Soft And Hairy Coverings

Pansy Cradledew has been reading The Law And Customs Relating To Gloves, Being An Exposition Historically Viewed Of Ancient Laws, Customs, And Uses In Respect Of Gloves, And Of The Symbolism Of The Hand And Glove In Judicial Proceedings by James William Norton-Kyshe (Stevens & Haynes, London 1901). Among the fascinating material in this book, she has drawn my attention to these glove-related nuggets of interest:

Musonius, a philosopher who lived at the close of the first century of Christianity, among other invectives against the corruption of the age, says “it is shameful that persons in perfect health should clothe their hands and feet with soft and hairy coverings”. (page 4)

About Queens, we read that Anne Boleyn was marvellously dainty about her gloves. She had a nail which turned up at the side, and it was the delight of Queen Catharine to make her play at cards without her gloves, in order that the deformity might disgust King Henry. It is also an historical fact that Queen Elizabeth was extravagant, fastidious, and capricious in the extreme about her gloves, and used to display them to advantage in playing the virginal. (page 55)

It was considered unbecoming if not undignified in olden days to wear gloves when visiting the royal stables. The reason given seems strange, but it is an ancient established custom in Germany, that whoever enters the stables of a prince, or great man, with his gloves on his hands, is obliged to forfeit them by a fee to the servants. (page 83)

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