Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Distinguishing features: gloves

In this extract from Fruit Ranching in British Columbia  (1909) by J T Bealby in Chapter XVI entitled Canadian Life and Manners: gloves play a starring role in cultural differences. (There is hope for the cardigan and hoover yet)

“In the matter of dress there is not much difference observable between England and Canada. Many of the working men in Canada habitually wear gloves, in summer and winter alike. In winter gloves are necessary because of the cold, and in summer they are almost indispensable for certain kinds of work, because of the parching quality of the atmosphere, which soon causes the skin to crack. Overalls, covering a man from the chin to the toes, are generally worn, not only by working men, but also by all sorts and conditions of men, even by a merchant in his store or warehouse.”

A few paragraphs on the following weathery (1) fashion tips:

Protection for the ears is indispensable in sharp frost, especially if the wind is keen. It is good to wear very coarse, thick woollen stockings, known as German stockings, outside the trousers, and over them coarse rubber shoes, loosely laced, or else high boots, into which the bottoms of the trousers are tucked. School children wear knitted toques, which in shape are something like the old-fashioned night-cap of our grandfathers, only they are more pointed and more ornamental. In sharp weather these can be pulled down over the ears. It is good to see a party of young Canadians with their bob-sleighs, flexible fliers, and what not, gliding down a steep incline with the speed of the wind, filling the frosty air with their crisp shoutings and their merry laughter. Their happiness is irresistible; it sweetens the heart, it beautifies life.

Before we return to the hot topic of gloves:

“Now, the wearing of gloves must not for one moment be taken as a sign of effeminacy. Whatever faults may be alleged against the Canadian character, effeminacy is the very last that anybody who has had experience of it would dream of imputing to it.”

 Then things deteriorate into even more foreboding tones (2) that I’ll save you from.

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1. at mrsokana we take all things weather related very seriously. We do not mess about with the weather. You get noticed if you pay attention to the weather. You are respected for it. We are weather vain.

2. Mr B is pretty down on the telephone.

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