When didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman's farthingale?
By the Lord, thou art a tyrant to say so; thou wouldst make an absolute courtier, and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait in a semi-circled farthingale.
I showed them her Majesty's picture' (doubtless in ruff, farthingale, and stomacher laden with jewels), 'which they so admired and honoured, as it had been easy to make them idolatrous thereof.'
Her ruff was vast, her farthingale vaster; and her train, which was very long, was borne by a marchioness who made more ado about it than Elizabeth did of ruling her realm.
My great-grandmother couldn't do a bit with her; she turned the house topsy-turvy, cut the noses out of the old portraits, and chewed the jewels out of the settings, killed the little home animals, spoiled the dinners, pranced in the garden with Madam Willoughby's farthingale and royal stiff brocades rustling yards behind,--this atom of a shrimp,--or balanced herself with her heels in the air over the curb of the well, scraped up the dead leaves under one corner of the house and fired them,--a favorite occupation,--and if you left her stirring a mess in the kitchen, you met her, perhaps, perched in the china-closet and mumbling all manner of demoniacal prayers, twisting and writhing and screaming over a string of amber gods that she had brought with her and always wore.
Now long tails and trains, and then short, up, down, high, low, thick, thin, &c.; now little or no bands, then as big as cart wheels; now loose bodies, then great farthingales and close girt, &c. Why is all this, but with the whore in the Proverbs, to intoxicate some or other?
And now, my honey love, Will we return unto thy father's house And revel it as bravely as the best, With silken coats and caps, and golden rings, With ruffs and cuffs and farthingales and things, With scarfs and fans and double change of brav'ry.
The age had not so much refinement, that any sense of impropriety kept the wearers of petticoats and farthingales from elbowing their way through the densest throngs to witness the executions.
Farthingale, for example, who prefers the ideal in fiction; to whom tragedy means ermine tippets, adultery and murder; and comedy, the adventures of some personage who is quite a "character."
As souvenirs of the white-wigged personages and ladies of voluminous farthingales who had passed through this palace, there were still some classic busts on the landing places, a hand-wrought iron railing, and various huge lanterns of dull gold and blurred glass.
That fits as well as 'Tell me, good my lord, What compass will you wear your farthingale.'
Others would throw over their shoulders damask counterpanes of priceless old brocade, peasant skirts with great flowers of gold, farthingales of richly woven texture that crackled like paper.
By my faith, that spoils all the former, for these farthingales take up all the room now-a-days; 'tis not a woman, questionless.
The other boys were cast for women's parts, for women never acted then; and a queer sight it was to Nick to see his fellows in great farthingales of taffeta and starchy cambric that rustled as they walked, with popinjay blue ribbon in their hair, and flowered stomachers sparkling with paste jewels.