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Antiquity of Gloves.

From the Boot and Shoe Afakcr. As Xenophon, in his “ Cyropmdia,” nientionsthat on onooccasion Cyprus went without his gloves, there arc good grounds for believing that the ancient Persians were not ignorant of their use, and it is known that both Greeks and Romans sometimes wore them. The period when gloves were first used in England, however, is likely to be of more interest to our readers, and this could not have been much before the time of Ethelred 11., when five pairs made a considerable part of the duty paid by some German merchants to that king for the protection of their trade. In the reign of Richard and John gloves were worn by the higher classes, sometimes short and sometimes to the elbow, jewelled on the backs and embroidered at the tops. Our ancestors closely connected gloves with chivalry, both in love and war ; and the custom of throwing down the glove was equivalent to a challenge, the person defied signifying his acceptance of it by taking up his opponent’s glove and throwing down his own. Biting the gloves meant, on the Border, a pledge of mortal revnege, and a story is told of a gentleman of Teviotdale who, after a hard drinking bout, observing in the morning that he had bitten his glove, inquired with whom he had quarrelled, amt finding that he had had words with one of his companions, insisted on satisfaction, saying that although he remembered nothing of the dispute, he would never have bitten his glove unless he had received unpardonable insult. He fell in the duel, which was fought near Selkirk. The following lines from “ Marmiou” show that the sending of a glove by a lady to her knight was a token of love, and a command to do her bidding— For the fair Queen of Fiance Sent him a turquoise ring and glove. And charged him, as her knight and love, For her to break a lance. In these practical days our chivalry has quite died out, and gloves are now for the most part merely regarded as a covering for the hands. One important use made of them in modern society is in the form of bets between the two sexes on such occasions as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, Royal Ascot, and other races. There is yet one old custom connected with gloves which has lived down to our times, but is seldom called into practice. I allude to “gloves in law.” At an assize, when no prisoners are to bo tried, the sheriff presents the judge with a pair of white gloves, and this custom is also r observed in Scotland.

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Antiquity of Gloves. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 10, 18 October 1879

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