Les Costumes François, Plate 1

THE LORD AND LADY OF COURT

One qualifies with the name of Lord persons of high birth, or those who have received the highest dignities of the state; ordinarily they are decorated with the Order of their Sovereign; it only behooves them to be very up-to-date in their dress; the red heels that they wear are the mark of their nobility and announce that they are always ready to tread on the enemies of the State. It is necessary to distinguish from the Lord the rich and foppish man who by external deception seeks to surprise people always dazzled by the eclat of a magnificent coat without ceasing one sees him creep near people in place to obtain some mark of distinction; there are no flexibilities and intrigues that he will not suggest to obtain his ends and he well knows how to avenge himself on his Vassals from the mortifications he receives.

One hears by Lady of court a Woman of high consideration, attached to the Queen or to some Princess: she is always obliged to appear with the most brilliant éclat in the richest fabrics, Gold, precious stones, the most elegant Equipages are of her appanage. She is easily distinguished by her air, these Coquettes who copy her and even surpass her sometimes, the Coiffure of these latter women varies to excess, sometimes it is high, sometimes it is low: today in front, tomorrow in back; one sees constructed on their heads gardens with flowers and fruits; plumes, symbol of lightness, are not spared at all in these latter times, there can be no better choice to express their true characters; finally their toilette is a true study, one could make a rather thick Dictionary of words employed to designate each thing which is used in their parures.

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