Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

friend;

** The halls of the justice of peace, below the cornice hangs a row of leathobserves honest Aubrey,” were dread-ern jerkins, inade in the form of a shirt, ful to behold. The skreen was gar- supposed to have been wom as armour nished with corslets and helinets, gap by the vassals. A large oak-table, reaching with open mouths, with coats of ing nearly from one end of the room mail

, launces, pikes, halberts, brown to the other, might have feasted the bills, bucklers."

whole neighbourhood, and an appendThe following admirable description age to one end of it made it answer at of an old English hall, which süill re- other times for the old game of shufilemains as it existed in the days of board. The rest of the furniture is in Elizabeth, is taken from the notes to a suitable style, particularly an armMr. Scott's poem of Rokeby, and chair of cumbrous workmanship, conwas communicated to the bard by a structed of wood, curiously turned, with

the story which it introduces, a high back and triangular seat, said to I have also added, as it likewise occur- have been used by Judge Popham in red in the same reign, and affords a the reign of Elizabeth. The entrance curious though not a pleasing trait of into the hall is at one end by a low the manners of the times; as, while door, communicating with a passage it gives a dreadful instance of ferocity, that leads from the outer door, in the it shows with what ease justice, even front of the house, to a quadrangle in the case of the inost enormous crimes, within ; at the other it opens upon a might be set aside.

gloomy stair-case, by which you asLittlecote-House stands in a low and cend to the first floor, and, passing lonely situation. On three sides it is the doors to some bed-chambers, enter surrounded by a park that spreads over a narrow gallery, which extends along the adjoining hill; on the fourth, by the back front of the house from one meadows which are watered by the ri- end to the other of it, and looks upon Fer Kennet. Close on one side of the an old garden. This gallery is hung house is a thick grove of lofty trees, with portraits, chiefly in the Spanisha along the verge of which runs one of dresses of the sixteenth century. In the principal avenues to it through the one of the bed-chambers, which you park. It is an irregular building of pass in going towards the gallery, is a gre at antiquity, and was probably erect- bedstead with blue furniture, which ed about the time of the termination of time has now made dingy and threadfeudal warfare, when defence caine no bare, and in the bottom of one of the longer to be an object in a country- bed-curtains you are shewn a place mansion. Many circumstances in the where a small piece has been cut out interior of the house, however, seem and sown in again ; a circumstance appropriate to feudal times. The hall which serves to identify the scene of is very spacious, floored with stones, the following story: and lighted by large transomn windows, “ It was a dark rainy night in the that are clothed with casements. Its month of November, that an old midwalls are hung with old military accou- wife sat musing by her cottage firetrements, that have long been left a prey side, when on a sudden she was star

At one end of the hall is a tled by a loud knocking at the door. range of coats of mail and helmets, and On opening it she found a horseman, there is on every side abundanee of who told her that her assistance was old-fashioned pistols and guns, many of required immediately by a person of them with matchlocks. Immediately rank, and that she should be handsomely rewarded, but that there were discover the place, cut out a piece of reasons for keeping the affair a strict the bed-curtain, and sown it in again ; secret; and, therefore, she must sub- the other was, that as she had decendmit to be blind-folded, and to be con- ed the staircase, she had counted the ducted in that condition to the bed- steps. Some suspicions fell upon one chamber of the lady. After proceeding Darrell, at that time the proprietor of in ilence for many miles through Littlecote-House and the domain rough and dirty lanes, they stopped, around it. The house was examined. and the midwife was led into a house, and identified by the midwife, and which, from the length of her walk Darrell, was tried at Salisbury for the through the apartment, as well as the murder. By corrupting his judge, he sounds about her, she discovered to be escaped the sentence of the law ; but the seat of wealth and power. When broke his neck by a fall froin his horse the bandage was removed from her in hunting, in a few months after.eyes, she found herself in a bed-cham- The place where this happened is still her, in which were the lady on whose known by the name of Darrell's Hil?: account she had been sent for, and a a spot to be dreaded by the peasant man of a haughty and ferocious aspect. whom the shades of evening have overThe lady was delivered of a fine boy. taken on his way. Immediately the man commanded the The usual fare of country-gentlemidwife to give him the child, and, men, relates Harrison, was

to rust.

6 foure, catching it from her, he hurried across five, or six dishes, when they have the room, and threw it on the back of but small resort ;" and accordingly, the fire, that was blazing in the chim- we find that Justice Shallow, when he ney. The child, however, was strong, I invites Falstaff to dinner, issues the and by its struggles rolled itself off following orders: “ Some pigeons, upon the hearth, when the ruffian again Davy; a couple of short-legged hens ; seized it with fury, and, in spite of a joint of mutton; and any pretty the intercession of the midwife, and little tiny kickshaws, tell William the more piteous entreaties of the mo- Cook.” But on feast-days

, and parther, thrust it under the grate, and ticularly on the festivals above-menraking the live coals upon it, soon put tioned, the profusion and cost of the an end to its life. The midwife, after table were astonishing. Harrison obspending some time in affording all serves that the country-gentlemen and the relief in her power to the wretched merchants contemned butcher's meat mother, was told that she must be on such occasions, and vied with the gone. Her former conductor appear- nobility in the production of rare and ed, who again bound her eyes, and delicate viands, of which he gives 3 conveyed her behind him to her own long list; and Massinger says, home; he then paid her handsomely, “ Men may talk of country-christ massesa and departed. The midwife was Their thirty-pound butter'd eggs, their pies strongly agitated by the horrors of the of carp's tongues, preceding night ; and she immediately

Their pheasant's drench'd with ambergris,

the carcases made a deposition of the fact before a of three fat wethers bruised for

gravy, magistrate. Two circunstances af- Make sauce for a single peacock; yet their forded hopes of detecting the house in which the crime had been committed ; Were fasts, compared with the city's." one was, that the midwife, as she sat It was the custom in the houses of by the bed-side, had, with a view to the country-gentlemen to retire after

to

feasts

dinner, which generally took place groat, be introduced, either to provoke about eleven in the morning, to the the dance, or to rouse their wonder garden-bower or an arbour in the or- by his minstrelsy ; his “ matter being chard, in order to partake of the ban- for the most part stories of old time, quet or dessert; thus Shallow, ad- as the tale of Sir Topas, the reportes dressing Falstaff after dinner, excains, of Bevis of Southampton, Guy of “ Nay, you shall see mine orchard : Warwick, Adam Bell, and Clymme where in an arbour, we will eat a last of the Clough, and such other old ro: year's pippin of my own graffing, with mances or historical rimes, made pur: a dish of carraways, and so forth."- posely for recreation of the common From the banquet it was usual to re- people at Christmas dinners and tire to evening prayer, and thence to brideales.” Nor was the evening passupper, between five and six o'clock; sed by the parlour fire-side dissimilar for in Shakespeare's time, there were in its pleasures ; the harp of history seldom more than two meals, dinner or romance was frequently made vocal and supper; “ heretofore,” remarks by one of the party. “ We ourselves," Harrison, “ there hath beene much says Puttenham, who wrote in 1589, more time spent in eating and drinking “ have written for pleasure a little than commonlie is in these daies, for brief romance, or historical ditty, in whereas of old we had breakfasts in the English tong of the Isle of Great the forenoone, beverages, or nuntions Britaine, in short and long meetres, after dinner, and thereto reare suppers and by breaches or divisions, to be generallie when it was time to go to more commodiously sung to the harpe rest. Now these od repasts, thanked in places of assembly, where the combe God, are verie well left, and ech one pany shall be desirous to heare of old in manner (except here and there some adventures, and valiaunces of noble yoong hungrie stomach that cannot knights in times past, as are those of fast till dinner time) contenteth him- King Arthur and his Knights of the selfe with dinner and supper onelie. Round Table, Sir Bevys of SouthThe nobilitie, gentlemen, and mer- ampton, Guy of Warwick, and others chantmen, especiallie at great meetings, like.” doo sit commonlie till two or three of The posset at bed-time, closed the the clocke at afternoone, so that with joyous day, a custom to which Shakesmanie is an hard matter to rise from

peare has occasionally alluded ; thus the table to go to evening praier, and Lady Macbeth says of the “ surfeited returne from thence to come time grooms,” “ I have drugg'd their posenough to supper."

sets ;” Mrs. Quickly tells Rugby, The supper which, on days of fes- " Go; and we'll have a posset for't tivity, was often protracted to a late soon at night, in faith, at the latter hour, and often too as substantial as end of a sea-coal fire ;” and Page, the dinner, was succeeded, especially cheering Falstaff, exclaims, “ Thou at Christmas, by gambols of various shalt eat a posset to-night at my house." sorts, and sometimes the squire and Thomas Heywood also, a contemporhis family would mingle in the amuse- ary of Shakespeare, has particularly ments; or retiring to the tapestried noticed this refection as occurring just parlour, would leave the hall to the before bed-time : " Thou shalt be more boisterous mirth of their house- welcome to beef and bacon, and perhold ; then would the Blind HAR- haps a bag-pudding; and my daughter PER, who sold his fir of mirth for a Nell shall pop a posset upon thee when thou goest to bed."

girding to which they fastened their We shall now pass forward to the splints, and then covered the whole delineation of one of great importance with thick clay to keep out the wind. in a national point of view, that of “ Certes this rude kind of building," the substantial Farmer or Yeoman, of says Harrison, “ made the Spaniards whom Harrison has left us the follow- in queene Maries daies to wonder, ing interesting definition :- This sort but cheeflie when they saw what large of people have a certaine preheminence diet was used in manie of these so and môre estimation than labourers, and homelie cottages, in so much that one the common sort of artificers, and these of no small reputation amongst them commonlie live wealthilie, keepe good said after this manner : ' These Enghouses, and travell to get riches. lish (quoth he) have their houses made They are also for the most part far- of sticks and durt, but they fare commers to gentlemen, or at the leastwise monlie so well as the king. Whereartificers, and with grazing, frequent- by it appeareth that he liked better ing of markets, and keeping of servants our good fare in such coarse cabins, (not idle servants, as the gentlemen than of their owne thin diet in their doo, but such as get both their owne prince-like habitations and palaces." and part of their master's living) do The cottages of the peasantry usually come to great welth, in somuch that consisted of but two rooms on the manie of them are able and doo buie ground-floor, the outer for the serthe lands of unthriftie gentlemen, and vants, the inner for the master and his often setting theirsonnes to the schooles, family, and they were thatched with to the universities, and Ins of the straw or sedge ; while the dwelling of court; or otherwise leaving them suf- the substantial farmer was distributed ficient lands whereupon they may live into several rooms above and beneath, without labour, doo make them by was coated with white lime or cement, those meanes to become gentlemen : and was very neatly roofed with reed; these were they that in times past made hence Tusser, speaking of the farmall France afraid. And albeit they house, gives the following directions be not called master, as gentlemen are, for repairing and preserving its thatch or sir as to knights apperteineth, but in the month of May: onelie John and Thomas, &c. : yet“ Where houses be reeded (as houses have have they beene found to have doone need) verie good service : and the kings of Now pare of the mosse, and go beat in the England in foughten battels, were The juster ye drive it, the smoother and woont to remaine among them (who plaine, were their footmen) as the French More handsome ye make it, to shut off the kings did amongst their horsemen : raine." the

prince thereby shewing where his To this curious delineation of the chiele strength did consist.'

accommodation of the farmer, it will The houses or cottages of the far- be necessary, in order to complete the mer were built in places abounding in sketch, to add a few things relative to wood, in a very strong and sutstantial his diet and hospitality. Contrary to manner, with not more than four, six, what has taken place in modern times, or nine inches between stud and stud; the hours for meals were later with the but in the open champaine country, artificer and the husbandman than with they were compelled to use more flim- the higher orders of society; the foursy materials, with here and there a mer and his servants usually sitting

He

down to dinner at one o'clock, and to which he takes from his land-lord, and supper at seven, while the nobleman refers it wholly to his discretion : yet and gentleman took the first at eleven if he give him leave he is a good chrisin the morning, and the second at five tian to his power, (that is) comes to in the afternoon.

church in his best clothes, and sits We shall close these characters, il- there with his neighbours,' where he is lustrative of rural manners, as they capable only of two prayers, for rain, existed in the reigns of Elizabeth and and fair weather. He apprehends James 1st. with a delineation of the God's blessings in a good year, or a plain Country Fellow or down right fat pasture, and never praises him but Clown, from the accurate pen of Bi- on good ground. Sunday, he esteems shop Earle, who has touched this a day to make merry in, and thinks a homely subject with singular point and bag-pipe as essential to it as an evenspirits.

ing prayer, where he walks very so“ A plain country fellow is one lemnly after service with his hands that manures his ground well, but lets coupled behind him, and censures the himself lye fallow and untilled. He dancing of his parish. His complihas reason enough to do his business, ment with his neighbour is a good and not enough to be idle or melan- thump on the back, and his salutation choly. He seems to have the pu- commonly some blunt curse. nishment of Nebuchadnezzar, for his thinks nothing to be vices, but pride conversation is among beasts, and his and ill husbandry, from which he will tallons none of the shortest, only he gravely dissuade the youth, and has eats not grass, because he loves not some thrifty hob-nail proverbs to clout sallets. His hand guides the plough, his discourse. He is a niggard all the and the plough his thoughts, and his week, except only market-day, where, ditch and land-mark is the very mound if his corn sell well, he thinks he may of his meditations. He expostulates be drunk with a good conscience. He is with his oxen very understandingly, sensible of no calamity but the burning and speaks gee, and ree, better than of a stack of corn or the overflowing of English. His mind is not much dis- a meadow, and thinks Noah's flood tracted with objects, but if a good fat the greatest plague that ever was, not Cow come in his

way, he stands dumb because it drowned the world, but and astonished, and though his haste spoiled the grass. For death he is be never so great, will fix here half an never troubled, and if he get in but hour's contemplation. His habitation his harvest before, let it come when it is some poor thatched roof, distinguish- will, he cares not.” ed from his barn by the loop-holes that let out smoak, which the rain had long

REVIEW. since washed through, but for the double ceiling of bacon on the inside, which has hung there from his grand- Napoleon in Exile; or, a Voice from sire's time, and is yet to make rashers St. Helena. The opinions and for posterity. His dinner is his other reflections of Napoleon on the most work, for he sweats at it as much as important events of his Life and at his labour; he is a terrible fastner Government, in his orun words. on a piece of beef, and you may hope By BARRY E. O'MEARA, Esq., to stave the guard off sooner. his late Surgeon. 2 vols. - Cone religion is a part of his copy-hold, tinued from our last.

« ElőzőTovább »