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round with inhabited over it'
or of red brick, large casemented bow windows, a porch with seats in it, and over it a study; the eaves of the house well inhabited by swallows, and the court set round with holly-hocks. Near the gate a horse-block for the conveniency of mounting.
“ The hall was furnished with flitches of bacon, and the mantle-piece with guns and fishing rods of different dimensions, accompanied by the broad sword, partizan, and dagger, borne by his ancestor in the civil wars. The vacant spaces were occupied by stag's horns. Against the wall was posted King Charles's Golden Rules, Vincent Wing's Almanack, and a portrait of the Duke of Marlborough ; in his window lay Baker's Chronicle, Fox's Book of Martyrs, Glanvil on Apparitions, Quincey's Dispensatory, the Complete Justice and a Book of Farriery.
“In the corner, by the fire side, stood a large wooden two-armed chair with a cushion; and within the chimney corner were a couple of seats. Here, at Christmas, he entertained his tenants assembled round a glowing fire made of the roots of trees, and other great logs, and told and heard the traditionary tales of the village respecting ghosts and witches, till fear made them afraid to move. In the mean time the jorum of ale was in continual circulation.
“ The best parlour, which was never opened but on particular occasions, was furnished with Turk-worked chain, and hung round with portraits of his ancestors; the men in the character of shepherds, with their crooks, dressed in full suits and huge full-bottomed perukes ; others in complete armour or buff coats, playing on the base viol or lute. The females likewise as shepherdesses, with the lamb and crook, all habited in high heads and flowing robes.
“ Alas! these men and these houses are no more!
" This is both a lively and amusing picture, to which let me subjoin Holinshed's description of the Yeomen in Elizabeth's time, taken from Harrison.”
YEOMEN. “ This sort of people have a certaine preheminence, and more estimation than labourers and the common sort of artificers, and these commonlie live wealthilie, kéepe good houses, and travell to get riches. They are also for the most part farmers to gentlemen, or at the leastwise artificers, and with grazing, frequenting of markets, and kéeping of servants (not idle servants, as the gentlemen doo, but such as get both their owne and part of their masters living) do come to great welth, in somuch that manie of them are able and doo buie the lands of unthriftie gentlemen, and often setting their sonnes to the schooles, to the universities, and to the Ins of the court; or otherwise leaving them sufficient lands whereupon they may live without labour, doo make them by those meanes to become gentlemen : these were they that in times past made all France afraid. And albeit they be not called master, as gentlemen are, or sir as, to knights apperteineth, but onelie John and Tho. mas, &c. : yet have they beene found to have doone verie good service: and the kings of England in foughten battels, were woont to remaine among them (who were their footmen) as the French kings did amongst their horssemen: the prince thereby shewing where his chiefe strength did consist.”
These notes, you see,” continued Egeria, “ are very curious illustrations of national history, and will prove highly useful to you, when, inspired by me, you undertake to write a historical novel; but the following is still better. It is also by Harrison, who, speaking of the additional splendour of gentlemen's houses in Elizabeth's time, remarks”
THE GROWTH OF LUXURY. “ In times past the costlie furniture staied there, whereas now it is descended yet lower, even unto manie farmers, who, by vertue of their old and not of their new leases, have for the most part learned also to garnish their cupbords with plate, their ioined beds with tapi. strie and silke hangings, and their tables with carpets and fine naperie, whereby the wealth of our countrie (God be praised therefore, and give us grace to imploie it well) dooth infinitlie appeare. Neither doo I speake this in reproch of anie man, God is my judge, but to shew that I do rejoise rather, to see how God hath blessed us with his good gifts; and whilest I behold how that in a time wherein all things are growen to most excessive prices, and what commoditie so ever is to be had, is daily plucked from the commonaltie by such as looke in to everie trade, we doo yet find the means to obtein and atchive such furniture as here to fore hath beene unpossible. There are old men yet dwelling in the vil. lage where I remaine, which have noted three things to be marvellouslie altered in England within their sound remembrance; and other three things too too much encreased. One is, the multitude of chimnies latelie erected, whereas in their yoong daies there were not above two or three, if so manie, in most uplandish townes of the realme, (the religious houses and manor places of their lords alwaies excepted, and peradventure some great personages) but ech one made his fire against a rere dosse in the hall, where he dined and dressed his meat.
“ The second is the great (although not generall) amendment of lodging, for (said they) our fathers (yea and wee ourselves also) have lien full oft upon straw
pallets, on rough mats covered onlie with a shéet, under coverlets made of dagswain or hop harlots (I use their owne termes) and a good round log under their heads instead of a bolster or pillow. If it were so that our fathers, or the good man of the house, had within seven yeares after his mariage purchased a matteres or flockebed, and thereto a sacke of chaffe to rest his head upon, he thought himselfe to be as well lodged as the lord of the towne, that peradventure laie seldome in a bed of downe or whole fethers; so well were they contented, and with such base kind of furniture: which also is not verie much amended as yet in some parts of Bedfordshire, and elsewhere further off from our southerne parts. Pillowes (said they) were thought méet onelie for women in child bed. As for servants, if they had anie sheet above them it was well, for seldome had they anie under their bodies, to kéepe them from the pricking straws that ran oft through the canvas of the pallet, and rased their hardened hides.
“ The third thing they tell of, is the exchange of vessell, as of treene platters into pewter, and wodden spoones into silver or tin. For so common was all sorts of treene stuff in old time, that a man should hardlie find four péeces of pewter, (of which one was peradventure a salt,) in a good farmer's house, and yet for all this frugalitie (if it may so be justly called) they were scarce able to live and paie their rents at their daies without selling of a cow, or an horsse, or more, although they paid but foure pounds at the uttermost by the yeare. Such also was their povertie, that if some one od farmer or husbandman had béene at the alehouse, a thing greatlie used in those daies, amongst six or seven of his neighbours, and there in a braverie to shew what store he had, did cast downe his purse, and therein a noble or six shillings in silver unto them (for few such men then cared for gold, because it was not so readie paiment, and
they were oft inforced to give a penie for the exchange of an angell) it was verie likelie that all the rest could not laie downe so much against it: whereas in my time, although peradventure foure poundes of old rent be im. proved to fortie, fiftie, or an hundred pounds, yet will the farmer as another palme or date trée thinke his gaines verie small toward the end of his terme, if he have not six or seven yeares rent lieing by him, therewith to purchase a new lease, beside a faire garnish of pewter on his cupbord, with so much in od vessell going about the house, thrée or foure feather beds, so manie coverlids and carpets of tapistrie, a silver salt, a bowle for wine (if not an whole neast) and a dozzen of spoones to furnish up the sute."
“ To this let me add a quotation from a pastoral of a shepherd youth, which is in itself not only a choice morsel of poetry, but an historical portrait.”
“ Sweet growte, or whig, his bottle had
As much as it might hold:
A sheeve of bread as browne as nut,
And cheese as white as snowe,
He did in scrip bestow :
And whilst his py-bald curre did sleepe,
And sheep-hooke lay him by,
He piped melody :
- - - - - - With the sun
He doth his flocke unfold,
He merrie chat can hold :