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one another a good box on the eare, if he pull not his head away quickly." Selden in his Table talk, speaking of witches, says, "If any should profess that by turning his hat thrice, and crying buz, he could take away a man's life, (though in truth he could do no such thing) yet this were a just law made by the state, that whosoever should turn his hat thrice, and cry buz, with an intention to take away a man's life, shall be put to death." The expression has already exercised the skill of the critics, and may continue to do so, if they are disposed to pursue the game through the following mazes: "Anno DCCCXL Ludovicus imperator ad mortem infirmatur, cujus cibus per XL dies solummodo die dominica dominicum corpus fecit. Cum vidisset dæmonem astare, dixit buez, buez, quod significat foras, foras." Alberici monachi trium fontium chronicon, Leips. 1698. Ducange under the article Buzi, says, "Interpretatur despectus vel contemptus. Papias. [Ab Hebraico Bus vel bouz, sprevit.]"
Sc. 2. p. 135.
HAM. Your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine.
In Raymond's Voyage through Italy, 1648,
12mo, a work which is said to have been partly written by Dr. Bargrave, prebendary of Canterbury, the following curious account of the chopine occurs. "This place [Venice] is much frequented by the walking may poles, I meane the women. They weare their coats halfe too long for their bodies, being mounted on their chippeens, (which are as high as a man's leg) they walke between two handmaids, majestickly deliberating of every step they take. This fashion was invented and appropriated to the noble Venetians wives, to bee constant to distinguish them from the courtesans, who goe covered in a vaile of white taffety.”
James Howell, speaking of the Venetian women, says, "They are low and of small statures for the most part, which makes them to rayse their bodies upon high shoes called chapins, which gave one occasion to say that the Venetian ladies were made of three things, one part of them was wood, meaning their chapins, another part was their apparrell, and the third part was a woman; The Senat hath often endeavour'd to take away the wearing of those high shooes, but all women are so passionately delighted with this kind of state that no law can weane them from it."
Some have supposed that the jealousy of Italian husbands gave rise to the invention of the chopine.
Limojon de Saint Didier, a lively French writer on the republic of Venice, mentions a conversation with some of the doge's counsellors of state on this subject, in which it was remarked that smaller shoes would certainly be found more convenient; which induced one of the counsellors to say, putting on at the same time a very austere look, pur troppo commodi, pur troppo. The first ladies who rejected the use of the chopine were the daughters of the Doge Dominico Contareno, about the year 1670. It was impossible to set one foot before the other without leaning on the shoulders of two waiting women, and those who used them must have stalked along like boys in stilts.
The choppine or some kind of high shoe was occasionally used in England. Bulwer in his Artificial changeling, p. 550, complains of this fashion as a monstrous affectation, and says that his country women therein imitated the Venetian and Persian ladies. In Sandys's travels, 1615, there is a figure of a Turkish lady with chopines; and it is not improbable that the Venetians might have borrowed them from the Greek islands in the Archipelago. We know that something similar was in use among the ancient Greeks. Xenophon in his œconomics, introduces the wife
of Ischomachus, as having high shoes for the purpose of increasing her stature. They are still worn by the women in many parts of Turkey, but more particularly at Aleppo. As the figure of an object is often better than twenty pages of description, one is here given from a real Venetian chopine.
Sc. 2. p. 135.
HAM. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring.
It is to be observed, that there was a ring or circle on the coin, within which the sovereign's head was placed; if the crack extended from the edge beyond this ring, the coin was rendered unfit for currency. Such pieces were hoarded by the usurers of the time, and lent out as lawful money. Of this we are informed by Roger Fenton in his Treatise of usury, 1611, 4to, p. 23. "A poore man desireth a goldsmith to lend him such a summe, but he is not able to pay him interest. If such as I can spare (saith the goldsmith) will pleasure you, you shall have it for three or foure moneths. Now, hee hath a number of light, clipt, crackt peeces (for such he useth to take in change with consideration for their defects:) this summe of money is repaid by the poore man at the time appointed in good and lawful money. This is usurie." And again, "It is a common custome of his [the usurer's] to buy up crackt angels at nine shillings the piece. Now sir, if a gentleman (on good assurance) request him of mony, Good sir (saith hee,