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REVERSING SHOES.

one of these hobbies. The artist has exerted himself to show not only the shoes and nails, but in some of his illustrations he has even made manifest the latter in their passage through the hoof. The calkins and nailheads are certainly very massive and clumsy-looking, though there can be no doubt they would afford a powerful hold of the ground. The presence of calkins had, besides, another advantage for those who were inclined to resort to a stratagem like that already described when speaking of Spain. When Robert Bruce returned to London with King Edward in 1302 (some accounts say 1305), his associate, Cumyn, treacherously betrayed him; but a secret friend gave him due notice of his danger by a present of a purse and a pair of spurs. This hint the Scottish champion was shrewd enough to understand, and made his escape, as Hollingshed[1] tells us, by ‘causing a smith to shoo three horses for him, contrarilie with the calking[2] forward, that it should not be perceived which waie he had taken by the track of the horsses, for that the ground at that time was covered with snowe, he (Robert Bruce) departed out of London about midnight.’

Lest we forget to remember at the proper moment, it may be here stated, that a similar ruse was adopted by Duke Christopher of Würtemburg in 1530. When that nobleman fortunately freed himself by flight from the power of the Emperor Charles V., he reversed the position of his horse's shoes, and thus made his pursuers believe he was going in a contrary direction.

  1. Historie of Scotland. Year 1302.
  2. The word calkin or calking would appear to be derived from the Latin calyx, the heel, or calcare, to tread.

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