Monday, December 5

A metafiction.

She's not wearing a wimple today; it's too hot.

(You do know what a wimple is, don't you? A little before Shakespeare, women wore coverings on their hair and neck; veils, mostly, sometimes hats, and wimples. In any case, despite the Renaissance pictures of women with loosed hair flitting about forests, most women wore their hair up and covered. We say nowadays that it was for modesty--that explains, to some, the seemingly excessive coverings. I'm inclined to think, for myself, that it was for warmth--most of the places they were worn was in cold climates--and that when working, one of the worst problems to come up against is messy hair so a wimple was only practical, but it cannot be denied that even today, the "faint half-flush that dies along the throat" which Browning's duke found so mesmerizing is still captured in cosmetics and film quite a lot.)

She is wearing a veil, though--she wears a rectangular veil and not an oval one because someone once told her that round veils are dressy, and fashionable--that may have been the fashion of twenty years ago, but she still holds to the idea that she wishes to look a tad austere. So she wears a rectangular veil, unsupported by wires or wicker frames and a little on the long side, in the back.

Without a wimple, the world is much cooler (even if the ornery contraption was only linen), especially the kitchen, where she is kneading dough. Her hands are covered in flour, and the sleeves of her linen underdress are pushed up past her elbows right before the line of her overdress (scandalously short-sleeved) and tied with the trim that should have been holding up her stockings--she's taken her stockings off and stowed them in a corner with her shoes, planning to bathe her bare feet in the stream later in the afternoon, so nobody will be the wiser (or the warmer).

A lute player and a man with the short drum are sitting by the window that looks out on the sea--they're picking out a tune and arguing over the beat. The drummer would have the song go faster than they've been practicing but the lute-player is insisting that he will not have the dancers hopping about the floor like crickets in velvet. This is because the drummer is a country man and used to the livelier dances of village folk--friends among friends having fun, not stately strangers of stiff manners that must be politic.

The cook is paying no attention, but she likes to have music while she works, so she's rented them the window as long as they will watch the chiches (chickpeas) roasting near the fire. They've already let about four servings burn.

1 comment:

anna. said...

i loved this entry. too, too awesome.

especially the crickets in velvet bit.

and even more especially the whole entry 'cause it was just awesome.

awesome like you.

and i want some of that bread, yo...