Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

a

the yeare 1592: the saide John, the Sonne; being then High Shrieve of the County of Somerset.”

Imprimis, That no servant bee absent from praier, at morning or evening, without a lawfull excuse, to be alledged within one day after, upon payne to forfeit for every tyme 2d.

2. Item, That none sweare any othe, uppon paine for every othe ld.

3. Item, That no man leave any doore open, that he findeth shut, without there bee cause, upon payne for every tyme 1d.

4. “ Item, That none of the men be in bed, from our Lady-day to Michaelmas, after 6 of the clock in the morning: nor out of his bed after 10 of the clock at night; nor, from Michaelmas till our Ladyday, in bed after 7 in the morning; nor out after 9 at night, without reasonable cause, on paine of 2d.

5. “ Item, That no man's bed be unmade, nor fire or candle-box uncleane, after 8 of the clock in the morning, on paine of 1d.

6. 6 Item, That no man make water within either of the courts, upon paine of, every tyme it shalbe proved, ld.

7. Item, That no man teach any of the children any unhonest speeche, or baudie word, or othe, on paine of 4d. 8. “ Item,

“ That no man waite at the table, without a trencher in his hand, except it be uppon some good cause, on paine of 1d.

9. Item, That no man appointed to waite at my table, be absent that meale, without reasonable cause, on paine of ld.

10. Item, If any man breake a glasse, hee shall answer the price thereof out of his wages ; and, if it bee not known who breake it, the buttler shall pay for it, on paine of 12d.

11. “ Item, The table must bee covered halfe an hour before 11 at dinner, and 6 at supper, or before, on paine of 2d.

12. Item, That meate bee readie at 11, or before, at dinner; and 6, or before, at supper, on paine of 6d.

13. Item, That none be absent, without leave or good cause, the whole day, or any part of it, on paine of 4d.

is singular,” remarks Dr. Nott, alluding to the gen at this period, “ when the introduction of this r so engaged the pen of almost every, cotempora pamphleteer, nay, even of royalty itself, that Sh been totally silent upon it.” *

The residue of the Domestic Economy of thi under the articles of servants and miscellan ments.

In the days of Elizabeth servants were n sidered as a more essential mark of gentilit period, The English,” observes Hentz liking to be followed wherever they go 1 who wear their master's arms in silver, f They were, also, usually distinguished enquiring for his master's servants, < Joseph, Nicholas, Philip, Walter, Su heads be sleekly combed, their blu however, from Fynes Moryson, that went out of fashion in the reign o of gentlemen,he informs uș,

ut their master's badge of silver on commonly weare clokes garded

istant family wearing the same livery f

cre, and, The very strict regulations

personage, the sixteenth century, and t?

'rtainment of household of the upper clas

i in the tavern very satisfactory and enter Household Servantes; first

't'n copied from the 1566, and renewed by, Joli

with an inexhaustible poet; yet, perhaps, we

1) faithful picture of the Reprint of Decker + Travels, 8vo. p. 1 ġ Itinerary, 1617. !

66

W

[ocr errors]

*

15--108.

66

a

a

manners of this once indispensable source of domestic pleasantry, than what has been given us by Dr. Lodge:-“ This fellow,” says he, “ in person is comely, in apparell courtly, but in behaviour a very ape, and no man; his studie is to coine bitter jeasts, or to shew antique motions, or to sing baudie sonnets and ballads: give him a little wine in his head, he is continually fearing and making of mouthes : he laughs intemperately at every little occasion, and dances about the house, leaps over tables, out-skips mens heads, trips up his companion's heeles, burns sack with a candle, and hath all the feats of a lord of misrule in the countrie: feed him in his humor, you shall have his heart, in meere kindnesse he will hug you in his armes, kisse you on the cheeke, and rapping out an horrible oth, crie God's soule Tum I love you, you know my poore heart, come to my chamber for

I a pipe of tabacco, there lives not a man in this world that I more honour. In these ceremonies you shall know his courting, and it is a speciall mark of him at the table, he sits and makes faces.” *

On the passages in this quotation distinguished by Italics, it will be necessary to offer a brief comment. From Shakspeare we learn that the apparel of the domestic fool was of two kinds; he had either a parti-coloured coat fastened round the body by a girdle, with close breeches, and hose on each leg of different colours; or he wore a long petticoat dyed with curious tints, and fringed with yellow. With both dresses was generally connected a hood, covering the whole head, falling over part of the breast and shoulders, and surmounted with asses ears, or a cocks-comb. Bells and a bauble were the usual insignia of the character; the former either attached to the elbows,

a

* Wit's Miserie and the World's Madnesse, 4to. 1599. So necessary was a fool to the monarch and his courtiers, that Armin, in his Nest of Ninnies, 1to. 1608, describing Will Sommers, Henry the Eighth's fool, says,

- In all the Court
Few men were more belov’d than was this Foole,
Whose merry prate kept with the king much rule.
When he was sad, the King and he would rime:
Thus till exiled sadnesse many a time.”

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

a custom which it is astonishing the delicacy and refinement of modern manners have not generally adopted.

As our ancestors, during the greater part of the period we are considering, possessed not the conveniency of eating with forks, and were, therefore, compelled to make use of their fingers, it became an essential point of good manners, to wash the hands immediately before dinner and supper, as well as afterwards : thus Petruchio, on the entrance of his servants with supper, says, addressing his wife,

6 Come, Kate, and wash, and welcome heartily.”

In the fifteenth item of Harrington's Orders, we find that no man was allowed to come to the kitchen without reasonable cause, an injunction which may appear extraordinary; but, in those days, it was customary, in order to prevent the cook being disturbed in his important duties, to keep the rest of the men aloof, and, when dinner was ready, he summoned them to carry it on the table, by knocking loudly on the dresser with his knife: thus in Massinger's Unnatural Combat, Beaufort's steward says,

“ When the dresser, the cook's drum, thunders, Come on,

The service will be lost else;" +

a practice which gave rise to the phraseology, he knocks to the dresser,

, or, he warns to the dresser, as synonymous with the annunciation that, 66 dinner is ready."

It was usual, also, especially where the domestic fool was retained, to keep an ape or a monkey, as a companion for him, and he is frequently represented with this animal on his shoulders. Monkeys, likewise, appear to have been an indispensable part of a lady's estáblishment, and, accordingly, Ben Jonson, in his Cynthia's Revels,

* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ix. p. 133. + Gifford's Massinger, vol. i. p. 166.; and Dodsley's Old Plays, by Reed, vol. xii.

P. 430,

« PreviousContinue »