Then the author, having said that, goes on:
we have the happiness to live in so enlightened an age, that everything is now reduced to a system Machiavel on Government, the ingenious Mr. Savigny on the use of the Razor.
and proceeds to quote the Monk FitzStephens who, in Henry II s time wrote the description of skating and racing beneath the North Wall of the city of London, of which I gave an extract earlier.
they run against one another, as it were at tilt with their skates not without some hurt to their bodies by reason of the violent motion, are carried a good distance from one another. dont touch their heads and rubs off the skin and lays it bare and falls on leg or arm which is usually broken.
All this sounds very much like a modern ice hockey match. Having explained that most sports of the period are for the male sex only, Jones proceeds to show that fashion has decreed that skating may also be indulged in by the ladies in a tete-à-tete with an acquaintance, without provoking the jealousy of her husband.
How different the position of women in Germany, for example. In that country a woman was stoned to death for venturing to skate (that was as late as 1851), and it was not until 1891 that any kind of skating competition was possible for women, so immodest, nay indecent, was it considered.
Several famous women, however, openly flaunted this stupid ban, including Lola Montez, the dancer and mistress of Ludwig of Bavaria.
But it is from the text and the instructional section of the work that we may get some definite idea of the quality of skating in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Having dealt at some length on the correct method of fixing the skates: a five eights of an inch screw in the heel of the boot a toe strap hole and a strap round the boot to preserve the strength of the heel peg. And then concerning the blades, we read:
I have said nothing on those skates that are grooved, commonly called fluted skates, because their construction is so bad, they are not fit to be used. So much for the hollow ground blade of the period.