Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/494

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


clamped her tightly about the waist and was absolutely rigid. One style gave a curve from the waist-line downward; the other style extended level from the waist, and met the vertical line of drapery at right angles. In either case the nether garments were supported by this structure much as we support the week's wash on a rotary drier. The appearance of a fashionable woman when fully dressed was not unlike the colonial culprit in his humiliating barrel; save that the farthingale reached to the floor and was richly bedecked with jet, beads, strings of pearl, jewels, and gold thread. The women of that day thoroughly understood the art of tight lacing. Some of the old pictures of a woman with a wasp-like waist and a huge farthingale look very much like a tin soldier soldered to his base. In 1563 a law was passed in France to limit farthingales to an ell, about four feet, in diameter; and the satirists tell us that in this respect the English outdid their rivals across the Channel. The Scotch farthingale was a variety that was smaller and closer fitting. "Is this a right Scot? Does it clip close and bear up round?"—— Fine stuff, i' faith; 'twill keep your thighs so cool, and make your waist so small." (Marstoa's Eastward Ho, i. 2.) "Bumrolls" were a sort of "stuffed cushions used by women of middling rank to make their petticoats