Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/489

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371
DOMESTIC LIFE

starched linen extending a foot on all sides! So cumbersome were these articles of dress that it became necessary to underprop them with a framework of wire to keep them from tumbling down of their own weight, and to prevent them from dragging their wearer's head down with them. What a stiff, unnatural carriage the habit of wearing ruffs gave to the upper half of the body is fully illustrated by the following: "He carries his face in's ruff, as I have seen a serving man carry glasses in a cypress hatband, monstrous steady for fear of breaking." (Webster's White Devil, ii. 4.) One's head in the midst of such a ruff was free to move, of course, only within limits. In fact, people found it most difficult to eat and to drink. In France, for this fashion was imported from Paris, where it was carried to an even greater extreme than in England, we read of a royal lady who found it necessary to take soup out of a spoon two feet long.

In the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the garment that ultimately supplanted the ruff became popular. The falling band, like the ruff, was made of linen, but less elaborate, not so large, and unstarched. Bands, as distinguished from falling bands, were often starched, as may be seen in the Droesheut engraving of Shakespeare. It was the lack of starch that gave rise