In presenting our Brochure on fall andwinter gloves, it occurred to us that a few factsbearing upon the historical phase of the subjectwould not be amiss, and, though necessarilybrief, we trust may prove interesting to ourreaders.
Our display of gloves for the present seasonshows the same characteristic excellence whichhas always been our aim, and a range of styleand variety calculated to meet the requirementsof the most exacting buyer.
We feel that in point of prices there is noneed to make mention, since a liberal patronageis the truest indication of our policy in thisregard, and we can promise in the future thesame “sterling worth” we have given in thepast.
Attention is also called to our corset department,in the belief, that for the lady who hasnot yet worn the Fascia Corset there awaits areal revelation, the extent of which she canappreciate, only when once encircled by thegraceful curves of this, The Queen of all corsets.
The Birth of the Glove.
The first pair of gloves of which we have any recordwas the covering of skins which Jacob wore upon hishands to deceive his blind father, and it is a singularfact, that these hand-coverings, then used for deceptionand treachery, came in time to be a pledge of faith, atoken of fidelity all over the world. The glove is uniquein its universal use to symbolize good faith, from theOriental custom of giving the purchaser a glove at thetransfer of property, to its use as a love favor and achallenge.
Some authorities say that the use of gloves as a protectionto the hands was known to the cave-dwellers.However this may be, it certainly was to the Romansand Greeks.
In the Norman period we find gloves worn only bymen, and even then they were considered the appendagesof the rich and great. They were an importantfactor on all ceremonial occasions, and were consequentlyvery ornate and of rare material and workmanship,and many of them decorated with precious stones.The gloves of bishops were of silk and linen, richlyembroidered, and those of monarchs were white withbroad, pointed cuff. The presentation of the royalgloves at the coronation ceremony is a custom whichstill prevails, for in the records of Victoria’s coronationis the Duke of Norfolk’s petition to present the Queen’scoronation gloves.
While we of to-day use gloves only as a protectionand an ornament, in the intervening centuries they hada significance aside from this. Churchmen wore glovesas a sign of purity; judges, as a token of the integrity oftheir office; men pledged their honor by their gloves;and perhaps we may be pardoned forsaying that this custom still survives withus, since our gloves are sold “on honor.”
A Walking Glove.
Two-Clasp Piqué Glacé.
$1.00 to $2.00.
Gentleman’s Walking Glove.
English Cape Leather,
One Clasp at the Wrist,
Oak Tan and Red Shades are correct.
$1.00 to $2.25.
English Cape Leather Riding and Coaching Glove.
In Havana-Browns and Red Shades.
$1.00 to $2.00.
Old Royal Gloves.
Some of the gloves worn by royal personages stillexist. We illustrate a glove worn by England’s maidenqueen, Elizabeth, and a very ornate affair it is—of finewhite leather, profusely embroidered in gold thread,and having a yellow fringe and lined with drab silk.Elizabeth’s hands were very beautiful, we are told,the charm of which she was wont to display by therepeated removal of her gloves. DuMaurier writes howhe had heard from his father “that, having been sent toher, at every audience he had with her majesty, shepulled off her gloves more than a hundred times todisplay her hands, which, indeed, were very beautifuland very white.” Either the royal hands were a deallarger than a lady of our time would care to possess, orthey knew not in those days the grace of our perfect-fittinggloves, for those of Elizabeth’s are as much asthree and one-half inches across the palm, and have athumb five inches in length, the entire glove being abouta half-yard.
We are told that gloves were not adopted by thegentler sex as a class until after the Reformation. Butwhen once the fashion had taken hold of the femininemind, they made up by lavish ornamentation what theyhad lost in time. Gloves of fine leather, with greatcuffs elaborately ornamented with exquisite embroideryin rich and delicate silks, wrought with marvelousingenuity and skill, now became a veritable mania.Lace-trimmed gloves were also worn; anda language of the glove arose, so that asecret correspondence could be carried onby certain knottings of the fringe.
Whatever may be said of the gloves ofthe past, they are at least picturesque andinteresting, as well as varied in style.
A Theatre and Reception Glove.
Four-Button, White or Cream Glacé.
Broad Stitching of Black or Self-Color.
$1.00, $1.25, $1.50, $1.75, $2.00.
Thus did the peddler advertise his wares inthe days of good Queen Bess. While perfumedgloves were used in both France and Spainprior to this time, it was the evident partialityof her dress-loving majesty that brought about a veritableperfume craze. Housewives became learned inthe distillation of sweet waters, and the preparation ofall manner of sweet-smelling essences. Ladies vied witheach other in a lavish employment of scent. “All apparelwas perfumed; hair and shoes and fans gave outsweet-smelling savor, and all kinds of jewelry containedcavities filled with strong essences. Perfumed gloveswere not the least conspicuous of these toilet accessories.”
The ordinary method of perfuming the glove was tomix the substance or odor with oil, and rub it into theglove, or else to prepare a pomatum and smear it overthe inner surface of the glove. Spain had now becomefamous for her embroidered and perfumed gloves, andthus the preference was shown for those of Spanishmake, the fragrance of which was of a very enduringcharacter.
This love of luxury and ultra-refinement now reachedan extreme pitch. As Shakespeare says: “The verywinds were love-sick with perfume.” Into their baththe fair ladies threw musk, amber, aloes, myrrh, cedarleaves, lavender, mint, and other fragrant herbs andspices—everything was made to give forth an aromaticfragrance—an unbridled luxury that bid fairto outdo the fair dames of Rome.
The use of perfumed gloves has never whollydied out. In France, and even in America,Russia leather gloves are worn to this day, forthe sake of their aromatic quality.
A Semi-Dress Glove.
Two-Clasp or Four-Button.
Suéde or Glacé Kid.
$1.00 to $2.00.
Something About Gauntlets.
The use of the glove as a challenge, carries us backto the chivalrous days of the armoured knights andladies fair: the blare of trumpets, the neighing of steeds,the ring of steel as the gauntlet is flung into the lists,and the hush as it is taken up; the lance in rest, theclash of conflict—all, happily, but the romantic pictureof the past.
The use of the glove as a gage is very ancient, andit involved the very highest point of honor.
Besides its use in the courts of chivalry, the glovewas used in appeals of felony, and in civil disputes asto property. If a man accused of crime took hisaccuser’s glove on the point of his sword, and in theensuing combat came out victorious, it was consideredsufficient proof of his innocence. The same was true asto disputed ownership of land.
When the sovereign of England was crowned, it wascustomary for a knight to appear as champion, castingdown the gauntlet, and challenging to mortal combatany who dared gainsay the monarch’s right. Thisceremony was in use for the last time at the coronationof George IV.
When two knights rode together in combat, it wouldoften happen that one wore in his helmet a dainty glove,a glove far different indeed from the steel one he had sorecently taken up, the favor of some fair lady of hislove, who was perhaps looking down upon him then.Thus he was for a second time bound to quit himselfvaliantly by the same token of a glove; a slight thingenough, but one which has ever been bound up withideas of honor and deeds of knightly valor.
A Full-Dress Glove.
$1.50 to $4.00.
Some Historical Gloves.
Among others of the gloves that remainfrom those old days, is a well-worn pair madeof substantial leather, stitched with red andgold, and with a border pinked in the wrist.Very unpretentious, indeed, beside the hand-coveringsof kings and queens and gildednobles; yet their very wrinkles mean moreto the world than the whole of that gaudy lot; forif tradition does not misinform us, these gloveswere worn by England’s greatest son, Shakespeare.What a world of meaning that phraseattaches to these bits of leather, still bearing theimprint of the hand that penned the masterpieces ofour literature.
We are reminded that the bard’s father was aglover by trade, and we of to-day certainly have causeto rejoice that the son was not enamored of his father’sfollowing, for who knows but that the hand that startledthe world by its touch might only have plied a modestcraft.
Whatever may have been the shortcomings of thegloves of those days, certain it is there could be no complaintas to variety. Old records speak of “singlegloves and gloves lin’d, top’d, lac’d, fringed with gold,silver, silk, and fur, and gloves of velvet, satin, andtaffety.”
The practice of wearing gloves at night to impartdelicacy to the skin was common, in the seventeenthcentury, to gentlemen as well as ladies. To evengreater lengths did the fairer sex go towards beautifyingtheir complexion. It was not uncommon to wear gloveslined with unguents, or to cover the face with a maskplastered inside with a perfumed pomade. Some steepedslices of raw veal in milk and laid them on the face.“Young and tender beauties bathed in milk; beautieswho were no longer young, and far from tender, bathedin wine or the like.” Gloves of chicken skin werethought to have peculiar virtue, and were worn at nightto make the hands soft and white. They were so fine intexture that they could be packed in a nut-shell, and wereprized by cavaliers as dainty gifts for their lady-loves.
When we introduced the Fascia Corset tothe ladies of Buffalo, some three years since, itwas in direct competition with all the mostwidely known makes. We were confident thatthe Fascia