Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/108

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88
FANTASTIC DRESS

no short cloth skirts and thick boots for the women of those days, though the conditions of life were such as to make such a fashion most desirable, for there were no carriages to drive in, and the mud and the ruts of the country roads must have been truly appalling. But the lady of those days bravely trailed her long skirts over the dirty rushes in the hall, and picked her way over the muddy roads and tracks in long pointed shoes of some bright coloured material, stretching some inches beyond her toes and with ridiculously high heels. They were both unlovely and unserviceable. So inconvenient, indeed, were they, that the knights, who also indulged in this fantastic shoe, found the long toes so sadly in the way that it was no uncommon sight to see the points fastened up to the knee by chains of gold or silver. These shoes were known as "Crackowes," after the Polish city where they originated. With them the men wore bright coloured stockings crossed up the legs with garters—not unlike the old Saxon leg-bandage—but with their love of colour and variety they often wore one stocking green and the other blue, which contrast must have looked curious enough below their short coloured tunics. Both men and