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CONCERNING CLOTHES.

Most people, however, call them close. Herrick appears also to have done so :

When as in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flowes
That liquefaction of her clothes.

He was

Sailors call them duds; thieves call them clobber; schoolboys, togs; and women, things. A modern poet, who has recently proved his affection for clothes as they dry upon the line, also calls them things. He has a lyric beginning

Alice, Alice, put on your things. Of all men, tramps and peers care least about their appearance. This indifference to public opinion of one's clothes is indeed an enviable state to reach. I have always liked the story of the old fellow who at home dressed badly because everyone knew him, and badly when he travelled because no one knew him. one of the few men who have had courage to dress to please themselves. Most of us dress to please other persons; and, even then, it must be added, rarely succeed. The late Professor Fawcett objected on principle to make himself uncomfortable by dressing for dinner, but he had a very charming way of disarming criticism and propitiating his hostess. He had upstairs, he would assure her, an excellent dress suit for which he had paid a high price, and if it would be any satisfaction to the company his secretary would bring it down and display it. But one has to be a Professor Fawcett to carry off such an idiosyncrasy as this. At many dinner parties the guests have been asked as much on account of their clothes as their wit—the man without a wedding garment in the parable apparently had no compensating distinction of intellect. A good dinner-story tells how Dean Stanley once arrived at table with one side of his collar flapping in the air. During the meal his hostess asked him if he was aware of its condition, and if he would like any assistance in rectifying it. • Oh, no,' he replied genially ; ' it broke while I was dressing. I don't mind. Do you ?' These are the men one envies.

It is a curious experience to walk, as I did recently, behind a

man dressed in one's old suit. You have a vision of yourself, or, if you will, a glimpse of your double, a reminder that you are not everybody. Being the first time I had seen the suit from the back, a vague sense of familiarity preceded recognition, and then, looking stedfastly on the very excellent cloth of the suit and its quiet pattern, I remembered how kindly and liberal a coat it was, and how easy and unconstrained all movements of limb had been in it, and how many years it still had before it, and I perceived sorrowfully that I had given away as noble a set of hartogs as man ever possessed. This proves how careful we should be in parting with cast-off suits. Thoreau affirmed that old clothes should be burnt: and, from the point of view of those who hold that attire ought to be autobiographical, this is true; for how can tweeds handed on from one man to another continue to be autobiographical ? But Thoreau's contention was a counsel of perfection—that is to say, advice for Thoreaus—and, moreover, so few persons have autobiographies that we may as well persevere in the bestowal of old clothes.

It is better, I think, to give them away than to sell them. Those that have tried to sell clothes know that not even books descend in value quite so rapidly. Five minutes' wear makes a coat secondhand, and reduces its worth by some ninety per cent. Nothing is quite so disenchanting as the offer of the dealer who looks over one's wardrobe. It is cataclysmic in its paucity. Finding a dealer should be an easy matter to the peruser of advertisements. Wardrobes purchased’ is one of the commonest lines to catch the eye, and everyone knows the ambiguous wording of the announcement: 'Mr. and Mrs. Resartus respectfully inform the public that they have left-off clothing of every description. Inspection invited.'

All old clothes, without exception, are sad, but nothing wears so sorry an air as the old fur-lined coat. A new fur-lined coat is magnificent. It is a symbol of luxury, the antithesis of the hair shirt. It is more than a garment, it is a fortification. An Englishman's fur coat, some one has said, is his castle. But when decay has set in, when it is partly bald and entirely weatherworn, then the fur coat is the wretchedest object in civilisation. It is not good even for charades; although, in its luxuriant days, how versatile it was! From time to time it had been inside out) most of the larger animals in the Zoo. Such versatility, indeed, has the fur coat that on the night of a children's party the VOL. III.- NO. 18, N.S.

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prudent father turns the key upon it. Fur-lined coats nerer become hartogs ; nor do overcoats. These, therefore, may be given away or sold without heart-flutterings; although the ordinary overcoat should not be parted with lightly. An old overcoat is a good fellow to accompany one to sea, to wear on deck on rough or rainy nights. But, strictly speaking, no overcoa: becomes a bartog.

And what, I seem to hear you ask, what are hartogs ? For the definition of this admirable word we must turn to a contributor to a recent Globe.' 'Clothes,' he wrote, “that are less imposing and more comfortable than any others are hartogs. To be old is not sufficient; nor is it enough that they are easy. To be hartogs they must combine both these merits. Good clothes when they grow baggy and faded become hartogs; bad clothes, never. Inferior and ill-fitting clothes become merely “old clo.” The derivation of hartogs is a secret ; but all philologists, and all who, like Mr. Stevenson, have a “ love of lovely words,” will recognise in the term a neologue of singular fitness and attraction. Think about it for a minute or two, and you will realise that clothes of the kind described above could not possibly be known in any other way. They are hartogs—just hartogs, and nothing else. Old clothes of the common type one thinks of without affection, but hartogs are beloved. . . . Anything is good enough to cover nakedness; hartogs do more—they confer cheerfulness and irresponsibility; they fit the wearer for a freer life. Yet it must be understood that hartogs are never absolutely disreputable, never so old that one cannot meet the vicar's wife without shame. . . . In ordinary life, however, the wearer of hartogs disdains coats and mackintoshes, except in extreme stress of weather. It is the winds and rains of heaven and the might of the sun that have made his hartogs what they are; the indoor life produces a very inferior result. Your best hartogs are stamped by the universe itself. You cling to hartogs because you love them, not because you cannot afford others;—they must not be associated with poverty. . . . Some persons mark Sunday with them. They are the garb of the wise traveller. You meet hartogs on Helvellyn and among the Langdale Pikes; you recognise them in the Black Forest and on the Gemmi; you are aware of them in the Trossachs and beneath the smooth rotundities and swelling undulations of the South Downs. Nature's bet lovers woe her in hartogs. This definition should be exhaustive

enough for any intellect; and yet a little may be added. It should be said, for instance, that few women have enough courage to achieve hartogs. The mass dare not. There are also men who dare not, and there are men whose position is against it. Bishops probably have no hartogs.

Of all hartogs the cat is the most dearly prized. One cannot feel affectionately towards a waistcoat: there is nothing lovable about a waistcoat ; but a coat becomes a friend, a brother. Men have worn coats for decades. A satisfying coat is worth its weight in platinum, because it is so rare. The waistcoat is within the compass

of any tailor, and passable trousers are to be bought where you will ; but a coat is different. Nothing is quite so disgusting as the determination of one's tailor to have his own way in the matter of the coat. You order a dozen personal touches; you stipulate for no pads in the shoulders; for a deep collar, to turn up in wet or cold ; for extra pockets inside ; for no lining in the back; for no fashionable antics in the cutting. And the tailor smiles and smiles. None the less is he a villain, for when the coat comes home it is precisely what you struggled to make certain it should not be. A tailor who will obey to the letter is more than rubies. Hence the lovableness of a truly good coat.

Hats are lovable, too. Boots, however, are merely comfortable and tolerable. No one can love old boots, no one can do more than endure them; and newly married people cannot even do that. Boots are civilisation's most conspicuous failure: they pinch, they cramp, they mar, they have every tightness but water-tightness; they are hot in summer and cold in winter ; they have no durability; they are costly. They make it almost worth while to have one's feet amputated early in life. Lord Erskine said it was comforting to remember that when the hour came for all secrets to be revealed, then, at length, we should learn why shoes are always made too tight. And yet what is to be done? To go barefooted is, after all these ages of shoe-leather, impossible, and sandals are chilly and Socialistic. Indoors, of course, there are slippers, and latterly a very excellent kind devised of felt has been obtainable. But no good work, it has been said, has ever been done in slippers, and certainly no good walking. For out-door life in this mutable England we have yet to discover the fitting boot. The quest of it is the business of a lifetime; a man may be said never to come within measurable distance of being well-shod until he has one foot in the grave. At the most,

a pair of boots can be hartogs for a year. After that they are past further mending, whereas a hat is precious for a lustrum.

While an old hat is so good a friend, a new hat is usually an enemy. Few men have come out of their hatter's satisfied with their purchase-it always seems as if a rival maker must keep better shapes. The wise man either permits his wife to choose hats for him, or he adheres continually to one shape, as the late Marquis of Ailesbury did. Among the many anecdotes told of that eccentric nobleman there is one bearing upon his emphatic taste in hats. The story shows him standing bareheaded in his hatter's, waiting for the return of the assistant who was serving him. At that moment entered a short-sighted bishop, who walked directly to the marquis, and, handing him his hat, asked if he had one like it. The hereditary legislator took the hat and subjected its rigging to careful scrutiny. “No,' he said at length, as he returned it, 'no, and I'm dashed if I'd wear it if I had.' The tall hat, unless worn at an individual angle such as that of the late Sir Robert Peel, is reticent. It tells little. The bowler is hardly more communicative. But there are other shapes which are garrulous as one can wish-the wideawake, the colonial, the squash ; these have distinct connotations and offer volumes about their wearers.

Ties almost always are trustworthy guides to personality, and with the fanciful nothing—not even unanswered letters-accumulates like them. Some men cannot resist a new tie; others keep a fresh one for every day in the year. I remember that a master at school rang the changes on his store so repeatedly that to-morrow's colour would be the subject of wagers between those boys who had anything to bet. To wear no tie is a peculiarity of lay preachers. On the other hand, a red tie allied to general negligence of attire is often a mark of aversion from church and adherence to a Fabian policy. Some men cling to one colour to the day of their death. Mr. Ruskin has in this way clung to light blue. A certain notable philologist is similarly faithful to pink, while the representative English humorist makes black bis only wear. In a shop off Piccadilly ties, quite needlessly, are called 'neckwear.'

In winter there is nothing more comfortable than hartogs; but in summer fannels supersede them. The joy of flannels is not to be translated into words ; it is one of the few secrets of man that women will never wholly comprehend. The joy of beer

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