and
his dreadful alarm on seeing the print of a man's foot on the shore,
as well as his walks with his dog and /Friday/ the good Caribbee;
it presents itself, moreover, so clearly in our first literary
remembrances, that we will reproduce the passage of the journal where
it is mentioned:

"After this," says Crusoe, "I spent a deal of time and pains to make
me an Umbrella. I was indeed in great want of one, and had a great
mind to make one. I had seen them made in the Brazils, where they
are very useful in the great heats which are there; and I felt the
heats every jot as great here, and greater too...; besides, as I was
obliged to be much abroad, it was a most useful thing to me, as well
for the rains as the heats. I took a world of pains at it, and was a
great while before I could make anything likely to hold; nay, after I
thought I had hit the way, I spoiled two or three before I made one
to my mind; but at last I made one that answered indifferently well;
the main difficulty, I found, was to make it to let down: I could
make it to spread, but if it did not let down too, and draw in, it
would not be portable for me any way, but just over my head, which
would not do. However, at last, as I said, I made one to answer; I
covered it with skins, the hair upward, so that it cast off the rain
like a pent-house, and kept off the sun so effectually, that I could
walk out in the hottest of the weather, with greater advantage than
I could before in the coolest; and when I had no need of it, I could
close it and carry it under my arm."

And this Parasol, for a century and a half, has been popularised by
the engraver, with its dome of hair and rude manufacture; and so all
the poor little prisoners at school invoke it, and dream often that
they carry it in some desert isle, for it represents to their eyes a
life of open air and liberty.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before Daniel Defoe, Ben Jonson had already mentioned the Parasol in
England in a comedy played in 1616; and Drayton, sending some doves
to his mistress in 1620--a delicious lover's fancy--formulated in his
passioned verses the following desire: "/May they, these white turtle
doves I send you, shelter you like Parasols under their wings in
every sort of weather./"

In the relation of his /Voyage in France/ in 1675, Locke, speaking
of Sunshades, says: "These are little articles and very light, which
women use here, to defend themselves from the sun, and they seem
to us very convenient." Afterwards the English ladies desired to
possess these pretty Parasols, although, by reason of their climate,
such things could hardly be of any use to them. It was not, however,
till the eighteenth century that a London manufacturer bethought
himself of inventing the Sunshade-Fan, compared with which it appears
the French folding /marquises/ were as nothing. This ingenious
fabricator made a considerable fortune; but if we are to believe the
/Improvisateur François/, his invention was rapidly imitated and much
improved in Paris. Why has it not been preserved to our own days?

But let us linger in this seventeenth century, and remain awhile
in France, where the Parasol was not in use, save at court among
the great ladies. Men never used it to shelter themselves from the
rain--the cloak and sword were still alone in fashion.

Ménage tells us in his /Ménagiana/, that being with M. de Beautru,
about 1685, in the midst of a pouring rain at the door of the Hôtel
de Bourgogne, up came a Gascon gentleman, without a cloak, and nearly
wet through; the Gascon, seeing himself stared at, cried out, "I
would lay a wager now my people have forgotten to give me my cloak."
To which M. de Beautru quickly replied, "I go halves with you."

The silk Sunshade, however, properly so called, appeared in the hands
of women of quality, at the promenade, on the race-course, or in the
vast alleys of the royal park of Versailles, towards the middle of
the reign of Louis XIV. The Umbrella of that time was an instrument
astonishingly heavy and very coarse in appearance, which it seemed
almost ridiculous to hold in the hand. In 1622 it was in some measure
a novelty in Paris, since in the /Questions Tabariniques/, cited by
that useful author, the late M. Édouard Fournier, in /The Old and the
New/, we read these lines about the famous felt hat of Tabarin:--

"It was from this hat that the invention of Parasols was drawn, which
are now so common in France that they are no longer called Parasols,
but /Parapluyes/ (Umbrellas) and /Garde-Collet/ (collar guards), for
they are used as much in winter against the rain as in summer against
the sun."

The most ancient engraving or /documentary/ image of French manners
in which we see a Parasol is dated 1620. It is the frontispiece of a
Collection of Saint Igny, /The French Nobility at Church/.

Parasols, however, were still very little used in the seventeenth
century; the /Précieuses/ who, instead of saying "It rains," cried
out, "/The third element falls!/" would never have missed finding
some amiable qualificative to designate this necessary article
invented against Phœbus and Saint Swithin. But Saumaise reveals to us
nought on this subject, and one would be almost tempted to believe
that the /Philamintes/ and /Calpurnies/ attached no importance to
this "rustic and movable Pavilion." What, however, is clearly shown
by the ancient prints is the employment of the Parasol in the form
of a small round canopy which ladies of quality had borne by their
valets when walking in the primly arranged gardens of their lordly
residences, whilst the gentlemen marched before, wrapt in their
cloaks, with the felt hat inclined over one eye.

Parasols were then of so coarse a form, and their weight made them so
difficult to be carried, that they could not be easily utilised by
ordinary people; they are never found in any of those very curious
engravings which give a confused idea of the rumblings and mobs of
the streets under Louis XIV. Boileau and François Colletet have not
mentioned them amidst the /Obstacles and Bustle of Paris/; and the
/Cries of the Town/ which have come down to us do not indicate that
in the seventeenth century any man with "/'Brella-a-a-a-s to sell!/"
had contributed his mournful melopæa to the lagging cries of the

That is easily understood. We see that a Parasol, in the middle of
the grand century, weighed 1600 grammes, that its whalebones had
a length of 80 centimetres, that its handle was of heavy oak, and
that its massive carcass was covered with oilcloth, with barracan,
or with coloured grogram. The whole was held by a copper ring fixed
at the extremity of the whalebones; it was the labour of a porter
to preserve oneself, with an instrument like this, from the pelting
shower! Better still: often these Parasols were made of straw, and,
if we believe the /Diary and Correspondence of Evelyn/, about 1650,
they affected in some degree the form of metal dish-covers.

However, it is something very like a Sunshade which we find about
1688 in the hands of a woman of quality, dressed in a summer habit
/à la Grecque/, of which N. Arnoult has preserved faithfully for us
the pleasing outline, in a pretty design made common by engravings.
This Parasol has the appearance of a mushroom, well developed and
slightly flattened at its borders; the red velvet which covers it is
divided into ribs or rays, by light girdles of gold, and the handle,
very curiously worked, is like that of a distaff, with swellings and
grooves executed by the turner. Altogether, this coquette's Sunshade
is very graceful, and of great richness.

In the most varied literary works of the seventeenth century,
memoirs, romances, varieties, dissertations, poems, enigmas, carols,
and songs, there is not a word of allusion to the Parasol, there
is an entire penury of anecdote, nothing whatever on the subject.
It is useless to torture your understanding, to look through a
miserable needle's eye, at the /Letters/ of Madame de Sévigné, the
gossip of Tallemant, the /Conversations/ of Mademoiselle de Scudéry,
the /Anecdotes/ of Ménage, the poetical collections, the different
/Chats/, the /Medleys/--it is but a library overturned to no purpose,
a headache gained without the slightest profit.

In a MS. collection, written about 1676, which relates the memoirs
of Nicolas Barillon, a comedian, this phrase alone attracts our
attention: "The days being very hot, the lady carried either a mask
or a Parasol of the most precious leather."

From this mask or Parasol of precious leather no conclusion can be
drawn better than that of the Dictionaries of the Anti-Academician,
Antoine Furetière, or of the learned Richelet, where we find a résumé
of the ideas of the time. Here, then, is the definition of the

 /Parasol/, s. m., a small portable piece of furniture, or round
 covering, carried in the hand, to defend the head from the great
 heats of the sun; it is made of a circle of leather, of taffety, of
 oilcloth, &c. It is suspended to the end of a stick; it is folded
 or extended by means of some ribs of whalebone which sustain it. It
 serves also to defend one from the rain, and then it is called by
 some /parapluie/ (umbrella).

The definition of Richelet is almost the same. He adds, however,
these words: "Only women carry Parasols, and they only in spring,
summer, and autumn." Richelet, it is true, borders upon the
eighteenth century, since he died but a little before the end of
the reign of Louis the Great. This brings us to the aurora of the
Regency, and a renaissance then occurs in feminine coquetry. We are
now about to find our Sunshade in gallant parties, supported by
little turbaned negroes; already we see it decorated with fringes of
gold and trimmings of silk, enhanced with plumes of feathers, mounted
on Indian bamboos, covered with changing silks, embellished in a
thousand and one ways, worthy, in a word, of casting a discreet shade
on those rosy and delicate faces which Pater, Vanloo, Lancret, La
Rosalba, and Latour did their best to reproduce in luminous paintings
or fresh pastels, those enchanting pictures where the coquetry of the
past smiles still.

Like all objects of adornment in the hands of women, the Sunshade in
the last century became, like the Fan, almost a light and graceful
plaything, serving to punctuate an expression, to round a gesture,
to arm an attitude of charming reverie, in which, guided by pretty
indolent fingers, its point traces vague designs upon the sand.
Before the burning breath of amorous declarations, often the frail
Sunshade escapes from the hands of a beauty, in sign of armistice,
and as an avowal of abandonment.

Be it open, and daintily held over powdered hair, or shut, and
brushing the brocaded petticoat, it is always the "balancing pole
of the Graces." It gives a value to listlessness on the rustic seat
of the parks, under the vaulted roofs of grottoes, and it adds a
piquancy to the frowardness of the feminine chatterers, who defend
themselves by making fun of libertine attacks. In a word, in the
light amorous allegories of the century, it is worthy to appear in
those love-duets of /Leanders/ and /Isabellas/, which Watteau often
composed with so rare an art of refinement.

From the middle of the last century the Umbrella of taffety became
the fashion at Paris. Caraccioli, in his /Picturesque and Sententious
Dictionary/, gives us evidence of this: "It has long been the
custom," he says, "not to go out save with one's Umbrella, and to
trouble oneself by carrying it under one's arm. Those who wish not to
be confounded with the vulgar, prefer to run the risk of getting wet
to being regarded as people who walk on foot, for the Umbrella is the
sign of having no carriage."

The Parasols were made by the purse-makers, and when, by an edict of
August 1776, the manufacturers of gloves, purses, and girdles were
united in one community, an article thus conceived may be read in
their statutes: "They alone also still have the right to make and
manufacture all sorts of Umbrellas and Parasols, in whalebone and in
copper, folding and non-folding, to garnish them atop with stuffs of
silk and linen, to make Umbrellas of oilcloth, and Parasols adorned
and ornamented in all sorts of fashions." According to the /Journal
of a Citizen/, published at the Hague in 1754, the price of folding
Parasols was then from 15 to 22 livres a piece, and the Parasol for
the country from 9 to 14 livres.

We must, however, believe that the common folk of Paris did not yet
dare to purchase Parasols, since Bachaumont, in the /Secret Memoirs/,
dated 6th September 1769, records the following enterprise:--

"A company has lately formed an establishment worthy of the town of
Sybaris. It has obtained an exclusive privilege to have Parasols,
and to furnish them to such as fear being incommoded by the sun
during the crossing of the Pont-Neuf. There are to be offices at
each extremity of the bridge, where the voluptuous dandies who are
unwilling to spoil their complexion, can obtain this useful machine;
they will return it at the office on the other side, so alternately,
at the price of two farthings for each person. This project has
already been put in execution. It is announced that if this invention
succeeds, there is authority to establish like offices in other
places in Paris, where skulls might be affected, such as the Place
Louis XV., &c. It is probable that these profound speculators will
obtain the exclusive privilege of Umbrellas."

Did this enterprise succeed? We cannot tell. All that is certain is,
that it was tried many times in our own epoch by innovators, who had
no idea that even the letting out of Parasols was not absolutely new
under the sun.

       *       *       *       *       *

A great progress was realised in the eighteenth century in the
manufacture of Sunshades for ladies. The small ordinary Parasols
became exceedingly light, and charmingly decorated. In a picture of
Bonaventure Delord, in the Louvre, we find the exact type of these
coquettish Sunshades of the last century. One, which is held by a
laughing beauty in the midst of a picnic, is mounted on a long stem,
and the top, made of yellow buckskin, appears to have four sides; a
cap of turned copper, and of a very pretty shape, profiles its tiny
Chinese gable on the grass.

So, too, may be seen in the collection of Madame la Baronne Gustave
de Rothschild, a very curious Sunshade which belonged to Madame de
Pompadour. It is of blue silk superbly decorated with wonderful
Chinese miniatures in mica, and ornaments in paper very finely
cut and affixed to the background. Fortified probably with such a
Sunshade as this, the pretty favourite, at the time of the rage for
pastorals, which followed the appearance of Bouffier's story of
/Aline/, betook herself to the shady walks of the Petit Trianon at
Versailles, with her female friends, to see the white sheep milked,
and to steep the carnation of her lips in the warm milk, of which
the young Abbé De Bernis--who gathered so willingly madrigals and
bouquets for Chloris--compared the whiteness to that of her peerless

Everywhere, in the pictures and engravings of the century we catch
a glimpse of these same light Sunshades or Umbrellas which approach
so nearly those of the present day. We see the one or the other in
the /Prints of Moreau the Younger intended to serve as a Companion
to the History of Fashions and Customs in France/, in the /Crossing
the River/, after Gamier, in public festivals, as well as amidst
the hubbub of the crowds, which Moreau shows us in the /Great Court
Carriages in/ 1782, as in the minor popular rejoicings, like /The
Ascension of a Fire-balloon/, after the engravings of the period.
The Sunshade introduces also a little touch of gaiety into the large
pictures of Joseph Vernet; in his /View of Antibes/ and his /Port of
Marseille/ the painter has placed in the hands of pretty promenaders
adorable little pink Sunshades, through which the light seems to
filtrate, in the silk's transparency. Later on, lastly, before the
royal sitting of 23d June, 1789, the Umbrella plays its historic part
in the Revolution, by protecting the gentlemen of the Third Estate,
left at the door of the Assembly under a pelting rain, not very well
disposed to receive the King's order, "Gentlemen, I command you to
disperse yourselves at once!"

Strange! at a time when the Parasol was generally adopted in France,
it was yet very little known in England and among the peoples of
the North. At Venice even, where we have made our researches, the
first person who used a Sunshade, about the middle of the eighteenth
century, was Michel Morosini, "a senator of high rank," who, braving
all prejudices, appeared one day in his gondola, bearing a small
green Sunshade, unarched, of a quadrangular form, surmounted by a
tiny copper spire, of very delicate workmanship. The fair ladies of
Venice adopted this "indispensable" after this manifestation of the
noble Michel Morosini, but the Sunshade, nevertheless, appeared not
in all patrician hands in the gondolas of the Great Canal, and on the
Piazza of Saint Mark, till about the year 1760.

In England, in the first half of the last century, the Parasol and
the Umbrella were hardly ever used; however, in a passage of the
/Tatler/, Swift alludes to one of them in 1760, when he describes for
us a little sempstress, with her petticoats tucked up, and walking
along in a great hurry, whilst the rain trickles down from the

    The tucked-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
    While streams run down her oiled Umbrella's sides.

Again, there is at Woburn Abbey an admirable portrait, painted about
1730, of the Duchess of Bedford, followed by a little negro, who
holds above her head a sumptuously decorated state Parasol.

It is right to say that during the first years of the last century
people could not procure Umbrellas in London except in the
coffee-houses, where they were placed in reserve to be let out to
customers during heavy showers of rain. The first English citizen
who really introduced absolutely and unconditionally the Umbrella to
the nation was Jonas Hanway, the founder of the Magdalen Hospital.
This audacious man--for audacious he must have been thus to brave
the prejudices of a people the most prejudiced in the world--this
rash person had the courage never to go out into the streets of
London without his Umbrella from the year of our Lord 1750. Like
the majority of innovators, he was scoffed at, reviled, derided,
caricatured; he had to bear in his daily walks the quips and insults
of the mob, the stones and jostlings of the vagabond boys; but he had
also the honour of triumphing, and of seeing by degrees, after twenty
years of perseverance, his example followed to such an extent that
at the time of his death in 1786 he could declare with pride that,
thanks to him, the Umbrella was for ever implanted in England, an
imperishable institution.

To-day, our neighbours across the Channel talk of erecting a statue
to Jonas Hanway, as a homage publicly paid to a philanthropist. It
might be asked in what attitude this peaceable humanitarian is to be
represented, whether the Parasol of bronze is to remain shut up in
his right hand, or if it will be opened in all its amplitude over the
head of its protector, thus become its /protégé/.

About the time when Jonas Hanway died, Roland de la Platière made,
in his /Manufactures, Arts, and Trades/, this curious observation:
"The use of Parasols is to such an extent established in Lyons, that
not only all the women, but even the men, would not cross the street
without their little Parasol in red, white, or some other colour,
garnished with blonde lace, an article which, owing to its lightness,
can be carried with ease."

At the approach of the Revolution, the Umbrella became popular, and
served as a tent for the fishwomen and other feminine hucksters.
Then first appeared the enormous Umbrella of red serge among the
people of the markets, and the ordinary Umbrella in the hands of
the "Sans-Jupons" (the unpetticoated). Amidst the enthusiasms and
revolts of the streets the Umbrella was frantically waved by the
hands of the women of the people, and when, on the 31st May 1793,
Théroigne de Méricourt undertook her ill-starred defence of Brissot,
in the midst of a multitude of old hags, who cried "Down with the
Brissotins!" Umbrellas were lifted like so many improvised swords
over the /Liégeoise/, smote her in the face, lashed her everywhere,
scanning as it were with their strokes the odious cries of "/Ah! the
Brissotine!/" and provoking in the unhappy revolutionary Amazon the
madness of which she died so sadly at the Salpêtrière.

The Parasol of the Jacobins for a time made a show of severity,
in opposition to the knotty sticks and coquettish Parasols of the
Muscadins (dandies) and Incroyables (beaux); the Merveilleuses
(feminine exquisites), on the other hand, hoisted vaporous Sunshades
like their vestments of nymphs. Then it was that fashion gave their
due to the rights even of this frail protector of the Graces; every
kind of extravagance was allowed, every stuff accepted, however
dazzling and however precious. In the public gardens of Paris, all
the fashionable beauties displayed unusual luxury in the decoration
of their Sunshades; there were tender greens, figured gold stuffs,
flesh-coloured tints with scarlet fretworks, tender blues trimmed
with silver, Indian cashmeres or tissues, the whole mounted on
handles of affected roughness or of exquisitely delicate work. /Ma
paole supême/, as the exquisite used to say, it must be seen to be
believed. Nothing could be more coquettish than these Parasols,
streaked, striped, pied, fretted, as the complement of a dress /à
l'Omphale/, /à la Flore/, /à la Diane/, appearing in a swiftly driven
carriage, above a jacket /à la Galatée/, or a tunic /au Lever de
l'aurore/, amidst egrets, plumes, tufts of ribbons, and every kind of
feminine adornment.

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, the Sunshade was always
covered with the most fashionable tints and with stuff of the latest
taste of the time. Parasols were to be seen dressed in /stifled
sighs/, and garnished with /useless regrets/, others adorned with
ribbons /aux soupirs de Vénus/ (Venus' sighs), whilst the fashion
exacted by turns such colours as /coxcombs' bowels/, /Paris mud/,
/Carmelite/, /flea's thigh/, /king's eye/, /queen's hair/, /goose
dung/, /dauphin's dirt/, /opera flame/, /agitated nymph's thigh/,
and other names which were the singular qualificatives of particular
shades, the rage and infatuation of the hour.

The young priests carried a light violet or lilac Parasol, to remain
in the tone of their general dress--perhaps by episcopal orders. In
the same way, the Roman Cardinals are still followed in their walks
by a deacon, carrying a red Parasol, which makes part--like the
hat--of the ordinary luggage of the "Monsignori."

This word "luggage," which has just fallen from our pen, would seem
to call the attention to the rôle of the Sunshade or the Umbrella
in the Travels of the last century. Was the Parasol considered as
indispensable luggage before going on any expedition? We cannot
affirm this. The author of /A Journey from Paris to Saint-Cloud by
Sea and by Land/ writes, before embarking at Pont-Royal: "I kept
for my personal carriage only my repeater, my pocket-flask full of
/sans pareille/ water, my gloves, my boots, a whip, my riding-coat,
my pocket pistols, my fox-skin muff, my green taffety Umbrella, and
my big varnished walking-stick." But here we have more of a pretty
conceit of the eighteenth century, a sort of cotquean traveller,
who encumbers himself with useless objects. We have consulted many
/Almanacks serving as Guides for Travellers/, and containing "a
detail of everything which is necessary to travel comfortably,
usefully, and agreeably," from 1760 to 1765: nowhere, however, was
the Umbrella prescribed, either for foot passengers or for those on
horseback; on the contrary, the anonymous editor of those guides
seems sometimes to laugh at the simplicity of the tourist from Paris
to Saint-Cloud, and he adds that a traveller in good health ought to
content himself with strong boots and a cloak of good cloth. Even a
walking-stick, he says, often consoles the walker only in imagination.

The Umbrella-Walking-stick--who would believe it?--was, however,
known from 1758, and very convenient Parasols were then made, of
which the dimensions could be reduced so as to suit the pocket. A
certain Reynard announced in 1761 Parasols "which fold on themselves
triangularly, and become no thicker or more voluminous than a
crush-hat." These Umbrellas were, it seems, very common about 1770:
the stick was in two pieces, united by a screw, and the ribs were
folded back several times.

But let us not abandon the chronological order in returning thus
upon our own steps, after the example of a romance writer of 1840.
We have scarcely caught a glimpse of the Sunshade in our passage
through the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, in the
desultory speed of this free chat, in which our prose leaps as in a
steeple-chase of charming designs. We have confounded occasionally
the two denominations /Sunshade/ and /Umbrella/ in the more general
word /Parasol/: but if we have travelled a little in every direction,
we have not had the leisure to stop anywhere as a lounger or
analyst. And here we are at the beginning of this century, at the
Empire, but the nation is helmed, the sun of Austerlitz requires
not a Sunshade; woman holds merely the second place in this hour in
which France handles but the costly toys of glory, and if we find
at all an Umbrella, it is in the field, with the general staff of
the army, during some misty night, when it is used to shelter the
commander-in-chief, who studies on his map the plan of battle of the

The Sunshade shows more favourably in the hour of peace, during the
Restoration. All the journals of fashion of the time give us curious
and varied specimens of it in their steel engravings, hand-coloured,
which show us, during those days of a lull, languid ladies in the
midst of amusing decorations, in winter amidst snowy country scenes,
in summer in a park of profound distances, on some rustic bridge,
where the mistresses of the manors of that time allowed their
romantic reveries slowly to wander. We can follow in the innumerable
Monitors of elegance, which appeared from 1815 to 1830, from year
to year, from season to season, the variations introduced into the
decoration of the little ladies' Parasols. Look for a moment: here
are Sunshades, covered with coloured crape, or damasked satin, with
checkered silk, streaked, striped, or figured; others enriched with
blonde or lace, embroidered with glass-trinkets, or garnished with
marabou feathers, with gold and silver lace, or silk trimming;
the fashionable shade is then very light or very deep, without
intermediate tones: white, straw yellow, pink or myrtle-green,
chestnut and black, purple-red, or indigo. But a hundred pages would
not suffice us to catalogue these fashions of the Sunshade: let us
pass onward.

The use of the Umbrella extends itself little by little through all
classes; already in the slang of the people it is known under the
names of the /Mauve/(?), the /Riflard/, the /Pépin/, the /Robinson/.
Umbrella manufactories have, since the beginning of this century,
propagated rapidly in France. Before 1815--this seems scarcely
credible--Paris had no great manufactory of Parasols. But from 1808
to 1851 alone, we can reckon more than 103 patents for inventions
and improvements relating to Umbrellas and Sunshades. Among the most
extravagant patents, we must quote, after M. Cazal:--

 (1.) A patent for invention of an Umbrella walking-stick with a

 (2.) A patent for invention of Umbrellas and Sunshades combined
 with walking-sticks, shutting up in a copper case, in the form of a

 (3.) A patent for invention of an Umbrella walking-stick, containing
 diverse objects for writing or other purposes, and called /Universal

 (4.) A patent for invention of methods of manufacturing Umbrellas
 and Sunshades, opening of themselves, by means of a mechanism placed
 inside the handle;

 (5.) A patent for an Umbrella walking-stick, of which the sheath may
 be folded at pleasure, and carried in the pocket.

In spite of these genially grotesque inventions of
Umbrella-Telescopes and of Parasol-Walking-sticks, we have always
come back to the Umbrella simple, without mechanism, or to a light
stick without any pretensions to defend us from the rain. There are
so many complications in an object intended for many uses, that an
educated mind will always refuse to adopt it.

But without speaking further of the technology of the Umbrella, we
will relate an anecdote which ran through all the minor journals of
the Restoration, terminating like an apologue. We shall adopt the
form and style of the time in our narrative of this little historic
story, which should be entitled /The Sunshade and the Riflard/.

One fair summer afternoon, the promenaders in the Parisian Champs
Elysées might have seen, seated on a chair beside a pretty woman,
whose interesting situation was plainly visible, a peaceable citizen
making an inventory of all his pockets in their turn, without finding
the purse from which he intended to draw the few halfpence which the
chair-proprietress demanded.

The search is useless; it is impossible for him to pay;--the
proprietress indignant, almost rude, threatening to make a
disturbance, is only satisfied by the gentleman taking from the hands
of his companion a Sunshade of green silk, with fringes, mounted on
a reed, and a yellow glove, and giving them to the irascible lady,
saying to her, "Well, madam, keep this Sunshade as a pledge, and give
it to no one unless he offer you a Glove the fellow of this."

The pair departed, slowly arrived at the Place de la Révolution,
then at the Boulevard de la Madeleine, when they were surprised
by a violent shower; cabs were not to be had, the rain increased,
they were forced to seek refuge underneath a carriage entrance. The
peaceable citizen had already taken his companion to this shelter,
when a "portier," with an otter-skin cap, came out, beseeching the
lady and gentleman to accept the hospitality of his little room,
where a leathern arm-chair and a stool were immediately, and with
very good grace, offered to the invited pair. The rain still pouring
down, the "portier," more and more affable, took from a corner of his
small lodge a superb Umbrella of green serge, and offered it to his
guests, declaring that all he had was at their service.

The gentleman, in much confusion, accepted with many thanks the
Umbrella, and sheltering with it the interesting young woman, who had
tucked up her dress in the prettiest style, they both ventured out
into the midst of the deluge.

 . . . . An hour afterwards, a footman in very stylish livery
returned to the honest "portier" cobbler his precious Umbrella,
with four notes for a thousand francs, from the Duke de Berry; next
directing his course to the Champs Elysées, that same footman sought
out the chair-proprietress, and said to her:

"You recognise this Glove, Madam? Here are four pence, which my lord,
the Duke of Berry, has ordered me to remit to you, to redeem the
Sunshade of the Princess Caroline."

Touching and eternal legend of virtue, not without a recompense!

Under Louis Philippe, the Umbrella or Riflard became /patriarchal/
and /constitutional/; it represented manners austere and citizenlike,
and symbolised the domestic virtues of order and economy. It might be
set in the royal trophy in saltier with the sceptre, and it became
a part in some sort of the national militia, with the attributes of
angling, culinary laurels, and other symbols of Philistine life.

All the independents of Paris, Bohemians, literary men with flowing
manes, and artists chanted in the /Rapinéide/, all the hirsute folk
of the years 1830 to 1850 rose in insurrection against the "Pépin"
of the burgess. This word /Pépin/ was then an epigram against Louis
Philippe, whose pear-shaped head was caricatured, and who never left
his home without his Umbrella.

Anglomania had not yet penetrated, as in the present day, into French
manners; and the dandyism of 1830, which pretended that the carrying
of a walking-stick required a particular skill, repelled the Umbrella
as contrary to veritable elegance. The Umbrella was countrified, the
property of gaffer and gammer; it was tolerable only in the hands of
one who had long renounced all pretensions to any charm, and dreamed
no more of setting off in the promenade the haughty profile of a
conqueror. In the cross ways, in every public place in Paris, the
large Parasol, red, or the colour of wine-lees, had become, as it
were, the ensign of the strolling singer who retailed Béranger to
the crowd; it served as a shelter for acrobats in the open air; it
surmounted the improvised trestles of the sellers of tripoli, of an
universal ointment; it ascended even the chariot of the quacks; later
on it served as a set-off for the plumed helmet of Mangin, the pencil
merchant; and it is still under a copper Parasol, commonly called
/Chinese bells/, that the man-orchestra causes an excitement in the
court-yards by ringing his little bells.

In the provinces, on market or great fair days, the Umbrellas opened
in picturesque confusion above the flat baskets and provisional
establishments of the country women; there were red, faded blue or
chestnut ones, inexpressible green or old family Umbrellas, heirlooms
descended from generation to generation, which protected the little
rural tradeswomen, and added a particular character full of colour to
these primitive markets of little towns.

The Umbrella! we behold it in the dreams of our school-days. Here
is the severe and sombre Umbrella of the headmaster, symbol of his
pedantic authority, when he passed us in review in the cold and damp
playground. Here is the Riflard of the poor usher, a celebrated
/Pépin/, covered with a mottled cotton-stuff, its bill-headed handle
polished by his unctuous clasp. And here, above all, is an Umbrella
greeted with loud acclaim, a festive Crusoe, which followed us when
out walking, as the sutler follows the regiment on the march, the
Umbrella of /Mother Sun/, as we used to call it: /Mother Sun!/ an
honest jolly wench, with her head in a silk pocket-handkerchief tied
under her chin, who installed herself beneath the shelter of her
improvised tent about our playtime, to sell to her noisy /children/
cooling lemonade, fruit, barley-sugar, and little white rolls stuffed
with hot sausages.

But let us leave these souvenirs, which carry us too far away, and
return to the /Sunshade/ between 1830 and 1870. If we wished to show
only its transformations during these forty years, we should have
to write a volume quite full of coloured vignettes to give a feeble
idea of the history which fashion creates in an object of coquetry.
About 1834, in the journal called /Le Protée/, we see fashion
personified under the traits of a young and pretty woman visiting
the finest shops in Paris; she fails not to go to "Verdier, in the
Rue Richelieu, for Sunshades," and chooses two--one a full-dress
Sunshade, in unbleached silk casing, mounted on a stick of American
bindweed, with a top of gold and carved coral; the other in striped
wood, having a similar top with a fluted knob, and covered with
myrtle green paduasoy, with a satin border.

Let us skip over some hundreds of intermediate varieties to look a
dozen years afterwards, under the Second Republic, at the Sunshade
described by M. A. Challamel in his /History of Fashion/: "As soon,"
says this writer, "as the first ray of sunshine appeared, ladies
armed themselves for their walks or morning calls with little
Sunshades, entirely white, or pink, or green. Sometimes the Sunshades
called 'Marquises' were edged with lace, which gave them rather
a ragged appearance; or having the shape of little Umbrellas, the
Sunshades could serve at need against a sudden storm. Very soon we
saw Sunshades /à dispositions/ bordered with a figured garland, or
a satin stripe of the same colours, or blue or green on unbleached
silk, or violet on white or sulphur."

A fashion, not, it will be allowed, in the very best taste:--Up
to 1853 or 1854, we find no innovation worthy of exciting our
enthusiasm; it is only in the first days of the Second Empire that we
can see a marked change. The straight Sunshades were then abandoned
to introduce Sunshades with a folding stick, principally for those
made in satin and in moire antique, bordered with trimmings or set
off with streamers. These Sunshades were called "/à la Pompadour/,"
and they were worthy, in a certain degree, of the beauty who
personified grace and delicate elegance in the eighteenth century;
they were embroidered after the old fashion with gold and silk, and
on the richness of the stuffs was cast or "frilled in" Chantilly,
point d'Alençon, guipure, or blonde. The folding-sticks were of
sculptured ivory, of carved mother-of-pearl, of rhinoceros horn, or
of tortoise-shell. It is with this light Sunshade that the Parisian
ladies saluted the Empress, caracoling by the side of the Emperor, at
the commencement of his reign, on their return from the Wood, in the
Champs Elysées, which began to look beautiful, as everything looks
beautiful at the spring-tide of years, as well as at the springtime
of governments. All in nature has surely its fall of the leaf, after
having had the verdure of its blossom!--all tires, all passes, all
breaks: men, kings, fashions, and peoples!

The Sunshade is found to-day in the hands of every one, as it
should be in this practical and utilitarian age. There is not, at
the present hour, any woman or girl of the people, who has not her
sunshade or her satin /en-tout-cas/--it seems to be the indispensable
complement of the toilet for the promenade; and our modern painters
have so well understood this gracious adjunct of feminine costume,
that they take very good heed not to forget, in a study of a
woman made in a full light, a rosy head with dishevelled hair, on
the transparent ground of a Japanese Sunshade, thus producing an
exquisite work with all freshness of colouring, and discreet shadows
sifted upon sparkling eyes or a laughing mouth. On Sundays and
holidays, in the jostlings of the crowd at suburban fêtes, it is like
an eddy of Sunshades; such the spectacle of ancient besiegers, who
covered themselves with their bucklers and made the "tortoise," so in
the shimmer of the summer sun in the great Parisian parish festivals:
gingerbread fairs of Saint-Cloud or Vaugirard, the Sunshade is on
the trestles and among the promenaders; it protects equally the girl
dancing on the tight-rope and the respectable citizen's wife in her
Sunday best, who rumples the flounce of her petticoats in these
popular gatherings.

Surely the Sunshade adds new graces to woman! It is her outside
weapon, which she bears boldly as a volunteer, either at her side,
or inclined over her shoulder. It protects her head-dress, in
supporting her carriage, it surrounds as with a halo the charms of
her face.

"The Sunshade," writes M. Cazal--or rather Marchal, as the so-called
Charles de Bussy, who edited, in the name of the manufacturer, the
little work already quoted,--"the Sunshade, like a rosy vapour,
attenuates and softens the contour of the features, revives the
vanished tints, surrounds the physiognomy with its diaphanous
reflections. There is the Sunshade of the great lady, of the young
person, of the tradesman's wife, of the pretty lorette, of the little
workwoman, just as there is the Sunshade of the town, of the country,
of the garden, of the bath, of the barouche, and the Sunshade-whip."

"How many volumes," continues the same writer with animation, "would
be required to describe in its thousand fantasies the kaleidoscope of
feminine thought in the use of the Sunshade? Under its rosy or azure
dome, sentiment buds, passion broods or blossoms; at a distance the
Sunshade calls and rallies to its colours, near at hand it edifies
the curious eye, and disconcerts and repels presumption. How many
sweet smiles have played under its corolla! How many charming signs
of the head, how many intoxicating and magic looks, has the Sunshade
protected from jealousy and indiscretion! How many emotions, how many
dramas, has it hidden with its cloud of silk!"

M. Charles Blanc, less dithyrambic, in his /Art in Dress and
Ornament/, commences his chapter on the Sunshade--"Do you imagine
that women have invented it to preserve their complexion from the
heats of the sun? . . . . Certainly, without doubt; but how many
resources are furnished them by this need of casting a penumbra over
their face, and what a grudge they would have against the sun, if it
gave them no pretext for defending themselves against his rays! In
that work of art called a woman's toilet, the Sunshade sustains the
part of the chiaro-oscuro.

"In the play of colours it is as a glazing. In the play of light it
is as a blind."

For the last dozen years, fashion has varied, with every new season,
the mode and covering of Sunshades. To-day they have become artistic
in all points, and after having been in turns in spotted foulard,
and set off with ribbons or lace, after the Parasol walking-stick,
the maroon or cardinal-red Parasol, have succeeded the checkered
taffetas, the Madras cretonnes, the Pompadour satins, the figured
silks. Their handles are adorned with porcelain of Dresden, of
Sèvres, or of Longwy, with various precious stones, and with jewels
of all sorts; and lately, among some wedding presents, amidst a dozen
Sunshades, one remarkable specimen was entirely covered with point
lace, on a pink ground clouded with white gauze, having a jade handle
with incrustations of precious stones up to its extreme point. A
golden ring gemmed with emeralds and brilliants, attached to a gold
chain, served as a clasp for this inestimable jewel.

But in this style of hasty conference in which we are running from
the Sunshade to the Umbrella, let us not neglect the latter, whose
last name is /paratrombe/ and /paradéluge/, which M. de Balzac, in
the /Père Goriot/, calls "a bastard descended from a cane and a
walking-stick." The Umbrella has inspired many writers--writers of
vaudevilles, romances, poetry, and humorous pieces; on it little
ingenious monographs have been composed, little sparkling verses,
articles in reviews, very serious from the trade point of view; many
couplets have been rhymed at the Caveau and elsewhere on the Pépin
and the Riflard; on the stage has been interpreted /My Wife and
My Umbrella/, /Oscar's Umbrella/, /The Umbrella of Damocles/, and
/the Umbrella/ of the poet D'Hervilly. This useful article has also
inspired the realist Champfleury in a joyous tale, entitled--/Above
all, don't forget your Umbrella!/ Everywhere, with variations and
unheard-of paraphrases, has the social part of the Umbrella been
shown to us; the meetings occasioned by it on stormy days; the
/Pépin/ gallantly offered to young girls eating apples in distress
whilst it is raining on the Boulevards; we have had described to us
the gentleman who follows the ladies fortified with his Umbrella,
the weapon of his fight, and many tales and novels begin with one
of these Parisian meetings at a street corner on a wet evening.
The utility of the Umbrella in different ways has been insisted
on, of the painter's Umbrella, of the Umbrella for men called /sea
bath/; and the sad melopæa of the French seller of Umbrellas in the
street, whose prolonged cry of /parrrphluie/ has been carefully
annotated. Lastly, there have been too many pictures representing a
coquettish workwoman, whose petticoats have been turned up by the
wind, and whose Parasol has been turned inside out; but that which
has never been written with the humour which such a subject allows,
the master-piece which has never yet been accomplished, is the
/Physiology of the Umbrella/.

There is no doubt that bibliographers will put under our eyes a thin
book of the lowest character which affects this title, and is edited
by /Two Hackney Coachmen/, but it is nought but the "humbug" of the
Umbrella--its /Physiology/ in its entirety is yet unaccomplished.
Balzac would have found therein matter for an immortal work, for
there is a dash of truth in that fantastic aphorism uttered by some
journalist in distress, "The Umbrella is the man."

Eugène Scribe has left us a modest quatrain on the Umbrella, worthy
of his operatic muse--

    A friend of mine, new, true, and rare,
      And all unlike the common form;
    Who leaves me when my sky is fair,
      And reappears in days of storm.

This almost equals that other quatrain, more ancient still, signed by
the good abbé Delille--

    This precious, supple instrument, confect
      Of the whale's bone, and of the silkworm's grave,
    With outstretched wing, my brow will oft protect
      From the wet onslaught of the pluvial wave.

Have we not here Academic verse well made for the Umbrellas of the

To come to extremes: among the popular songs, we hear the song of
/the Umbrella/, "a ditty found in a whale"--

    The good Umbrella may be sung
      In many airs and ways;
    The Umbrella, be we old or young,
      Will serve us all our days.
    It keeps true love from getting wet,
      And catching cold at night;
    It hides the thief, to business set,
      From the policeman's sight.
    Then buy yourself, for fear of rain,
    A solid, useful, good, and plain
    In fact, for rain we cannot sell a
    Much better thing than our Umbrella!

This funny song is well worth the tiresome verse sung at present--

    He has not an Umbrella, well
      It is no matter, while it's fine;
    But when the rain comes down pell-mell,
      Why, then he's wetted to the spine! . . . .

Certainly one ought to write a physiological monograph of these black
mushrooms, which to-day protect humanity, just as one ought to rhyme
a poem of the dainty Sunshade, that pretty rosy cupola, which is one
of the most charming coquetries of a Frenchwoman.

We write this /one ought/ with a vague sadness, with the
discouragement which makes us wish for the future, what we should
have been so glad to bury in the past. In beginning our work, we
experienced a careless joy, we thought the end was near on our very
entry into the field, and that we should quickly attain it, with
the satisfaction of having created a little work, both complete
and altogether graceful; but once on our way, ferreting without
relaxation in all the literary thickets where some Parasol might lie
buried, in the fold of a phrase, in the middle of a story, of an
anecdote, or of a dissertation, of some fact, we have gathered so
ample a harvest, our sheaf has become so large, so very large, that
it was impossible for us to bind our arms about it, after having
co-ordinated its various parts. It is but a few poor strays then
which lie stranded here, the flotsam and jetsam of our hope, sole
vestiges of a project which, like all projects, became Homeric as it
grew great in the workshop of the imagination.

We end this essay, therefore, with a sentiment of ridicule, in which
we laugh at our own selves, that of having dreamed of making a
perfect monograph, and of having produced nothing more than a little
tumbled fantasy, which ironically steals away out of sight, like
that minuscular mouse, of which the mountain was once upon a time
delivered in much moaning.

What matter! We must end. Let us hide our melancholy retreat
by humming this last lovely burden of a poet of the school of

    'Tis called a /Pépin/, a /Riflard/,
    And other viler names there are;
    Not one of all the Umbrella moves.
    Wisely it counts them no disgrace;
    Since--child of April's art--the loves
    Oft make their quivers of its case!





/To M^{me.} H. de N./

Well, my dear friend, here I am, faithful as you see to my
appointment; I am come deliberately to fulfil my promise, which I so
imprudently gave on a certain day last season, upon a Breton strand,
you remember, while contemplating one of your rosy little hands,
which was whipping its sister with a long Swedish glove, in a sort
of angry pet, and gave to you an appearance of wild and exquisite

How did you manage, O Enchantress, to induce me to give my loyal word
that I would write for you the /History of the Glove/? How! . . . who
can ever say? When a pair of pretty eyes envelop you, and bathe you
with their radiance, when a smile puts honey into your heart, and a
tiny little hand is stretched out with open palm, seeming to say,
"Take me," every kind of will melts quickly away, consent mounts
delightedly to the lips, and we promise at once everything, before we
know well what we are asked.

Ah, unhappy me! it is the Glove of Nessus which you have placed upon
my hand! The History of the Glove! why, it is the history of the
world; and I should be very ill-advised if I pretended /avoir les
Gants/ to be the first to tell that history, as ancient as it is

Haunted by this debt of honour, contracted to please you, I
went lately to see a learned old friend of mine, a venerable
Benedictine--better than a well of science; an ocean of
indulgence--to whom I exposed my foolish enterprise of the Glove and
the Mitten.

Ah, my friend, I only wish you could have seen him all at once leap
from his seat, look at me with compassion, examine me profoundly with
his eye, and murmur three times in a tone of ineffable astonishment
and sadness, as though he believed me mad--

"The Glove!--the Glove!!--the Glove!!!--

" . . . And so it is the Glove," he went on, when he had become a
little calmer, "it is the history of this offensive and defensive
ornament, of this object so complex, of which the origin is so
obscure and so troublesome, it is a monograph of the Glove that you
desire to write! . . . My dear child, allow me to believe that you
have not reflected on what you have engaged yourself to do, let
me think that you have brought more lightness than reason to the
conception of this enterprise. The Glove!--Why, with the history of
the Shoe, it is the most formidable work that a learned man could
dare to dream of executing. Look," he sighed, dragging forth a
voluminous manuscript, "in the /Bibliography of Words/, a colossal
work, which I have commenced, but, alas! shall never end, I see at
the word GLOVE more than fifteen hundred different works, Latin,
Greek, Italian, German, Spanish, English, and French, which treat of
this matter, and even this is but the rudest sketch. We must consider
the use of the Glove amongst the ancient Hebrews, the Babylonians,
the Armenians, the Syrians, the Phœnicians, the Sidonians, the
Parthians, the Lydians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, &c.

"It would be necessary to divide the work into different Books,
subdivided into innumerable Chapters; thus for the etymology alone of
/the word Glove/, in the different dialects, must be reserved a long
notice of comparative philology; it would be necessary to determine
if the Glove which was used by the young nude girls, who wrestled
together in Lacedæmon, after Lycurgus had installed there his Lyceums
and public games--if this Glove, I say, ought to be classed among the
fighting mufflers or the leathern gauntlets--and how many matters
besides!" And my dear old friend became still more and more excited,
ever widening the question, as if, it seemed to me, it were a case of
establishing a complete Encyclopedia. Diderot and d'Alembert would
have grown pale before that imperturbable science, which showed
mountains of folios to be cleared away, and unknown precipices to be

"But," I hazarded in a little confusion, "I only think of writing a
light treatise, a thin volume of a few pages, one of those nothings
carried off by the wind, which pass for a second, like an anecdote or
tale, into a pretty feminine cerebellum; I wish to give hardly a line
to other countries than France, just to graze incidentally the Glove
of challenge, to speak only from memory of the pontifical Gloves,
to neglect the side of manufacture, the art of preparing the skins,
of removing the outside skin, and so on. I only desire in one word
to chat for a few instants, disconnectedly and in fits and starts,
on that portion of clothing which the ancients called /Chirothecæ/,
/Gannus/, /Gantus/, /Guantus/, /Wanto/, and /Wantus/, if I may trust
the /Glossary/ of Du Cange."

"Alas, that is true," cried my old friend, in a sadly modulated tone;
"I am doting, eh? We, of the old school, it is we who are the wet
blankets, the tedious savants. At the present day, when journalism is
to literature what the piano is to music, an instrument upon which
every one strums without any conviction, is it not necessary to cut
matters short, and quickly create eternal /à peu près/ (pretty much
the sames), little light dissertations, notices made on the spur of
the moment, and superficial passion? We were in our time egotists,
fervent solitaries, unreadable and unread, if you will; what does it
matter? When a work had fastened on our mind, we espoused it, after
a legitimate love, with all the joys of generation and paternity. We
wished to endow our labour with all the qualities which it seemed
able to bear, to such an extent, that it became dry, rugged, and
severe. But how many were the delights not to be forgotten, in those
traces followed for whole days, before our utterance of the joyous
/Eureka!/--how many inward intoxications in that slow-brooding
season, in that patient labour!--how many minute investigations
before resolving a historic doubt! We were the exclusives of national
erudition, and thought one work sufficed for one man, when he had fed
it with his life, with his watchings, with his very heart, with all
the tenderness of the creative workman.

"I should like," he continued, "to have twenty years to ride a
hobby-horse, which would make me rest at stopping-places for ten,
fifteen, twenty years, on a thorny work, and offer me splendid runs,
full of adventure, across the highways and secret paths of science.
I would commit the follies of Doctor Faustus, to return to the age
of those first bibliographic loves, which have the future brilliant
and open before them--and this Glove which you disdain, my dear young
friend--this Glove which you dwarf to the ideal of a doll--this
Glove, I would pick it up, hold it carefully, clear off with it like
a cat, and ensconce myself with it in my savant's den, to take a good
long sniff at it, to study it, and to analyse it every day more and
more, until at last I drew from it a serious and lasting work.

"This Glove should not be thrown at the public, like one of those
challenges which recall too distinctly the celebrated Glove which
Charles V. sent to Westminster by a mere scullion--an accentuation
of the insult offered to the King of England--it should be cast more
lovingly, as in our old romances of chivalry, /the Romance of the
Rose/, of /Rou/, or of /Perceforet/. If I were but twenty years old,
I would do with the reader as Petrarch did with Laura, in demanding
of her nothing more than the favour of picking up her Glove; and I
would say to him later on, after the fashion of Marot, poetically, in
offering my work:--

   'Deign to receive these Gloves with goodly cheer,
    My true heart's present of the coming year.'

"And then I would speak of those Mittens with which Xenophon
reproaches the degenerate Persians, of those Roman finger-stalls
employed in the olive crop, and even of that glutton named Pithyllus,
who carried delicacy so far as to make a Glove of a sheath of skin
for his tongue."

The good old man, kindled by his enthusiasm, became transformed; he
seemed desirous to take upon himself the whole history of the Glove,
which he embroidered at once with fancy and the most varied anecdote
that his wonderful memory could supply. After having distinguished,
in the Middle Ages, many sorts of Gloves, such as the /usual/ Glove,
the /falconer's/ Glove, the /workman's/ Glove, the /feminine/ Glove,
the /military/ Glove, the /seignorial/ Glove, and the /liturgical/
Glove, he attacked with a zest bordering on frenzy the part of the
Glove of the knights and men in armour of the heroic battles of the
past, at a time when individual prowess could still display itself;
he quoted the Chronicles of Du Guesclin and De Guigneville:--

   "Rich basinets he ordered to be brought,
    And Gloves with iron spikes with horror fraught."

He showed me, without recourse to aught but his own erudition, the
transformation of these iron gauntlets, first into mail, like the
coat, then into movable plates of flat iron, adapted to the movements
of the hand; he explained to me the lining, where the palm was of
leather or stuff, and at last, exhuming the ordinances of 1311, he
made me penetrate into the details of the manufacture:--

"That no one should make Gloves of plates, except the plates are
tinned or varnished, or beaten, or covered with black leather, red
leather, or samite, and that under the head of every nail should be
set a rivet of gold."

Ah, my fair friend, if you could have seen this strange man so
suddenly taken by my subject, you would have regarded me with pity,
for I could not help pouting a little at this old dean, and felt
myself attacked by a sudden cowardice, at the mere announcement of
the formidable researches which were to be undergone.

I took my humble leave of my most learned master, humiliated, floored
by the extent of his knowledge, his laborious zeal, his powerful
faith, his stubborn will. I saw that in giving you my word for a poor
Glove, I had given it to a demon, who showed me a Glove of an immense
shagreen skin, containing the world and its history--fantastic as a
nightmare, which weighed me down. Then I swore to sacrifice a part
for the rest, and not to build a cathedral when a simple cushion
at your feet would suffice me for my heedless chatter. Accept then
favourably this act of contrition, and let me be fully pardoned,
if, /à propos/ of the Glove, I bound along madly like a young kid,
without pity for the history of costume and historic documents, which
I trample under my feet, rather than see myself buried under their
pyramidal bundles.

That which my old friend had probably neglected is the Legend, and to
that I run.

A charming poet and a charmer, Jean Godard, a Parisian, the worthy
rival of Ronsard, published towards 1580 a piece entitled /The
Glove/. This witty nursling of the Muses pretends to show us the
origin of the Glove in the burning passion which Venus cherished for
Adonis. According to our poet--

    "The young Adonis ever loved the field,
    Now hunting the swift stag with branching head,
    And now the tusked wild boar, just cause of dread.
    Venus, fierce burning with his love alway,
    Would never leave him neither night nor day,
    But running after his sweet eyes and face,
    Sought young Adonis, when he sought the chase:
    Deep into forests full of gloomy fear,
    The goddess followed him she held so dear.
    One day, as she pursued him, bursting through
    A bramble thicket, which by ill chance grew
    Athwart her path, a cruel, hardy thorn
    Pierced her white hand, and lo! the rose was born
    From her red blood. But Venus, vexed with pain,
    Lest any hurt should touch her hand again,
    Bade all at once her unclad Graces sew
    A leathern shelter for her hand of snow.
    The lovely Graces, draped in floating hair,
    No longer left their own hands free and bare,
    But bound and covered them as Venus did.
    And now the Glove's true origin is hid
    No longer. This is it. Fair girls alone
    Wore on their hands what now is common grown.
    Then came the Emperor, and then his court,
    And then at last the folk of every sort."

Charming in its /naïveté/, is it not, my dear friend, this fable
which gives the Glove the same origin as the rose!

The use of Gloves was widely spread in the Middle Ages. They covered
the wrist entirely, even with women. "The Gloves of the common
people," says M. Charles Louandre, "were of sheep-skin, of doe skin,
or of fur; those of bishops were made in chain-stitch of silk with
gold thread; those of simple priests were of black leather." But what
will surprise you is that, contrary to the present custom, it was
absolutely forbidden to appear gloved before great personages.

In a manuscript lately published, /The Sayings of the Merchants/, a
merchant cries, with an engaging air--

    "I have pretty little bands,
      And for damsels dainty Gloves,
    Furred to warm their snowy hands,
      These I sell to those sweet loves."

But what were the furred Gloves of sweet loves or gentle ladies
compared to those which the fair Venetians showed on the grand days
of ceremonies, when the Doge prepared to mount the Bucentaur for
the purpose of espousing the sea? These, according to M. Feuillet
de Conches, were Gloves of silk marvellously embroidered, embossed
with gold and pearls; some of them were of lace of an incomparable
richness, well worthy to be offered as a present, and to figure in
the budget of handsome acknowledgments. But the most wonderful were
the Gloves of painted skin, like the water-colours on Fans.

Here were country scenes, sheepfolds, pictures of ravishing
gallantry, miniatures beyond price. "And even," observes M. Feuillet
de Conches, "the heels of the shoes of dandies were decorated by
Watteau or by Parrocel."

The Valois doted, you know, on perfumed Gloves; this taste was fatal
to Jeanne d'Albret, who found her death in trying a pair of Gloves
dexterously prepared by some Italian quack, a friend of the sombre
Catherine. Consider, my friend, that with my romantic instinct, and
my temperament full of love for the drama, I might find here an easy
transition, and tell you, in long excited phrases, of the exploits of
the Marchioness of Brinvilliers, and the grim Gaudin de Sainte-Croix;
show you these sinister poisoners preparing by night their infamous
Glove stock; then in a tale fantastic as the /Olivier Brusson/ of
Hoffmann, evoke the famous trial of the Marchioness, the torture,
the various punishments, the burning chamber, up to the final stake.
All this /à propos/ of the Glove--who can say if such simple history
would not be worth more than all the cock-and-bull stories which I
am about to tell you, by compulsion, concerning the Glove and the
Mittens? In very truth, I would prefer, as your /vis-à-vis/, to
show myself a romancist, not an historian, for I should be sure of
being less of a bore, more personal, and, above all--shall I avow
it?--not in any degree common-place. But, as Miguel de Cervantes
said, "Our desires are extremely seditious servants." I will be then
reactionary, and will close the door against these socialists of

All this fine rigmarole has made me think of presenting you with a
letter of Antonio Perez to Lady Rich, sister of Lord Essex, who had
asked him for some dogskin Gloves:--

"I have experienced," he writes, "so much affliction in not having by
me the dogskin Gloves desired by your ladyship, that, waiting their
arrival, I have resolved to flay a little skin on the most delicate
part of my own body--if, indeed, any delicate part can be found upon
my rude self. Love and devotion to a lady's service may surely make
a man flay himself for her, and cut her a pair of Gloves out of his
own skin. But how can I pride myself on this with your ladyship, when
it is my custom to flay even my very soul for those I love? Could
mine be seen as clearly as my body, it would appear full of tatters,
the most lamentable sort of soul in the world;--the Gloves are of
dog's skin, madam, and yet of my own, for I hold myself as a dog, and
supplicate your ladyship to hold me in like regard, in requital of my
faith and my passion in your service."

What think you of this out-and-out gallant, of this "dying"
passionate lover? Here it seems to me, /à propos/ of scented Gloves,
we have a Castilian gentleman exceedingly well skilled in the
delicate art of offering them to ladies.

Spanish Gloves are reproached with too strong a smell; the French
ladies suffer strangely from their too heady odour: Antonio Perez
would certainly have been an excellent manufacturer of perfumed
Gloves--discreet in his scents, distinguished in his form.

The Gloves most in vogue after the time of La Fronde were the
Gloves of Rome, of Grenoble, of Blois, of Esla, and of Paris. M. de
Chanteloup charged Poussin to buy him Roman Gloves, and the latter
wrote back on 7th October, 1646: "Here are a dozen pairs of Gloves,
half men's, half women's. They cost half-a-pistole a pair, which
makes eighteen crowns for the whole." The 18th October, 1649, another
purchase; but this time they are Gloves scented with Frangipane,
with which Poussin provided himself for M. de Chanteloup; and
these he bought at la Signora Maddelena's, "a woman famous for her
perfumes." In Paris, according to /The Convenient Address Book/ of
Nicolas de Blegny--the Bottin of 1692--there were a certain number of
manufacturers of perfumed Gloves in the Rue de l'Arbre-Sec and the
Rue Saint-Honoré. "There are," says the editor of this commercial
almanac, "Glove-merchants very well stocked; for instance, M. Remy,
opposite Saint-Méderic, who is famous for his excellent buck-skin
Gloves; Arsan, hard by the Abbey Saint-Germain; Richard, Rue
Saint-Denis, /at the little St. John/, well known for his Gloves of
/Fowl-skin/; and Richard, Rue Galande, at /the Great King/, whose
commerce is in doeskin Gloves."

The name of fowl-skin Glove doubtless astonishes you--another name
was outer lamb skin; they were made for the use of ladies during
the summer. The pretended fowl-skin was nothing but the epidermis of
kid-skin, and the preparation of this epidermis was the real triumph
of the Glove-merchants of Paris and Rome. Gloves of /Canepin/, or
outer lamb's-skin, were made, it is said, so delicate and thin, that
a pair of them could be easily enclosed in a walnut shell.

The buck-skin or buffalo-skin Glove was specially made for falconers;
it covered the right hand half up the arm, thus completely protecting
it against the claws, or rather the talons, of the bird, falcon,
gerfalcon, or sparrow-hawk, when it came to settle on their fist.

Hawking existed even under Louis XIII., but it was no longer the
grand and splendid epoch of this aristocratic sport, so profoundly
interesting. In one of his ancient legends, André le Chapelain,
of whom Stendhal wrote a short biographical notice, speaks of a
sparrow-hawk, to gain which the magic Glove was necessary. This Glove
could only be obtained by a victory in the lists over two of the most
formidable champions of Christendom. It was suspended to a golden
column, and very carefully guarded. But when the knight had by his
skill gained the Glove, he saw the beautiful sparrow-hawk so much
desired swoop down immediately upon his fist.

Up to the age of Louis XIV., the skin Glove was destined rather
for the use of men, and it was only under this Prince that Gloves
mounting a long way up the arm, and long Mittens of silk netting to
set off the hands of women, were generally adopted by them.

Gloves /à l'occasion/, /à la Cadenet/, /à la Phyllis/, /à la
Frangipane/, /à la Néroli/, Gloves /of the last cut/ worn awhile by
the /Précieuses/, ceased to be fashionable about 1680. The custom, of
which Tallemant speaks, of presenting ladies, after the banquet, with
basins of Spanish Gloves, was only vulgarised in passing from the
Court to the town.

Dangeau, in his /Memoirs/, has written a chapter on the /Etiquette
of Gloves and the Ceremonial of Mittens/. I refer you to it without

Under Louis XV., in the eighteenth century, so full of the rustle
of silk, so enchanting that I fear to stop on it in your company,
lest I should never leave it, the wearing of Gloves quickly became
an enormous luxury. All those fair coquettes, whom you have seen
at their toilets, or their /petit lever/, after Nattier, Pater, or
Moreau, surrounded by their "/filles de modes/," caused a greater
massacre of Gloves at the time of trying them on, than our richest
worldlings of to-day. These Gloves were of kid, of thread, and
of silk; the most celebrated came from Vendôme, from Blois, from
Grenoble, and from Paris; they were generally made of white skin,
wretchedly sewn, but the cut was extremely graceful, with its cuff
falling from the wrist over the hand, and small ribbons and fine
rosettes of carnation interlaced on this cuff.

Gloves sewn after the English fashion were highly appreciated. It
became a proverb, that for a Glove to be good, three realms must have
contributed to it: "Spain to prepare the skin and make it supple,
France to cut it, and England to sew it."

Caraccioli maintains that a woman of fashion, about the middle of the
eighteenth century, would not dispense with changing her Gloves four
or five times a day. "The /petits-maîtres/," he adds, "never fail to
put on, in the morning, Gloves of rose or /jonquil/, perfumed by the
celebrated Dulac." As to Mittens, the same observer of the century
notices them as specially belonging to women. "Nevertheless," he
says, "in winter the manufacturers make furred Mittens, and men now
wear them when they travel."

Madame de Genlis has this curious observation in her /Dictionary of
Etiquette/: "If you have anything to present to a princess, and have
your Glove on, you must needs take it off."

How many anecdotes, how many literary souvenirs, the Glove of the
eighteenth century summons to the thought!

You remember, I am quite sure, that pretty chapter consecrated by
Sterne, in his /Sentimental Journey/, to the beautiful Grisette who
sold Gloves, into whose shop he entered to ask his way. The pretty
Glove-seller coquets with the stranger, shows herself extremely
complaisant, and the sentimental traveller, to prove his gratitude
for her kindness, asks for some Gloves, and tries on several pairs
without finding one to suit him. But he takes two or three pairs all
the same before he goes.

The story leaves a fresh feature in the mind: an English artist has
fixed it with much delicacy on a remarkable canvas, which figures in
the National Gallery. The authors of the /Vie Parisienne/ were surely
inspired by it a little later in their joyous libretto, when they
wrote the well-known couplets of the lady who sold Gloves and the

Permit me also to relate to you an anecdote, rather slight in
texture, of which Duclos is the hero, and which has all the flavour
of his roguish age:--

The author of /Manners/ was bathing on the flowery borders of the
Seine, and giving himself up to skilled /hand-over-hand/, when
he suddenly heard piercing cries of distress. He rushes out of
the water, runs up the bank without taking time to slip on his
"indispensables," and finds a young and charming woman, whose
carriage had just been overturned in a rut. He hastens to beauty
in tears, lying on the ground, and making a gracious bow, in his
academic nudity, "Madam," says he, in offering her his hand to assist
her to rise, "pardon my want of Gloves."

Here we have at once the expression of a scoffing sceptic, and a
giddy philosopher, full of a particular charm. Do not believe, my
gentle friend, that if I remain in your company so short a time in
the beginning of the eighteenth century--the only one which has,
you cannot deny it, all its perfumed quintessence--do not believe
that I intend to linger in the Revolution, and conduct you to the
house of Mademoiselle Lange, Madame Talien, Madame Récamier, and all
the fashionable drawing-rooms of the First Republic, the Directory,
the Consulate, and the Empire; to take ceremoniously the hand of
the marvellous Beauties, the Nymphs, and Muses of those troubled
times, in order the better to show you what extravagant Gloves, what
prodigious Mittens, were then worn. The /Ladies' Journal/, and all
the small journals of fashion, will surely teach you more about the
Gloves worn by these worldly Calypsos and Eucharises than six hundred
monotonous pages of varied descriptions. There is no Museum, however,
preserving the objects of art which the Revolution marked deeply with
its seal; and this fact will make me insist on a model of a special
Glove, destined for a representative of the people despatched to the
army, of which an erudite archæologist of the Revolution, and at the
same time a remarkable humourist, Champfleury, has been good enough
to communicate to me a design. This Glove of doe-skin, manufactured
according to order, and broidered with arabesques about the slopings
of the thumb, bears on the back of the hand a vignette in the form
of a seal, which represents Liberty holding in her hand the pike,
the Phrygian cap, and the scales of justice--a Liberty, you will
say, by no means at liberty . . . . in her movements:--on the right
is crouched a lion, the sign of force; on the left a cat, a sign of

I will not lose my time in paraphrasing for you this symbolic
vignette; and, with a long historic stride, I will conduct you
into the quietude of some chateau, under the Restoration, and, in
the evening twilight, to the terrace before a great park. I will
there show you two lovers warbling a serenade--the timid young girl
touching a guitar, the young man deeply moved, putting a world of
passion into his baritone voice. On the hands of the singer, behold,
pearly grey gloves fastening with a single button; on the dainty
little fingers supporting the guitar, examine those Mittens of black
silk lace, open worked, like those which, according to tradition, are
worn by the heroine of that charming comedy, the /Marriageable Maid/.

There rises on my lips a song of the time which the /Almanac of
the Muses/ has bequeathed us, to the air of /The Little Sailor/. It
will perhaps add a spice of interest to my story. "Now, listen, my
friend," as they used to say in the noble ages of chivalry. Title of
the song: /The Gloves/.

    I love the Glove, that covers quite
      The rounded arm it rests upon;
    I take it off, with what delight,
      With what delight I put it on!
    If true it is through mystery,
      A lover's bliss will higher move,
    How dear that little hand should be
      Which hides itself beneath a Glove!

    But there's another Glove, whose use
      Will every swaggerer displease;
    A Glove correcting all abuse,
      Which brings the braggart to his knees;
    How many boasting folk I've known,
      Who would, and wisely, rather prove
    A flight from out the window thrown,
      Than see before them that same Glove!

    The Gloves are useful when we seek
      The fair, the great ones, as we know;
    When unto those with Gloves we speak,
      Easy at once their favours grow.
    They for intriguers wealth have won,
      No fools their uses are above;
    Of what another man has done
      They boast, and give themselves the Glove.

One last couplet, I pray you, and the authoress, Madame Perrier, will
bow herself out:--

    The Gloveless man can ne'er afford
      To dance, no step he makes with grace;
    The servant wishes that his lord
      Should put on Gloves in many a case.
    When the police are wide awake,
      To cheat those eyes they hardly love,
    How many thieves will wisely take
      The greatest care to wear the Glove?

The song is not so bad, truly; and if the Muse gloves the author a
little tightly, the tone of his strophes is none the less strictly
respectable and proper.

Under Louis XVIII. and Charles X. long Gloves were very costly;
still, no coquette hesitated to change them every day, for it was
necessary for them to be of extreme freshness of colour, which was
either buff, gridelin, or white. Some years later, the fashion
tended to maize, straw, or nut colour for the evening and morning
toilet, and to palisander, burnt bread, cedar, fawn, for afternoon
visits. Yellow Gloves had an infinite scale of tones, from a soft
and delicate unbleached lawn colour to the glaring yellow of a
stage-coach. White doe-skin was only used by men when riding.

It was about this epoch, if I mistake not, that the denunciation of
/Gant jaune/ (yellow glove) became synonymous with /petit-maître/
(dandy). In London, the disciples of Brummel--of the most refined
elegance--constituted a society, and formed the Club of the /Fringed
Glove/. This club no longer existed doubtless in 1839, when d'Orsay
established thus despotically the rules of the perfect gentleman:

"An English gentleman of fashion," said he, "ought to use six pair of
Gloves a day:

"In the morning to drive a britzska to the hunt: Gloves of reindeer.

"At the hunt, to follow a fox: Gloves of shammy leather.

"To return to London in a Tilbury, after a drive at Richmond in the
morning: Gloves of beaver.

"To go later for a walk in Hyde Park, or to conduct a lady to pay her
visits or make her purchases in London, and /to offer her your hand
in descending from the carriage/: coloured kid Gloves braided.

"To go to a dinner-party: yellow dog's skin Gloves--and in the
evening for a ball or rout: Gloves of white lamb-skin embroidered
with silk."

What odious tyranny is so exacting a fashion! And how sensible was
Balzac when he wrote: "Dandyism is a heresy of fashion; in making
himself a dandy, a man becomes a piece of furniture of the boudoir,
an extremely ingenious puppet, which can pose on a horse, or on
a sofa, which sucks habitually the end of a walking-stick, but a
reasonable being--never!"

It is, however, with some dandy of the school of Rubempré and
Rastignac, that often, on quitting the ball, an author shows us a
romantic young lady in love, whose jealousy gnaws at her heart, who
re-reads the letters of old times, and with wandering looks, like
one overwhelmed, nervously tearing with her teeth a finger of her
Glove, sadly dreams that the lover who is no longer all, is nothing,
and that the moralist much deceived himself who wrote: "Woman is a
charming creature, who puts off her love as easily as her Glove."

How many things are there, look you, in a Glove!

In the novel /The Lion in Love/ of Frédéric Soulié, Léonce signs the
register of marriages at the mayoralty with a gloved hand; and when
Lise's turn comes, the young girl stops, saying in a voice tinged
with just a touch of mockery, "Pardon me, let me remove my Glove."

"Léonce understood," then says the author, "that he had signed
with his gloved hand." Sign an act of marriage with a Glove!
Léonce meditated a little, and said to himself: "These people have
certain delicacies. What difference makes a Glove more or less to
the holiness of an oath, or the signature of a document? Nothing
assuredly; and yet it seems that there is more sincerity in a naked
hand, which affixes the signature of a man in testimony of the truth.
It is one of those imperceptible sentiments of which we are unable to
give an exact account, but which nevertheless exist."

The fact is, that the Glove is not really, as has been said, a
tyrant of which the hand is the slave, but quite the contrary--it
is the hand's servant; and with the hand, as Montaigne wrote, "We
request, promise, call, dismiss, menace, pray, supplicate, deny,
refuse, interrogate, admire, number, confess, repent, fear, shame,
double, instruct, command, incite, encourage, swear, witness, accuse,
condemn, absolve, injure, contemn, distrust, track, flatter, applaud,
bless, humiliate, mock, reconcile, recommend, exalt, feast, rejoice,
complain, sadden, discomfort, despair, astonish, write, suppress," &c.

I stop out of breath: verbs of every kind may pass into the list.

With the Egyptians, the hand was a symbol of force; with the Romans,
a symbol of fidelity. We please ourselves in clothing the occult
powers, such as Time, Nature, Destiny, with a human hand: the hand
of Time overthrows empires, and impresses wrinkles on our brows; the
hand of Nature is prodigal to us of gifts, which are ravished from us
by the hand of Death; the hand of Destiny or of Providence, in fine,
conducts us across the paths of life.

Old stereotyped language, which we use, and shall use always. Are
we not, as Saint Evremond said, in the hands of love, as the balls
in the hands of tennis-players--and the first happiness which love
can give, is it not, according to Stendhal--and all the truly
sensitive--the first pressure of the hand of the woman we love?

Our ancestors swore by the hand, and read in the hand the mysteries
of the future. On the day of coronation, the hand of justice was
borne before the kings; the hand is used in salutation; we ask for
the /hand/ of the lady we wish to espouse in lawful marriage; we
wash our hands, like Pontius Pilate, of faults which we could not
help committing; and if I were to have to make for you the panegyric
of this organ, I should have, like Scheherazade, to put off the end
of my discourse every day till the morrow. Sir Charles Bell, in
his book, /The Hand: Its Mechanism, etc./, has given a synthesis
of all I could possibly add, and has proved that the human hand is
so admirably formed, possesses a sensibility so exquisite, that
sensibility governs with so much precision all its movements, it
answers so instantaneously to the impulses of the will, that one
might be tempted to believe that it is itself its seat. All its
actions are so energetic, so free, and withal so delicate, that it
appears to have an instinct apart; and neither its complication as
an instrument is ever dreamt of, nor the relations which subject it
to the mind. We avail ourselves of the service of the hand, as we
perform the act of respiration, without thinking of it; and we have
lost all remembrance of its first feeble efforts, as of the slow
exercise which has brought it to perfection.

The hand, in a word, is the most perfect instrument given by God to
man; but I ought not to forget, my fair friend, that poets seldom
wear gloves, and philosophers never; and that, philosophising as I
am, I remain outside the Glove, and, above all, appear to forget that
axiom of Fontenelle: Had we our hand full of authenticated facts or
truths, we should but half open it, and that after a feeble fashion.

The Glove is worthy of entering into the legend of a fairy tale, and
remaining there always, as the slipper has entered into the poetry
even of fable, with the theme of /Cinderella/. An ancient King of
France was indeed in love all his life with an unknown woman, only
from having seen her Glove in the midst of a masked ball given
to his court. Could it not easily be conceived according to the
approximative aphorism, "Show me your Glove, I will tell you who you
are." At the opera ball, in the surge of masks and of dominoes, in
the midst of the comings and goings on that staircase so exalted,
it needs but a Glove imprisoning a little hand to allure at once
the passion of a man of delicacy--a long white Glove lovingly glued
to a hand divinely small, a fine delicate wrist, and the exquisite
roundness of the forearm. This is enough to transport a lover of the
fair sex. The Glove appears not only in all festivals where grace and
beauty preside; it is found in all the rudeness and clumsiness of its
origin at the Poles, among the Norwegians, the Laps, and the Fins,
who wear huge Gloves of wool in summer, and thick Gloves of reindeer
skin, with the hair outside, in winter.

Defended by these Gloves, they sometimes sally bravely from their
huts, in spite of the cruel frosts, to kill the white bear and the
seal, just as the dramatic engravings which illustrate our stories of
voyages to the North Pole represent them to us.

But methinks your eye is asking me in disquietude about two little
bound books which I have in my reach. Reassure yourself, these are
not recitals of tourists, which are for painting us the manners of
the inhabitants of Karasjok or of the Lofoten Isles: I will read
to you at once, without allowing you to languish any longer, their
titles. Upon one of these works, see for yourself /Collection of the
Best Riddles of the Time/, composed on divers serious and sprightly
subjects by Colletet; on the other, /Collection of Riddles of the
Time/, by the Abbé Cotin. You already divine that I intend to act no
traitor's part towards you, and that I am going to read you some old
charades in verse upon Gloves:

The first riddle--/énigme/ has been masculine in French at least
since the seventeenth century, in despite of its profound
femininity--the first riddle, in obscure and ambiguous terms,
indicates that the Glove, after having been the natural covering of a
rustic animal, serves to-day as an artificial covering for an animal
more refined: man!

    We're two or ten, and to a body wed,
      We once a thing of breathing life were over;
    Like it we lived, and now, although we're dead,
      Another life more excellent we cover.

This quatrain riddle is by François Colletet, that poor poet up to
his neck in mud. Listen now to Cotin--the Trissotin of Molière--in
this singular sextain:--

    With mortal flesh our five soft mouths we fill,
    And in the winter to repletion feed;
    If one of us be lost, the world's agreed
    To treat the rest of us exceeding ill;
    But if we all remain together, then
    We do almost all that is done by men.

Mediocre, isn't it; tortured, bombastic, gross, all at once? There is
nothing here to make us fall into an ecstasy, and repeat to satiety,
as some highly refined courtiers used to do, "Ah, with what congruity
of terms are these thoughts expressed!"

I shall abandon the riddles at once. These two specimens are enough.
Another point:

Many physiologists affirm that great warriors have been remarkable
for a beautiful hand, which they loved perhaps to adorn with the most
delicate gloves. They instance Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne,
and Napoleon.

According to an historian of the First Empire, some generals
attending Bonaparte one day in his private room, found his big
military Gloves and his little hat on a side-table. Actuated by
curiosity, each one of them tried in turn the Glove and the hat; but
it appears there was not a single hand which could force its entrance
into those big Gloves, and upon those giants' shoulders not a single
head which could fill up the little hat.

Napoleon was, it is weil known, no less proud of his hand than Byron,
who, his biographer tells us, had a hand so small, that it was out of
all proportion with his face. Byron thought and wrote that nothing
characterised birth more than the hand; it was, according to him,
almost the sole index of aristocracy of blood.

Since the fifteenth century, we can trace in the museums of France,
Holland, Italy, Spain, and Germany, the interest which painters of
all schools have taken in the study of the hand, and, indeed, of
the Glove. Van Dyck and Rubens were passed masters in this art, and
Titian has left an admirable masterpiece in his /Young Man with
the Glove/. Velasquez almost always makes his powerful models hold
Gloves, nobly folded in their right hand. In Venetian paintings we
see the Glove on the hands of the Doge, of his wife, of ambassadors,
of senators, of residents, and even of merchants. The mere study
of the Gloves in these portraits and these costumes would suffice
for a long pamphlet, for we must consider the Glove in all classes
of society and in all epochs, from the embroidered Gloves of the
Doges to the special Gloves of the merchants, of the rectors of the
university of Padua, and even of the monks of the brotherhood of the
Cross, which were violet on a white ground, &c.

But it would be madness to endeavour to omit nothing in this
monograph of the Glove, a tentative work, and an unpremeditated
sketch of little pretension.

Have we not still to consider the stuffed fencing Glove, with the
short shield of red leather, and the giant Glove which swells the
fist of the boxers?--the ordinance Glove of the good Dumanet; that
white cotton Glove which the brave trooper puts on so willingly on
Sunday, coming out of barracks like a conquering hero? Is there
not besides the Glove of the Cuirassier, with its large shield of
buckskin, which this last man of iron places so gallantly on his hip
when he is on express service?

The history of Gauntlets and of military Gloves from the time of the
Middle Ages would make a mighty volume, like the ladies' Glove and
the work-people's Mitten. The liturgical Glove, yet more important,
is of three kinds: the /pontifical Glove/, which was worn by bishops
and abbés; the Glove which simple priests had adopted for particular
occasions; and lastly, the /prelatic/ /Glove/. On /pontifical
Gloves/ alone Monseigneur X. Barbier de Montault has found means
to write in the /Bulletin Monumental/, 1876-1877, nearly two
hundred pages of closely packed text, in 8vo: /Ab uno disce omnes/.
See, my amiable friend, I repeat it--see in what an inextricable
archæological labyrinth I might have set you to wander, /à propos/
of all these dear little Gloves, of which I had promised you a
history, but about which it appears to me I am making only a lively
chatter of whipped Glove. I should not have set on the table aught
beyond that which lends grace to woman: Gloves on a champagne glass
or in a shepherdess's hat, roses and a love-letter half opened; such
simple still life had assuredly better inspired my Muse than all the
documents brought together and packed one on another, well calculated
to frighten a mind which is by no means pleased with such barricades
of notes and annotations. Ah, my fair friend, how right was Balzac,
in his brilliant and profound /Traité de la vie élégante/, when he
wrote the following lines, which I had not sufficiently considered
before pledging my word in your society!

"The learned man, or the elegant man of the world, who would search
out in every epoch the costumes of a people, would compile the most
interesting history and the most rationally true. . . . . To ask
the origin of shoes, of alms-purses, of hoods, of the cockade, of
hoop-petticoats, of farthingales, of /Gloves/, of masks, is to drag
a /modilogist/ into the frightful maze of sumptuary laws, and upon
all the battlefields, where civilisation has triumphed over the gross
manners imported into Europe by the barbarism of the Middle Ages.

"Things futile in appearance," continues the author of the /Théorie
de la démarche/, "represent either ideas or interests--whether
it be bust, or foot, or head"--he might have said, above all, or
hand--"you will ever see a social progress, a retrograde system, or
some desperate struggle formulating itself by the assistance of some
part or other of the dress. Now the shoe announces a privilege, now
the hat signals a revolution--a piece of embroidery, a scarf, or some
ornament of straw, is the sign of a party. Why should the toilet be
then always the most eloquent of styles, if it was not really the
whole man, the man with his political opinions, the man with the
text of his existence, the hieroglyphic man? To-day /Vestignomy/ has
become almost a branch of the art created by Gall and Lavater."

I am overwhelmed, O my indulgent friend! I feel that I have been far
inferior to my task, and I fear I have not had that charming art of
saying nothing which often says so many things. I have neglected to
show you the Glove in princely /Inventaires/, in the old chronicles,
and in the delightful tales of Boccaccio, of the Queen of Navarre, of
Straparole, of Bonaventure Desperriers, and even in Brantôme, who has
written a little story, full of old French /esprit/, on a Glove found
in the bed of a fashionable lady. I had a good opportunity of showing
you the anecdotic Glove of ever so many romances and memoirs from /Le
Petit Jehan de Saintre/ up to Casanova the Venetian, going through
/l' Histoire amoureuse des Gaules/.

But the natural and the unpremeditated is also a French quality,
of which we must sometimes allow the grace, even in recognising
its defects. I left the history of the Glove, I believe, in 1840;
and I do not suppose that I have painted for you all the little
cuffs, festoons, ruches, notchings, indentations, which adorned the
fastenings of the town Gloves of our elegant ladies, nor the long
black mittens which accompanied the blonde bodices, of which in those
modest times people were madly fond. It is of little consequence for
me to follow the fashions from 1840 to the present day: one cannot
be a woman and remain ignorant of these different variations of a
fashion of which all the specimens return periodically to reconquer
a second of celebrity. Open-worked Gloves of Chinese silk, Spanish
Gloves, Beaver Gloves, Swedish Gloves, glacé kid Gloves, musketeers'
Gloves, Colombine, with cuffs--what do I say?--the qualifications are
innumerable; they change still more than the fashion, for the epithet
gives a springtide and deceives the customer--/a fortiori/ would
it deceive the /Gantuographer/, if you will allow me this hideous

That which I have not been able to accomplish, that which you have
not demanded of me, that which nevertheless would have interested you
far more than this sleepy talk, is the /Physiology of the Glove/,
with this epigraph taken from an anonymous but witty author--"The
style is the man; the Glove is the woman; the style sometimes
deceives, but the Glove never."

I am launched, don't you see, into theories historic, philosophic,
and, above all, physiognomic, in a study altogether beside the mark?

Allow, my sweet and somnolent one, that if you had permitted me at
first to take this part (which for my slight notice was assuredly
better), I should have been less clumsily stiff, less dull above all,
less pretentious besides; albeit I make no other pretension here than
to do your pleasure. You have thrown me the Glove on the confines of
history; it is thence that I have raised it with more effeminancy
than swagger.

I could have wished that fancy might have dictated to history; but,
in the present case, it is the most that has been done, if history
has succeeded in warming the amiable fancy, which has not taken
Gloves to make us villainously sulky with each other.

Pardon!--indulgent interlocutress!

Excuse also, amiable lady readers, ye who read this congealed babble,
and who have yet less reason to be favourable to me, in this sense,
that to you all, alas! I cannot say, as was once said in the polite
world--/Friendship allows the Glove./



The Muff! The very name has something about it delicate, downy, and
voluptuous. From that little warm satin nest, where pretty chilly
little hands ensconce themselves in silk, carrying with them a lace
handkerchief, a box of lozenges, a bouquet of Parma violets, or a
tender loving /billet-doux/, a thousand trifles spring up to please
us, like a swarm of souvenirs and caressing thoughts of our first
years passed at home, and of our first roving loves.

In childhood, we delight to play with the large maternal Muff, to
pass our hands over it the wrong way to excite the electricity of
the long hair, to plunge our faces in the pungent heady odour of its
down, and to make use of this furred sack in inconceivable tricks, in
playing at hide-and-seek with small objects, or in burying therein
the familiar cat, who becomes lazy in its warmth.

Then, later on, at the hour of the first rendezvous, during one of
those icy winters which Ronsard dreaded for his darling, when we see
our so much desired mistress appear veiled and all imprisoned in
furs, we become almost jealous of the pretty and coquettish Muff, in
which she buries her roguish little nose, which the glacial breeze
has lashed and reddened, and we plunge then with a sweet brutality
our own hands into the silky cylinder, there to find, and there
passionately to press the pretty idle fingers, which we are for so
generously thawing, by covering them with long kisses like gloves.

When the Muff returns from exile with the first hoar frosts of
November, it causes, as soon as it appears on the boulevards, a
sensation, intimate and delicious, to all true /feminists/, to the
Dilettanti of woman--to all those who perceive in their most delicate
shades the graces of which a naive or coquettish woman can avail
herself, whether in handling the Fan or the Sunshade, or in tucking
up a corner of a spring petticoat, or in passing along radiant in
a long furry pelisse, or more passive in letting herself glide
languishingly in a sledge over the ice of the lake, making eyes at
her darling who skates by her side, and pushes forward her coquettish
equipage. It seems that woman, that exquisite and delicate flower,
blossoms in fur, as those white gardenias of the conservatory which
half open and develop themselves in a nest of perfumed wadding.

The more she hides, muffles up, deadens, so to speak, her beauty, the
more woman--a creature of Hades who makes us dream of paradise--is
bewitching in the diabolicity of her graces. When Love, who is
represented blind, sets a mask on Venus-coquette, one might think the
trickster boy was for burning the universe, for behind those yawning
apertures of the black velvet mask, behind those murderous loopholes,
two woman's eyes are lying in ambush, pitiless, turn by turn
laughing, burning, blazing, drowned in pleasure, charged, in a word,
as with grape-shot, with all the shafts of the Cupidonian quiver.

Thus, out of the midst of furs, woman, that mignonette plant, that
/mimosa pudica/, throws off beauty more mysterious, more warm, more
full of promise, more enveloped and more enveloping, as if from the
electricity of that peltry, there was spread in the ambient air of
the provoking daughter of Eve an attractive sensuality, like a subtle
caress, which rustles against our senses in its passage.

The ancients had perhaps great reason to attach, as they did, certain
excellences and prerogatives to fur: a master furrier, Charrier,
wrote on this subject, in 1634, remarks and moral considerations as
naïve as curious: "Our kings, whether they are consecrated, crowned,
or married, divest themselves of the splendour of embroideries and
of diamonds, to take their royal mantle hedged about with lilies and
lined with ermine.

"The mantles of the chevaliers, dukes, and peers of France are lined
with lynx, marten, and ermine; the chancellors, keepers of the seals,
who are the guardians of our laws, wear the most exquisite furs.

"Bachelors and doctors, emperors and physicians clothe themselves
with furs which represent the mysteries of theology, the maxims of
politics, the secrets of medicine. Furs cure people of headaches and
disordered stomachs; attacks of gout which triumph over the most
potent remedies, are vanquished by the skins of cats, lambs, and

In fine, the good Charrier proves with pride that of all the
ornaments which luxury has invented there is none so glorious, so
august, so precious, as furs, and that the privileges of peltry
merchants rightly surpass those of all others.

The masters and wardens of the peltry merchandise had for their arms
a paschal lamb on an azure field. Two ermines supported the shield
crested with the ducal crown, with this device in exergue--very like
that of Brittany--/Malo mori quam fœdari/.

The use of furs dates back to the origin of the world. Plutarch, in
his /Table Talk/, relates that people dressed themselves in skins
before they became acquainted with stuffs. Tacitus assures us it was
the same with the Teutons, Propertius with the Romans.

    Robed in rich silk, the Court you now behold
    Was once a folk fur-clad against the cold,

says a poet of the sixteenth century. But without stopping at the
conquest of the Golden Fleece, at Rebekah ordering Jacob to put on
his hands and neck kids' skins, at all the examples of the Bible and
of history, we will only remark that the four noble furs consecrated
by feudality were the ermine, the vair, the sable, and the miniver.
The colours of furs admitted into coats of arms were those of the
sable, the ermine, and the vair.

Charlemagne, who loved, they say, simplicity in his apparel, had,
according to Eginhard, the habit of wearing in summer a mantle of
otter's skin; but in winter he covered himself with a mantle of which
the sleeves were lined with vair and foxes' fur. This is corroborated
by the four following verses of Philippe Mousnes, the poet biographer
of this Emperor:--

    But in the days of fallen leaves,
    He wore a new surcoat with sleeves
    Of furs of foxes and of vair
    To shield him from the nipping air.

At the epoch of the Crusades, the luxury of furs was carried to the
highest degree in Western Europe; but to remain absolutely fixed to
the Muff, we must register the first apparition of this little fur
about the end of the sixteenth century. In the inventory of goods
left by the widow of the President Nicolai we read: Item, a Muff of
velvet lined with marten.

In Venice, however, we have in our researches found a vestige of the
Muff at the end of the fifteenth century; celebrated courtezans and
noble ladies at that time carried Muffs, which served for niches to
minuscular dogs; and an engraving represents a scene of an interior,
in which a fair Venetian seems to be showing her lover the infinite
games of her lap-dogs in her Muff.

There were at that time in Venice delicious Muffs made after the
primitive fashion of a single band of velvet, brocade, or silk, lined
with fine fur, rounded in a cylinder, of which the extremities were
closed in different widths by buttons of orient crystal, pearls or

D'Aubigné, in his /Universal History/, says in the course of a story
of a besieged town:--"The inhabitants descended thirty paces from the
breach, and among the foremost was noticed a woman /with Muffs/, a
halberd in her hand, who mixed with and distinguished herself in this
combat." Under the designation of /Muffs/ we must understand here
spare half-sleeves like those mentioned in the Library of Vauprivas
/à propos/ of Louise Labé. Under Charles IX. the simple citizen
folk were only allowed to wear black Muffs; ladies of the highest
condition had alone a right to sumptuous Muffs of various colours.

In a satiric print of 1634, signed Jaspar Isac, and entitled /The
Squire à la Mode/, we see carried by a woman, who is accompanied on
foot by a Gascon cavalier, the first French Muff having a direct
relation with that which is still in use at the present day. It is a
sheath of stuff or silk bordered on both sides by a thick white fur,
which grows into an enormous roll at the ends.

But it is amongst the precious engravings of Hollar, Abraham Bosse,
Arnoult, Sandrart, Bonnard, and Trouvain that we see the authentic
Muff really born, and find it in the hands of the Parisian matron,
of the lady of quality in her winter dress, of the /Précieuse/, and
the coquetting flirt. An engraving of Bonnard shows us a great lady
with her head dressed à la Fontange, and in court dress, on the point
of going out; a waiting-maid adjusts her mantle, and a gentleman
attends the beauty's good pleasure; the Muff she carries was then
of a moderate size, with a bow in the middle. The Muff was worn for
style, "for grace," and was made of sable-marten for ladies of the
Court, and simply of dogskin or catskin for the small citizens'
wives who could not devote more than fifteen to twenty francs to the
acquisition of this light hand-warmer.

Antoine Furetière, in his /Dictionary/, has condensed in a few lines
all the materials of a Dissertation on the Muff of the seventeenth
century. At the word /Muff/ we read:--

 A fur worn in winter, in which to put the hands, to keep them warm.
 /Muffs/ were formerly only for women: at the present day they are
 carried by men. The finest /Muffs/ are made of marten, . . . . the
 common of miniver; . . . . the country /Muffs/ of the cavaliers are
 made of otter and of tiger. A woman puts her nose in her /Muff/ to
 hide herself. A little /Muff/-dog is a little dog which ladies can
 carry in their /Muff/.

Everything we see is summed up in this. Saint-Jean and Bonnard have
preserved for us types of French gentlemen bearing the Muff under
Louis XIV. One, in court dress, carries with much grace a small
spotted Muff, which he holds in one hand, showing a glimpse at
the unoccupied end of the cuff of a fur glove; another, in winter
court-dress, holds with the languor of a /petit-maître/ a pretty
plump otter Muff falling to the hips, giving a gracious curve to the
arm; in the middle of this Muff a vast bow of ribbons or /Galants/,
something like the old trimming called /petite oie/, is displayed
with an excellent effect. In 1680, nothing, according to the /Mercure
Galant/, was to be seen but ribbons purfled with gold, laced,
fringed, wreathed, purled, or embroidered, which were gathered in a
bow in front, of the Muff.

La Fontaine alludes doubtless to the country Muff spoken of by
Furetière when, in the fable of the /Monkey and the Leopard/, he
makes the latter say:--

    The king desires me at his Court,
    And must have--if I die for't--
    A /Muff/, made of my skin, so full of blots
    Of colour, and of lines, and dots,
    And dappled stains, and chequered spots.

As to the Muff-dog--to finish the registration of the definition
of Furetière--not only has Hollar left us an engraving of it, and
presented it to us under the form of a small Spaniel, but Father du
Cerceau makes his /upholsterer poet/ say--Even the lady's lapdog
barked at me, that ingrate

    Cadet, for whom I used to stuff
    So many sweets inside my Muff.

The chief hall of the peltry merchants and furriers of the 17th
century, in Paris, was in the Rue de la Tabletterie or Rue des
Fourreurs, which led into the cross-way of the Place aux Chats. The
shops of the retail peltry merchants were nearly all situated in the
City, Rue Saint-Jacques de la Boucherie, and Rue de la Juiverie.

"In these places," says Léger, "are to be found very beautiful Muffs
for men and for women, and very fashionable ones . . . there are to
be sold also very beautiful amices of miniver." He adds a word about
the Palatines properly got up, composed of skins of animals, foreign
and native. The /Livre commode des adresses de Paris/ contains some
designations of peltry merchants and furriers towards the end of the
seventeenth century.

Fashion altered the shape of the Muff considerably under Louis XIV.
From the rare documents which we have been able to catalogue, we
have easily found numerous modifications in both form and volume.
Sometimes narrow and long, sometimes broad and short, it would be
impossible to assign to this little chattel an exact type for all
that epoch.

The Muff triumphed already, under Louis XIII., in the empire of
oglings and at the Place Royale, as it reigned later at Versailles,
and showed itself in sedan chairs in the midst of the alleys of
the park at the visiting hour, lending always to woman a charming
countenance and exquisite graces.

Scarron, in his /Poésies Diverses/, has left us in four verses a
pretty picture of manners for any one who could morally develop it.
The poor cripple Scarron certainly had no need of a Muff in his

    My wife then leaves at once, though she
    All perils should divide with me;
        She takes her Muff and goes
        To see some one she knows. . . .

But let us leave the age of big wigs and Fontange head-dresses,
and penetrate into the age of powder and patches, into the age of
Voltaire, who, /à propos/ of one of his characters in /Micromégas/,

"Imagine a very small Muff-dog following a captain of the Guards of
the King of Prussia."

An engraving of the /Encyclopédie/ presents us in the nick of time
with a faithful reproduction of a shop of a furrier of the last
century. Day penetrates through a large glass bow window; all round,
on shelves, are ranged Muffs and different furs; two pleasing
shopwomen offer their customers enormous Muffs of miniver, and a
shop-boy beats with a rod one of those furred mantles which were sent
"to be kept" during the summer, to preserve them from the mites. This
engraving, a precious document which may be attributed to Cochin,
recalls two charming little stories of Restif de la Bretonne in his
/Contemporaines du Commun/: one entitled /La Jolie Fourreuse/, the
other /La Jolie Pelletière/. Professions passed out of sight!

"Furs"--MM. de Goncourt wrote in a note of much study to their book
/La Femme au XVIII^e Siècle/--"were a great luxury of Parisian
ladies, at the time when the fashion was to arrive at the opera
wrapt in the most superb and rarest, and to take them off little
by little with coquettish art." The reputation of the sable, the
ermine, the miniver, the lynx, the otter, is indicated in the
/Étrennes Fourrées dédiées aux jolies Frileuses/, Geneva, 1770.
Muffs have quite a history, from those on which the furrier brought
discredit, in causing one to be worn by the hangman on the execution
day--these were probably Muffs /à la Jésuite/, muffs which were not
of fur, and against which a pleasantry at the commencement of the
century, /A petition presented to the Pope by the master furriers/,
solicits excommunication--up to those of Angora goats' hair, immense
Muffs which reached to the ground, and to the little Muffs at the
end of the century, baptized /little barrels/, as the Palatine was
called /cat/. The fashion of sledges, then very widely spread, added
to the fashion of furs. An etching of Caylus, after a drawing of
Coypel, about the middle of the century, shows us in a sledge set
on dolphins--one of those sledges which cost ten thousand crowns--a
pretty woman dressed entirely in fur, her head-dress a small bonnet
of fur with an egret, carried along in a sledge, which is driven by
a coachman dressed like a Muscovite, and standing at the back. /À
propos/ of furs, the /Palatine/ owes its fortune and its name to the
Duchess of Orléans, mother of the Regent, known under the name of the
Princess Palatine.

Palatines--which were made of fox, of marten, of miniver--were worn
for a long time with /Polonaises/ and /Hongrelines/. Roy, a French
poet of the 18th century, who made acquaintance with the stick
at different intervals--sent some bad verses to a lady on the
subject of her /blue palatine/. The /Almanach des Muses/ of 1772 has
preserved them for us. Here they are:--

            That charming colour wear,
    The colour of the summer sky above,
    The colour Venus sets on every Love,
      Which makes the fairest faces yet more fair,
    As Venus in her own sweet self can prove:
    But the white place where falls the tufted bow
      Is nought indeed but lovely nakedness;
      Why hide it then? The beauty which men bless
    Gains on the whole by losing, don't you know?

Caraccioli remarks that people used Muffs in winter just as much for
elegance as for need. "The form varies continually," he says; "to-day
(1768) men carry small Muffs lined with down, and trimmed with black
or grey satin."

In 1720, women's Muffs were very narrow and long; the crossed hands
filled it exactly; afterwards they became wider, like those we may
see on the hands of the pretty skaters of Lancret. A typical Muff of
the epoch was the ermine Muff, fearfully large, which we find carried
by the Venetian masks of the delicious Pietro Longhi, who seems to
have wished to illustrate by his pictures the /Memoires/ of Jacques
Casanova of Seingalt. In the small engravings of the century relating
to travelling, which show us the stoppages at the inn, or the
packings in the public vehicles, we see everywhere the feminine Muff
delicately pressed against their waists by the pretty adventuresses.
Boucher's skater, who passes like a gracious Parisian little figure
over a background of a Dutch landscape, doubled up but valiant,
appears to make a prow of her Muff, the better to cleave the sharp
cold air. But in the intimacy of private life, in the eighteenth
century as now, the Muff could lend a charm to genre paintings, and
the manufacturers of prints might have composed many /Little posts/
and /Nests for love-letters/, interpreting by their drawing what the
author of the /Dictionnaire des Amoureux/ wished to express, when at
the word /Muff/ he gives this piquant definition: /A Letter-box,
lined with white satin./

The most celebrated and the most delicious picture in which a Muff
figures is assuredly that adorable painting known by the name of /The
Young Girl with the Muff/, by Joshua Reynolds, which formed part of
the beautiful collection of the Marquis of Hertford. Nothing is more
delicate than this painting. That young English-woman seems rather to
walk through the picture than remain fixed in it, so great, one might
say, was the quickness with which the painter has caught that image
in its passage with its movement of walking--the body is inclined a
little forward, the head on one side; the woman's bust, which stops
at the Muff, is so fresh in its composition, so fine in its tonality,
so radiant in its originality of design, that it would be enough
almost by itself to establish the immortal reputation of Reynolds,
who has put into his work a very quintessence of femininity, as an
ideal of the most exquisite English loveliness, and also as a type,
delicate and never to be forgotten, of a chilly beauty.

Nor must we forget the /Portrait of Mrs. Siddons/, painted by
Gainsborough, in the charm of her twenty-ninth year, in 1784. This
picture, which was exhibited at Manchester in 1857, is now in the
/National Gallery/. The charming lady, dressed in a fresh striped
blue and white robe, with a fawn-coloured shawl half falling from
her shoulders, has on her head a large black felt hat, ornamented
with feathers--one of those hats which have done more for the
vulgarisation of the glory of Gainsborough than all his studies
and portraits. Mrs. Siddons is seated, holding on her lap with her
left hand a comfortable Muff of fox or Siberian wolf, of which she
appears to caress the fur with her right hand, as if to show off the
beauty and whiteness of her spindle-shaped fingers. The mistress of
the works of a master who had, it is only right to say, the most
ravishing face in the world to portray. But, without needing to have
further recourse to the English school, have we not that luminous
portrait of Madame Vigée Lebrun, in which the Muff, raised almost
level with the head, spreads the shine of its hair of tawny gold
like the head of a courtezan of Venice? That astonishing painting
of the end of the eighteenth century appeared in its dazzling
splendour, in the midst of the square saloon of the Museum of the
Louvre, killing, by mere force of freshness and light, the magistral
bituminous pictures of the beginning of the century, which are its
near neighbours.

Under Louis XVI. the frenzy of the toilette reached its most acute
crisis: fashions succeeded one another in a few years with so much
rapidity that we can scarcely follow them; people sought to outstrip
in everything rather than to refine, and the Muffs, carried by men
and women alike, became enormous and exaggerated. Hurtaut, in his
/Dictionnaire de la Ville de Paris/, article /Modes/, makes this
strange remark in the year 1784, "A lady has been seen at the opera
with a /Muff of momentaneous agitation/."

The intellect loses itself in seeking the exact definition of this
qualificative of /momentaneous agitation/!

In 1788 a fashion was Muffs of Siberian wolf. According to the
/Magasin des Modes Nouvelles Françaises et Anglaises/, the young
folks no longer carried their Muff after the peaceable and good
citizen-like fashion /à la papa/ level with the bottom of the
waistcoat; they used it, on the contrary, like a plaything or an
opera hat; they held it in their hand while gesticulating in their
promenades, or carried it under their arms like a portfolio strangled
and crumpled between the elbow and the chest.

The little dogs, the Muff-toy-terriers, which had continued in favour
since the Regency, were more in request now than ever; every woman of
fashion had her pug and her King Charles' pet, like those small dogs
that now come from Havanna.

In the celebrated coloured engraving of Debucourt, /La Galerie de
Bois au Palais-Royal/, in 1787, we see circulating in the midst of
that strange crowd which was called the medley of the Palais-Royal,
extravagant types, among them women holding in their hand beside
their furred cloak those incredible Muffs of an immense size, which
figure also under the arms of the masked gallants of the time, with a
small bow of satin attached to the fur.

Under the Revolution and the Directory the fashion of Muffs was
extremes, either broad as little barrels, or narrow and minuscular;
in other respects the fashion varied infinitely, and we must come to
the Restoration to find the first chinchilla Muffs which harmonised
with the velvet witchouras. Absurd fashions to study! What Muff
would the painter choose who wished, by way of allegory, to show
a grasshopper shivering in the hoar frost and the snow, to whom
charitable Love brings a downy Muff? A pretty subject for a concourse
of an Academy which claimed to be /précieuse/ and refined.

In 1835, Muffs, boas, palatines, cloaks lined with marten or fox,
affected odious and indescribable forms: they used to make for a time
Glove-Muffs, a sort of mittens of marten, which were soldered on to
one another where the hands crossed. The Muff, that accessory of the
toilet, ought to be in harmony with the general tonality and style of
costume. Therefore, to undertake to describe it at that epoch would
be only possible in sketching a complete history of Fashion.

The picturesque Muff of 1830 to 1850, is assuredly the big Muff
of the Parisian or provincial tradeswomen, those Muffs, larders
and lumber-rooms, which we meet in the deobstruent tales of Paul
de Kock, and see figuring in the primitive tilted spring-carts
driven by the master, in which are packed the mistress and all the
assistant clerks, with a view to exploring some suburban corner on
Sunday, there to laugh with their muffs pressed before their mouths,
and to act a thousand follies of a doubtful taste, and to banquet
plentifully, and to sing during the dessert some free-and-easy ditty,
very jovial, after the fashion of those pleasant couplets of Laujon
on /The Muff/, which I will quote here, with the more confidence,
since they figure in the /Chansons de Parades/ collected by that boon
companion, who was at the same time member of the Caveau and of the

    See what it is to be too good!
      One morning, leaving the warm fold
    Of home, Simon I saw, who stood
      And shivered in the nipping cold;
    He cried, "Come here, you little pearl,
    I feel so very cold, my girl!"
          Now warm yourself!
    Simon, good sir, ensconce yourself!
    I'll lend you, sir, my bran-new Muff!
                    My dear!
    I'll lend you, sir, my bran-new Muff!

    "I feel so very cold, my girl!"
      Ay me! I had my new Muff on.
    My head was surely in a whirl
      To lend it to the good Simon.
    That day my kindness cost me dear;
    My Muff is spoilt for all the year!
          Now warm yourself!
    I'll lend you, sir, my bran-new Muff!
                    My dear!

    My Muff is spoilt for all the year,
      For Simon's ways are rather rough;
    And he knows nought of doubt or fear,
      He quite destroyed my poor new Muff!
    Simon, you've ruffled all its fur,
    Made it too large, you careless sir!
          Now warm yourself!
    I'll lend you, sir, my bran-new Muff!
                    My dear!

    Made it too large, you careless sir!
      See: it has been entirely spoiled,
    'Tis metamorphosed, I aver;
      And seems all rumpled up and soiled.
    'Tis like my aunt's Muff, all agape,
    Quite out of countenance and shape!
          Now warm yourself!
    Simon, good sir, ensconce yourself!
    I'll lend you, sir, my bran-new Muff!
                  My dear!
    I'll lend you, sir, my bran-new Muff!

What laughter, what shouts, what chokings, in those parties /à la/
Paul de Kock, when an artless maiden--at the time when pleasant
digestion had set its bloom on all faces--sang, one by one, these
ancient couplets, with an air at once of a whimpering girl and of a
woman full of coquettish intelligence.

The Muff has not always brought tears of laughter to the eyes, and
a physiologist might draw from it many a curious deduction; only to
cite a single instance, in the middle of the /Scènes de la Vie de
Bohème/, in the episode of Francine's Muff, which should remain in
every reader's memory--the tears come into all our eyes resultant
from an emotion at once sincere and profound.

Francine has been condemned by her doctor, and /hears with her eyes/
the terrible sentence of the physician.

"Don't listen to him," says she to her love, "don't listen to him,
Jacques, he is telling stories; we will go out to-morrow, it is All
Hallows Day, it will be cold, . . . go and buy me a Muff, . . . mind
it is a good one, . . . and will last a long while; I am afraid of
having chilblains this winter."

Then, when Jacques has brought the Muff: "It is very pretty," said
Francine; "I will carry it in our walk."

The morrow, All Hallows Day, about the time of the Angelus of noon,
she was seized with the death-struggle, and all her body began to
tremble. "My hands are cold, cold," she murmured, "give me my Muff,
dear"--and she plunged her poor little fingers into the fur.

"It is over," said the doctor to Jacques, "give her a last kiss;" and
Jacques glued his lips to those of his darling. At the last moment,
they wished to take away her Muff, but her hands still clung to it.

"No, no," she cried, "let it be--we are in winter, it is cold. Ah my
poor Jacques!"

And so Francine dies, without quitting her Muff. A poignant and
lugubrious story, like the work of Murger in general; the /Muff of
Francine/ will perhaps be the most durable chapter in the /Vie de
Bohème/. We have not been able to set this realistic scene upon
the stage, but a painter, M. Haquette, has displayed it after an
admirable manner in one of his best pictures exhibited in one of the
Paris annual Salons.

Truly the Muff calls up many sad thoughts for sentimental and
charitable souls; this winter chattel reminds them of the sorrows
of those who are without fire and home and comfortable clothing,
and when the north wind blows without, and the snow falls softly
in sombre silence, more than one dreaming girl, with her elbow
leaning on the window-sill, lets her Muff fall while thinking of
those unfortunates who suffer, of the careless grasshoppers and the
laborious ants, of whom an adverse fortune has deceived the foresight.

The Muff, the mysterious Muff, hides many distresses: we see it at
the present day on the hands of all the working girls and milliners,
who set out early in the winter mornings from their homes for the
distant workshops; and it is a load upon one's heart to see all these
miserable little Muffs made of rabbit or black cat, out of which
peeps often the golden point of a penny roll and a greasy paper which
envelops a chlorotic piece of pork or an /Arlequin/ (bits of broken
meat) bought in the early market. The Muff which warms so many pretty
hands brave and toiling, seems in winter to be the refuge of virtue,
shivering but victorious.

How much luxury is there, on the other hand, in the Muffs of the fine
world during the last twenty years! They have been made very small,
of sable tails, and very expensive; but there have been also some
more modest, made with that marten of Australia which took the place
of the Astrakhan, which passed out of fashion in 1860. They have been
manufactured also in velvet plush or in cloth, with borders of fur
or feathers, and a large bow of ribbons in the centre. Some became
veritable scent-bags, perfumed with heliotrope, rose, gardenia,
verbena, violet, or they were powdered inside with orris root or
/poudre à la Maréchale/.

An elegant and witty lady-correspondent of fashion, who signs with
the word /Étincelle/ the notes full of charming confusion in her
/Carnet d'un Mondain/, lately gave the nomenclature of the Muffs of
the day, painted in water-colours:

"The Nest-Muff, in satin /coulissé/, lined with black and white lace,
with a whole company of little Indian birds and frightened paroquets
hiding themselves in the satin folds.

"The Flower-Muff, very small, of ivory plush, rouge cardinal or
marine blue, with bunches of roses, marigolds, camellias, and violets
blossoming in the midst of a great deal of lace.

"The Watteau-Muff for the evening: a round of Loves painted on white
satin. The Coppée-Muff: sparrows sunk in a sky of black satin. The
Figaro-Muff, in black velvet, entirely covered with a net of black
and gold chenille: three humming-birds in a nest of black lace. The
Duchess Muff: all of Marabout, imitating fur, shaded with little bows
of dead satin. The Castilian, in plush, covered with point noir: an
orange parroquet in the middle standing out in relief on a fan of
black lace. The Minerva, in skunk or sable, with a black satin bow
and the head of a barn-door owl."

All these fashions of to-day are already fashions of yesterday, so
perpetual is the inconstancy of /la Mode/! To-day the monkey, blue
fox, beaver, swan, and ermine are metamorphosed into Muffs; to-morrow
will come the furs of sable, of otter, of chinchilla, of squirrel, of
marten, of wolf, &c. Women and furs change, and will change, soon and

Fashion is the everlasting Fairy; whether she take the Sunshade as
a rod at the end of her gloved hand, or the Muff as a surprise-box
or a cornucopia, she is never short of inventions, of prodigies, of
follies, and of ruins; she seems to avenge herself on the moderns
because the ancients gave her not divine honours, nor placed her upon
the summit of their Olympus. Let, then, the head of this new and
great goddess be adorned with a weathercock helmet, of which Love
will furnish the magnetic arrow, and let a statue be raised to that
great first French citizeness, who from Paris governs the world with
so formidable a despotism, against whom none ever dreams of raising a

For us, who, /à propos/ of the Sunshade, the Glove, and the Muff,
have just cast a glance upon the museum of this female ruler, we
are in a state of dread from the inconceivable variety of objects
which were for an hour a woman's pleasure, and, if we have not
conducted our readers before all the glass cases of this national
museum, great as the universe, or "the vastest in the world," as all
large milliners' shops entitle themselves, it is because around the
ornaments of women the fickle Loves will always dance their frenzied
round, which only a madman can ever hope and wish to stop. It has
been said that Fashion is woman's only literature; if, however, our
elegant ladies were condemned to study the special archæology of this
literature, very soon--as in love--would they desert History for


We see sometimes appearing certain light little works connected
either with literary history or ancient poetry, or manners and
customs, which would be nothing but pretty and curious pamphlets,
if the Appendix which follows them were not swelled out of all
proportion with proofs and illustrations, annotated notes, documents
with sidenotes, bibliographic bibliography, considerations and
commentaries of all sorts, which put the reader to the torture. By
this proceeding of an exaggerated literary conscience, an opuscule of
thirty pages arrives sometimes at three hundred: it is in some sense
a case of erudite exaltation, sometimes also a vain-glory of the
investigator, who has a mind to climb up the pyramid of books he has
examined, proudly there to set up his silhouette, as we plant a flag
on a building as soon as it is complete.

As an epilogue to another volume of this series, /The Fan/, we
published a sketch of documentary bibliography to indicate the
principal works which we had searched for the little materials
necessary for that monograph. You will find there six or eight pages
of titles placed without order, and ending with this phrase of a man
out of breath, and expressing extreme fatigue--/et cœtera/.

And in this /et cœtera/ we have set now a hundred library shelves in
the shadow--sparing thus our most fastidious readers an extremely
bitter pill, and sparing ourselves also the fatigues of an
interminable catalogue of no great profit to any one, considering
the nature of the work in question, and the fashion in which we have
treated it.

At the conclusion of the three unpretending pieces of chit-chat which
we have just engaged in about /The Sunshade, the Glove, and the
Muff/, people may expect to see figuring here the lineaments or first
matters of the canvas on which we embroidered our bold arabesques.
People will be deceived. It will please us for this time to hide the
innumerable instruments of our thefts; they are still there by our
sides, making walls and barricades upon our tables and the seats
round about us. But if, on the termination of a task, we love usually
to put back regularly in order a library turned upside down by the
fever of researches, happy in being nourished by the intellectual
juice of old books, sometimes also we are prostrated by that intense
discouragement which "dumfounds a man," according to an every-day
expression. In fact, the result has not answered so great a working
up of material, a picture has been dreamed of too big for the frame,
the artist has been obliged to reduce himself, to resign himself,
and to put in nothing of his own essence; in short, the Mosaic
/littérateur/ looks at the Little Thing he has just finished beside
the Great Matter which he had conceived.

In like conditions, the /meâ culpâ/ is the sole preventive parade
that can be made in his retreat to questions which become twisted
into a note of interrogation on the smiling lips of the reader.

To make an inventory of the books we have consulted would be a
torture worse than that of Tantalus, for desire, far from looking
forward with eagerness, would look sadly back, like an old man who
sees again in memory the women of his twentieth year, whom he has
let fly under the willows without profiting in their pursuit by the
vigour of his legs.

These books--which we serve not up here--are full of documents which
we have not been able to enshrine, and it seems that the crumbs which
fall from the table make a larger volume than the repast which has
just been taken.

For the rest, a truce to sadness and superfluous regrets! Who knows
whether we are not odiously unjust to ourselves? Who knows whether
the little schoolboy path which we have chosen is not the prettiest,
the least rugged, the most unforeseen--that is to say, the least
painful and the most verdant, and at the same time the shortest?

Every work, however small it may be, requires distance, a time
of calm and oblivion. The eye of the painter wanders in distress
before one and the same picture for entire days; the brain of an
investigator becomes anchylosed and petrified by dreaming in one and
the same atmosphere of small ideas which remain attached to dress.

When we shall have unfurnished our skull of those delicate things,
/the Sunshade, Glove, and Muff/, to carry thither a current of more
serious conceptions, we shall perhaps have leisure to read again our
little work as strangers, and not as producers, and thus, doubtless,
we shall reflect with a satisfied smile, that there was much more in
us of wisdom than carelessness in not tarrying too long amongst such
charming trifles!

 /May 1883./




 Notes (including the Spanish Ballads), and an Essay on the Life
 and Writings of CERVANTES by JOHN G. LOCKHART. Preceded by a Short
 Notice of the Life and Works of PETER ANTHONY MOTTEUX by HENRI VAN
 LAUN. Illustrated with Sixteen Original Etchings by R. DE LOS RIOS.
 Four Volumes.

 BRADY. Illustrated with Eight Original Etchings by R. DE LOS RIOS.
 Two Volumes.

 ASMODEUS. By LE SAGE. Translated from the French. Illustrated with
 Four Original Etchings by R. DE LOS RIOS.

 THE BACHELOR OF SALAMANCA. By LE SAGE. Translated from the French by
 JAMES TOWNSEND. Illustrated with Four Original Etchings by R. DE LOS

 VANILLO GONZALES; or, The Merry Bachelor. By LE SAGE. Translated
 from the French. Illustrated with Four Original Etchings by R. DE

 of LE SAGE by TOBIAS SMOLLETT. With Biographical and Critical Notice
 of LE SAGE by GEORGE SAINTSBURY. New Edition, carefully revised.
 Illustrated with Twelve Original Etchings by R. DE LOS RIOS. Three




 STERNE. In Two Vols. With Eight Etchings by DAMMAN from Original
 Drawings by HARRY FURNISS.



 One Vol. With Two Portraits and Four Original Drawings by A. H.

 and Corrected from the Arabic by JONATHAN SCOTT, LL.D., Oxford. With
 Nineteen Original Etchings by AD. LALAUZE.

 Critical and Explanatory.


 Portrait of BECKFORD, and Four Original Etchings, designed by A. H.
 TOURRIER, and Etched by DAMMAN.

 ROBINSON CRUSOE. By DANIEL DEFOE. In Two Vols. With Biographical
 Memoir, Illustrative Notes, and Eight Etchings by M. MOUILLERON, and
 Portrait by L. FLAMENG.

 Portrait by AD. LALAUZE.



 A TALE OF A TUB. By JONATHAN SWIFT. In One Vol. With Five Etchings
 and Portrait by ED. HEDOUIN.


Daily Telegraph.

"These editions are noteworthy as containing original etchings by
artists of high repute. Thus nineteen exquisite plates by the French
etcher, M. Lalauze, gives especial attractiveness to the 'Thousand
and One Nights;' and the two fanciful histories of the Caliph Vathek
and Prince Rasselas are illustrated by designs of Mr. A. H. Tourrier,
etched by M. Damman. It is a pleasure to hold a 'Robinson Crusoe' or
the 'Tale of a Tub' in one's hands; it is a positive luxury to read
those masterpieces in a luxurious shape, large print, on good paper,
accompanied by exquisite illustrations."

The Scotsman.

"These volumes will take rank, for beauty of typography and general
excellence of appearance, with any books of the kind that have
recently been published; while the etchings by M. Lalauze are among
some of the finest of his productions. They are full of vigour
and striking originality, and are what they profess to be--good
illustrations of the story to which they relate. There are not many
men of wholesome minds who do not find enjoyment in 'Robinson Crusoe'
whenever they can lay hands on it; and assuredly there is no one
possessing anything in the shape of a library who would not desire to
have a good edition of the work among his books; in short, nothing
but praise can be given to this edition of these books. No one can
pretend to be acquainted with English literature who is ignorant of
any of the works here published."

Glasgow Herald.

"The merits of this new issue lie in exquisite clearness of type,
completeness; notes and biographical notices, short and pithy, and
a number of very fine etchings and portraits. The illustrations of
Gulliver are particularly effective, such as the 'Academy of Laputa'
and the 'Visions of Glubbdubdrib.'"

London Figaro.

"We congratulate the publishers upon the issue of a capital series of
Old English Romances. They will form a most delightful collection."

Magazine of Art.

"The text of the new four volume edition of the 'Thousand and One
Nights' is that revised by Jonathan Scott from the French of Galland.
It is, in fact, the text in which the incomparable 'Arabian Nights'
became in England the classic it is. The etchings are uncommonly
skilful and finished work; they contain some charming figures; they
constitute a true attraction. In another volume of this series
Beckford's wild and gloomy 'Vathek' appears side by side with
Johnson's admirable 'Rasselas.'"

The Literary World.

"A publishers' notice prefixed to each volume states that 'one
thousand copies of this edition have been printed and the type
distributed. No more will be published.' Although some of these works
are now easily obtainable in a cheap form, good editions are rare and
eagerly sought by those who make any pretence of making a library.
Here is an opportunity of securing as choice an edition as can be
desired at a comparatively low price, the value of which will be
enhanced before long by its scarcity."

The Times.

"Prettily printed and prettily illustrated, these attractive volumes
deserve their welcome from all students of seventeenth century

The Daily News.

"The merit for modern readers of these old stories lies partly in
their inexhaustible wit, their knowledge of human nature, which
never grows stale, and partly in their pictures of the old reckless
life of Spain. A typical example of these novels is the fictitious
autobiography of Guzman d'Alfarache, the Spanish rogue, written by
Matthew Aleman at the beginning of the seventeenth century."

Daily Telegraph.

"A handy and beautiful edition, in twelve volumes, of the works of
the Spanish masters of romance calls for a word of acknowledgment
from all who desire to see the lights of foreign literature fitly
presented to the notice of English readers. We may say of this
edition of the immortal work of Cervantes, that it is most tastefully
and admirably executed, and that it is embellished with a series
of striking etchings from the pen of the Spanish artist, De Los
Rios. . . . Those who have already made acquaintance with these
masterpieces of exotic humour will need no encouragement to send them
once again to a fountain from which such pure enjoyment is to be
derived, and in so acceptable a shape as Messrs. Nimmo & Bain have

The Scotsman.

"What man of middle age is there, who has been a reader of books, who
does not look back with pleasure to his first acquaintance with 'Don
Quixote' or the 'Adventures of Gil Blas'? If he has been a wise man
of equal mind, he has gone further afield in these romances, and has
made acquaintance with 'Asmodeus,' 'The Bachelor of Salamanca,' and
other works of a like kind. They have been read by many thousands of
British readers, and they will be read by many thousands more. . . .
What the reading public have reason to congratulate themselves
upon is, that so neat, compact, and well-arranged an edition of
romances that can never die is put within their reach. The publishers
have spared no pains with them. It has already been said that Mr.
Saintsbury has written a prefatorial notice of Le Sage; a similar
work has been done by other hands in the case of Cervantes. It is
satisfactory to find publishers turning their attention to the
reproduction, in worthy form, of classic fiction; and the hope may be
entertained that in this case the enterprise will meet with merited

Westminster Review.

"We notice with warm welcome a new and very handsome illustrated
edition of the original 'Arabian Nights Entertainment,' the 'real
Simon pure,' and never have we seen the fascinating companion of our
youth more 'daintily dight.' Type and paper are both of the finest
quality, while M. Lalauze's graceful and delicate etchings lend
an additional charm to the text. 'The Thousand and One Nights of
Schéhérézade' occupy four goodly volumes, and uniform with them is
Beckford's 'Vathek' and Dr. Johnson's 'Rasselas' in one volume."



Original printed spelling and punctuation variations are mostly
retained. This was a profusely illustrated book, but none had
captions or titles, and are therefore not indicated herein. The html
and mobile editions retain most of the illustrations. Small caps
and bolded text have been converted to capital letters. Italics are
indicated /like this/. The carat symbol indicates that the following
phrase or character is superscript, as in "M^{me.}".

Page 104: "villanously" changed to "villainously".

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