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ACCOUTREMENTS. 29. We shall begin this chapter on socks, shoes, and such like, by making another quotation from “ the Art," &c. “I shall close this chapter with a few hints to those who may chuse, during the summer season, to amuse themselves with pedestrian excursions over Wales, the Lakes at home, or the mountains and lakes of Swito zerland, and northern Italy. Let them be careful to have stockings, or socks with woollen feet, with a reference to which their shoes should be made so as to fit well, but not tightly, allowing for the natural swelling of their own feet, consequent upon exercise. If they are troubled with corns, this caution is the more necessary. Swelled feet produce pressure. But the shoes must not be wide, for there the increased friction will always produce blisters. These will, indeed, sometimes arise in spite of precaution; the best way of treating them is, to open them with a needle, and dipping them in warm water until the extravasated liquid is completely expressed by a gentle and judicious application of the finger. With these precautions, added to what has been already said, a person, even with tender feet may walk over Europe !" The author adds, “ To him who is in high health, precaution may appear unnecessary; but, in the hour of suffering, his pain will not be lessened by a vain regret at having neglected a course of practice which habit would have speedily rendered easy and agreeable.” This speaks for itself, as to the value affixed by that author to precautionary plans. Next to the case of the feet comes their immediate clothing.
30. Stockings or socks, with reference to which we cannot do better than employ Col. Shaw's own language of caution and direction : “ As to the choice of stockings the greatest care must be taken in the choice, as such as are generally sold in shops, are sure to cause blisters both at heel and toe. If you examine the ordinary qualities of stockings in shops, you will find that the threads are drawn together to a point in the middle of the heel, and about the ball of the big toe. Avoid such stockings, as they are sure to cause misery. The stockings made by old women on wires are the best, and the finer the wool the better. Of these there should be four pairs; and if a stocking be put over each shoe, (the outside innermost,) they will not take much room, and will, at the same time, prevent the shoes from soiling the other things in the knapsack.”
The Colonel speaks of stockings, and perhaps, altogether they are preferable to socks for military marches, and prolonged walking, even in the night occasionally, or at least over boggy and swampy countries, without having any option, it may be, as to stopping for wet or night dews: however, as a general rule, the pedestrian will not be equal to, or disposed to push, his half pleasure, half-duty exercise to so forced a pitch; and therefore, from our own experience we are disposed to recommend the adoption rather, if in health, of
3). Socks, for several reasons: they are more portable from their smaller bulk, and admit of being changed with far more facility at all times, even in the midst of the walk, in case any cause should exist. An incipient blister may sometimes be put back, or at least rendered more comfortable, if developing under the shoe pressurefor a change of sock may vary in some degree that friction-pressure. Again, they are free from the necessity of being kept up by any thing of garter-fashion
which is not a trifling advantage-for garters are not either so uniformly applicable, or so evenly tightened as to ensure the same pressure always. Further, if even this were a condition attended to more than it is or ever will be generally, yet still frequently the material of which they are composed is too inelastic in its nature to accommodate itself unprejudicially to the increasing size of the leg : for by continued exercise the muscles are more largely supplied with blood to keep up their contractility, and hence, are not only more voluminous during muscular effort than when at rest, but also if this is habitually taking place, their size is permanently and proportionably increased, as every one must have observed who has ever gone to practice unusual muscular motions, as horseback exercise, the gymnastic recreations, &c.; or after being invalided taking to walking again, how rapidly the flesh increases--really the muscles—for the skin does not vary much, nor is the fat apt to increase on exercise, but the contrary. Head-aches, swelled feet and ancles, frequently are the effect of gartering. People may wear garters and never be troubled this way ; but it is a fact, nevertheless, that in many instances such is more or less the case, all tight encircling of any part of the body being injurious by impeding the circulation there. Let those who are sceptical only try it; those who have no perception to see the force of this statement touching not only this present instance but all other tight cinctures round their body, are welcome to retain their prestige for this order of the garter,' and with it to reap the fruits above named of what we cannot help considering rather a badge of the slavery of dress, than of utility, at least, to the male sex.
32, All pedestrians bear testimony to the superiority of wool as a material for stockings or socks; and every medical or other practical writer dwells upon this, both
on the scores of health and protection for the feet, whereby, too, the greatest amount of comfort is obtained. There is accordingly no further need to discuss this point -cotton and silk being too inelastic-and having little power for absorbing and retaining the moisture exuded from the feet. Those who suffer from cold feet frequently associated with indigestion, would do well to heed this point at all times; such should never wear their cotton or silk alone, but even when at home amidst the refinements of the drawing-room and lightly dressed in general, they should, as to the feet, if wearing silk stockings, also use cotton or gauze socks underneath the silk, this latter being too meagre a protection to the feet, and being moreover unpleasant to the feel. By this plan the dyspeptic even will not be transgressing the hygiennic code. Dr. Mackintosh, a late eminent physician, has even stated it as his opinion, gathered from experience, that thin cotton or silk socks, worn under the woollen where the feet have a tendency to perspire much, are warmer than woollen alone. Silk with cotton will keep the feet warm, but they are more expensive wear and are harder than woollen.* Be this as it may for ordinary sedentarious habits, yet besides the difference of expense, there are, setting relative warmth aside, other reasons regarding the dryness or moisture of the skin of the foot, which will give the preference always to the woollen, as any one will soon find who tries the two methods : blisters will soon warı him, after a prolonged walking exercise, which will suit him best. The pedestrian cannot do better than look out for a very soft lambs-wool sock, and store himself with the number Col. Shaw mentions. There is a kind now much in use by sportsmen of the fowling-piece or rod-and they are good judges ;-they
are very soft and easy, and at first their appearance is rather formidable to our modern Wellington-booted dandy-being thick and clumsy-looking: in this lies their very excellence. They are knit in Scotland by old women, and from their style of pattern, are known by the name of the “ midge socks ;'' they are more expen. sive, to buy at first than the machine-made ones, but this is nothing in the scale of comfort, and not worth alluding to here, only it is mentioned that parties inquiring may have a guess as to whether they are getting the right sort or not. The real ones always fetch their prices which prove the extent of the demand. We have been in the habit of wearing them constantly now for two winters, only substituting them for angola or merino, in the very hot weather; and having been subject to habitually cold feet, we can state honestly that they are the best socks we ever had, and that they do keep the feet as warm as can be, considering the varying nature of our climate and other circumstances, producing chills of the whole body, in which all parts partake. Wherefore, in order to celebrate as far as we can their justly merited praise, we have endeavoured to canonize the old women who knit them by representing them hard at their benevolent work, surmounting all our other emblems in the frontispiece to this little manual ; thereby commending them in their work most strongly to those readers who value our advice in these matters. The merino are a mixture of cotton with woollen, and come next in order of merit.
33. Shoes and boots deserve no little atcention amongst the list of preparations, accordingly we shall proceed to make known all that we know which is worth knowing or unlearning thereupon, first giving the reader the benefit of what has been said by our former and any other authorities. The Colonel opens his remarks on pedestrian