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For these pur
or the skirt of the coat, and the latter, consisting of a stick, decorated at one end with a carved fool's head, and having at the other an infiatod bladder, an instrument either of sport or defence.
Bitter jests, provided they were so dressed up, or so connected with adjunctive circumstances, as to raise a laugh, were at all times allowed; but it was moreover expected, that their keenness or bitternes should be also allayed by a due degree of obliquity in the mode of attack, by a careless, and, apparently, undesigning manner of delivery, and by a playful and frolic demeanour. poses, fragments of sonnets and ballads were usually chosen by the foot, as a safe medium through which the necessary degree of concealment might be given, and the edge of his sarcasm duely abated ; a practice of which Shakspeare has afforded us many instances, and especially in his Fool in King Lear, whose scraps of old songs fully exemplify the aim and scope of this favourite of our ancestors. *
A few household arrangements, in addition to those developed in Sir John Harrington's orders, shall terminate this branch of our subject.
We have seen, when treating of the domestic economy of the country squire, that it was usual to take their banquet or dessert, in an arbour of the garden or orchard ; and in town, the nobility and gentry, immediately after dinner and supper, adjourned to another room, for the
purpose of enjoying their wine and fruit; this practice is alluded to by Shakspeare, in Romeo and Juliet t; and Beaufort, in the Unnatural Combat of Massinger, says :
66 We'll dine in the great room, but let the musick
And banquet be prepared here;"
* We must here observe, that the Baron of Brandwardine's Fool, in Waverley, is an admirable copy of the character, as drawn by Shakspeare; and, as the work seems a faithful picture of existing manners in 1745, is a striking proof of the retention of this curious personage, until a recent period.
+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xx. p. 72.
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;" +
practice which gave rise to the phraseology, he knocks to the dresser, or, he warns to the dresser', as synonymous with the annunciation that, “ 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.
represents one of his characters as asserting, “ the gentleman (I'll undertake with him) is a man of fair living, and able to maintain a lady in her two caroches a day, besides pages, monkeys, parachitoes, with such attendants as she shall think meet for her turn.”
Beside monkeys and parachitoes, this quotation also caroches, a species of coach, were common in 1600, when Jonson's play was first acted. The coach and caroch, vehicles differing probably rather in size than form, are thus distinguished by Green, who in his Tu Quoque, 1641, speaks of
“ the keeping of a coach For country, and carech for London;" +
and, indeed, in 1595, they seem to have been equally general, for the author of Quippes for upstart newfangled Gentlewemen, says :
« Our wantons now in coaches dash
From house to house, from street to street.” I
The era of their introduction into this country has been recorded by Taylor, the water-poet.
« In the year 1564,” he remarks, “ one William Boonen, a Dutchman, brought first the use of coaches hither, and the said Boonen was Queene Elizabeth's coachman ; for indeede a coach was a strange monster in those days, and the sight of it put both horse and man into amazement: some said it was a great crab shell brought out of China, and some imagined it to be one of the Pagan Temples, in which the Cannibals adored the divell ; but at last those doubts were cleared, and coach-making became a substantial trade.”
So substantial, indeed, had this trade become in 1601, that on the 7th of November of the same year, an act was introduced into the House of Lords, “ to restrain the excessive and superfluous use of
+ Ancient British Drama, vol. ii. p. 546. col. 1. Restituta, vol. iii. p. 258. The Works of Taylor, the Water Poel, 1630. p. 240
coaches, within this realm *;" it was rejected, however, on the second reading, and the trade of coach-making went on progressively increasing
The extravagancy of domestic economy, with regard to these machines, and the servants who were deemed necessary, as their accompaniment, is strikingly depicted in the following extract from a letter written shortly after their marriage, by Lady Compton, to her husband, William Lord Compton, a few years subsequent to the death of Shakspeare. After several items equally moderate with those we are going to transcribe, she thus proceeds :-“ Alsoe, I will have 6 or 8 gentlemen ; and I will have my twoe coaches, one lyned with velvett to myselfe, wth 4 very fayre horses, and a coache for my woemen, lyned wth sweete cloth, one laced wth gold, the other w" scarlett, and laced with watched lace and silver, wil 4 good horses. Alsoe, I will have twoe coachmen, one for my owne coache, the other for my women.
. Alsoe, att any tyme when I travayle, I will be allowed not only carroches, and spare horses for me and my women, but I will have such carryadgs, as shal be fittinge for all orderly ; not pestringe my things wth my woemens, nor theirs wth either chambermayds, or theirs wh wase maids. Alsoe, for laundresses, when I travayle I will have them sent away before wh the carryadgs to see all safe, and the chambermayds I will have goe before wth the groomes, that a chamber may be ready, sweete and cleane. Alsoe, for that yt is indecent to croud upp myself wh my gentl. usher in my coache, I will have him to have a convenyent horse to attend me either in citty or country. And I must have 2 footemen. And my desire is, that you defray, all the chardges for me. +
Of the MANNERS and Customs of this period, the next branch of our present enquiry, we shall open a short review, by sketching the prominent features of Elizabeth's personal character, which must,
# Vide Lords' Journals, vol.ii. p. 229.
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