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Juliana in the Double Marriage, and her death ? Does the scene of old Lear, with Cordelia in his arms, surpass it ?”
“ I will argue no more with you to-night," said the Bachelor coldly, rising and gathering the books, which he replaced on the shelves,
OLD ENGLISH MANNERS. 6 What have you got in your Album since I last looked at it ?" said the Bachelor one morning, seeing the Nymph busily engaged in copying from several scraps of paper on the table before her.
56 Not much,” replied Egeria; “ I have of late been reading but new books, and there is a great dearth of curious or of interesting passages in them all. Modern authors scribble so fast, that they have no time to compress their thoughts into proper quotable passages. But here are several notes illustrative of old English manners that are worthy of being reduced into some consistent form. This one is a description of an old English hall, which still remains as it existed in the days of Queen Elizabeth. It is the more curious on account of the story tacked to it, which might be easily worked up into an interesting three-volume novel of the Scottish or Scott's school; it is from the notes to Sir Walter's Rokeby."
LITTLECOTE-HOUSE. LITTLECOTE-HOUSE stands in a low and lonely situation. On three sides it is surrounded by a park that
spreads over the adjoining hill ; on the fourth, by meadows which are watered by the river Kennet. Close on one side of the house is a thick grove of lofty trees, along the verge of which runs one of the principal avenues to it through the park. It is an irregular building of great antiquity, and was probably erected about the time of the termination of feudal warfare, when defence came no longer to be an object in a country-mansion. Many circumstances in the interior of the house, however, seem appropriate to feudal times. The hall is very spacious, floored with stones, and lighted by large transom windows, that are clothed with casements. Its walls are hung with old military accoutrements, that have long been left a prey to rust. At one end of the hall is a range of coats-of-mail and helmets, and there is on every side abundance of old-fashioned pistols and guns, many of them with matchlocks. Immediately below the cornice hangs a row of leathern jerkins, made in the form of a shirt, supposed to have been worn as armour by the vassals. A large oak-table, reaching nearly from one end of the room to the other, might have feasted the whole neighbourhood, and an appendage to one end of it made it answer at other times for the old game of shuffle-board. The rest of the furniture is in a suitable style, particularly an arm-chair of cumbrous workmanship, constructed of wood, curiously turned, with a high back and triangular seat, said to have been used by Judge Popham in the reign of Elizabeth. The entrance into the hall is at one end by a low door, communicating with a passage that leads from the outer door, in the front of the house, to a quadrangle within ; at the other it opens upon a gloomy staircase, by which you ascend to the first floor, and, passing the doors of some bed-chambers, enter a narrow gallery, which extends along the back front of the house from one end to the other of it, and looks upon an old garden. 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 Novem. ber, 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 ac count 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
“ Harrison,” resumed Egeria, 6 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;