Request for Enlightenment

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Unfortunately with my present obligations reading goes very slowly, so I'm still maundering through Georgette Heyer's delightfully literate Regency Romance Powder and Patch. However, I've stumbled on something that I can't seem to google my way out of and so I ask for my reader's help.

What, pray tell, does it mean when one has "gold-clocked stockings." For the longest time I thought it meant stocking with gold pocket-watches embroidered on them. But that doesn't seem to make sense because they come in all varieties-pink gold-clocked stockings, red gold-clocked stockings. Have I misinterpreted the meaning?

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Clocks were ornamental designs knit into or embroidered onto hose, usually on the sides of the ankle.

They were not shaped like clocks, but may have originally been shaped like bells (related to Fr. cloche, as is the English cloak).

There are some examples of patterns here:

Ask and you shall receive. I know that old fashioned stockings had "clocks" in them as old mysteries always had girls adjusting their stockings so that the clocks were in the right place. Now you have prompted me to see what they actually looked like.

As a bonus the article the article tells us:"It was noted that on February 8, 1586, Mary, Queen of Scots, wore a white pair of Jersey hose covered by a pair of sea-blue socks with silver clocks."

Talmida and Julie,

Sincere thank to both of you for elucidation.



Which reminds me of the Edward Gorey limerick:

As the breeches-buoy swung towards the rocks,
Its occupant cried, "Save my socks!
I could not bear their loss,
For with scarlet silk floss
My mama has embroidered their clocks."

You learn something new every day! A longtime Heyer fan, I've read about clocked stockings many times but never paused to look it up.

Thanks, Steven, for asking the question and Julie and Talmida for the answers. A curiosity I didn't even know I had has been satisfied.

Dear Bob and Melanie,

Thank you very kindly for stopping by and commenting. Very much enjoyed the Limerick.




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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 21, 2007 7:57 AM.

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