1880: The Wearing of the Green


The great Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell detested the color green:

One of his most remarkable superstitions was his aversion to the color green, although it was the national color for Ireland. Accordingly he never wore a coat or a tie that had the slightest tinge of green in its material and steadily refused to use the fine traveling rug which was presented to him. He carried to strange limits this dislike of the color green in any shape or form. Once he wrote home to one of his sisters—I believe, Mrs. Dickinson—who had told him that she had just had his room at Avondale repapered, saying, “I hope you have not had my room done in green, as, if so, I shall never use it.” Another time a lady, whom he knew well, called to see him at the House of Commons. He came along the corridor to the lobby, where she was waiting, and had already stretched out his hand in welcome, when he suddenly put it behind his back, and said, with a mixture of horror and disgust, “Excuse my asking, but what is the color of the dress you are wearing?” The lady, who did not know Charles’s idiosyncrasy in that direction, replied, quite innocently, “Why, Mr. Parnell, are you color-blind? Of course, it is green.” Charley replied, “In that case, I am afraid that I must ask you to excuse my shaking hands with you.” He made a few curt remarks with an obviously uneasy manner and, then pleading excuse, hurried away, leaving the lady very much puzzled and some-what offended at his strange manner, the reason for which was afterwards explained to her.          —John H. Parnell

—Charles Shriner: Wit, Wisdom and Foibles of the Great (1918)

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