On Shoemakers

There is fault inough in them [Shoemakers] also. For whereas the others inhanse the price of their hides excessively, these felowes racke it very unconscionably. And yet if the shooes were good, though deere, it were somwhat tollerable; but when they shall be both naught, and yet deere too, it is too bad, and abhominable. Now if you ask the shoomakers in whom the fault doth consist, they will answere you strait, in the tanner. But this is certaine, that as there is a horrible fault in the tanner, so there is more, or as much in the shoomaker. For first of all the shoomaker liquoreth his leather, with waterish liquor, kit-then stuff, and all kinde of baggage mingled togither. And as though that were not ill inough, they saie they use to put salt in the liquor, wherewithall they grease the leather of purpose, to the end that the leather shal never hold out water. And trulie it is very likelie they do so, or some such like thing, for surelie almost none of their leather will holde out water, nor scarselie durt neither. Besides this, it is a worlde to see how lowsely they shall be sowed, with hotte alles, and burning threedes, everie stitch an inch or two from another, so as within two or three daies you shall have them seamerent and all to betorn. And yet as though this were not ill inoughe, they adde more. Sometimes they will sell you calves leather for cow leather, horse hides for oxe hides, and truelie I think rotten sheepe skins for good substantial and dureable stuffe. And yet shall a man pay for these as well as for better stuffe. And to the ende they may seeme gaudie to the eie, they must be stitched finelie, pincked, cutte, karved, rased, nickt, and I cannot tell what. And good reason, for else would they never be sold. The inwarde soole of the shooe commonlie shall be no better than a cattes skinne, the heeles of the shooes shall be little better. And if the sooles be not (as they be indeede) yet must they be underlaied with other peeces of leather, to make them seeme thicke and excellent stuffe, whereas indeede they are nothing lesse. And to make the sools stiffe, and harde, they must be parched before the fire, and then they are the most excellent sooles, And such as will never be worne, no, I think not in halfe a coopple of daies, which is a woonderfull thing.
But now five or sixe paire, half a score, yea, twentie paire of shooes will scarcely serve some a yeere, such excellent stuff are they made of.

Citation Type  Prose
Citation Year 1583