Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/61

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49
DEVELOPMENT IN DRESS.

wrist. A barrister's gown has a small hood sewed to the left shoulder, which would hardly go on to the head of an infant, even if it could be opened out into a hood-shape.

It is not, however, in our dress alone that these survivals exist; they are to be found in all the things of our every-day life. For instance, any one who has experienced a drive on a road so bad that leaning back in the carriage is impossible, will understand the full benefit to be derived from arm-slings such as are placed in first-class railway-carriages, and will agree that in such carriages they are mere survivals. The rounded tracery on the outsides of railway-carriages shows the remnants of the idea that a coach was the proper pattern on which to build them; and the word "guard" is derived from the man who sat behind the coach and defended the passengers and mails with his blunderbuss.

In the early trains (1838-'39) of the Birmingham Railway there were special "mail" carriages, which were made very narrow, and to hold only four in each compartment (two and two), so as to be like the coach they had just superseded.

The words dele, stet, used in correcting proof-sheets, the words sed vide or s. v., ubi sup., ibid., loc. cit., used in foot-notes, the sign "&," which is merely a corruption of the word et, the word finis, until recently placed, at the ends of books, are all doubtless survivals from the day when all books were in Latin. The mark Λ used in writing for interpolations appears to be the remains of an arrow pointing to the sentence to be included. The royal "broad-arrow" mark is a survival of the head of "a barbed javelin, carried by sergeants-at-arms in the king's presence as early as Richard the First's time."[1] Then, again, we probably mount horses from the left side lest our swords should impede us. The small saddle on the surcingle of a horse, the seams in the backs of cloth-bound books, and those at the backs of gloves, are rudiments—but to give a catalogue of such things would be almost endless. I have said enough, however, to show that by remembering that there is nihil sine causa, the observation of even common things of every-day life may be made less trivial than it might, at first sight appear.

It seems a general rule that on solemn or ceremonial occasions men retain archaic forms; thus it is that court-dress is a survival of the every-day dress of the last century; that uniforms in general are richer in rudiments than common dress; that a carriage with a postilion is de rigueur at a wedding; and that (as mentioned by Sir John Lubbock) the priests of a savage nation, acquainted with the use of metals, still use a stone knife for their sacrifices—just as Anglican priests still prefer candles to gas.

The details given in this article, although merely curious, and perhaps insignificant in themselves, show that the study of dress from an

  1. Fairholt, p. 580.