Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

The sailor in his ship, man,

When wildly rolls the wave, man,
His pipe will smoke, and crack his joke
Above his yawning grave, man!

10. The soldier, in the tavern,

Talks of the battle's roar, man ; With pipe in hand, he gives command, And thus he lives twice o'er man!

11.

All classes in this world, man,

Have each their own enjoyment, But with a pipe, they're all alike— 'Tis every one's employment!

12.
Of all the various pleasures

That on this earth there are, man,
There's nought to me affords such glee
As a pipe or sweet cigar, man!
O. N. Y.

There were very few free-schools in England before the Reformation. Youth were generally taught Latin in the monasteries, and young women had their education not at Hackney, as now, scilicit, anno 1678, but at nunneries, where they learnt needle-work, confectionary, surgery, physic, (apothecaries and surgeons being at that time very rare,) writing, drawing, &c. Old Jackquar, now living, has often seen from his house the nuns of St. Mary Kingston, in Wilts, coming forth into the Nymph Hay with their rocks and wheels to spin, sometimes to the number of threescore and ten, all whom were not nuns, but young girls sent there for their education.

Easter.

The custom of eating a gammon of bacon at Easter, which is still kept up in many parts of England, was founded on this, viz to show their abhorrence to Judaism at that solemn commemoration of our Lord's resurrection. In the Easter holydays was

Old Customs and Manners the clerk's ale for his private benefit, and the solace of the neighbourhood.

BY JOHN AUBREY, 1678

Ex MS. COLL. ASHMOL. MUS. OXFORD.

Education.

Chimneys.

Anciently, before the Reformation, ordinary men's houses, as copyholders, and the like, had no chimneys, but flues like louverholes; some of them were in being when I was a boy.

an action on the case as for slander, &c. once in a year, quod nota.

Painted Cloths.

In the halls and parlours of great houses were wrote texts of Scripture on the paint

ed cloths.

Libels.

The lawyers say, that, before the time of king Henry VIII., one shall hardly find

Christmas.

Before the last civil wars, in gentlemen's houses at Christmas, the first dish that was brought to the table was a boar's head with a lemon in his mouth. At Queen's College in Oxford they still retain this custom; the bearer of it brings it into the hall, singing to an old tune an old Latin rhyme, "Caput apri defero," &c. The first dish that was brought up to the table on Easter-day was a red herring riding away on horseback, i. e. a herring ordered by the cook something after the likeness of a man on horseback, set in a corn salad.

Salutations.

The use of "Your humble servant" came first into England on the marriage of queen Mary, daughter of Henry IV. of France, which is derived from Votre très humble serviteur. The usual salutation before that time was, "God keep you!" "God be with you!" and among the vulgar, "How dost do?" with a thump on the shoulder.

Court Rudeness.

Till this time the court itself was unpolished and unmannered. King James's court was so far from being civil to women, that the ladies, nay the queen herself, could hardly pass by the king's apartment without receiving some affront.

Travellers in France.

At the parish priests' houses in France, especially in Languedoc, the table-cloth is on the board all day long, and ready for what is in the house to be put thereon for strangers, travellers, friars, and pilgrims; so 'twas, I have heard my grandfather say, in his grandfather's time.

Private Heralds.

Heretofore noblemen and gentlemen o fair estates had their heralds, who wore their coat of arms at Christmas, and at other solemn times, and cried " Largesse" thrice.

At Tomarton, in Gloucestershire, anciently the seat of the Rivers, is a dungeon thirteen or fourteen feet deep; about four feet high are iron rings fastened to the wail, which was probably to tie offending villains to, as all lords of manors had this power over their villains,(or soccage tenants,) and had all of them no doubt such places for their punishment. It is well known, all castles had dungeons, and so I believe had monasteries, for they had often within themselves power of life and death.

In days of yore, lords and gentlemen lived in the country like petty kings; had jura regalia belonging to their seigniories, had their castles and boroughs, had gallows within their liberties, where they could try, condemn, and execute. Never went to London but in parliament-time, or once a year to do their homage to the king. They always ate in gothic halls, at the high table or oreille, (which is a little room at the upper end of the hall, where stands a table,) with the folks at the side-tables. The meat was served up by watchwords. Jacks are but of late invention. The poor boys did turn the spits, and licked the dripping for their pains. The beds of the men-servants and retainers were in the hall, as now in the grand or privy chamber.

Here in the hall, the mumming and the loaf-stealing, and other Christmas sports, were performed.

The hearth was commonly in the middle, whence the saying, "Round about our coal-fire."

A neat-built chapel, and a spacious hall, were all the rooms of note, the rest more small.

Private Armories.

Every baron and gentleman of estate kept great horses for men at arms. Some had their armories sufficient to furnish out some hundreds of men.

Justices' Halls.

The halls of the justices of peace were dreadful to behold; the screen was garnished with corselets and helmets gaping with open mouths, with coats of mail, lances, pikes, halberds, brown bills, batterdastors, and buckles.

Inns.

Public inns were rare. Travellers were entertained at religious houses for three days together, if occasion served.

Gentry Meetings.

The meeting of the gentry were not at taverns, but in the fields or forests, with

hawks and hounds, and their bugle-horns, in silken bawderies.

Hawking.

In the last age every gentleman-like man kept a sparrow-hawk, and the priest a hobby, as dame Julian Berners teaches us, (who wrote a treatise on field-sports, temp. Henry VI. :) it was a divertisement for young gentlewomen to manne sparrowhawks and merlines.

Church-houses-Poor-rates.

Before the Reformation there were no

poor's rates; the charitable doles given at religious houses, and church-ale in every parish, did the business. In every parish there was a church-house, to which belonged spits, pots, crocks, &c. for dressing provision. Here the housekeepers met and were merry, and gave their charity. The young people came there too, and had dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, &c. Mr. A. Wood assures me, there were few or no alms-houses before the time of king Henry VIII.; that at Oxford, opposite to Christ church, is one of the most ancient in England. In every church was a poor man's box, and the like at great inns.

In these times, besides the jollities above-mentioned, they had their pilgrimages to several shrines, as to Walsingham, Canterbury, Glastonbury, Bromholm, &c. Then the crusades to the holy wars were magnificent and splendid, and gave rise to the adventures of the knight-errant and romances; the solemnity attending processions in and about churches, and the perambulations in the fields, were great diversions also of those times.

Glass Windows.

Glass windows, except in churches and gentlemen's houses, were rare before the time of Henry VIII. In my own remembrance, before the civil wars, copyholders and poor people had none.

Men's Coats.

About ninety years ago, noblemen's and gentlemen's coats were of the bedels and yeomen of the guards, i. e. gathered at the middle. The benchers in the inns of court yet retain that fashion in the make of their gowns.

Church-building.

Captain Silas Taylor says, that .n days of yore, when a church was to be built, they

[blocks in formation]

Learning, and learned Men.

From the time of Erasmus till about twenty years last past, the learning was downright pedantry. The conversation and habits of those times were as starched as their bands and square beards, and gravity was then taken for wisdom. The doctors in those days were but old boys, when quibbles passed for wit, even in their ser

mons.

Gentry and their Children.

The gentry and citizens had little learning of any kind, and their way of breeding up their children was suitable to the rest. They were as severe to their children as their schoolmasters, and their schoolmasters as masters of the house of correction: the child perfectly loathed the sight of his parents as the slave his torture.

Gentlemen of thirty and forty years old were to stand like mutes and fools bareheaded before their parents; and the daughters (grown women) were to stand at the cupboard-side during the whole time of her proud mother's visit, unless (as the fashion was) leave was desired forsooth that a cushion should be given them to kneel upon, brought them by the servingman, after they had done sufficient penance in standing.

The boys (I mean the young fellow) had their foreheads turned up and stiffened with spittle they were to stand mannerly forsooth thus, the foretop ordered as before, with one hand at the bandstring, and the other behind.

Fans.

The gentlewomen had prodigious fans, as is to be seen in old pictures, like that instrument which is used to drive feathers, and it had a handle at least half a yard long; with these the daughters were oftentimes corrected, (sir Edward Coke, lord chief justice, rode the circuit with such a fan; sir William Dugdale told me he was an eye-witness of it. The earl of Manchester also used such a fan,) but fathers and mothers slashed their daughters in the time of their besom discipline, when they were perfect women.

University Flogging.

At Oxford (and I believe at Cambridge) the rod was frequently used by the tutors and deans; and Dr. Potter, of Trinity college, I knew right well, whipped his pupil with his sword by his side, when he came to take his leave of him to go to the inns of

court

[graphic][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

mained a single undistinguishable cipher 0, amongst a row of ciphers 000000000 he now makes a figure in the world; and is perhaps better known throughout England than any other individual of his order in society, for he has visited almost every town with "young lambs to sell." He has a wife and four children; the latter are constantly employed in making the " "young lambs," with white cotton wool for fleeces, spangled with Dutch gilt, the head of flour paste, red paint on the cheeks, two jet black spots for eyes, horns of twisted shin. ing tin, legs to correspond, and pink tape

tied round the neck for a graceful collar. A full basket of these, and his song-like cry, attract the attention of the juvenile population, and he contrives to pick up a living, notwithstanding the “badness of the times." The day after last Christmas-day, his cry in Covent-garden allured the stagemanager to purchase four dozen of "young lambs," and at night they were "brought out" at that theatre, in the basket of a performer who personated their old proprietor, and cried so as to deceive the younger part of the audience into a belief that he was their real favourite of the streets. I remember the first crier of "young .ambs to sell!" He was a maimed sailor; and with him originated the manufacture. If I am not mistaken, this man, many years after I had ceased to be a purchaser of his ware, was guilty of some delinquency, for which he forfeited his life: his cry was

Young lambs to sell! young lambs to sell! Two for a penny young lambs to sell! Two for a penny young lambs to sell-Two for a penny young lambs to sell!

If I'd as much money as I could tell, I wouldn't cry young lambs to sell! Young lambs to sell-young lambs to sellTwo for a penny young lambs to sell! Young lambs to se-e-ll, Young la-a-mbs to sell!

and luckily possessing a monopoly of the manufacture, he therefore raises the price of his articles to the necessity of his circumstances. It is not convenient to refer to the precise chapter in the "Wealth of Nations,"or to verified tables of the increased value of money, in order to show that the new lamb-seller has not exceeded "an equitable adjustment" in the arrangement of his present prices; but it is fair to state in his behalf, that he declares, notwithstanding all the noise he makes, the carrying on of the lamb business is scarcely better than pig-shaving; "Sir," says he, "it's great cry, and little wool." From a poor fellow, at his time of life, with only half his limbs to support a large family this is no joke. Not having been at his native place for two and twenty years, the desire to see it once more is strong within him, and he purposes next Easter to turn his face northwards, with his family, and

66

cry" all the way from London to Glasgow. Let the little ones, therefore, in the towns of his route, keep a penny or two by them to lay out in "young lambs," and so help the poor fellow along the road, in this stage of his struggle through life.

March 19, 1827.

Though it is five and thirty years ago since I heard the sailor's musical "cry," it still sings in my memory; it was a tenor of modulated harmonious tune, till, in the last line but one, it became a thorough bass, and rolled off at the close with a loud swell that filled urchin listeners with awe and admiration. During this chant his head was elevated, and he gave his full voice, and apparently his looks, to the winds; but the moment he concluded, and when attention was yet rivetted, his address became particular: his persuasive eye and jocular address flashed round the circle of "my little masters and mistresses," and his hand presented a couple of his snow white "fleecy charge," dabbled in gold, "two for a penny!" nor did he resume his song till ones and twos were in the possession of probably every child who had a halfpenny or penny at command.

The old sailor's "young lambs" were only half the cost of the poor soldier's. It may be doubted whether the materials of their composition have doubled in price, but the demand for "young lambs" has certainly lessened, while the present manufacturer has quite as many wants as the old one,

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinua »