Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/55

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43
DEVELOPMENT IN DRESS.

the eighteenth century, this hat was varied by the omission of the plume, and by giving of the brim various "cocks." That these "cocks" were formerly merely temporary is shown by Hogarth's picture of Hudibras beating Sidrophel and his man Whacum, where there is a hat, the brim of which is buttoned up in front to the crown with three buttons. This would be a hat of the seventeenth century. Afterward, during the eighteenth century, the brim was bent up in two or three places, and, notwithstanding that these "cocks" became permanent, yet the hats still retained the marks of their origin in the button and strap on the right side. The cockade, I imagine, took its name from its being a badge worn on one of the "cocks."

The modern cocked-hat, apparently of such an anomalous shape, proves, on examination, to be merely a hat of the shape above referred to; it appears further that the right side was bent up at an earlier date than the left, for the hat is not symmetrical, and the "cock" on the right side forms a straight crease in the (quondam) brim, and that on the left is bent rather over the crown, thus making the right side of the hat rather straighter than the left. The hat-band here remains in the shape of two gold tassels, which are just visible within the two points of the cocked-hat.

A bishop's hat shows the transition from the three-cocked hat to our present chimney-pot; and because sixty years ago beaver-fur was the fashionable material for hats, we must now needs wear a silken imitation, which could deceive no one into thinking it fur, and which is bad to resist the effects of weather. Even in a lady's bonnet the elements of brim, crown, and hat-band, may be traced.

The "busby" of our hussars affords a curious instance of survival. It would now appear to be merely a fancy head-dress, but on inspection it proves not to be so. The hussar was originally a Hungarian soldier, and he brought his hat with him to our country. I found the clew to the meaning of the hat in a picture of a Hungarian peasant. He wore a red nightcap, something like that worn by our brewers' men, or by a Sicilian peasant, but the cap was edged with so broad a band of fur that it made in fact a low "busby." And now in our hussars the fur has grown enormously, and the bag has dwindled into a flapping ornament, which may be detached at pleasure. Lastly, in the new "busby" of the Royal Engineers the bag has vanished, although the top of the cap (which is made of cloth and not of fur) is still blue, as was the bag formerly; the top cannot, however, be seen, except from a bird's-eye point of view.

It appears that all cockades and plumes are worn on the left side of the hat, and this may, I think, be explained by the fact that a large plume, such as that worn in the time of Charles II., or that of the modern Italian Bersaglieri, would impede the free use of the sword; and this same explanation would also serve to show how it was that the right side of the hat was the first to receive a "cock." A London