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This gallery is hung with portraits, chiefly in the Spanish dresses of the sixteenth century. In one of the bedchambers, which you pass in going towards the gallery, is a bedstead with blue furniture, which time has now made dingy and threadbare, and in the bottom of one of the bed-curtains you are shewn a place where a small piece has been cut out and sown in again,-a circumstance which serves to identify the scene of the following story :
It was a dark rainy night in the month of November, that an old midwife sate musing by her cottage fire-side, when on a sudden she was startled by a loud knocking at the door. On opening it she found a horseman, who told her that her assistance was required im. mediately by a person of rank, and that she should be handsomely rewarded, but that there were reasons for keeping the affair a strict secret, and, therefore, she must submit to be blindfolded, and to be conducted in that condition to the bed-chamber of the lady. After proceeding in silence for many miles through rough and dirty lanes, they stopped, and the midwife was led into a house, which, from the length of her walk through the apartment, as well as the sounds about her, she discovered to be the seat of wealth and power. When the bandage was removed from her eyes, she found herself in a bed-chamber, in which were the lady on whose account she had been sent for, and a man of haughty and ferocious aspect. The lady was delivered of a fine boy. Immediately the man commanded the midwife to give him the child, and, catching it from her, he hurried across the room, and threw it on the back of the fire, that was blazing in the chimney. The child, however, was strong, and by its struggles rolled itself off upon the hearth, when the ruffian again seized it with fury, and, in spite of the intercession of the midwife, and the more piteous entreaties of the mother, thrust it under the
grate, and raking the live coals upon it, soon put an end to its life. The midwife, after spending some time in affording all the relief in her power to the wretched mother, was told that she must be gone. Her former conductor appeared, who again bound her eyes, and conveyed her behind him to her own home; he then paid her handsomely, and departed. The midwife was strongly agitated by the horrors of the preceding night, and she immediately made a deposition of the fact before a magistrate. Two circumstances afforded hopes of detecting the house in which the crime had been committed : one was, that the midwife, as she sate by the bed-side, had, with a view to discover the place, cut out a piece of the bed-curtain, and sown it in again; the other was, that as she had descended the staircase, she had counted the steps. Some suspicions fell upon one Darrell, at that time the proprietor of Littlecote-house, and the domain around it. The house was examined, and identified by the midwife, and Darrell was tried at Salisbury for the murder. By corrupting his judge he escaped the sentence of the law; but broke his neck by a fall from his horse in hunting in a few months after. The place where this happened is still known by the name of Darrell's Hill,-a spot to be dreaded by the peasant whom the shades of evening have overtaken on his way.'”
6 Harrison,” resumed Egeria, who wrote about 1580, gives several curious particulars relative to the manners and habits of the country gentlemen of Queen Elizabeth's time, when it would appear that the old complaint was not new of the proneness among the English to ape French fashions. • Neither was it merrier,' says he, with England, than when an Englishman was knowne abroad by his owne cloth, and contented himselfe at home
with his fine carsie hosen, and a meane slop: his coat, gowne, and cloak of browne, blue, or puke, with some pretie furniture of velvet or furre, and a doublet of sad, tawnie, or black velvet, or other comelie silke, without cuts and gawrish colours as are worne in these daies, and never brought in but by the consent of the French, who thinke themselves the gaiest men when they have most diversities of jagges and change of colours about them.' And look here,” continued the Nymph, “what a pretty picture Drayton gives of the vocations and breeding of a squire's daughter in those days ;-no harps, no pianos, no painting velvet cushions :"
THE SQUIRE'S DAUGHTER.
A maiden fair and free :
Of mickle courtesy.
“ The silk well couth she twist and twine,
And with the needle-work:
And sing a psalm in kirk.
• She wore a frock of frolic green,
Which seemly was to see;
Ywrought full featously.
“ Her features all as fresh above,
And lythe as lass of Kent.
« This maiden in a morn betime,
To get sweet setywall,
To deck her summer-hall.”
66 But the great storehouse for sketches of the manners of the period referred to, is Bishop Earle's Miscrocosmography: some of his limnings are quite admirable. Take, for example, this scrap, which contains his description of
THE UPSTART OF ELIZABETH'S TIME. “ He is a holiday clown, and differs only in the stuff of his clothes, not the stuff of himself, for he bare the king's sword before he had arms to wield it; yet being once laid o'er the shoulder with a knighthood, he finds the herald his friend. His father was a man of good stock, though but a tanner or usurer; he purchased the land, and his son the title. He has doffed off the name of a country-fellow, but the look not so easy, and his face still bears a relish of churne-milk. He is guarded with more gold lace than all the gentlemen of the county, yet his body makes his clothes still out of fashion. His housekeeping is seen much in the distinct families of dogs, and serving-men attendant on their kennels, and the deepness of their throats is the depth of his discourse. A hawk he esteems the true burden of nobility, and is exceeding ambitious to seem delighted in the sport, and have his fist gloved with his jesses. A justice of peace he is to domineer in his parish, and do his neighhour wrong with more right. He will be drunk with his hunters for company, and stain his gentility with droppings of ale. He is fearful of being sheriff of the shire by instinct, and dreads the assize-week as much as the prisoner. In sum, he's but a clod of his own earth, or his land is the dunghill and he the cock that crows over it: and commonly his race is quickly run, and his chil. dren's children, though they scape hanging, return to the place from whence they came.”
“ To this let me add a sketch of the squire about the period of the Revolution, from Hutchin's History of Dorsetshire.”
A SQUIRE OF THE REVOLUTION. “ Mr Hastings was low of stature, but strong and active, of a ruddy complexion, with flaxen hair. His cloaths were always of green cloth, his house was of the old fashion ; in the midst of a large park, well stocked with deer, rabbits, and fish-ponds. He had a long narrow bowling-green in it, and used to play with round sand-bowls. Here, too, he had a banquetting-room built, like a stand, in a large tree. He kept all sorts of hounds that ran buck, fox, hare, otter, and badger; and had hawks of all kinds, both long and short-winged. His great hall was commonly strewed with marrowbones, and full of hawk-perches, hounds, spaniels, and terriers. The upper end of it was hung with fox-skins of this and the last year's killing. Here and there a pole-cat was intermixed ; and hunter's poles in great abundance. The parlour was a large room, completely furnished in the same style. On a broad hearth, paved with brick, lay some of the choicest terriers, hounds and