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Bow steeples upon their heads; and Addison declared that men looked like mere grasshoppers before the towering majesty of the female species.
Lace, moreover, met with a very treacherous rival in china, a mania for which now set in; the ladies, having coaxed their lords into generosity for the respectable old investment in lace, would surreptitiously barter their Flanders lace for punchbowls and mandarins. • So that a husband,' Addison tell us, was often purchasing a large china vase, when he fancied he was giving his wife a new head-dress ;' but,' as Mrs. Palliser observes, with womanly spirit, • husbands could scarcely grumble, when a good wig cost forty guineas, to say nothing of male lace ties and ruffles.'
The accession of the House of Hanover did nothing to derange the steady dominion which lace now had fixed upon the male and female mind. Although Lord Boling broke so enraged Queen Anne by his untidy dress, that she supposed, forsooth, he would some day come to Court in his night-cap,' yet he neglected not to have his cravat of point lace, and his weeping ruffles depended from his wrists. In England these ruffles were said to serve for passing Jacobite notes, poulets,' from one rebel to another. In France, alas! sharpers found them convenient for cheating at cards. The passion for lace was so great in the time of the first two Georges, that satirists railed against it as if it were a thing unknown to their forefathers; an indignant dramatist writes churlishly in • Tunbridge Wells :'
Since your fantastical geers came in, with wires, ribbons, laces, and your furbelow, with 300 yards in a gown and petticoat, there has not been a good housewife in the nation.' Swift says
that the ladies did then nothing so much as
and ruffles hold the grave debate, As of their lives they would decide the fate.' Again in his very flattering advice to a young lady, he asserts
' And when you are among yourselves, how naturally after the first compliments do you entertain yourselves with the price and choice of lace, apply your hands to each other's lappets and ruffles, as if the whole business of your life and the public concern depended on the cut of your petticoats.'
Ladies' maids found the bribe of a bit of Flanders irresistible from their mistress's lover. In the Recruiting Officer,' we have this piece of dialogue between Lucy the maid and Melinda :
* Lucy.-Indeed, madam, the best bribe I had from the captain was only a small piece of Flanders lace for a cap.
'Melinda.-Ay, Flanders lace is a constant present from officers.
They every year bring over a cargo of lace to cheat the King of his duty and his subjects of their honesty.'
Indeed the very appearance of beauty in lace and distress had something so indescribably touching in it, that even jurors at the Old Bailey were moved to tears by the agitations of the elegantlylaced stomacher, lace flounces, and weeping ruffles of pretty Miss Margaret Caroline Rudd, when standing at the bar for forgery. The triumph of lace, however, was incomplete, for she was hanged in spite of ruffles, flounces, and stomacher.
The 'Connoisseur' evidently thought the spirit of gambling could go no further in a lady, if she staked her lace :
The lady played till all her ready money was gone, staked her cap and lost it, afterwards her handkerchief. He then staked both cap and handkerchief against her tucker which, to his pique, she gained.'
Ladies, however, not only recklessly gambled their lace, but they smuggled it whenever they could themselves, and encouraged others to do it for them. They defied the laws, and cheated the King's customs shamefully, and without scruple.
In vain, from 1700 downwards, were edicts issued prohibiting entirely the import of foreign lace, for the protection of home manufacture. Ladies of rank were stopped in their chairs in Fleet Street or Covent Garden, and relieved by the officers of the customs of French lace to which they could not show a satisfactory title. Even ladies, when walking, had their mittens cut off their hands, if supposed of French manufacture; and a poor woman stopped with a quartern loaf in her hands, which, when examined, contained 2001. worth of lace inside the crust. In 1767, an officer of the customs seized 4001. worth of Flanders lace artfully concealed in the hollow of a ship's buoy. Everybody smuggled ; yet, if you got your lace safely through Dover, you might have it seized at Southwark, as a gentleman of the Spanish embassy found to his cost, who was relieved in that suburb of thirty-six dozen shirts with fine Dresden ruffles and jabots, and endless lace in pieces for ladies' wear.
The officers of the customs were very zealous, and had spies ever on the watch; warned by experience, they neither respected the sanctity of coffin or corpse coming across the channel. Even his Grace the Duke of Devonshire was, after death, poked into at Dover with a stick, to the disgust of his servants, to make sure that he was real. Forty years indeed before that, the body of a deceased clergyman was found to have been replaced by a bulk of Flanders lace of immense value. The smugglers had cut away the trunk from the head and hands and feet, and re
moved it; and the discovery of this trick caused the ignominious treatment of the body of the Duke of Devonshire. Nevertheless, the High Sheriff of Westminster ran comfortably 60001. worth of French lace in the coffin of Bishop Atterbury, who died in Paris, when he was brought over, counting probably on a dead Bishop inspiring more awe than a deceased Duke.
At the close of the last French war smuggling had a very lively existence, and travelling carriages and mail.coaches were rifled on the London and Dover road without mercy, and generally with little effect.
Mrs. Palliser has in her possession a Brussels veil of great beauty, which had a narrow escape from the custom-house officers at this time. It belonged to a lady who was wife of a Member of one of the Cinque Ports. The day after an election she was to start with her husband for London. When at a dinner-party, she heard in the course of conversation that Lady Ellenborough, wife of the Lord Chief Justice, had been stopped near Dover, and a quantity of valuable lace concealed in the lining of her carriage taken from her. The owner of the Brussels veil having just bought it of a smuggler for a hundred guineas took fright for her purchase, and confided her distress to her neighbour at table, who, being an unmarried gentleman, offered to take charge of it to London, saying, 'No one would suspect a bachelor. Happening to turn round she observed a waiter smile, and putting him down at once for a spy, she graciously accepted the offer in a loud tone of voice; but that night she had the veil sewed up in the back of her husband's waistcoat, and got it safe through, while the custom-house officers rigorously, ruthlessly, and desperately overhauled her unfortunate bachelor friend and his baggage en route behind her at every town.
The discredit into which lace fell at the French Revolution communicated itself to England, and India gauze and transparent muslins likewise usurped its place here. Only at court, at such state occasions as the marriage of the Princess Caroline of Wales, in 1795, did it still maintain its' old supremacy; but it disappeared from the costumes of all classes. The rich lace which had cost thousands was stowed ignominiously away in old wardrobes and chests, given away to children to dress their dolls with, or bestowed on old dependants and servitors who were ignorant of its value. Some of these would simmer the fine coffee-coloured points, the delight of a past generation, in cauldrons to make them clean, and so reduce them to a pulp; and an old Scotch servant who had charge of her deceased mistress's wardrobe on being asked by the legatees what had become of the old needle points of her lady, said, “'Deed its a'
there, 'cept a wheen auld dudds, black and ragged I finged in the fire. This, indeed, was the martyr age of lace, but it came to an end, and in the last twenty years a passion for the old fabrics has arisen once more in England as well as France. Madame Camille, the celebrated Parisian dressmaker, was one of the first to bring back the taste to the old laces. Her husband arrived one morning with a huge basket of old soiled yellow lace, and a facture of 1000 francs. The artiste' at first flew into a desperate passion at his expenditure, but reflection brought calmness and invention, and very soon the scissors of the fashionable modiste gave new vogue to the despised old tissues, and no toilette was complete sans les anciennes dentelles, garniture complète.' The dames du grand monde, both English and French, took to hunting out old treasure-troves of the commodity, and chaperones on the blue benches at Almack's and elsewhere, exchanged confidences as to good luck in picking up point coupé, Alençon, or guipure. The late Lady Morgan and Lady Stepney were among the first to take up the collecting mania, and quarrelled weekly about the relative merits of their points. While the late Duchess of Gloucester, who never gave in to the debased taste for blonde and muslin frippery, but preserved her collection entire, found herself one of the most envied ladies in Europe. The church lace of Italy, Spain, Germany, formed for some time an admirable preserve to those who were sagacious and enterprising enough to make search for it, and in remote districts, some spoil typifying the decay of old religious reverence is doubtless yet to be secured, although the main stores must be exhausted.
The present state of the manufacture of lace would, of itself, demand the space of an article. Those who visited the Universal Exhibition of 1867 could not fail to be struck with the surprising beauty and lightness, and the exquisite patterns of the productions of Brussels, in which flowers and foliage were displayed and intertwined with the most consummate grace, and a marvellous truthfulness to the forms of nature ; while the magnificent robes of the more rigid and richer needlework of the Point d'Alençon with its raised edges and borders worked round concealed horsehair to give it greater stiffness, offered a grander and more gorgeous surface to the eye, though failing in the fine, floating, airy, vaporous grace of the Brussels manufacture. In comparison with these, the manufactures of other countries have a coarser second-rate character-although it grieves us to own this of the Honiton lace, of which beautiful examples were to be seen both in pattern and workmanship. Specimens, also, of Irish guipure had a richness and elegance truly remarkable.
Lace is one of the most marvellous products of human industry, and, on looking at these fairy tissues, produced by infinitesimal touches of labour, and long and ineffably delicate manipulation of the needle, one is struck with admiration of the profoundest character at seeing the victory of human hands in minuteness of toil, and in patience, over the insect wonders of the spider and the ant.
This graceful ornament of civilization has found a worthy historian in Mrs. Palliser, who has produced a book which will be found interesting alike to the antiquary and the lady of fashion-enriched with quotations and references in an abundance which leaves nothing to be desired by the curious-while the elegance of its designs and illustrations is sufficient to captivate the most fastidious taste.
ART. VII.-Siluria, a History of the Oldest Rocks in the British
Isles and other Countries. By Sir Roderick I. Murchison, Bart.,
K.C.B. Fourth Edition. London, 1867. THE rapidity with which during the last half century geology
has been marching onward is in nothing more strikingly shown than in the constant succession of new editions of standard works in that science. Not only are the favourite systematic text-books re-issued from time to time with so many additions and alterations as to be nearly new books, but even treatises on comparatively limited portions of the science, bulky and expensive, find their ready purchasers, and reappear every few years with their chapters modified and adapted to the advancing knowledge of the day. Sir Roderick Murchison's Siluria' stands as a conspicuous illustration. Himself the founder of the Silurian system, and the man of all others who has done most towards extending the Silurian classification over the world, any work which he might choose to write upon the subject could hardly fail to be at once accepted as the standard text-book. No geologist whether he be a beginner or a veteran, can go into the study of Silurian geology without this treatise. But the number of students is yearly increasing, and amongst them are very many who carry the lessons of the text-book out into the field, where they observe for themselves. Their eyes and hammers are busy throughout all the quarters of the globe, and year by year new facts are brought to light by them. Thus at intervals it becomes necessary to collect and methodise these fresh discoveries, and to marshal them in their places among those already known. This is a task of no slight toil, often, indeed, more irksome and