페이지 이미지

Our readers would be very greatly mistaken were they to conclude that female attire under the Restoration was any the less sumptuous, any the less gaudy, or any the less costly than that which was ordinarily worn by the opposite sex. The very reverse was the case. A great change was effected during the reign of Charles II. in the female costume of England, but it was one that was confined almost exclusively to that which was worn by the upper classes of society. As before, the middle and lower classes, the wives of the citizens, and those who would have been denominated countrywomen, adhered tenaciously to the wearing of high-crowned hats, of French hoods, of laced stomachers, and of yellow starched neckerchiefs. Very little traces of innovation were apparent before the Revolution ; and then only such as were of minor importance. Where the mutations of women's attire were most visible while Charles occupied the throne, was in that of the beauties who thronged the halls of his palace at Whitehall. No unpleasant reminders of the heyday of Puritanical austerity were suffered to intrude themselves within the walls of that princely abode. No external insignia of saintly profession, of real godliness, of high degrees of spiritual advancement, could there dare to lift up their heads. Nothing in the matter of attire was countenanced at court or in polite society that was not untainted with Puritanism. We see this reflected in a remarkable degree in the contemporary literature, particularly the veracious diaries of Pepys and Evelyn, who appear to have paid special attention to the costume worn by those with whom they were thrown into contact. Symptoms of the coming change began openly to manifest themselves six years before the downfall of the Commonwealth. “I now observed,” wrote Evelyn in his “Diary,” under date of May 11, 1654, “how the women began to paint themselves, formerly a most ignominious thing.” In 1660 Pepys mentions that he saw the Princess Henrietta (sister of Charles II.) “with her hair frizzed up to her ears; ” and almost coeval with the revival of this fashion was the introduction by ladies of the practice of wearing black patches, since Mrs. Pepys was able to wear one “by permission,” on November 4, 1660. It would seem as if it was by the ladies that peruques were first worn, seeing that under date of March 24, 1662, Pepys records that “By-and-by came La Belle Pierce to see my wife and to bring her a pair of peruques of hair as the fashion now is for ladies to wear, which are pretty, and one of my wife's own hair, or else I should not endure them.” In the month of April following we find Pepys mentioning “petticoats of sarcenet with a broad black lace printed round the bottom and before,” as having newly come into fashion, and as being one that had found favour in the eyes of his spouse. On May 30 in the same year, the English Court was electrified by the sight of the monstrous fardingales or guard infantas of the newly arrived Queen Catherine of Braganza and her ladies, the Portuguese not having yet laid aside those curious offsprings of fashionable taste. Evelyn does not forget to mention and describe “Her Majesty's foretop,” as long and turned aside very strangely. Vizards, according to Pepys, came into fashion in 1663, the journalist purchasing one for his wife in that year. So great was Pepys' sense of the importance of fine clothes, that it led him to take note of those which were worn not only by himself, but by almost every well-dressed person with whom he came into contact, particularly the ladies. Thus, for instance, he gives a very graphic description, under the date of July 13, 1663, of the personal appearance of the queen and some of the Court ladies while riding in Hyde Park. “By-and-by,” he writes, “the king and the queen, who looked in this dress (a white-laced waistcoat and a crimson short petticoat, and her hair dressed d la negligence) mighty pretty, and the king road hand in hand with her. Here was also my Lady Castlemaine who rode amongst the rest of the ladies; she looked mighty out of humour, and had a yellow plume in her hat (which all took notice of), and yet it is very handsome. . . . . I followed them up into Whitehall and into the queen's presence, where all the ladies walked, talking and fiddling with their hats and feathers, and changing and trying one another's by one another's heads and laughing. . . . . But, above all, Mrs. Stewart in her dress, with her hat cocked and a red plume, with her sweet eye, little Roman nose, and excellent taille, is now the greatest beauty I ever saw, I think, in my life.” Pepys also mentions that silver-laced gowns were a revived fashion in 1664, and speaks of yellow bird's-eye hoods as being in vogue, under the date of May 10, 1665. From another passage in Pepys' “Diary” we gather that the ladies' riding-habits resembled very closely those of the dandies. “Walking in the galleries at Whitehall,” writes Pepys, under date of June 11, 1666, “I find the ladies of honour dressed in their riding garbs, with coats and doublets with deep skirts, just for all the world like men, and buttoned their doublets up the breast, with perriwigs and with hats. So that, only for a long petticoat dragging under their men's coats, nobody could take them for women in any point whatever, which was an odd sight and a sight that did not please me. It was Mrs. Wells and another

* Pepys' Diary, ed. Lord Braybrooke, 1848, i. p. 337.


' Diary, ii. p. 194.

fine lady that I saw thus.” Evelyn, moreover, mentions, under the date of September 13, 1666, that “the queen was now in her cavalier riding habit, hat, and feather, and horseman's coat, going to take the air.” Three years later, the sac or sacque had won its way into womanly favour. “My wife this day,” writes Pepys, under date of March 2, 1669, “put on first her French gown, called a sac, which becomes her very well.” It would extend this article beyond all reasonable limits were we to dilate further upon the tempting theme of English attire under the Restoration. We trust, therefore, that we have said enough concerning it to enable the reader to form an idea of its forms and fashion, and we now hasten on to consider that subject with which our remarks are more immediately connected, the life of the capital under the sway of “The Merry Monarch.” The man of fashion and pleasure in the reign of Charles II. monopolised everybody's attention, and it is therefore of the man of fashion and pleasure that we wish first to speak. The daily routine of his life from the time he rose until the time he retired to rest again, embraced, as in a microcosm, all the amusements and all the resources of the London of the second half of the seventeeth century. He who follows his footsteps through the day may behold the sights of the town, may observe the manners and customs of the people, and may even be admitted to their familiar conversation. The history of an ordinary day of a Restoration beau was something like this —From about ten till twelve he received visitors in his sleeping chamber, where he lay in state with his periwig thickly powdered lying beside him on the coverlet. Near at hand, on his dressing-table, the curious visitor might have noticed some little volumes of amatory verse, a canister of Lisbon or Spanish snuff, a smelling bottle, and perhaps a few fashionable trinkets. As soon as he deemed proper, the beau arose, and with incredible difficulty proceeded to put on all his charms. To perfume his garments—to soak his hands in washes for the sake of producing whiteness and delicacy—to tinge his cheeks with carminative in order to give them that gentle blush which nature had denied them—to arrange a number of patches upon his face so as to produce the effect of moles and dimples—to dip his pockethandkerchief in rose water and to powder his linen so as to banish from it the smell of soap-to consume a quarter of an hour in the attempt to fasten his cravat, as long again in the endeavour to adjust his wig and to “cock” his hat, as long again in the contemplation of his charms in the looking-glass, and as long again in the practice of such smiles as would display to the best advantage the ivory white

ness of his teeth-these were the processes through which he who desired to figure as a beau of the first magnitude was compelled in that age to pass. The character of the beau, so far as his outward and personal appearance was concerned, was now complete ; and as in those days fashionable gentlemen used their legs to a much less extent than they do now, our imaginary beau would have directed his valet to order a sedan chair without delay. Into this he stepped, and was borne to the most fashionable haunt-to the Mall in St. James's Park, or perhaps to the more ceremonious parade in Hyde Park, where, like a butterfly, he delighted to flutter in the train of some frail and jilting beauty, who gloried in nothing so much as “an equipage of fools," and who was perfectly willing for the nonce to furnish him with an excuse for toasting her in a tavern at night. Anon he might have been found twittering in the boudoir of some favourite nymph(the amusing part of it was that in that age every woman was a nymph, both on canvas and upon paper, decked out in pastoral embellishments of every conceivable incongruity in the matter of poetical treatment !)—and there the rest of the morning was generally dawdled away or worn out, just as it suited the humour of the company, with cards, forfeits, games at toys, or puzzles, or with songs and dancing to the harp, virginal, and all kinds of music. We ought to remember that during the whole of this time the gardens and other places of public resort in which the capital abounded were alive and astir with people of every rank and every condition—that the Paradise in Hatton Garden was attracting hundreds of people to gaze upon its wonders and curiosities in geology-and that the wives and daughters of the citizens, arrayed in silk and satin raiment, display. ing all the colours of the rainbow, were crowding the walks of Gray's Inn, ostensibly for the purpose of inhaling the odorous breezes that blew from the distant hills of Highgate and Hampstead, but really to take a sly glance at the men of law who, in the brief intervals afforded them by their professional duties, walked out in order to obtain a breath of fresh air. To the wearisome relaxations of the promenade and the boudoir succeeded the dinner.time. Public notification of this was given by the universal rush, so soon as the clocks and time-pieces indicated the hour of noon, to such fashionable coffee-houses and ordinaries as Lockets, Man's, and Chattelin's -particularly the latter, which was the house to which the Lord Keeper North (when he tenanted chambers in the Court Temple before he was advanced to the dignity of Solicitor-General) was accustomed

in that age to repair with his friends to partake of a cotelette and salad over a bottle of the choicest wine that the establishment


afforded. For the space of two whole hours, that is to say, from twelve o'clock till two, the coffee-houses and taverns bore the closest resemblance of any places to Pandemonium. The babel of voices, the clatter of plates and dishes, the hurrying to and fro of waiters, continued without cessation. The bold criticism and the loud boasting continued just as much as in the days of good Queen Bess, only with less of coarseness and a deeper tinge of French licentiousness. With great animation the topics of the day were discussed ; and that as openly as possible. Nothing was covered that was not revealed, nothing was hid that was not made known. What was heard in darkness was spoken in light, and that which was heard in the ear was proclaimed upon the house-tops. The latest scandals from Whitehall Palace—the newest faces in the coffee-houses, the moving accidents of the preceding evening, the smashing of windows and the breaking of tavern drawers' heads, the hair-breadth escapes from the watchmen, and such like—the plays, the playwrights, and the authorsthe newest fashions in periwigs—these were some out of the many perishable topics upon which fashionable gentlemen of that age were wont to exchange their ideas. And after the tavern and coffee-house had been duly visited, what was the next place of resort? The playhouse, to be sure. London then contained more theatres than one, and the task became one only of selection. There were the “King's," the “Duke's," and the “Lincoln's Inn.” Here the latest comedy from the prolific pen of Davenant might be witnessed ; there the last from the equally prolific pen of Killigrew. It mattered little which theatre was selected, since it is hardly necessary to say that playgoers of that generation did not frequent theatres for the purpose of attending to the performance. To a fine gentleman the very idea of such a thing would have been revolting. To see and to be seen- to renew the gallantries of the morning hours and to lay the trains for fresh adventures—to be stormed to secret satisfaction, despite the pretence of resentment, by the orange girls—to interchange familiar recognitions with the wearers of vizard masks in the gallery-to interrupt the performance now and again by lcud observations calculated to display critical sagacity—and finally to penetrate into the side-boxes, there to find themselves tossing in a sea of heartbreakers that afforded ample enjoyment for their dear wit and gay rhetoric so long as the performance continued-these were some of the inducements for men of fashion in that age to visit the London play-houses. Nor were the resources of a man of fashion altogether exhausted when the theatre doors had closed. Far from it. He might repair to Hyde Park for a drive in the open air. He might

« 이전계속 »